When a Catholic Woman Discovers That the ‘Brick Testament’ Isn’t Christian-Friendly, Hilarity Ensues…

You know the Brick Testament, Brendan Smith‘s wonderful and hilarious series of Bible stories told through carefully placed Lego pieces? The series that’s spawned several books?

Well, Catholic Kathy Schiffer just made a remarkable discovery: The Brick Testament doesn’t make you want to become a Christian!

Her article reads like someone who just found out The Onion isn’t an actual news source…

At first glance, a Lego Bible seemed an enviably good idea. The Creation Story, the Sermon on the Mount, the Last Supper — artfully recreated in Lego blocks, then photographed for a picture Bible — seemed an ideal gift for children.

But the project turned out to be not the great “faith enhancer” some had imagined. Somehow, it would appear that early fans of the world’s largest, most comprehensive illustrated Bible, The Brick Bible: A New Spin on the Old Testament by Brendan Powell Smith, missed an important detail about the author and his perspective on the scriptures.

… other scenes are so violent or so sexual in nature that it’s hard to think how anyone could have thought this was an appropriate idea for children. It’s hard to think, too, that atheist Brendan Powell Smith didn’t know, when he selected the verses to be illustrated, that many of the images would be incendiary.

In all, the book — with its skewed perspective on matters of faith and its wry commentary on Old Testament stories — makes a pretty good case against faith. Since that’s not the objective of most parents, I’d suggest looking elsewhere for a good Bible storybook for your children.

What?! It’s against faith?! Can’t have anyone sharing *all* the stories in the Bible… That would make people not want anything to do with it!

Look, Smith doesn’t go out of his way to parody the Bible. He depicts it exactly as it’s written, without whitewashing or ignoring the sexual, violent, and disturbing scenes in it. If that makes you uncomfortable, too damn bad. It’s your book. You deal with it. You should be more upset about all the other books which ignore that material.

In the meantime, if Powell fools people into thinking this is a positive (rather than a fully accurate) depiction of the Bible, more power to him.

If you want to turn someone into an atheist, there’s no better way to do it than to hand them a Bible and have them read it from start to finish. The Brick Testament is just a more entertaining way to arrive at the same conclusion.

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.

  • wright

    Hemant: “If you want to turn someone into an atheist, there’s no better way to do
    it than to hand them a Bible and have them read it from start to
    finish. ”

    Ain’t that the truth. As a poet and a humanist, I can find bits of Psalms and the New Testament that I agree with, but it takes a lot of cherry-picking to make the Bible a “good book” in any sense of the phrase.

    Without the “context” of apologetics, the few positive elements are literally drowned in blood. Schiffer is too accustomed to looking at it with her binders on. When those slip off, like a lot of Christians she can’t reconcile her modern sensibilities with the Bronze-Age brutality of the Bible.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=23430830 Matthew Shepherd

    I wonder if Schiffer is surprised when the sun rises, too.

  • http://stochasticscientist.blogspot.com/ Kathy

    The last time I had religionists knock on my door I unfortunately did not have time to chat with them.  However, one of them quickly told me that he and his friend were encouraging people to read the bible.  I told him I had read it, and that’s why I was an atheist.

    Of course, that was a bit of poetic license.  I was an atheist long before I read the bible.

  • Sven

    I bet no one’s doing this with the Quran.

  • george.w

    Hah! Very much like Robert Crumb’s wonderful Book Of Genesis, Illustrated. They didn’t like that, either.

    • Philbert

      But Crumb did illustrate the whole thing, didn’t he? 

      The Brick Testament is carefully selected vignettes that make the Bible look bad. It’s disingenuous for Hemant to suggest that it is showing *all* the stories in the Bible, or that the author didn’t intend to parody Christianity.

      Not that I am criticizing the Brick Testament in any way, it’s very funny and cleverly communicates all the terrible stuff in the Bible. But it’s not a complete illustration the way Crumb’s is.

      • george.w

        You are right – Crumb did illustrate the whole thing – every verse. It is an amazing, unflinching work that took him years to complete. 

