Illustrated Stories from the Bible

I just came across this book recently. It may be the most disturbing thing I’ve ever seen in my life. (And I’ve seen 2 Girls 1 Cup.)

The book is called Illustrated Stories from the Bible (that they won’t tell you in Sunday School) by Paul Farrell, published by American Atheists Press.

The title gives away what’s inside.

So does the cover…

That’s from 2 Kings 2:24, by the way.

Let’s see what else is inside…

There’s the story of Uriah the Hittite (II Samuel, Chapters 11-12), in which God decided to kill David’s baby. “David wondered why an innocent baby should be killed but he was relieved that he personally would not have to feel any pain. So God personally put a horrible plague on the newly born little baby and it struggled and suffered in great pain”:

There’s also the Slaughter of the Midianites (Numbers, Chapters 21-31), in which God’s men were told to kill the non-virgin mothers along with their unborn children:

Can’t forget the sister-raping in 2 Samuel 13:1-19, when David’s son Amnon ravishes his sister Tamar against her will:

Clearly, great bedtime stories for children. Or a great gag gift for atheists. Or a book that just makes you think the next time someone calls the Bible the “Good Book.”

Just to be clear, no one is suggested this is what Christianity is all about. I’ll be the first to admit there are plenty of positive messages in the Bible, too.

The author’s point is that we should not forget or gloss over the stories that depict God or God’s followers in a bad light. It’s all in the same book.

I’m curious how many Christians were aware of these stories at all — and if so, how were they explained to you growing up.

  • Vincent

    can’t tell you when I heard them. Read the entire OT in a college course at a Catholic college so I read them all, but Catholics pretty much take the OT as myth anyway.

    Were there any NT stories illustrated?

  • http://bjornisageek.blogspot.com Bjorn Watland

    I picked up this book at the American Atheists Conference when it was in Minneapolis. My dad is in Seminary, and I mentioned the Second Kings passage. He said that the professors at the Seminary liked that passage, especially the bald ones. I read an explanation that the story is a warning not to tease God’s Prophets. Also, children will suffer if they arent’ raised properly by their parents.

  • Daniel Hoffman

    Atheists raising a fuss about 2 Kings 2:24 and the third picture rings very hollow to me when 1) Most of them won’t lift a finger to oppose abortion, and 2) They don’t believe in real and objective evil anyway. Again, please give a coherent account for why these things are “bad”, then we can discuss their purpose in scripture and life.

    These stories give a glimpse of how God feels about sin.

  • http://consonants.blogspot.com Deepa

    I am a Christian who regularly attended church, Sunday school and prayer meetings while growing up. From what I can remember, none of these stories were taught in Sunday school but the first story was often discussed in private prayer meetings along with the story of God killing Uzzah for touching the Ark of the Covenant. Some thought that it served as a horrible warning against blasphemy. Excessive? Yes. Reason to discount all that is good in the Bible? No.

    I guess it was tacitly recognized in my church that the Old Testament was not gospel. We were to pick only those stories which made moral sense in this day and age when teaching it to children. But we could and would discuss the more disturbing stories when we were in prayer meetings(no small children around).

  • http://www.zzzbot.com/vb/ thecages

    Great find! It’s rare to find something that really pushes the boundaries of what is acceptable in polite society without losing its credibility. The images and stories might be graphic, but they remain credible precisely because they are a true representation of large parts of the Bible (especially the Old Testament).
    I started work on a similar, but less brutal, series of web comics but never got beyond the first two episodes: Joseph and His Brothers and Ruth and Boaz. I originally wrote them in Afrikaans since that is the language in which I was taught the Bible. The title of the series translates loosely to the Dirty-ass bible and the two surviving episodes are available here.
    Shameless plug aside, this type of retelling of ancient stories is healthy for society at large and for Christianity.

  • http://travelfork.blogspot.com/ Sabayon

    No, I think everyone here believes in real, objective evil, just not a devil. I believe that people are wholly responsible for their own evil acts.
    I do however remember reading an illustrated child’s bible when I was younger that mentioned the rape of Dinah and then said she had it coming to her for associating with gentiles. Nice.

  • Daniel Hoffman

    I guess it was tacitly recognized in my church that the Old Testament was not gospel.

    Luke 24:44-48
    Gal 3:8
    Heb 11:13-16
    The whole Levitical Institution.
    The Exodus from Egypt.
    Promises of forgiveness and repentance in the prophets.
    Paul’s whole argument for justification in Rom 3-4 taken from OT quotations and illustrations.
    That Jesus appeared on the scene saying “Repent and believe the Gospel” – Mark 1.

    The OT is shot through with, upheld by, and makes sense only with the gospel.

    The gospel is proclaimed first in Genesis 3:15.

  • Daniel Hoffman

    No, I think everyone here believes in real, objective evil, just not a devil.

    What makes something “evil”? What if two people differ on what they think is “evil”, who’s right? If the universe consists of matter and energy and time – what precise atomic make-up and energy level and position in the space-time continuum makes the quality of “evil”?

    I believe that people are wholly responsible for their own evil acts.

    Responsible to who? What if they commit an atrocity then run off to the woods and become a hermit and die a natural and painless death? Are they responsible then? And if so, and they are dead, what does it now matter?

  • Chris

    Daniel Hoffman:

    Atheists raising a fuss about 2 Kings 2:24 and the third picture rings very hollow to me when 1) Most of them won’t lift a finger to oppose abortion, and 2) They don’t believe in real and objective evil anyway. Again, please give a coherent account for why these things are “bad”, then we can discuss their purpose in scripture and life.

    Wow, the baby is the only one you focus on in the story?!
    It doesn’t bother you that God is ordering the murder of non-virgins, and the kidnapping of virgins? Women really have so little value?
    It doesn’t bother you that, in order to punish David, God is effectively removing the free-will from his son, and forcing rape upon his daughter?

    These stories give a glimpse of how God feels about sin.

    If you mean that he feels any sin is OK no matter how reprehensible as long as you’re punishing someone else for sinning, then yeah, I get a glimpse of that, and want no part in it.

  • http://consonants.blogspot.com Deepa

    @Daniel Hoffman: I think you misunderstood me. I did not mean to imply that the gospel somehow diminishes the OT.
    What I meant to say is we were asked to take the OT stories with a grain of salt. We were not supposed to take it as the gospel truth.

  • http://travelfork.blogspot.com/ Sabayon

    Humans are social animals, we can mutually agree on a definition of what is right and wrong based on mutual benefit and harm. Although the only universal taboo is incest, most cultures also ban murder, rape, slavery, and other crimes which harm others and which they would not want to have done to them. Someone who commits an atrocity must answer to society, and so what is they run off to be a hermit, exile has been considered by many societies throughout history to be a punishment second only to death (or worse than), especially if it is an exile that bans any human contact.
    As a humanist I feel I have a moral duty to help and avoid harming my fellow humans in any way I can. Not because I fear a day of judgment, but because I want to create a more humane, livable world for myself and my nieces and nephews, their children, etc. So, who are we responsible to? Every other of the 6 billion people living on this planet. That’s who.

