Behold, I Am Against Your Pillows

In lamenting how stubborn and hard-hearted we atheists are, many Christian fundamentalists say we’d be converted for sure if only we’d read the Bible.

Well, the fact of the matter is that I have read it, and it’s nothing special. After the creation story in Genesis, the first few books of the Old Testament are mainly long, tedious genealogies, interspersed with occasional episodes of bloody massacres carried out by God’s people in his name and with his approval. In this section we also have the books of the law, listing hundreds of petty laws and specifying the horrible punishments for breaking any of them. (For example: the punishment for picking up sticks on the Sabbath is to be bludgeoned to death with heavy stones, as recorded in Numbers 15:32-36.) Finally come the prophets, and are there ever prophets – dozens of them, it seems, all either bemoaning how God has punished Israel for its sins by allowing it to be defeated by its enemies, or exulting how God has rewarded Israel for its obedience by allowing it to defeat its enemies, in a clear attempt to retrospectively justify the changing fortunes of a people due to random chance. The prophets’ writings are often vague and obtuse and contain many bizarre metaphors that might incline one to doubt their authors had a firm grip on reality (but more on that later).

The New Testament isn’t much better. While the gospels at least agree on the basic details of their storyline, there is little sense of plot progression or building toward a goal; Jesus and his disciples wander from one unrelated anecdote to another until the passion narrative begins and the story abruptly ends. More strangely, they can’t seem to agree on a lot of seemingly basic details, such as when, where and to whom the first post-resurrection appearance was to, or how Jesus acted at his trial; but when they do agree, they often agree exactly. In other words, they are obvious plagiarisms of each other, which is strange if each author really was a disciple of Jesus or knew someone who was – one would think they’d have their own sources and wouldn’t need to crib off each other. The gospels seem to present, not four independent perspectives on the same events, but one original story expanded and revised by later redactors to fit their own conception of how things should be. The clearest example of this is how the Synoptics and John blatantly contradict each other about the personality of Jesus. As for the epistles, they move in a world all their own, with little if any relation to the gospel stories. And Revelation is simply weird.

That doesn’t mean the Bible isn’t worth reading – on the contrary. Tucked away in its pages, there’s quite a lot of humor, though none of it is intentional. Many verses have caused me to burst out laughing.

In the hope of sharing these laughs with you, the reader, I’ve listed below some of the most humorously absurd verses of the Bible. Commentary is included where appropriate. All of the following are real Bible verses! (All quotes are from the King James Version if not otherwise noted.)

Old Testament

Genesis 2:18-20
Seeing Adam wandering alone in the Garden of Eden, God concludes that it is not good that he should be alone, and decides to make him a “help meet”. “And out of the ground the Lord God formed every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air; and brought them unto Adam to see what he would call them: and whatsoever Adam called every living creature, that was the name thereof. And Adam gave names to all cattle, and to the fowl of the air, and to every beast of the field; but for Adam there was not found an help meet for him.” Rats!

Adam does not find his “help meet” until God creates Eve from one of his ribs as he sleeps. Why it took God this long to get it right, however, is puzzling. Did he not realize that none of the animals were suitable wives for Adam? If the first man had pronounced one of them suitable, would the Almighty have presided over a solemn marriage ceremony between a human being and, say, a hippopotamus? If God had not created the animals with the intent of finding Adam a mate from among them, then why does the text bother to point out that none of them were suitable for that purpose?

Genesis 6:5-7, 8:21
God decides to send a great flood to kill all humans, save Noah and his family, because man’s heart is evil. “And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually…. And the Lord said, I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth.” Later, after the flood waters recede, God promises never to do it again because man’s heart is evil. “And the Lord said in his heart, I will not again curse the ground any more for man’s sake; for the imagination of man’s heart is evil from his youth; neither will I again smite any more every thing living, as I have done.”

Why should our evil imaginations first doom us and then save us? Why does a perfect God change his mind about how to deal with us when we have not changed? The Bible does not tell us the answer.