        But in spite of being quite selective the Brick testament doesn’t make the bible look bad. The Bible does a pretty good job of that on its own. 

      • Anonymous

        “or that the author didn’t intend to parody Christianity.”

        Not really.   In case you are unawares, the actual book is “The Brick Bible, a New Twist on the Old Testament”.   Kind of hard to skewer Christianity with the OLD testament huh?

        In fact the Kathy Schiffer looks kind of silly looking for a depiction of the “Last Supper in it”.

        If you mean carefully selected as in the same stories that are in every other kids bible book…then you might be right.  After all he had to be pretty selective to include Noah’s Ark,  The Burning Bush, Adam and Eve,  Parting the Red Sea, wandering the desert, Lot, Sampson, Jericho, etc.

        Somehow I’m thinking you haven’t picked up a copy and are talking out the wazoo, because my 12 year old son knew most of the stories in it and his parents are *atheist*:)  Well selected hurmph.

      • Anonymous

        The website definitely is a parody and tries to focus on some of the more gruesome parts.

        The book isn’t. It’s basically an illustration of the same stories people learn anyways. It focus on the well-known parts. Garden Eden, Noah’s Ark, Moses,  Tower of Babel, David and Goliath. There is nothing picky there

        • Anonymous

          There’s even a copy which has ONLY the Adam and Eve story.  This is the only aspect of the BT that is actually suitable for children, because Lego nudity doesn’t show any naughty parts. :)

      • Anonymous

        He’s slowly working his way up to including every narrative in the Bible. (i.e., Psalms, Proverbs, and Lamentations, as poetic books, are not likely to be included simply because they’re kind of the wrong genre.)  He may have started with the more controversial passages, but again, he’s added a LOT over the years.  I read it back when I was a rather straitlaced Christian and found it hilarious.

        But…the Bible itself isn’t remotely suitable for young children.  I grew up with a copy of the New Catholic Picture Bible. (Despite the name, it’s actually rather dated–the picture on the cover looks like it was drawn in the 40′s or early 50′s, then recolored to include black kid.  I received this copy in 1992.)  The sole reason that it was kid-friendly was because it deliberately left out any reference to sex, most of the violence, and tried to tone down the unfortunate implications of some of the books.  In the REAL Bible, Rahab was a prostitute, Lot offered his daughters up to be raped and was later raped BY them, Absalom’s “rebellion” was set off when his sister Tamar was raped by their half-brother, etc.  While all these people are discussed in the NCPB, their stories are deliberately whitewashed.

        Again: You cannot have a Bible for children without leaving out the vast majority of the Bible.  Simply by using the same stories as a kiddy-Bible and being faithful to the original work, you are making the Bible very NSFW.

  • Daniel

    “If you want to turn someone into an atheist, there’s no better way to do it than to hand them a Bible and have them read it from start to finish. ”

    I don’t understand this sentiment. I’m a Christian and have the read the Bible many times over. Are ya’ll being dumb on purpose? The story of Lot and his daughters (for example, because of the picture in this post), is not a story that concludes with: “Now go and do likewise.”

    • Gordon Duffy

      The bible is horrible. As a person who has read it can you really say it isnt? Most people think it is a “good book” simply because they have not read it.

    • Sara

      How about the various instancew where God kills innocent people?

      • Brian Macker

        Original sin lets the Christian god justify killing anyone he wants.  No one is innocent (except Mary due to immaculate conception).    Who can argue with that logic.

        • Anonymous

          Jesus?

          • Brian Macker

            Jesus is God incognito. Sorta like Clark Kent.

            • Anonymous

              So he was a alien from another planet sent to earth to fight for freedom and justice ans somewhere along the way decided that the American Way was good?

    • Brian Macker

      Great then you should read it to the kids.  It’s no more violent than most other fairy tales.   That was the reason it was pictured.    Of course, you are cherry picking because there are plenty of other stories in the bible that approvingly recount stories of genocide and body part collection (foreskins).

    • Ben Reimers

      There are many other stories in the OT that are more violent or sexual than the one depicted where the moral is precisely “go and do likewise”. There are rules specifically outlining how to beat your slaves or for rape victims to marry their rapists.

