Thom Stark: "Is God a Moral Compromiser? A Critical Review of Paul Copan’s “Is God a Moral Monster?”

Remember when William Lane Craig held up Paul Copan's book, Is God a Moral Monster?, during his debate with Sam Harris? Remember?

Now take a good hard look through Stark's review of it. Any questions?

Books like Copan’s will only take Christianity ten steps back-wards. In the name of inerrancy, the truth is trampled. Contemporary popular apologists tend to look for any way to salvage the text, no matter how unlikely or untenable the argument. They’ll use scholarly sources selectively, or pounce on one scholar’s argument and run away with it, without any concern for the fact the vast majority of scholars haven’t been persuaded by it. They’re not interested in what’s plausible, only in what’s “possible,” if it serves their immediate purposes. They trade in eisegesis, wild speculation, and fanciful interpretations, reading into the text what isn’t there, indeed, what’s often contradicted by the very passages they cite—something Copan himself does not infrequently, as we’ll see.

The question is whether or not Copan realizes he’s stealing home before the pitch. Is he aware that he’s presenting selective evidence, taken out of context, from sources that completely disagree with him? Is he aware that by ignoring certain questions and discussions, he’s able to give the impression that the evidence he loves to allude to (without citing) actually undermines his position? Perhaps he is. Perhaps he isn’t. Sometimes it’s difficult for me to believe that he isn’t aware, but I’ll reserve judgment and leave the question open-ended. Ultimately, however, whether Paul Copan is or is not a moral apologist, the fact of the matter is that he has failed, thoroughly failed, to demonstrate that the God of the Old Testament is not a moral monster.