One particular set of questions and answers stunned me. In examining the genocidal destruction of a neighboring tribe by the Israelites, the straw man questioner asks: "What about the children --Why did they in their innocence have to die?"
Here is the “Rational Christian’s” explanation: “Why were the children killed, if they weren't guilty? Apparently, they were considered as morally neutral, since they weren't yet old enough to be held accountable or to have done much right or wrong. While not as corrupt as their parents, they were part of the society that was judged, and shared its earthly (though not its eternal) fate.” “… when a person or a society committed massive evil, that evil was punished by the destruction of the entire family or city; in such cases, only those who had actively demonstrated their integrity could be saved … “
So in a nut shell, the children were too young to be guilty or corrupt in the eyes of God. But, they were unlucky enough to have been born to parents and into a culture that offended God so he killed them all. But not to worry, the dead kids get to go to a fun afterlife versus their parents who will be punished even after death. So it’s all good.
This isn’t the worst of it. The next question was: “Couldn't the children have died painlessly -- In fact couldn’t God have just taken them up to heaven and spared them from physical death?"
The “Rational Christian” answers: “Since the children lived in a world affected by sin, they faced its earthly consequences … only a few righteous people were translated into heaven, namely Enoch and Elijah. As noted above, since the children had not shown themselves to be righteous, they were not spared the common fate of death.”
“It's worth noting that being killed with a sword (perhaps beheaded) was at the time one of the quickest ways for the children to die as opposed to suffocation/strangulation, starvation, disease or being torn apart by wild animals…”
But not to worry, it’s all good!! Chopping the head off of a baby after all was one of the quickest ways to kill it. Well, that and smashing its head against a stone wall. No muss, no fuss. I mean, isn’t it obvious how merciful God was? Heck, he could have sent bears to tear them apart and didn’t. (God has done that to children before, but only once and only 42 of them.)
Note the business like matter of fact replies. Note the absence of anything approaching horror, sadness, or wonderment at such callous inhuman treatment by a supposedly merciful loving god. Instead, we get a dispassionate justification for mass infanticide; a strident defense of an indefensible act that would disgust and horrify any normal, thinking, moral human being.
When Herod kills Jewish children it’s called “The Slaughter of the Innocents.” When their God kills pagan children it’s fully understandable and righteous. Obscene.
I can’t help but wonder if people like this actually believe their apologetics. Maybe they are just compelled to defend the faith no matter how grotesque and horrific it may be. That, or I underestimated the ability of the religious to delude themselves. I’m glad I lack that mental infirmity.