McBull to the Rescue McBull to the Rescue Farrell Till Richard Fiori, a TSR subscriber in

---
Master Index Current Directory Index Go to SkepticTank Go to Human Rights activist Keith Henson Go to Scientology cult

Skeptic Tank!

McBull to the Rescue McBull to the Rescue Farrell Till Richard Fiori, a TSR subscriber in Fresno, California, has forwarded to me an "explanation" of the Amalekite massacre that was sent to him by an America On Line (AOL) subscriber who calls himself McBull. After reading McBull's attempt to justify the Amalekite atrocity, I'm convinced that he needs to drop the "Mc" from his name. His response, entitled "Yes, a Moral God!!" is reproduced below exactly as he wrote it, with [sic] inserted where readers will think that I have surely miscopied. Yes!! This is a good one! I'll explain it to you and then you can try another one. First though, you say the killing of an Amalekite woman or child based solely on nationality is an atrocity... Funny, the Amalekites would not of [sic] thought so!! As a matter of fact, the Amalekites routinely killed there [sic] own children during sacrifice to idols. Anyway, here is the morality behind why God decided to destroy the Amalekites: 1. The Amalekites were bent on destroying the Israelites as demonstrated on there [sic] unprovoked attack upon Israel. The Amalekites were a band a [sic] guerrilla terrorists, they made a living by raiding others and taking everything they owned, including there [sic] lives. They killed for pleasure. 2. The Amalekites were given plenty to [sic] time to repent from their utter rejection of God, and their sin against His people, but they refused. They continued to be involved in insest [sic], molestation, homosexuality, bestiality, child sacrifice, murder, etc... "A moral atrocity by any civilized standard of morality", wouldn't you agree, Ingersol [Fiori's AOL name]..... The Amalekites made their own choices, by their own free will. God simply held them accountable for their actions. 3. The entire Amalekite population had to be destroyed due to the gravity of there [sic] sins, and so that any remnants could not continue their acts of violence against the nation of Israel. Otherwise, we would have had a situation similar to what now takes place with today's gangs on our streets. You kill one of ours, we kill two of yours. And so on... 4. While murder is a direct violation of the sixth commandment, not all forms of killing represents [sic] murder. To kill someone in self-defense or to execute someone for a capitol [sic] offense is totally justifiable. The fact is, justice demands that war criminals such as Nazis be put to death. As Walter Kaiser once put it, war is "Gods [sic] ultimate, but reluctant, method of treating evil that resists every other patient and loving rebuke of God." God used Israel to bring judgement upon the Amalekites. 4 [sic]. All children who die before the age of accountability are saved (see 2 Sam. 12.23) So, the act by which God took the lives of children, is far from merciless. And my final point: Since God is the author of life, it is entirely His decision as when to give life, as well as when to take it away. The fact that you and I have our lives, is a blessing. NOT A RIGHT... Everyone will eventually be taken by God in death - its [sic] only a matter of when.... I look forward to your reply. We can debate this further or you can try another situation or verse. Readers who have followed my exchanges with Lindell Mitchell on this subject probably noticed the striking similarity in Mitchell's and McBull's defenses of the Amalekite atrocity. Since McBull is not a subscriber to The Skeptical Review, he has probably not seen Mitchell's articles. The fact that two people working independently of each other would write such similar articles merely shows that stock answers to Bible problems have been widely circulated among Christian fundamentalists. Let's notice, one by one, the absurdity of McBull's "canned" responses. Their unprovoked attack on the Israelites demonstrates that the Amalekites were bent on destroying Israel. This argument was soundly refuted in my last response to Mitchell (Summer 1994). As I pointed out, a horde of about 3 million Israelites (if we are to believe the census count in the book of Numbers) entered Amalekite territory during their trek to the promised land (p. 4). The Israelite army alone numbered 600,000 ([ref001]Ex. 12:37 ; [ref002]Num. 1:45-46 ). How, then, can any reasonable person call the Amalekite action against the Is-raelites an "unprovoked attack"? I asked this question of Mitchell, but he chose to declare victory and drop out of the discussion. Perhaps McBull will favor us with an answer. Bibliolaters try to make a big deal out of the biblical claim that the Amalekites attacked Israel from the rear ([ref003]Dt. 25:17-19 ). The fact that the Bible says that the Amalekites attacked in this manner doesn't prove that it actually happened this way, but for the sake of argument, let's assume that it did. A possible explanation for this strategy could well be that the Amalekites did not have a large enough army to confront 600,000 armed Israelite soldiers in conventional battle. Guerrilla tactics are quite common in situations where the defenders of their national territory have been invaded by numerically superior forces. To say the least, McBull and his fundamentalist cohorts are stretching reality to call such a situation an "unprovoked attack." Besides, McBull's point completely ignores the fact that this attack on Israel happened 450 years before Yahweh allegedly ordered Saul to utterly destroy the Amalekites of his generation, so McBull must show us the justice of massacring an entire nation for something that their distant ancestors did. Mitchell couldn't, and I doubt if McBull can. McBull characterized the Amalekites [presumably the Amalekites of Saul's time] as "a band of guerrilla terrorists," who (1) "made a living by raiding others," (2) "taking everything they [others] owned, including there [sic] lives," and (3) "kill[ing] for pleasure." In this statement, McBull has made some assertions that he has a responsibility to prove. I know, for example, of only one biblical passage ([ref004]1 Sam. 30:1-20 ) that refers to a raid that was made by the Amalekites who were contemporary to Saul, and this was done right after David had raided Amalekite villages and "saved neither man nor woman alive" ([ref005]1 Sam. 27:8-11 ). In probable retaliation, the Amalekites then raided David's camp and took the women and children captive. All of this happened during the conflict between David and Saul, when David and a band of loyal followers had taken refuge in the country of the Philistines ([ref006]1 Sam. 27:1-7 ). David and his men survived by making guerrilla raids against the Geshurites, Girzites, and Amalekites. If, then, Guerrilla terrorism was such a horrible sin and making a living by "raiding others and taking everything they owned, including there [sic] lives" was sufficient reason for God to order the massacre of the terrorists, then God should have had David killed. But he didn't. He considered him a "man after Yahweh's own heart" ([ref007]1 Sam. 13:14 ; [ref008]Acts 13:14 ) and made him king over Israel. We have to wonder, then, about the soundness of McBull's argument on this point. An argument that leaves such inconsistencies in its wake isn't much of an argument. As for McBull's claim that the Amalekites made their living by raiding others, taking everything they owned, and killing for pleasure, I must insist that he provide us with proof of these assertions. As we noted about Mitchell's arguments, asserting is easy; proving isn't quite so easy. Where, then, is McBull's biblical or extrabiblical proof that the Amalekites of Saul's time were the despicable, amoral terrorists that McBull claims they were? I predict that he will have about as much success as Mitchell did in proving this assertion. The Amalekites were given plenty of time to repent, but they refused and continued to be involved in insest [sic], molestation, homosexuality, bestiality, child sacrifice, murder, etc. All I need do here is challenge McBull to cite one-- just one--biblical passage that claims the Amalekites of Saul's generation were involved in any of these immoralities. No such passages exist. For example, the only biblical cases of incest that I can recall are the stories of Lot's impregnation of his daughters ([ref009]Gen. 19:30-38 ) and the man in the Corinthian congregation who had taken his "father's wife" ([ref010]1 Cor. 5:1 ). Incest is, of course, legislated against in the Bible, but there is absolutely nothing recorded that even suggests that the Amalekites were an incestuous people. The same is true of McBull's other allegations regarding Amalekite practices of molestation, homosexuality, and bestiality. In all likelihood, McBull is just an amateur apologist who is simply parroting something that he has heard overzealous preachers proclaim from the pulpit, so I will give him a bit of friendly advice. Before he uses pulpit information to defend the Bible, he should check it out. He will very likely find it to be erroneous or at least overstated. Prior to introducing his points, McBull said that the Amalekites would not have considered the killing of children solely for reasons of nationality an atrocity, because the "Amalekites routinely killed there [sic] own children during sacrifice to idols." Again, however, I must demand his proof. Where does the Bible say that the Amalekites practiced human sacrifice? If he doesn't have biblical proof, perhaps he knows of some extrabiblical proof. If so, we would be interested in seeing it. Personally, I would not be at all surprised if the Amalekites did indeed practice human sacrifice, because it was a common custom in the area at that time. The Bible makes frequent references to it, and archaeologists have discovered evidence of the practice. All I'm saying is that I want to see McBull's proof of his assertion that the Amalekites "routinely" sacrificed their children to idols and so this was just one of many moral reasons why God ordered Saul to exterminate them. After all the asserting by McBull, Mitchell, et al, one stubborn fact still remains: the only reason given for the orders to massacre the Amalekites was the attack on Israel made by their ancestors 450 years earlier. "Thus saith Yahweh of hosts, I remember that which Amalek did to Israel, how he laid wait for him in the way when he came up from Egypt. Now go and smite Amalek and utterly destroy all that they have and spare them not; but slay both man and woman, infant and suckling, ox and sheep, camel and ass" ([ref011]1 Sam. 15:2-3 ). Even if McBull could prove extrabiblically that the Amalekites did practice human sacrifice, I would have to ask him, "So what?" The Israelites did too. In condemning