    • Anonymous

      The whole sentiment behind the story is disgusting. The moral of the story is that two tribes who are the the Chosen People’s enemies are the product of incest. It’s a form of racism or at least nationalism (in a tribal context). So I question the author’s motives about other things he wrote (in that book, not the whole Bible).

      But there are example of god commanding his people to do things or condoning their actions that are abhorrent to us today

      • JenL

        Well, given the story of Noah, there were what – 5 couples (with 4 of the spouses being children of the older couple) that repopulated the earth after the flood?  And of course, who exactly did the children of Adam & Eve marry?

        So I can’t really see how this particular incesty incident is all that meaningful.

        • Anonymous

          Except I’m pretty sure that Adam’s and Noah’s kids were fully aware with whom they were having sex.  Lot went through the ancient equivalent of Rohypnol and may not have even been aware that he was having sex at all, much less with his own daughters.  So it’s not just incest, it’s rape AND incest!

          • JenL

            Not Rohypnol, just drunk off his rear.  Still rape, given they specifically got him drunk because they believed he wouldn’t consent.  

            But yeah, wonder how you explain *that* to the resulting kiddies?   “Sweeties, the two of you have two different mommies, but you’re half-siblings.  Um, and you’re *our* half-siblings, too, come to think of it.”

    • Heidi

      How do you feel about the bits where people sacrifice (Jepthah/daughter)
      or nearly sacrifice (Abraham/Isaac) their children because their god
      tells them to? If you thought your god wanted you to kill your son or
      daughter, would you do it?  I would rather, even with fully empirical
      proof and foreknowledge, burn in a thousand hells for all eternity than
      murder my children.

      And yet the only thing that stopped Abraham was an angel that told him
      he didn’t have to light the pyre after all. And Jepthah went ahead and
      killed his daughter. Are you honestly OK with this?

      How do you feel about a god who slaughters all the first born children in Egypt? You’re cool with that, too? “Hey, these people pissed me off, so I get to murder a whole bunch of innocent children, oh yeah!”

      And it’s OK for a god to send bears to maul and rend 42 children who
      made fun of Elisha’s bald head? This is a good lesson in morality?

      Maybe it would help if you re-read the Bible and take a good hard look
      at what you’re actually reading. Because it looks a lot different if
      you’re not reading it with your head firmly in the “everything in this
      book is good and does not need to be evaluated” column.

    • Apostatexp

      Really?   Then why is Lot the only “righteous” man in Sodom worth saving?  How can anyone conceivably be called “righteous” when he offers up his virgin daughters to gang rape???  Peter – the rock on which Jesus builds is church -  calls Lot righteous 3 times 2 Peter 2:6-8.  Note, he never says “except for that time when…”    No where in the bible does it say that Lot’s actions were in any way wrong.   But the bible go on at length about how picking sticks on the sabbath and other minor things we wouldn’t bat an eye at nowadays are crimes deserving of punishment by stoning.  Also, same story… Lot’s wife get turned to a pillar of salt for the heinous crime of… looking back over her shoulder!  But Lot remains unpunished and still called righteous.  Yet you claim these stories reinforce your Christian faith?  Which of us is being “dumb on purpose.”  Those of us willing to point out immorality when we see it?  Or those like you who try to rationalize a book that would be deemed hate speech in most western democracies if it were written today about existing ethnic groups instead of the ones the Israelites wiped out through campaigns of genocide centuries ago.

      The god of the bible is a vile, evil, jealous, megalomaniacal, petty,  genocidal, slavery condoning racist and sexist monster.  He is also incompetent in the extreme.

