Dialogue with an atheist - Part 5 - War and peace

Dialogue with an atheist - part 5 - War and Peace -  by P.K.Odendaal - December 2012


Scripture

Atheist:   Hi GLC, I have been looking for you everywhere after you insulted my heroes or revered writers last time. You got very uptight, and I thought that you were so clinically rational.
GLC:        Hi Atheist. I am not only rational - I am also passionate and a lot of other things. You however are the strictly rational one. So what are you up to today?
Atheist:   I am throwing you a curved ball today, and I cannot wait to see you being caught out on first base.


GLC:        Throw.
Atheist:   This is why I am angry.
               Deuteronomy 20:10-14
               As you approach a town to attack it, first offer its people terms for peace. If they accept your terms and open the gates to you, then all the people inside will serve you in forced labour. But if they refuse to make peace and prepare to fight, you must attack the town. When the LORD your God hands it over to you, kill every man in the town. But you may keep for yourselves all the women, children, livestock, and other plunder. You may enjoy the spoils of your enemies that the LORD your God has given you.
               (A review recently on Amazon.com by William J. Diamantas on the book: 99 Things which pisses off the Godless)
GLC:        But that is a perfectly straight ball! I saw it coming with a lot of spin and I hit it centre, stopping the spin on it. What is the problem about this?
Atheist:   Your God is a vicious, vengeful and merciless God.
GLC:        But what makes you think that God said that? For you He does not even exist, so how could He have spoken those words? And why are you so cross with someone who does not exist - a fictitious or hypothetical person?
Atheist:   But you Christians say that God said that.
GLC:        So what? Why do us Christians bother you and why do you want to believe or disbelieve us? Is this argument about Christians or about God? I told you previously that you should not bring in Christians and the Church, because that has got nothing to do with God. They are people and a people's institution respectively, and I sometimes wonder whether God has anything to do with many of them.
Atheist:   Do you believe in the Bible?
GLC:        Yes, whole heartedly.
Atheist:   Then you must believe that God said that.
GLC:        That my friend is a totally different aspect and argument. I see we are already at second base and still playing. I notice that you have now also acknowledged that there is another part of the field which you are prepared to play on - not only your own goal area (see Part 1). So, congratulations, we have made some progress.
Atheist:   Only for argument purposes.
GLC:        What do you think would mankinds most ardently desire of a God, should He exist?
Atheist:   I should think it is to help mankind in times of trouble. That He should be there to protect and keep us - to listen to our prayers.
GLC:        And would you say that those prayers should only be morally allowable prayers in terms of some moral principle set - a limited framework, or do you think that one might ask Him anything.
Atheist:   I would think that we might ask Him anything. That He should be almighty and omnipotent, and that He should be able to deliver us from any form of fear, aggression, illness, injury and error.
GLC:        And especially when we are facing death by an arch enemy, even of your own making.
Atheist:   ... yes. I think so.
GLC:        Very good - I am looking towards base three already, and it is not even loaded.
               Tell me then. Do you think that the Israelites prayed to God to deliver them from this life threatening enemy - an enemy who was known to attack them time and time again without rhyme or reason?
Atheist:   Yes, I am quite sure that they prayed to Him.
GLC:        So, now, you do not want God to deliver them from this enemy which haunted them for centuries. And you do not want God to make an end to this enmity - an enmity which may be ended if they kill all the men and take the enemy's wives and children. What else would you wish to forbid God from doing?
               I am not saying that this is human. Humanism has only flared up in the past century as an antidote to Christianity. You might say that Humanism is Christianity without a God. In the time of the Israelites, revenge was the name of the game and humanism has not been discovered.
               Or do you want the Israelites to act very Christian like to their enemies, while their enemies relentlessly plundered their property and killed them? Would you stand still and let God's water run over God's acre in such circumstances?
Atheist:   I guess not.
GLC:        I do not want to go into arguments about scripture, which you might or might not believe in or understand. It was my intention to meet you on your own playing field, even if it was only on your own goal area most of the time.
               So where is your next curved ball? I am standing ready for home base ... my idea of heaven.
               Atheist! Where are you running to?
Atheist:   I am going to call Sagan, Dawkins and hitchens to help me out of this one. Sorry, I meant only Dawkins. Sagan died of cancer - an atheist until his death, and hitchens died of cancer - an atheist until his death. And I suppose that that fate also awaits me - much like the enemies of Israel.
GLC:        The innuendo is not correct. God does not give people cancer - He heals them. But ... if you take up weapons against the Most High, you must be prepared for the fight and its consequences ... and you know, as well as I do, what the law of Cause and Effect means and does. Whom could these two outspoken atheists call upon or turn to, in their time of need, suffering, pain and death? And do you for one minute think that in this process of Cause and Effect - a law you and I so rigidly believe in, that the effect of their ill causes will just die with them? Have you not heard that what goes around comes around?
Well, I have a surprise for you. In this universe nothing can be created nor destroyed. You must certainly know from the Law of the Conservation of Mass and Energy that mass and energy - and everything else - cannot become more or less in a physical sense. Everything can be changed into another form, but remain they will - even God's Word, which you find so unpalatable.
               Shall I conclude by quoting to you from Shakespeare? From Julius Caesar in Mark Anthony's speech: 'The evil that men do lives after them. The good is oft interred with their bones. So let it be with Caesar'.
               I will address the moral implications of the scripture you started with in another article next time - an article about evil - and that I will do from third base.