Days 9 and 10 were uneventful.
This morning, I said the usual prayer and spent time in thanks. Then I thought, "Let's read Joshua 8." Having decided to go along with these thoughts, I went to the bookshelf and picked up the well-thumbed Bible I got as a reward at Sunday School for memorising the order of all the books in the Old Testament.
Given the subject matter of Joshua, I suspected I wouldn't like what I read. I didn't.
Chapter 8 is about the Hebrews taking the town of Ai. All credit to Joshua's military acumen, but essentially it's a massacre. The Hebrews slaughter everyone in Ai and burn the town to the ground. This is framed as a glorious victory given by God to his people.
My first thought was that this story is vile; my second was that it fits well with my atheism. If the story were in the annals of any other bronze-age tribe, I suspect most Christians would interpret it as the narrative of a primitive, warlike group attributing its victory to its (non-existent) deity. That's how Joshua 8 reads to me.
My next thought was that if this was the will of the God I'm praying to in the mornings, then I really don't like him. I wouldn't want to worship a God who is as hemmed in by us-and-themism as humans and orders the extermination of entire communities. I would want to follow as God whose "us" is so all-embracing that there is no "them".
In fact, that's the sort of person I'd like to be. Not that I'm anywhere near it! The closest I've been to it was when I was regularly practising metta meditation. And that's a Buddhist practice.
Buddhism is atheistic. Just don't ask me to believe in reincarnation.