Not So Polite Dinner Conversation – the “History” Channel and its new mini-series The Bible

Only thing missing is the sandy hair that my graduation bible JC picture had.

Only thing missing is the sandy hair that my graduation bible JC picture had.

Oh my, the History Channel is putting on a mini-series about the bible, all with “reenactments”.  Well considering that none of the essential events of the bible have been shown to have occurred at all, this should be like watching “re-enactments” of Br’er Rabbit, Br’er Fox and the tar baby.  Their Jesus sure is northern European Caucasian and has the long hair that a Jewish man wouldn’t have had during that time.  You know:  “27 “‘Do not cut the hair at the sides of your head or clip off the edges of your beard.”  Leviticus 19 has a whole lot of the crazy laws in it and some actually coherent ones.    

One would think that the executive producers would be a bit more concerned with reality, but since one was the “angel” (she cast herself as the Virgin Mary) from Touched By An Angel, the sappy and soporific Christian fantasy television show, no wonder it looks to be complete drek.  The other producer is the guy who has brought you such “reality” shows as Survivor, etc complete with ginned up drama from very ignorant and silly people.  The History Channel can add religious myths to its line up of aliens, Nazis and lunatics who think we didn’t land on the moon.  How pitiful that it’s going down the same path The Learning Channel has, becoming a freak show where it’s okay to ridicule people from the politially safe spot at home on a couch.  A note: this mini-series is supposedly using the NIV and NRSV as the bibles of choice. Now what will our KJV-onlyists do? 

But if we have to have such a thing, there could be some great moments of cinema if we select the right parts. Parts that our “reality” TV guru would appreciate, if he wasn’t trying to hide behind the skirts of respectability. 

First, we have the good ol’ description of a prostitute lying with men with “emissions the size of donkeys”. (Ezekiel 23) No, this god couldn’t just say he’ll tear down cities, nope, we get bestiality porn and rape fantasies. 

Isaiah wandering around naked for three years as a “sign and portent”. (Isaiah 20) Yep, that would sure be a sign of *something* alright.    

Jephtha burning his daughter alive as a human sacrifice to his god. (Judges 11

See? Figs. IF no figs, then it's not the season for them.

See? Figs. IF no figs, then it’s not the season for them.

Jesus cursing a fig tree when it was out of season. Mark 11  You get the next scene here too. 

Jesus attacking a Jewish temple because they were doing just like his dad said (Leviticus 5, 14)  to do.  You can see how peculiar the story really is here.  

The communist arrangement among believers in Acts 4. Oh the scandal of showing that apostles weren’t good capitalists!  And then Peter killing Anaias for not admitting he kept some money back and hiding the body. His wife comes by and is killed too. Acts 5:1-11 

A truly Conan-esque bit of violence with a sword and guts. Judges 3 

Genocide where the Israelites take virgin girls as war booty. Numbers 31 One can, unfortunately,  imagine the grief and terror.  

Brown_BearBears killing people for insulting a prophet by calling him bald.  2 Kings 2:23-24   

Lions doing the same because God is an idiot.  This god supposedly tells a prophet to demand that a certain man hit the prophet with his weapon.  The prophet does (doesn’t say that god demands this) and the man refuses like any normal human being would do.   This “certain man” is then killed by a lion for not obeying a word of god that no one told him about. 1 Kings 20:30-40 

Uzza trying to do the right thing and getting zapped and killed 2 Samuel 6  

Job where we have God just having a nice little chat with Satan and then saying “sure do what you want with those around Job, doesn’t matter to me.”  aka “Pity your family was killed; sure wouldn’t want anything to happen to you, if you didn’t, you know, worship me correctly”. 

Jude where a lot of the stuff that many Christians think are apocryphal are mentioned, like the archangel michael contesting for Moses’ body, Enoch being all magical (but his book being left out of the “official” bible, tsk, so embarrassing), etc. At least half of Christianity out there will be all offended by that stuff.    