    • JenL

      Leviticus 20:10New International Version (NIV)
       10 “‘If a man commits adultery with another man’s wife—with the wife of his neighbor—both the adulterer and the adulteress are to be put to death.Exodus 21 28 “If a bull gores a man or woman to death, the bull is to be stoned to death, and its meat must not be eaten. But the owner of the bull will not be held responsible. 29 If, however, the bull has had the habit of goring and the owner has been warned but has not kept it penned up and it kills a man or woman, the bull is to be stoned and its owner also is to be put to death. 30 However, if payment is demanded, the owner may redeem his life by the payment of whatever is demanded. 31 This law also applies if the bull gores a son or daughter. 32 If the bull gores a male or female slave, the owner must pay thirty shekels[f] of silver to the master of the slave, and the bull is to be stoned to death. Nice to know slaves aren’t “a man or a woman” according to Exodus….But just based on these 2, I’d say that there ARE parts of the Bible that explicitly *do* say “go out and kill” or “it’s okay to kill, as long as you’re rich enough to pay off the fines”.

    • TheBlackCat

      The point is that the Bible isn’t a happy fun story full of nothing but rainbows and baby Jesus in a manger, it is full of the most brutal, disgusting, and immoral things imaginable.

    • The Captian

      Reading the Bible cover to cover, turns people atheist in the same way reading Lord of the Rings convinces people middle earth does not exist.

      • Anonymous

        Except no one ever claimed that the “Lord of the Rings” was anything but a work of fiction.

    • Brian Macker

      The sentiment is that many of the stories in the bible portray the god therein as a evil arbitrary genocidal maniac who likes to mindfuck and torture innocent people.  You never noticed that?    

      The stories surrounding Lot are full of ethically dubious actions and lessons in arbitrary punishment any vicious cult leader would be proud of.   

      Things like turning over helpless daughter to rape mobs in preference to all-powerful angels that can presumably defend themselves.

      What about turning someone into a pillar of salt for merely looking over their shoulder?   That’s what happened to the wife.   Yet, Abraham gazes on the destruction of the smoldering city in the very next sentence and nothing happens to him.     You’d think if it was merely an inherent danger of destroying a city that it would turn you to salt to gaze on it that the god would have waited till all the innocents were safely away.      Why couldn’t he have waited a reasonable amount of time?

      This murder (or negligent manslaughter) by the god results in Lot not having a wife and triggered the entire incident with his daughters attempting to sleep with him to maintain the bloodline.  Of course despite your claims to the contrary the story does not spell out that this incestuious rape of the drunk is wrong nor is anyone punished for it. That’s a straight reading of the story with only the bible as context. 

      The reason the daughters are not punished is because the original story has nothing to do with them being wrong in doing so.    The original story casts Lot as the evil doer.    The bible is a kind of religious plagerism of that (stealing of a story by one religion from another).

      Of course, this is a Jewish story and if you take the Midrash into account the point of the story is entirely different.    The Jewish moral of the story is that Lot when to Sodom to party it up in the first place and willingly offers his daughters to be raped.   The daughters rape of him is actually punishment for his attempt to get them raped.   http://jwa.org/encyclopedia/article/lots-daughters-midrash-and-aggadah

      Still an offensive moral.  Either way.     You can’t read the bible to learn morality from it.  You always need to apply some external moral judgement to make any sense of these stories and often the sense is repulsive.  

    • http://friendlyatheist.com Richard Wade

      Hi Daniel,
      Well you certainly got quite a lot of information about various things in the Bible that people find objectionable, but I’d like to respond to your original puzzlement, wondering why Hemant said that reading the Bible is a good way to turn someone into an atheist:

      I have listened to and have read hundreds of what are sometimes called “deconversion stories,” personal accounts of how people went from a solid, devout Christian upbringing eventually to atheism.  They cite many reasons and experiences. None of those reasons stand head and shoulders above the rest, but one of the most frequently mentioned is that they finally actually sat down and read the Bible from cover to cover.  They didn’t just read the nice parts that their ministers had referred to so many times. They didn’t gloss over the incomprehensible stuff, mentally shrugging their shoulders when it didn’t make any since. No, they read every word very carefully and earnestly. 

      Either that was the beginning of their doubts, or they had growing doubts before, and that was one of the last straws.  In their replies to you here, people have given you just a small sampling of the absurdities, the contradictions, the horror, the barbarism, and the incoherency that continue to be an important contributing factor in waking people up to its overall implausibility.

