Fugitives from Fundamentalism

The Musings of Adult Missionary Kids (MKs) & Former Born-Again Believers

The Immoral Book

Posted by Clamence/The Chaplain on February 7, 2010

An argument I hear on a regular basis from Christians is that the Bible is a guide for moral living, and without it people would have no reason to act in an ethical manner. This is, of course, nothing more than an opinion, and a flat out false one at that. The truth is that people have been acting ethically and morally for thousands of years, and the vast majority of them never heard of Yahweh, Elohim or Jesus. This Christian opinion comes from their myopic view of the world: an inability to see outside of their small, personal and communal beliefs to recognize the blatantly obvious fact that not everyone in the world grew up in a Christian environment. It is this same inability to place themselves in others shoes that leads to their equating the word “religion” with “my religion:Christianity” when they argue for “allowing religion in our schools.” Perhaps this cognitive shortcoming is a result of wishful thinking and the desire that their religion be the only one around (and they obviously think their religion is the only true one).

What astounds me the most is the argument that the Bible is a “Good Book.” It might contain some good suggestions for living that happen to align with modern ideas of ethical behavior, but for every single one of those there is another behavior condoned or outright ordered in the Bible that is disgustingly barbaric and highly immoral. Since Christians regularly extend their myopic view of the world to their own holy book, I thought it might be a good idea to remind them of the immorality preached by “God’s Word.” Below are a few passages to get started. Please add your own in the comments, and let’s see if we can’t shine the light of reality on those dubious claims about the Bible’s goodness:

Numbers 15:32-36 —
15:32 And while the children of Israel were in the wilderness, they found a man that gathered sticks upon the sabbath day.
15:33 And they that found him gathering sticks brought him unto Moses and Aaron, and unto all the congregation.
15:34 And they put him in ward, because it was not declared what should be done to him.
15:35 And the LORD said unto Moses, The man shall be surely put to death: all the congregation shall stone him with stones without the camp.
15:36 And all the congregation brought him without the camp, and stoned him with stones, and he died; as the LORD commanded Moses.

I would love for a Christian to stand in front of me, look me in the eyes, and tell me that it is ethical to stone people to death for picking up sticks on the Sabbath. I would laugh nonstop for an hour, and then feel very disturbed. The Lord ordered this, right? Morals are absolute and stem directly from God, do they not? God is just and immutable, is He not? Given those facts, the only conclusion you can honestly reach is this: brutal, communal executions are moral and just.

Now that you have inhabited the completely preposterous, ultraviolent Christian mindset, try inhabiting the atheist’s perspective: morals do not stem from a deity but from a moral Zeitgeist (resulting from thousands of years of ethics, philosophy, and human culture), and this Zeitgeist considers stick gathering an activity that causes no harm others (ergo, no need for brutal executions).

Doesn’t life suddenly make much more sense when you stop the cognitive dissonance that occurs from thinking an ancient book written by barbaric, violent, sexist tent-dwellers is from a magical, supernatural, otherworldly plane of existence where Absolutes and a universe creator dwells? I mean, really, don’t you even feel a little bit stupid for thinking it? Just a bit? It really is just plain crazy.

Here’s another one of my favorites:

Leviticus 21:16-23
21:16 And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,
21:17 Speak unto Aaron, saying, Whosoever he be of thy seed in their generations that hath any blemish, let him not approach to offer the bread of his God.
21:18 For whatsoever man he be that hath a blemish, he shall not approach: a blind man, or a lame, or he that hath a flat nose, or any thing superfluous,
21:19 Or a man that is brokenfooted, or brokenhanded,
21:20 Or crookbackt, or a dwarf, or that hath a blemish in his eye, or be scurvy, or scabbed, or hath his stones broken;
21:21 No man that hath a blemish of the seed of Aaron the priest shall come nigh to offer the offerings of the LORD made by fire: he hath a blemish; he shall not come nigh to offer the bread of his God.
21:22 He shall eat the bread of his God, both of the most holy, and of the holy.
21:23 Only he shall not go in unto the vail, nor come nigh unto the altar, because he hath a blemish; that he profane not my sanctuaries: for I the LORD do sanctify them.

As you can see, God considers it moral to discriminate against the handicapped. God is a huge asshole.

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4 Responses to “The Immoral Book”

  1. Ann said

    That book image is super. It does seem insane to believe in the inherency of the Bible when put into perspective this way. Who it was written by and when. Yet, intelligent, well-meaning, and very nice people believe what is written in it was divinely inspired by God. Doesn’t it make more sense that all this violence and barbarianism is in the Bible because it was written by humans? Can you imagine a book written by tribal people alive today having that much power over the rest of the world? What kills me is the stuff I read on Facebook by my family and friends about the evil of the world, the nastiness of humans, the sin that needs atoning for, the injustice of men. Yet, the book they rely on for their idea of morality is full of evil, nastiness, sinfulness, and injustice–attributed to a God who is supposed to be good, loving, sinless and just. This God tells them to strive to be just like him. Now that’s dissonance.

  2. Sarge said

    Amen, Ann.

    So many people see no such dissonance at all, in fact, they say it makes perfect sense. And, naturally, they always employ the “Yes, but…” when these things are pointed out to them.

    I think I saw this in a movie, a side-show barker is holding up a skull, claiming that this is the skull of Julius Ceasar.
    A man in the crowd says that he’s a doctor, and can tell that that’s the skull of a child.
    Barker looks and says, “All right, this is the skull of Julius Ceasar when he was a BOY”!

    This is the kind of response one gets, in form, anyway, when one points out certain discrepencies.

    One has also been told that the more and absurd things are the most important, the most senseless things matter most to observe, because this demonstrates faith and submission.

    Most people here probably know more about this than me, but at least one of the “church fathers” stated that this thing about the absurdity of the resurection was what hooked him. It was absurd, that’s why he believed it.
    Was it Oregen who castratewd himself due to scriptural influence?

    But faith is an odd thing. Martin Luther and one early churchman stated that even if an angel from heaven came down and told them it was all hooey, they’d still believe.

    Some people see strong faith, I see doofusness.

  3. This Christian opinion comes from their myopic view of the world: an inability to see outside of their small, personal and communal beliefs…

    Inability for some I am sure, the inability comes with immaturity. I am sure also it is not inability but unwillingness to look beyond their cherished beliefs because of the fear it creates, fear that the world might be different than they have imagined, than they have had preached to them.

    It is scary either way, but especially inexcusable when it is from people who should know better, who have been educated and had the opportunity to see something of the world.

  4. Jerry said

    Yes, God seems to be nothing more than a judge at the American Kennel show, finding fault with any physical imperfections among his priests. Even from a socio-cultural perspective, I can’t quite understand the motivation for this silliness. Maybe it’s about perfection in the Holy of Holies or something like that. I like the one about the “flat nose” and “anything superfluous”. I guess that would include anyone with too much irreverent sarcasm, too. đŸ™‚
    But what’s crazier are the people who insist that we all live by the “morality” of such awful works of violence, and quite frankly, such a bad collection of literature.

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