Disclaimer: this post WILL offend religious people. If you don’t have a sense of humor and an open-mind to comedic interpretations of the Old Testament, this will likely tick you off, so I suggest skipping this particular blog post to avoid ruffling your feathers.
OK, now that we’ve got the warning out of the way, let’s chat.
I’m currently taking a class entitled Religion and Western Culture in my MLS program at Rollins College. Let me start by saying I am NOT religious, but I find the study of religion –all religion– quite fascinating. I’m not one for labels, but if I had to define my stance on god/dogma/religious traditions, I would say I’m a secular humanist. I stay away from the label Atheist, as that tends to come with a very negative, very argumentative stigma attachment. Honestly, I appreciate religion and the positive influence it can have on humanity, and I admire people who have strong faith, as it appears to lead them to make better moral and ethical decisions. That being said, I also see how religion and fanaticism can lead people to behave like bat-shit crazy assholes, so I take all religion and religious doctrines with a grain of salt. I’m not a disbeliever, per say, but I haven’t encountered anything (as of yet in my life) to convince me to drink the Kool-Aid, either, and I prefer to life by the doctrine of “play nice,” also known as the Ellen DeGeneres approach:
All of that being said, back to the subject at hand: my class. Our very first assignment consisted of reading the first chapter out of Karen Armstrong’s book, Holy War, (an absolutely incredible book, but I’ll talk about that in another post as soon as I finish the text) and reading from the Old Testament, specifically the book of Genesis, 1-25, 33-34. After the reading, we were expected to summarize the readings and be prepared to discuss in class.
If you haven’t read from Genesis recently, I strongly suggest you revisit it: I think you’ll be surprised by the amount of violence, incest, pederasty, and downright ludicrous stuff in there. Seriously, what the heck is this?
Since I couldn’t really hide my shock/horror/disgust in my notes, I used my best coping mechanism to get through it: humor. For the sake of getting through 27 books of insanity, I used my notes as a comedic relief (and recap) of the adventures of creation, procreation, genocide, and pedophilia.
I shared some of my “notes” with friends –including a few Christians– and they found it so funny, they insisted I share it. So, with the disclaimer that devout-Christians (and Jews, and, potentially, Muslims) might find the following blasphemous, here are those notes.
Genesis, 1-25, 33-34
Genesis 1: The full creation story. God created the universe, light, darkness, man and beast, all in the span of six days.
Genesis 2: God rested on the seventh day, then realized he was kind of lonely, so he created man. He placed man in his ant farm –er, I mean in Eden- and then set all the trees and plants to grow to ensure the man had all the food his heart could desire. And, just for kicks, he decided to place the tree of life, something he didn’t want Adam to touch, right smack dab in the middle of it all. After creating all the rivers that would nourish the earth, God realized man was lonely, so he offered up a bunch of animals, but Adam wasn’t really into bestiality just yet, so God decided to create woman instead. Adam wasn’t mad about God yanking a rib in his sleep, and instead celebrated his new partner.
Genesis 3: The serpent, a creature created by God, convinced Eve to eat of the tree of knowledge, and she shared the forbidden fruit with Adam. They immediately realized they were naked and were ashamed, and hid from God. Since it’s rather challenging to play hide-and-seek with a deity, of course, God found them and immediately realized what had happened. Naturally, no one took responsibility for eating from the giant tree placed dead center in the garden they were living in; Adam blamed his wife, Eve blamed the serpent. So, god punished the serpent by banishing him to a life on his belly, cursed Eve with the pain of childbirth, and damned Adam to a life of manual labor to fill his belly. Oh, and since this wasn’t enough, god cast them out of Eden, and enlisted cherubs to guard the gate.
Genesis 4: Adam and Eve had some consolation coitus and produced two sons, Abel and Cain. Abel tended to sheep, and Cain was a farmer. The two sons sought the grace of god with offerings, but the picky deity didn’t care for Cain’s offering. Naturally, this upset Cain and, instead of being upset with the fickle deity, he decided to off his brother in the field. Yet again, Big Brother –er, god- caught on quickly to what happened (really, it’s not hard to keep track of the only four humans on earth, right?) and punished Cain to a life of wandering and soil which would not bear fruit to his efforts. Yet again, god didn’t think this was sufficient punishment, so he cast Cain out to the land of Nod.