      I hope this helps you understand why many of us here share the sentiment famously said by Issac Asimov: “Properly read, the Bible is the most potent force for atheism ever conceived.”

      • Anonymous

        The reasons I am currently Wiccan instead of still being Catholic:

        1. The Vatican is completely out of touch,
        2. I felt a sense of belonging among Pagans that I have never felt in any Christian church or religious gathering, but most importantly:
        3. I have read the Bible.  If I had not read the Bible, I wouldn’t have had that last bit of impetus to actually leave the Church.

      • http://www.facebook.com/Tracy.Bradley1 Tracy Bradley

        Exactly. Reading the bible cover to cover did it for me – and I was still a kid in catholic school at the time. And boy, was I pissed at what my teachers and clergy had left out of religion class…

    • Anonymous

      You’re right.  The story of Lot’s daughters isn’t held up as anything positive.  It is a deliberate bit of propaganda, intended to slur the other Canaanite tribes.  “The Moabites totally deserved to die, guys–they were the product of incestuous rape and were therefore cursed by God!!”

      Re-read the books of Job, Joshua, and Judges in their entirety.  The latter two describe horrific accounts of genocide and mass murder by the Israelites (who just 40 years earlier had been ordered not to kill!) and it’s all implied by the authors to be approved by God.  All of it.  Even the “cutting up your dead concubine and sending the pieces to other tribes so they’ll attack the Benjaminite tribe” part.  Even the “kill all the men and children, but bring the women home and force them to marry you against their will” parts.  The Israelites spend the entire Judges period killing, stealing, and raping their way through the valley of Canaan, and the same God who just told them a couple books earlier not to kill, steal, or commit adultery applauds it.

      Job is a book in which God makes a bet with Satan that directly results in extreme suffering on Job’s part.  His entire family dies, his home and barns are destroyed, he develops infection and boils all over his body, his friends desert him.  And at the end, Job asks God why he’s doing this, and God’s reply basically boils down to “I’m all-powerful, I can do whatever I want.”

      It’s kind of hard to read these books in their entirety and still have the same view of Christianity that you did before.  Remember, Christian authorities decided that stories like that belonged in their holy book.  There was no hard-and-fast guideline of what to include or leave out until the Protestant Reformation, but for all those 1500 years, every copy of the Bible we’ve found chooses to include those books anyway.

  • http://mamamara.wordpress.com/ Mara

    ::snickers:: I love it when clueless people take these things seriously. It’s like all the people who were shocked that parents would read their children a book called “Go the Fuck to Sleep.”

  • Jesterkatz0

    I don’t know whether to laugh at  Schiffer’s OMG moment, or cry because it proves she doesn’t truly read the bible.Still, I guess it’d would be better then a Christian, who not only truly read the Bible word for word, and still found it all “logical”, but actually took it seriously, and followed all the rules to the tee. That’d be…pretty messy…

  • Anonymous

    Also notice how she starts complaining about the sexual bits. The incredibly violence in the Bible is almost an afterthought. And everything is ok as long as you just don’t mention it

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Peter-Eng/100000651362623 Peter Eng

      “Also notice how she starts complaining about the sexual bits”

      Well, of course.  She’s American.  I guarantee you that American television will have more violence than sexual situations any day of the week.  If she’s a typical American, she’s used to violence.

      • T-Rex

        Typical American? Fuck you and your blanket statement/generalization. You sound a typical ass hole. See how that works? Dick.

        • https://www.facebook.com/GentleGiantDK GentleGiant

          Are you denying that there’s much, much more violence on American TV or in American movies than there is sexual bits? In that case you’re from a part of the US that I haven’t heard of before.

          • Anonymous

            It’s not just television and films. Video game censorship works the same way. America cuts the sex (or since it often makes the games, tones down the scenes a lot from the beginning), while some European countries – or Australia – cut the violence.

