By Mark Humphrys. 1993 to date.
And there are horrors. I was truly shocked. The Old Testament is the most disturbing, intolerant, racist, cruel, sadistic and fundamentally immoral collection of writings I have ever read. It justifies aggressive ethnic cleansing and constant murder of innocents, all overlain with a credulous superstition and magic that would embarrass a child.
It is an upside-down world, an unpleasant glimpse into the minds of our stupid ancestors. Things are not immoral because they cause suffering, oppression, or abuse the freedom or human rights of others. Instead things are immoral because of arbitrary codes and taboos and insults to (imaginary) gods. So long as these taboos are conformed to, almost any vile action or abuse of others is tolerated (and practiced).
The very fact of the inclusion of this material in the Bible casts doubt on everything else. The very fact of its having been shown respect by religious thinkers throughout history casts serious doubt on their credibility (including on that of Jesus).
But I've said enough. I'll let it speak for itself. Most of the quotes are from the New Jerusalem Bible. In case you don't believe me, they link to another version online, the American Standard Version.
Read it in as many versions and translations as you like - you won't be able to explain it away.
Genesis 1 - And God said, "Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it separate the waters from the waters." And God made the firmament and separated the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament. And it was so. And God called the firmament Heaven. And there was evening and there was morning, a second day. And God said, "Let the waters under the heavens be gathered together into one place, and let the dry land appear." And it was so. God called the dry land Earth, and the waters that were gathered together he called Seas. And God saw that it was good.
Genesis 2 - The LORD God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to till it and keep it. And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, "You may freely eat of every tree of the garden; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall die."
Genesis 2 - She is to be called Woman, because she was taken from Man.
Genesis 3 -
Now, the snake was the most subtle of all the wild animals that
Yahweh God had made. It asked the woman, "Did God really say you
were not to eat from any of the trees in the garden?"
(A talking snake! Fancy that.)
Genesis 3 -
And the woman said to the serpent, "We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden;
but God said, 'You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, neither shall you touch it, lest you die.'"
But the serpent said to the woman, "You will not die.
For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and
you will be like God, knowing good and evil."
So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit
and ate; and she also gave some to her husband, and he ate.
Then the eyes of both were opened.
(A heroic passage about the emergence of the human mind, in a universe where no mind had ever existed before, "the most inspiring passage in this entire volume", as L. Beverly Halstead describes it.)
Genesis 3 - To the woman he said: "I shall give you intense pain in childbearing, you will give birth to your children in pain. Your yearning will be for your husband, and he will dominate you."
Where we really came from. (OK, minus the alien monolith!)
A risen ape is more amazing and heroic than a fallen angel.
The early hominid scene in the movie 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968).
Genesis 6 -
God said to Noah, "I have decided that the end has come for all
living things, for the earth is full of lawlessness because of
human beings. So I am now about to destroy them and the earth."
(And he did! Well, he did in the story anyway.)
(Incidentally, believers are very relaxed about the Flood story. God gets rid of all the "unjust" people. What's the problem? Believers even tell this story to children. Do they not notice that God is deliberately killing (by drowning in terror) all the children and babies of the unjust, who will die screaming in fear for their mothers. Older children, their mothers already dead, will try desperately to hold their baby brothers out of the water as it rises to engulf them. God carries out a similar slaughter of the innocent children of Sodom and Gomorrah. It is just as well I believe this never happened, because if this God existed, I would not worship him. I would try to kill him.)
Genesis 9 - And God said, "This is the sign of the covenant which I make between me and you and every living creature that is with you, for all future generations: I set my bow in the cloud, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between me and the earth. When I bring clouds over the earth and the bow is seen in the clouds, I will remember my covenant which is between me and you and every living creature of all flesh; and the waters shall never again become a flood to destroy all flesh. When the bow is in the clouds, I will look upon it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is upon the earth." God said to Noah, "This is the sign of the covenant which I have established between me and all flesh that is upon the earth."
Not sure where they get the numbers from, but it seems about right.
Genesis 19 -
They had not gone to bed when the house was surrounded by the
townspeople, the men of Sodom both young and old, all the people
without exception. Calling out to Lot they said, "Where are the men
who came to you tonight? Send them out to us so that we can have
intercourse with them."
Lot came out to them at the door and, having shut the door behind him, said, "Please, brothers, do not be wicked. Look, I have two daughters who are virgins. I am ready to send them out to you, for you to treat as you please, but do nothing to these men since they are now under the protection of my roof."
Lot offers up his virgin daughters for gang rape.
From The Book of Genesis Illustrated by Robert Crumb (2009).
An Atheist Reads the Bible - 1 - Lot's Daughters.
Genesis 22 - And it came to pass after these things, that God did prove Abraham, and said unto him, Abraham. And he said, Here am I. And he said, Take now thy son, thine only son, whom thou lovest, even Isaac, and get thee into the land of Moriah. And offer him there for a burnt-offering upon one of the mountains which I will tell thee of. And Abraham rose early in the morning, and saddled his ass, and took two of his young men with him, and Isaac his son. And he clave the wood for the burnt-offering, and rose up, and went unto the place of which God had told him.
God is a whimsical sadist who tells people to kill their own children for fun.
Abraham is a religious maniac prepared to slaughter his own child because of the voices in his head.
"I love you Isaac", says the maniac dad as he prepares to butcher him.
Religion as mental illness: Longer clip of the above.
From "The Animated Bible".
The Bible's Abraham suffered from schizophrenia: "If I ever hear "god's" voice in my head telling me to murder my son, I'm checking myself into a mental hospital."
How Christopher Hitchens would have responded.
Exodus 2 - One day, after Moses had grown up, he went out to where his own people were and watched them at their hard labor. He saw an Egyptian beating a Hebrew, one of his own people. Looking this way and that and seeing no one, he killed the Egyptian and hid him in the sand.
Egyptian bloke hits a Hebrew. So Moses kills the Egyptian bloke and hides his body.
From Old Testament Stories - Comically Illustrated by Watson Heston.