Following this, Cain got busy with his wife (where did she come from?? was this his previously unnamed sister? EWWWW) and had a son. Cain named the city after his son, because, well, that’s what you did back then. Enoch had a son, who had a son, who had a son, and on and on.
Adam and Eve did it again (consolation coitus for Abel?) and had Seth. Seth had Enosh. People (what people? more unnamed siblings?) “began to invoke the name of the LORD” (Genesis, 4).
Genesis 5: A long list of decedents who lived ridiculously long lives. Must have been the Paleo diet or something. Births, births, births, then Lamech had NOAH and things get interesting.
Genesis 6: The earth be poppin’ babies. Men are seeing the daughters and taking lots of wives. God was annoyed at the all the procreation and decided to put an age cap so he wouldn’t have to watch old people getting busy.
At this point, god was starting to get really frustrated with the wickedness of humanity (but, of course, no one tells us what this wickedness was in Genesis). God, supposedly omniscient, became disappointed in his creations (what, you didn’t see it coming?) and decided he’d wipe everyone out, even the poor animals. (Seriously, what in the world could a cow or a chicken have done to tick off a deity?) But, for some reason, god liked Noah and decided to spare him and his family. Of course, there was a catch . . .
“I’m gonna spare you and your family, but I need you to build a boat.”
“Um, how big? I’m not really a carpenter.”
“Oh, not too big. You just have to hold two of every unclean animal, and fourteen of every other animal. And food for them. Oh, and for your family. Maybe some magazines, because it might be a while.”
“What? Why? What’s going to happen?”
“You might want to grab your umbrella, Noah.”
Genesis 7: “Noah, it’s time to get in that ark. Hide yo wife, hide yo kids, hide yo livestock, because I be drownin’ er’rybody up in here.”
The rains came, the rivers overflowed, and Waterworld was remade (or was this a prequel?) without Kevin Costner, and nearly doubled the box office revenue. Forty days and forty nights, it rained, and Noah and his family just played with their petting zoo while EVERY LIVING THING ON EARTH died right outside their toasty warm ark.
Genesis 8: God was having a blast watching the aquarium overflow, but then he remembered Noah and the zoo floating in the oversized dingy and decided to turn off the faucet. After seven months and seventeen days, the ark landed on top of a mountain. There they sat for a while, probably swaying like a see-saw, until Noah had the idea to send out one of the millions of birds available to him on the ark. Well, one of the few the lions hadn’t eaten yet. The first bird went out and couldn’t find land, so it came back. A week later, he tried again, and this bird came back with an olive leaf, so Noah could tell the waters had receded. Despite the concrete evidence the week before, Noah-the-doubting sent out a third bird and that one said, “I’m out, snitches!” and never came back.
Finally convinced the earth was no longer a filled sinkhole of rainwater and corpses, he decided to remove the ark’s cover and venture out. God gave Noah the ol’ thumbs up, so Noah, the family, and the Brooklyn Zoo ventured out to start the long, arduous process of repopulating the earth through incessant incest.
Noah, realizing how freakin’ lucky he was to be in god’s good graces, built an altar to the LORD before getting busy with his wife. God, appreciative of the burnt offerings, promised to never commit mass genocide again.
Genesis 9: God blessed Noah and his kids. He told them to have lots of babies, eat all they want, and enjoy themselves. But, of course, if they kill each other, they’re going to get punished in return. So don’t be bad, mkay?
Noah, probably still a wee bit nervous by his murderous deity, was made a promise by god, and god decided to throw a rainbow into the sky as proof of his word. Because, seriously, nuclear bombs are way faster and less messy than floods anyhow.
Now that God was gone, Noah immediately planted a vineyard and got drunk. Oh, and naked. Because wine’s better in your birthday suit. Noah’s sons were totally embarrassed by their dad’s drunkenness (they’d missed the table dancing and bad karaoke, fortunately), so Shem and Japheth covered him with a garment.