          • Anonymous

            Yes. There’s just as much sexuality on television as there is violence. That’s the great American hypocrisy, spoken as an American myself (inasmuch as I claim to belong to any arbitrarily drawn set of lines on a map). We’re happy to go up in arms about sexuality being the great evil of the world, but scantily clad women making suggestive faces at shirtless men in a party atmosphere with the logo of an alcoholic beverage emblazoned overhead is The All American Way.

        • Paula M Smolik

          I agree. He said typical, meaning most. Violent people use bad language. Pot/kettle much/?

    • ApatheticAgnostic

      Well, she’s Catholic, and it’s always about sex for them. Not in a good way, though. :-/

  • http://twitter.com/0xabad1dea Melissa E

    What’s that? Exposing what’s really in the Bible word for word makes a case AGAINST faith? She’s so close, sooooooo close! Just need to connect the final two dots!

  • Apostatexp

    I wrote about a similar subject in my own blog recently; Christians don’t really believe in the god of the bible.
    If they did, they would proclaim ALL of the bible stories with equal zeal, instead of trying to minimize, rationalize and otherwise show how ashamed they are of many of the brutally graphic and immoral contents of their “holy” book.

    http://apostatexp.blogspot.com/2011/12/god-i-believed-in-never-actually-was.html

  • Peter Cranny

    Who decides?
    So, if you say we’re not doing the slavery any more, nor the genocide and we won’t actually kill the gays but we won’t let them marry – who decides which parts we keep and which we abandon?

    Clearly, The Bible is no longer the authority, neither is God so who is?
    Must be some person here on earth who is a higher authority than both – who is that person?

    Just asking.

    • HA2

      Nobody. If there was a benevolent higher authority, that would be nice, but there isn’t.

      There’s just a bunch of different people trying to do their best to make their way in the world. Most people are a better authority than the Bible, and God doesn’t even exist, so anybody’s a higher authority than her.

    • Renshia

      That would be me.

      Nice to meet you peter. How can I help you.

    • Mairianna

      That would be Santorum.

      • Anonymous

        You mean…excrement is higher than God?  I’m not sure what to think about that statement.

  • L.Long

    My sister is a bornAgain and was teaching bible class. So I sent her the address for the Brick Testament and she thought it was really great.   HeHeHeHehehe, she hadn’t got to the good parts.

    • Charles Black

      Lets hope she doesn’t destroy your present when she gets to the unsavoury bits of the bible (There’s alot of them I know).

  • L.Long

    The Lot story I got the point a long time ago and it isn’t
    ‘Lot is raped by his two daughters.’
    That is just a load of BS.
    I’ve seen guys who were so drunk they would not recognize their own daughters and they CANNOT get it up!!!
    Lot knew what was going on and being a ‘righteous man’ just blamed the whole incest thing on the daughters.
    the point of the story is that if you have two hot daughters you can have sex with them by blaming them and the booze.

    • Brian Macker

      Exactly as the Jews intepret it.   In fact, they say even if he was too drunk the first time then why did he purposefully get drunk the second time.   Meanwhile some Jews interpret the story as the girls believing that ever person on the planet had just gotten wiped out and they were justifiably trying to save mankind from extinction.

    • Anonymous

      I don’t want to be indelicate, but I’ve been memory-loss shitfaced in my younger days and still managed to very much get it up and very much copulate, and a lot. It’s not difficult to imagine.  But I don’t think that’s the take-home message here.  The take-home message is the utter silliness of the Bible on the surface, without having to dissect and discuss the minute details. :-)

    • Mairianna

      The take home message is “just blame a woman”, actually.   :^))

  • http://bigthink.com/blogs/daylight-atheism Adam Lee

    Bwahahaha. How dare those dastardly atheists write a book that accurately depicts the content of Bible stories? Are they trying to destroy people’s faith?!

    • Charles Black

      The good thing about the bible is that it discredits the Christian arguments without any effort on the part of atheists.
      As the late Isaac Asimov once said “Properly read, the Bible is the most potent force for atheism ever conceived.”

  • Charles Black

    Where did Cain’s wife from in the first place?
    I wonder what the Brick Testament has to say about that?

    • Charles Black

      *come*

  • Anonymous

    It’s kind of like the people that think cartoons are only for children and get insulted when they see stuff like Archer or some more mature anime.

