I wave to the people but the wind just blows ‘em down


A five-day work week? That’s a union thing — and unions are evil doncha know. “Jesus wants you heavily armed.” Houston church desperately fighting to get on the wrong side of the gospel. (You thought I was gonna say “wrong side of history”? That too.) After they finished writing the Constitution, the Founding Fathers had a drink or two. “This is a problem.” [Read more...]

No, snake-handling is neither ‘literal’ nor ‘biblical’


Somehow this little fringe sect “marked by strict literal interpretations of the Bible” doesn’t cancel all debt every six years. They are neither pacifists nor genocidal conquerors (both of which — unfortunately for those who would be literal inerrantists — are commanded in various places in the Bible). They do not practice Jubilee, or Sotah, or requiring the one with two tunics to give to the one who has none. Like all who claim such a “strict literal interpretation,” they leave a vast amount of the Bible unacknowledged and seemingly unnoticed. [Read more...]

OK, let’s talk about snake-handling

This is how Christians should handle snakes: The Rev. Bruce Puckett and the Rev. Meghan Feldmeyer of Duke Chapel bless two corn snakes and a boa constrictor on the feast day of St. Francis in 2012 at Duke University.

Snake-handlers’ weird, idiosyncratic distortion of the Bible produces an impressive display of commitment, but to what end? They’ve developed a form of religion that’s all about putting faith to the test without ever putting it to use. It’s a sign that doesn’t signify anything other than itself, which is to say it’s not a sign at all. [Read more...]

Eve is ‘under the Curse,’ but Adam is blessed

"The Temptation and Fall of Eve," from William Blake's illustrations for Milton's "Paradise Lost."

It seems to be a double-standard — a duplicitous standard. The very same people who insist that “in pain you shall bring forth children” is a sacred duty and a holy obligation for women never, ever suggest the same thing about the toil and sweat of men. [Read more...]

The Bible is a large book containing many words and letters


Many people treat the Bible unlike other very long texts. They see it as as a kind of magical code. They treat that book as though its 700,000+ words were not language — as though they were something to decipher rather than to read. [Read more...]

‘He’s had one goal in life: That’s to go to Heaven’

"The Bible carries a perfect unity from cover to cover regarding its message and content, which speaks of its divine origin as ultimately written by God and not man. "

The otherworldly religion of white Southern Christianity cannot tolerate the Lord’s Prayer. All it can offer is a single-minded focus on leaving this world behind — a life that consists of waiting until it’s over. Rechristening sloth as piety is not just sinfully disobedient, it’s depressing as Hell. [Read more...]

For Team Jonah, the Bible condemns interracial marriage


One of the biggest such disagreements is the heated argument that pervades much of the Bible between what I call Team Jonah and Team Book of Jonah. For Team Jonah, God’s plan of salvation is for the chosen few — the righteous elect. Ninevites and Pagan sailors need not apply. God picked Abraham and rejects everyone else. You can find this view presented, asserted and defended in a host of passages throughout the Bible. But you can also find this view attacked, rebuffed and rebutted in a host of passages throughout the Bible. [Read more...]

Clobber verses: ‘I’m crushing your head!’


Clobber-text clobberers are the biblical equivalent of the Head-crusher from that old Kids in the Hall sketch. They imagine they’re doing something powerful and meaningful, but none of it actually matters — it’s a meaningless act that has no effect on the reality it pretends to be reshaping. It’s a delusion based on distorted perspective. Hold your thumb and finger right next to your eye and then squint and they’ll appear huge and powerful. You can do the same thing with your clobber-text, but that’s just as silly, and just as meaningless. [Read more...]