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The Two-faced Book

By Carl S. ~

Twenty-five years ago, driving to work, I turned on the radio and got a call-in talk program. The subject was “The Bible’s influence on children." The host was reading various texts from that book, and exclaiming after each of them, “I won’t have my children exposed to this!” He was not content with that, however, as he followed each reading and statement with a ripping-out of the page on which the texts were printed. Many listeners were furious, calling in to condemn and berate him to no end. Still, he continued and did not lose his contract. Why should he? No one could deny that what he read was in the book, nor that he should shield his children from such filth and immorality found therein. The objectors focused with indignation on the right of anybody to criticize “the word of God,” no matter what harm might be done to children.

Most believers who praise the Bible as a moral guide haven’t really read, or ignore, most of it. Many go through it highlighting passages which give them comfort and/or support their biases. And why trust a book which can be quoted to justify genocide, over and over again? A book which hates children, with tales of their drowning and slaughters en masse. A book which states, “In the beginning...” when it is obvious that the writer was not there in the beginning and is making up the whole story following those words.

The 23rd psalm is recited frequently. (Although it will never have the same meaning for me that I was taught, after realizing that the sheep, no matter how comforted ”beside still waters,” etc., is raised solely to be slaughtered, as was the Good Shepherd the psalm is claimed to refer to.) Children are taught that “God hates the sin and not the sinner,” but psalm 5 v.5 states, “You hate all evildoers.” There are 150 psalms, many of them being prayers for the Lord to take revenge on those who are enemies of the petitioner. (I wonder if the psalmists were paranoid.) It is no surprise that those who teach Bible studies are very careful to choose very selectively what they read in that book.

There really is a man who offers one thousand dollars to any church who will let him read one hour of scriptures to a congregation. When they inquire about his offer, he gives one stipulation, “I will pick the passages.” At that point they change their minds. Why?