Here’s a sampling of recent posts of skeptics bringing up genocide in the Old Testament:
And we have the popular quote from Dawkins:
“The God of the Old Testament is arguably the most unpleasant character in all fiction: jealous and proud of it; a petty, unjust, unforgiving control-freak; a vindictive, bloodthirsty ethnic cleanser; a misogynistic, homophobic, racist, infanticidal, genocidal, filicidal, pestilential, megalomaniacal, sadomasochistic, capriciously malevolent bully.”
Yes, the Israelites were commanded to utterly destroy those in the land of Canaan.[Deu 20:16-17 KJV] 16 But of the cities of these people, which the LORD thy God doth give thee [for] an inheritance, thou shalt save alive nothing that breatheth: 17 But thou shalt utterly destroy them; [namely], the Hittites, and the Amorites, the Canaanites, and the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites; as the LORD thy God hath commanded thee:
What was the reason for their destruction? Because God is capricious? No. Because God is racist? No. The reason is to judge sin.[Deu 20:18 KJV] 18 That they teach you not to do after all their abominations, which they have done unto their gods; so should ye sin against the LORD your God. [Deu 9:5 KJV] 5 Not for thy righteousness, or for the uprightness of thine heart, dost thou go to possess their land: but for the wickedness of these nations the LORD thy God doth drive them out from before thee, and that he may perform the word which the LORD sware unto thy fathers, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. [Deu 18:9-10 KJV] 9 When thou art come into the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee, thou shalt not learn to do after the abominations of those nations. 10 There shall not be found among you [any one] that maketh his son or his daughter to pass through the fire, [or] that useth divination, [or] an observer of times, or an enchanter, or a witch,
What sins were the Canaanites guilty of?
Though there were many, one of the most egregious was child sacrifices.[Lev 18:21 KJV] 21 And thou shalt not let any of thy seed pass through [the fire] to Molech, neither shalt thou profane the name of thy God: I [am] the LORD.
Molech was a Canaanite underworld deity represented as an upright, bull-headed idol with human body in whose belly a fire was stoked and in whose outstretched arms a child was placed that would be burned to death.
Plutarch reports that during the Phoenician (Canaanite) sacrifices, “the whole area before the statue was filled with a loud noise of flutes and drums so that the cries of the wailing should not reach the ears of the people.”
Oxford professor John Day wrote: “In fact, we have independent evidence that child sacrifice was practiced in the Canaanite (Carthaginian and Phoenician) world from many classical sources, Punic inscriptions and archaeological evidence, as well as Egyptian depictions of the ritual occurring in Syria-Palestine, and from a recently discovered Phoenician inscription in Turkey. There is therefore no reason to doubt the biblical testimony to Canaanite child sacrifice.”
The practice of child sacrifice among Canaanite groups is attested by numerous sources spanning over a millennium.
There was in the city a bronze image of Kronos, extending its hands, palms up and sloping towards the ground, so that each of the children when placed thereon rolled down and fell into a sort of gaping pit filled with fire. It is probable that it was from this that Euripides has drawn the mythical story found in his works about the sacrifice in Tauris, in which he presents Iphigeneia being asked by Orestes: “But what tomb shall receive me when I die? A sacred fire within, and earth’s broad rift.” Also the story passed down among the Greeks from ancient myth that Cronus did away with his own children appears to have been kept in mind among the Carthaginians through this observance.”
While it is inconclusive what the Phoenicians called themselves, many scholars believe they went by the same name the Bible gives them: Canaanites.
The Phoenicians were never ruled as one “empire,” and historians do not consider them a vast dominion or kingdom. Rather than being identified as a common culture or people, the Bible (as well as Greek literature) identifies the early Phoenicians according to the city-state they belonged to. Sidon/Zidon and Tyre are the two main cities referenced in the Hebrew Bible.
Scholars previously disputed whether or not Baal worshipers actually practiced child sacrifice. Some claimed the references to child sacrifice were an attempt by biblical authors to disparage other religions. But today there is significant archaeological evidence for the barbaric rite. While Baal was worshiped throughout the ancient Middle East, the most compelling evidence for child sacrifice comes from the Phoenicians—specifically, Phoenician Carthage, situated in modern-day Tunisia.
Throughout antiquity, sacrifice might have been utilized in times of great strife. But one cult stands out from the rest for its brutality: the cult of Moloch, the alleged Canaanite god of child sacrifice.
The cult of Moloch is believed to have been practiced by the people of the Levant region from at least the early Bronze Age, and images of his bullish head with a child burning in his belly persist until the medieval times.
More on child sacrifices at:
Later, the Israelites also committed the same sins and they too would be judged for it. God not only judged the heathen for their sins, but also with Israel as well.[Lev 20:2 KJV] 2 Again, thou shalt say to the children of Israel, Whosoever [he be] of the children of Israel, or of the strangers that sojourn in Israel, that giveth [any] of his seed unto Molech; he shall surely be put to death: the people of the land shall stone him with stones. [2Ki 16:3 KJV] 3 But he walked in the way of the kings of Israel, yea, and made his son to pass through the fire, according to the abominations of the heathen, whom the LORD cast out from before the children of Israel. [Jer 32:35 KJV] 35 And they built the high places of Baal, which [are] in the valley of the son of Hinnom, to cause their sons and their daughters to pass through [the fire] unto Molech; which I commanded them not, neither came it into my mind, that they should do this abomination, to cause Judah to sin. [Eze 20:26 KJV] 26 And I polluted them in their own gifts, in that they caused to pass through [the fire] all that openeth the womb, that I might make them desolate, to the end that they might know that I [am] the LORD.
So, the charge that God committed genocide because of a nationality or race is fallacious. God is not judging people because of their ethnicity or country of origin. God judges people on their sin, regardless of their nationality.