  • http://forknowledge.wordpress.com forknowledge

    What makes something “evil”? What if two people differ on what they think is “evil”, who’s right? If the universe consists of matter and energy and time – what precise atomic make-up and energy level and position in the space-time continuum makes the quality of “evil”?

    …whu?

    The above sentences are more or less meaningless. What on Earth does ‘precise atomic make-up’ have to do with anything?

    You seem to be confusing physics with morality, which is…well, very odd, to say the least. Many atheists do not use words like ‘evil’, mainly for the connotations of objective ‘good and evil’ that they convey. A full description of secular morality would take way too long to go into here, but the information is out there and easily accesible if you’re actually interested. Reason and empathy are really all you need to formulate a working moral framework.

    Responsible to who? What if they commit an atrocity then run off to the woods and become a hermit and die a natural and painless death? Are they responsible then? And if so, and they are dead, what does it now matter?

    Again, you’re confusing two very different ideas, in this case responsibility and punishment. In this case our hypothetical hermit has ignored his responsibility to not, say, kill other people. Or perhaps he doesn’t believe he has such a responsibility – who knows? This is why we have legal systems; not to uphold divine morality handed down from on high, but to regulate society according to the wishes of those who live within it. In most societies on Earth, killing is something that will get you thrown in prison. This is a reasonable course of action; if someone insists on killing, it’s only right to remove them from society so that they can’t kill again.

    In the case of the hermit, he’s evaded punishment and has gotten away scot-free with his crime. (Well, sort of; I guess being forced to live in the woods on their own isn’t too great, but it’s not exactly ‘punishment’). This is unfortunate, but it happens.

  • Polly

    I had an illustrated (comic book style) Bible when I was a kid. I don’t recall Tamar getting it doggie style, nor was that scene part of the panel.

    Mostly, I just remember Samson.

    I read all these stories myself as a kid. I read virtually all the OT and NT probably before I was a teenager. The only parts I skipped around were the boring parts – the construction details of the tabernacle, the description of the different sacrifices, the headcounts of tribes, etc. I read those parts later.

    I was absolutely disgusted as a youngster with what I read. I remember ripping up the Bible(the regular kind) as a teenager . But, for some reason I still stuck, more or less, to the faith ’cause I really thought it was True. Too many pseudo-scientists and mental gymanastic “work arounds” are put out by the Bible thumper Industry. It creates a bubble of pretty internally-consistent fairytales. Just enough coherence to keep even a natural skeptic like me in the faith for far longer than I should have been.

  • Becky

    Wow love this book! I really, really want a copy. BTW I just noticed the new header and layout (a bit slow, yes) and I had to say: LOOKING GOOD!! =D You and the website.

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  • Z

    I’m always surprised by those that believe the bible to be god’s inspired word, the light, but then also decide not to pay heed to the parts they don’t particularly like. What kind of capriciousness does it take to punish David’s family in lieu of punishing David? Does this count toward explaining what evil is? Sure, you can say “oh, but it’s ‘God’ and he can do what he likes in his all knowing wisdom” and I ask you is that the kind of person you’d load $500 to? If not, what are you doing worshiping him?

  • absent sway

    I think I encountered all of these stories as a child–some were briefly alluded to in Sunday school and some I read on my own. In my simple understanding of the Bible being infallible and unquestionable, these were things God had authority to do, and it was clear you don’t mess with God. I remember asking why Achan’s family had to be killed when it seemed they didn’t know he had stolen anything (this was in Sunday school and I was probably six years old), and the answer was something along the lines of, if the children continued to be raised by Achan, they would become bad people, too, so best to nip it in the bud. I always felt surprised that God didn’t avenge Dinah and Tamar, too–this bothered me more when I was older.

  • TXatheist

    Daniel, if I raise a finger to oppose abortion can you guarantee no back alley abortions will occur? One is a surgical procedure from a professional, one is not.

    What is evil? I’m asking you to define it since you say we don’t know what it is.

  • llewelly

    Daniel Hoffman:

    Atheists raising a fuss about 2 Kings 2:24 and the third picture rings very hollow to me when 1) Most of them won’t lift a finger to oppose abortion …

    The pro-choice position is that the woman chooses whether or not to keep the fetus, and continues to live and be healthy whichever choice she makes.
    In 2 Kings 2:24, women are murdered because they cary fetuses sired by non-Jews. The women involved are given no choice whatsoever, and are murdered. This differs from abortion as much as rape does from consensual sex.

    … and 2) They don’t believe in real and objective evil anyway.

    This is a lie. I would say that you are mistaken, but I see that you have posted in many atheist forums and have read the articles there. You know that many atheists do believe in objective evil.

  • http://cabalamat.wordpress.com/ Cabalamat

    Maybe they should teach that book in schools.

  • cipher

    My Hasidic nephew justified the 2 Kings story by quoting some rabbinic source, which said that it wasn’t children making fun of the prophet Elisha, but adolescent punks. He seemed to think that made it more justifiable!

    The OT is shot through with, upheld by, and makes sense only with the gospel.

    From the Jewish perspective, may I say – bullshit.

    The gospel is proclaimed first in Genesis 3:15.

    You mean this?

    And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel.

    Aside from obsessing, once again, with “sin” (which is pretty much all you guys are capable of) – how in the world does this even begin to relate to the proclamation of the Gospel?

  • Polly

    @cipher,
    I’ve heard that justification also. But, the added ingredient was that the young punks were teenage boys who were threatening Elisha with death by telling him “to go up” which means they were going to kill him.
    I don’t know if the passage supports this. It all hinges on the definition of the Hebrew word describing the age of the children. I do find it curious that translations of the Bible are respected until they come under attack. Then it’s all revisionist linguistics.

    What does your nephew think of the command to exterminate the Cannanites et. al.? Does he relate this to the Palestinians of today?

    Off topic:

    Daniel, if I raise a finger to oppose abortion can you guarantee no back alley abortions will occur? One is a surgical procedure from a professional, one is not.

    I think that as technology progresses, importation of “abortion pills” like RU-486 might eliminate backalley abortions. Hence, even if abortions were made illegal, (and I don’t expect that) it might still be safer to abort without a doctor than prior generations. Even then it’s not as simple as “just taking a pill”, I realize. But, it’s a start.
    I would really love it if no woman ever felt the need to have one, especially because of man-made economic and social hardships or because of a lack of sex ed.

