Divine Evil?: The Moral Character of the God of Abraham
Adherents of the Abrahamic religions have traditionally held that God is morally perfect and unconditionally deserving of devotion, obedience, love, and worship. The Jewish, Christian, and Islamic scriptures tell us that God is compassionate, merciful, and just. As is well-known, however, these same scriptures contain passages that portray God as wrathful, severely punitive, and jealous. Critics furthermore argue that the God of these scriptures commends bigotry, misogyny, and homophobia, condones slavery, and demands the adoption of unjust laws-for example, laws that mandate the death penalty for adultery and rebellion against parents, and laws institutionalizing in various ways the diverse kinds of bigotry and oppression just mentioned. In recent days, these sorts of criticisms of the Hebrew Bible have been raised in new and forceful ways by philosophers, scientists, social commentators, and others.
This volume brings together eleven original essays representing the views of both critics and defenders of the character of God as portrayed in these texts. Authors represent the disciplines of philosophy, religion, and Biblical studies. Each essay is accompanied by comments from another author who takes a critical approach to the thesis defended in that essay, along with replies by the essay's author.
Introduction, Michael Bergmann, Michael J. Murray, and Michael C. Rea Philosophical Perspectives I: Problems Presented 1. Does God Love Us?, Louise Antony Comments on 'Does God Love Us?', Eleonore Stump Reply to Stump, Louise Antony 2. The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, Edward Curley Comments on 'The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob', Peter van Inwagen Reply to van Inwagen, Edward Curley 3. Satanic Verses: Moral Chaos in Holy Writ, Evan Fales Comments on 'Satanic Verses: Moral Chaos in Holy Writ.', Alvin Plantinga Reply to Plantinga, Evan Fales II: Solutions Proposed 4. Animal Sacrifices, John Hare Comments on Animal Sacrifices, James Crenshaw Reply to Crenshaw, John Hare 5. God Beyond Justice, Mark C. Murphy Comments on 'God Beyond Justice', Wes Morriston Reply to Morriston, Mark C. Murphy 6. The Problem of Evil and the History of Peoples: Think Amalek, Eleonore Stump Comments on 'The Problem of Evil and the History of Peoples: Think Amalek', Paul Draper Reply to Draper, Eleonore Stump 7. What does the Old Testament Mean?, Richard Swinburne Comments on 'What does the Old Testament Mean?', Wes Morriston Reply to Morriston, Richard Swinburne 8. Reading Joshua, Nicholas Wolterstorff Comments on 'Reading Joshua', Louise Antony Reply to Antony, Nicholas Wolterstorff Theological Perspectives 9. What About the Canaanites?, Gary A. Anderson Comments on 'What About the Canaanites', Nicholas Wolterstorff Reply to Wolterstorff, Gary A. Anderson 10. Canon and Conquest: The Character of the God of the Hebrew Bible, Christopher Seitz Comments on 'Canon and Conquest: The Character of the God of the Hebrew Bible', Evan Fales Reply to Fales, Christopher Seitz Concluding Remarks 11. God's Struggles, Howard Wettstein Index