When Noah woke, he cursed Canaan (Ham’s son) and blessed Shem and Japheth. Because that’s what you do when you wake up with a hangover.
Genesis 10: Holy begetting. A long list of Shem, Ham, and Japheth’s kids and the explanation of all of the different races/tribes that resulted from their bloodlines.
Genesis 11: All of these civilizations, the results of lots of incest and inbreeding between the kids of Shem, Hambone, and Japheth, all speak the same language. For some reason, the people decided it would be a great idea to build a really high tour so they could get closer to god, because he obviously has a big soft spot for humans (as he’s shown us previously). God, on a stroll, came to the city and saw the tower, and realized these people were getting way too smart: they were totally trying to look behind the curtain. God decided to confuse them by giving them all different languages, races, and spreading them all over the earth. Seriously, dude, why did you build an art farm if you didn’t want to watch them work?
Following the “fall of Babel,” there was quite a bit of begetting again, until, finally, ABRAM WAS BORN! Wahoo!
Genesis 12: Now, god doesn’t play favorites (*cough, NOAH, cough*) but he seemed to take a liking to Abram. He told Abram to leave his father and that he would make him a great nation, bless him, be his best friend, and make him super popular. So, duh, Abram did as he said, taking Lot with him. When Abram arrived to the land of the Canaanites (damn Noah’s curse), God told him that this was to be his land. Abram pitched tent and built an altar to god.
Thanks to a famine, Abram had to go down into Egypt for food. His wife, Sarai, was ridiculously beautiful, and he was scared the men would kill him to get to her, so he told her to call him her brother so he didn’t get jumped. Naturally, when they got into Egypt, Sarai was so beautiful, the Pharoah took her for a wife. A plague fell upon the house, and the Pharaoh called up Abram and chewed him out for lying in the first place, then cast him out.
Genesis 13: Abram left Egypt with his hottie, Lot, and a ton of wealth. For some reason, Abram and Lot’s herders were fighting, and so the two decided to split up and divide a country between them. Lot took the plain of Jordan, and Abram settled in Canaan. God, after Lot had taken off, went back to Abram and said, “it is time,” so Abram moved his tent and settled in Mamre of Hebron.
Genesis 14: Several kings fought each other. Somehow, Lot got into the mix, and was taken by the enemy. When Abram got word his nephew was kidnapped, he went Saving Private Ryan on the situation and went in to rescue him. Abram’s basically Liam Nielson, because not only did he rescue Lot, he also brought back all of his stuff, the women, and the King of Sodom was so tickled, he offered to give him a bunch of goodies. But, Abram-the-modest totally refused, saying the food in their bellies was enough.
Genesis 15: God spoke to Abram, who was really upset about (shooting blanks and) producing no male heir. God said, “Dude, I’ve got you. Calm down.” He brought Abram outside to count the stars, and assured him he’d have just as many heirs. Then he slipped him a bottle of Viagra, winked, and drove off on his Vespa. Just kidding! In reality, he told Abram to bring him a bunch of animal offerings to solidify his promise that he’d inherit the land.
Unfortunately, god’s a bit of a prankster (seriously, he reminds me of Elizabeth Hurley’s character in Bedazzled) and while Abram was sleeping, he told him his people will be slaves, oppressed for four centuries, and that he’ll make good on his promise eventually after they fight their way to freedom. “Teehee! Sleep well, Abe!”
Genesis 16: Sarai decided the infertility was her fault, and offered a slave-girl to Abram to see if she could bear him children. (Keep this in mind for future books: SHE TOLD HIM TO DO IT.)
“Wait, you want me to sleep with Hagar?”
“Yes. I think you should.”
“Is this a test?”
“No, it’s fine.”
“Are you sure this isn’t a test?”
“Do what you want.”
Naturally, when he did as his wife said, she was pissed because Hagar totally got pregnant, and then looked on Sarai with contempt. The girl ran away, but god promised she’d pop out multiple babies if she were a good girl, so she went back. Hagar went back and gave birth to Ishmael.
