Thomas Swan has a PhD in experimental psychology. He specializes in the cognitive science of religion.
The Bible is so full of absurd stories that Christians sometimes respond by temporarily disowning the Old Testament. However, as you are about to find out, there are several crazy tales in the second installment too. What follows are ten of the most ridiculous Bible stories, presented for your amusement.
1. God Exits The Closet
- Source: Exodus 33:18
In this bizarre homoerotic scene, God and his human pet, Moses, decide to play a little game of "I'll show you mine if you show me yours." Moses asks God to "reveal his glory" (wink wink), but God warns that anyone who views his divine face will die!
As a compromise, God covers Moses' face with his hand, before mincing past and showing Moses his backside. No doubt, this was accompanied with an abashed "Does my bum look big in this toga?" As an interesting aside about Old Testament plagiarism, Zeus had the same killer face.
2. Jesus and the Demon Pigs
- Source: Matthew 8:28
Jesus was taking a leisurely stroll through a demon-infested tomb when two violent heretics began flailing about in front of him. They sarcastically asked if the "Son of God" had come to torture them for being possessed.
Before Jesus could answer, a herd of pigs came thundering over a nearby hill. For some reason, the demons possessing the men pleaded to be allowed to enter the pigs. Jesus permitted this, but. soon after, the demon pigs were driven into the sea where they drowned!
People from the local town were shocked, and they told Jesus to leave their land immediately. The moral of the story is: don't reject Jesus' teachings or he will drive your livestock into the sea and blame it on demons.
3. Baldy and the Bears
- Source: 2 Kings 2:23
After purifying the waters of a nearby town, noble Elisha was walking along the road to Bethel when an army of forty-two young boys emerged from the undergrowth! As children commonly do, they taunted old Elisha about his bald head, saying "Get out of here, baldy!"
Unfortunately, Elisha didn't see it as playful tomfoolery. He cursed the boys in the name of the Lord, and two bears sprinted out of the woods to maul the stunned children to death. Given the detail provided in this story, Elisha presumably counted the forty-two carcasses before going on his merry way.
4. Shrek in the Bible
- Source: Numbers 22:21
Shrek wasn't the only fictional character with a talking donkey. A holy man called Balaam was once summoned by a king to curse his enemies. After warning against this, God changed his mind and allowed Balaam to make the journey.
However, the fickle god decided to send an angel to block the road. Only Balaam's donkey saw the angel, so it veered off the road and was beaten for its trouble. Two more times the donkey was beaten for avoiding angels on alternate routes.
Eventually the donkey was so fed up that it asked Balaam to stop beating it. The stunned man explained that it was making a fool out of him, so the donkey decided to lay it on nice and thick: "Am I not your own donkey, which you have always ridden, to this day? Have I been in the habit of doing this to you?"
After being firmly put in his place with this reprimand, the humbled Balaam was finally permitted to see the angel.
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5. Too Much Poo For God
- Source: Deuteronomy 23:9
You know what it's like when people can't stop relieving themselves all over your house and garden. Well, if you lived 3000 years ago you might. Apparently, the Israelites were notorious defecators who regularly left their stinking feces in plain sight.
God was particularly troubled by this because, even though he can create a universe, he can't stop himself from stepping in poo: "when you relieve yourself, dig a hole and cover up your excrement. For the Lord your God moves about in your camp to protect you". Dog owners be warned!
6. Jesus and the Obstinate Fig Tree
- Source: Matthew 21:18
Jesus was traveling along a road with his gang of followers when he became hungry. Tragically, he stumbled upon a fearsome fig tree with leaves aplenty but no fruit to bear. Jesus took this as an affront and conjured all his powers in a pitched battle against the insolent tree. The poor thing didn't stand a chance, and it quickly withered and died.
Jesus' disciples were amazed; not with the stupidity of this "fruitless endeavor," but with how quickly the tree died. Jesus smugly replied that anyone with true faith could kill a tree or tell a mountain to throw itself into sea. They were probably too afraid to slap him.
7. Love Me Skeleton Army!
- Source: Ezekiel 37
In this story, God and Ezekiel enter a valley full of dry bones. God decides it is time to demonstrate his incredible magic skills, so he asks Ezekiel if the bones can be made to live. The servile, groveling, taster of the divine posterior replies that only God knows what is possible (ugh!).
God then dares his assistant Ezekiel to say an incantation to raise the dead, which ends with the words "I will put breath in you, and you will come to life. Then you will know that I am the Lord". Apparently, God is so insecure that he needs these bones to worship him. Anyway, Ezekiel completes the magic spell and a "vast army" of skeletons is brought to life.
