Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Illustrated Stories from the Bible

What if they made children's books depicting the awful, immoral parts of the Bible? Someone has.



An example. I've quoted the passage it's referring to for convenience.
Numbers 31

1 And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,
2 Avenge the children of Israel of the Midianites: afterward shalt thou be gathered unto thy people...
3 And Moses spake unto the people, saying, Arm some of yourselves unto the war, and let them go against the Midianites, and avenge the LORD of Midian.
4 Of every tribe a thousand, throughout all the tribes of Israel, shall ye send to the war.
5 So there were delivered out of the thousands of Israel, a thousand of every tribe, twelve thousand armed for war.
6 And Moses sent them to the war, a thousand of every tribe, them and Phinehas the son of Eleazar the priest, to the war, with the holy instruments, and the trumpets to blow in his hand.
7 And they warred against the Midianites, as the LORD commanded Moses; and they slew all the males.
8 And they slew the kings of Midian, beside the rest of them that were slain; namely, Evi, and Rekem, and Zur, and Hur, and Reba, five kings of Midian: Balaam also the son of Beor they slew with the sword.
9 And the children of Israel took all the women of Midian captives, and their little ones, and took the spoil of all their cattle, and all their flocks, and all their goods.
10 And they burnt all their cities wherein they dwelt, and all their goodly castles, with fire.
11 And they took all the spoil, and all the prey, both of men and of beasts.
12 And they brought the captives, and the prey, and the spoil, unto Moses, and Eleazar the priest, and unto the congregation of the children of Israel, unto the camp at the plains of Moab, which are by Jordan near Jericho.
13 And Moses, and Eleazar the priest, and all the princes of the congregation, went forth to meet them without the camp.
14 And Moses was wroth with the officers of the host, with the captains over thousands, and captains over hundreds, which came from the battle.
15 And Moses said unto them, Have ye saved all the women alive?
16 Behold, these caused the children of Israel, through the counsel of Balaam, to commit trespass against the LORD in the matter of Peor, and there was a plague among the congregation of the LORD.
17 Now therefore kill every male among the little ones, and kill every woman that hath known man by lying with him.
18 But all the women children, that have not known a man by lying with him, keep alive for yourselves.




Via the Friendly Atheist.

50 comments:

jewish philosopher said...

Can we also have a book describing all the immoral, violent and genocidal things done by atheists within living memory? I would like photos of some of the 40 million abortions, endorsed by atheists, performed every year.

BrooklynWolf said...

When I first saw your post, I was shocked. However, then I actually looked at it on Amazon. The book was written *by* atheists. I think you should make that point in your post. While you don't pass it off as a "fundie" work, it certainly seems that way.

The Wolf

The Hedyot said...

This would go well with my idea for a book of gedolim stories where the promise of the saintly rabbi doesn't come true (e.g. the woman doesn't have a baby 9 months after he has her do some weird ritual, the business given his blessing doesn't succeed, the advice given to the rabbi in his dream makes things worse, the operation done with his encouragement does not turn out well, the young woman still hasn't found her bashert after years of having them daven for her, etc.)

bankman said...

hedyot, excellent idea.

if the brocho, davening, learning, tehilim, garlic necklace to take away the kovorka, - whatever. if it works then "see! god is amazing! god loves us!"

and if it doesnt work (in the words of lipa schmelzer) gahm zee latoiva!

it didnt work for a REASON, god is teaching us something, we must do teshuva....man-o-man - you gotta love it, heads I win, tails you loose

Baal Habos said...

It's 10% off at Eichlers.

offthederech said...

good stuff

Freethinking Upstart said...

wow... that's really gruesome and tasteless.

I prefer the brick testament. Now that's funny.

Jewish Atheist said...

BW:

Sorry, I thought it was assumed the book was written by atheists! :-)

Anonymous said...

i love this! so clever! i want this.

to jewish philosopher: you described a wish for a book about atheists and their terrible, horrible, no good, very bad deeds.
please listen carefully: this is not a book about the terrible deeds that religious people have committed throughout the ages, as u are suggesting be published about atheists.
this is a portrayal of the book that religious people uphold as the ultimate truth and goodness. this is the guide they claim as a guidebook to life.
this book simply portrays the typically unillustrated, overlooked and quickly skimmed sections of that pure, good, holy book that we should all live our lives by.
nothing to do with religious people, and everything to do with their Good Book.
please keep that in mind.

peace.

