The Bible: The ‘Good Book’ or Rated R?

Recently there was a news story about a school censoring secularist themed books. I guess an atheist group decided to hand out pamphlets and books because a Christian group was handing out the bible. Whether you agree with these groups being able to hand out these things is up to you, but the part that made me think twice was the fact that the bible was somehow thought of to be more appropriate for children than the secular books.
I know that liberal and moderate Christians make excuses for the bible all the time, but anyone who has read the bible from cover to cover, should realize that the God depicted in those pages isn’t the nicest of beings. Some of those stories are glossed over or totally ignored at church.
To be honest, I don’t blame them. If they read some of those passages and explained them, I bet some of their congregation would be sickened.
For example, you have the story of Noah:

Every living thing that moved on land perished—birds, livestock, wild animals, all the creatures that swarm over the earth, and all mankind. 22 Everything on dry land that had the breath of life in its nostrils died. 23 Every living thing on the face of the earth was wiped out; people and animals and the creatures that move along the ground and the birds were wiped from the earth. Only Noah was left, and those with him in the ark. -Genesis 7:21-23

This story features an all-loving God who thought fit to drown babies, women, children, animals and practically all life on planet Earth. Some Christians will say everyone was evil, so that’s why God does it, but I don’t buy it. I’m not sure how you can categorize small children and babes in arms as evil.
And for those who think Jesus is perfect, meek and mild; Jesus approves of this genocide:

As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. 38 For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark; 39 and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away. That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. 40 Two men will be in the field; one will be taken and the other left. 41 Two women will be grinding with a hand mill; one will be taken and the other left.

42 “Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come.-Matthew 24:37-42

After this, God seems to come into his own and as you read on, you find out that the Bible is full of his murderous rampages. He not only practices genocide and orders his followers to commit genocide in his name, but He doesn’t seem to have a problem with killing innocents, especially small children.
For example, you have the book of Exodus:

29 At midnight the Lord struck down all the firstborn in Egypt, from the firstborn of Pharaoh, who sat on the throne, to the firstborn of the prisoner, who was in the dungeon, and the firstborn of all the livestock as well.-Exodus 12:29

When the Egyptian king refuses to let the Israelites go, God decides that the best course of action is to kill all the first born sons and livestock. He doesn’t bother to use his power on the Pharaoh directly. That would be too easy. It’s far easier to kill innocent children.
Genocides abound in the pages of the Bible and women are free to be raped, especially if they’re virgins:

7 They fought against Midian, as the Lord commanded Moses, and killed every man. 8 Among their victims were Evi, Rekem, Zur, Hur and Reba—the five kings of Midian. They also killed Balaam son of Beor with the sword. 9 The Israelites captured the Midianite women and children and took all the Midianite herds, flocks and goods as plunder. 10 They burned all the towns where the Midianites had settled, as well as all their camps. 11 They took all the plunder and spoils, including the people and animals, 12 and brought the captives, spoils and plunder to Moses and Eleazar the priest and the Israelite assembly at their camp on the plains of Moab, by the Jordan across from Jericho.

13 Moses, Eleazar the priest and all the leaders of the community went to meet them outside the camp. 14 Moses was angry with the officers of the army—the commanders of thousands and commanders of hundreds—who returned from the battle.

15 “Have you allowed all the women to live?” he asked them. 16 “They were the ones who followed Balaam’s advice and enticed the Israelites to be unfaithful to the Lord in the Peor incident, so that a plague struck the Lord’s people. 17 Now kill all the boys. And kill every woman who has slept with a man, 18 but save for yourselves every girl who has never slept with a man.-Numbers 31:7-18

I wonder what they’re saving all those virgins for.
But you can read more genocide in Samuel, where God orders the destruction of the Amalekites. Or flip casually to Deuteronomy where God orders the killing of every man, woman and child of Heshbar.
Then there is always the story of Elisha, who gets called a ‘baldy’ by some children and is allowed to call down the wrath of God in the form of two bears. I guess 42 children deserved to be mauled by a bear for jeering:

