The Bible has long been a source of inspiration to people all over the world. It is also incredibly screwed up, filled with tails of slavery, genocide, rape, incest and anything else you might find in an episode of Law & Order: SVU. So the next time you smugly try to prove an argument by saying “Well, the Bible says…” just remember that it also says that all of these are cool.
Job is a good dude, loves his kids, takes care of himself, goes to church, you know the deal. But then God basically decides to ruin his life just to settle a debate with Satan, like the Duke brothers ruining Dan Aykroyd’s life over a one dollar bet in Trading Places. God just chills on his cloud while Satan proceeds to demolish Job’s life. He takes his money, offs his kids, gives him freaky diseases – basically, he’s what would happen if Job started dating a stripper. In the end, Job remains faithful to God instead of turning on him like Satan bet he would and God pretty much just says “lol, sorry man but hey at least you proved you’re a ride or die bro” and everybody has a happy ending. Well, except for Job’s dead family and, well, Job himself whose life is utterly ruined, but God had to win that bet. He has a reputation to uphold, after all.
One day the prophet Elijah was just minding his own business when a bunch of kids started ragging on him for being bald, presumably calling him Cue-Ball and Mr. Clean and the like. I’m guessing this had been going on for a while because Elijah flat-out snapped, and cursed the kids like a crotchety old-man neighbor. The only problem is that Elijah had a direct line to God and God was listening because suddenly two bears came out of the woods and mauled the kids to death.
Here’s the actual passage from Kings 2:23-24 in case you think I’m exaggerating:
(23) “From there Elisha went up to Bethel. As he was walking along the road, some boys came out of the town and jeered at him. “Get out of here, baldy!” they said. “Get out of here, baldy!” (24) He turned around, looked at them and called down a curse on them in the name of the Lord. Then two bears came out of the woods and mauled forty-two of the boys.”
Well, okay then.
Sure, Moses warned the Pharaoh that unless he let his people go that shit would get out of hand, but frogs and bloody rivers are one thing, it’s quite another when God sends his hit man to town to kill every first-born child in Egypt. Just because Yul Brynner and Charlton Heston got in an argument doesn’t mean that a bunch of innocent kids deserved to die, right? You know what a more efficient plan would have been? Just kill the Pharaoh. There, problem solved. But I guess not even God wants to mess around with regime change – we’ve seen what happens when you let yourself get involved in that shit in the Middle East and North Africa and God’s no fool - and so the kids had to go instead.
King Saul wasn’t exactly a fan of David, on account of the fact that David was popular with the people while Saul was basically a Nixonish ogre. And so in order to allow David to marry one of his daughters, Saul told him that he would sell her to him in exchange for 100 foreskins, which I guess was a hell of a bargain back then. David, being the young go-getter that he was then went out and killed all his Philistine enemies in battle and then cut their dicks off and brought them home like some demented Vietnam Vet. At least he didn’t make a necklace out of them. To make matters even more WTF, he went above and beyond the call of duty, hacking off 200 dongs for King Saul’s collection instead of just the required 100. I guess it’s still easier than dating.
After leaving Egypt to weep for their dead children, God and Moses weren’t finished with their reign of terror. As recounted in Numbers 31, after running into the people of Midian, Moses and God decided to open up a huge can of whoop ass, ordering the Israelites to kill every man and male child around, as well as all the women who had ever gotten down with a dude because apparently they were pissed that these sexy ladies were leading their men astray. After butchering thousands of men, women and children, they then stole all their goods and to put a nice little cherry on this fucked up sundae, they spared all the virgin girls and gave them to the Israelite men as slaves. Good times!
By now, you shouldn’t be surprised by just about anything in the Bible. After all, it’s clear God was running Israel like the Wild friggin’ West. Anything goes. Still, the story of Jephthah from the Book of Judges jumps out as particularly screwed up. Jephthah was headed off to battle and in order to earn God’s favor he vowed that “whoever emerges and comes out of the doors of my house to meet me, when I return in peace from the people of Ammon, shall surely be God’s, and I shall sacrifice them as a burnt offering." Okay, things are already looking a little messed up. Things get even darker when ol’ Jeph returns home victorious and is immediately met by his beloved daughter. Well, a deal’s a deal and so Jephthah kills her – and the “burnt offering” part leads me to believe that he sets her on fire like some kind of meth-head or something because I guess God’s a Juggalo or maybe Beavis? Honestly, that would explain a lot.
I’m just going to submit this (Judges 19:22-29) without comment because holy shit:
(22) While they were enjoying themselves, some of the wicked men of the city surrounded the house. Pounding on the door, they shouted to the old man who owned the house, “Bring out the man who came to your house so we can have sex with him.”
(23) The owner of the house went outside and said to them, “No, my friends, don’t be so vile. Since this man is my guest, don’t do this outrageous thing. (24) Look, here is my virgin daughter, and his concubine. I will bring them out to you now, and you can use them and do to them whatever you wish. But as for this man, don’t do such an outrageous thing.”
(25) But the men would not listen to him. So the man took his concubine and sent her outside to them, and they raped her and abused her throughout the night, and at dawn they let her go. (26) At daybreak the woman went back to the house where her master was staying, fell down at the door and lay there until daylight.
(27) When her master got up in the morning and opened the door of the house and stepped out to continue on his way, there lay his concubine, fallen in the doorway of the house, with her hands on the threshold. (28) He said to her, “Get up; let’s go.” But there was no answer. Then the man put her on his donkey and set out for home.
(29) When he reached home, he took a knife and cut up his concubine, limb by limb, into twelve parts and sent them into all the areas of Israel.
After God laid waste to Sodom and Gomorrah (by the way, it’s a testament to how supremely screwed up the Bible is that a story about God casually slaughtering two entire cities doesn’t even crack this list), Lot, the one dude saved from the carnage, fled with his daughters. Naturally, the girls decided that it was their duty to repopulate the area by banging dear old dad. Wait… what? Indeed. Lot’s daughters proceeded to roofie the poor old man and then took turns banging him. The next morning they were both pregnant and humanity was saved… or something. I need a shower. And also some bleach to scrub my brain.
Just hear me out. The story of Jesus’ Crucifixion and Resurrection has to be number one because it is so central to Western Civilization, and therefore so familiar to everyone, that nobody even stops to think about how weird and how messed up it is. But it totally is. Just check it out – Jesus gets brutally tortured and then gets literally nailed to a cross under the hot sun where people jeer and throw garbage at him and soldiers stab at him while he hangs for a while in appalling misery and then finally dies, all for the heinous crime of telling people to just be chill with each other, which incidentally is the part of the Bible that people should remember but since it involves not being an asshole they tend to overlook it. The horror show surrounding the crucifixion is bad enough, but then three days later, he returns from the dead like friggin’ Dracula or a zombie and freaks out all his friends. Meanwhile, his best friend, Judas, who sold him out, hangs himself from a tree. This is the central story around which our entire civilization is built! What a book. And this is why we can’t have nice things.
(Previously published on May 28, 2013.)