Exodus 17:11-12
Led by Moses and Joshua, the Israelites are battling the heathen Amalekites. As long as Moses holds up his hands, the Israelites are able to defeat their foes, but as soon as he gets tired and puts his hands down, they start to lose. Aaron and Hur hold up his arms for him until sundown so Israel can win.

It is not clear why Moses should have to do this for Israel to win, and the text offers no justification. Was it a test of his dedication? But then allowing Aaron and Hur to hold up his arms for him seems like cheating. Maybe God just decided to make his prophet do funny poses for his own amusement. (“If you want Israel to win, hold up your arms! Now stand on one foot! Now do the Chicken Dance!”)

Exodus 33:23
God moons Moses.

(Well, what other meaning are we supposed to take away from, “And I will take away mine hand, and thou shalt see my back parts”?)

Numbers 22:20-22
God tells Balaam that if men come to him and tell him to go with them, he should. Men come to Balaam. They tell him to go with them. He does. God gets mad at Balaam for going.

As bizarre as it seems, this is exactly what the text says. Absolutely no justification is given as to why God should be angry at Balaam for doing exactly what God told him to do.

(A bit of context might be helpful here. Balak, king of the Moabites, was afraid of the marauding army of the Israelites, and sent messengers to Balaam, ruler of Pethor, asking for aid to defeat them. God comes to Balaam, however, and tells him not to help because the Israelites are his chosen. Balaam therefore refuses Balak’s offer, claiming he cannot disobey the word of God, but Balak sends more and more messengers to seek Balaam’s aid. Finally, God comes to Balaam at night and tells him to go with the Moabite messengers – and then gets angry at him when he does! Again, why is God getting angry at a man who was merely following the instructions God gave him?)

Deuteronomy 23:1
According to this verse, any man whose testicles have been crushed or whose penis has been cut off “shall not enter into the congregation of the Lord.” It certainly is reassuring to know that God judges us based only on the state of our souls, not on trivial outward appearances.

Deuteronomy 23:10,14, Leviticus 15:19-30
Continuing God’s bizarre obsession with certain body parts, these verses lay out his all-important instructions for dealing with menstruation, nocturnal emissions, and disposal of feces. As we learn from Leviticus, a menstruating woman is “unclean” for the duration of her period, and must remain apart from the rest of the camp, and presumably her people, for a minimum of seven days. At the end of this time, she must sacrifice two pigeons as a “sin offering”, “to make an atonement… before the Lord for the issue of her uncleanness.” Does God consider it a sin to have a period?

Men who have nocturnal emissions get off more lightly, according to Deuteronomy 23:10. Apparently they’re not as “unclean” as menstruating women, and don’t have to sacrifice animals to God to be forgiven – they merely have to stay outside the camp for that entire day.

But the best of all is verse 14, which gives detailed instructions on how to dispose of feces by burying. Why? “Because the Lord your God walks in the midst of your camp, to save you and to give up your enemies before you; therefore your camp must be holy, that he may not see anything indecent among you, and turn away from you” (RSV). Apparently, it is “unholy” to relieve oneself, and the mere sight of human feces so repulses God that he will abandon anyone who does not dispose of it discreetly.

It is only natural to wonder why God created these bodily functions in the first place if he’s so disgusted by them. Doesn’t the infinite, almighty Creator of the universe have more important things to concern himself with?

Judges 1:19
“And the Lord was with Judah; and he drave out the inhabitants of the mountain; but could not drive out the inhabitants of the valley, because they had chariots of iron.”

So much for omnipotence. Apparently Jehovah is a member of one of those species of British and Scottish fairies who were repelled by cold iron. It’d be just like those tricksters to masquerade as the all-powerful God of the Israelites!

(The defense has been offered that it is Judah, rather than God, who was unable to prevail against the inhabitants of the valley. That interpretation is possible, but it solves nothing. In fact, it only raises further questions – saying, as it does, that if the choice is between having God on your side and having iron chariots, you should apparently take the chariots. Note that the text identifies the presence of the chariots, not God’s will or any Israelite sin, as the specific reason why Judah could not vanquish his foes.)