Balaam’s talking donkey, always good for the cartoon crowd (Numbers 22

Giant monster with pants - Marvel

Giant monster with pants – Marvel

God having a very human body and then showing his “backparts” to Moses: Exodus 33:15-25  Does he moon Moses?  If not, he’s clothed, and that means a long robe, a loincloth or really big pants.  (maybe like Fin Fang Foom ) 

A great battle scene where the Israelites can’t conquer iron chariots even through their god was supposedly with them.  Judges 1  and a good analysis of these verses here

A Israelite’s concubine (and the daughter of another man) given over to rape by a frightened man. He (a levite of the priestly class) cuts the body of the concubine up because his honor was injured. God of course approves and more genocide: Judges 19 – 20 

Satan trying to get Jesus (aka god) to worship him (You’d think he’d know better if the stories about JC were actually true). (Matthew 4)  

adam-naming-the-animals-posAdam inspecting the animals and going “No, god, not really feeling it with the armadillo as a “helpmeet” some time later “Nope, stripes and hooves don’t seem to be it either.”  (Genesis 2)

My beloved put in his hand by the hole of the door, and my bowels were moved for him.”  Song of Solomon 5  I can’t even guess…..

Showing how impressive the temple was supposed to be (with tens of thousands of talents of metals)and then wondering where thousands of pounds of gold and silver magically disappeared to.

God saying he doesn’t like to be around the disabled or ugly (Leviticus 21)

JC saying directly that he speaks in parables to make sure some people don’t understand and make sure that they are damned. (Mark 4

Now these all would make for a much more interesting show rather than the supposed rehashing of the usual stuff that everyone, even non-Christians know about. 

I also think quite a lot of what JC supposedly said, actually depicted and given a real voice saying them would horrify a lot of people who generally don’t think too hard about their religion. 

What do you hear when this is said? Paraphrased for modern ears….

“You cannot attend your family, you must follow me only. You cannot say good-bye.” (Luke 9)

“You must hate your family and life itself to follow me. You must give up all of your possessions.” Luke 14 

Sounds like any cult leader.

16 responses to “Not So Polite Dinner Conversation – the “History” Channel and its new mini-series The Bible

  1. Oh, my, what a bitter tone we read here. So sad. I’d be glad to respond to some of your distortions if I thought you really wanted to listen, but I gather that there is a deeper issue here. Did a Christian hurt you? If so, I’m very sorry for that. Not all of Jesus’ so-called followers listen to His words to “love your enemies” (Matthew 5:44).

    • Hello Mr. Rogers. Welcome to my blog. I see you are a pastor. From my perspective, your post does nothing to show that Christians are any better than anyone else, not even the professional ones. I am not bitter, though I’m sure you do desperately hope I am. That would be one of the few ways you could convince yourself that you are better off than me. I am also disappointed that you must make baseless assumptions that there is some “deeper issue” here and assume that I’m an atheist “only” because I had a run-in with a “bad Christian”. Nope, I’m not that dumb and if there were a god that was what is claimed, one bad apple certainly wouldn’t spoil the bunch. I know that people who happen to be Christians are often very nice people; most of my relatives are that.

      I do really want to listen, but that does not mean I will blindly accept anything you claim. I expect you would do the same for a theist of another religion that wanted to tell you that their religion was the true one too.

      No, Mr. Rogers, a Christian didn’t hurt me at all. That fact probably disappoints you since you can’t bring out the usual claims that not all people who claim they are Christians are “real” Christians. That is usually when the theist making the claim thinks that his version of Christianity is the only one, he thinks he is the only TrueChristian(tm). Out of curiosity, would you define what you think a real Christian is for me? I am always interested in how each Christian does that.