Exodus 3 - Now Moses was tending the flock of Jethro his father-in-law, the priest of Midian, and he led the flock to the far side of the wilderness and came to Horeb, the mountain of God. There the angel of the Lord appeared to him in flames of fire from within a bush. Moses saw that though the bush was on fire it did not burn up. So Moses thought, “I will go over and see this strange sight—why the bush does not burn up.” When the Lord saw that he had gone over to look, God called to him from within the bush, “Moses! Moses!” And Moses said, “Here I am.” "Do not come any closer," God said. “Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy ground.” Then he said, “I am the God of your father,a the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob.” At this, Moses hid his face, because he was afraid to look at God.
Exodus 12 -
And at midnight Yahweh struck down all the first-born in Egypt
from the first-born of Pharaoh, heir to his throne, to the first-born
of the prisoner in the dungeon, and the first-born of all the livestock.
Pharaoh and all his officials and all the Egyptians got up in the night,
and there was a great wailing in Egypt, for there was not a house without
(If a god like this existed, I would not worship him; I would oppose him.)
Exodus 22 - If a man seduces a virgin who is not engaged to be married, he will pay her bride-price and make her his wife. If her father absolutely refuses to let him have her, he will pay a sum equivalent to the bride-price of a virgin.
Exodus 22 -
You will not suffer a witch to live.
(These words are surely a candidate for the most evil words ever written in the long and sorry history of civilization. Only about 1 million or so innocents were murdered in total. But unlike other of history's evils, the killing went on for centuries.)
Exodus 22 - Thou shalt not delay to offer of thy harvest, and of the outflow of thy presses. The first-born of thy sons shalt thou give unto me. Likewise shalt thou do with thine oxen, and with thy sheep: seven days it shall be with its dam; on the eighth day thou shalt give it me.
Exodus 23 - You will not boil a kid in its mother's milk.
Exodus 34 - Take heed to thyself, lest thou make a covenant with the inhabitants of the land whither thou goest, lest it be for a snare in the midst of thee: but ye shall break down their altars, and dash in pieces their pillars, and ye shall cut down their Asherim; for thou shalt worship no other god: for Jehovah, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God:
Leviticus 2 -
When you offer a cereal offering of dough baked in the oven,
the wheaten flour must be prepared either in the form of unleavened
cakes mixed with oil, or in the form of unleavened wafers spread
If your offering is a cereal offering cooked on the griddle, the wheaten flour mixed with oil must contain no leaven. You will break it in pieces and pour oil over it. It is a cereal offering.
If your offering is a cereal offering cooked in the pan, the wheaten flour must be prepared with oil.
Leviticus 11 -
All winged insects moving on four feet you will regard as detestable
for eating. Of all these winged insects you may eat only the following:
those with the sort of legs above their feet which enable them to leap
over the ground.
(etc., endless arbitrary rules with no rhyme or reason.)
Leviticus 15 -
Whenever a woman has a discharge and the discharge from her body
is of blood, she will remain in a state of menstrual pollution
for seven days.
Anyone who touches her will be unclean until evening.
Anything she lies on in this polluted state will be unclean; anything she sits on will be unclean.
If a man goes so far as to sleep with her, he will contract her menstrual pollution and will be unclean for seven days.
Leviticus 18 -
I am Yahweh.
You will not approach and have intercourse with a woman who is in a state of menstrual pollution.
Leviticus 19 - If someone has intercourse with a woman who is the concubine slave of a man from whom she has not been redeemed and she has not been given her freedom, he will be liable for a fine, but they will not incur death, since she was not a free woman.
Leviticus 19 -
You will not practise divination or magic.
You will not round off your hair at the edges or trim the edges of your beard. You will not gash your bodies when someone dies, and you will not tattoo yourselves. I am Yahweh.
Do not have recourse to the spirits of the dead or to magicians; they will defile you. I, Yahweh, am your God.
Leviticus 20 -
The man who commits adultery with his neighbour's wife will be
put to death, he and the woman.
The man who has intercourse with a man in the same way as with a woman: they have done a hateful thing together; they will be put to death; their blood will be on their own heads.
Dan Savage, Apr 2012, points out how absurd it is to listen to the Old Testament (Leviticus 20) on homosexuality - and ignore it on everything else.
He points out that Callista Gingrich was not stoned to death on her wedding night, which is completely contrary to Deuteronomy 22.
Numbers 5 -
If anyone has a wife who goes astray and is unfaithful to him,
if some other man sleeps with the woman without the husband's knowledge,
and she secretly makes herself unclean,
without any witness against her,
and without anyone catching her in the act;
if, then, a spirit of suspicion comes over the husband
and makes him suspicious of the wife who has disgraced herself,
or again if this spirit of suspicion comes over him
and makes him suspicious of his wife even when she is innocent,
the man will bring his wife before the priest,
and on her behalf make an offering of one-tenth of an ephah
of barley meal.
(some magic and casting of spells later..)
After this, he will make the woman drink the water. After he has made her drink it, if it is true that she has made herself unclean and been unfaithful to her husband, the water of cursing then entering into her will indeed be bitter: her belly will swell and her sexual organs shrivel, and she will be an object of execration to her people. But if she has not made herself unclean, but is clean, then she will go unscathed and will bear children.
Numbers 15 -
And while the children of Israel were in the wilderness, they found a man gathering sticks upon the sabbath day.
And they that found him gathering sticks brought him unto Moses and Aaron, and unto all the congregation.
And they put him in ward, because it had not been declared what should be done to him.
And Jehovah said unto Moses, The man shall surely be put to death: all the congregation shall stone him with stones without the camp.
And all the congregation brought him without the camp, and stoned him to death with stones; as Jehovah commanded Moses.
And Jehovah spake unto Moses, saying,
Speak unto the children of Israel, and bid them that they make them fringes in the borders of their garments throughout their generations, and that they put upon the fringe of each border a cord of blue:
(At this point, I think I would try to kill Jehovah.)