23 From there Elisha went up to Bethel. As he was walking along the road, some boys came out of the town and jeered at him. “Get out of here, baldy!” they said. “Get out of here, baldy!” 24 He turned around, looked at them and called down a curse on them in the name of the Lord. Then two bears came out of the woods and mauled forty-two of the boys.-2 Kings 2:23-24

Rape isn’t uncommon in the bible either. For example, you have this story from Judges:

22 While they were enjoying themselves, some of the wicked men of the city surrounded the house. Pounding on the door, they shouted to the old man who owned the house, “Bring out the man who came to your house so we can have sex with him.”

23 The owner of the house went outside and said to them, “No, my friends, don’t be so vile. Since this man is my guest, don’t do this outrageous thing. 24 Look, here is my virgin daughter, and his concubine. I will bring them out to you now, and you can use them and do to them whatever you wish. But as for this man, don’t do such an outrageous thing.”

25 But the men would not listen to him. So the man took his concubine and sent her outside to them, and they raped her and abused her throughout the night, and at dawn they let her go. 26 At daybreak the woman went back to the house where her master was staying, fell down at the door and lay there until daylight.

27 When her master got up in the morning and opened the door of the house and stepped out to continue on his way, there lay his concubine, fallen in the doorway of the house, with her hands on the threshold. 28 He said to her, “Get up; let’s go.” But there was no answer. Then the man put her on his donkey and set out for home.

29 When he reached home, he took a knife and cut up his concubine, limb by limb, into twelve parts and sent them into all the areas of Israel.-Judges 19:22-29

These are the stories left out of most Sunday services. I’m not sure how any Christian organization can lobby censorship of any book with a straight face.
Richard Dawkins had this to say in his book The God Delusion:

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. – Richard Dawkins

I have to admit that Jesus is a step up from the OT God, but that alone should raise some red flags – why does God suddenly change his basic outlook? While Jesus doesn’t go on a killing spree, he does approve of the Noah genocide and promises to come back and visit some death on humanity later on, in the book of Revelation. And if you believe the whole trinity thing, God and Jesus are the same.

For some people, the Christian God may have had some supernatural reason to do these horrible things. But that doesn’t change the fact that the bible contains all kinds of atrocities that would normally be considered not suitable for children.


Burn in Hell: Coming out as an Atheist

One of the things I find to be so destructive about Christianity (or any other belief system that orders that you must believe in order to get something once dead) is its ability to use fear to tear apart families in the name of love. Some parents get angry when their kids tell them they’re atheists because they honestly believe that their kid will burn in hell for eternity and they’re trying to protect them by kicking them out. They may hope this forces them to be a Christian again. They may not know how to react. They may have been raised to believe that atheists are immoral. They may be afraid of what their congregation, friends, family or social network will think about their child being an atheist.

True, not every Christian family goes through this. Many kids have understanding parents, which makes ‘coming out’ a lot easier. They may accept and respect your decision to be an atheist. That’s definetely a good thing.

When writing this article, I typed in both ‘parents kick atheist out’ and ‘parent kick Christian out’ and both results showed the same thing – pages upon pages of kids being kicked out for their non-belief. Most of those kids (teens mostly) came out in a fit of pique or because they felt pressured by their parents. Some did it in a public venue and some in the privacy of their homes. Many of them were kicked out of the house and sought refuge on the Internet.

Here are a few examples:

“My parents are divorced, and my stepdad, who has been living with my mom for 3 years, recently found out that im an atheist. He is telling my mom that im a bad example for my little sister and has taken all of my books that have anything to do with science/evolution and is trying to make my mom send me to live with my dad, who is a d*** to me. Im not sure if he can do that or not, what should i do. I’ve discussed this with my mom and I think shes scared of him so shes agreeing with him.