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  • PrimeNumbers

    Daniel Hoffman, my personal stance on abortion is that I do not want it to happen. I love babies and think they’re great. However, in places and times when abortion has been illegal, women have sought it anyway, and women and babies have died. So, although, in theory, it would be lovely if no abortions (other than mother nature’s miscarriages, and I don’t like to see them happen either, but there’s nothing I can do about it) occurred. So, for practical reasons I think it’s good that doctors can perform abortions, but I’d hope that their services go un-used.

    As for believing in an objective evil, even if you believe in a specific god with a specific moral code, then that moral code is arbitrarily defined by that god, and communicated through the rather lossy means of “revealed truth.” I’ll stick to the golden rule.

    If you don’t know why killing children is bad…..

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  • TheDeadEye

    Daniel Hoffman: These stories give a glimpse of how God feels about sin.

    That’s its perfectly fine as long as its in His name?

  • Karen

    Too many pseudo-scientists and mental gymanastic “work arounds” are put out by the Bible thumper Industry. It creates a bubble of pretty internally-consistent fairytales. Just enough coherence to keep even a natural skeptic like me in the faith for far longer than I should have been.

    Ditto. None of these stories is emphasized, certainly not taught in Sunday school, and if/when they do come up in Bible studies they are glossed over or interpreted away with familiar, comforting explanations.

    If you’re heard them your whole life coming from people you’ve been taught to trust, those pretty workarounds are acceptable. It’s only when you start looking and listening with a critical eye/ear that those “interpretations” start to fall apart.

    And then, of course, you’re told that you have closed your heart to the holy spirit and that’s why the standard lines no longer work for you. Sigh.

  • http://thehappyhuman.wordpress.com John

    If the universe consists of matter and energy and time – what precise atomic make-up and energy level and position in the space-time continuum makes the quality of “evil”?

    You’re begging the question. Nobody’s claiming that evil consists of only atoms and energy.

    You might as well ask what precise atomic make-up and energy level and position in the space-time continuum makes the quality of “happy”, or “awesome”, or “so mind-blowingly, gut-wrenchingly ignorant and/or deceitful that it hurts my brain to acknowledge.”

    On a completely unrelated subject, my brain hurts.

  • Samuel Skinner

    “If the universe consists of matter and energy and time – what precise atomic make-up and energy level and position in the space-time continuum makes the quality of “evil”?”

    Simple. Evil is a concept. As such it doesn’t have physical existance like matter, but describes certain things in reality. The term is generally applied to cases where a large amount of suffering, pain and death is caused for selfish and unjustified purposes.

    As for
    “I just came across this book recently. It may be the most disturbing thing I’ve ever seen in my life. (And I’ve seen 2 Girls 1 Cup.)”

    … BWAHAHHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHAH
    http://www.kuro5hin.org/story/2005/5/28/193926/689
    http://hradzka.livejournal.com/194753.html?view=958401#t958401
    peter stubbe

    And… no. I won’t put up the last one- I’m not THAT cruel.

  • Rest

    Some of those so-called horrid Old Testament stories may just be myths to get a point across. You can’t take them all literally. You atheists are so hell-bent on making God look like a terrible being.

    However, the the New Testament is literally true, each and every miracle.

    Why? Because it’s true.

  • Rest

    The above message was supposed to be sarcastic. :-)

  • Siamang

    Hemant,

    You might have put at least that last picture below the page jump, with a NSFW warning.

  • http://blargen.com/blog/ postsimian

    Must… purchase…

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  • Daniel Hoffman

    Daniel, if I raise a finger to oppose abortion can you guarantee no back alley abortions will occur? One is a surgical procedure from a professional, one is not.

    Are you suggesting that murder should be permissible as long as it’s done in a sterile environment?

    What is evil? I’m asking you to define it since you say we don’t know what it is.

    Evil is any lack of conformity, in heart or thought or act, to God’s law.

    This is a lie. I would say that you are mistaken, but I see that you have posted in many atheist forums and have read the articles there. You know that many atheists do believe in objective evil.

    I misspoke a bit. I know many do believe in objective evil – but that’s the point. Objective evil can only rationally exist in a Christian worldview. Atheistic naturalism leaves no logical or rational basis to call something objectively evil past human opinion – which is a product of matter and energy.

    And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel.

    Aside from obsessing, once again, with “sin” (which is pretty much all you guys are capable of) – how in the world does this even begin to relate to the proclamation of the Gospel?

    The seed of the woman is the Lord Jesus who was born of a virgin, and by extension those who are His. The children of the serpent are the “sons of the evil one”. Christ defeats sin and Satan and the forces of evil – that is pure gospel. It is very straightforward. Read John chapter 8 in particular.

    Daniel Hoffman, my personal stance on abortion is that I do not want it to happen. I love babies and think they’re great. However, in places and times when abortion has been illegal, women have sought it anyway, and women and babies have died. So, although, in theory, it would be lovely if no abortions (other than mother nature’s miscarriages, and I don’t like to see them happen either, but there’s nothing I can do about it) occurred. So, for practical reasons I think it’s good that doctors can perform abortions, but I’d hope that their services go un-used.

    Well people are going to steal whether it’s legal or not – so should we just go ahead and legalize theft?

    As for believing in an objective evil, even if you believe in a specific god with a specific moral code, then that moral code is arbitrarily defined by that god, and communicated through the rather lossy means of “revealed truth.” I’ll stick to the golden rule.

    If God is the Creator and sustainer and giver of life and IS reality in the most real and ultimate sense, and the law is a reflection of His character – then call it “arbitrary” if you want (and that’s fine I suppose), but in this case “arbitrary” would simply be reality and the best possible reality.

    If you don’t know why killing children is bad…..

    I do know why. I’m asking ya’ll to explain why it’s bad within the framework of your own worldview. A naturalistic perspective reduces the whole thing to opinion.

    You’re begging the question. Nobody’s claiming that evil consists of only atoms and energy.

    You might as well ask what precise atomic make-up and energy level and position in the space-time continuum makes the quality of “happy”, or “awesome”, or “so mind-blowingly, gut-wrenchingly ignorant and/or deceitful that it hurts my brain to acknowledge.”

    That’s the point. These things DON”T consist of matter an energy. So, please explain why they are valid to take into account? I’m not the one who has a universe limited to matter and time and chance and energy.

    • http://twitter.com/ThundalArchsys Thundal Archsys

      Murder means that the *law* opposes it. Your ignorance of the terms involved is laughable. Yes, killing is beneficial in a great many points.

      The fact that you think a god exists without evidence is hilarious.

      Might want to look into the statement: Divine Command theory doesn’t state anything about objective, it states absolute. Objective means it stands against a standard, which yours doesn’t, it stands against a code. Utilitarianism is objective, DCt is absolute, moral relativism is relative… maybe you don’t actually know anything about ethics?

      Also, your attempt to conflate materialism with negation of constructs is fucking hilarious.