An Atheist Reads the Bible - 2 - Sticks & Stones.
Numbers 31 - Moses was enraged with the officers of the army, the commanders of the thousands and commanders of the hundreds, who had come back from this military expedition. He said, "Why have you spared the life of all the women? They were the very ones who, on Balaam's advice, caused the Israelites to be unfaithful to Yahweh in the affair at Peor: hence the plague which struck Yahweh's community. So kill all the male children and kill all the women who have ever slept with a man; but spare the lives of the young girls who have never slept with a man, and keep them for yourselves."
Cartoon of the slaughter in Numbers 31.
From Old Testament Stories - Comically Illustrated by Watson Heston.
Just to remind you, we're meant to be up for the guy with the rock.
Numbers 36 -
At Yahweh's bidding, Moses gave the Israelites this order.
He said: "What the Josephite tribe says is true.
This is Yahweh's ruling for Zelophehad's daughters:
They may marry whom they please, providing they marry
into a clan of their father's tribe."
Zelophehad's daughters did as Yahweh had ordered Moses.
(of course they did; they had no choice.)
Deuteronomy 2 - But Sihon king of Heshbon would not give us leave to pass through his territory; Yahweh our God had made his spirit obstinate and his heart stubborn, to put him at your mercy, as he still is. Yahweh said to me, "You see, I am starting to give you Sihon and his country." Sihon marched out against us, he and all his people, to give battle at Jahaz. And Yahweh our God handed him over to us: we defeated him and his sons and all his people. We captured all his towns and laid all these towns under the curse of destruction: men, women and children, we left no survivors except the livestock which we took as our booty, and the spoils of the captured towns.
Deuteronomy 7 -
When Yahweh your God has brought you into the country which you are
going to make your own, many nations will fall before you: Hittites,
Girgashites, Amorites, Canaanites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites,
seven nations greater and stronger than yourselves. Yahweh your God
will put them at your mercy and you will conquer them. You must put them
under the curse of destruction. You must not make any treaty with them
or show them any pity.
Instead, treat them like this: tear down their altars, smash their standing-stones, cut down their sacred poles and burn their idols. For you are a people consecrated to Yahweh your God; of all the peoples on earth, you have been chosen by Yahweh your God to be his own people.
(Similar to Columbus' "discovery" of America, we are rarely reminded that the "Promised Land" was already occupied. When Yahweh's people arrived, they proceeded to slaughter all the natives so they could take their land. According to their own accounts, they killed tens of thousands. No justification is offered other than "God says it's ours".
While the story tells us a lot about the Bible's retarded morality, we can draw comfort from the fact that, like the Flood and the Exodus, the genocide of Canaan did not happen.)
Deuteronomy 12 - You must completely destroy all the places where the nations you dispossess have served their gods, on high mountains, on hills, under any spreading tree; you must tear down their altars, smash their sacred stones, burn their sacred poles, hack to bits the statues of their gods and obliterate their name from that place.
Deuteronomy 13 -
If a prophet or a dreamer of dreams arises among you, offering you
some sign or wonder, and the sign or wonder comes about; and if he then
says to you, "Let us follow other gods" (hitherto unknown to you)
"and serve them", you must not listen to that prophet's words or to that
That prophet or that dreamer of dreams must be put to death,
(The Bible speaks sense at last!)
Deuteronomy 17 -
If there is anyone, man or woman, among you in any of the towns
given to you by Yahweh your God, who does what is wrong in the eyes of
Yahweh your God by violating his covenant, who goes and serves other gods
and worships them, or the sun or the moon or any of heaven's array
- a thing I have forbidden - and this person is denounced to you:
if after careful enquiry it is found true and confirmed that this
hateful thing has been done in Israel, you must take the man or woman
guilty of this evil deed outside your city gates, and there you must stone
that man or woman to death.
(This isn't the only religion to deny freedom of worship and conscience. For example:
"The Canonists call that man a "Fetri" apostate whose parents are Muslims, and who was born into the Islamic "Fetré" or tradition, but after coming of age turns from his religion. For him there is no repentance, since he has deserted his natal faith and traditional philosophy. He is like a diseased member of the body politic, gangrenous, incurable, fit only for amputation, and must be executed."
- "A Muslim commentary on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights", by the Islamofascist Sultanhussein Tabandeh, Iran, 1966.)
Deuteronomy 20 - When you advance on a town to attack it, first offer it peace-terms. If it accepts these and opens its gates to you, all the people inside will owe you forced labour and work for you. But if it refuses peace and gives battle, you must besiege it. Yahweh your God having handed it over to you, you will put the whole male population to the sword. But the women, children, livestock and whatever the town contains by way of spoil, you may take for yourselves as booty.
Deuteronomy 20 - But of the cities of these peoples, that Jehovah thy God giveth thee for an inheritance, thou shalt save alive nothing that breatheth; but thou shalt utterly destroy them: the Hittite, and the Amorite, the Canaanite, and the Perizzite, the Hivite, and the Jebusite; as Jehovah thy God hath commanded thee; that they teach you not to do after all their abominations, which they have done unto their gods; so would ye sin against Jehovah your God.
Deuteronomy 21 - If a man has a stubborn and rebellious son who will not listen to the voice either of his father or of his mother and, even when they punish him, still will not pay attention to them, his father and mother must take hold of him and bring him out to the elders of his town at the gate of that place. To the elders of his town, they will say, 'This son of ours is stubborn and rebellious and will not listen to us; he is a wastrel and a drunkard.' All his fellow-citizens must then stone him to death.
The stoning scene in Monty Python's Life of Brian.
Deuteronomy 22 -
You must not wear clothing woven part of wool, part of linen.
You must make tassels for the four corners of the cloak in which you wrap yourself.
Deuteronomy 22 -
If a man marries a woman, has sexual intercourse with her and then,
turning against her, taxes her with misconduct and publicly defames her
by saying, "I married this woman and when I had sexual intercourse with her
I did not find evidence of her virginity", the girl's father and mother
must take the evidence of her virginity and produce it before the elders
of the town, at the gate.