God doesn't stop there though. He attaches tendons, flesh, returns their souls to their bodies, and sends them on their merry way back to Israel.
Did The Bible Forget This Part?
8. Rape, Incest, and a Pillar of Salt
- Source: Genesis 19
God's most cherished man in all of Sodom was called Lot. God liked him so much that he sent two angels to stay with him. However, during the night, a gang of rapists descended on Lot's house to defile the angels! Lot, in all his holy righteousness, declared: "No, my friends. Don’t do this wicked thing. Look, I have two daughters who have never slept with a man. Let me bring them out to you, and you can do what you like with them."
And that, kids, is why God allows rape. It doesn't stop there though. After using their magical powers to blind the rapists, the angels called down air-support from God. Lot and his family were urged to flee the city while God rained burning sulfur on the inhabitants.
However, there was one small caveat: God didn't want them to look back at his shameful annihilation of the Sodomites. Of course, women are stupid in the Bible, so: "Lot’s wife looked back, and she became a pillar of salt." Why a pillar of salt? God knows, literally.
Lot and his two daughters retreated to a cave in the mountains without a thought for their dessicated mother. The daughters decided that their father was too old to find another wife, so they did what any loyal daughter would do (right?), they got Lot drunk and had sex with him. Both of the daughters got pregnant by their father and, presumably, they all lived happily ever after in a Mississippi trailer park.
9. Give me 100 Foreskins!
- Source: 1 Samuel 18
Saul was the King of Israel, and David was his popular general. As a result, Saul feared David's power and wanted him killed. So when David asked to be married to Saul's daughter, the sadistic king demanded a difficult and perilous payment. Saul asked for one hundred Philistine foreskins.
That is not a joke or an exaggeration... he wanted foreskins. Anyway, Saul hoped that David would refuse or be killed in the act, but this young psychopath had other plans. Indeed, God's favorite butcher took great pleasure in mutilating his enemies because he lost count and returned with 200 bloody, mangled, human foreskins.
Thankfully, the Bible doesn't go into detail about what Saul did with his gruesome prize, but at least David lived happily ever after.
10. The Bible on Rape Victims
- Source: Judges 19
A man and his "concubine" were traveling from Bethlehem to Ephraim when they had to stop for the night in an unfamiliar town. An old man took them into his home, but, after a few hours of partying, a gang of bisexual rapists arrived and demanded to have sex with the male traveler.
The old man replied: "Since this man is my guest, don’t do this outrageous thing. Look, here is my virgin daughter, and his concubine. I will bring them out to you now, and you can use them and do to them whatever you wish."
The story continues: "So the man took his concubine and sent her outside to them, and they raped her and abused her throughout the night, and at dawn they let her go. At daybreak the woman went back to the house where her master was staying, fell down at the door and lay there until daylight."
The poor woman returned beaten and raped to the door of her man, hoping for comfort and love at a time of hopeless desperation. So what did the man do? He "took a knife and cut up his concubine, limb by limb, into twelve parts and sent them into all the areas of Israel."
This disgusting act was not punished by God or the Israelites. Instead they went to war with the town from which the rapists had come, and slaughtered thousands of people in the name of God.
Bonus Story: Biblical Evolution
Despite the blathering tirades of creationists, there is a passage about evolution in the Bible. In Genesis 30, Jacob's flock of striped goats is stolen, so he peels the bark off some branches (to make stripes) and puts them in front of his plain flock when they are mating.
Seeing the branches causes a genetic mutation that makes their baby goats striped! This incredible feat of genetic engineering predated Mendel and Darwin by at least 2000 years.
The religions of the world have provided us with many ridiculously funny stories, involving dozens of weird gods and goddesses. However, as the last few stories should have made clear, it is not all fun and games. It should alarm everyone that two billion Christians base their entire moral philosophy on this sickening collection of genocide, rape, incest, and Bronze Age bigotry.
It is time to educate the masses about what is actually in the Bible to make it abundantly clear that this is the work of a two thousand year old, morally antiquated, Middle Eastern civilization.
© 2013 Thomas Swan
AF Mind on July 21, 2017:
I'm just gonna make a comment on the part with the Levite and the concubine because you got it all wrong.
"The poor woman returned beaten and raped to the door of her man, hoping for comfort and love at a time of hopeless desperation. So what did the man do? He "took a knife and cut up his concubine, limb by limb, into twelve parts and sent them into all the areas of Israel."