      Please, do some studying, you’ve no idea what *you* believe, let alone what others believe.

  • David D.G.

    Well, the concept of the book is great, but it’s a pity the art is so stiff and amateurish. It reminds me of the mediocre art in early D&D books, as opposed to the highly sophisticated art that appears in the latest ones.

    ~David D.G.

  • http://doctore.blog.is/ DoctorE

    Ahhhh the loving imaginary tyrant in the sky.
    No wonder the christians are scared :)

  • Aj

    Siamang,

    You might have put at least that last picture below the page jump, with a NSFW warning.

    Violence + Work = Safe
    Sex + Work = Unsafe

    We live in fucked up times my friends.

    Daniel Hoffman,

    Evil is any lack of conformity, in heart or thought or act, to God’s law.

    I misspoke a bit. I know many do believe in objective evil – but that’s the point. Objective evil can only rationally exist in a Christian worldview. Atheistic naturalism leaves no logical or rational basis to call something objectively evil past human opinion – which is a product of matter and energy.

    It does not follow that God’s law is moral. Christians have just added another layer of complication on the previous problem of morality. Therefore it’s less rational than atheistic morality. Christians also have a bigger problem, they rely on revelation, their source of morals has as much evidence as any other religion, many contradicting Christian morals. Even if there is a God, that wouldn’t make Christian morality anymore rational, it’s based on revelation, faith, nonsense etc… The best they can do is claim consistancy in the Christian community. The Christian community isn’t exactly consistant now is it?

  • Siamang

    Rape imagery is both sex and violence.

  • http://daybydayhsing.blogspot.com Dawn

    Of course I knew about those stories. I even did a comic strip of the children-mangling-bear that I posted on the Internet Infidels forum some time ago – While I was still a Christian. Man, I made a good Christian.

  • http://blargen.com/blog/ postsimian

    Wow, Daniel Hoffman, way to reduce the millenia of western thought and philosophy to nothing.

    You’re taking literalism to the extreme with your reasoning (that we think everything is energy and matter) and it’s resulting in a rather bad argument. You’re not merely setting up a straw man or splitting hairs. It has gotten to the point of splitting straws.

    Anyway, I have studying to do and not much time to respond, so here’s a brief retort:

    Abortion is not an issue that is settled by any means, so if I were you I’d stop with the absolutism; that is, the repeated arguments from the assumption that something merely “is” while expecting the rest of us to abide by it.

    Anyway, nobody thinks abortion is a good thing, but not many of us appear to consider it the moral equivalent of murder. Most would agree that having another option to limit human suffering, on the other hand, is a very good thing.

    Your arguments on what constitutes evil basically make the discussion moot, since virtually nobody who regularly comments on this site will agree with you on its definition.

    As for objective evil, I assume you mean something that is inherently evil, evil for the sake of evil, evil by nature, evil in and of itself, et al, correct?

    Personally, I don’t believe in objective evil. I’m not even sure that evil can be described in what someone or something does so much as what its effect may be or even the intention behind it. For the purpose of simplicity, I describe evil as anything that causes unnecessary suffering.

    Sorry if that’s not what you’re looking for, but it’s a complex question and deserves a complex answer. But I’m not going to argue with you based on the assumption that evil is anything that affronts a god I don’t believe in.

    A number of cases can be made for why something is good or bad by those with a naturalistic worldview without reducing it to atoms. Survival is a good start. You don’t seem to understand that having a naturalistic worldview does not preclude the knowledge or experience of pain or emotion just as it doesn’t preclude reason and intellect. I’m not sure what would make you think it does.

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  • Chris

    Daniel Hoffman Says:

    August 27th, 2008 at 3:41 pm
    Daniel, if I raise a finger to oppose abortion can you guarantee no back alley abortions will occur? One is a surgical procedure from a professional, one is not.

    Are you suggesting that murder should be permissible as long as it’s done in a sterile environment?

    Where is it defined clearly that abortion is murder?
    Where is clearly stated that a fetus becomes human at conception?
    Where is clearly stated when a person becomes a person (ie, something where murder applies)?
    Where is it clearly defined that there are no circumstances where a fetus is causing enough damage to the mother to be considered attacking her un-willfully (manslaughter?)?

    It must be clear, and it must not be in a section of the Bible that can be taken allegorically or subject to interpretation. (If the Bible is truly a book to live by, as Christians in general would have us believe, that should be possible)

  • Chris

    Daniel Hoffman Says:
    August 27th, 2008 at 3:41 pm

    I do know why. I’m asking ya’ll to explain why it’s bad within the framework of your own worldview. A naturalistic perspective reduces the whole thing to opinion.

    You make the assumptions that God’s edicts are moral, and that the Bible properly represents those edicts.
    How about I start with two as well… “Individual human life is important” and “do unto others as you would have done to you (honestly)”.

    If you claim your opinion about what the Bible says God wants isn’t opinion, then my opinion about how best not to cause harm isn’t one either. (They both are opinions, or they both aren’t)

    Killing children (in general) is bad because it causes unnecessary harm in proportion to the damage (in the general situation). [sure, if a child is spraying down a crowd of folks with bullets, it's better to kill the child than to let him continue]

    How complicated is that?

    They even lead to most of the 10 commandments:
    10- Coveting can be bad because it can motivate you to take from others or cause harm.
    9- Lying is usually bad… it breaks trust, which is what society is based on, and without that we lose the general protectivity of society. (there are times when it is OK though)
    8- Stealing is bad… If you steal, similar to lying. (However, if you’re going to starve, and stealing some bread won’t starve them and you get to survive? go ahead…)
    7- Cheating on your spouse? bad for similar societal reasons. Even worse because it often causes harm to the little ones directly in your care.
    6- Killing? Duh… you wanna be killed?
    5- Honor father and mother? Well, this one’s a little weak, but it’s more of a survival thing. Early on, if you don’t, you might get killed or kidnapped or something. Later on, you need to help reinforce societal structure, and later on, you don’t want people judging you on circumstances they know nothing about.
    4- Everyone needs a break, otherwise you go nuts.
    3- Don’t intentionally others when there is no need.
    2- Idol worship? Not focusing on reality is a serious impediment to making it in the world.
    1- OK, got me there.

  • cipher

    The seed of the woman is the Lord Jesus who was born of a virgin, and by extension those who are His. The children of the serpent are the “sons of the evil one”. Christ defeats sin and Satan and the forces of evil – that is pure gospel. It is very straightforward. Read John chapter 8 in particular.

    This is a retroactive superimposition of the Christian narrative. I haven’t said this here for a while, so, just to keep my hand in, I’ll say it again. It represents the height of hubris for Christians to have spent the past two millennia telling us that we’ve misunderstood, misinterpreted or understood incompletely texts that we wrote in the first place – with or without divine inspiration.

    But I suppose God has hardened my heart for the sake of your salvation.