But if the accusation that the girl cannot show evidence of virginity is substantiated, she must be taken out, and at the door of her father's house her fellow-citizens must stone her to death for having committed an infamy in Israel by bringing disgrace on her father's family.
Deuteronomy 22 - If a virgin is engaged to a man, and another man encounters her in the town and has sexual intercourse with her, you will take them both to the gate of the town in question and stone them to death: the girl, for not having called for help in the town; the man, for having exploited his fellow-citizen's wife.
Deuteronomy 25 - If, when two men are fighting, the wife of one intervenes to protect her husband from the other's blows by reaching out and seizing the other by his private parts, you must cut off her hand and show no pity.
Deuteronomy 28 -
If you do not keep and observe all the words of this Law,
which are written in this book, in the fear of this glorious and
awe-inspiring name: Yahweh your God, Yahweh will strike you down
with monstrous plagues, you and your descendants: with plagues
grievous and lasting, diseases pernicious and enduring.
(I think we understand disease a little better now.)
Joshua 6 - So the people shouted, and the priests blew the trumpets; and it came to pass, when the people heard the sound of the trumpet, that the people shouted with a great shout, and the wall fell down flat, so that the people went up into the city, every man straight before him, and they took the city. And they utterly destroyed all that was in the city, both man and woman, both young and old, and ox, and sheep, and ass, with the edge of the sword.
"Babies Are Murdered Here" by SyeTenAtheist.
A bunch of people explain why killing all the babies of Jericho in Joshua 6 was the right thing to do.
Joshua 10 -
In the presence of Israel, Joshua said:
"Sun, stand still over Gibeon,
and, moon, you too,
over the Vale of Aijalon!"
And the sun stood still, and the moon halted, until the people
had taken vengeance on their enemies.
(The sun goes round the earth. It says so in the Bible.)
Judges 11 -
And Jephthah made a vow to Yahweh, "If you deliver the Ammonites into
my grasp, the first thing to come out of the doors of my house to meet me
when I return in triumph from fighting the Ammonites shall belong to Yahweh,
and I shall sacrifice it as a burnt offering."
As Jephthah returned to his house at Mizpah, his daughter came out to meet him, dancing to the sound of tambourines. She was his only child; apart from her, he had neither son nor daughter. When he saw her, he tore his clothes and exclaimed, "Oh my daughter, what misery you have brought upon me! You have joined those who bring misery into my life! I have made a promise before Yahweh which I cannot retract."
When the two months were over she went back to her father, and he treated her as the vow that he had uttered bound him.
An Atheist Reads the Bible - 3 - Jephthah.
Round-up of Old Testament slaughter by God, or ordered by God.
Centred on the sick, sick story of Jephthah.
Judges 19 - As they were making their hearts merry, behold, the men of the city, certain base fellows, beset the house round about, beating at the door; and they spake to the master of the house, the old man, saying, Bring forth the man that came into thy house, that we may know him. And the man, the master of the house, went out unto them, and said unto them, Nay, my brethren, I pray you, do not so wickedly; seeing that this man is come into my house, do not this folly. Behold, here is my daughter a virgin, and his concubine; them I will bring out now, and humble ye them, and do with them what seemeth good unto you: but unto this man do not any such folly. But the men would not hearken to him: so the man laid hold on his concubine, and brought her forth unto them; and they knew her, and abused her all the night until the morning: and when the day began to spring, they let her go. Then came the woman in the dawning of the day, and fell down at the door of the man's house where her lord was, till it was light. And her lord rose up in the morning, and opened the doors of the house, and went out to go his way; and, behold, the woman his concubine was fallen down at the door of the house, with her hands upon the threshold. And he said unto her, Up, and let us be going; but none answered: then he took her up upon the ass; and the man rose up, and gat him unto his place. And when he was come into his house, he took a knife, and laid hold on his concubine, and divided her, limb by limb, into twelve pieces, and sent her throughout all the borders of Israel.
Judges 21 - So the assembly sent twelve thousand fighting men with instructions to go to Jabesh Gilead and put to the sword those living there, including the women and children. "This is what you are to do," they said. "Kill every male and every woman who is not a virgin." They found among the people living in Jabesh Gilead four hundred young women who had never slept with a man, and they took them to the camp at Shiloh in Canaan.
1 Samuel 15 -
This is what Yahweh Sabaoth says, "I intend to punish what Amalek did
to Israel - laying a trap for him on the way as he was coming up from Egypt.
Now, go and crush Amalek; put him under the curse of destruction
with all that he possesses. Do not spare him, but kill man and woman,
babe and suckling, ox and sheep, camel and donkey."
Saul then crushed the Amalekites, beginning at Havilah in the direction of Shur, which is to the east of Egypt. He took Agag king of the Amalekites alive and, executing the curse of destruction, put all the people to the sword. But Saul and the army spared Agag with the best of the sheep and cattle, the fatlings and lambs and all that was good. They did not want to consign these to the curse of destruction; they consigned only what was poor and worthless.
(such as human beings not of their tribe.)
Kill the Amalekites!
Yahweh says: "Ah! I've got to stop being such a violent bloodthirsty maniac!"
2 Kings 2 - From there he (Elisha) went up to Bethel, and while he was on the road, some small boys came out of the town and jeered at him. "Hurry up, baldy!" they shouted. "Come on up, baldy!" He turned round and looked at them; and he cursed them in the name of Yahweh. And two bears came out of the forest and savaged forty-two of the boys. From there he went on to Mount Carmel and then returned to Samaria.
"Elisha The Cruel".
Elisha gets 42 small boys savaged by bears.
2 Kings 6 - But, as one of them was felling his beam, the iron axehead fell into the water. "Alas, my lord," he exclaimed, "and it was a borrowed one too!" "Where did it fall?" the man of God asked; and he showed him the spot. Then, cutting a stick, Elisha threw it in at that point and made the iron axehead float. "Lift it out," he said; and the man stretched out his hand and took it.
