More specifically, shocked that more people aren’t shocked as well.
But, good news is here at last. There’s a book: “Shocked by the Bible: The Most Astonishing Facts You’ve Never Been Told.” by Joe Kovacs
I totally have to find this book. According to the author of the article, “It’s time to put away the fables and get back to the facts.”
Indeed it is. Let’s go find some!
“It’s not about religion,” says Kovacs. “It’s about the Bible. What’s in it, and what’s not. You’ll truly be stunned when you see for yourself what Scripture has to say, without anyone telling you it doesn’t mean what it says. You may even find that what you thought was in the Bible is the exact opposite of what it really states.”
“Shocked by the Bible” is jam-packed with fantastic facts few have ever dared to publish for general audiences.
Kovacs holds nothing back as he purposefully avoids the psychobabble of boring theologians and instead quotes directly from the Bible itself, addressing incredible issues of which many people are simply unaware.
Did you know …
* The Bible does not say Jesus died on a Friday, or rose from the grave Sunday morning
Duh, yeah. That was one of the first bits of Christianity that made me dump it. They’re so sure when Jesus was born (but the Ukrainian calendar has him born in January) yet his death party wanders from early March to late April. How can they not have those three days pinned down better? Because the Church decided it’d be easier to convert the pagans if some Christian holy days coincided with pagan holidays, like the festivals surrounding spring equinox.
There were not just two of every kind of animal aboard Noah’s Ark
From the Skeptic’s Annotated Bible, Genesis, Chapter 7:
7:1 And the LORD said unto Noah, Come thou and all thy house into the ark; for thee have I seen righteous before me in this generation.
7:2 Of every clean beast thou shalt take to thee by sevens, the male and his female: and of beasts that are not clean by two, the male and his female.
7:3 Of fowls also of the air by sevens, the male and the female; to keep seed alive upon the face of all the earth.
The 2 of every kind is in chapter 6 and mentioned again in chapter 7. Just like the weirdness of God’s first seven days and the order he got his shit together, it looks like he can’t decide how many animals he wants Noah to feed, either. Unless it was seven pairs of every animal and every pair boarded two by two? Like the ants go marching? Even the ants went marching onto the ark, I suppose, according to this theory. How did Noah make sure the bugs didn’t get squished? Damn boat must have been overrun with bugs. I get the wiggens when a spider drops into the tub when I’m using it, and if there’s anything flying in my room when I want to go to bed, it has to be dealt with first. No way am I sharing my sheets with a moth, thank you no.
The word “Easter” has vanished from today’s Bibles
I wasn’t aware Easter was ever in a bible, in verses that actually referred to a time of year called Easter. It could never have been in the bible; it’s a part of the year that takes its name from the goddess Eostre. A lot of bible verses are used now to apply to Easter, but they’d apply to whatever three days people mutually agreed were the three days, even if those three days happened in the middle of a week in November.
The practice of decorating a tree with silver and gold is actually condemned by God
Let’s just see about that. First, Jeremiah 10 and the gold and silver tree thing:
The gods that pagans worship are nothing compared to the Lord. “These gods, who did not make the heavens and the earth, will perish from the earth and from under the heavens” (verse 11). They are mere images made by men and women. “Every goldsmith is shamed by his idols. His images are a fraud; they have no breath in them. They are worthless, the objects of mockery” (verses 14-15).
Gold is not the only substance used to make idols. Verses 8 and 9 speak of “worthless wooden idols” on which workmen place hammered silver and gold, and rich apparel. When we consider that these verses condemn idolatry, we can understand what Jeremiah meant when he said “the customs of the peoples are worthless” (verse 3). No wonder he tells us not to “learn the way of the nations” (verse 2).
Turning to translations other than the King James also helps our understanding. Where the King James reads “one cutteth a tree out of the forest, the work of the hands of the workman, with the axe” (verse 3), the New International Version says “they cut a tree out of the forest, and a craftsman shapes it with his chisel.” The tool referred to in the passage is not a woodsman’s tool, but that of a wood carver. Most modern English translations agree with the NIV.
Jeremiah is not condemning Christmas trees. He is condemning idolatry. The trees in Jeremiah 10 are cut down to carve them into worthless idols that will later be decorated with gold and silver. Jeremiah says nothing about Christmas trees. That custom originated in northern Europe, not in ancient Palestine.
The decorated Christmas tree can be traced back to the ancient Romans who during their winter festival decorated trees with small pieces of metal during Saturnalia, a winter festival in honor of Saturnus, the god of agriculture.
An evergreen, the Paradise tree, was decorated with apples as a symbol of the feast of Adam and Eve held on December 24th during the middle ages.