  • sexorcista

    Thanks for sharing this book.

    Its puts a child’s fear & night terrors / nightmares on paper.

    Questions of christian morality?
    These are the kinds of stories that are taught to little children by adults who have already been conditioned & don’t remember what brilliant imaginations children have….and then the ‘christian’ squawks about the ‘indecency’ of pornography ie. vagina’s and penises?

    Totally irrational.

    Its no wonder that some so called liberal christians have re written the bible in order to clean it up.?

  • cipher

    I’ve heard that justification also. But, the added ingredient was that the young punks were teenage boys who were threatening Elisha with death by telling him “to go up” which means they were going to kill him.

    I don’t know if the passage supports this. It all hinges on the definition of the Hebrew word describing the age of the children. I do find it curious that translations of the Bible are respected until they come under attack. Then it’s all revisionist linguistics.

    Polly,

    I don’t know the Hebrew word that’s used; there may or may not be an adolescent connotation. I can tell you that the rabbis of the Talmudic period often interpreted in such a way as to accommodate changing circumstances and evolving sensibilities. For example, the passage about putting a rebellious son to death – they insisted that it never actually happened, and came up with various rationalizations as to why it was included (I think the gist of it was that it was meant to emphasize the importance of filial obedience). In matters of capital offense, they put so many conditions in place that, supposedly, it became nearly impossible to actually execute anyone, even while there was a Sanhedrin.

    What does your nephew think of the command to exterminate the Cannanites et. al.? Does he relate this to the Palestinians of today?

    The last time I brought it up to him (must have been a couple of years ago) he didn’t answer me. However, his mother threw it up to him once, and he told her that they were idol worshipers who deserved to die! He won’t pull that crap with me, because I won’t let him get away with it – so he just says nothing.

    Palestinians – I don’t know if he would draw a parallel. It’s complicated; most Hasidic groups don’t recognize the government of Israel. In their view, Jews can only govern in the Holy Land when the Messiah comes. His group is different; they don’t approve of a secular Jewish state, but their attitude is that it’s a fait accompli, so it’s incumbent upon them to support a government that is responsible for the welfare of millions of Jews. I’m sure he has no love for the Palestinians, but I’m quite certain his attitude isn’t genocidal. I would assume (I’ll ask him) that he feels the other Arab nations should take them in. I know Modern (as opposed to Ultra) Orthodox people who hold this opinion.

  • Sophia G.

    Daniel Hoffman:

    If evil is breaking God’s laws then…
    Let’s say that one of God’s laws was that, if you wear blue, you should be tortured, then executed. That may sound stupid or horrible. After all, according to you, the laws God actually DID declare are what determines good and evil, and he never declared blue evil. But he COULD of. And why not? Murder isn’t wrong because it hurts the feelings and bodies of innocent people, according to you. It’s wrong because it’s disobedience to God. So, if there is no reason to determine that killing is evil besides the reason that God commands it, there is no reason to say that wearing blue isn’t evil besides the fact that God didn’t say it.

    If no objective moral standards exist besides God’s will, and moral are only constant because God’s will doesn’t change, you can’t say that God’s moral are ‘perfect’. Perfect in regards to what? It’s not like he has some great understanding of ethics, because morality does not exist independent of him. At the beginning, God could have said, “Worship gerbils!” God could have said, “All hot men belong to Sophia G.!” God could have said, “Eat at least three pieces of fruit per day!” Any who would you or I or anybody be to disagree or complain, because God can make whatever the hell he wants evil or good.

    Here is a question for you: if you asked God, “Why is killing people wrong?” what do you think he would answer? “‘Cause I said so”?

  • PrimeNumbers

    If evil is defined as breaking God’s laws, then God cannot be evil. And neither can God be good, as we can only be good if we can do evil and choose not to. God, by that definition cannot choose to do good, cannot choose to do evil, so now he is not omnipotent either.

  • http://blargen.com/blog/ postsimian

    Another thing I just thought of concerning Mr. Hoffman: his tone seems to suggest that things such as emotions don’t fit into a naturalistic worldview because he thinks such a worldview is all about atoms and whatnot. I guess my question to him is: what’s unnatural about them?

  • http://thehappyhuman.wordpress.com jtradke

    That’s the point. These things DON”T consist of matter an energy. So, please explain why they are valid to take into account?

    Um…why not take them into account? I have no problem doing so. Abstractions do not cease to exist in a naturalistic framework.

    I’m afraid I have no clue what you’re talking about.

  • http://thehappyhuman.wordpress.com jtradke

    All hot men belong to Sophia G.

    Aw, dangit. Well, if you own me, you own my debt, too. Booyah!

  • http://fivepublicopinions.wordpress.com AV

    Evil is any lack of conformity, in heart or thought or act, to God’s law.

    Why?

    According to what criteria ought we to determine God’s law as “good,” or “not evil”?

  • Anonymous

    On the 2 Samuel bit, Amnon raping Tamar, one commenter has said that they “always felt surprised that God didn’t avenge Dinah and Tamar”. Does Absalom ordering Tamar to be killed, in 2 Samuel 13:28-29, not count? In so far as this may be called avenging, even.

    This is the only of these stories that I’ve researched, and the Bible characterisation that I’ve read doesn’t match the slant in the Illustrated Stories, so I’m a bit doubtful about the others too. The crux is that 2 Samuel 13 doesn’t mention divine intervention in the events at all; so this reads more like a tasteless satire or lampoon of the original. (Perhaps the part about intervention has been deduced in some way from the much wider context? If someone could point this out, I’d be grateful.)

    The emphasis, in other words, of the original doesn’t seem to be “God can command horrible things to spite people”, given that there is no mention of God making it happen, but is on the horror of the act itself; one feels very sorry for Tamar, and this makes David’s subsequent lament much more poignant. When Amnon is killed, it makes one feel that some degree of justice has been served, but still leaves one feeling disgusted at the events.

    Richard Dawkins, I recall, fingered some passage of the OT as being particularly reprehensible to the modern ear, but after some research I can’t find again what it was. When I looked even that up, I recall not being thoroughly impressed by his argument though.

    Literature is complex, and having been written over the course of a thousand or more years by various authors working with the most complex theological and philosophical problems in life, the Bible and other religious works are especially so. Why, then, do works like the Illustrated Stories so often, in my experience, disregard two centuries’ worth of hermeneutics and interpretation? Isn’t this exactly the sort of thing that intelligent people these days are trying to avoid?

    Based merely on the Amnon and Tamar thing, it feels like a book of cheap shots to sell a bit of anti-fundemantalist invective to me. But invective is invective, not reasoned argument. There’s a tendency, in apostasy, to carry it too far out of fear and grudge; if the book is trying to achieve something other than selling copies, I’m not sure it’s going to do it very well. After all, if one of the charges against the Bible is that people follow it culturally and don’t actually think about its contents and the interpretation, then a book like this isn’t going to open up those same people’s viewpoints to alternatives—it’s simply going to switch their dogma!