Holy Hyrax said...

Nach is not a book we live our lives by. Sorry to be pedantic

Jewish Atheist said...

Nach? That scene with the Midianites is in the Torah.

Holy Hyrax said...

Not the bear scene. Like I said, I am being pedantic.

Comrade Kevin said...

What about the bag of foreskins?

Rabban Gamliel said...

It's fasinating how on one hand they deny our history and on the other they feel free to interpret supposed law as accomplished fact and these are the same people who don't even believe in objective morality. They hit religion in any way no matter how inconsistently and ignorantly. Like in that picture where a pregnant woman's baby is targeted or with bears at of course little children. God forbid they should be portrayed older. We must blame Elisha for the bears. This crap is reminiscent of Nazi cartoons and propaganda. This is all just cultural war apologetics.

Theresa said...

I've got to admit I laughed a little.

Jewish Atheist said...

Like in that picture where a pregnant woman's baby is targeted...

LOL. Are you really nitpicking about the bias of illustrator when what's being criticized is Moses's words:

17 Now therefore kill every male among the little ones, and kill every woman that hath known man by lying with him.
18 But all the women children, that have not known a man by lying with him, keep alive for yourselves.


If we're only talking about bears mauling older children and men slaughtering male and female non-pregnant civilians, it would all be okay??

Theresa said...

I don't think that most of what is in the Bible is meant to be taken literally so revenge stories with hugely gruesome revenges seem a lot more like hyperbole than direction for our lives.

Rabban Gamliel said...

"Like in that picture where a pregnant woman's baby is targeted...

LOL. Are you really nitpicking about the bias of illustrator when what's being criticized is Moses's words:

17 Now therefore kill every male among the little ones, and kill every woman that hath known man by lying with him.
18 But all the women children, that have not known a man by lying with him, keep alive for yourselves.

If we're only talking about bears mauling older children and men slaughtering male and female non-pregnant civilians, it would all be okay??"

Oh come on. I'm talking about the whole damn thing. Little virgin girls it says. Instead of the soldier killing the woman he kills the unborn baby as if that was in the verse. It takles doesn't take a genius to see malicious propaganda. JP is right. Why not make a cartoon from worst atrocity pictures made in the name atheism. The killing fields of Cambodia, Stalins purges etc, and done in modern times without it being acceptable behavior in their societies.

Jewish Atheist said...

Oh come on. I'm talking about the whole damn thing. Little virgin girls it says.

What says, the cartoon?

Instead of the soldier killing the woman he kills the unborn baby as if that was in the verse.

The verse says to kill all the women who had been with men! Presumably, the majority of those would be pregnant, in those days.

It takles doesn't take a genius to see malicious propaganda. JP is right.

LOL. "JP is right" should trip alarm bells.

Why not make a cartoon from worst atrocity pictures made in the name atheism. The killing fields of Cambodia, Stalins purges etc, and done in modern times without it being acceptable behavior in their societies.

If atheists had a holy book based on Stalin's purges, and held Stalin up as the ultimate moral arbiter, then an accurate depiction of the worst parts of that book would be a an equivalent response. This book doesn't criticize religious people -- it just points out that the book you point to as divine has some pretty awful parts.

Rabban Gamliel said...

Jewish Atheist said...
"Oh come on. I'm talking about the whole damn thing. Little virgin girls it says.

What says, the cartoon?"

The words around it.

"instead of the soldier killing the woman he kills the unborn baby as if that was in the verse.

The verse says to kill all the women who had been with men! Presumably, the majority of those would be pregnant, in those days."

No. Altogether it shows a soldier not killing but commiting abortion and torture. LOL Perhaps it should be an antiabortion cartoon.

"Why not make a cartoon from worst atrocity pictures made in the name atheism. The killing fields of Cambodia, Stalins purges etc, and done in modern times without it being acceptable behavior in their societies.

If atheists had a holy book based on Stalin's purges, and held Stalin up as the ultimate moral arbiter, then an accurate depiction of the worst parts of that book would be a an equivalent response."

But the Bible is not based on the Midianite war.