      I started questioning the bible because what I was told by pastors like you didn’t match reality and I noticed that being a Christian didn’t make a person bad or good. There was no evidence for the Flood, no evidence for the exodus, no evidence for Jesus or the claims of Paul. I knew my good friend who was Roman Catholic was just as good as I was and for someone like you to claim that they deserved to be damned for worshipping the “wrong way” was simply nasty. I know you feel this way since you say “However, her [Mother Teresa] teaching about salvation sadly follows the typical Roman Catholic viewpoint of salvation, a viewpoint that falls short of the teachings of the Bible.” – http://bobrogers.me/tag/catholic/

      My faith was fading so I then read entire bible myself, going to the “horse’s mouth” as it were and prayed for God to help me understand. I found no response from this god and that the bible says some very disgusting things and those disgusting things are, per the bible itself, directly said by its god or approved of by its god. A brief list includes: a god that either intentionally allows evil into its garden or was not omnipotent enough to keep it out; a god that says it will damn people for the actions of others, nothing fair or just about that at all. We have a god that seems to be quite happy to create humans but damn them just to make an example, which is pretty much my Presbyterian predestination, but doesn’t fit with the free will that many Christians claim that their god is all about.

      We do indeed have the bible saying “I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 so that you may be sons of your Father in heaven.” Matthew 5-44-45- HCSB, but we also have Jesus saying “26 “‘I tell you, that to everyone who has, more will be given; and from the one who does not have, even what he does have will be taken away. 27 But bring here these enemies of mine, who did not want me to rule over them, and slaughter them in my presence.’” – Luke 19 – HCSB. (Most Christians don’t know this verse exists since most if not all pastors do avoid that parable. If they do know about it, many try to excuse it away and say it’s just some kind of metaphor but can’t tell me what it supposedly truly means. And it does bring up how one tells the difference between supposed metaphorical verses and what should be taken literally)

      You see, I know the bible isn’t all sweetness and light. I read it once, mentioned above as a believer, and I’ve read it again completely as an atheist and probably even more than that piecemeal. Now, you’ll see that I used the Holman Christian Standard Bible, as you say you prefer in your most recent blog post here: http://bobrogers.me/2013/02/21/what-bible-translation-should-i-use/ . I’ve recently had Christians tell me the *only* bible to be considered accurate is the KJV. I asks you in all seriousness, which Christian should I believe? You don’t agree that it should be the only one followed, acknowledging that there are better translations out there. Since I have had so many Christians insist that their version was the only right one, from Roman Catholics, to Baptists like yourself, to Presbyterians (I was one of those), how can I tell which of you has the “right” answer since none of you have any better evidence than the next?

      Also, if you wish to attempt to show how I am distorting anything, you are more than welcome to do so. I have no problems in posting opposing views on my blog. If I feel the need, I will rebut what you say. Depending on the length of the rebuttal, I may make it into a complete blog post rather than just a comment. Again, I am very interested in hearing what you have to say since there is always the chance you’ll have something new and enlightening. You cannot use the excuse that “oh that mean ol’ atheist doesn’t want to really listen so I don’t have to do anything”. Please do be aware I have been debating with theists of all types, mostly Christians, for about 15 years now. You may wish to read over some of my other “not so polite dinner conversation” posts to get an idea if I’ve addressed a particular point you think is valid to cut down on time potentially wasted.

      • I don’t claim Christians are “better.” We are sinners, saved by God’s grace. I did not “desperately” hope that you were hurt. I don’t wish that on anybody, and I’m glad you were not. I’m just trying to discern why the extremely sarcastic tone. It’s interesting that you reacted so strongly against my incorrect projection on you of what you think and feel, yet you freely project upon me what I think and feel, saying I “desperately” wanted something to be so and referring to “preachers like you” as if you know what I’m like.
        Now regarding a true Christian, it is someone who trusts in Jesus’ sacrifice upon the cross to save him or her from sin, and decides to follow Christ with his or her life. You are reading into my words about Mother Teresa something I did not say or imply. I think she is a great model of a Christian, and I spoke of the wonderful way she lived out her faith in the blog post that you quote. I do disagree with her teachings on salvation, but to say that I say she “deserved to be damned” is not what I said or believe, at all. You took Luke 19:27 out of context. Jesus was telling a parable about a king saying to execute his enemies; this was not a command by Jesus to execute anybody. My blog on Bible translations already answered your question, but you didn’t seem to be paying attention. Yes, I know there are some people who think there is only one translation, but most Christians don’t think that. Are you going to judge Christians by a minority who are poor examples? Do you want me to judge all atheists by the bad representatives, like Joseph Stalin or Mao-tse-tung? That would not be fair to atheists, would it?
        I have already given an example of your Bible distortions in your reply above. This is already getting long, so I’ll do a separate reply to point out distortions in your original post.