  • Anonymous

    Oh, I found the point in Dawkins (The God Delusion, p.273). He comments on this passage:

    ‘Nay, my brethren, nay, I pray you, do not so wickedly; seeing that this man is come into mine house do not this folly. Behold, here is my daughter a maiden, 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 so vile a thing.’ (Judges 19:23-4)

    Saying that, ‘I find the phrase “humble ye them” particularly chilling. Enjoy yourselves by humiliating and raping my daughter and this priest’s concubine, but show a proper respect for my guest who is, after all, male.’

    Dawkins seems to be inferring that when something is reported in the Bible, it’s automatically being approbated. This is a very peculiar position to take; we don’t take it with other historical works generally. We don’t say that Milton was secretly a cavalier just because he wrote about kings in his history work. At any rate, the very end of Judges, Judges 21:25, is typically, as far as I’ve been able to find out, interpreted as a comment on the entire book stating that there isn’t really any moral to this particular series of episodes. So it’s a good example of the ignorance (willful or otherwise) of Biblical hermeneutics and interpretation spanning two millennia (I wrote centuries for some reason in my previous post; sorry), some of which I was able to find from just a quick Google.

    Another incidental point is that “humble ye them” is from the KJV translation, which isn’t necessarily the best contemporary rendering of the original Hebrew. Not that it makes much of an impact to Dawkins’s point because the concubine is eventually carved into twelve pieces which are sent across the land, but once again it’s sloppy scholarship: the original word can be translated variously, but “afflicted” or “humiliated” seem more reasonable modern translations (based on Strong’s concordance).

    Sorry, this is getting a bit far removed from the original point of the Illustrated Stories, but I just wanted to clear that up. Also it is basically the same kind of process that’s taking place in the Illustrated Stories. I just don’t get the point of the book: if it’s satire, it’s not really satirising very pertinent things; if it’s a lampoon, I don’t find it at comical to lampoon rape and murder and torture; if it’s trying to change people’s minds about the Bible then it has the dogma switching problem; and if it’s just trying to sell copies then one could more readily become a journalist or politician or something should one want to promulgate ignorance for money…

    The cutesy “hey, the Bible is so homogenously sweet!” works that children get exposed to are rather tacky, but we do much the same to other things too (you show kids a Uc or U rated movie, not 15 or 18), and going completely the other way doesn’t really have a good sense of balance does it?

  • TXatheist

    Are you suggesting that murder should be permissible as long as it’s done in a sterile environment?

    Thanks so much for answering my question with a question. Anyway, yes, abortion and assisted suicide. Both decisions by that person.

    Evil is any lack of conformity, in heart or thought or act, to God’s law.

    Oh, where is that letter to Dr. Laura about selling your daughter into slavery and getting the right price? God’s law? Which god? The deist god that has no dogma?

  • http://merkdorp.blogspot.com J. J. Ramsey

    On the 2 Samuel bit, Amnon raping Tamar, one commenter has said that they “always felt surprised that God didn’t avenge Dinah and Tamar”. Does Absalom ordering Tamar to be killed, in 2 Samuel 13:28-29, not count? In so far as this may be called avenging, even.

    I gather that you must have meant that Absalom ordered Amnon to be killed:

    Then Absalom commanded his servants, ‘Watch when Amnon’s heart is merry with wine, and when I say to you, “Strike Amnon”, then kill him. Do not be afraid; have I not myself commanded you? Be courageous and valiant.’ So the servants of Absalom did to Amnon as Absalom had commanded. Then all the king’s sons rose, and each mounted his mule and fled.

    IIRC, Dinah’s brothers avenged her rape as well.

  • http://onlyaerik.blogspot.com/ Aerik

    Can’t forget the sister-raping in 2 Samuel 13:1-19, when David’s son Amnon ravishes his sister Tamar against her will:

    Just say it! Say she was fucking RAPED for fuck’s sake. Is it so hard? It’s not sex, it’s rape.

  • Vicwestlad

    I read this book about a year ago. It’s not for the faint of heart, but when I picked it up, I wasn’t looking for the usual sanitized Bible story stuff. It’s a real, eye opener.

    What I’ve found interesting since then is that even most Christians aren’t aware of many of these stories, and when confronted with them, it’s a bit of a headache for them. Some of my friends had heard about one or two of them and had answers ready, but what they didn’t realize is that the author is aware of some of the objections and puts them to rest in the book.

    Bottom line is, the author has actually done an important thing here, like it or not. Really, anyone with an interest in the subject should be intimately aware of these stories, or, at the very least, familiar with them. When you put all these stories together, the picture you get of the Bible god is quite a bit different from the one you’re used to getting from the pulpit on a Sunday.

    Really, a must read.

  • Gabriel

    Daniel Hoffman,

    Please prove that god wrote the bible. Or dictated it to humans who wrote exactly what he said and that the bible has never changed or been edited by humans without gods permission.

  • Polly

    @cipher,

    Thanks for the response. I don’t know any Jewish believers, at least none that I would ask. The answer doesn’t surprise me. I wouldn’t expect even the most ultra orthodox Jews to favor genocide in modern times (but, I honestly can’t tell).

    It’s easy to say people thousands of years ago got what they deserved. When it’s the present age reality sets in and most people rely on reason and ethics contrary to their holy books.

  • blackatheist

    It’s tough for me to understand how “believers” can ignore this stuff.

    It is not made up by the author.

    I guess my point is that, if you’re a believer, then you must “believe” in the bible in its entirety.
    Picking and choosing passages doesn’t make sense. It’s all or none.

    When you dont’ embrace both the good and the bad of the bible, then to me you lose any credibility.

  • Senti

    Here is an what some men would consider God’s objective moral law:

    In Balochistan, Pakistan, three teenage schoolgirls planned ‘to marry men of their own choice through a civil court by defying the centuries-old tribal traditions.’

    When the fuming elders of Umrani tribe came to know about the intentions of these girls to appear before a local court, they picked them up from their homes along with two of their elderly women relatives. The crying girls were pushed into official cars and driven to a deserted area. There they were pushed out of the cars, made to stand in a queue and volleys of shots fired at them. As the bleeding girls fell on the sand, the tribesmen dragged them into a nearby ditch and levelled it with earth and stones before the girls could breathe their last. As the two shocked elderly women tried to rescue the hapless girls, they too were gunned down and buried in the same manner. The killers after burying these women returned to their tribe like conquerors without any action against them. The step taken was to send a loud message to the rest of the tribe’s girls.

  • http://atheiststoday.com/ Skeeve

    I’d like to see an illustration of Ezekiel 23:20, my favorite passage.