2 Kings 10 -
"Now call me all the prophets of Baal and all his priests.
Not one is to be absent: I have a great sacrifice to offer to Baal.
If anyone is absent, he will forfeit his life."
This was a trick on Jehu's part to destroy the devotees of Baal.
Now Jehu had stationed eighty of his men outside, having said, "Whoever lets one of the people go whom I am now putting within your clutches, will pay for it with his life." When he had finished making the burnt offering, he gave the order to the guards and equerries, "Go in, strike them down! Let no one out!" The guards and equerries went in, putting everyone to the sword all the way to the sanctuary of Baal's temple. They took the sacred pole out of Baal's temple and burned it. They demolished Baal's image and demolished Baal's temple too, making it into a latrine, which it still is today.
(The destruction of the temple of Baal was just an act of bigotry by a rival loony religion.)
2 Kings 23 -
The king ordered Hilkiah with the priest next in rank and the guardians
of the threshold to remove all the cult objects which had been made
for Baal, Asherah and the whole array of heaven; he burnt them outside
Jerusalem in the fields of the Kidron and had the ashes taken to Bethel.
He exterminated the spurious priests whom the kings of Judah had
appointed and who offered sacrifice on the high places, in the towns
of Judah and the neighbourhood of Jerusalem; also those who offered
sacrifice to Baal, to the sun, the moon, the constellations and the
whole array of heaven.
(Well, at least the sun and moon exist.)
Psalm 14 -
The fool says in his heart, "There is no God."
The Qur'an also gets an inkling of the truth: "[The infidels] say, 'It is only our life in this world, we die and we live, and naught destroys us but time!'"
You stretch out the heavens like a tent,
build your palace on the waters above
You fixed the earth on its foundations,
for ever and ever it shall not be shaken;
you covered it with the deep like a garment,
the waters overtopping the mountains.
By the rivers of Babylon
we sat and wept
at the memory of Zion.
Daughter of Babel, doomed to destruction,
a blessing on anyone
who treats you as you treated us,
a blessing on anyone who seizes your babies
and shatters them against a rock!
(I think Boney M left out this bit.)
Who was it measured the water of the sea in the hollow of his hand
and calculated the heavens to the nearest inch,
gauged the dust of the earth to the nearest bushel,
weighed the mountains in scales,
the hills in a balance?
Did you not know,
had you not heard?
Was it not told you from the beginning?
Have you not understood how the earth was set on its foundations?
He who sits enthroned above the circle of the earth,
the inhabitants of which are like grasshoppers,
stretches out the heavens like a cloth,
spreads them out like a tent to live in.
(BEDEMIR: And that, my liege, is how we know the Earth to be banana-shaped.
ARTHUR: This new learning amazes me, Sir Bedemir. Explain again how sheeps' bladders may be employed to prevent earthquakes.
BEDEMIR: Oh, certainly, sir.
- Scene 6 from Monty Python and the Holy Grail)
I, Yahweh, have made all things,
I alone spread out the heavens.
When I hammered the earth into shape, who was with me?
I, who foil the omens of soothsayers
and make fools of diviners,
who confound sages
turning their knowledge into folly
Jeremiah 48 - Accursed be he who does Yahweh's work negligently! Accursed be he who deprives his sword of blood!
Ezekiel 9 - And Jehovah said unto him, Go through the midst of the city, through the midst of Jerusalem, and set a mark upon the foreheads of the men that sigh and that cry over all the abominations that are done in the midst thereof. And to the others he said in my hearing, Go ye through the city after him, and smite: let not your eye spare, neither have ye pity; slay utterly the old man, the young man and the virgin, and little children and women; but come not near any man upon whom is the mark: and begin at my sanctuary. Then they began at the old men that were before the house. And he said unto them, Defile the house, and fill the courts with the slain: go ye forth. And they went forth, and smote in the city.
Ezekiel 16 -
You developed, you grew, you reached marriageable age. Your breasts became
firm and your hair grew richly, but you were stark naked.
To crown your wickedness - disaster upon you, disaster! declares the Lord Yahweh - you built yourself a mound and made yourself a high place in every open space. At the entry to every alley you made yourself a high place, defiling your beauty and opening your legs to all comers in countless acts of fornication. You have also fornicated with your big-membered neighbours, the Egyptians, provoking my anger with further acts of fornication.
I shall assemble all the lovers to whom you have given pleasure, all the ones you liked and also all the ones you disliked; yes, I shall assemble them round you and strip you naked in front of them, and let them see you naked from head to foot.
I shall hand you over to them; they will destroy your mound and pull down your high place; they will tear off your clothes, take away your jewels and leave you stark naked. Then they will call an assembly of citizens to deal with you, who will stone you to death and hack you to pieces with their swords, and burn down your premises and execute justice on you, while many other women look on; and I shall put an end to your whoring: no more paid lovers for you!
Ezekiel 23 -
Son of man, there were once two women, daughters of the same mother.
They played the whore in Egypt; they played the whore when they were
still girls. There their nipples were handled, there their virgin breasts
were first fondled.
Now Oholah played the whore, although she belonged to me; she lusted after her lovers, her neighbours the Assyrians, dressed in purple, governors and magistrates, all of them young and desirable, and skilful horsemen. She played the whore with all of them, the pick of Assyria, and defiled herself with all the foul idols of all those with whom she was in love, nor did she give up the whoring begun in Egypt, where men had slept with her from her girlhood, fondling her virgin breasts, debauching her over and over again.
That is why I have handed her over to her lovers, to the Assyrians with whom she was in love. They stripped her naked, seized her sons and daughters and put her to the sword. She became notorious among women for the justice done on her.
Her sister Oholibah saw all this, but she was even more depraved, and her whorings were worse than her sister's.
Thus she flaunted her whoring, exposing her body, until I withdrew my affection from her as I had withdrawn it from her sister. But she began whoring worse than ever, remembering her girlhood, when she had played the whore in Egypt, when she had been in love with their profligates, big-membered as donkeys, ejaculating as violently as stallions.
