Pat Robertson Excuses Away Genocide

One of the big problems that Christian apologists have is explaining away the utterly barbaric actions allegedly commanded by God in the Old Testament. Pat Robertson offers his ridiculous rationalization for genocide, arguing that God was showing mercy by ordering the slaughter of untold numbers of people.

Assuming you have a culture that has 1,000 really bad people in it — they’re murderers, they’re thieves, they’re rapists, they’re having incest, you name it they are doing everything horrible — now if they have children, what’s going to happen? Instead of having 1,000, you’ll have 3,000 or 4,000; then — nothing has changed them — then they’ll pass it on to the next generation and the next thing you know you’ve got 10,000 or 20,000 of them and if it keeps on going you’re going to have a million of them. So what’s the most merciful thing for a loving God to do? It’s to take the thousand and get rid of them. And that’s what He did.

“It sounds cruel but in the long run it’s more merciful. Further, He didn’t want his people to be contaminated by those people…. They had sex with animals, they had incest, they did all of these terrible things and they offered their children as sacrifices to their gods, it was horrible what they did.”

And the obvious solution to them allegedly killing their children was to…kill their children. Of course, if a Muslim made this argument Robertson would be foaming at the mouth. It’s only wrong when another God does it. There are more than 5 billion people on the planet who are not Christian and are thus doomed to hell, according to Robertson. And the overwhelming majority of their billions and billions of descendants will likewise burn in hell. Clearly the most “merciful” thing to do is to kill them all off now, right? I mean, if we’re going to follow this “logic” to its obvious conclusion.

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  • Chiroptera

    That’s funny. The Bible certainly doesn’t say that God had the Hebrews kill the Canaanites because they were child sacrificers and goat sexers. It definitely says that God had the Hebrews kill the Canaanites because they were Canaanites and they were living in a country that God promised to give to the Hebrews.

  • http://www.thelosersleague.com theschwa

    Genocide, schmenocide.

  • matty1

    I’m not in favour of incest or sex with animals but I have a hard time contemplating a moral system in which they are worse than mass murder.

  • Taz

    Assuming you have a culture that has 1,000 really bad people in it — they’re murderers, they’re thieves, they’re rapists, they’re having incest, you name it they are doing everything horrible

    I hate to break it to you Pat, but you could easily find many times1000 such people in the US today.

  • http://www.thelosersleague.com theschwa

    Assuming you have a culture that has 1,000 really bad people in it — they’re murderers, they’re thieves, they’re rapists, they’re having incest, you name it they are doing everything horrible —

    1) if that culture had exactly 1000 people in it, God did OK. If that culture had 10,000, or 100,000? He killed 90% of the good to get the bad.

    2)I thought God saw all sins as equally bad. “Assuming you have a culture that has 1,000 really bad people in it — they’re picking up sticks on Saturday AND Sunday, they’re wearing cotton-poly blends, they’re celebrating Shrimpfest, you name it they are doing everything horrible —”

  • cadrpear

    Shorter Pat: “That was not war, that was pest con-trol!”

    Now, I don’t watch Doctor Who very often, but I’m pretty sure you weren’t supposed to model your moral system on the Daleks.

  • Hypatia’s Daughter

    “more than 5 billion people on the planet who are not Christian and are thus doomed to hell”

    Uh, no. According to Pat, the only TRUE Christians are his special band of fundy literalists.

    Methodists, Presbyterians, Catholics, Mormons, Anglicans, and so on, are NOT Christians (unless he is padding the stats to assert that the USA is a “Christian Nation”.)

    So, that should be “more than 7 billion people (minus Pat’s tiny cadre of fundy literalists) are doomed to hell”.

  • Pierce R. Butler

    theschwa @ # 5: … really bad people in it — they’re picking up sticks on Saturday AND Sunday, they’re wearing cotton-poly blends…

    Now you’ve got me scared to even drive past a golf course!

  • D. C. Sessions

    Kill one person, you’re a murderer.

    Kill ten people, you’re a mass murderer.

    Kill a thousand, you’re a war hero.

    Kill millions? You’re a peace-loving, omnibenevolent god.

