09 November 2008

Read Your Bible! (step 4.)

4. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of the ancient texts with which we were indoctrinated.

"Most people are bothered by those passages of Scripture they do not understand, but the passages that bother me are those I do understand."
— Mark Twain

In my first 18 years of life, I went to a liberal catholic church almost every week. Although typically glazed over through most of the services, I remember the stories of kindness, like the good Samaritan and feeding the poor (i.e. loaves and fishes.) I also recall the miraculous stories about walking on water and rising from the dead.

Perhaps it was because it was coming from the liberal end of the denomination, but we weren't read the verses about how it is better to offer you virgin daughter and your guest’s concubine to the mob of angry rapists instead of your Levite guest (they took the concubine.) Or, how after “they knew her, and abused her all the night until the morning” the noble Levite chopped her up into twelve pieces, bones and all, and “sent her into all the coasts of Israel.” This charming story is from Judges 19:22-29.

I didn’t hear about how, if God has killed both you and your sister’s husbands, and you have no children, you should, in order to continue you genetic line, get your father drunk and have your way with him. Not once, but two nights in a row, once for each sister.

Lucky for me, my parents aren’t bible literalists; otherwise I would probably not have survived my teenage years as I did my fair share of cursing them.

Fortunately for my sister in law, my brother does not actually believe that she should have been stoned to death on her father’s doorstep for not being a virgin on their wedding night. (I only know this for sure because my nephew was at their wedding. [Unless of course there is something extra special about him I don’t know…])

Any version of the bible is rife with brutality, cruelty, murder, and general nastiness. This includes the Book of Mormon, which is simply yet another re-write of the ancient myths, and the texts of the Jehovah’s Witness’, a wildly non-traditional bible interpretation. Jehovah’s Witness are not even allowed to read the bible on their own since they are deemed incapable of proper interpretation without help from their “betters.”

Don’t let another human tell you what god wants. How the hell do they know? As Susan B. Anthony said: "I distrust those people who know so well what God wants them to do because I notice it always coincides with their own desires."

Every major religion has ancient texts that are regarded holy. Even cursory scrutiny will reveal a deity that is vicious, intolerant, and petty. The oft-repeated mantra of a loving benevolent supreme being is just that, mantra. It is not evident in ‘sacred’ texts. Don’t believe me? Take a look at Skeptic’s Annotated Bible. They deconstruct not only the Bible, but also the Q’uran and the Book Of Mormon.

Think Well,