Eddie Arthur shared a wonderful set of excerpts from the Not So Unpleasant Version of the Bible, shared by Archdruid Eileen. Here is the text of that post:
It was Snargent who originally started it. He complained about the Crucifix in the Chapel of Contemplation – said that the depiction of an execution was quite unseemly for a religious group.
And that was nothing to when I pointed out that it was based on the accounts in the Gospels. The discovery that we have a holy book that includes such things has caused uproar. What, we were asked, did we think we were doing? Dolorez says that thinking about the Bible has caused her little ones, Mordant and Celery, to have sleepless nights. Personally I reckon it’s more likely the sound of Dolorez singing “I will Survive” into the small hours that has given the little ones unsettled sleep, but still. I didn’t want to upset her further.
And I remembered that, so as not to upset people who flick on during the boring bits, we’ve already made the decision to have no Funeral Service in the Beaker Common Prayer. I reckoned this was the way forward. And so we have produced the Not So Unpleasant Version of the Bible. Like the original Bible, but with all the nasty bits sanitised. So if you’re fed up with bloodshed, slaughter and annihilation in your favourite inspired text, why not try the NSUV? For example:
In the NSUV, after a heated debate with his brother, Cain admits that his offering wasn’t as good as Abel’s. God tells them that, actually, he was just feeling a bit grumpy and off cereals, and they were both pretty good.
Noah trains as a lifeguard. In gratitude for him saving their lives in the Flood, the people of Mesopotamia mend their ways.
The people of Sodom and Gomorrah take Lot’s guests down the pub for a pint. Neither fire nor brimstone are required.
The Levite is not such a coward as to push his concubine out into the street. The men of Gibeah consider that their behaviour hasn’t been so great, and go home to their wives.
All sacrifices are of vegetables.
The Children of Israel book a holiday in the land of Babylon. King Nebuchadnezzar turns out to be a remarkably affable hotel-owner. The waiter is from Barcelona.
After Elijah wins the “who can call down fire” contest, he invites the Prophets of Baal to an inter-faith tea.
King Herod visits the town of Bethlehem dressed as Santa, with a sleigh full of toys.
After St Peter provides King Herod Agrippa with an anti-worming treatment. Herod is so grateful he agrees that he is just a man, after all.
Everybody goes to heaven at the end of Revelation.
So why not give the NSUV a chance? It’s a new kind of Bible for a new kind of religion. Offence-free. Blood-free. Violence-free. Outrage-free. And, above all, salvation-free.
What do you think? Clearly this is intended as humor. But the instinct to want to sanitize the Bible presumably reflects the concern that some people look to this collection of literature, expecting it to be consistently holy and to provide positive role models, among other things. And so perhaps instead of an NSUV Bible, we need a different view of what the Bible is? Then we can place it alongside all the other great and not-so-great literature that contains violence and hatred, and which we do not feel compelled to rewrite – again, except for comical purposes.