    Nobody believes me when I tell them the bible describes a woman who loves men with large dicks who cum like horses.

    bible pr0n ftw!

  • cipher

    Polly,

    I asked my nephew. About Elisha and the bear – the story in 2 Kings, he said the word used is na’ar, which can be used to refer to older people, and never refers to children. However, he’s almost certainly relying on Talmudic opinion, which, as I said, was in the whitewashing business for centuries.

    Re: the Palestinians – he doesn’t expect them to leave. He’s in favor of coexistence, but is opposed to the giving up of any land, and to engaging the Palestinian Authority diplomatically as long as their policies are anti-Israeli and antisemitic. A little better than I expected, actually.

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  • Polly

    @cipher,

    I prefer whitewashing to blatant acceptance of horrific mauling of children. If religion is to be, let it at least be tamed.

    Re Pal’s: That sounds about right. I’d’ve been very surprised if he’d gone all Joshua-Son-of-Nun on you.

  • Vicwestlad

    I asked my nephew. About Elisha and the bear – the story in 2 Kings, he said the word used is na’ar, which can be used to refer to older people, and never refers to children.

    That’s interesting, cipher. I took a look in the book to see if this is addressed and here’s what the author has to say:

    For those who prefer a more technical definition, Strong’s Hebrew Dictionary states that na`ar means, “(concretely) a boy (as active), from the age of infancy to adolescence; by implication, a servant; also (by interch. of sex), a girl (of similar latitude in age):–babe, boy, child, damsel (from the margin), lad, servant, young (man).”, and qatan means, “diminutive, literally (in quantity, size or number) or figuratively (in age or importance):–least, less(-er), little (one), small(-est, one, quantity, thing), young(-er, -est).” It is easy to see, then, why the KJV Bible (the most respected among fundamentalists) correctly calls the victims “little children”, and why no Bible is willing to translate the passage as referring to adults.

    The point he makes is that, we may not actually KNOW what age the “children” were, but the author has certainly not overstepped the bounds of translation or interpretation with the illustrations as they are. Seemed to me, when reading the book, every picture was pretty well justified.

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  • cipher

    Vicwestlad,

    I’d send him that definition, but he wouldn’t have any use for Strong’s, a Christian resource. As I said, I’m sure he’s relying on rabbinic opinion of centuries past. I did ask him why all of the English translations use “children”; he didn’t answer me.

    Polly,

    My nephew has a rather gentle disposition, and the Hasidic group to which he belongs is on the left-most fringe of that world; a lot of the other groups have issues with them. In terms of attitudes toward the Palestinians and the Israeli state, there’s a wide range of opinions. There are ultra-Orthodox Jews who are in the Israeli government or serve in the Knesset (Parliament). There are those who side with the Arabs in general because they despise the secular government and would like to see it brought down. There are secular and Modern Orthodox Jews both here and in Israel who would like to see the Palestinians evicted; they feel it’s the responsibility of the other Arab nations to take them in.

    I didn’t think he’d display a genocidal attitude; unfortunately, if you wanted to talk to someone who did, I’m ashamed to say I think you’d be able to find a few. You’d certainly find many who would be in favor of expulsion.

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  • http://www.sophiesladder.com Jeff Carter

    I’d like to make four comments regarding the book. I’ll be concise, since I elaborate in my blog at http://www.sophiesladder.com.

    1) There’s nothing in the gospel of Christ that demands or compels me to accept these stories literally or at all, for that matter, even as an illustration of God’s character.

    2)I read some of these stories, those relating to David in particular, as illustrations of our free will and the consequences of our actions, rather than some teaching on God.

    3) To enter into a critique of God’s actions, we would need to define justice and morality and whether a higher being should be held to man’s standard of morality.

    4) I find it curious that atheism would object to such definitive acts of God – if you’re going to take them as such – such as portrayed in Illustrated Stories. I don’t think Nietzche would condone such whining. Isn’t the meekness of Christ a better target?

    • Hans

      1) I can understand not needing to accept old testament teachings as a Christian, but many Christians specifically do still use it to guide them. I believe the point here is that one should a) accept none of the old testament (and never again use it to support sexism, condemn homosexuality, etc.), b) accept all of the old testament (including implications shown above), or c) acknowledge that you pick and choose meaning your faith is not in the bible, but your own bias and opinion.
      2) I don’t even know what to say to that other that it’s a very scary notion of morality.
      3) This is true, but I’d rather hold my own moral code that emulate the old testament god.
      4) I don’t think all Atheists are Nietzsche followers. In fact, I would guess that most of them follow a moral code which would fit well with most modern christian ideals. I, personally, dislike Nietzsche’s ideals and like Christ as portrayed in the Bible. Morally, I don’t object to most of Christ’s own teachings or meekness. I think you would be closer to reality in assuming that most Atheists think along Sartre’s terms morally, rather than Nietzsche’s.

  • Wait a second, What

    Evil is any lack of conformity, in heart or thought or act, to God’s law.

    So killing women, as long as they aren’t virgins, AND their unborn child, isn’t evil. That part I don’t need, but this getting to keep all the virgin girls I will make sure to mark so that the next time I’m near a middle school…

    • blahblah98

      Austin H: If we suggest the absurd implication, I’ve found that unfortunately it asks too much of the believer, who is already outraged, defensive and not really listening or thinking logically. It comes across like a threat, and risks imprinting & “confirming” how godless heathens “actually” think & behave.

      I don’t have a really great alternative talking point, atm: maybe discuss & demonstrate public morality & societal norms as a universal human concept, not something invented by or owned by western religion, i.e., the same societal norms can be found in virtually all cultures & philosophies on earth today as well as back to the ancients, often as variations on The Golden Rule.

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  • H Bekker

    I am afraid I do not have all the answers, but to be fair neither do you. It’s strange to see such a page on a website called the friendly atheist. Little here seems friendly, in fact its all a little hostile. I was wondering how “Christianity” have marred all of you so bad that you could have so much hatred for a god that you do not even believe in and his followers. I also have to admit that the word Christian does not mean anything any more. With so many groups claiming to be Christian its hard to associate myself with that word. Even churches against God are calling themselves Christian. It makes for a very easy target for you intelligent people. I can’t blame anyone for being atheist as its a circus out there. I’ve come to realise that the typical atheist is usually very intelligent and can put to shame most so called Christians. Many Christians are like sheep who just follow dumbly along and anyone can come along and lead them down any path. Atheists are not so easily duped and while you have issues of your own you do ask the questions that should be asked. If only you did not have so many fools and deceivers answering your questions.

