- Religion and Philosophy
More Bible Verses NOT to Live By
Recently I posted a hub in response to hubber rtcomics which, more or less, countered a hub he had done about inspirational Bible verses we should all live by. I responded by pulling out five Bible verses that NO ONE should live by. In fact, however, there are many Bible verses NOT to live by, far more than I could fit into any hub series.
In general the Bible gives poor moral advice and there's a lot of stories in the Bible where the lessons to be learned aren't ones we should be teaching ourselves or our children. So here, once again, are some more Bible verses NOT TO LIVE BY.
Passage 1 - Revenge on the Amalekites
Human beings have, for thousands of years, engaged in war. In fact possibly the oldest profession, after prostitute, is soldier. War is hell they say. So you would think that, war being hell and all, the good God of the Bible, merciful and just, would want to stay away from war right? Such isn't the case.
The Old Testament is full of wars during which God is on one side of the conflict or another. Usually he's rooting for the Israelite home team but every so often his “chosen” people do something to piss him off and get him going against him. So with God condoning and sometimes even commanding war you'd think he'd be a fairly merciful general, perhaps even conforming to something like the Geneva convention.
The truth, however, is that God is going to show how petty and barbaric he is yet again, he's going to seek out revenge on the Amalekites, a group of people who did bad things to the Israelites earlier on. The following passage can be found in 1 Samuel 15:1-3
“Samuel said to Saul, “I am the one the LORD sent to anoint you king over his people Israel; so listen now to the message from the LORD. This is what the LORD Almighty says: ‘I will punish the Amalekites for what they did to Israel when they waylaid them as they came up from Egypt. Now go, attack the Amalekites and totally destroy all that belongs to them. Do not spare them; put to death men and women, children and infants, cattle and sheep, camels and donkeys.’”
Modern bullets used in warfare are typically what's called NATO rounds, these are bullets designed specifically to maim, not kill. Mercy and compassion, even in the face of bloodshed, is something we humans have been working at. God on the other hand apparently thinks that putting infants to the sword of his chosen people is perfectly acceptable. I hope and know that our military men and women around the globe will show more mercy than the vengeful Old Testament deity.
Passage 2 - Immolating your Only Daughter
God loves burning stuff. Whenever a sin offering was to be presented it was to be presented as a burnt offering. Usually this was done through animal sacrifice but there are a few times during that wonderful inspiring Bible when human beings are the ones who are sacrificed.
Of course there is the NEAR sacrifice of Isaac that everyone is familiar with. Fewer people, however, are familiar with the story of Jephthah and his daughter. For a little background, Jephthah was a warrior, a soldier, and he was on his way to war. He'd already been at war for a while and God had been guiding him in battle but then the spirit of the Lord came to Jephthah and apparently moved him to make a promise.
“Then the Spirit of the LORD came on Jephthah. He crossed Gilead and Manasseh, passed through Mizpah of Gilead, and from there he advanced against the Ammonites. And Jephthah made a vow to the LORD: “If you give the Ammonites into my hands, whatever comes out of the door of my house to meet me when I return in triumph from the Ammonites will be the LORD’s, and I will sacrifice it as a burnt offering.”
Jepthah's promise comes back to haunt him later on in the chapter (Judges 11) when he returns victorious from battle and it's his daughter who walks out of the door. Presumably Jephthah goes through with the sacrifice as planned, since the Bible says that his daughter went away for a while to weep for her virginity. There'd be no reason to weep about being a virgin if you got to continue on your merry way, but plenty if you were about to be burned alive in sacrifice to an evil God.
So the moral of the story is? When the spirit of the Lord comes upon you and moves you to do stupid shit and make stupid promises, try not to make any promises you wouldn't be willing to keep. The other moral of the story, apparently God does accept human sacrifices. After all as an all powerful deity he had every opportunity to stop Jephthah in much the same way he'd stopped Abraham. No such luck Jeph, chuck her on the fire.
Passage 3 - Freedom of Religion?
It's no secret that Yahweh is a jealous asshole, how jealous is he? So jealous that if you worship any other God besides him you deserve to be put to death. It seems that God is not a big fan of people exercising all the vast quantities of free will he bestowed upon them. Forget about freedom of religion, just serve Yahweh – OR ELSE.
