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Woe to the women that sew pillows....


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Behold, I Am Against Your Pillows

Biblical absurdities

In lamenting how stubborn and hard-hearted we atheists are, many Christian fundamentalists say we'd be converted for sure if only we'd read the Bible.


Well, the fact of the matter is that I have read it, and it's nothing special. After the creation story in Genesis, the first few books of the Old Testament are mainly long, tedious genealogies, interspersed with occasional episodes of bloody massacres carried out by God's people in his name and with his approval. In this section we also have the books of the law, listing hundreds of petty laws and specifying the horrible punishments for breaking any of them. (For example: the punishment for picking up sticks on the Sabbath is to be bludgeoned to death with heavy stones, as recorded in Numbers 15:32-36.) Finally come the prophets, and are there ever prophets - dozens of them, it seems, all either bemoaning how God has punished Israel for its sins by allowing it to be defeated by its enemies, or exulting how God has rewarded Israel for its obedience by allowing it to defeat its enemies, in a clear attempt to retrospectively justify the changing fortunes of a people due to random chance. The prophets' writings are often vague and obtuse and contain many bizarre metaphors that might incline one to doubt their authors had a firm grip on reality (but more on that later).


The New Testament isn't much better. While the gospels at least agree on the basic details of their storyline, there is little sense of plot progression or building toward a goal; Jesus and his disciples wander from one unrelated anecdote to another until the passion narrative begins and the story abruptly ends. More strangely, they can't seem to agree on a lot of seemingly basic details, such as when, where and to whom the first post-resurrection appearance was to, or how Jesus acted at his trial; but when they do agree, they often agree exactly. In other words, they are obvious plagiarisms of each other, which is strange if each author really was a disciple of Jesus or knew someone who was - one would think they'd have their own sources and wouldn't need to crib off each other. The gospels seem to present, not four independent perspectives on the same events, but one original story expanded and revised by later redactors to fit their own conception of how things should be. The clearest example of this is how the Synoptics and John blatantly contradict each other about the personality of Jesus. As for the epistles, they move in a world all their own, with little if any relation to the gospel stories. And Revelation is simply weird.


That doesn't mean the Bible isn't worth reading - on the contrary. Tucked away in its pages, there's quite a lot of humor, though none of it is intentional. Many verses have caused me to burst out laughing.


In the hope of sharing these laughs with you, the reader, I've listed below some of the most humorously absurd verses of the Bible. Commentary is included where appropriate. All of the following are real Bible verses! (All quotes are from the King James Version if not otherwise noted.)

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