Our Father

“Most people are bothered by those passages of Scripture they do not understand, but the passages that bother me are those I do understand.” — Mark Twain

The lyrics to “Our Father” (under the Lyrics menu on this site) are straightforward. They are comprised of a variety of descriptions of the atrociously violent acts ordered, approved, or committed by the Jewish / Christian god in the Bible. Along with the lyrics, I have included hyperlinks to the relevant passages as they have been reprinted in over 100 different translations at BibleGateway.com.

Aside from the Good Book itself (New Oxford Annotated edition), I used as my secondary sources The Skeptics Annotated Bible and Dwindling in Unbelief. Both are excellent websites I recommend for reliable information and humorous criticism.

I have to give credit to the author of these sites, Steve Wells, for having the stomach to rummage through the Bible to compile (and comment on) the relevant stories. For my part, Judeo-Christian mythology is not something I enjoy reading. I would rank the experience alongside the nauseous feeling I get when encountering any other form of racism or fascism.

Equally distasteful is the fact that the Bible is, in origin, nothing more than one tribe’s attempt to divinely sanction its own existence to the (violent) exclusion of all others. Sure, other ancient cultures had similar myths. But compared to, say, the ancient Greeks’ Iliad and Odyssey, the Judeo-Christian form of self-glorification — with all its pedantry, hypocrisy, verbal and narrative simplicity, barbarism, and absurdity — seems the to be the product of scared, superstitious children.

One thing I enjoy even less than reading the Bible is debating devout believers. Not a single rational argument is ever likely to convince these people of the absurdity of their beliefs because those beliefs are grounded strictly in faith and authority, neither of which proceeds through reason, logic, evidence, clear fact, or common sense.

For this reason, I don’t attempt to make a rational case here for why people should suspend their belief in the Bible. I desire to do this about as much as I want to explain to a snot-nosed kid sitting on a mall Santa’s lap why there’s no such thing as Santa Claus. I am content instead to offer these general reflections and, more directly, to provide the links to the passages I reference in the lyrics.

“The best minds will tell you that when a man has begotten a child he is morally bound to tenderly care for it, protect it from hurt, shield it from disease, clothe it, feed it, bear with its waywardness, lay no hand upon it save in kindness and for its own good, and never in any case inflict upon it a wanton cruelty. God’s treatment of his earthly children, every day and every night, is the exact opposite of all that, yet those best minds warmly justify these crimes, condone them, excuse them, and indignantly refuse to regard them as crimes at all, when he commits them.” — Mark Twain

© Joshua J. Reynolds 2015. All rights reserved.