May 13-18, 2015
Massive wedding next door.
Fish on a roll.
Conjoined twin trees.
Lots of twins.
In the books of Matthew and Mark in the Bible, there is a rather strange story about Jesus having a bit of a conflict with....a fig tree. Figs are yummy and all, but this is pretty extreme. This fig tree didn't have any fruit on it - because it wasn't actually fig season yet - and Jesus was hungry. So what's a hungry god-man to do? Curse the tree so it will never bear fruit again of course! Damn tree.
Jesus was apparently a pretty cryptic guy - or the people writing down his words were - either way, there are quite a few stories like this in the Bible (and that's excluding the book of Revelation which is its own brand of crazy). But God was downright sadistic. Let's take a look at some lessons found in the Bible that most people probably didn't learn in Sunday School.
1. God has a thing with sex and genitals
Maybe it's because he doesn't get to have it, but according to the Bible, God uses sex (and genitals) to control or punish people more than once. Using rape, incest and circumcision to teach lessons would not be allowed with humans, but apparently it's totally cool for God to do it.
God established the practice of male circumcision as proof of the people's willingness to obey him pretty early on.
David, the future king and the man chosen by God to defeat the Philistines (of David and Goliath fame), went out with his men and killed 200 Philistines and "collected" their foreskins, then used them as the payment for marrying King Saul's daughter, Michal. Now that's what I call an engagement present.
God commanded rape in so many places in the Bible it's hard to pick just one, but a passage in 2 Samuel is pretty bad and is a great example of God using rape and child murder as a punishment.
God even commanded a raped woman to marry her attacker.
2. ...and on that note, it's pretty clear that God really hates women... A LOT
Aside from all the raping, even a quick reading of the Bible reveals that God hates women. This can be easily explained using cultural context and by looking at who actually wrote the Bible and when - but it seems if God is perfect, he would teach people not to be sexist a-holes. But in both the New and Old Testaments, the Bible teaches us otherwise. In 1 Corinthians 14 and 1 Timothy 2, women are told not to talk and Titus is practically a how-to manual on being a good, quiet and submissive Christian woman. In fact, most of the epistles are totally sexist.
3. He also doesn't seem too fond of the unborn, infants and children
Not only does the Bible tell of infanticide, abortion and child murder, it actually tells us God, or his representatives at his behest, commanded it. Not cool God, not cool at all.
The prophet Hosea spoke of pregnant women being ripped open and children being torn to pieces because the nation of Israel had "fought against God."
And Jeremiah told of a time when God would destroy the city and make people so hungry that they would eat their kids.
As an interesting side note, the historian Flavius Josephus told of Jews starving in Jerusalem during the Roman siege of 70 CE who actually did eat their own children.
...and perhaps one of the most disturbing is Psalm (a song of celebration) 137 in which the psalmist is proclaiming retribution by smashing babies against rocks. Very uplifting.
4. When God likes you, you can get away with ANYTHING
King David, Cain, all the prophets, all the apostles, Noah, Adam, King Saul...they all committed atrocious acts of violence, greed, sexism, racism, etc. You name it, at least one of them did it, often multiple times. And yet the Bible tells us God blessed them with money and/or power and the apostles were the ones who essentially established the Christian religion...hmmm...
5. When God doesn't like you, you're probably dead, and your death will probably be creative
Lot's wife turned into a salty version of her former self just because she looked back on her hometown from which she was fleeing because...well...because God was pissed off and was destroying it with burning sulfur.
People got swallowed up by giant cracks in the earth.
42 Kids got mauled by two mother bears because they mocked the baldness of one of the prophets (no joke).
...and a bonus: Mark 14 tells of a disciple at the time of Jesus' arrest who was only wearing a towel which was grabbed off him and he ran away naked. Yep. Naked. Who was he? No one knows...in the Bible is a naked mystery man.
Where do Christians get the image of a loving, just God who wants to bless and heal people and give them peace on earth and good will toward men? It definitely isn't from a simple reading of the Bible. Even though the Bible continues to be a very highly sold book, it's probably safe to say that most people, even Christians, haven't read everything that's in it. This alone makes it easy for Christian leaders now and throughout history, to tell people pretty much anything about God and get them to believe it. And of course a benevolent god is a being more appealing on which to establish a religion.
The Bible contains many inconvenient stories, passages and lessons. This inconvenience is even a reason apologists will give for its validity. The argument goes something like this, "If people wanted to invent a god and a holy book, wouldn't it make sense to make it beautiful and perfect? Its imperfection and difficult passages are evidence that it's real." Apologetics aside, today in the developed world, most of the more disturbing or unbelievable scriptures in the Bible are explained away as "metaphor" or "culturally unique". But the truth is that there are some really messed up lessons in the Bible that aren't limited to a handful of goofy verses and the most sadistic behavior is modeled by God himself.
Next: Part IV