But 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.
Under "The Law" for example, there are sections on:
- Leviticus 15:16 "When a man ejaculates semen . . ." (the scene is of a Lego man masturbating in front of a television set)
- Leviticus 15:18 "Whenever a woman has intercourse with a man . . ." (two Lego action figures engaged in sexual relations)
- Leviticus 15:19 "Whenever a woman has her menstrual period . . ." (lonely woman sitting in a chair, gazing out the window)
- Leviticus 15:24 "If a man goes so far as to have intercourse with her . . ." (Lego couple atop a Lego bed, as fully engaged as a Lego couple can be)
Male genital injury
- Deuteronomy 23:1 "A man whose testicles have been crushed . . ." (Poor Lego guy finds himself under the front hoof of a horse)
- ". . . or whose penis has been cut off" (A Lego woman leaving the scene with a knife)
Children with a love of potty humor will enjoy the section on Camp Defecation (drawn from Deuteronomy 23:9-14). And I could go on: Transvestism (Dt. 22:5), Proof of Virginity (Dt. 22:13-20), Rape, Female Infidelity, and more.
The section on the Book of Revelation begins with John's vision on the Island of Patmos—nine illustrations under the disrespectful heading "Future Revealed to Guy on Tiny Mediterranean Island."
Revelation holds some terrors for children, as well, under titles like:
- "Children to Be Killed as Warning"
- "God Tortures, Kills Billions"
- "God Tortures a Whore"
- "Remaining Humans Doomed to Torture"
- "Son of Man's Bloody Gorefest"
And there are sections that would seem to be especially reflective of Smith's atheist perspective:
- "Alternative to God Proves Very Popular" (Rev. 12:17-13:8)
- "God's Garish Eternal Tribute to Himself" (Rev. 21:1-22)
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.
Oddly, I found myself feeling not wrath, but sadness for "Reverend" Smith. A young (30-something) man with a great amount of talent, he rejects God even while immersing himself in the Bible. I pray that God, who is all-knowing and who loves Brendan Powell Smith with an unquenchable love, might bring into Smith's life someone who can help him to see the deeper meaning behind those stern Old Testament stories, the divine inspiration in the Bible he now mocks.
In his introduction to his first papal encyclical Deus Caritas Est, Pope Benedict XVI said this: "I wish to underline the centrality of faith in God, in that God who has assumed a human face and a human heart. Faith is not a theory that one can take up or lay aside.It is something very concrete: It is the criterion that decides our lifestyle."
I pray that Brendan Powell Smith, like a contemporary Dante Alighieri, will someday bring the gift of faith to his creative endeavors, and will seek to convey in his work the tender mercies of an almighty God. Now that would be a book I could buy!