    There are a lot of adult Lego enthusiasts out there.

  • http://profile.typepad.com/6p010536ce50d4970c «bønez_brigade»

    Hilarity, indeed!  And who could hate LEGOs, anyways.

  • http://twitter.com/Salvor_Hardin__ David Richards

    wonder what she’d have made of  http://www.truechristian.com/? For those in the know, you can still find it if you type that address in the right place

    • http://www.facebook.com/Tracy.Bradley1 Tracy Bradley

      Is this a joke? I honestly can’t tell. I do like that Satan is a hot chick who plays the flute though. (Link goes to videos by The Fuel Project about the new world order… is that where it’s supposed to go?)

  • http://www.youtube.com/user/GodVlogger/featured GodVlogger (on YouTube)

    A couple of months ago I found a beautifully illustrated book of children’s Bible stories and did some off-the-cuff narration filmings of it for YouTube, from a rationalist perspective, and I did get some hate mail saying how terrible it would be if children ever found MY version of “Children’s Bible Stories” by accident.
    The crazy thing is that MY version was telling them that the murders, incest, human sacrifice, etc. were BAD… yet MINE is the perspective they wouldn’t want their kids to hear!

  • Anonymous

    So it takes a Lego diorama for some adults to understand that the Old Testament is inappropriate for children? Wow. There must be some word in the English language to describe this!

    • Anonymous

      There is. The irony is that it is “epiphany” (small initial letter of course.) The unfortunate thing is that so many need to be deluded with things such as “Epiphany” that they would never consider the insight of the bible not being appropriate for children. (That is of course unless they want to make a mess of their child’s ability to reason.)

    • Gordon Duffy

      I had the same experience watching The Prince of Egypt and realising, for the first time, that Pharoh’s son was Moses’ nephew.

      You are so familiar with the story that you dont think about it and dont realise how horrible it is.

  • ApatheticAgnostic

    There are several things wrong with Ms. Schiffer’s review. First, I think she’s reviewing the website that came before the book, and, second, I don’t know that this book was ever intended as specifically for children. If Christian parents aren’t carefully vetting their own children’s reading material, whose fault is that? An author’s, a bookseller’s or the parents themselves? Seems like the Christian version of personal responsibility only applies to the people they’re pointing their fingers at.

    My biggest issue with her prudish, oh-so-shocked take on it is that I’ve had several Catholics tell me how there’s nothing warm and fuzzy about God, about Jesus. They’re more than happy to regale me with tales of God’s wrath and even happier to quote the nastier saints with great relish. Yet when an atheist accurately portrays specific scenes from the Bible and Schiffer is faced with the brutality and creepiness of these scenes, she’s all a-flutter and overcome with a case of the vapors.

  • jd

    Oh yeah, the Bible is great as long as you “block” out most of it :)

  • Anonymous

    Also, I would include the New Testament as not being appropriate for children. Human sacrifice, being washed in blood, that blood coming from the man-god who will save them from his own created hell, and other such absurdities. Not at all child friendly in my opinion.

  • http://twitter.com/BooyaBible Booya Bible

    They are “incendiary” because they describe exactly what the books say. How dare he say what they are exactly saying!!!

  • http://www.facebook.com/lauraghampton Laura Grace Hampton Lathrop

    This is an interesting post for a variety of reasons. Since first encountering the Brick Testament, I have been researching its author because I immediately noticed that it was written by a person who was pretty angry at God. I’m not sure how anyone misses that fact. It’s pretty clear! I’m very interested in this production because I am an evangelical Christian with five sons and one daughter who LOVE Legoes. I also feel pretty qualified to critique it, since I had already read the Bible through, no parts omitted, by the time I was in junior high.
    It also stands out to me from everything I’ve read that people keep saying (Brendan Powell Smith himself, as well) that this is just a stark, black-and-white, true re-telling of the Scriptures without anything added or taken away, and therefore Christians are pretty silly for objecting to it because it’s just being honest. That is also not the case. This is very much Smith’s interpretation of the things in God’s word that he thinks reflect badly on God. If someone takes an honest look at the Bible (and yes, I’ve read it in its entirety multiple times over the years) and then takes an honest look at the Brick Testament, that person will come away with two very different reading experiences.
    Smith’s illustration of the brick Book of Job combined with his claim that he is just “telling it like it is” strikes me as a particularly dishonest assertion, for instance. I’d love to have a book club go through the real book of Job and the brick book and then discuss it at length.
    I do appreciate intellectual honesty and respectful debate. To promote the legitimacy of those two factors, both Christians and non-believers should approach this overall discussion having fully examined both Smith’s interpretation of the Bible and the Bible itself.

