Apologetics 315 Interviews Paul Copan
by Brian Auten
BA: Hello, this is Brian Auten of Apologetics315. Today I interview Christian apologist and philosopher Paul Copan. This is my second interview with Paul, the first covered a number of different topics for apologists, but today’s interview will focus on his recent book release entitled, Is God A Moral Monster?: Making Sense of the Old Testament God. I hope to explore just a few of the many questions that Paul covers in this extremely useful book. Thanks for joining me today Paul.
PC: Glad to be with you Brian, thank you.
BA: Well, I’ve enjoyed all of the books that I’ve read of yours, but I must say that this one in particular could be one of the weightiest in its subject matter. It covers the emotionally charged issues that surround the “God of the Old Testament,” and you’re looking at the moral and the ethical questions that are raised by these various historical narratives in the Old Testament. Why don’t you, Paul, if you could, just describe briefly what your overall goal is in writing this book.
PC: My goal in writing this book is to basically, one, address the very emotion-laden charges that are leveled by the new atheists like Richard Dawkins, Daniel Dennett, Christopher Hitchens, Sam Harris. Many of them are directed toward the “Old Testament God.” These new atheists delight in talking about God as being a misogynistic, filicidal, homophobic, etc. deity, and so they say, “Well, if that’s the kind of god that the bible is talking about, well, so much the worse for the bible. We’re not going to have anything to do with that deity.” And so they really are not very clear on the arguments that they are launching actually, they are very quick to quote little
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snippets of the bible, but they have not actually looked at the broader context, and so that’s why I’m trying to address this whole issue of the new atheists and the kind of claims that they are making because they’re simply unjustified. But yet, they’re sweeping the country, in fact internationally, they’re making an impact on the scene with their best-selling books, and so what I’m trying to do is say, “Well hold on a minute, these new atheists are making a lot of charges, but they’re not substantiated.”
So, my goal is to, again, address these new atheists and the emotional arguments that they’re using, and to bring clarity to the issues, because these new atheists really are not very well informed about the issues of say, slavery or servitude in the Old Testament, or the treatment of women, about even the issue of Yahweh wars, or these wars that God commands. There’s a lot more nuance than the new atheists allow, than the new atheists proclaim, and so I’m trying to bring clarity to these issues. So, I hope that it will not only address the new atheists, but also, I think just treat more generally, the problem that many people have had over the centuries with regard to these Old Testament ethical issues, and I hope that people will see that not only does the background of the Old Testament give us great information about how to interpret the text, but also as we look more closely at the biblical text itself, we see that we have not been reading it as carefully as we should’ve…
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