1. Donationrwingett
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    09 May '07 05:44
    In 1966 George Tamarin conducted the following study. He presented more than a thousand Israeli schoolchildren, aged between eight and fourteen, with the account of the battle of Jericho from the Book of Joshua:

    Joshua 6:16 through 6:24
    Joshua said to the people, "Shout; for the LORD has given you the city. And the city and all that is within it shall be devoted to the LORD for destruction . . . But all silver and gold, and vessels of bronze and iron, are sacred to the LORD; they shall go into the treasury of the LORD." . . . Then they utterly destroyed all in the city, both men and women, young and old, oxen, sheep, and asses, with the edge of the sword . . . And they burned the city with fire, and all within it; only the silver and gold, and the vessels of bronze and of iron, they put into the treasury of the house of the LORD.

    Tamarin then asked the children a simple moral question: Do you think Joshua and the Israelites acted rightly or not? They had to choose between:

    A (total approval)
    B (partial approval)
    C (total disapproval)

    66% answered A, 26% answered C, and only 8% answered B. Of the people who answered 'A', they gave explanations of which the three below are typical:

    "In my opinion Joshua and the Sons of Israel acted well, and here are the reasons: God promised them this land, and gave them permission to conquer. If they would not have acted in this manner or killed anyone, then there would be the danger that the Sons of Isreal would have assimilated among the Goyim."

    "In my opinion Joshua was right when he did it, one reason being that God commanded him to exterminate the people so that the tribes of Israel will not be able to assimilate amongst them and learn their bad ways."

    "Joshua did good becasue the people who inhabited the land were of a different religion, and when Joshua killed them he wiped their religion from the earth."

    The justification for the genocidal massacre by Joshua is religious in almost every case.

    Tamarin also ran a control group for the study. He took a different group of Israeli schoolchildren and gave them the same text from the Book of Joshua, but with Joshua's name replaced by 'General Lin', and Israel replaced by 'a Chinese kingdom 3,000 years ago.' Now the experiment gave the opposite results. Only 7% approve of General Lin's behavior, and 75% disapproved. In other words, when their loyalty to Judaism was removed from the calculation, the majority of children agreed with the moral judgements that most people would share, that Joshua's action was a deed of barbaric genocide.

    So we see clearly, in this case, that instead of providing a superior moral code for people to aspire to, religion is instead used as a justification for any barbarity up to and including genocide. When their religion is removed from the equation, they find genocide to be bad. When their religion is included, they can overlook almost any barbarity committed in its name. And you see that borne out in this very forum. Christians have no problem condemning genocide committed by Hitler, or Stalin, but it astounds me how far they will bend over backwards to try to justify all the genocide in the bible.
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    09 May '07 05:53
    Originally posted by rwingett
    In 1966 George Tamarin conducted the following study. He presented more than a thousand Israeli schoolchildren, aged between eight and fourteen, with the account of the battle of Jericho from the Book of Joshua:

    Joshua 6:16 through 6:24
    Joshua said to the people, "Shout; for the LORD has given you the city. And the city and all that is within it shall ...[text shortened]... they will bend over backwards to try to justify all the genocide in the bible.
    This is an excellent post, in my opinion. If only the religious people will admit it...
  3. Standard memberBosse de Nage
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    09 May '07 06:57
    Originally posted by rwingett
    So we see clearly, in this case, that instead of providing a superior moral code for people to aspire to, religion is instead used as a justification for any barbarity up to and including genocide. When their religion is removed from the equation, they find genocide to be bad. When their religion is included, they can overlook almost any barbarity committed ...[text shortened]... tounds me how far they will bend over backwards to try to justify all the genocide in the bible.
    Incredible--but how do you square that with the St. Francis types who say that killing is bad?

    I'd like to know what they teach children in Israeli schools...
  4. Standard memberSwissGambit
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    09 May '07 06:581 edit
    Originally posted by rwingett
    In 1966 George Tamarin conducted the following study. He presented more than a thousand Israeli schoolchildren, aged between eight and fourteen, with the account of the battle of Jericho from the Book of Joshua:

    Joshua 6:16 through 6:24
    Joshua said to the people, "Shout; for the LORD has given you the city. And the city and all that is within it shall they will bend over backwards to try to justify all the genocide in the bible.
    This study illustrates a broader problem: blind loyalty to authority.

    When I was a child, I would have fallen squarely into group A), not because I valued the Christian faith in and of itself, but because all the people around me (church leaders, teachers, parents) all believed it and expected me to do the same. Most children simply can't make the large break with authority required to condemn Joshua's actions.
  5. Standard memberBosse de Nage
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    09 May '07 07:00
    Originally posted by SwissGambit
    This study illustrates a broader problem, namely, blind loyalty to authority.