  • eric

    Assuming you have a culture that has 1,000 really bad people in it — they’re murderers, they’re thieves, they’re rapists, they’re having incest, you name it they are doing everything horrible — now if they have children, what’s going to happen? Instead of having 1,000, you’ll have 3,000 or 4,000; then

    With the US murder rate, there’s something like a 5 murders/year/100,000 people. For 2,000 people in the next generation, you expect 0.1 murder/year. Let’s multiply that by 50 to represent lifetime threat (the very old and very young typically don’t kill anyone), and then let’s give these bloodthirsty kids a ten times increase in the chance that they’ll kill, based on the assumption that the kids of killers are ten times more likely to kill than regular people. Result? We expect those 1,000 original killers to spawn a generation that commits…a whopping 50 murders.

    So even if you just consider the guilty, killing them all using the reasoning “to prevent the violence their kids are expected to produce” is immoral. There may be other reasons to kill them, but that isn’t a good one.

  • colnago80

    Well, what did ole Joe Stalin say, 1 death is a tragedy, a million deaths is a statistic.

  • mudskipper

    So why did God wait until there are 1000 people? By this logic, he should have killed the very first bad person.

  • Dexeron

    “I didn’t want you to kill your children, so I killed your children so you wouldn’t be able to kill your children.”

    Great. God is the AI from the end of Mass Effect 3.

  • pocketnerd

    So crime is genetic? Is Pat Robertson one of the self-proclaimed “neo-reactionaries” who want to bring back eugenics?

  • http://Reallyawakeguy.blogspot.com somnus

    Except, of course, that just going by the Bible, God didn’t just kill societies of rapists and murderers. He instructed half a million people to kill them and rape the survivors. I don’t think the argument that you prevent a society of rapists and murderers by creating a more powerful society or rapists and murderers exactly works as a moral argument.

    As for human sacrifice…

    according to the Bible God was pretty fond of it.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1399822355 markmckee

    Chiroptera in #1, I like what you did there and I think this is the best way to argue with these people. Use their very own book to point out their hypocrisies and lies.

  • Synfandel

    It’s only wrong when another God does it.

    Isn’t it the same God, just worshiped from a different manual?

  • Nick Gotts

    Well, what did ole Joe Stalin say – colnago80@11

    I’m puzzled as to why our local genocidal numpty doesn’t refer to Stalin as Jughashvili. After all, it was at least a name he was actually known by for part of his life (Ioseb Besarionis dze Jughashvili, to give the full name he used until his early twenties), while Adolf Hitler was at no time known as Schicklgruber, let alone Frankenberger.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1399822355 markmckee

    Like mudskipper in #12 above pointed out, if god is omniscient then why wait until there are 1000 baddies. Just kill the first one. And he could make it a super early miscarriage so as to not even upset the parents.

    Oh, wait, you say god won’t do that because of free will? OK, but then why would he kill the 1000 including babies who have not yet sinned? What about free will there?

    This is the thing with the arguments from people like Robertson. You don’t need modern day information and morality to make your point, just use their very same arguments and their very own Bible itself to point out the utter hypocrisy and lies that they are spouting.

  • doublereed

    So crime is genetic? Is Pat Robertson one of the self-proclaimed “neo-reactionaries” who want to bring back eugenics?

    I believe it’s more of the Christian idea that the sins of the father are inherited by the children.

    Because that makes sense.

  • Sastra

    Assuming you have a culture that has 1,000 really bad people in it — they’re murderers, they’re thieves, they’re rapists, they’re having incest, you name it they are doing everything horrible — now if they have children, what’s going to happen?

    Why, every single one of the children will be exactly the same as the parents, of course, because there would be no rebellion in a society with strong families. Idiot.

    Really bad? Really really bad in every imaginable way? Yes, children.

    I really hate this spiritual capacity for thinking of entire human cultures as being just like Orcs. This is what you can do in fiction. In real life, it’s called propaganda and it is evil.

  • corwyn

    So why did God wait until there are 1000 people? By this logic, he should have killed the very first bad person.

    Nope, he *protected* him. Every murder since is just trying to get the same treatment.

  • abusedbypenguins

    A 12-step program for stupid. Wouldn’t work, none of them could ever make it past step 2.

  • Daryl Carpenter

    It’s jolly good luck that none of the genocidal events in the bible took place, isn’t it?

  • Chiroptera

    Daryl Carpenter, #24:

    Yeah, but I often lose interest in even fictional characters when they cross the Moral Event Horizon.

  • howardhershey

    Don’t Muslims and Christians worship the same sadistic SOB of a god? Probably use the same verses to justify genocide on each other.

  • stuffin

    Why couldn’t his almighty god just put them bad guys 90 degrees from everywhere, like Michael Valentine Smith could do?

