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?

Comments (8)

  • avatar

    Lifer

    Silly atheist, you have to look at the spirit in which it was written!

  • avatar

    Bailey

    @Lifer -surely you jest. Do you mean the spirit of sexist, racist, elitist intolerance that pervades the Bible’s teachings? That same spirit that continues to pollute the hearts and minds of otherwise halfway decent people across the planet? I hope you’re kidding.

  • avatar

    Jacob Fortin

    Life is one of us dude!

  • avatar

    advertisinglies

    I think it’s a bit perverse for someone to try to explain away the terrible atrocities that have occurred because of the bible by trying to dismiss the parts that inspired those atrocities as ‘dodgy bits.’

  • avatar

    CybrgnX

    “Do not suffer a sorceress to live’ is one of my favorite lines because it demonstrates all that is wrong with the Buy-Bull.
    1-buy-bull parts have been rewritten incorrectly.
    sorceress was changed to witch to justify the witch hunts.
    2-buy-bull thumpers belief in magic. Buy-bull says not to do occult stuff and kill occult users. You can order people not to do stuff that don’t exist- so magic exists. Keeping the gOd thing seperate.
    3-it again marks the evil as being done by women.

  • avatar

    Bailey

    Thank god for that, Jacob (har har har)

  • avatar

    Richard Collins

    I explain in my Helium article “The Cell Phone Bible Project” how a new slimmed down Bible version could be accomplished using the Wikipedia model. Here is a link to the full article:

    http://www.helium.com/items/806759-will-people-eventually-write-their-own-version-of-the-bible-in-the-manner-of-say

    All it takes is a miracle and as all believers know, miracles really do happen.

  • avatar

    Jacob Fortin

    ^I tried visiting the site and checking out the “about Helium” page, and it gave me a “404 error”. What is the site about?

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