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.

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2 Comments

  1. I struggle a lot with the idea of mass murder. I struggle with individual suffering. I struggle with hell. I have a hard time reconciling any of these with justice and love, concepts the Bible declares as holy. I go so far as to wonder how anyone can't struggle with these concepts. Even on the most basic selfish level, how could I be eternally happy in heaven knowing billions are suffering eternally, including some I love?
    Acknowledging these struggles has bought me some condemnation from believers (how dare you question God?) and ridicule from non-believers (then how can you believe in that God?).

    I have decided that my struggles & questions are okay. I have a good mind & I should use it. And I've also decided that it is okay to have faith despite the questions.

  2. Good for you for questioning Sherry. Your response reminded me of a TED video I watched about faith being about doubt. You can find the link at the bottom of this post. It really makes you think.

    I find it odd when believers don't doubt. Hell, I doubt my beliefs all the time. I challenge them constantly. I think it shows a weak belief system if it can't stand up to challenges.

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