Judges 6:36-40
Gideon offers the following test to see if he is to be the agent of Israel’s salvation: he will leave a woolen fleece out on the ground overnight, and in the morning if it is wet with dew while all the surrounding earth is dry, he will know God’s answer is yes. He duly does this, and finds the fleece wet and the ground dry in the morning, but isn’t convinced. If you really mean it, he says, make the fleece miraculously dry and the ground miraculously wet. This happens. Okay, far be it from me to question the wisdom of a great man like Gideon, but how about this: Why couldn’t he just ask for a yes-or-no answer? Throughout the Bible, God often speaks audibly to both believers and nonbelievers (as he did with Balaam, for example). Was that too hard for him to do in this instance, or does he just prefer doing inane parlor tricks?

Judges 9:13
“Wine cheereth God and man.”

Okay, man I can see. But how does wine cheer God? Does the Almighty get drunk? Not that it wouldn’t explain some things. But based on his evident low sense of humor displayed in other verses, maybe what amuses him more is watching other people get drunk and make fools of themselves.

1 Samuel 19:24
The Spirit of God comes upon Saul and causes him to start giving prophecies. Apparently getting just a little carried away, Saul takes off all his clothes, “prophesied before Samuel in like manner, and lay down naked all that day and all that night.” No record is made of Samuel’s reaction.

1 Samuel 30:1
After being completely killed off by Saul in 1 Samuel 15:7-8 and 15:33, and then being completely killed off again by David in 1 Samuel 27:8-11, the Amalekites invade Israel yet again. Damn those Amalekites!

(The Bible, it seems, is like Hollywood – neither can bear to kill a good villain off, but keep bringing him back for sequels.)

2 Kings 21:12
“Therefore thus saith the Lord God of Israel, Behold, I am bringing such evil upon Jerusalem and Judah, that whosoever heareth of it, both his ears shall tingle.”

In other verses, God has already threatened to punish or punished people with death, drowning, dragons, serpents, lions, bears, dogs, wild beasts, evil spirits, confusion, mutilation, cannibalism, rape, slavery, stoning, scourging, swords, axes, arrows, rods, fire, frost, blood, burning coals, brimstone, thunderbolts, storms, famine, drought, fever, plague, pestilence, inflammation, itching, leprosy, open sores, boils, hemorrhoids, hornets, locusts, frogs, lice, flies, worms, infanticide, infertility, miscarriages, madness, blindness, dismemberment, drunkenness, darkness, hail, earthquakes, and by spreading dung on their faces.[1] By this verse he must have run out of ideas. (“And I’m gonna smite you so bad, that… that… um… whoever hears about it, their ears will tingle!”)

Psalms 78:66
God kicks some ass. “And he smote his enemies in the hinder parts: he put them to a perpetual reproach.”

Isaiah 20:2-3
God instructs Isaiah to take off all his clothes and wander around completely naked for three years as a “sign and a wonder.”

People must have wondered, all right. Under ordinary circumstances I might chalk this up to another example of God making his prophets do ridiculous things for his own amusement, but Isaiah shows in many places that his own hold on reality is somewhat tenuous. He writes that God will “hiss for the fly… and for the bee” (7:18), will force every man to “eat the flesh of his own arm” (9:20 – great image!), and will send a perverse spirit that will cause the Egyptians to err “as a drunken man staggereth in his vomit” (19:14 – another great image!). He orders women to strip (32:11), and says that God will punish them by “discover[ing] their secret parts” (3:17). He says that God “will feed them that oppress [me] with their own flesh; and they shall be drunken with their own blood, as with sweet wine” (49:26 – yum!); either that, or they’ll “eat their own dung, and drink their own piss” (36:12). So either God was having a much weirder day than usual when he dictated these visions, or else Isaiah was one of the many Biblical figures who could have benefited from modern psychological medication.

