How the Bible is Like Honey Boo Boo

In case you’ve been living under a rock, Here Comes Honey Boo Boo is a reality show featuring six-year-old Alana (nicknamed Honey Boo Boo) and her family at home in rural Georgia.

America got its first look at Honey Boo Boo in another reality show, Toddlers & Tiaras. This show gave a backstage look at child beauty pageants, and it was a look that upset many viewers (see the photo of a four-year-old beauty pageant contestant, above). Should little girls be pushed into beauty pageants? Does makeup and acting like a teenager sexualize little girls? Looking at women who did this as children, is it a net positive experience?

Many people think that the place for little girls is the playground, not the stage in a beauty pageant. In the same way, using the Bible to address modern social and moral issues is like pushing a four-year-old into a beauty pageant—it’s simply a poor fit.

The Bible demands genocide, because it comes from a time when that was a reasonable response. It supports slavery, because it comes from a time when that was used with both fellow Jews (slavery for six years) and people from other tribes (slavery for life).

The Bible might have made sense in the context of Palestine 2000 years ago. Perhaps its laws were more humane than those of nearby tribes. But dragging the Bible from where it came from and demanding that it perform in the 21st century is putting it where it doesn’t belong.

The Bible belongs in the domains of history, literature, or anthropology, like the Iliad, Gilgamesh, or the Egyptian Book of the Dead. At best, it can provide insights or lessons by showing us what worked and what didn’t in another culture. That’s it.

At worst, we put it on a pedestal, demand that it speak, and then treat its inept words as divine. It’s as out of place as a four-year-old in a beauty pageant.

Life is meaningless. …
I think it’s absurd—the idea of seeking meaning
in the set of circumstances that happens to exist
after 13.8 billion years’ worth of unguided events.
Leave it to humans to think the universe has a purpose for them. …
There is only one sensible thing to do with this empty existence, and that is: fill it. …
Life is best filled by learning as much as you can about as much as you can,
taking pride in whatever you’re doing,
having compassion, sharing ideas, being enthusiastic. …
It’s an incredibly exciting thing, this one meaningless life of yours.
— Tim Minchin


Photo credit: babble

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About Bob Seidensticker