Genesis 17: God showed up and said, “let’s be blood brothers! But only you give the blood, OK, because I’m anemic. And the blood needs to come from your penis. Oh, and I’m going to call you Abraham from now on, OK? Cool.”
Abraham, amazingly, didn’t seem to flinch about the thought of mutilating his genitalia (or that of every other male born to his household), and so God kept the crazy-talk going by promising that Sarai –er, Sarah- would bear him a son named Isaac. A 90-year-old, post-menopausal woman’s going to pop out a baby? Well, at least the wrinkles will hide the stretch marks.
Abraham agreed, and went back home to chop the flop of every male in his home. I’m sure that made for awkward dinner conversation.
Genesis 18: God (again, not playing favorites) paid another visit to Abraham, but this time posing as three men. (huh?) Abraham rushed to welcome them, offering foot massages and choice veal, and the men ate happily. Then these men asked about Sarah, commenting that she would have a son, and the poor old lady laughed her butt off, remembering the neon “out of business” sign hanging in her ovaries. God, now dropping the random-visitor act, chastised Sarah for laughing, and she vehemently denied it, insisting she had a tickle in her throat.
Following this, Abraham and god had a discussion about Sodom, basically along the lines of, “Seriously, god, would you totally wipe out the whole city, even if there were some really cool, good people in the mix?” And god, called out on his genocidal tendencies, said he’d spare the whole darn place if Abraham could find fifty righteous among them all. They went back and forth, like a toddler conversing with a patient parent, Abraham lowering the number by five each time, until god got fed up and said, “I’ll spare the city for ten righteous men, and that’s my final offer!”
Genesis 19: Two angels came to Sodom. Lot, who was just hanging out there, jumped up to greet them. He brought them in and prepared a feast, but before they could all hit the hay, EVERY SINGLE MAN IN THE CITY SHOWED UP AT THE HOUSE. Lot, refusing to introduce the entire population to the angels, offered up his virgin daughters for their enjoyment (what …the… hell) in exchange for them taking off. Of course, they weren’t happy with this, and tried to barge into the house. The angels pulled Lot in and struck the men outside blind.
The angels informed Lot that they were sent to destroy Sodom, and that he and his kin needed to pack up and ship out before they were caught up in the destruction. Of course, when Lot tried to fetch his son-in-laws, they all just assumed he’d gone crazy and was pulling their legs, so they didn’t pack up.
In the morning, the angels made Lot, his wife, and his daughters leave so they could destroy Sodom. The angels told him NOT to look back, because bad stuff happens to people who look behind them. (Seriously, haven’t you seen a horror flick? People who turn around to look at Jason/Michael Meyers get a machete to the face). Naturally, Lot’s wife turned to look back and turned into a saltshaker.
As promised, god totally wiped out Sodom, and basically every city Lot had settled in. Lot, now a widow, settled in the hills of Zoar, where the most disgusting thing in the world happened: his virgin daughters got him drunk and slept with him, each getting pregnant with a son.
Genesis 20: Yet again, Abraham lied about his baby-momma (well, soon to be baby-momma), and yet again a king took her for a wife. God threatened the king, who told him it wasn’t his fault, since both Abraham and Sarah claimed to be siblings. The king released Sarah, but totally let Abraham have it for lying to him but, PLOT TWIST, Sarah actually is Abraham’s half-sister, so he wasn’t lying after all! (EWWW!) The king gave Abraham 1,000 pieces of silver to take his lying butt out of his city, and, as a reward, god turned back on the vacancy signs of all the wombs in the kingdom. Cha-ching!
Genesis 21: The elderly Sarah bore a son, and probably broke her hip in the process. Abraham, a full century old, celebrated the birth with some prune-juice mimosas. Now a mother, Sarah decided to cast out Hagar and her son, Ishmael, so that he wouldn’t have a chance to share Isaac’s inheritance. Naturally, Abraham was upset, but god said, “Be cool, dude. I’ve got plans for him, too, since he’s your seed and all.” So Abraham sent the slave and his son off with a loaf of bread and no child support payments.