Ezekiel 2:9,3:1-3
God writes a scroll in front of Ezekiel’s eyes, and then instructs him, “Son of man, eat that thou findest; eat this roll…. cause thy belly to eat, and fill thy bowels with this roll that I give thee.” Ezekiel complies, and finds it to be sweet as honey. Doubtless this is all very symbolic in some way or another.

Ezekiel 13:18-20
“Thus saith the Lord God, Woe to the women that sew pillows…. Behold, I am against your pillows.”

A true classic! But God’s wrath doesn’t end with pillows, oh no. In 13:21 he further promises to spill out his anger on kerchiefs (“Your kerchiefs also will I tear”), and just a few verses earlier, in 13:15, he swears terrible vengeance against a wall. (“Thus will I accomplish my wrath upon the wall.”) What God has against innocent masonry and embroidery is not explained.

(Then again, maybe Ezekiel’s to blame; this guy is plainly a few locusts short of a plague. In chapter 1 he sees some four-headed, four-winged creatures that Dr. Moreau could never have dreamed of, as well as God’s “loins.” In 4:12 he says that God told him to eat barley cakes baked with “dung that cometh out of man”; not too tasty, but better than fathers eating their sons and sons eating their fathers, which we are told will happen in 5:10. In chapter 4 he is told to lie on his left side for 390 days, then to lie on his right side for 40 days, without turning over. No doubt this is all very symbolic, but I don’t think the sinful Israelites were too impressed by their prophets rolling in the mud. In 8:2-3, God’s loins put in another appearance, and in 29:8 he makes all the Egyptians’ “loins to be at a stand.” In chapter 23 Ezekiel rants – at great length – about two women who, as punishment for committing adultery with men “whose issue is like the issue of horses”, will have their houses burned down, their sons and daughters killed with swords, their noses and ears cut off, will be forced to “pluck off” their own breasts, and will finally be stoned to death. Praise the Lord! And in 10:12 he mentions wheeled cherubim, whose wheels were covered with eyes. “As for the wheels, it was cried unto them in my hearing, O wheel.” Clearly Ezekiel, like Isaiah, is another of those prophets who couldn’t poke sanity with a long pole.)

Hosea 8:4
The Israelites set up princes, and “I knew it not,” complains God. So much for omniscience.

Jonah 1:3
Jonah is instructed by God to go preach to Nineveh. But he apparently prefers not to do this, and so he runs away. “But Jonah rose up to flee unto Tarshish from the presence of the Lord, and went down to Joppa; and he found a ship going to Tarshish: so he paid the fare thereof, and went down into it, to go with them unto Tarshish from the presence of the Lord.” So much for omnipresence.

Jonah 4:6-7, 11
After attempting to run away, Jonah is thrown from the ship and swallowed by a large fish. While in the belly of the fish, he gains a new perspective (as you do), and so he prays and God causes the fish to vomit him out onto dry land. Renewed in his holy purpose, Jonah goes to Nineveh, as God instructs, and preaches his heart out, warning that the city will be overthrown in forty days. The entire population of this “exceeding great” city believes him; they dress in sackcloth, cry and wail, prepare to be destroyed, and – nothing happens. God changed his mind. Apparently he just felt like being contrary. (Now we see why Jonah didn’t want to be a prophet in the first place.) Humiliated, he leaves the city to sulk.

God realizes he may have made a tiny slip-up here and wants to make things better. “And the Lord God prepared a gourd, and made it to come up over Jonah, that it might be a shadow over his head, to deliver him from his grief. So Jonah was exceeding glad of the gourd.” Well, okay, though it’s not clear why a gourd helps Jonah’s mood. And anyway, only one day later, and for no apparent reason, “God prepared a worm when the morning rose the next day, and it smote the gourd that it withered.”

There’s probably a lesson in here somewhere.