"This book doesn't criticize religious people -- it just points out that the book you point to as divine has some pretty awful parts."

Oh come on. It's a propoganda piece meant to defame and they would never dare to show balance. They don't even believe in objective morality and are being cynical and ignorant in what they've done.

CyberKitten said...

Rabban Gamliel said: They don't even believe in objective morality..

An idea that's always good for a laugh. *Objective* morality [chuckle]

jewish philosopher said...

This is a very old debating trick. The monotheist says, “You need God to be good. Just look at the crimes committed by atheists!”

The atheist responds, “God will help me to be good? Nonsense! The Hebrew Bible is full of violence and brutality.”

Well, news flash: No modern day monotheists live according the literal meaning of the Hebrew Bible. Jews have the Talmud, Christians have the New Testament and Muslims have the Koran. No one is asking atheists to live according the literal meaning of the Hebrew Bible.

Does this settle the issue once and for all?

Jewish Atheist said...

RG:

The words around it.

Oops. :-) Thanks.

No. Altogether it shows a soldier not killing but commiting abortion and torture. LOL Perhaps it should be an antiabortion cartoon.

He's stabbing a pregnant woman through the belly with a sword. Do you think she was going to live?

But the Bible is not based on the Midianite war.

No, but according to OJ, Moses/God ordered the slaughter of the Midianites.

Oh come on. It's a propoganda piece meant to defame and they would never dare to show balance.

What balance? You only need one counter example to show that God didn't write the Torah. If every other verse in it appeared to be divine, you still couldn't argue that the whole thing was.

They don't even believe in objective morality and are being cynical and ignorant in what they've done.

Who cares about "objective" morality. The point is that most modern people think it's wrong to purposely murder civilians, let alone women civilians. The book highlight the contradictions inherent in a mind that thinks that AND thinks the Torah is divine.


JP:

Are you saying the Midianite war didn't happen as it says in the Torah??

jewish philosopher said...

JA, I am just saying this. I get this all the time. Some nice atheist approaches me and says “I would really love to become Jewish. But you know what’s stopping me? The Midianite war, as described in the book of Numbers 31. I can’t see myself taking part in genocide. So how can I be a Jew?”

I understand. For a lot of atheists, this Midianite thing is a real deal breaker.

I just want to tell them: Relax. The Midianites are long gone. You can be a good Jew and never kill anyone; I never have!

Jewish Atheist said...

JP:

Some people don't want to worship a God who would order such a thing in the first place -- it's not so much a worry that He'll do it again.

jewish philosopher said...

You believe in evolution. Is evolution humane?

Jewish Atheist said...

No, it's not. I don't worship evolution, either.

jewish philosopher said...

But you believe in evolution because you think it's a proven fact; whatever "unfit" animals evolution kills doesn't bother you.

I believe in God because He is a proven fact. Whatever He kills doesn't bother me.

Jewish Atheist said...

whatever "unfit" animals evolution kills doesn't bother you.

It does bother me. If a person dies of a genetic disease, that's evolution in action, but that doesn't mean I'm happy about it.

It's one thing to believe in the God of the Bible. It's another to worship him. I don't worship nature, and you shouldn't worship YHWH.

Moshe said...

The hedyot and bankman - good leitzanus but, in reality, the many instances of precognition from a fair number of gedolei Yisrael is an extremely strong inidcator that they merited Divine communication and a fairly strong indicator that their tefillot were effective.

Moshe said...

JA says that this incident shows G-d didn't write the Torah. It doesn't show anything of the sort. It is merely an incident the morality of which we can't understand. As Stephen Wykstra, William Alston and Peter Van Inwagen have argued successfully,the inability of a finite being to understand the justification of an incident is very weak evidence that there is indeed a justification. One might as well say a baby has reason to conclude that the person giving him a vaccine is malicious.

Baal Habos said...

>The hedyot and bankman - good leitzanus but, in reality, the many instances of precognition from a fair number of gedolei Yisrael is an extremely strong inidcator that they merited Divine communication and a fairly strong indicator that their tefillot were effective.



You have got to be kidding. A broken Clock is correct twice a day. So what. The Gazzilion instances of the lack of precognition and voluminous amounts of non answered Tefilos should speak for themselves. Or at the least, you must discount the relatively rare instsances of biblical fulfilled prophecy.

jewish philosopher said...

