Let’s Reboot the Bible

In response to DC Comics’ recent “reboot” (in which the publisher reset all 52 of its recurring series at Issue #1), Ryan Sohmer and Joe Eisma at Gutters (a comic book parody site) show us what would happen if the Christian myth were also “reboot”:

You can read the rest of the page here :)

You could rewrite the Bible all you want to fix the problems within it and it still wouldn’t make sense. I’m sure the diehard fans would buy into it, though, no matter what.

(Thanks to Richard for the link!)

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the editor of Friendly Atheist, appears on the Atheist Voice channel on YouTube, and co-hosts the uniquely-named Friendly Atheist Podcast. You can read much more about him here.

  • http://www.facebook.com/mujica.alex Alejandro Mujica

    You just made my week. 

  • Goodgollyollie

    Interesting story however technically most people are in a constant reboot or rewriting of the bible daily and that’s an inherent problem with man. Man is constantly trying to rework the bible to bend it around what he wants it to say.
    Which leads to another point regarding language alone. Because language has inherent flaws such as contemporary meanings, language barriers etc. There will invariably be perceived discrepancies.
    While people do differ on a variety of meanings within the bible this hardly makes the bible incorrect. Additionally the main errors people make are contextual. In every instance that I have been given a bible verse by a non theist where they applied a particular meaning I would research the verse and find it did not mean what had been claimed.
    Take the case of unicorns for an example of contemporary meaning. Today we regard unicorns as a mythological horse with a horn. However researching the early text shows that they were more likely referencing a rhinoceros as the king James used language from the old English that is 500 years old.

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_MUIGGGWVZRPI7DRSO4ENSPPHCQ ConnorO

      “they were more likely referencing a rhinoceros”
       
      Who’s they? The KJV translators? The thing is, they referred to the LXX (Greek) translation from antiquity when a Hebrew term in the Masoretic text was obscure. And they found unicorn (Greek monoceros) for the Hebrew re’em there, in a 3rd c. BCE translation. It gets more complicated. The Greeks thought unicorns were real and lived in India, and the concept probably did originate from a garbled description of the rhinoceros, but the Hebrew term never referred to a rhinoceros but to a wild ox similar to an aurochs. Point being, these issues long predate translations into English, and even English itself.
       
      Anyway, the bible is full of reboots and ret-cons. Genesis 1? Deuteronomy? The J and P texts combined to make a composite Noah’s Ark story (which narrative is a reboot all its own). Matthew and Luke are rewrites of Mark. Etc.

      • Goodgollyollie

        Connor if all of these questions come into play how can one definitively say that the bible referred to a unicorn of the mythological creature we refer to today? If it wasn’t a rhino, according to your research and you cannot adequately show exactly what the reference is, how can you ascribe it to being a mythological one horned horse?
        Your last paragraph isn’t applicable to the subject. Mentioning the unlikelyhood of Noah and the ark does not address THIS issue.

    • Edmond

      So you’re saying that they didn’t have SEPARATE words for “unicorn” and “rhinoceros” at that time?  What if they had actually wanted to describe a unicorn, as in the mythological being?  What word would they have used?  What if they were speaking of unicorns and rhinoceroses in the same sentence?  Would they have used the SAME word for both animals?  What about satyrs?  Dragons?  Giants (as in giant people)?  Cockatrices?  These mythological creatures all exist in the bible as well.  Were these just mistranslations, too?

      And what about when certain animals opened up their mouths and SPOKE in the bible?  These stories could not have resulted in mistranslations, I do believe they were intended to actually represent speaking animals.  Is this just a contextual error?  What about the humans’ reactions to these animals?  Balaam’s donkey spoke to him, but Balaam wasn’t the least bit surprised to hear it.  In fact, he merely lamented not carrying his sword, so he could kill the disobedient animal.  If the bible is not incorrect, then are we to assume that such talking animals were common, and that killing them would not be a tragic waste?

      Is there some reason that an all-knowing god, who wanted to express the most important message of all time in an inerrant text, would have allowed such rampant mistranslations and misrepresentations?  I really think that, even considering context, it’s a very simple conclusion to reach that the bible IS wrong, on many, many counts.

      • Goodgollyollie

        Hi Edmond. Of course the talking ass seems an incredible story because we don’t see any today. Or do we? It’s amazing with our computer technology today that we can synthesize a talking donkey with the voice of Eddie Murphy but put it in the bible and there is no way god could do it.
        First of all, the bible writer does not claim the ass spoke on it’s own. Merely the mouth was opened. It also does not say balaam was not surprised.
        Certainly any god that could create all things could make an animal speak. Pixar does it on a regular basis.

        • Edmond

           Should I believe that what I see in a Disney movie is as real as what you believe from the bible?  A talking donkey in a movie is STILL a fairy tale.  These are BOTH examples of things that DO NOT HAPPEN.  When I see something like this in a movie, I KNOW it’s a movie.  It would be a very different spectacle to see it in real life.  Some parents spend YEARS trying to convince their children of the difference between movies and reality.  Some children, apparently, never learn it.

          Now, I’m not sure if the Balaam story is different in different bible versions (why god allows different versions is another question), but the one I read goes something like this…

          Balaam and donkey riding along on a path.  Path goes between two walls, no way around.  Invisible angel appears only to donkey, who refuses to obey Balaam’s urgings to continue, so he beats on the animal (why the angel didn’t appear immediately to Balaam, preventing these beatings, is ANOTHER question). 

          Donkey opens up and says: “What have I done unto thee, that thou hast smitten me these three times?”  (it doesn’t matter if it was the donkey talking or just god speaking through it, it’s Balaam’s reaction that I’m examining here).

          Balaam says: “Because thou hast mocked me: I would there were a sword in mine hand, for now would I kill thee.”