(As God later explains, he spared the people of Nineveh because they were stupid – they “cannot discern between their right hand and their left hand”, as he puts it, although that begs the question of why he then planned for them to be destroyed in the first place – but he ends up changing his mind yet again and ultimately destroying Nineveh in Nahum 3:7. Jonah must be the most pointless book in the entire Bible.)

Micah 2:1, 3
“Woe to them that devise iniquity, and work evil upon their beds!” God proclaims. Exactly two verses later, he then says, “Behold, against this family do I devise an evil.”

But you can’t blame the big guy. He’s getting forgetful in his old age.

Malachi 2:3
God is upset at the rebellious priests of Israel (they dared to slaughter the blind, lame or sick animals, rather than the very best ones they had, as blood sacrifices to him – those bastards). As punishment, the Almighty vows, “Behold, I will corrupt your seed, and spread dung upon your faces, even the dung of your solemn feasts.” (Mmm-mmm!)

(Is this an example of the “pure words” of God mentioned in Psalms 12:6 or Proverbs 30:5?)

Malachi 3:8
God complains that he is being “robbed” by people who are failing to give enough money in tithes and offerings. “Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed me.” (“Okay, Jehovah, hands where I can see ’em, and no funny moves!”) Why God needs money is not explained.

New Testament

Mark 6:5
Jesus comes back to his own hometown to preach, only to find that his magical powers seem to be having an off-day. “And he could there do no mighty work, save that he laid his hands upon a few sick folk, and healed them.”

Mark 6:36-44, Mark 8:1-9
In the first of these selections, a large crowd assembles in the desert to hear Jesus preach. At the end of the day, Jesus tells his disciples to feed the hungry worshippers, but his disciples respond that they only have five loaves of bread and two fishes, not nearly enough for all the people. Jesus takes their meager food and – wonder of wonders! – miraculously multiplies it, feeding five thousand people with plenty left over.

Precisely two chapters later, Jesus is again surrounded by a multitude of eager followers, again takes pity on them because they are hungry, and again tells his disciples to feed them. But the disciples have only seven loaves of bread and a few small fishes, and again object that it can’t possibly be enough (“From whence can a man satisfy these men with bread here in the wilderness?”), apparently having completely forgotten what happened only a short time ago. Once again Jesus miraculously multiplies the food, and for the second time in three chapters, all present are suitably awed and amazed by this miracle.

Mark 16:18
Jesus lets us know how to identify his true followers: “They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.”

Unfortunately, people seem to have taken him literally. There are serpent-handling churches among the extreme fringes of Christianity, and yes, many of their members, including the movement’s founder, do get bitten and die – not that Jesus said they wouldn’t, if you read the verse carefully. (Another little practical joke?) And there are faith healers, who frequently cause greater damage when the gullible souls who trust in their non-existent healing powers throw away medicine or crutches and end up even worse than they were before. There are even some who sip strychnine (highly diluted, of course), though I know of no Christians who prove their faith by quaffing pure arsenic or cyanide. Maybe they just don’t trust Jesus.

Matthew 21:7
Jesus makes his triumphal entry into Jerusalem riding, simultaneously, on both an ass and a colt. How he managed this feat is not explained. Did he have the two animals walk side-by-side and lie down across their backs? Did he just constantly switch from one to the other very fast? Inquiring minds want to know.

Luke 9:54
After Jesus is rejected by a Samaritan village, James and John ask him if it’s all right if they call down fire from heaven like Elijah to incinerate the village. (Something tells me those boys have been watching too many movies.) Jesus denies them permission, and I can’t blame him – I sure as heck know I would abuse that power if I had it.

Luke 20:35
The Sadducees, a Jewish sect that rejected the idea of resurrection, try to entrap Jesus by asking him the following question: If a woman marries a husband who then dies, and she remarries, and if this happens multiple times, which man’s wife will she be in Heaven? Jesus responds that “they which shall be accounted worthy to obtain that world, and the resurrection from the dead, neither marry, nor are given in marriage.”

In other words, Jesus said that only people who never married will go to Heaven. This means that Adam, Abraham, Noah, Moses, David, Lot, Solomon, Joseph and Mary, Peter – practically all the heroes and great figures of the Bible – will be condemned.