"I don't worship nature, and you shouldn't worship YHWH."

If God created us and sustains He is deserving of our worship.

Baal Habos said...

>One might as well say a baby has reason to conclude that the person giving him a vaccine is malicious.

If we are as babies whose judgement cannot be trusted then don't trust your feelings that God is being good to you when you experience what you percieve to be good. Just say, we don't understand. Don't say a Hatov V'hameitiv. Say I am a creature with fallible reasoning and I don't know whether it's good or bad. But you don't say that. So that line of reasoning is hogwash.

jewish philosopher said...

If you read the back cover of the book this post is about, the guy was a born again Christian who suddenly realized that what he had been taught about divine love did not fit in with the Hebrew Bible. Well, duh. I can tell you a lot of other reasons why Christianity doesn't make sense and contradicts the Torah.

Jewish Atheist said...

moshe:

JA says that this incident shows G-d didn't write the Torah. It doesn't show anything of the sort. It is merely an incident the morality of which we can't understand.

That's a cop out. You don't really believe that, do you?

Moshe said...

Hi BHB,

Actually not kidding at all. If there is evidence of these gedolim saying things to people all the time in the vein of your child will be OK, if you go to this Dr he will tell you you have Cancer, don't fly on this plane, there is no need to daven for this person anymore, you will have a baby boy in the next year, your daughter is pregnant, etc, etc and 99.9% of the time it turns out to be non-true then you'd have a point. But it seems very implausible that they'd harm their credibility in this way and I have no evidence that this happens.

The fact they don't have precognition disproves nothing but their omniscience and I don't believe they are omniscient.

The fact that tefillos are 'unanswered' (or not answered in the affirmative) is good proof that gedolim can't dictate to G-d what to do but I don't believe that either. The fulfilment of Biblical prophecies is remarkable. I don't know which unfulfilled ones you had in mind and whether there is any indication with regard to them of when they would be fulfilled.

Moshe said...

Oh, and JA, yes I do believe that finite minds can't comprehend the infinite. Thanks for asking. The best discussion on this issue is between Bruce Russel and Stephen Wykstra. Russel makes some excellent points but a read of that dialogue (in the form of a kind of role play) shows the seriousness of the issue.

Anonymous said...

>I believe in God because He is a proven fact. Whatever He kills doesn't bother me.

ROFL!

>JP is right.

ROFLMAO!

>in reality, the many instances of precognition from a fair number of gedolei Yisrael

ROFLMFAO!

Holy Hyrax said...

>That's a cop out. You don't really believe that, do you?

It may.

But in the end of the day, it might not be. Jewish tradition records (I forget which book in Nach) that God says "My thoughts are not your thoughts, and my ways are not your ways."

Forgetting about THIS incident in the Torah, we can look at everyday life. In the end of the day, if there is a God, I have to admit that I will never be able to fully comprehend his "actions"

anton said...

Hi Gang:

A suggestion . . . why not collect 100,000 fortunes from Chinese Fortune cookies and publish them in a book. It would certainly be more enlightening, helpful and less gorry than anything created in the name of God(s). The right guys (Chinese Restaurant owners) would make the geld and who would be more deserving?

Rabban Gamliel said...

"Jewish Atheist said...
RG:

The words around it.

Oops. :-) Thanks."

:-) You're welcome.

"No. Altogether it shows a soldier not killing but commiting abortion and torture. LOL Perhaps it should be an antiabortion cartoon.

He's stabbing a pregnant woman through the belly with a sword. Do you think she was going to live?"

Whatever but the fact is that he is not being portrayed as killing immediately.

"But the Bible is not based on the Midianite war.

No, but according to OJ, Moses/God ordered the slaughter of the Midianites."

You mean Midianites as they continued to exist and continued as our enemies.

"Oh come on. It's a propoganda piece meant to defame and they would never dare to show balance.

What balance? You only need one counter example to show that God didn't write the Torah. If every other verse in it appeared to be divine, you still couldn't argue that the whole thing was."

How does it prove that for people who say morality is only a human construct without objective binding power?

Baal Habos said:"You have got to be kidding. A broken Clock is correct twice a day. So what. The Gazzilion instances of the lack of precognition and voluminous amounts of non answered Tefilos should speak for themselves. Or at the least, you must discount the relatively rare instsances of biblical fulfilled prophecy."