This gem is from Exodus 22:20 which is another of those chapters that could be copy and pasted word for word into this hub, nearly every verse is absolute barbaric drivel.
“Whoever sacrifices to any god other than the LORD must be destroyed.”
There are lot's of other verses scattered throughout the Bible which warn against practicing your God given free will to worship other Gods. From the 10 Commandments saying you shall have no other Gods before Yahweh right through to Revelations where those that bow down to the Beast are tortured, slaughtered and eventually burned in the Lake of Fire.
Passage 4 - Family Ties
Jesus often gets a free pass from non-Christians and even many of my fellow atheists seem to just glance over much of what Jesus says in the Gospels. While I'll readily admit Jesus isn't evil, the way the Old Testament God is, he does say plenty of questionable and objectionable things. Among the most obvious is Jesus' declaration that you have to love him MORE than you love the rest of your family in order to be worthy of him and the “Kingdom”.
This can be found in Chapter 10 of the Gospel of Matthew. Just previous to this Jesus admits that he hasn't come to Earth to bring peace but has instead been sent to bring a “sword”. He then explains the division his message will create (though he fails to foresee the Inquisitions). After this the supposed Prince of Peace makes the stunning declaration:
“37“Anyone who loves their father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves their son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. 38 Whoever does not take up their cross and follow me is not worthy of me. “
That's right folks, drop everything, pick up your Cross and love Jesus MORE than you love anyone in your actual family. Now maybe this would be possible if you were a disciple sitting with Jesus on the shore of Galilee but for a modern human being, removed from Jesus by around two thousand years, it's pretty much impossible. Why is it impossible you ask? Well have you ever tried to LOVE someone you've never met or even seen? Sure you can get yourself into a mindset and convince yourself you love them, people do it all the time with their favorite attractive celebrity but it's not actually love is it?
Oh sure there's paintings of Jesus and plenty of Crucifixes depict his brutalized body on the cross but most of these depict Jesus as a CAUCASIAN man. Jesus was a Middle Eastern Jew, not only was his skin tone darker than most white people but the first century AD wasn't exactly a time when a poor carpenter turned vagrant prophet had opportunity to bathe regularly. Chances are Jesus was dirty and circumstances guarantee that he was not white.
Sorry Christians this means staring longingly at your favorite depiction of Jesus might as well be idol worship, and you know what God has to say about that. Good luck loving Jesus more than you love your family.
Passage 5 - Non-Virgin Mobile
God is obsessed with sex and he is absolutely sure he doesn't want you to do it before marriage however there are circumstances where being a Virgin can be advantageous to your survival, if you don't mind being taken prisoner and raped that is. What am I talking about? Well it's no secret that after a hard won battle the Israelites liked to take the spoils of war, and that included their share of slaves. Some people taken prisoner during battle were undoutedly female.
“Have you allowed all the women to live?” he asked them. “They were the ones who followed Balaam’s advice and enticed the Israelites to be unfaithful to the LORD in the Peor incident, so that a plague struck the LORD’s people. Now kill all the boys. And kill every woman who has slept with a man, but save for yourselves every girl who has never slept with a man.” - Numbers 31:15-17
God sends Moses, the righteous hero who led his people out of Egypt, to seek bloody revenge on the Midianites. After this the soldiers return with some prisoners of war and Moses asks them a peculiar question. Moses demands that they sort out the virgins from the dirty whores who seduced the Israelites into being unfaithful to God. The boys and the sluts are to be killed, the virgins however are given as slaves to the soldiers. They are to be “KEPT FOR YOURSELVES”.
Christians who read this SHOULD be throwing up in their mouths as they realize in complete revulsion what utter fools they were to even consider the Bible a source for morality or truth in the first place. They won't be doing that, of course, because they're conditioned to rationalize away such horrors.
To anyone looking at the Bible with moral honesty and empathy there can be only one conclusion, the Bible is not a book to live by. But for those taught to trust in this terrible tome crammed with bad ideas things are a bit more complex, especially for those who've read the entire thing and somehow remained Christians. For them faith has overwhelmed their common decency, or their minds have been able to compartmentalize well enough to bypass their moral senses entirely.
Beyond the factual errors, historical inaccuracies and logical inconsistencies lies a Bible ripe for the picking with alarmingly poor moral advice to give. For more Bible Verses NOT to live by just read the Bible for yourself, I guarantee it won't take long to find one.