John 9:6
Jesus cures a blind man by spitting on the ground and rubbing the muddy spit in the man’s eyes. The more skeptical among you will doubtless ask why the Son of God had to go to such voodooish extremes when he could have cured the man with a snap of his all-powerful fingers.

I say there’s a good reason for it – this verse is proof that Jesus really is the Old Testament God incarnate. He shares one of Jehovah’s telltale character traits – making people submit to ridiculous things for his own amusement. Moses had to keep his arms up for Israel to defeat the Amalekites, Isaiah was forced to walk around naked for three years, Ezekiel was made to lie motionless on his side for months at a time, and this blind man wasn’t granted sight until the holy spittle was smeared on his face.

(Another amusing verse is 9:3, where the disciples ask if the man was blind because of some sin, and Jesus says no, he was born blind “that the works of God should be made manifest in him.” In other words, God purposely made this man blind just so he could later show off by curing him. Thanks a lot, God.)

For yet more spittle-related fun, see Mark 7:33, where Jesus cures a deaf and mute man by sticking his fingers in his ears and spitting on his tongue. I don’t even want to know what his miraculous cure for hemorrhoids is.

John 20:14-15
While Mary Magdalene stands at the tomb, weeping, thinking her dead master’s body has been stolen, that sly fox Jesus surprises her by coming up behind her, disguised as the gardener, and innocently asking what she’s so upset about. Oh, that Jesus and his practical jokes!

Revelation 1:16, 19:16
At the Second Coming, Jesus will have a golden girdle, eyes of fire, white hair, feet of brass, clothes soaked in and dripping with blood, seven stars in his hand, the phrase “KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS” written (tattooed?) on his thigh, and “a sharp twoedged sword” sticking out of his mouth. While no doubt suitably dramatic, one imagines the latter part of this attire will make it difficult to pronounce sentence on the nonbelievers. (“In – ow! – the name of my – ow! – Father I say unto thee – ow!”)

(Extra humor points for verse 2:16, where we are told that Jesus will use this sword to fight against the unrepentant. Gives a whole new meaning to the phrase “barbed tongue.”)

Revelation 10:9-10
“And I went unto the angel, and said unto him, Give me the little book. And he said unto me, Take it, and eat it up; and it shall make thy belly bitter, but it shall be in thy mouth sweet as honey. And I took the little book out of the angel’s hand, and ate it up; and it was in my mouth sweet as honey: and as soon as I had eaten it, my belly was bitter.”

Bibliophagy, it seems, isn’t for everyone. John should have followed Ezekiel’s recipe.

Revelation 22:11
At the climax of the Book of Revelation, the author is confronted by an angel, who warns that God’s return is at hand and dispenses the following advice: “He that is unjust, let him be unjust still: and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still: and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still: and he that is holy, let him be holy still.”

One might be forgiven for thinking this is encouraging evildoers to continue in their ways. Why is this message coming from a deity whom we are told values holiness over all else? Doesn’t God want these people to repent? Shouldn’t his coming be an impetus for sinners to mend their ways? Or is it that he’ll be disappointed if he comes and finds he has no one to punish? After all, he did spend the entire book spinning out macabre apocalyptic visions detailing the terrible torments he plans to inflict on those who defy him; maybe he would be offended if he returned and found the Earth fully converted, forcing him to abandon all his hard work and preparation. Whatever the explanation, it is fitting that the Bible should end with this crowning absurdity: a God who spent the entire book trying to convert sinners now urges them to continue sinning in the last days before his final judgment.

The above absurdities, while they are some of the most amusing, are by no means the only ones. (The Skeptic’s Annotated Bible, a highly recommended site, has an exhaustive listing.) It truly is amazing just how many illogical, nonsensical and plain weird passages there are in this supposedly Good Book.