Baal out of thin air you make the precognition dwarfed to nothing by unspecified gazzilion instances. And yet it is supposed to speak for itself. I heard first hand accounts of precognition. You made up the statistics or read it from someone who did. And relatively rare were the instances of successful Biblical prophesy? You're just making up facts or repeating from someone else who did and then arguing on that basis. They were not rare at all.

jewish philosopher said...

No one leaves Judaism because he's upset about the Midianites. This is just one way atheists ridicule the Torah. I think it's much more fun to ridicule evolution. But that's just me.
ROFL! ROFLMAO! ROFLMFAO!

Foilwoman said...

I'm with Freethinking upstart or whoever said it: I like the Brick Testament better (link: http://www.thebricktestament.com/king_david/davids_son_rapes_davids_daughter/2s13_14.html). Complete with sex and violence ratings. Aren't holy books fun? You just feel filled with love and kindness after you've read about putting your enemies to the sword.

I do wonder, is it the illustrations that bother so much? Because the text has been acceptable to many for quite some time.

Rabban Gamliel said...

"You just feel filled with love and kindness after you've read about putting your enemies to the sword."

In American law we execute for treason. So do Leftwingers on college campuses :-). Does that make it that they are supposed to be based on vengence? No the warm fuzzy underlying principles meant to be found in other ares.

Foilwoman said...

Rabban Gamliel: We haven't actually executed anyone for treason in a long time in the U.S. (I believe the Rosenbergs were the last -- but I could be wrong -- but whether or not I was, was that an act of which you approve?). Obviously, college campuses don't actually provide the death penalty, just lack of tenure (or the joy of adjunct faculty-hood ad infinitum). So your point about what I assume you mean are "other areas" was what?

There's no getting around that the Torah/Old Testament/Bible/Koran/Judeo/Christian/Islamic hoy writings ain't humanist. To some people that's a good thing. If you think it's a good thing, say so clearly: say "I believe I need to kill my enemies. Now." Just don't complain to me about the 72-hour lockdown with thorazine drip, because most people who act as though they believe that way have let their meds lapse.

If you meant something else, by all means, explain. I'm interested in your thoughts on the issue, although I'm skeptical.

Rabban Gamliel said...

First of all treason is punishable by death under circumstances specified by the constitution so unless it is changed it will still be there.

"There's no getting around that the Torah/Old Testament/Bible/Koran/Judeo/Christian/Islamic hoy writings ain't humanist."

You don't take a part of a book and make that the basis when there are other parts. The Constitution specifies the death penalty and yet it is not called the basis of it. If you aren't familiar with other parts read. The Old Testament as you Christians call it says not to oppress the stranger since the Israelites were strangers in the land of Egypt. It says to help your enemy with his donkey's burden and it says a lot more. In order to make an intelligent judgment rather than one fashioned for you by atheist apologists read more than what they purport is there.

jewish philosopher said...

"Torah/Old Testament/Bible/Koran/Judeo/Christian/Islamic hoy writings ain't humanist."

I have been an Orthodox Jew for over 30 years and no rabbi has ever asked me to do anything illegal or dangerous. Why is that? Maybe you don't know what you're talking about?

jewemp said...

JP,

It doesn't matter whether it happens now. The point is that it DID happen upon God's command. I have to say, though, that this illustration most certainly is propoganda.

I also would like to ask whether if it matters whether God asked us to do something that we consider immoral. To reject Judaism on this basis presupposes an absolute morality. But even if all humans view murder as abhorrent, it does not prove there is an absolute standard of morality. All it proves is that we view murder as abhorrent. Perhaps God has a wider view in mind? This would not even necessarily challenge the idea that God is good - perhaps by doign things the way everyone else did it back then, it was more acceptable, so God told the Jews to do this. I think that any move to reject Judaism based on immorality of the Bible is faulty.

Baal Habos said...

Moshe,

>The fulfilment of Biblical prophecies is remarkable. I don't know which unfulfilled ones you had in mind and whether there is any indication with regard to them of when they would be fulfilled.

My response to this was to lengthy so I put up a whole post about this. http://baalhabos.blogspot.com/2008/08/i-predict.html