A Reverend Removes the Nasty Parts of the Bible… July 23, 2011

A Reverend Removes the Nasty Parts of the Bible…

If anyone else did it, there might be more of an uproar, but when a reverend does it, you might think twice.

Rev. Geraint ap Iorwerth of Wales, at a celebration of the 400th anniversary of the King James Bible, revealed artwork in which he had cut out the “nasty parts” of the Bible and put them on a giant Wall of Shame:

“I find it highly offensive that people would think I have given my life to serving that type of God and that I would regard the words of the King James Bible as sacred truth.

“I cut out all the nasty bits of that Bible, the language of which is being celebrated all over the place this year, because I don’t think you can separate that language from the God it is representing.

“I was gobsmacked no programmes or articles are representing the cruelty, revenge and hatred of this version of God.”

He’s like a modern-day Thomas Jefferson

Turns out there were nasty parts that didn’t fit on his wall. So what did he do with this scraps? Something even more blasphemous:

… he burnt the pages, which were the remaining scraps of those he cut up to make the display, as a “symbol of all the suffering in the world”.

“The point being that some people are more concerned about destroying a few bits of pages than about those who have died after suffering.”

He has a point. If you’re more concerned about a few burnt Bible pages than you are about the substance written on them, your priorities are in the wrong order.

It’s nice to see someone within the church acknowledge what Richard Dawkins wrote in The God Delusion:

The God of the Old Testament is arguably the most unpleasant character in all fiction: jealous and proud of it; a petty, unjust, unforgiving control-freak; a vindictive, bloodthirsty ethnic cleanser; a misogynistic, homophobic, racist, infanticidal, genocidal, filicidal, pestilential, megalomaniacal, sadomasochistic, capriciously malevolent bully.

So after Iorwerth removed all the bad parts, what was left over? He says there were some positive, healing, and reconciling words. Just enough to fill just three “teardrops”… like this one:

Hardly a vote of confidence for the faith…

You could rightfully argue that Iorwerth has no business cherrypicking little bits and pieces of the Bible to get to the core of the God he chooses to believes in, the one full of “pure compassion and unconditional love” — it’s all or nothing, right?

While many members of the church seem perfectly fine with what he did, at least one of Iorwerth’s colleagues agrees:

The Bishop of Bangor, Andy John, said destroying the Bible, or passages from it, would cause offence to many.

“There are parts of the Bible that we struggle to understand today because culturally our life is so far removed from that period in which the Bible was written.

“However, it is not given to us to pick and choose — sometimes the most challenging parts are those which we need to wrestle with most of all.”

When you take it all in, I don’t know why anyone would choose to worship a god like that, responsible for so much death and destruction. Anyone who claims to be a Bible-believing Christian owes it to everyone else to defend that awful god.

(Thanks to Ian for the link)

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  • Fritzy

    “However, it is not given to us to pick and choose — sometimes the most challenging parts are those which we need to wrestle with most of all.”

    As you said, Hemant, Why?  If something strikes you as blatantly wrong or evil, why put so much psychic energy towards trying to paint on it a shiney veneer?  At it’s core, it’s still evil.  And as he pointed out, we struggle to understand it because it’s so far removed from the culture in which it was written.  So why doesn’t this lead more Christians to the conclusion that, indeed, the Bible is antiquainted and irrelevant?

  • Justinas

    Are you sure that guy isn’t against the KJ bible only, and not his own preferred version? e.g. some protestants view catholics pretty much in the same light as muslims, maybe this guy is the same?

  • Nunchcks2dhead

    A giant wall of shame? For midgets(little people)!!! Please do not exagerate in future articles.

  • Heidi

    @Justinas: The clip says “The work began as the Pennal rector began to reread the Bible at the beginning of Lent.” So I would guess that’s the version he would normally use.

  • Tom

    They put so much effort into it because they have already accepted the premise that it’s true and right and good without thinking and then find themselves in the awkward position of justifying it.  So they attempt to rationalize, contextualize and relativize all the bad stuff until that shiny nugget of truth or wisdom plops out the bottom.

    In a related note, there was an episode where the Mythbusters did, in fact, manage to polish a turd.  It took them a lot of time and effort, and they were wrist deep in crap the whole time, but at the end of the day they managed to present to the public a nice, sparkling, shiny hunk of shit.  If you didn’t know that it was nothing but waste, you might even be tricked into buying it and putting it on your mantle.

  • JulietEcho

    Cool – the teardrops remind me of the “Good parts” section of the Skeptic’s Annotated Bible.  It’s small, but there’s still some good stuff in there.  If the good parts are truly the only parts that represent what you believe, you probably have some hard questions to ask yourself about the nature of your Christianity, but I wish more Christians would take this course of action.

  • BJD

    Well, this Reverend is going to hell, condemned by the very same book he believes in.  

    Revelations 18-19:

    “For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book:
     And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.”

  • Renshia

    No he’s not, he is going to die and become worm food. That’s it. No punishment, no retribution. But he will live a life swaddled in the protection of a church that claims moral superiority and shows none. That’s the damnable thing about this. The church is built on lies and must reinforce those lies to have any credibility. A damn shame is what it is.