Why so many absurdities in the Bible? Of course, a few, such as in Isaiah or Revelation, can be put down to their authors being mentally disturbed, and to the superstitious ancients accepting their grotesque imaginings and bizarre ravings as canon because they believed such behavior was a sign of inspiration from God.

But not all of them can be explained this way, and a number of factors are required to account for the rest. First and most important, both the Israelite and Christian religions were going through formative periods when their texts were originally written, and these are precisely the periods when a sect’s beliefs go through the greatest changes and doctrinal disputes. Many of the odd verses are doubtless the last remaining vestiges of beliefs that lost out, preserved in fragments within the majority text like fossils in stone. As for others, though it may anger some believers to read it, we must face up to the fact that the Bible just isn’t well written. Even according to orthodox tradition, many of its authors were simple, rough and ready people, primitive and superstitious by today’s standards, without detailed education in principles such as plot, theme and characterization, and preceding the painstaking traditions of literary refinement that came later. Certainly they did not have the modern-day apologists’ concerns for consistency, nor their highly developed theological outlook, and they were probably not concerned with the detailed implications of every word they wrote. The final relevant factor is that the Bible is not a single book, but a collection of books, written in numerous different times and places by different individuals. Perfect consistency can hardly be expected from so many authors with so many different points of view, and what is worse, many of them were intent on reinterpreting the text in light of their own beliefs, rather than making their writing consistent with what already existed. The work of literature they collectively turned out is the best that could be expected under such circumstances.

Of course, the question remains of why such a poorly written work of literature has had such disproportionately vast influence on Western society. The answer, as always, is faith – that blind juggernaut, that applied cognitive dissonance, that has caused so much misery and suffering throughout history. Many believers have never read the Bible themselves; they simply have been taught that it is a good and worthy book, and by faith they accept this. The rest have learned the same from their predecessors, and so they repeat it among themselves, ignoring or glossing over those parts that do not fit with this notion. In this way, a self-perpetuating protectiveness has built up over time, an environment where the Bible is exempted from criticism and the belief that it is a book we should venerate is zealously defended.

The only people willing to critically examine scripture and expose it for what it really says are the atheists and other skeptics. It is these same people who brought humanity out of the dark ages of fundamentalism, the ones who stood up against the absolute power of the churches and spoke out against laws that made dissent a crime punishable by death. It is these people who have done so much to deliver humanity from the grip of the religious mania that has dominated it for so long. And, as long as we continue working to spread the truth about what the Bible and books like it really say, it just may be possible that someday we as a species will be truly, entirely free.


[1] For all these punishments, here are the Bible references, in order: Acts 5:5-10, Genesis 7:20-22, Jeremiah 10:22, Numbers 21:6, 2 Kings 17:25, 2 Kings 2:24, 1 Kings 21:23, Leviticus 26:22, 1 Samuel 16:14, Genesis 11:9, Ezekiel 23:25 & 34, Ezekiel 5:10, Numbers 31:18, Deuteronomy 28:48, Numbers 15:35-36, Leviticus 19:20, Exodus 22:24, 2 Samuel 12:31, Deuteronomy 32:42, Psalms 2:9, Numbers 16:35, Psalms 78:47, Revelation 16:3, Psalms 140:10, Revelation 9:18, Psalms 78:48, Psalms 83:15, Jeremiah 24:10, Amos 4:7, Leviticus 26:16, Numbers 11:33, 1 Chronicles 21:14, Deuteronomy 28:22, Deuteronomy 28:27, Numbers 12:9-10, Revelation 16:2, Exodus 9:9-11, 1 Samuel 5:6, Exodus 23:28, Exodus 10:12-14, Exodus 8:2-6, Exodus 8:16-17, Exodus 8:21-24, Deuteronomy 28:39, Exodus 12:29-30, Genesis 20:18, Hosea 9:14, Zechariah 12:4, Acts 13:11, Psalms 58:7, Jeremiah 13:13, Exodus 10:22, Exodus 9:23-25, Revelation 11:13, and Malachi 2:3. This is not a comprehensive list.

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