So lately, we've been talking a little about the Bible and the End Times and how confusing that all is and in the middle of all of that, we got this question:
Speaking of the Bible, I have been reading it (but also the footnotes and Catholic interpretations!) and I am sort of flummoxed by one book: Joshua. In it, Joshua and Co. go into the future promised land, kill everyone (young and old, man and woman) and take the place for their own, all because God told them to. I've tried to find a Catholic answer for how this is okay, but no one seems to answer the question. Some apologists have said "God gives life and can take it away", which is fine by me, only God isn't doing the taking. God is telling people to invade another land and commit genocide on the inhabitants! It's not even a war of defense. How are we to understand this book? Did God really tell the Israelites to do this to the letter? Did Joshua misinterpret Him? How could God command his people to do something evil? Am I missing something? Please help!
I can't. I don't understand it either. How's that for frankness?
It seems to me that if something is bad, slavery for example, it's always bad. And if something's good, like monogamy, it's always good. And if something is important to God, like sacrificing doves and lambs, it should always be important.
At least we can get our brains around the idea that God's Son sacrificed Himself so we don't have to stock the garage with pigeons to atone for our sins. There's one down, anyhow. But no one bothers to ask why God ever wanted all those dead animals in the first place.
But slaughtering a whole village, babies included? When would that ever be okay? God doesn't care about kittens? Because they got washed away in the Great Flood, too. So did those cute baby monkeys.
So I can't help you, except to say that, I just leave God to God. If you take a look at His creation, you'll be pleased to note that He really knows what He's doing. For example, He thought to make us waterproof. What if, every time you got wet, you had to wait to drip dry, or "lay flat to dry" like your good wool sweater. I would not have thought of that if I were making a person, or a frog.
We were just talking yesterday about the Last Judgment and how that will be what is thought of as a "general judgment" in which whole populations are judged all at once. No one seems to be concerned that innocents will be lumped in with that judgment. I don't see how one is different from the other, really.
Apparently, God went with a general judgment and asked Joshua to carry it out. (I do think that if Joshua had misinterpreted what God said, Joshua would have heard about it from God.)
Maybe the slaves and the extra wives were a good idea because they all converted to believe in one God.
It's a Sacred Mystery, as far as I'm concerned. And you know what that means.