According to the bible, God could go all Bruce Banner…!
by Pseud O'Nym
In my last post, I deservedly ridiculed some of the frankly bizarre beliefs that hold sway in modern life. Such as UFO’s, the Loch Ness Monster, acupuncture, and the moon landings being faked. I observed that despite there being no credible proof for any of these, they somehow remain lodged in people’s consciousness as truths.
Now for the biggest mass delusion of all. I’m referring, of course, to religion or as I call it, a fairy story for grown ups. Quite how, in the 21st century – over 150 years since Darwin conclusively proved evolution wasn’t just a theory, but verifiable fact – religion isn’t a fading superstition but a flourishing worldwide activity, is a cause of serious concern.
This post will therefore be a tad longer than usual, because I’ve included some background on me, and I’ve also quoted and referenced the bible (The Revised Standard Version). The lesser known sources anyway, as I figure you’re familiar with the Adam and Eve story?
Like pretty much every child with religious parents, mine indoctrinated me into theirs, which just happened to be Catholicism. I knew my mum viewed going to church as more of a social activity than anything else, and my father saw religion as something you paid lip service to, especially if there was communion wine on offer.
Up until my confirmation I was the model of probity. It was during my confirmation classes that things started to go right, I was told I could choose a confirmation name and I was given a book of saint’s names to look through. Told I was allowed to have two, I considered my options and then said I want my confirmation name to be James Bond. Only to be told that yes, even though there was a St James and a St Bond and that yes, even though I could have any two I wanted, no, having James Bond as my confirmation name wasn’t acceptable. Later, when I was studying Nazi Germany as part of my A Level history, I couldn’t help but notice the similarities between the Nuremburg rallies and religion. Specifically, that fact that there was a kind of group think at work, whereby otherwise quite rational people would get swept along in the carefully orchestrated emotional fervour of the moment and would become part of the group. It was about this time that I read Darwin and all of the unformed thoughts in my head suddenly coalesced.
As Julie Andrews sang in ‘Do-Rei-Me’ in ‘The Sound Of Music’, “Lets start at the very beginning, a very good place to start.” So lets. In the beginning there was nothing, blah, blah, blah, until in the greatest magic trick in the history of ever, hey presto, God created the world. Never mind who created God! Fast forward a bit and he created man, Adam, in his own image. More blah. Adam was lonely, so God created Eve, using one of Adam’s ribs.
Two problems spring to mind here. One, if God created Man out of nothing but dust (Gen 2 v7), then why did he have to go all rib thievery on Adam? After making the entire universe we’re expected to seriously believe creating a similar but different breeding companion for Adam was beyond his creative imagination and competence? Really? I know women are complicated, but he’d just created the universe and everything in it.
Two. Why didn’t Adam haggle? As anyone who’s ever been to a market anywhere in the world knows, the first price opens negotiations only, one isn’t expected to actually pay it, as this scene from Monty Pythons ‘Life of Brian’ demonstrates. What if Adam had done the same thing? I mean, women are great and everything, don’t get me wrong, but for one rib we got woman? If we could lose one rib, why not two? Or three? We’ll never know what we could have got because Adam couldn’t haggle.
Moving on, the first humans were Adam and Eve. After eviction (And that’s problematic. As any parent knows, if you draw attention to a thing, and then tell a child not to do a certain thing with that thing, guess what?) Anyway. They have Cain and Abel, Cain murders Abel, “Then Cain went away from the presence of the Lord, and dwelt in the land of Nod, east of Eden” (Gen 5 v 16) Did he have a kip in the land of Nod? No, he got busy. “Cain knew his wife and she conceived and she bore Enoch; and he built a city and called the name of the city after the name of his son, Enoch.” (Gen, 5, v 17)
Now who exactly this wife was and where she sprang from is never explained, but it isn’t called the holy bible for nothing, it’s full of holes! No, the really troubling aspect for a book that later on gives us ten rules to live by, is that god is morally flexible when it suits him. Cain, his wife and their son Enoch, populating an entire city? You can see where I’m going with this can’t you? I don’t need to go there, although Cain and Enoch must’ve gone there. Repeatedly.
But that didn’t bother God, it was only when “The Lord saw the wickedness of man was great in the earth… the Lord said ‘I will blot out man whom I have created from the face of the ground.” (Gen 6 v 5 & 7) that he got all Bruce Banner – (The Incredible Hulk) – “Don’t make me angry. You wouldn’t like me when I’m angry.” that he flooded the entire world. Or as Eddie Izzard puts it, did an Etch A Sketch erase. Which meant breaking one of his own moral edicts for everyone else – thou shall not kill – thus proving that the first commandment was ‘Thou shall do as I sayeth, not as I doth’ But hey, he’s God, who’s going to tell him off? Mrs. Badcrumble? So, God kills everyone in the world, “He blotted out every living thing that was upon the face of the ground.” (Gen 7 v23), except for Noah, his wife, his three sons and their wives.
“And God blessed Noah and his sons and said to them ‘Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth.’ (Gen 9 v 1), “These were the three sons of Noah and from these the whole earth was peopled.” (Gen 9 v 19.) Again, I’m not going to go there. But can I just make the observation that six pages into a supposedly ‘good book’, we’ve had genocide and incest on a – dare I say it – biblical scale.
Sodom and Gomorrah? God gets all Bruce Banner again (Gen 19 v 23-26) It’s the same throughout the Old Testament. Jericho? It’s God doing his Bruce Banner shtick by proxy “Then they utterly destroyed all in the city, both men and women, young and old, oxen, sheep and asses, with the edge of the sword.” (Josh 6 v 21) Only a cynic would think that kind of violence is eerily prescient of the religious bloodlust of ISIS. “But all the silver and the gold, and all the vessels of bronze and iron, are sacred to the Lord; they shall go into the treasury of the Lord.” (Josh 6 v 19) Er, hang on; doesn’t ISIS fund their terror that way?
If anything, the God of the Old Testament is a testament to the transformation that God undergoes before the New Testament. Out goes the vengeful, violent and capricious version and is replaced by a more compassionate, peaceful and level-headed version. It’s as if Bruce Banner went into rehab and left The Hulk in there when he came out. The lord does work in mysterious ways, after all…
And to any Christians reading this who are offended, I say this; a) what part of the title of this blog post induced you to read it, b) my soul isn’t damned, the only soul I’ve got is my a@sehole and c) as Bill Hicks once said “You’re Christians…forgive me.”
Next time…Necessity is the mutha of re-invention…