Hate Mail

Jonathan Boyd

Jonathan Boyd is genuinely scary, perhaps all the more so because he hides his bigotry beneath a polite veneer. He defends the morality of Old Testament racism, slavery, and violence, with a variety of rationalizations that range from laughable to bizarre.

This exchange is fairly long, and it's similar to the Michael Miller exchange except that it completely ignores the whole evolution versus creationism issue, and concentrates entirely on the issue of Biblical morality. He starts with a variety of nitpicks, but as we go on, it will eventually become clear that he personally defines morality as God, therefore all of God's actions are morally perfect by definition. The argument is an an obvious fallacy (if you're debating over the question of whether A = B, you can't simply define A = B as an assumption), but fundamentalists don't tend to notice such things.

Before you delve into this exchange, please take the time to leaf through some or all of my reference page of Biblical passages involving war crimes and other atrocities. The debate revolves around those crimes, and it is assumed that you are already familiar with those parts of the Bible. Since he specifically attacks my articles on the Ten Commandments, Biblical treatment of women, and Biblical racism, you may also wish to read those articles.

And finally, I would like to make it clear that when I say "God" in this context (ie- arguing with a fundamentalist), I am referring to his particular concept of God, which is based on Biblical literalism. It is not necessarily the same as your concept of God, if you have one.

Page 1: The message is innocuous on the surface, but it sets the tone that will drive the rest of the exchange. He starts with an irrelevant comment about my personality, he proposes a fanciful alternate theory of the Exodus 34 inconsistency and describes my statement on it as a "very big error", he denies that the Bible is misogynist, he spouts the usual Sunday sermon descriptions about his personal beliefs (as if that should matter), and of course, he asks me to read some Christian literature.

Page 2: The hatred starts to come out. He defends Old Testament Israelite massacres of Canaanite women and children by saying that "those actions were necessary to preserve their identity as God's people". He also says that "There are times when we should hate and when violence is necessary," and he starts adding tangents which will cause the post to swell in size. Yup, he's a real humanitarian.

Page 3: He adds some comments on slavery (he refuses to admit that the Bible condones it) and the Bible's negativity towards sex (amazingly, he denies it), intended as an addendum to the previous message.

Page 4: He starts a completely unrelated tangent regarding Mother Theresa, who I had blasted in my response to Shane Harper's E-mail.

Page 5: He tacks on a couple of extra comments about slavery.

Page 6: He continues his nitpicking, and he reveals some more scary attitudes. He says that selling a thief into slavery is a legitimate "punishment for criminals", and he makes the bizarre argument that "good behaviour can further the cause of slavery" (as if there's a way to improve slavery without abolishing it).

Page 7: More of the same. This time, he explains that all the massacres in the Bible were OK because the victims were innocent babies, so they would have gone to Heaven (a truly terrifying attitude when you think about it, since it could be used to justify any atrocity), and he proudly states his faith that these massacres "happened for a just reason and for a just outcome". He then takes the truly bizarre tack of arguing that massacres of defenseless women, children, and prisoners of war are not war crimes, and he makes the bigoted statement that worship of other gods is not a victimless crime because "morality is a victim". Nice guy.

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Last updated: September 9, 2001

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