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Evangelising the New Atheists with the Old Testament: Preaching the Canaanite 'Genocide'


The “New Atheists” speak as though portions of the Bible were smoking guns, as obviously evil as revelations of abuse from priests. They assume that Christians will blush and either apologise for these passages, or explain them away. In fact, the gospel calls the New Atheists not only to repent of sins in general, but to repent specifically of their claim to be moral judges standing over the Bible. We will look at the command to destroy the Canaanites in the Old Testament within its biblical context and show that it is integral to God’s nature as life-giving and life-protecting. In fact, we will further show that it is only when we listen to what the OT teaches (including these commands) that we can call genocide evil. By contrast, atheists (new or otherwise) have no solid grounds for critiquing the violence which filled the 20th century.