One interesting post I did catch was vjack's article on biblical literalists. A recent Gallup poll revealed that more than 30% of the US population takes the bible literally. I would have liked to have known what percentage of those people have actually read the bible.
Since our recent move, my wife has tried a different church every Sunday, looking for the right one for her and the kids. So far, no luck. "They're all sinners!" she says, referring to a recent sermon that preached how everyone is a bad person and we all have a lot to ask forgiveness for. It was basically a group baptist confession session. Yuck. My wife thought it was YUCK too. Theist or not, if you're smart you know that even if you know people have occassionally doing bad things, it does no good to sit down together and moan about it. What's the point?
You've got to accentuate the positive, eliminate the negative, latch on to the affirmative, don't mess with Mister In-Between
But what we thought was really horrifying was a service she told me about from a couple of weeks ago. (boy, it really has been a while since I've blogged) She described the children's sermon like this:
A women kneels down on the floor in the front, inviting all of the children to sit with her. When the children had assembled, she opened a newspaper. "Do you want to read the news?" she said. "Let's see what's happening. Do you want to her about all of the soldiers who were killed in the war?" The kids, confused, weren't sure whether to say yes or no. "How about this one -- a singer gets drunk, and crashes her car into a tree! Do you want to hear about that?" More confusion from the kids. It goes on for a little while, and finally ends with this gem, "Or how about this one -- a man rapes and kills his four-year-old daughter. How many of you are four?" She finally gets to her point, "This is all bad news, isn't it? That's why the bible is called The Good News."And that was it. It sure is a good thing I wasn't there. I would have intervened long before the woman whipped out her punchline. That woman should be ashamed of herself.
Not to mention the hypocrisy! Has she even read the bible? The Old Testament? I'm still reading it myself, but off the top of my head:
- every human and animal in the world, save for a few of each, is murdered by an angry and vindictive god
- Noah gets drunk and naked, then curses his own lineage when one son sees him naked and has his kid tell him to get some clothes on
- god toys around with Abraham, who was about to kill his only son at god's request
- Lot protects two of his guests from the townsfolk, and offers his daughters as sex toys instead
- Lot's daughters get Lot drunk and rape him
- ten plagues, anyone? Despite the pharoah trying to let the Hebrews go seven times, god kept "hardening his heart" so he could do even more terrible things to the egyptians
- Moses leads warriors into cities, and demanding that not only are the warriors killed, but also the elderly, the women, and the children
- Joshua does the same, wiping out all of the men, women, and children of 31 cities
- Someone is stoned to death for collecting firewood on a Sunday
- Gideon kills a bunch of his friends because they guessed his riddle, then goes off on more killing rampages
- One of Gideon's sons kills 68 of his brothers
- Jephthah swears that if he wins a war, he will slaughter the first thing he sees at home as sacrifice -- which was his daughter
- Another judge pulls a Lot and sends his concubine out to be ravaged by townsfolk, and when he finds her dead later he cuts her up into twelve pieces and sends them to the each part of the land
Which brings me back to my question about the Gallup poll in vjack's article. Despite so many people believing the bible is the literal truth -- how many have actually read it? Here was a woman giving a sermon to other people, a position, one would assume, usually granted to people that are familiar with the material. Instead, it comes across more like war propaganda, especially when it is so obviously false.