  • jnorris

    A woman person with lady parts has sex while not being obedient to a husband, she’s naughty. She uses contraceptives to avoid pregnancies, she’s nasty naughty. NN Woman does get pregnant, and has an abortion, she’s Super Duper Naughty.

    Using Mr Robertson’s reasoning, one must kill Ms Naughty so any future children she has don’t become naughty themselves. One must also kill any children she had before the abortion for the same reason: to protect them. It’s God’s mercy.

  • catbutler

    and they offered their children as sacrifices to their gods, it was horrible what they did.

    So just like Abraham then?

  • StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return!

    @ ^ More like Jephthah actually. See :

    http://www.bricktestament.com/judges/jephthah_kills_his_virgin_daughter/jg11_39a.html

    (Scroll forward and back for the story or wiki or google search Jephthah.)

    Abraham didn’t actually kill his named son – Jephthah’s nameless daughter actually died – a few rabbinical retcons aside.

  • StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return!

    ^ @catbutler : Coulda sworn I’d cut’n’pasted your nym in there. Sorry.

  • StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return!

    @26. howardhershey

    Don’t Muslims and Christians worship the same sadistic SOB of a god? Probably use the same verses to justify genocide on each other.

    Sorta, kinda but not really. As I semi-grok it (not an expert but read and thought a bit over the years) :

    Christian God = Trinity (not the matrix character of that name) one god with three segments or something – “Jesus Christ, Father and Holy Spirit”. Christian god / doctrines has a bit more emphasis on being merciful and forgiving and loving with less stress on killing people who disagree or insult the religious. Allows for debate and argument a bit more. Especially as developed post renaissance and enlightenment.

    Muslim God = “Allah” (plagiarised Abrahmic god plus elements of pre-Islamic moon god) and really nasty with most of the more reasonable bits of Jewish and Christian thought and debate and be nicer to people ideals removed. Hasn’t yet had an enlightenment period and extremely intolerant to all criticism however reasonable and much less sense of humour.

    Judaism gave rise to Christianity which adds an extra testament onto the Torah, Islam claims to include Jesus but makes him pretty much unrecognisable and adds Arab warlord and war criminal Mohammad as the last of the prophets – Mohammad unlike Jesus was a really nasty piece of shit who openly had a hareem of “wives” incl. children and killed and stole and advocated forced conversion at scimitar point.

  • StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return!

    Short version : Muslims like to claim their God is the same one as the Jewish and Christian one but they’ve really altered their texts and ideas about God /Allah and made their version of the Abrahamic God so much nastier and less reasonable than the original one even with all its faults so, no, that claim doesn’t really hold true.

    Muslims have also incorporated a lot of pre-Islamic moon god as well hence the crescent symbol, the lunar calendar, etc ..

  • Stacy

    And the obvious solution to them allegedly killing their children was to…kill their children

    Not all of them, though. The virgin daughters were kept around.

    But all the women children, that have not known a man by lying with him, keep alive for yourselves.–Numbers 31:18

    They never, ever mention that part.

  • Stacy

    The first line of my comment at #34 should have been in blockquotes. Sorry.

  • jws1

    @30: But Abraham would’ve killed his son had he not been stopped by his god. His intention to kill remains.

    @32: Jesus believed in ” thought crimes.” That’s despot meterial .

  • Hatchetfish

    God nothing. I want to hear his excuse for palling around with Charles Taylor. Taylor exists.

  • dingojack

    Psst Canadians and Mexicans, it’s OK to murder and rape your way across America, Pat’s god said so.*

    Dingo

    ——–

    * Much, much more than a mere thousand bad people in the US, Patty-boy.

  • lorn

    Sooooo … sin is genetic?

    Mister God botherer himself offers up proof of their irreparable status and genetic perversity, …”they’re murderers, they’re thieves, they’re rapists, they’re having incest” and further … “They had sex with animals, they had incest, they did all of these terrible things and they offered their children as sacrifices to their gods, it was horrible what they did.” .

    So anyone who crosses any of those lines we … what … kill them and all their offspring?

    Grand-pappy goes nuts in his 95th year, bones a horse, and now we have to kill all his descendents? Wow … we really need to keep those old folks well supervised, lest they trigger a blood curse that will doom the family line. .

