This essay is a sequel to “Crematoria for the Canaanites?”
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Perhaps you’ve heard this scenario posed by a Christian apologist. “Imagine that you encounter a group of rough looking men in a dark alley. Would you be nervous?”
The answer, of course, is yes. To make it even more unsettling, give ’em tattoos and nose rings. Now you’re really scared.
Next, we tweak the thought experiment. Imagine that these men are Christians who have just come from a Bible study. Does this change your perspective?
The answer, of course, is yes. Because Christians are nice and peace loving. And this is supposed to count in Christianity’s favor.
But let’s tweak this thought experiment a bit and run the numbers again. On our revised scenario you’re a Tutsi and the other fellows are Hutu Christians. And the Hutus have just come from a Bible study on Joshua. They’ve read how the Lord hardened the hearts of the Canaanites for slaughter and how the Canaanites were a dangerous infection that had to be wiped from the land. Suddenly one of them squints into the darkness. “Brothers,” he says to his friends as he peers at your shadowy figure, “isn’t that fellow the Tutsi that works down the street?”
How relaxed would you be now?
Okay, let’s shift things around one more time. In this case the ten men are graduate students, atheists and pacifists the lot of them, returning from a lively discussion at the monthly skeptic society meeting on the anti-war stance of atheist philosopher Bertrand Russell.
Now which group would you rather meet?