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It seems that Richard Dawkins has had to stoop to feigning fake moral hand-wringing in order to avoid debating arch-apologist William Lane Craig. While I would surmize that the main reasons that he is avoiding such a debate is because, as Dr. David Berlinski has http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CqRP8xyzIWo">described, that Dawkins is a 'crummy philosopher' who 'lacks the rudimentary skills to meticulously assess his own arguments' would publicly be laid bare publicaly in a most embarrassing manner and also that debating WLC http://www.uncommondescent.com/intelligent-design/why-dawkins-won%e2%80%99t-debate-craig-look-what-happened-to-atkins-and-harris/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+uncommondescent%2FJCWn+%28Uncommon+Descent%29">did not work out very well for the likes of Dr. Peter Adkins and Sam Harris.
However the fact that Dr. Dawkins has raised a poorly constructed argument to rationalize adopting the Run-and-Hide Method of Argumentation in this instance by claiming God condones 'Genocide' is monumentally stupid, even by his own lofty standards. In specific, Dawkins claims to have a problem with the instructions found in http://niv.scripturetext.com/deuteronomy/20.htm">Deuteronomy 20:13-15.
"When the Lord your God delivers it into your hand, put to the sword all the men in it. As for the women, the children, the livestock and everything else in the city, you may take these as plunder for yourselves. And you may use the plunder the Lord your God gives you from your enemies. This is how you are to treat all the cities that are at a distance from you and do not belong to the nations nearby. " (NIV translation)
As Brother Gregg mentioned in his response, we should start from the beginning. If were to read just slightly ahead in this chapter of scripture, you would see in verse 18 that if the Israelites do not attack these peoples, then "they will teach you to follow all the detestable things they do in worshiping their gods". Since the Book of Leviticus chronicles the horrific religious practices of these people ranging from all manner of sexual depravity to the human sacrifice of young children, one can see why the people of the Ancient Near East would be much better off not absorbing their practices. There is indication that such practices were starting to seep into other cultures and this did not bode well at all for the region.
One thing I would like you to consider is the very distinct option (that I heard raised by http://www.amazon.com/Beginning-Again-D-James-Kennedy/dp/B000SZY19S/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1319418145&sr=1-1">Dr. Norman Wise at a lecture recently) that a society can become so completely and utterly depraved that it can reach a point where there is no turning back.
A point in which there is no societal cure.
Nor a remedy of any kind.
Their morally reprehensible attitudes and perversions can be so thoroughly ingrained from top to bottom of a society that change is not possible and the most likely outcome would then be for their attitudes to start affecting surrounding cultures. Therapy did not exist at the time and I doubt they would have listened anyway.
Additionally, God waited for many years for these peoples to renounce their ways before extolling judgement upon them. They had every opportunity to change, and yet they refused, or as this writer http://www.theology.edu/canaan.htm">describes for us...
"Thus Canaan had, as it were, a final forty-year countdown as they heard of the events in Egypt, at the crossing of the Reed Sea, and what happened to the kings who opposed Israel along the way. We know that they were aware of such events, for Rahab confessed that these same events had terrorized her city of Jericho and that she, as a result, had placed her faith in the God of the Hebrews (Josh. 2:10-14). Thus God waited for the "cup of iniquity" to fill up -- and fill up it did without any change in spite of the marvelous signs given so that the nations, along with Pharaoh and the Egyptians, "might know that he was the Lord."
I can only guess as to why Dawkins concentrates on this particular passage from Deuteronomy when, if he wanted to wail about the destruction of certain peoples, then the judgement that befell certain 'cities of the plain' would seem much more likely a candidate for criticism as entire towns were made to disappear from the face of the earth through natural disasters. However, to use an example that utilized fire and brimstone to achieve it's ends would deprive Dr Dawkins of all of the lurid and vivid imagery that the word Genocide conjures up in the mind, complete with internment camps of poor souls, wasting away and awaiting The Big Dirt Nap while the outer perimeter is patrolled by whatever equivalent the Ancient Near East had to Shutzstaffel guards. Fire and brimstone just don't cut it in this sense and would not be nearly as useful to Dr. Dawkins in committing his pet http://www.conservapedia.com/Appeal_to_emotion">appeal to emotion fallacy.
We know that when fallible man was put in charge of carrying out God's judgement rather than a natural disaster that these people http://www.studylight.org/com/acc/view.cgi?book=de&chapter=020">were not wiped out.
"That many of the Canaanites continued in the land even to the days of Solomon, we have the fullest proof; for we read, 2 Chronicle 8:7 "All the people of the land that were left of the Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites, and Jebusites, who were left in the land, whom the children of Israel consumed not, them did Solomon make to pay tribute to this day." Thus Solomon destroyed their political existence, but did not consider himself bound by the law of God to put them to death."
Dr Dawkins, I would encourage you to examine God's written word with something other than a mind that is completely closed and through the clouded lense of poor, militant, evangelical atheist apologetics and that you embrace the faith of your youth. He is waiting for you now and would like to see all come to repentance...
"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30