Meme from here.
Picture is of preacher Joel Osteen.
Matthew 8 -
When he (Jesus) reached the territory of the Gadarenes on the other side,
two demoniacs came towards him out of the tombs - they were so
dangerously violent that nobody could use that path. Suddenly they
shouted, "What do you want with us, Son of God? Have you come here
to torture us before the time?" Now some distance away there was
a large herd of pigs feeding, and the devils pleaded with Jesus,
"If you drive us out, send us into the herd of pigs." And he said to them,
"Go then," and they came out and made for the pigs; and at that the whole
herd charged down the cliff into the lake and perished in the water.
The herdsmen ran off and made for the city, where they told the whole story,
including what had happened to the demoniacs.
(Jesus believed that insanity was caused by demons (also here).)
Matthew 9 -
And getting into a boat he crossed over and came to his own city.
And behold, they brought to him a paralytic, lying on his bed; and when Jesus saw their faith he said to the paralytic, "Take heart, my son; your sins are forgiven."
And behold, some of the scribes said to themselves, "This man is blaspheming."
But Jesus, knowing their thoughts, said, "Why do you think evil in your hearts?
For which is easier, to say, 'Your sins are forgiven,' or to say, 'Rise and walk'?
But that you may know that the Son of man has authority on earth to forgive sins" --he then said to the paralytic--"Rise, take up your bed and go home."
And he rose and went home.
When the crowds saw it, they were afraid, and they glorified God, who had given such authority to men.
(Jesus believed that disease was caused by sin (also here).)
Matthew 15 - Leaving that place, Jesus withdrew to the region of Tyre and Sidon. A Canaanite woman from that vicinity came to him, crying out, "Lord, Son of David, have mercy on me! My daughter is suffering terribly from demon-possession." Jesus did not answer a word. So his disciples came to him and urged him, "Send her away, for she keeps crying out after us." He answered, "I was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel." The woman came and knelt before him. "Lord, help me!" she said. He replied, "It is not right to take the children's bread and toss it to their dogs." "Yes, Lord," she said, "but even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters' table." Then Jesus answered, "Woman, you have great faith! Your request is granted." And her daughter was healed from that very hour.
Matthew 18 - Then the king called in the man he had forgiven and said, 'You evil servant! I forgave you that tremendous debt because you pleaded with me. Shouldn't you have mercy on your fellow servant, just as I had mercy on you?' Then the angry king sent the man to prison to be tortured until he had paid his entire debt. "That's what my heavenly Father will do to you if you refuse to forgive your brothers and sisters from your heart."
Matthew 24 -
In truth I tell you, before this generation has passed away,
all these things will have taken place.
(hmm, should be any day now.)
Matthew 24 -
For in those days before the Flood people were eating, drinking,
taking wives, taking husbands, right up to the day Noah went into
the ark, and they suspected nothing till the Flood came and
swept them all away.
(Jesus is not aware that the Flood did not happen.)
Matthew 27 -
Pilate said to them, "Then what shall I do with Jesus who is called Christ?" They all said, "Let him be crucified."
And he said, "Why, what evil has he done?" But they shouted all the more, "Let him be crucified."
So when Pilate saw that he was gaining nothing, but rather that a riot was beginning, he took water and washed his hands before the crowd, saying, "I am innocent of this man's blood; see to it yourselves."
And all the people answered, "His blood be on us and on our children!"
(Another candidate for the most evil words in the Bible. This passage was repeatedly cited in the killing of uncounted Jewish innocents throughout the history of Christianity, culminating in the Holocaust.)
Mark 3 -
Verily I say unto you, All their sins shall be forgiven unto the sons of men,
and their blasphemies wherewith soever they shall blaspheme:
but whosoever shall blaspheme against the Holy Spirit hath never forgiveness,
but is guilty of an eternal sin:
because they said, He hath an unclean spirit.
(Jesus says there are certain crimes of mere speech for which you will go to hell, for which you will never be forgiven. This is the basis of the Blasphemy Challenge. In fact, I'll test Jesus right now. I hereby deny the Holy Spirit. I deny its existence. It is merely a fictional construct. Hell is fictional too, as is God, Satan and Heaven. There.)
Mark 11 -
Next day as they were leaving Bethany, he (Jesus) felt hungry.
Seeing a fig tree in leaf some distance away, he went to see if
he could find any fruit on it, but when he came up to it he found
nothing but leaves; for it was not the season for figs.
And he addressed the fig tree, "May no one ever eat fruit
from you again."
Next morning, as they passed by, they saw the fig tree withered to the roots. Peter remembered. "Look, Rabbi," he said to Jesus, "the fig tree that you cursed has withered away."
(What a sad and pathetic story.)
Luke 2 -
Now so it was that after three days they found Him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the teachers, both listening to them and asking them questions. And all who heard Him were astonished at His understanding and answers. So when they saw Him, they were amazed; and His mother said to Him, "Son, why have You done this to us? Look, Your father and I have sought You anxiously."
And He said to them, "Why did you seek Me? Did you not know that I must be about My Father's business?"
But they did not understand the statement which He spoke to them.
(Don't Mary and Joseph remember that she was visited by an angel, their son was born of a virgin, visited at birth by Kings, and Herod tried to kill him? Don't they know he is a demi-god already? Why are they surprised by what he does? Don't they know already? Obviously not, because obviously those amazing events never happened.
In fact, later in life, why doesn't Jesus say to the Pharisees: "Remember when Herod killed all the infants? It was me he was after." Why doesn't Jesus remind people of the amazing events at his birth? Because obviously those amazing events never happened.)
Luke 9 - I tell you truly, there are some standing here who will not taste death before they see the kingdom of God.
Luke 12 -
Think of the ravens. They do not sow or reap; they have no storehouses
and no barns; yet God feeds them.
(Jesus doesn't know much about biology. Nature is not a place where each creature is taken care of. It is a brutal, overpopulated struggle for existence; a place where the weak go to the wall. But this was not understood until Darwin's time.)