  • Anonymous

    I think BJD was being ironic.

  • Renshia

    Really, with quotes and all? It fooled me then, but I don’t believe you.
    I would have said and quoted that same thing, back in the day.
    I think he believes it.

  • Ian

    A large number of Christians I know are liberal. And they have no problem calling out genocide, bigotry and misogyny in the bible. I think the unification of “Christian” and “right-wing evangelical or fundamentalist” isn’t the most helpful.

    The big interesting feature here, I think, is why predominantly liberal churches, who are content with their liberal theology, still seemingly feel the need to pretend to be otherwise. 

    I think fundamentalism is quite insidious.

  • He’s just supported the skeptics annotated bible’s claim that if the good bits of the bible were put together, there would only be enough for a small booklet

  • Chris Roberts

    I wonder, why are we giving credence to people who believe in a self delusion and fairy tales through acknowledging this hypocrisy?  These lies.  This proof that man still continues to take religion into his own hands and re-writes it as he sees fit?  Merely responding to this is giving him the attention he wants.  This should’ve been ignored if you were free-thinkers.  Acknowledging a man like this due to his actions are like giving your child what he wants when he throws a tantrum, you’re just asking for more of the unwanted and illogical behavior.

  • Anonymous

    They’re giant compared to the teardrops with the good stuff on them. Surely you saw how tiny they were 🙂

  • Anonymous

    Imagine the outcry if PZ did this, particularly with the burning. But I actually appreciate what this guy is trying to do, and I think we need more religious voices who are willing to criticize the negative aspects of their own religion.

  • pureone

    ok, how about a wall of giant shames.  I guess the fact that it isn’t a “giant” wall makes it ok. Can you address the content of the post at all? Strangely enough, every religious blogger on Patheos makes exaggerated claims based on no evidence almost every day.

  • Anonymous

    Was there much left?

  • Trace


  • Neat story!!

  • SapAuthor

    I’m a dedicated christian, and i for one have gone through the entire bible (not many of us sadly).

    Many claim that we either ignore these parts, or ‘choose’ not to believe them, this is not true.  I know i’ll take heat for this, but i’m used to it lol.

    The only way i can best describe it is in an example.  Read the following statement: “Jim fell from the loft, God was considering preventing his fall, but allowed it and Jim broke his leg.”  Seems pretty bad, aye?  Then read the next statement: “Later on that week, the draft for the war occured, and because Jim had a broken leg, he was not taken to war.”  For some of the “hard to swollow” parts of the bible, this is true, Joseph was thrown in a pit, sold into slavery, put in prison falsely, yet God ended up making him Pharoah’s 2nd in command.

    Other parts are hard to swallow because it shows God’s, well, angry side when it comes to sin.  I know you won’t all believe me, but according to God and the Bible, any sin separates us from him, and as when we break a law, the law punishes.  If you look at how much God punished (brutally) the Jews after Egypt, and actually read it, you’ll see why.  After seeing God’s glory, being freed from a society where they worked and were whipped and children killed to keep the population down, after all that, they multiple times, time after time, turned to Idols and worshiping other Gods (god of fertility/prosperity, Bahl, and worse Molec, the one that demanded child sacrifices to it).  Even my wife, who is the most gentle and caring person, after reading through SHE thought God went easy on them, this from the person who gets sad when she sees an animal hurt.

    If anyone wants to, one on one, in a polite manner inquire about these Hard Sections of the bible, i can give you the background so you can at least make a more informed judgement call.  People like this though, who don’t read the bible fully, often will want to throw the passage about God letting Jim break his leg because they don’t know how God used it.

    Besides, throughout the entire Old Testament, continual prophecies point back to that God was going to send a savior and create a new covenent.  You may not agree with everything the bible says, or hardly anything, but it’s hard to refute how a history written through multiple generations prophecized (which is scientifically impossible to my knowledge) future events with such detail and accuracy.  Even now the prophecies of Revelation are starting to make sense with Islam, the USA, and how Isreal, a spec of a country seems to be still the center of everything.

    I’ll end with this, i’ve gone through the entire bible and studied it, my wife is doing the same, and because we both follow the bible, and live the life that Jesus calls us, in our marriage and relationship we have yet to have a fight, we have a life filled with God’s blessings, and God has always provided, even through mysterious means like random gift cards sent from an unmarked address before anyone knew we were dirt poor that week. 

    If you want to find me, it’s easy, search for Sonic and Pals, and that is me.

  • ACN

    For some of the “hard to swollow” parts of the bible, this is true, Joseph was thrown in a pit, sold into slavery, put in prison falsely, yet God ended up making him Pharoah’s 2nd in command.

    Tell it to the innocent amalekite women and children who had no hand in the war with the israelites. I would bet this is extremely comforting to them. 

    The only silver lining here, is that the OT authors and the priestly caste who propagated their views,  were so dishonest, that it looks like such people never existed so the slaughter never happened. 

    This hasn’t stopped people like WLC  from firmly inserting their foot into their mouth about the moral justification (!) for these non-historical genocides.

  • Anonymous

    In order to justify the horrible parts of the bible the reader has to undergo quite a few feats of mental gymnastics.

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