    • The_L1985

      I’ve read pretty much the entire Bible. The Brick Testament quotes the KJV word-for-word. Granted, he’s not depicting things in the most flattering manner, but the only things being added are:

      1. Gratuitous cursing in the Book of Revelation section (were all those F-bombs really necessary?)

      2. A wee bit of resentment at the current Christian hegemony that whitewashes all the violent, sexual, and just plain immoral parts of the Bible. The stories of Lot’s daughters, Absalom and Tamar, and the entire books of Joshua and Judges are NOT kid-friendly by any means–and yes, I’m pretty sure that was a good bit of Smith’s point.

  • Pray for You!

    “He depicts it exactly as it’s written?” What an idiotic statement.

    • The_L1985

      You clearly haven’t read much of the Bible. The only possible difference I’ve ever seen between the Brick Testament, and the actual scenes from the actual Bible, is tone. The content is 100% identical. Re-read the book of Job, in its entirety. Then look at the Brick Testament version again.

      The same story is in both places: a good man named Job has lots of nice stuff; God makes a bet with Sataniel* over whether hardship will cause Job to lose his faith; Job loses everything and gets nasty boils and stuff; Job’s friends insist that Job’s bad luck is the result of Job sinning, even though Job hasn’t really sinned; Job asks God “Why are you doing this to me?”; God basically responds “My reasons and abilities are beyond human understanding, so who are YOU to question Me?”; and in a more recently-added coda, Job gets everything back.

      The captions below the photos in the Brick Testament are word-for-word quotes from the Bible. The photos, and some of the speech bubbles, are the artist’s interpretation of those Bible stories–you cannot read any book without interpreting it, and the Bible is no exception. But the captions, and thus the basic backbone of the story, is 100% identical in both forms.

      * I think a lot of the confusion about Job stems from a difference between how Jews and Christians view Sataniel. Satan as a being of pure evil has only existed since Christianity became a big deal. The Jewish people, from before the time of Jesus to this very day, view Sataniel not as a devil, but as a devil’s advocate: He’s the angel who presents arguments to God as to why a person isn’t worthy of an eternal reward, while other angels argue in the person’s favor.

    • The_L1985

      Also, I really don’t like the use of “I’ll be praying for you” as an equivalent to “F**k you, I’m right about everything so you must be wrong!!” First of all, it shows a dangerous amount of pride. Secondly, it makes it harder for people who are genuinely praying for others to express their well-wishes without looking like the sort of complete jerk who uses “I’ll be praying for you” as an equivalent to “F**k you.”

      Thirdly, it completely erases any good from any attempts you might have made to convert that person. If you really did care about people’s souls, you would not use “I’m praying for you” in that manner. It’s cruel, and never justified.

  • Paula M Smolik
  • Wowzers

    Actually if you’ve read the Bible, you’ll see that Smith’s version is skewed to be more sexual and violent. He conveniently leaves off verses to make Bible heroes darker and adds in graphics to make things more sexual.

    I’ve read the Bible cover to cover a few times. Most Christians who grew up in church discovered the “dirty parts” long ago and tee-heed as junior highers. We don’t emphasize those parts with our children any more than normal people don’t give details of their honeymoon night when they tell stories about their wedding.

    The author of this article is quite ignorant of the scriptures, and stupidly claims knowledge of the accuracy of Smith’s version. Simply read the Bible before you make claims.


CLOSE | X

HIDE | X