      • There are many distortions in your piece, but let’s just start at the beginning, where you say, “none of the essential events of the Bible have been shown to occur at all.” That’s quite a broad statement! I’ve never heard of historians question that Moses led the Hebrews out of slavery in Egypt, or that the Hebrews fought the Canaanites to occupy Palestine, or that King David and Solomon were powerful Jewish rulers, or that Assyrian kings captured and deported Hebrews from the northern part of Israel, or that Jerusalem was conquered by Babylon and Jews were exiled to Babylon, or that Jews returned and settled in Palestine, or that a man named Jesus existed during the first century in Palestine and was killed, and His followers testified to His resurrection, or that Christianity began to rapidly spread in the first century. These are all essential events of the Bible. Are you seriously saying that there is no evidence that these events happened? Now I challenge you to show that they did not occur. Answer that one, and we can then proceed to your next distortion.

    • Although Club has covered this quite nicely i might chime in here:

      Mr. Rogers, it speaks to your limited understanding that you must assume an atheist is just that, atheist, because they were “hurt.” For your information, atheism is a conclusion, not a belief. This fact bothers you, I’m aware, because deep down you know the same conclusion is waiting for you if you ever bothered to honestly investigate that which you blindly believe in. Should you ever feel courageous enough to move away from superstition and toward rationalism there is a group for pastors and priests who can no-longer delude themselves, or their congregations. It’s called The Clergy Project and in just 18 months now has over 400 former preachers who’ve jettisoned the childish belief in a magical sky being. It’s a great program and I do hope it helps you one day… sooner rather than later. Link below.

      http://www.clergyproject.org/

  2. Your shooting script sounds like more fun. Glad to hear its not just me who’s more than just a little confused about what exactly the “History Channel” is these days…. If I were a parent i wouldn’t let my kid within a mile of it!

  3. Pingback: Not So Polite Dinner Conversation – A Pastor’s observations and my reply | Club Schadenfreude

  4. *I hope I’m reply in the right place place here. If not, Club, please feel free to move this around as you see fit.

    Mr. Rogers…. “(You’ve) never heard of historians question that Moses led the Hebrews out of slavery in Egypt”

    Is this a serious statement? Are you honestly that in the dark that you’re not aware this story has been debunked for decades? Not even Jews hold this story to be true anymore. Please, ask a Rabbi if you doubt me. Nowhere is there any mention of northwestern-Semitic speaking Canaanites in Egypt other than in the form of paid mercenaries, the Habiru, contracted in times of conflict. The Exodus is an invented tale with elements of the story probably taken from the remnants of the Hyksos who were kicked out of Egypt in 1250. It is Myth, Mr. Rogers…. and that is a historical fact.

    Do please learn your history from more than just one book.

  5. Pingback: Not So Polite Dinner Conversation – Mr. Rogers and how willful ignorance isn’t a good place to start | Club Schadenfreude

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  7. Pingback: Not So Polite Dinner Conversation – Cue uncomfortable smiles, History Channel 2’s new series “The Bible Rules” | Club Schadenfreude

  8. Pingback: Not So Polite Dinner Conversation – part 2 of the Bill Keller saga, where excuses roam free | Club Schadenfreude

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