Hagar, with no money and just a tiny bit of water, tossed her son off into the bushes so she wouldn’t have to watch him die (nice one, mom). God heard the child (because the starving, abused woman’s voice was silent) and told the woman to open her eyes, as he had provided a well. The boy grew up, became a Katniss Everdeen-level archer, and even got himself a wife from Egypt.
Meanwhile, Abraham and the king, Abimelech, are talking, and the king makes him swear not to pull any more shenanigans. They made a promise to each other, planted a tree, exchanged some ewes, and named the place Beer-sheba, because, well, anything with “beer” in it is a-OK in my book.
Genesis 22: Double-standards suck, don’t they? Well, man’s not allowed to test god, but in Genesis 22, god decided to test Abraham. God said, “Yo! Abe! You know that kid you love so much? Fire him up like a pig on a spit, mkay? I’m hungry!” So, Abraham packed up some wood and his son and rode off to burn him as an offering. Right as old Abe was about the plunge his knife into his now totally freaked out son’s chest, god said, “Just kidding! Cook me up some ram instead. Boy’s too gamey for my tastes, anyhow. But thanks for playing! Now I know you love me and all!”
After this horrific trauma (that likely caused severe father-based trust issues), there was a bit more procreation.
Genesis 23: Sarah dies (likely from the strain of childbirth at NINETY). Abraham wept. He went to the Hittites to grieve, and the people called him a prince, offering him the best burial spot. Some silver was exchanged, and Abraham buried his wife.
Genesis 24: Abraham, prepared to die, made his slave promise him that he’d get Isaac a wife from his homeland, and not from the Canaanites. The servant agreed, but asked what he should do if the wife won’t come. Abraham made him promise not to take Isaac there, and said that if the woman refuses, his oath is forgiven. The servant then traveled to his master’s homeland. The man encountered Rebekah, who gave him and his camels some water, and allowed him a place to sleep. The slave told the people of his master’s wishes, and that he wished to take Rebekah home to Isaac. And, even though he was a stranger like two minutes before, they agreed he should take the girl home. Lucky Isaac! He totally thought she was hot and got over his mother’s death almost instantly.
Genesis 25: Abraham, the Hugh Hefner of the pre-Jesus days, took another wife. Even though he was an old geezer by then, his equipment must have functioned well, because his new wife bore him six sons! Man, Sarah must have been rolling in her grave! For the next four paragraphs, we learn all about the many children everyone had. Yay for birth-control free days!
Genesis 33: (having skipped 26 through 32, per instructions, I’m starting this in medias res and hoping I figure out who these people are) Jacob spots Esau coming with a TON of people. Uh oh, sounds like a war is brewing. Freaking out, Jacob split up his wife and kids, basically sending them away for safety. However, Esau ran to greet him (OK, so it’s totally not a war, and I’m bad at this in medias res thing) and they shared lots of love and happiness talking about their good fortune and the love god showed them. They were supposed to travel somewhere together, but Jacob’s kids were frail and cattle were nursing, so he knew he’d hold his brother up, and instead settled in Succoth.
Genesis 34: Prince Shechem fell in love with Dinah, Jacob’s daughter, and took her for his wife. Jacob was pissed when he heard about it, but couldn’t do anything because his kids were out. The father of Shechem came to speak to the family, pleading for Dinah (and all of his other daughters), and offered his own girls in exchange. Since they didn’t have their winkies cut, though, Jacob’s family refused unless they circumcised themselves – a total lie, but they don’t know this yet. And, since Dinah was totally worth it to Shechem, they nipped their tips and ran to grab a marriage license.
While they were still icing their private parts, Jacob’s sons went to the city and totally killed everyone. They took Dinah back, plundered the city, stole their children and wives, and grabbed basically everything that wasn’t nailed down, because that’s what godly men do, right?
Jacob chastised his sons, telling them that the Canaanites and Perizzites were totally going to be pissed about the looting, murder, and abductions, but Simeon and Levi defended their actions, saying, “Should our sister be treated like a whore?”
Well, there you have it. I’ve solidified my place in hell. Or Heaven, since I hear god likes a good laugh now and then.
~ Victoria Elizabeth