          Donkey replies: “Am not I thine ass, upon which thou hast ridden ever since I was thine unto this day? Was I ever wont to do so unto thee?’

          Balaam says: “Nay.”

          At this point, the angel finally decides to appear to Balaam, and the donkey has little more to do (or say) in the story.

          I’m sorry, but I don’t see Balaam’s surprise.  “Surprise” here would constitute Balaam going “Whoa!  A talking donkey!  I’m rich!  I can’t believe this!”  or something along those lines.  It certainly would NOT include him CHASTISING this amazing animal, it would NOT include him wishing for a WEAPON so that he could KILL it.  That is NOT “surprise”.  It is ignorance and cruelty.  It is logic thrown out the window, for the sake of an entertaining story.  It is a turtle beating a rabbit in a race.  It is a wolf, demolishing porcine architecture with the power of his breath.  It is NONSENSE.

          Oh, and it doesn’t address my questions about satyrs, dragons, giants, and cockatrices.

      • Nazani14

        The unicorn thing is worse than the rhino confusion.  While rhinos might have appeared in the arenas of Rome, they weren’t trotting around the territory of ancient Israel.  Here’s the unicorn they would have seen-  a bull in strict profile on the walls of Babylon.  Two horns look like one. http://i.pbase.com/u5/andrys/upload/37141198.mImg_4133.jpg

    • http://yetanotheratheist.com/ TerranRich

      Oh, so when the bible claims that rabbits chew their own cud, bats are a type of fowl, and that the Earth has four corners (geometric corners, not metaphorical ones), those aren’t inaccuracies, they’re just contextual errors? And when Judas is described as having died in two separate, completely different manners with completely different mentalities and circumstances, those aren’t inconsistencies, but mere translation errors? Give me a break.

      I bet the two completely different creation stories in Genesis don’t really contradict each other, right? They’re just examples of applying flawed contemporary ideals to blah blah blah?

      • Goodgollyollie

        Terran rich This was simply how animals were classified at that time. Chewing the cud in the Hebrew language referred to the movement of the mouth. Again this is the difference between an ancient technical term and a current term. Again this is an ancient language difference versus a modern one.

        • Anonymous

          So is the translation of certain madeup words as “homosexual”, a concept which didn’t exist back then – and still doesn’t in much of the middle east.

          But somehow when it suits their needs, this is all important dogma for Christians that can’t possible be wrong or changed. You can’t have it both ways

          • Goodgollyollie

            Stev84, the word homosexual was not used in the bible. That said, your last sentence isn’t tru for every Christian on the planet. People will use any opportunity anywhere for justification or to make money on just about anything. Even atheists. Heck some may even sell a few books writing about the non existence of a god from time to time.
            Some may justify the killing of a baby by either using the bible or claiming god does is not real. But you are right, as humans we can’t have it both ways, when it comes to the truth anyway.

  • Eudemic

    (It would have been Early Modern English, or some form of late Middle English at the earliest.  Old English is. . .  Not what the King James version is written in.)

    • Goodgollyollie

      You’re picking nits. The point is that many of the words are older English words that have a different meaning than they do today.

  • http://eternalbookshelf.wordpress.com Ani Sharmin

    Love it.  I wonder sometimes how people react if they’re living in a time when new books are being added to their holy book…

  • Charles Black

    Lets see here the problems with the bible are translation errors, authors changing the books to suit their ideological viewpoints, all the root texts seem to have been lost (a shame I suppose because we can’t then view the development of christianity in it’s infancy & rampant forgeries for centuries.
    Anything I missed here?

    • Nazani14

      Yes.  They ripped off monotheism from Akhenaten.  A careful reading of the OT will show that Yahweh and El were two separate gods they smushed into one.

      • Anonymous

        Sorry, there’s no credible evidence to suggest that the Hebrews “ripped off” the idea from Akhenaten. There’s much, much evidence to suggest that it was a gradual, relatively self-contained development from polytheism to henotheism/monolatry to monotheism, influenced by internal political struggles among different factions as well as pressure to differentiate themselves from their Canaanite neighbours. All tied up with a bow once Hellenistic philosophy introduced ideas of a Perfect Good as the ultimate source and purpose of the cosmos.

  • Anonymous

    I’ve wondered what a reboot of Ayn Rand’s philosophy would look like coming from an emotionally well adjusted author who had actually read philosophy, understood human nature and would incorporate criticisms of her work.

    • ACN

      Nothing like what ayn rand wrote.

  • atheist4life

    Personally I think all religions should be rebooted. All religions claim they are true yet there is no evidence what so ever that they are, if religions are rebooted then that means that they must not claim they are true at all so in turn the universal meanings of religions will change. I very much doubt that will happen since religion is the world’s biggest industry with countless of organisations with billions if not trillions and possibly even more then that they have to buy influence in society, media and of course politics.

  • Deepak Shetty

    That was too funny (and I have to visit the comic store to pick up DC’s new 52)

  • http://twitter.com/hipopotamo Hipopótamo de Río

    Ah, the beauty of reboots… Start with a clean slate, it worked for “Crisis of Infinite Earths”, bombed with Spider-man’s clone saga, worked with “Dark Night”.., and created a bunch of problems in the Bible. Isn’t the New Testament supposed to supersede OT?

    So much for a divine inspired book… but then reboots are used by comic companies to improve declining sales, isn’t it?

    Cheers from the Hippo

    P.S. Two comic-related posts in one week, Hemant? Are you also a closet comics fan like myself? I even started writing one, about super-heroes (so original). Of course, in my invented universe there are no super-natural forces, and everything can be ultimately explained by science (I don’t really trumpet that fact in my site, don’t want to scare new readers away!)


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