(Title’s a “Family Guy” reference.)
WARNING: Some of this post may be considered inappropriate for younger audiences by some hypocritical people. Also, please note — once again — my disclaimer to the right. This post also contains some satire, which goes virtually completely misunderstood these days, making the world almost unbearable. Please…don’t be an idiot. Okay?
Here we go…
Ezekiel 23:19-20 (NIV) – Yet she became more and more promiscuous as she recalled the days of her youth, when she was a prostitute in Egypt. There she lusted after her lovers, whose genitals were like those of donkeys and whose emission was like that of horses.
Does it ever creep you out a little that stuff like that’s in the Bible?
I’m a Bible College graduate, as most of you probably know. I have heard countless times (and said myself) that “the Bible is the inspired Word of God.” I’ve sat through countless sermons and lessons on the authority of the Bible and how it is all literally true and flawless. I’ve heard, seen, read, and personally written on the reliability of the Bible.
…but as much as I may believe all of that, I’ve got to say that encountering verses like that make me think that some parts were less inspired than others.
Okay. I actually have a little bit of a problem with the phrase “the Bible is all literally true.” It isn’t. Some of it is parable. Some of it is recorded folklore. The Psalms, for example, are overflowing with poetic imagery, not all of which is meant to be literal. The parables Jesus told were STORIES that didn’t actually happen, but were tales meant to explain a point. The Book of Job, most scholars agree was probably more of a Jewish parable (made-up story) that was just seen as a valuable metaphor for God’s faith in His people. Not all of the Bible is true, in the sense that it is all literal. Like all great works of literature, it makes use of many writing styles and not all of those styles are meant to be taken literally. That doesn’t mean that the Bible is filled with LIES, exactly…it just means that there are some things that aren’t 100% literal (and those things are pretty obvious when they occur). Don’t mistake that as me slamming the Bible and discrediting it. I’m not doing that…I’m just saying we’re using some poor terminology here that opens us up to some very serious criticism. Thought it was important to address that.
In the argument about the truthfulness/authority of the Bible, there are inevitably people who ask if the authors were 100% accurate in their account(s) of the stories they tell. The standard “minister answer” is “Yes. They were all guided by God to write exactly the words He wanted.” That too, is dangerous… What we mean to say is that “God inspired them to write,” but what we end up communicating is quite different. What we end up putting into most people’s heads is the concept of “auto-writing,” which is the form of allowing a spirit (usually considered even by proponents to be a tormented soul) to take control of ones hand and write through them. In most of the documentaries you’ll see on the subject, the “spirits” (assuming that’s really what’s going on) are writing things like “help me” or “get out.” Rarely are they writing, “For God so loved the world…” In many people’s minds, saying that “God guided the writing” of the Biblical authors, we’re essentially accusing God of using a demonic process to write the Bible…and not only do I think God wouldn’t do that, I think the variety of tones in the Bible speak to the contrary.
The Bible is made up of the writings of multiple authors across centuries. The story is uniform, but the specifics of the writing vary drastically, even in writings in the same language, by the same author. (IE – Paul, though he had his particular trademarks, did not always write in the exact same format. Sometimes he was more formal than others, etc…) The individual personalities and moods of the authors were not left out of the Bible. Whereas they were writing the uniform story of God, they were not writing on auto-pilot, completely self-removed from their own works…that doesn’t make anything they wrote any less true or any less reliable. It just means they were present in their own writings and God didn’t directly write and approve every word in the Bible.
I have no doubt that God could and MAY have chosen to keep some stuff out of it. Like if Paul had written to the Galatians, “The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. So stop being douche-bags to one another!” I think God probably would have worked in the mind of Paul to make him realize the second part might be a bit “much.” But nonetheless, I think that God allowed a little bit of leeway to the individual authors to express some things in the specific ways they wished. Otherwise, how do we account for such things as the discrepancies in the story of the paralytic brought before Christ in the Gospels? The authors CLEARLY describe two different types of houses for the same story, meaning — yes — someone wasn’t being entirely accurate in his description. Neither of them screwed up the actual point of the story or failed to bring glory to God in their description, so I’m thinking that’s why God let it fly…but yeah…one of them was definitely wrong. I can’t imagine God being wrong, if He wrote the thing Himself. He inspired. He didn’t write.
So I’ve got to think that there are a few passages in there that aren’t necessarily 100% of what God had in mind…and I’m thinking Ezekiel 23:19-20 has to be top of the list…or is it?
That verse is pretty graphic. It doesn’t get any better in the original language, either…in fact it’s a little worse. In Hebrew, a fairly literal translation of that would be: “And she added to her whorings to recall the days of her adolescence, when she prostituted in the land of Egypt. And she lusted after their libertines/nymphomaniacs, of whom like the meat/flesh/penises of donkeys are their meat/flesh/penises, and the emission of horses their emissions.” A little rough and cloudy…but still dirty.
So, if God DID intend that verse to be there, He intended the Bible to pull no punches in describing this woman. If God truly guided those words into place, then He wanted people to SEE the words in their impolite form. God, in this case, seems to allow a fairly uncensored description of someone’s sex-life…and it’s not just this verse, either. Try flipping through the Song of Solomon/Song of Songs someday. It’s pretty graphic, too. There a woman’s nude body is described in pretty specific detail. (Some scholars would tell you that the book is supposed to be a metaphor for God’s love…but they’re fooling themselves. And if that’s how God loves me, He’s kind of a pervert…) Or, if you want some really twisted reading, try looking for the word “foreskin” in the Bible sometime…most of the verses that mention it talk about it being collected in mass quantities as spoils of victory after a battle (particularly in the Books of Samuel).
…so here we go…
Most of the above isn’t really polite dinner conversation. A lot of it STILL wouldn’t make it onto primetime TV. Even the most dramatic pulpit-pounding, crazy preachers won’t touch those passages with a ten-foot Jesus-stick. But, at least according to most theologians, they’re the inspired words of God, right? Weird… Kinda bugs me, in fact. Like I said in part “I” above, I don’t necessarily agree with all of the terminology we use to describe the Bible’s authority. I think it’s as authoritative as the next guy…but let’s just agree that it’s at least a little bit hazy in some areas. But, “inspired” or not, this stuff’s in the Bible…it’s in the very same book that we give to six-year-olds when they’re baptized…yet we blush when these subjects come up, be it in the Bible or on “House.”
All that to say this…
Double standards are dumb.
Thanks for reading all of that, with its many contradictions, inconsistencies, and in all of its vaguely inappropriate glory. That’s kind of my specialty. 🙂 Hopefully no one’s offended by that. I don’t really see where you would be…but I once had a guy tell me off for three poorly-spelled paragraphs in my “comments” because I said Jack Nicholson was too old to play the Joker in the 2008 Batman movie…so you never can tell.