    I vaguely recalled these passages so I had to go and look them up again. What I found was nothing like what is claimed here. This is like some tabloid story twisting the words and adding false ones to sell more pieces of paper. Some questions might still be raised however if you where to read the King James version of this and it would take a more knowledgeable person than I to answer them. (I know of such a person…)

    I know the newer translations to be tampered with to no end. While god forbids it and will surely punish those who did the bible also states that it will however happen. Gospel book stores are filled with self help books and new versions of the bible that chops and changes at their whim. Many could still do some good but remain severely blunted instruments. Some are subtly changed just enough to have catastrophic effects in the bigger picture. Others have nothing to do with the god it claims to speak of. Some are translated from scriptures that where found in the equivalent of a rubbish bin on an archaeological dig. Scriptures that don’t stand up to those found earlier and yet now despite its questionable origins are used for these new translations. So do be careful what book you use to bash us with.

    If any of you are serious about finding answers to the questions you have or would like to actually know what you are talking about rather than quoting a bunch of fools and taking pot shots at people. I refer you to Professor Walter Veith. This is a man that really could be called a Christian and I would love to see anyone try and truthfully criticize a proper man of worth. I have seen nothing that truthfully shoots him down so far. He is a scientist he speaks your language. He does not resort to the dribble that others do and neither does he dodge the big questions. He has facts, raw and hard. He is an academic and the type all of you deserved when you first asked your questions.

    Even if you are tired of religion which would be understandable, I recommend you go and see what this man has to say about the things we eat. It has nothing to do with religion and will still knock your socks off.

    http://amazingdiscoveries.org/speakers-WalterVeith1.html

  • Vicwestlad

    What I found was nothing like what is claimed here. This is like some tabloid story twisting the words and adding false ones to sell more pieces of paper.

    H Bekker,

    I too looked up the passages and I found the stories to be almost entirely right on. I even tried several different Bible versions.

    It’s too bad you don’t provide at least a few examples. I’d be really interested to see where you think the passages have been “twisted”. As far as I can see, although it’s a literalist interpretation, it’s spot on. After all, the author does claim to be criticizing the literalist perspective.

  • Circe

    @Daniel Hoffmann: You say “Objective evil can only rationally exist in a Christian worldview.”

    This is demonstrably false. One of the strictest codes of ethical conduct in the world is that propounded by Jainism: it more or less subsumes every other code, including Christianity. The most orthodox Jains believe that even giving pain to an ant is evil. Now here are two more points:

    1)Jainism predates Christianity by at least 400 years.

    2)You may find it contradictory, but Jainism is an “atheistic religion”: The most important teacher they revere explicitly rejected the existence of any deities.

    In light of this, the notion that a well defined sense of evil requires a notion of Christianity, or even a god is demonstrably false.

    And of course, Jainism is not the only example. Several sects of what in the west is called Hinduism, Buddhism, and the teachings of the Greek and Chinese philosophers, for example, all comfortably predate Christianity and have codes of ethics that subsume those of Christianity. All the evidence suggests that by and large, a notion of evil and good is naturally built into humans, and that is why most reasonably moderate religions end up with very similar notions of good and evil.

    • http://www.facebook.com/jaime.bernal.jr Bernal Jaime

      the Bible started from creation…’In the Beginning’ that predates all existing atheistic views.

  • Candi

    i am a christian and the last one you showed isn’t adviserable for 4 year old kids!!!! it is sex and they dont need to know about that until they are old enough!!=[

  • Vicwestlad

    Candi wrote:

    “i am a christian and the last one you showed isn’t adviserable for 4 year old kids!!!! it is sex and they dont need to know about that until they are old enough!”

    Candi,if you’re a Christian, you may want to ask yourself why other Christians give the Bible to children, then. Since these stories of rape, incest, murder, and pilage are in the Bible, perhaps you should start a campagn to keep the Bible out of the hands of children.

    What do you think?

    • http://twitter.com/ThundalArchsys Thundal Archsys

      I’d ask why she thinks sex should be taboo… but hey.

  • jcm
    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Ethan-Radatz/100001678153301 Ethan Radatz

       The punishment doesn’t fit the crime, it doesn’t matter about the number of people. The answers are moronic, they can be young men or children, the concern is still the same in that was it NECESSARY to kill those people. And using my human reasoning, the only reasoning anyone has, it is not.

  • Asher

    just wanted to make the point that when the author says “Just to be clear, no one is suggested this is what Christianity is all about. I’ll be the first to admit there are plenty of positive messages in the Bible, too”, I had to cringe at his pandering to that oh-so-common copout to appease those who ascribe to that common belief. The sayings “Thou shalt not kill” and “Love thy neighbor” were sayings that were only meant to have applied to the Jews. (Taken from TGD, p289), “A moral conundrum like the following was posed to the Sanhedrin (the Jewish Supreme Court, headed by the high priest) as such: ‘What if an Israelite throws a stone into a group of nine heathens and one Israelite and accidentally kills the other Israelite?’ – the reply was, ‘The non-liability of the Israelite in question can be inferred from the fact that the majority were heathens.’” This is how those rules you see, “Thou shalt not kill”, and “Love thy neighbor” were applied back in 1st-century Judea. Don’t step backwards: admit just how immoral the original meaning of the teachings were, and that the evolution of the Golden Rule came about with advances in science, technology, and 21st century human consciousness. It is this which is responsible for a benign, better (and ironically, worse by making people believe those WERE the original meanings) interpretation of the Christian/Koranic Bibles, but the feeling certainly isn’t mutual.

  • Houstonproduct

    much like batman and the joker god has no need to exist without the evil devil to fight against god is a night light for people who are afraid of the dark those of us who are not afraid should not have to lose sleep because cowards wont turn the lights out

  • Pennerrolf

    A lot of the stories in the Jewish Old Testament as well as Revelations make more sense if we stretch our frame of reference to include what I call the woo woo books.  By that I mean metaphysical, psychic and channelled works (automatic writing). Specific examples are the Oahspe, the Urantia book, A Course in Miracles, Thinking and Destiny, Theosophy, Swedenborg’s Writings, Allan Kardec and Edgar Cayce’s material, The Rosicrucian Cosmoconception, Carlos Castaneda…

    The Bible is not a simple historical book.  It is also about the interaction between a greater (woo woo) reality and this simple physical one.  The Book of Revelation shows us that things are very complex in this other reality, filled with symbolism and high drama. (Check out the visions of Hildegard von Bingen, or the movie Beetlejuice.)  And we find a motley crew of entities — spirits, demons, good entities, fallen angels and regional or sub-gods (remember Lucifer?).

    The Old Testament apparently was, largely, a record of their carryings on — not so much the Big God’s. (Remember the “fire fight” between Baal and the Jewish god?)  And Jesus doesn’t help clarify things. According to The Jesus Seminar’s “The Five Gospels,” Jesus said almost nothing about that time (that can be reasonably verified).  So, are left with little except the woo woo explanations of the earlier mentioned books, crazy as some may think they are. They make more sense of those Jewish historical scrolls.


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