    When I was a child, I would have fallen squarely into group A), not because I valued the Christian faith in and of itself, but because all the people around me (church leaders, teachers, parents) all believed it and expected me to do the same. Most children simply can't make the large break with authority required to condemn Joshua's actions.
    Much like Abraham couldn't make the break with authority not to murder his son just because he was told to.
  6. Standard memberSwissGambit
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    09 May '07 07:03
    Originally posted by Bosse de Nage
    Much like Abraham couldn't make the break with authority not to murder his son just because he was told to.
    Right - although I'm not sure what excuse the adults have.
  7. Standard memberChronicLeaky
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    09 May '07 07:54
    Originally posted by rwingett
    In 1966 George Tamarin conducted the following study. He presented more than a thousand Israeli schoolchildren, aged between eight and fourteen, with the account of the battle of Jericho from the Book of Joshua:

    Joshua 6:16 through 6:24
    Joshua said to the people, "Shout; for the LORD has given you the city. And the city and all that is within it shall ...[text shortened]... they will bend over backwards to try to justify all the genocide in the bible.
    Non-sub rec. At risk of employing the Ivanhoe Method of contributing to debates threads:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/F-scale
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    09 May '07 11:04
    Originally posted by rwingett
    So we see clearly, in this case, that instead of providing a superior moral code for people to aspire to, religion is instead used as a justification for any barbarity up to and including genocide. When their religion is removed from the equation, they find genocide to be bad. When their religion is included, they can overlook almost any barbarity committed ...[text shortened]... tounds me how far they will bend over backwards to try to justify all the genocide in the bible.
    You ignore the possibility that genocide is not in and of itself inherently wrong but only because God says it is. Thus when God chooses otherwise it is no longer wrong. This means that theists would be correct in justifying any barbarity committed in the name of their own religion and condemning any other. However they then proceed to expect those of differing beliefs to accept their moral values betraying the fact that they do think that morals are somehow more absolute than Gods commands.
  9. Donationrwingett
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    09 May '07 13:28
    Originally posted by twhitehead
    You ignore the possibility that genocide is not in and of itself inherently wrong but only because God says it is. Thus when God chooses otherwise it is no longer wrong. This means that theists would be correct in justifying any barbarity committed in the name of their own religion and condemning any other. However they then proceed to expect those of dif ...[text shortened]... betraying the fact that they do think that morals are somehow more absolute than Gods commands.
    This only underscores my point. You are bending over backwards to justify biblical genocide. You can't bring yourself to say that genocide is wrong in every case.
  10. Subscribersonhouse
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    09 May '07 16:00
    Originally posted by SwissGambit
    Right - although I'm not sure what excuse the adults have.
    Their excuse is they LIKE to kill.
  11. Subscribersonhouse
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    09 May '07 16:02
    Originally posted by rwingett
    In 1966 George Tamarin conducted the following study. He presented more than a thousand Israeli schoolchildren, aged between eight and fourteen, with the account of the battle of Jericho from the Book of Joshua:

    Joshua 6:16 through 6:24
    Joshua said to the people, "Shout; for the LORD has given you the city. And the city and all that is within it shall ...[text shortened]... they will bend over backwards to try to justify all the genocide in the bible.
    Did General Lin say exactly that, The LORD said to do XYandZ?
    If so, wouldn't that require the children to take a leap of logic that there was some kind of monotheism in ancient china?
  12. Standard memberSwissGambit
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    09 May '07 17:06
    Originally posted by sonhouse
    Their excuse is they LIKE to kill.
    Better not say that one out loud.
  13. Donationrwingett
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    09 May '07 17:12
    Originally posted by sonhouse
    Did General Lin say exactly that, The LORD said to do XYandZ?
    If so, wouldn't that require the children to take a leap of logic that there was some kind of monotheism in ancient china?
    I don't know. My account of the study is taken largely from "The God Delusion" by Richard Dawkins, pgs. 255 to 258. It only says that 'Joshua' was replaced by 'General Lin' and 'Israel' was replaced by 'a Chinese kingdom 3,000 years ago.' I would presume that nothing else was changed. Nothing else I have read on the study gives any indication that any other wording was changed either.
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    09 May '07 17:51
    Originally posted by rwingett

    Joshua 6:16 through 6:24
    Joshua said to the people, "Shout; for the LORD has given you the city. And the city and all that is within it shall be devoted to the LORD for destruction . . . But all silver and gold, and vessels of bronze and iron, are sacred to the LORD; they shall go into the treasury of the LORD." . . . Then they utterly destroyed all in t ...[text shortened]... and the vessels of bronze and of iron, they put into the treasury of the house of the LORD.
    Kill, Kill, Kill but save the silverware!
    God is oh so human. 🙂
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    09 May '07 17:55
    Originally posted by Regicidal
    Kill, Kill, Kill but save the silverware!
    God is oh so human. 🙂
    "And man created God in his own image, in the image of man he created Him."
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