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More on Deuteronomy

Reader comment on item: Why I Stand with Geert Wilders
in response to reader comment: Oh, that dangerous book of Deuteronomy

Submitted by Peter Herz (United States), Feb 1, 2010 at 09:06

Read the Five Books of Moses carefully and in context. Yes, there are frightful bans pronounced against the Seven Nations of Canaan, but these are relevant only to the Israelite conquest of the land. Moses is also full of warnings that if Israel violates the covenant made with God, Israel will also be banished from the land. Read the rest of the Old Testament, and you see how the Israelites did not heed those warnings, nor did they heed those of the prophets. The result was the Babylonian captivity.

Deuteronomy does not glorify the killing of the Canaanites as the permanent posture and goal of those who accept its message. It presents it as a dire warning of what happens to a people who give themselves over to a host of evil practices and beliefs. It is also a warning that the sins of a people can be so full that God must choose some instrument to destroy that people. it's a terrible thing to consider, but, as Solomon said in the Proverbs, "the fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom".

Never forget that for Christians, Deuteronomy is bound up with the rest of the Old Testament and the New Testament as "The Bible". Its violent ban on the Canaanites was one stage on the journey of redemption.Now, I cannot speak for either Rabbinic Jews or Samaritans--the other religions besides Christianity which read Deuteronomy as Scripture--but Christianity has, as its last marching order from the Almighty, Jesus' command to make disciples, not corpses. And, this is also explained by wielding the spiritual weapons of prayer and the Gospel.

Now, I am not saying that the ban against the Canaanites represents an "inferior" or less-developed form of true religion. As a Christian, I accept these scary passages wholeheartedly as lessons which God wants us to know and take to heart. But the lesson isn't to exult in bloodshed, but to tremble at the just judgments of the Almighty and know that his covenant cannot be scorned with impunity.

Now, can the good Syed tell us where Allah has removed violent jihad as a preferred means for the propagation of Islam? Would the good Syed tell us how he would answer those who point to the jihad passages of the Qu'ran to justify the mass murder of Kufr, Ahl-al-Kitab, or Shi'ites?

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