    Am I to assume the Jesus sacrifice, washed in the blood of Jesus and all sin removed, changed all this and this explains why we don’t kill descendants of murderers. One wonders why God, by definition all powerful and omniscient, waited a couple of thousand years to issue the Jesus patch for his bloody program.

  • freehand

    Daryl Carpenter: It’s jolly good luck that none of the genocidal events in the bible took place, isn’t it?

    .

    From the Encyclopedia Britannica:

    “By the end of the 13th century BC, Egypt’s domination over southern Canaan had waned, and the Hittites collapsed under the assault of enemies from the north. During the transition from the Late Bronze to the Early Iron Age—probably about 1250 BC—the Israelites entered Canaan, settling at first in the hill country and in the south. The Israelites’ infiltration was opposed by the Canaanites, who continued to hold the stronger cities of the region. In the following century, Canaan suffered further invasion at the hands of the Philistines, who appear to have come from Crete. They eventually established a coalition of five city-states on the southern coast of Canaan. Under the leadership of King David (10th century bc), the Israelites were finally able to break the Philistine power and at the same time to vanquish the native Canaanites, taking the city of Jerusalem. Thereafter Canaan became, for all practical purposes, the Land of Israel.”

    But retroactively it was necessary to make the Canaanites monsters, so people like Pat could feel self-righteously smug. I believe the bible mentioned that they worshipped the wrong gods, which was sufficient for the Israelis. Pat just makes up the charge that they had really, really, icky sex, because that works for him and his followers.

  • freehand

    Italics fail; the last paragraph is mine, of course.

  • http://festeringscabofrealityblogspot.com fifthdentist

    Seeing as how the earth was — per their myths — populated TWICE by incest, shouldn’t the man in the sky have destroyed all people shortly after Adams sons and daughters started fucking? Or if not then when Noah’s relatives started having icky incest after the whole flood deal?

    Oh, right, if HE says sister-fucking is OK, it’s OK. Except when he says it isn’t.

    It’s like the old role playing game Paranoia, where everyone must obey the computer in order to stay alive. And the computer is bugshit crazy and tends to give conflicting orders.

  • StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return!

    @36. jws1 :

    @30: But Abraham would’ve killed his son had he not been stopped by his god. His intention to kill remains.

    @32: Jesus believed in ” thought crimes.” That’s despot meterial .

    Well, yes, to the first with Abrahams intent . I’m not saying otherwise. Just pointing out Jephthah did killhis daughter and we don’t even get her name nor is that Biblical tale often told.

    For the second on Jesus and thought crimes, maybe although I think that’s taking it a bit far. but he showed mercy to those accused of actual crimes and was a merciful,compassionate and easy going type bloke by most accounts. Mohammad not-so-much.

    @ anteprepro : Wow. You talk about my comment here behind my back and when I’m unable to respond trying to organise a pharyngula dogpile there in comments #428 & #434 :

    http://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2014/01/21/thunderdome-40/comment-page-1/#comment-748796

    But you don’t have the guts to respond to me directly in person in the comments here? What a gutless contemptible person you must be.

    (Its not a “trick” to have and express an opinion on something btw)

    You think I’m wrong how about you argue your case directly starting with providing that link or source your claim shows ‘m wrong so I can look at it and judge for myself?

  • dingojack

    Stevo – RE: anteprepro.

    Responding to voices in your head, paranoid delusions,feelings of persecution –

    have you considered seeking medical advice?

    😀 Dingo

  • StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return!

    @ ^ dingojack : So an irrelevant and illogical and point missing ad hom aimed at my supposed mental health from you – and nothing from anteprepro here. Seems he can’t respond directly for whatever reasons but has to go try and whip up a gang on Pharyngula* to attack my comments here – and has seemingly failed even to do that.

    How pathetic.

    * “Feelings of persecution?” Ya read that link? Ya think I might be justified in thinking that and have reasons to feel some people from Pharyngula might actually be out to get me?

    Oh & I haven’t done anything to them except express quite calmly and reasonably my opinions backed with evidence and logic.

  • dingojack

    So Stevo why not complain to him/her directly? Crazy I know, but it might just work*.

    (What you seem to have done is:wandered into the post office and complained loudly (to no one in particular) how bad the checkout staff is in the supermarket while looking around wildly, shaking your fist a various points in the ceiling. Useless and certainly not a good look).

    Dingo

    ——

    * Or you could complain to the author of the blog, or to FtB. Include screen shots and etc. Bullying is definitely not a good look for them.