New article up at Relevant--adapted from Chapter 14 of The Skeletons in God's Closet (read the full article here)
So-called “holy war” is all around us these days. Terrorists like ISIS believe they are waging a divine battle against the West. Some American patriots respond that God is on our side, not theirs. And often, ancient texts on conquest shared by Judaism, Christianity and Islam provide a kind of grounding for this idea.
Can we use the Bible this way?
No, we can’t. And regardless of what you might hear in the media or at your local coffee shop, these wars today are not holy.
Let’s take a quick look at three ways Israel’s encounter with Canaan in the Old Testament—the paradigm for biblical holy war—is radically different from our modern conflicts today…