Luke 16 -
The rich man also died and was buried.
In his torment in Hades he looked up and saw Abraham a long way off with Lazarus in his embrace. So he cried out, "Father Abraham, pity me and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, for I am in agony in these flames." Abraham said, "My son, remember that during your life you had your fill of good things, just as Lazarus his fill of bad. Now he is being comforted here while you are in agony."
Luke 18 -
it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.
(This whole page illustrates that Christians pick and choose which parts of the Bible they take seriously, based on some external (and more profound) secular morality. This particular passage illustrates how they do that with the Gospels as well - few Christians in history have taken this passage seriously. In the same vein, a humanist reading of Jesus' life would find much of value among his ideas, but would not take the supernatural references seriously.)
John 20 -
Now Thomas, one of the twelve, called the Twin, was not with them when Jesus came.
So the other disciples told him, "We have seen the Lord." But he said to them, "Unless I see in his hands the print of the nails, and place my finger in the mark of the
nails, and place my hand in his side, I will not believe."
Eight days later, his disciples were again in the house, and Thomas was with them. The doors were shut, but Jesus came and stood among them, and said, "Peace be with you." Then he said to Thomas, "Put your finger here, and see my hands; and put out your hand, and place it in my side; do not be faithless, but believing." Thomas answered him, "My Lord and my God!" Jesus said to him, "Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet believe."
"What Would Jesus NOT Do?"
The missed opportunities of the Jesus visit to earth - such as telling us something about mathematics, science, technology, history or medicine.
"We always hear about the many amazing things that Jesus of Nazareth apparently did, but nobody ever asks about the things that Jesus supposedly COULD have done, .. but either didn't bother to do or didn't think were all that important. You know, things like... reducing human misery and suffering... It occurs to me that if indeed the miracles recorded in the Bible were in fact true, and really did happen... then that only shows Yahweh/Jesus to be an even MORE malevolent and cruel being than we see in the Old Testament ... If the miracles somehow prove that Jesus WAS in fact a god in human form, but all he could be bothered to do was turn water into wine and heal only a few hundred, or even a few thousand people with his magic saliva, then really - what is the use or good of such a god? Think of what a visiting, omnipotent deity COULD have done - but in this case, apparently, chose not to!!!!! And this is meant to be that god's main advertisement of its existence! Walking on water in front of a few of his mates"
Romans 5 -
Well then; it was through one man that sin came into the world,
and through sin death, and thus death has spread through the whole
human race because everyone has sinned.
(Paul is not aware that Adam did not exist. Nor is he aware that we evolved from creatures who had been living and dying for millions of years.)
Romans 13 - Everyone is to obey the governing authorities, because there is no authority except from God and so whatever authorities exist have been appointed by God.
ARTHUR: I am your king!
WOMAN: Well, I didn't vote for you.
ARTHUR: You don't vote for kings.
WOMAN: Well, 'ow did you become king then?
ARTHUR: The Lady of the Lake, [angels sing] her arm clad in the purest shimmering samite, held aloft Excalibur from the bosom of the water signifying by Divine Providence that I, Arthur, was to carry Excalibur. [singing stops] That is why I am your king!
DENNIS: Listen - strange women lying in ponds distributing swords is no basis for a system of government. Supreme executive power derives from a mandate from the masses, not from some farcical aquatic ceremony.
- The "Bloody peasant!" scene from Monty Python and the Holy Grail.
1 Corinthians 6 - Keep away from sexual immorality. All other sins that people may commit are done outside the body; but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body. Do you not realise that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you and whom you received from God? You are not your own property, then; you have been bought at a price. So use your body for the glory of God.
1 Corinthians 7 - But I say to the unmarried and to widows, It is good for them if they abide even as I. But if they have not continency, let them marry: for it is better to marry than to burn.
(Some modern translations have this as "it is better to marry than to burn with desire" rather than "burn in hell". But this is not the traditional understanding. Douay says: "it is better to marry than to be burnt". King James says: "it is better to marry than to burn". I suspect Paul would be surprised to hear this modern interpretation. Did anybody suggest this interpretation before say 1800? Or even 1900? Tell me here.)
1 Corinthians 7 -
What I mean, brothers, is that the time has become limited,
and from now on, those who have spouses should live as though
they had none;
Because this world as we know it is passing away.
(passing away rather slowly it seems.)
The failed prophecies of Jesus, and of the early Christians:
"In truth I tell you, before this generation has passed away, all these things will have taken place."
"I tell you truly, there are some standing here who will not taste death before they see the kingdom of God."
"Because this world as we know it is passing away."
1 Corinthians 8 - On the subject of eating foods dedicated to false gods, we are well aware that none of the false gods exist in reality and that there is no God other than the One.
1 Corinthians 11 -
But I should like you to understand that the head of every man is Christ,
the head of woman is man, and the head of Christ is God.
But for a man it is not right to have his head covered, since he is the image of God and reflects God's glory; but woman is the reflection of man's glory. For man did not come from woman; no, woman came from man; nor was man created for the sake of woman, but woman for the sake of man: and this is why it is right for a woman to wear on her head a sign of the authority over her, because of the angels.
1 Corinthians 13 -
When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child,
I reasoned like a child; when I became a man, I gave up childish ways.
(This is how I feel about when I was a child, when I believed there was a supernatural world. When I was 17, I gave up childish ways.)
1 Corinthians 14 - As in all the churches of God's holy people, women are to remain quiet in the assemblies, since they have no permission to speak: theirs is a subordinate part, as the Law itself says. If there is anything they want to know, they should ask their husbands at home: it is shameful for a woman to speak in the assembly.
Ephesians 5 - Wives should be subject to their husbands as to the Lord, since, as Christ is head of the Church and saves the whole body, so is a husband the head of his wife; and as the Church is subject to Christ, so should wives be to their husbands, in everything.