She wasn't looking for anything by that point because she was dead. Verse 28 "And he said unto her, Up, and let us be going. But none answered. Then the man took her up upon an ass, and the man rose up, and gat him unto his place."
"This disgusting act was not punished by God or the Israelites. Instead they went to war with the town from which the rapists had come, and slaughtered thousands of people in the name of God."
Yes, they did go to war with them, not because they were ignoring the men, but because the towns as a whole refused to give them up. The tribes of Israel (minus Benjamin) came together and decided to have the men who killed the concubine put to death. But when they confronted the people of Benjamin, the Benjamites refused to turn the guilty men over for their crimes (Judges 20:12–14). Yet you claim the men were not punished, which was the entire reason for this. And since these tribes acted in righteousness in going to war against Benjamin, they acted for the Almighty.
Catherine Giordano from Orlando Florida on April 08, 2015:
You have done a great job. I love your wit and humor. Kudos. vote up +++++ But don't be shy. Tell us what you really think. Do you have a sequel?
Venkatachari M from Hyderabad, India on April 08, 2015:
Very interesting stories, but quite weird also. God will never allow such things to happen.
Thomas Swan (author) from New Zealand on January 31, 2015:
Thanks speer138, glad you found it funny. I think you described it well. Some stories warranted a little bit of elaboration; others a literal interpretation from the standpoint of an unfamiliar reader. I didn't need to interpret or elaborate much to communicate the craziness of the stories though.
speer138 on January 30, 2015:
well written and amusing article. amusing because i just dig sarcastic, ironic, and cynical type humor. also amusing because the twist you put on each story show either you have no idea what your reading, or you're obviously and deliberately putting the twist on each story just for a laugh. either way, i did laugh. so good job
peachy from Home Sweet Home on January 09, 2015:
awesome, I didn't know these stories are related to the bible, maybe i am dumb
Thomas Swan (author) from New Zealand on September 21, 2014:
Thanks for commenting Lawrence. Forcing a woman to marry the man who raped her seems like a fate worse than death. She will be raped until the day she dies, and as it's now within the bonds of marriage, she will have no way appeal to the law, and no escape. In fact, consequences like that are a deterrent to complaining in the first place.
Society was barbaric back then, and that's the point. The Bible shows its age when it condones such things. The further we get from the time it was written, the more we see it as a product of a barbaric culture rather than something inspired by a loving god.
Lawrence Hebb from Hamilton, New Zealand on September 19, 2014:
The Bible makes no apologies for the stories found between it's covers and neither does it condone them It simply reports what was going on at the time.
Society in the near east at the time was pretty barbaric. Try looking up the code of Hammurabi (circa 2,100 BC in Iraq) or the epic of Gilgamesh (Babylonian story of the flood circa 1,800BC) to name a couple and you'll find a much more brutal world than that of the Bible. What the Bible ten does to limit what a person could do to retaliate.
For example, the man finding a young virgin and having sex with her (you use the words rape and that may very well be what happened) in Ancient law they would both be executed in a very brutal way (she committed no crime but paid with her life anyway!!!!) but the law of Moses says 'no she doesn't have to pay' but the consequences of the act of sex they will both ha to live with and the man will have to provide for her!
Tell me, which is the better of the two. Kill them both or have the man pay for the upkeep of the life he just ruined? (as well as the one he may have created?)
Thomas Swan (author) from New Zealand on April 24, 2014:
Oh dear, just found this little gem: "If a man happens to meet a virgin who is not pledged to be married and rapes her and they are discovered, he shall pay her father fifty shekels of silver. He must marry the young woman, for he has violated her. He can never divorce her as long as he lives."
Thomas Swan (author) from New Zealand on February 17, 2014:
Numbers 22:12 - "God said to Balaam, “Do not go with them. You must not put a curse on those people, because they are blessed.”"
If God is speaking Balaam, and God recognizes that Balaam is capable of putting a curse on those people, then I'd call him a holy man. However, it depends on how you define it. A holy man is a respected or important individual whose primary occupation is concerned with religious or spiritual matters. You seem to have a particular definition for `holy man' that differs from mine. I can see where you're coming from to an extent, but it's all quite ambiguous. If you'd kept the nastiness out of your comment, I might have changed the words to something else - not because it would make it more accurate, but because it might prevent people such as yourself from becoming confused.
sherwood347 on February 17, 2014:
Balaam was not a "holy man". He was a prophep for hire. A non-jewish king wanted a curse put on the jews, so he hired Balaam, a prohet for profit, to do so. The jews scared him, so he refured toe kings job.