the rebelliousness of Israel, [ref012]Psalm 106:37-38 says, "Yea, they sacrificed their sons and their daughters unto demons, and shed innocent blood, even the blood of their sons and their daughters whom they sacrificed unto the idols of Canaan; and the land was polluted with blood." [ref013]Second Kings 17:17 ; [ref014]21:6 ; [ref015]Jeremiah 7:31 ; [ref016]32:35 ; [ref017]Ezekiel 16:20-21 ; and [ref018]23:37-39 all make references to the Israelite practice of sacrificing children to idols. So if the Amalekites did indeed practice human sacrifices, why did Yahweh choose to exterminate them by another nation that sacrificed children to idols? Perhaps McBull can tell us. The entire Amalekite population had to be destroyed due to the gravity of there [sic] sins and so that any remnants could not continue their acts of violence against the nation of Israel . Why, if this hadn't been done, McBull tells us, "we would have had a situation similar to what now takes place with today's gangs on our streets. You kill one of ours, we kill two of yours, and so on...." And so what happened? Yahweh sent Saul to utterly destroy the Amalekites, and after he did, we somehow have David's guerrilla band raiding the Amalekites who had already been utterly destroyed by Saul ([ref019]1 Sam. 27:8 ). Even though David "saved neither man nor woman alive" on this raid ([ref020]v:11 ), these twice utterly destroyed Amalekites managed to regroup and raid David's camp (as previously noted). It would seem, then, that even though the Amalekite population had to be destroyed "so that there would be no remnants left to continue their acts of violence against the nation of Israel,"some remnants of an utterly destroyed people did manage to do the very thing that McBull assures us that Yahweh exterminated them to keep them from doing. How can anyone believe such ridiculous nonsense that bibliolaters fabricate to defend an indefensible book! While murder is a direct violation of the sixth commandment, not all forms of killing represents [sic] murder. I won't argue that there is no such thing as justifiable killing; however, I will argue that it is not justifiable to kill children and babies for something that their ancestors had done 450 years ago. This point has already been addressed in my other articles on this subject, so there is no need to rehash it again. What we do need is for someone who accepts the inerrantist position to offer a satisfactory explanation of the problem. The best that Mitchell could do was parrot the old fundamentalist line about the children having been done a big favor, because they died in a state of innocence and would, therefore, go to heaven instead of growing up to be "vicious beasts" like their parents. Now McBull gives us a variation of the same theme. All children who die before the age of accountability are saved (see [ref021]2 Sam. 12.23 ), so the act by which God took the lives of children is far from merciless. Yeah, right, and if McBull has any children of his own, I'm sure he would consider it a favor if someone murdered them before they reach "the age of accountability." That, however, isn't the biggest problem with McBull's final point. Who is to know whether there really is a heaven or even an afterlife of any kind? There is certainly no tangible, scientific evidence to prove that one's spirit survives physical death and lives on in another life. It is a claim that requires proof, so Mitchell, McBull, and anyone else who offers this as a defense of child killing is shamelessly begging the question. Let's see Mitchell's and McBull's evidence of an eternally blissful existence in heaven for those who die in a state of innocence (before what McBull calls "the age of accountability"), and then we can evaluate the strength of their claim that God did the Amalekite children a big favor by having them killed. McBull said to Fiori that they could "debate this [the Amalekite massacre] further" or "try another situation or verse." He may do as he likes, of course, but I strongly suggest that he "try another situation or verse," because he didn't fare too well on this one. [ref001] http://www.calvin.edu/cgi-bin/bible?Exodus+12:37 [ref002] http://www.calvin.edu/cgi-bin/bible?Numbers+1:45-46 [ref003] http://www.calvin.edu/cgi-bin/bible?Dueteronomy+25:17-19 [ref004] http://www.calvin.edu/cgi-bin/bible?I+Samuel+30:1-20 [ref005] http://www.calvin.edu/cgi-bin/bible?I+Samuel+27:8-11 [ref006] http://www.calvin.edu/cgi-bin/bible?I+Samuel+27:1-7 [ref007] http://www.calvin.edu/cgi-bin/bible?I+Samuel+13:14 [ref008] http://www.calvin.edu/cgi-bin/bible?Acts+13:14 [ref009] http://www.calvin.edu/cgi-bin/bible?Genesis+19:30-38 [ref010] http://www.calvin.edu/cgi-bin/bible?I+Corinthians+5:1 [ref011] http://www.calvin.edu/cgi-bin/bible?I+Samuel+15:2-3 [ref012] http://www.calvin.edu/cgi-bin/bible?Psalm+106:37-38 [ref013] http://www.calvin.edu/cgi-bin/bible?II+Kings+17:17 [ref014] http://www.calvin.edu/cgi-bin/bible?II+Kings+21:6 [ref015] http://www.calvin.edu/cgi-bin/bible?Jeremiah+7:31 [ref016] http://www.calvin.edu/cgi-bin/bible?Jeremiah+32:35 [ref017] http://www.calvin.edu/cgi-bin/bible?Ezekiel+16:20-21 [ref018] http://www.calvin.edu/cgi-bin/bible?Ezekiel+23:37-39 [ref019] http://www.calvin.edu/cgi-bin/bible?I+Samuel+27:8 [ref020] http://www.calvin.edu/cgi-bin/bible?I+Samuel+27:11 [ref021] http://www.calvin.edu/cgi-bin/bible?II+Samuel+12:23

---

E-Mail Fredric L. Rice / The Skeptic Tank