Genesis 19 — The Bible should be rated NC-17

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Two Virgins
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Genesis 19 — The Bible should be rated NC-17

I was aware of the two stories in this chapter, but it was still somewhat shocking and sickening reading them. It’s hard to keep this blog family-friendly with a book like the Bible, so be forewarned that what follows is just plain sick and shouldn’t be read or believed by anyone, much less children.

God sends two angels to prepare for the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. Lot insists that these angels of death stay over at his place. But the angels are so irresistible, the crowd wants to have sex with them. Lot is against this, as he should be. But his solution is to offer up his two daughter to the crowd instead. I quote Lot, from the NIV (Gen 19:8),

"Look, I have two daughters who have never slept with a man. Let me bring them out to you, and you can do what you like with them. But don’t do anything to these men, for they have come under the protection of my roof."

There is no way to misinterpret this: Lot offers his own daughters to a sex-crazed crowd and tells them to have at them. There is no excuse for this. Even the author of the Annotated Skeptic’s Annotated Bible says

"There are a few things that can be said in his defense, but in the end, this is one of those things I have to admit I just can’t quite comprehend. […] Apparently just leaving the door locked wouldn’t be enough, as after he spoke with them, they tried to break his door down. In my opinion, that doesn’t justify him, but I’d take a plea of "temporary insanity" on his part, so to speak."

In any case, the crowd doesn’t take him up on his offer to gang-rape his virgin daughters though because the angels are just too sexy apparently. The angels work some hocus-pocus and the crowd is dazzled long enough for Lot, his wife, and his daughters to escape.

Now here’s something that I don’t remember being mentioned, although I’m sure I’m not the first to notice it. The next morning, Lot and family are to leave, but in verse 16, it says Lot "hesitated" (NIV) (ASV) or "lingered" (KJV), so the angels have to convince him again to skedaddle. Lot talks them into saving a nearby town for them to escape to. As you probably know, Lot does eventually leave, and God rains fire and brimstone to kill everyone who’s left in town, but his wife looks behind and is punished by turning into a pillar of salt. The Bible doesn’t say much at all, just matter-of-factly says that she’s turned into salt and then goes on with the story.

This is simply not fair. Lot not only hesitated, he actually argued with the angels until he got something out of them. Lot’s wife merely looks back for a moment and is turned into a pillar of salt. What’s the moral of this: it’s fine to argue with angels to get them to change God’s plans, but if you look back, you’re dead? Do Lot and his daughters even mourn the death? The Bible doesn’t tell us.

Later on, Lot and his daughters are living in a cave (he was too afraid to stay in the town God had spared him) and they both decide to get him drunk and have sex with him. Not one night, but two nights in a row. (Don’t you think after the first night, Lot might have been suspicious that something was up?!?) They say that it’s to keep up the family line. Mission accomplished: they both have sons.

Besides saying that Lot was unaware of what was going on, the Bible doesn’t offer any other condemnation (we’ll see if there’s one later on, but based on the SAB and a couple other sites I quickly looked at, it doesn’t look like it).

So we have, in one chapter
* a sex-crazed mob that wants to rape two angels
* a father who offers his virgin daughters to a sex-crazed mob
* a God who completely destroys an entire city, humans, plants, presumably animals, and all
* a God who turns a woman to salt for daring to look back at the city she’s being kicked out of
* two daughters who get their dad drunk
* a father who has sex with both of his incestuous daughters
* two children born of incest

Julia Sweeney, of SNL fame, thought this story was disturbing enough to mention as part of her "Letting Go of God " one-person-show-turned-book-turned-audiobook-turned-movie. I listened to her audiobook, and she somehow manages to make telling her deconversion from being a Christian into an inspiring and laugh-out-loud story. Otherwise, this would have been an even more depressing chapter to cover.

If there is any book that should be banned from libraries, it should be the Bible with stories like this. But I don’t believe in censorship, and maybe it’s better the book isn’t banned anyway. I don’t know how my deconversion would have went, if at all, if I hadn’t have had access to the Bible (and the SAB’s comments in a number of cases) to look at and actually think about. If someone reads the Bible from a library and it opens their eyes a little, that would be a good things.

Why would these stories be in the Holy Word of God? I would like to see how my soon-to-be-ordained relative, that I mentioned in a previous post, would wiggle out of this story.  I honestly don’t see how.

PS Scripture quotations marked (NIV) are taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®. NIV®. Copyright© 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. All rights reserved.

Genesis 5 — Be begotten, not forgotten?

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Genesis 5 — Be begotten, not forgotten?

Genesis 5 is pretty easy to blog. Mostly a lot of "begats" in some attempt apparently by God’s chosen people to keep a history of their ancestors. There is nothing wrong with doing this of course, it might even be considered a noble sort of pursuit, provided the information you keep is accurate and not just made up.

God was apparently so mad at humans after Adam’s fall that he originally let humans live up to 969 years. As the Skeptic’s Annotated Bible points out, this was despite the fact that God promised Adam he would die the day he ate of the fruit of knowledge. God was only hundreds of years off, which is a lot more accurate than his faithful young-Earth creationists likely being billions of years off about the age of the planet!

Was this reprieve a blessing or a curse for Adam and Eve? Genesis 5:2 says that God "blessed them". This is the same God who threw them out of paradise and condemned them to suffering and death for all their descendants, all on account of eating some fruit that made them smart. And then after this, God lets them suffer for hundreds of years!  Genesis 5:29 correctly reminds readers that God "cursed" the ground. So it doesn’t seem like such a blessing to me. What on Earth did Adam and Eve, and their ancestors, do with their lives for hundreds of years? Struggle to survive, I suppose. I would think with having very little else to do in those days (few people around to talk to, no pay-per-view…) that it may have been worse than death. Maybe that was God’s idea, to keep them around to suffer even more?!?

I’m glad this is a fictional account, otherwise it would be rather cruel. You could actually see someone enjoying living 900 years nowadays if their health permitted it, but just wandering around the desert for hundreds of years must not have been pleasant. Fortunately, there is no reason, besides the Bible itself, to believe humans used to live (and suffer) that long. I used to take "for the Bible tells me so" as proof enough for anything the Bible said, but realize now that you shouldn’t based your entire worldview on one grossly unproven document, no matter how much it (or other people) tells you it’s true.

About all the people born in this chapter, as far as I know, we find out little to nothing about most of them. Why are they included in the Bible, then? What good is just having someone’s name if you’re trying to remember your civilization’s history? How does a list of random names fulfill God’s holy purpose? God really needed an editor to cut the bloat out of this thing.

We do see that Adam (and presumably Eve) had some daughters in this chapters, though they go unnamed (since women aren’t really all that important). So this may answer how the human race got started: it was brothers and sisters having sex. Don’t try this at home, folks, it’s just some good ol’ family values from the fictional Bible.