Violence in the Bible - Prof John J. Collins of Yale Divinity School
Video from Blogging Theology
"The tragic events of September 11, 2001, and the subsequent war against Muslim extremists have drawn attention again to the age-old implication of religion in war and violence. In the current conflicts, attention has mainly been focused on the religious motivation of Islamic suicide bombers and terrorists, yet, as Bruce Lincoln has pointed out in his recent book Holy Terrors, there is a surprising symmetry in the rhetoric of George W. Bush and Osama Bin Laden.
Both construe the conflict in dualistic terms as good versus evil, although their values are diametrically opposed. In fact, the religious heritage of the west is scarcely less violent than that of Islam. Religious violence is deeply embedded in the scriptures that are the wellsprings of Judaism and Christianity.
In fact, the religious heritage of the west is scarcely less violent than that of Islam. Religious violence is deeply embedded in the scriptures that are the wellsprings of Judaism and Christianity.
The Book of Exodus tells us that “the Lord is a man of war.” In the ancient world, gods were supposed to defend their people and help them in battle, and the God of Israel was no different in this respect. The most problematic part of the biblical account, however, is surely the conquest of Canaan. According to Deuteronomy, the Israelites were to destroy the people of the land utterly. “Make no covenant with them and show them no mercy.” Rather: “break down their altars, smash their pillars, hew down their sacred poles and burn their idols with fire. For you are a people holy to the Lord your God. The Lord your God has chosen you out of all the peoples of the earth.”1 The Book of Joshua describes how this commandment was carried out. Because Israel is the chosen people, it may, and is even commanded to, destroy any people that seem to obstruct its mission..." from the article: The Bible and the Legitimation of Violence