“So I was just kicked out of my home by my parents because of my Atheism. I now have no place to go or any idea what to do from here. I am posting this from my Nexus 7 at a local Starbucks, in case you were wondering. Only one hour left until the battery dies so I thought I would reach out to the most generous and helping community I know

And finally:

“Every Sunday my family (strict Catholics) would go to church at 6:00AM, however I spent most of Saturday night sitting up watching Breaking bad. and hence I was too tired to get up for the usual church service. After being berated by my parents for not getting up on time, I finally snapped and told them that I will NOT go to church and that’s final. Their faces went pale and they stormed out of the room and off to church they went.

“When they returned at about 7:30 they stormed into my room, grabbed a suitcase and stuffed a bunch of my clothes and toiletries into a bag and chucked it on the front veranda. Dad physically pulled my from my bed and dragged me until I got up. After a brief shouting match my mum told me to get out and never come back. Dad was behind her fully and despite my pleas they wouldn’t budge. I tried to apologise but they were having none of it.

“So now I’m in a youth hostel just outside of the CBD, sharing a room with a couple of French tourists (who are constantly complaining about the heat). So please r/atheism, what can I do to help convince my parents to change their mind? Or is it not worth going back?

If you’re pondering coming out to your parents, some people might advise you to do so right away. After all, isn’t this a free society? Don’t we have freedom of speech?

The sad reality is that we live in a throwaway society. We throw away everything, which unfortunately, sometimes includes our kids for the simple act of speaking their minds.

You should be careful. You can be kicked from your house. Lose friends. Lose your job. In some countries, you can lose your life. If you have strong fundamentalist parents, you should probably wait until you move out. This might seem to some to be a form of dishonesty, but getting kicked out at the age of 12 isn’t something to hope for. Your safety is important.

Parents might accept your coming out, but there is also the extended family to consider. They can certainly make your life uncomfortable. You should also keep in mind that using email, texting or social media to come out can make things worse. If you decide to come out, a face-to-face is preferable. You don’t want a distant relative seeing it on your blog or Facebook page, and then telling your parents before you have a chance too.

It can be pretty hard to come out as an atheist, but here are a few things that I found to be helpful:

Stay calm: It may be tough, but try to remain calm. Avoid the temptation to argue. State your case, be honest but don’t get angry.

Actively listen: There’s a good chance the person you tell will make it about them. They may hit you with emotional pleas and may even attack your character. Keep in mind that this is an emotional time for them, but don’t let them take over the conversation by making it about them. It’s about you. If you’re not sure what is meant by active listening, you can visit this link: Active Listening

Watch your body language: Try to be aware of your body language. You may feel yourself getting angry and start clenching your fists or find yourself giving them the Darth Vader stare. Try to avoid these things. Also, standing up can cause tensions to rise.

Take a break if needed: Like I said above, this is probably an emotional subject. If you need a break, simply say so. Get a drink of water; ask to reconvene in a few minutes etc. You can also ask to take a break if the other person seems to be getting overly agitated.

Mediation or bring a friend: In some cases, bringing your significant other or a sympathetic friend may help the situation. It might also help the other person maintain control.

Time: Like it or not, some people just won’t accept your atheism. You might have to ask them to think about it for a while and get back to you when they feel comfortable to do so. They may simply need some time to reflect and absorb the information. Some people may need a few minutes or a few days or even a few years.

Unfortunately, many kids are kicked out of their homes for their non-belief. There are very few resources to help. There are teen shelters in most major cities and depending on your age, you could probably seek out the child services in your region. You could also try the parents’ pastor. They may be able to convince your parents to take you back in. It might not work, but it’s worth a shot.

Here’s a few more links that might be useful as information sources:

Is Coming Out as an Atheist Always a Good Idea? A Conversation with Three Former Pastors

Coming Out as an Atheist: Should You Come Out as an Atheist, or Keep Quiet?

Coming Out (discussion about coming out)

We’re Telling Them They’re Wrong: Why Coming Out Atheist Is Inherently Oppositional (very thought provoking post)

Every family and every circumstance is different. Hopefully, the future holds less stories about atheists being ostracized for their non-belief.