By the way, Balaam, Rabbinic teaching was referring to Balaam having sexual relations with the donkey.
kinda makes you feel like and ass, doesn't it.
Christian Mike on December 12, 2013:
I agree about the edits and modification to the bible! but you can still get the message and understanding, well obviously some people can't... the idea is not to keep God happy that's just absurd, the idea is to know happiness understanding and enjoining the way God choose for you... you having a kid would be a nice beginning of it, meanwhile you´ll have just to keep writing jokes and doing the jest... ;) my clown friend
Thomas Swan (author) from New Zealand on December 11, 2013:
Thanks for the votes and share DzyMsLizzy! That's a good saying. I think that sometimes `jest' is needed to make unwanted and contentious opinions that little bit more palatable... such that those opinions have more chance of hitting home instead of generating reflexive disagreement. Like how comedians are able to say things that would get a politician thrown out of the job I suppose.
Good point about all the edits made to the Bible. It makes me wonder how they managed to leave all that rubbish in!
Liz Elias from Oakley, CA on December 11, 2013:
Very well done! Though you've taken a light-hearted approach here, the old adage, "Many a true word is spoken in jest," applies in full.
There is so much contradictory and despicable nonsense in that book that I wonder at the vast numbers of folks who take it seriously and literally.
It wasn't even written at the time when Jesus lived, (and by the way--whom are we speaking of? That was a common name in those days), but it was written at least a century or two later, and then further muddled about with at the infamous Council of Nicaea.
Voted up, useful, interesting and shared.
Thomas Swan (author) from New Zealand on December 11, 2013:
Well, as long as I don't dress up as a fig tree, look God in the eye, take a dump in the street, or insult a bald man in bear country, I think I'll be fine. Maybe I should have a daughter and throw her to a gang of rapists though. That ought to keep God happy.
Christian Mike on December 11, 2013:
Come on man! what are you talking about? you are just making out a joke about some people's believes... it´s obvious that you didn't get any message and didn't understand any of what is written in the Bible, the humankind in those times were more conscious about live and religion so remember there had to be a way to write it so the people can accept it and without prejudices understand the massage within, just don't modify the story just to make an absurd/wannabe funny view of it... Or you'll be closer to being one of the pigs slaughtered than you think, and it won't matter if you misunderstood and mock the parable.
Thomas Swan (author) from New Zealand on October 03, 2013:
Cheers Mystic. Yea, I don't know either. I'm not saying my writing is good enough for the accolade, but the controversy issue is noticeable to me.
Thomas Swan (author) from New Zealand on October 03, 2013:
Thanks for that story World Religion. It amazes me too that God can just turn into a human and have all the human emotions and hungers for a while. I presented what I think is the most funny example of it when God is walking around the camp of the Israelites, but doesn't want to step in the poo they leave about lol. It all goes back to the Zeus connection I think. The Greek gods were much more hands on! It also suggests a slight yearning for a Jesus-like figure, which might have something to do with why the New Testament was written.
MysticMoonlight on October 03, 2013:
Well, in my opinion, controversial or not, it's great writing on your part. If I were in their seat it would be extremely difficult not to choose it. But of course I do not know their guidelines and specifics, etc. for choosing for editor's pick but regardless of the topic, it's kudos for the writing! :)
World Religion from the Cosmos on October 03, 2013:
You sighted the story of Lot. The earlier scene was more ... memorable to me. God descended from heaven with two body guards in tow, and walked over to Abraham's tent, where they drank milk, and ate bread and curd. Having been stuffed, God repaid Abraham's hospitality by promising the land of Canaan to him, while delivering Sodom and Gomorrah to destruction. God is almost entirely human, walking and drinking and eating curd, even getting beholden to somebody for having been fed dinner.
Thomas Swan (author) from New Zealand on October 02, 2013:
Thanks MysticMoonlight. You flatter me too much! I just wonder if hubpages will have the cajones to make this one an editor's choice. I'm lucky that they've given me that honor a few times, but I've noticed that controversial hubs seem to slip through the net, even if they're popular. I really don't mind the "out of context" comments. If they're right, I usually edit the hub with the correction anyway. Having said that, I've made a few obvious elaborations that hopefully won't be taken too seriously!
MysticMoonlight on October 02, 2013:
Hello Thomas. Again, I must say, very gutsy of you! You will likely get the ole trusty, 'That's not what that really meant' 'ers or the 'That's not really how that went down' or the 'He's has taken that completely out of context' 'ers but I don't take you for one that minds so much and I like that about you! Cojones of steal, my friend! An amusing, very unapologetically raw and unfiltered Hub, great writing!