That whole article is pretty interesting, actually. Next “shocking fact”:
God wanted to kill Moses
First, allow me a little UGH moment over the verses this applies to (Exodus 4:24-26). If I’m reading this article right, people have thought God wanted to kill Moses because he hadn’t circumcised his boy like he would have done back home. But, Moses was in the middle of a “When in Rome, do like the Midianites” situation. Midianites weren’t into circumcising, which is why he hadn’t done it, so Zipporah saved her husband’s life by taking up a flint and whacking off a bit of her son’s wee wee.
The real reason is that he committed murder. An Egyptian was beating up a Hebrew and Moses retaliated when the coast was clear. Satan mentioned this fact to God, forty years after it happened, hoping it would stop Moses from achieving his goal of getting to the promised land. Why God didn’t know instantly about him breaking one of those commandments that God made him carry all the way down that damned mountain and deal with the issue with his usual over-the-top methods is not adequately explained. Zipporah still gets credit for saving the man’s life, though.
Noah, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob were not Jews
Apparently they predate Judaism, as Abraham is the grandfather of the 12 Patriarchs. The Jews are descendants of the patriarch Judah only according to this. Judah was the first Jew and the 11 other Patriarchs are responsible for the rest of the generations of Israelites.
I probably won’t need the book now. I’m learning all kinds of things here. Last fact in the list, and it’s a doozy:
The Bible talks about “gay” sex with angels. Yes, you read that right.
Oh, yeah, this is where the whole Sodom thing comes in (Genesis 19). The angels came to town, and the men, young and old, were so damned curious about them, they were all jonesing for a little man-on-angel action. So, Lot, rather than let his angel guests get gang-raped by sex-crazed men-folk, he offered up his daughters to them instead.
Sodomy and homosexuality is not the reason God destroyed Sodom. God was going to destroy it anyway and God sent the angels down to warn Lot to get out of town. People want to assume homosexuality was the sin of all sins that led to its demise but they can’t prove it. There’s no other book they can refer to that would illuminate the reason Sodom fell. All they’ve got is this one. This one book most people never wade all the way through. Otherwise they’d know this:
The Sin(s) of Sodom According to the Hebrew and Christian Scriptures
Hebrew scripture references to the sins of Sodom
* Deuteronomy 29:17-26 – Idolatry and images to false gods
* Deuteronomy 32:32-38 – Idolatry
* Isaiah 1:9-23 – Murder, greed, theft, rebellion, covetousness
* Isaiah 3:8-15 – Mistreating the poor
* Isaiah 3:11-19 – Arrogance
* Jeremiah 23:10-14 – Adultery, lying by priests and prophets
* Jeremiah 49:16-18 – Pride of the heart
* Jeremiah 50:2-40 – Idolatry and pride
* Lamentations 4:3-6 – Cruelty and failure to care for the young and poor
* Ezekiel 16:49-50 – Behold, this was the iniquity of thy sister Sodom, pride, fullness of bread, and abundance of idleness was in her and in her daughters, neither did she strengthen the hand of the poor and needy. And they were haughty, and committed abomination before me: therefore I took them away as I saw good.
* Amos 4:1-11 – Oppression and mistreating the poor
* Zephaniah 2:8 – Pride
New Testament references to the sins of Sodom
* Luke 17:26-29 – No specific sins mentioned<
* 2 Peter 2:6 – Living after ungodliness
* Jude 1:7-8 – Fornication after strange flesh, not same flesh
* (angels, see Genesis 6:1)
In conclusion, through a careful consideration of the Sodom narrative, the ancient culture within which it was located, and other biblical references including the words of Jesus, the sin of Sodom appears to be that of inhospitality and mistreatment of the foreigner or the outcast, which is both a seemingly ironic and disturbing consideration in light of the inhospitality received by so many gay and lesbian Christians within the church.
It’s time to put away the fables, and get back to the facts.
WOW, so much stuff here, an excellent blog, I like it. Thanks guys, and wish you good luck!!
I’m always shocked that anyone can claim a passing awareness of the whole Sodom tale without being sickened by the fact that Lot sends his virgin daughters out to be raped by the mob so they will spare the visiting angels. Later Lots daughters get him drunk and trick him into impregnating them both.
Lot is among the righteous according to the bible. I’m going to puke.
According to the International Standard Version
Likewise, Sodom and Gomorrah and the cities near them, which like them committed sexual sins and engaged in homosexual activities, serve as an example of the punishment of eternal fire.
God has always seen homosexuality as an abomination. Lev. 18:22, 20:13, Deut. 23:17,
Very interesting post. I have a copy that I have been reading and posting comments about each chapter as I read them. I think it is interesting that you (an atheist) and I (a christian) both cannot understand how Kovacs got some of his “facts” incredibly wrong. Although I do appreciate the discussion it has sparked.
Just spotted Olon’s comment now. Gonna have to go look at that and see if another round or two can go around with this book. I enjoyed doing these posts, I have to say. People like to claim atheists don’t argue from a position of knowing anything, so it’s worthwhile to demonstrated a willingness for bible study, at least in terms of trying to understand what’s in it versus how people live by what they claim is in it.