Online survey identifies Bible’s worst passages
If you’ve never read Carl Sagan’s “The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark“, do yourself a favor and pick it up. One of his chapters deals specifically with the Inquisition, and the slaughter of an estimated 100,000 women at the hand of the Church. Although the West has generally stopped prosecuting women for the crime of “witchcraft” (the last person convicted was in 1944), in Africa, the problem is still rampant. The growing influence of Christianity has tragically created a powder keg situation, as ancient superstitions are met with the violent rhetoric of the Old Testament, which states quite plainly witches are to be killed.
I found this article to be both amusing and frustrating; an online survey asked respondents which parts of the Bible they found most disturbing, and Exodus 12: verse 18, which states “Do not allow a sorceress to live” was ranked third. I’m sure no one in the Church would ever imagine removing this verse, or any of the others that command genocide, rape, or infanticide.
Simon Jenkins, editor of shipoffools.com, said: “It doesn’t have to be a textbook of infallible information and unbreakable laws to be God’s book. And it doesn’t have to be one big pile of lies because of its dodgy bits. In Chapter and Worse we are attempting to rescue it from rival takeover bids.”
Simon seems to be under the impression changes to the Bible are possible (and very desirable), but fails to realize as soon as anyone starts messing with it, there will be no end to the editing. If the book really is God’s word, what parts are you supposed to keep and what parts are you going to throw out? Is there even any reason to believe individual Christians would follow a Bible with huge chunks taken out? Jefferson rewrote the Bible with only the ethical elements included, and no one is reading that one. Who decides what God said, and what some dude made up?
I think many Christians naively think people who kill witches, behead homosexuals and justify their cruel and inhumane actions through the “Good Book” are perverting their faiths. The truth is these people are actually fully expressing their beliefs, and using the same book “we” do in the West. This is why tragedies will continue to occur, all in the name of religion. The fact that we don’t kill witches here is historically a fairly recent phenomenon, and there is no reason to believe this trend will continue on forever.
It’s sad that even believers recognize the trouble within their own holy texts, and yet chose to keep such dangerous passages out of the foolish belief that the Bible is the infallible word of God. You can’t edit this volume; it’s a lost cause. We have far better ideological and ethical tools that do not require primitive and stupid mythologies to prove their point. The Bible no longer reflects the way we feel about women, different “races”, and homosexuality. Is there really anything left when you take out the nasty parts anyways? What can a book written by primitive and ignorant desert people really teach us?