Ephesians 6 - Slaves, be obedient to those who are, according to human reckoning, your masters, with deep respect and sincere loyalty, as you are obedient to Christ: not only when you are under their eye, as if you had only to please human beings, but as slaves of Christ who wholeheartedly do the will of God.
1 Timothy 2 - During instruction, a woman should be quiet and respectful. I give no permission for a woman to teach or to have authority over a man. A woman ought to be quiet, because Adam was formed first and Eve afterwards, and it was not Adam who was led astray but the woman who was led astray and fell into sin. Nevertheless, she will be saved by child-bearing, provided she lives a sensible life and is constant in faith and love and holiness.
No children? Off to hell you go!
From New Testament Stories - Comically Illustrated by Watson Heston.
Titus 2 - Similarly, older women should behave as befits religious people, with no scandal-mongering and no addiction to wine - they must be the teachers of right behaviour and show younger women how they should love their husbands and love their children, how they must be sensible and chaste, and how to work in their homes, and be gentle, and obey their husbands, so that the message of God is not disgraced.
Hebrews 11 - It was through his faith that Noah, when he had been warned by God of something that had never been seen before, took care to build an ark to save his family.
1 Peter 2 - Slaves, you should obey your masters respectfully, not only those who are kind and reasonable but also those who are difficult to please. You see, there is merit if, in awareness of God, you put up with the pains of undeserved punishment; but what glory is there in putting up with a beating after you have done something wrong? The merit in the sight of God is in putting up with it patiently when you are punished for doing your duty.
1 Peter 3 - In the same way, husbands must always treat their wives with consideration in their life together, respecting a woman as one who, though she may be the weaker partner, is equally an heir to the generous gift of life.
1 Peter 3 -
They refused to believe long ago, while God patiently waited to
receive them, in Noah's time when the ark was being built.
In it only a few, that is eight souls, were saved through water.
(Clearly, Jesus isn't the only one who has problems telling fact from fiction.)
Revelation 12 -
As soon as the dragon found himself hurled down to the earth,
he sprang in pursuit of the woman, the mother of the male child,
but she was given a pair of the great eagle's wings to fly away
from the serpent into the desert, to the place where she was
to be looked after for a time, two times and half a time.
So the serpent vomited water from his mouth, like a river,
after the woman, to sweep her away in the current, but the earth
came to her rescue; it opened its mouth and swallowed the river
spewed from the dragon's mouth.
Revelation 17 -
was dressed in purple and scarlet and glittered with
gold and jewels and pearls, and she was holding a gold winecup
filled with the disgusting filth of her prostitution;
But the ten horns and the beast will turn against the prostitute, and tear off her clothes and leave her stark naked; then they will eat her flesh and burn the remains in the fire.
(The kind of thoughts you would find inside the head of some misogynic rapist or serial killer.)
Revelation 21 - But the legacy for cowards, for those who break their word, or worship obscenities, for murderers and the sexually immoral, and for sorcerers, worshippers of false gods or any other sort of liars, is the second death in the burning lake of sulphur.
Women burning in Islamic hell for the crime of immodest dress.
Persian, 15th century. From here.
Islamic hell does not exist either.
Wisdom 10 -
It was Wisdom who protected the first man to be fashioned,
the father of the world, who had been created all alone,
she it was who rescued him from his fall
and gave him the strength to subjugate all things.
When because of him the earth was drowned, it was Wisdom again who saved it, piloting the upright man on valueless timber.
(Amusingly, my Bible entitles this section "Wisdom at work in history".)
Wisdom 13 - Yes, naturally stupid are all who are unaware of God, and who, from good things seen, have not been able to discover Him-who-is, or, by studying the works, have not recognised the Artificer. Fire, however, or wind, or the swift air, the sphere of the stars, impetuous water, heaven's lamps, are what they have held to be the gods who govern the world.
Work your slave hard, and you will have peace of mind,
leave his hands idle, and he will be asking for his freedom.
Yoke and harness will bow the neck,
for a bad servant, torments and the rack.
Set him to work, so that he will not be idle;
idleness teaches every kind of mischief.
(such as a concept of human rights.)
The sun, as he emerges, proclaims at his rising,
"How wonderful a thing, the work of the Most High!"
Great is the Lord who created him
and whose word speeds him on his course.
2 Esdras 6 -
Upon the third day thou didst command that the waters should
be gathered in the seventh part of the earth: six parts hast thou
dried up, and kept them, to the intent that of these some being
planted of God and tilled might serve thee.
(This error (thinking that the earth is 6/7 land and 1/7 water) inspired Columbus to believe that the earth was much smaller than the ancient Greeks said it was and so he could sail west to Asia.
But the Bible was wrong, and Columbus was wrong. The ancient Greeks were right - the earth really is as big as they had said it was. Columbus' mission was heading for total failure, except, by pure chance, there was an unknown continent in between Europe and Asia, which saved him.)
Globe of 1492 showing how people thought the world looked before Columbus.
Shows ocean between Asia (left) and Europe and Africa (right).
Does not know that the Americas exist.
How come the Bible was not able to tell us about the Americas? (Or indeed about any new fact.)
"It would be better to
destroy every other book ever written,
and save just the first 3 verses of Genesis."
- Early 20th century Democratic Presidential candidate and anti-evolution campaigner William Jennings Bryan shows us a glimpse of the future Dark Ages that religion always threatens to bring.
"What I can do is agree with" [an angry ex-Muslim who rejects all gods].
"The god to whom he was exposed - the capricious, vindictive, power-hungry celestial narcissist, whose prophet was a bigot and a bandit - should not, cannot, must not exist. If he did, we should enlist as his enemies. We should not wish to spend eternity with him, to grind our own foreheads forever into his dust. Any soul with honor ought instead to rebel, forever. Better to serve in hell than in that heaven."
- Roland Shirk (who is a Christian) on the Islamic god "Allah".
I would apply that to the Old Testament God too. If Allah or the Old Testament God existed, I would not worship them. I would oppose them, and try to support someone better.
Return to The Bible.