Friedrich Nietzsche once claimed that God was dead. He did not mean that in the literal sense, but many took it to task to prove that the idea of God had indeed died. Just a short time ago, the popular culture was awash in the fervor of the new atheist movement. There were several figures at the head of this charge who were dubbed the four horsemen of the apocalypse. Christopher Hitchens led the advance until he lost his battle with cancer.
With the ringmaster gone, the number of debates and books have begun to dwindle. Their charge against God has slowed to a crawl. The only man left with any kind of real influence on a popular level is Sam Harris. He wrote a book in which he attempted to show that objective morality was possible without God. It was widely panned by scholars for simply redefining terms in order to make his case. Sure, there are plenty of atheist, and the number may be growing, but it is not because of the evidence.
There is no doubt that the Internet has fed minds hungry for disbelief enough argumentation to justify their rejection of God. The new atheists are experts in misinformation and crafty rhetoric that appeals much more to the emotions than it does to the mind. Let me give you an example to prove my point.
In a recent conversation I had with Seth Andrews, one of the top atheist podcasters, a subject was brought up that is a common objection. His claim was that God had been in favor of human sacrifice. Not only was God in favor of it but had at one point demanded it.
The story he referred to is found in Judges Chapter 11. Jephthah makes a vow to God that if God would help him win his battle then he would offer up whatever comes out from the door of his house when he returned home. Unfortunately, it’s his daughter who comes to greet him and he sacrifices her to God. According to Seth this is God accepting and taking pleasure in human sacrifice. If this was true then God might not be the loving God we claim him to be.
One only has to open to that chapter and read the story to know that Seth and other atheist, like Richard Dawkins, who use this argument are severely mistaken. First, we know the Bible says we should never make vows like this to God. His vow was sinful. Secondly, God never does ask for him to follow through with his vow, and Jephthah doesn’t follow through with it either.
If you read the rest of the chapter, he instead gives his daughter over to temple service. She does not mourn for her life but instead she mourns for her virginity (vs 38) because she would be married to her temple work and not a husband. Her father gave her to godly service instead of the burnt offering he promised. God doesn’t ask him to do this either. So God never asks Jephthah to make a human sacrifice nor doers he accept one. This isn’t hard to decipher. It’s clearly in the text, and no Hebrew or scholarly article is needed to decipher this.
If this misinformation about God wanting human sacrifice is so easily disproven then why do those who claim to be experts on the subject use it? The reason is because Atheism is dead. These types of claims are nothing more than the re-reading of an obituary.
Even when confronted about this misinformation, it seems as though this line of argumentation continues to be popular. Many atheist claim to be only concerned with truth, yet they are easily satisfied with misleading arguments and emotional rhetoric. You can sell a lot of books if you claim to disprove God, but dressing up a corpse doesn’t stop the smell.