Watching about half of the second part of the Bible miniseries. I do have to say it’s doing a great job of showing how violent and primitive the bible is. I can still remember singing about Joshua and Jericho when in bible school and when I taught bible school. Joshua fought the battle of Jericho, Jericho, Jericho and the walls came a-tumblin’ down….. I’ve read several Christian blogs saying how great this miniseries is and how you can show it to your children (however some do find it too violent, which should tell them something). It’s rather telling when they find it okay to show violence like this, but often complain about videogames and movies.
This part opens up on ninja Israelites. Rahab is the prostitute that hides the spies that Joshua sends in to Jericho. The spies are surprised at her reaction, “You’ve heard of us?” Oh yes, she’s heard of you, hard to miss the supposed thousands of soldiers right out side her city and she’s supposedly heard of the events in Egypt. The problem is that *no* one else has evidently, not the people in the city don’t notice thousands of people just outside the city, nor do any other kingdoms in the area hear about the *entire* Egyptian army being destroyed, etc. If you’re going to write a story, at least clean up the logic holes.
Another problem we find with the nonsense in the bible (nonsense that the miniseries carefully avoids) is that it claims that all of the men who came out of Egypt have died. That would mean 600,000 plus men have died in 40 years of wandering around. If we divide it evenly, 15,000 people (not counting women and children) died each year (41 a day) in an area of the Sinai peninsula, which is a rough triangle 80 miles (128 km) wide and about 120 miles (200 km)long (it’s around 60K km2 or 23K mi2 )
Joshua circumcises fighters who are the descendents of the original multitude, which is quite a pile of foreskins (but we already know that God loves those). We have a quick appearance by a angel, the commander of the lord’s armies, also shown in the miniseries, but it makes little sense since he says he’s not for helping Joshua, comments about sandals and disappears to never be seen again.
Finally we get to yet more violence! Straight out of Dune, we have the ostensible muad’dib having his people shout at the walls of Jericho and blow horns. The Israelites proceed to annihilate everything in the city, animals, children, etc. Rahab is indeed saved. Joshua says a curse that supposedly will kill the children of anyone who rebuild Jericho. This prophecy seems to be just as much garbage as the others we’ve seen, since there seems to be no problem with rebuilding Jericho at all. Unsuprisingly, there is no date for the supposed walls falling and city burning per Joshua. There are carbon dated samples of one of the iterations of the city being destroyed around 1600 BC but we have no idea if that’s the time or not. And since so many Christians are sure that radiocarbon dating doesn’t work, it’s hard for them to use something like that without being hypocrites. According to them, those dates are simply not to be trusted at all. 🙂
Not in the series, but in the book, Josh and company are then punished for the actions of one man, a man who doesn’t seem all the impressed with god since he thinks he can hide stuff from omniscience. Also, it seems like God can’t quite get it into its head that this isn’t fair. More genocide at Ai, enslavement of the Gibeonites (it was either that or more genocide). The magical event of the sun staying still is in this book, and wasn’t in the series. I guess that’s just too silly, like a talking snake. The rest of the story is rather like the more boring parts of Lord of the Rings or the Simarilion, more battles and more kings. Then the tribes of Israel decide to have a pissing contest on how to build altars and who has the most shares in God. Again, this is silly if we have a omniscient god.
We’re into Judges now but the series only shows a few bits of it. They leave out one of the only decent female characters in the bible, Deborah, who wasn’t a paragon of virtue or a whore. We also have Gideon, the fellow who chose his army by how they drank water and who tested his god repeatedly with demanding that God make a skin on the ground have dew on it or not have dew on it. For something so petty, one wonders why this god cannot now give evidence of its existence. Oh yes, God also sends evil spirits to cause problems too and we have Jephtha’s human sacrifice. Can’t have that in a nice sanitized bible.
The miniseries picks up again with the story of Samson, which begins a long line of mistakes by a supposedly omscient, omnipotent being. We have predictions of Samson by angels, and the usual story of where he cannot cut his hair. We have in the show that Samson fell in love with a Philistine woman. What it doesn’t say and the bible does is that God forced this because he wanted to have a “cause” against the Philistines. Oh darn, there goes free will!
Now, the series tells a dreadful lie when it comes to what happens next. It has that the Philistine men kill Samson’s wife because she married him. The story in the bible has Samson telling a rather ridiculous riddle. The Philistine men demand that the wife find out the answer and threaten to harm her if she doesn’t. She asks until he finally gives her the answer and when he finds out that she has told the Philistines, he gives her to one of the men who helped Samson murder 30 people in a fit of being possessed by God. Samson wants his wife back and when he can’t have her, does some crazy things. He ties fire-lit brands onto fox tails and has them run through the grain fields and destroys the Philistines’ grain.
For no accountable reason, the Philistines decided to *then* kill Samson’s ex-wife and her father. And this is all because of what God set in motion, a rather stupid god and whole lots of stupid people controlled by this god. For 20 years, this same idiot Samson is a judge in Israel. It’s not until much later we get the whole Delilah thing. Then we get again the dumbest “hero” and dumbest villains of the bible with how that all plays out. Dum-de-dum-dum, I didn’t think his hair would grow back….
Judges is also the book where a Israelite gives his concubine over to a ravening mob so they won’t bother him, she is raped to death, and her dead body is hacked up by the Israelite because he’s needs revenge. Not for her, for himself. Needless to say, that wasn’t included for our viewing pleasure.
Another good woman in the bible, Ruth, is ignored and we jump straight to Samuel and Saul, another one of God’s greatest hits. Alas, we miss the golden hemorrhoids (some versions say tumors). Yes, when asked for a king (since bad things happen because there is no king, per Judges) God picks a failure intentionally. What a petty being. And finally, Saul is punished by God because Samuel is late. God is quite the twit.
That’s all I had stomach for and that was just an hour of miniseries and just a couple of books. We’ll see if I finish this at all.
3 thoughts on “Not So Polite Dinner Conservation – a bit more about that Bible miniseries. Battle, blood, and a little bit off the tip please.”
Excellent play-by-play, Club. You taught bible school, huh? Now I know why you’re so good at this stuff, you double-agent-provocateur!
It’s just dawned on me: how do evangelicals rationalise their god being so hands-on for about 800 years of Hebrew “history” but completely absent for the 2,300 years since? Does this question ever even pop up?
heh, yes I was indeed a bible school teacher. I can remember once saying “thingamajig” and my students had no idea what that word was. I found it more difficult than you would think to explain that.
I have heard evangelicals claim that their god simply has just up and decided to be more hands off. No reason, it just *is*. And it’s *just* convenient that this god becomes this way as soon as questions arise about the truth of miracles, etc.
Ah, hands-on when his greatest invention, man, killed each other with pointed sticks, but oddly hands-off as we developed BIG-BADDA-BOOM-MUTHA-FUCKA which could actually destroy the planet. Makes perfect sense 🙂