Pharyngula

Bible story reenactments

True, heartwarming tales from the Bible, sure to gladden the hearts of children everywhere:

Comments

  1. #1 Capital Dan
    December 27, 2009

    Nice… They even picked one of the less violent ones to reenact so as not to scare the kiddies.

  2. #2 CanonicalKoi
    December 27, 2009

    And (not so astonishingly) when I mentioned that lovely tale of “god’s love” to my very religious mother-in-law, she’d never heard of it. To the best of my knowledge, she’s never actually ever read the bible, she only knows whatever pre-digested pablum the minister decides to regurgitate to his congregation. You can’t keep butts in the seats if you mention any of that icky stuff, you know.

  3. #3 Red John
    December 27, 2009

    Haha, curb stomp for Jesus!

  4. #4 Richard Eis
    December 27, 2009

    Might makes right. Tis biblical. Whats the problem?

  5. #5 HotDogBun
    December 27, 2009

    I’d like to see them do the same thing with the story of Lot putting the wood to two of both of his daughters in a cave.

  6. #6 Dianne
    December 27, 2009

    Haha, curb stomp for Jesus!

    But…it’s old testament: there isn’t any Jesus in that part of the bible.

  7. #7 black-wolf72
    December 27, 2009

    And they even used the Wilhelm scream. Excellent.

  8. #8 The Science Pundit
    December 27, 2009

    As a bald prophet, I really wish you atheists would stop making fun of my favorite bible verse. Those kids had it coming!

  9. #9 The Science Pundit
    December 27, 2009

    And they even used the Wilhelm scream. Excellent.

    Shit! I can’t believe that I missed that. Now I have to watch it again and listen a little more carefully. :-)

  10. #10 Capital Dan
    December 27, 2009

    So, did God just give up and give us Rogaine because the bears were getting tired?

  11. #11 Red John
    December 27, 2009

    And they even used the Wilhelm scream. Excellent.

    I enjoyed that too.

  12. #12 Sastra
    December 27, 2009

    Funny. But of course, they don’t make the violence look any more “real” than the simple Biblical narrative does. Less.

    Imagine if this script had been given to Mel Gibson, and he had decided to focus on the gory aspects of the violence, making it look as real as possible, for as long as possible (which isn’t hard to imagine at all.)

    Heartwarming, indeed.

    I had no idea that being bald back then was so debilitating to one’s humanity, that someone pointing it out was an insult worthy of death. If Elisha had deliberately shaved his head, would it have been a capital crime to say “missed a spot?”

  13. #13 Knockgoats
    December 27, 2009

    I have to agree with The Science Pundit: mauling by she-bears was too good for them!

  14. #14 Janine, She Wolf Of Pharyngula, OM
    December 27, 2009

    Dammit, two people already beat me to the Wilhelm.

  15. #15 Prometheus
    December 27, 2009

    I didn’t know Christianity was so awesome. I am converting immediately :P

    Seriously though, I really hope these guys keep the comedy coming.

  16. #16 Newfie
    December 27, 2009

    I’ve never heard of the Wilhelm Scream. But here’s a compilation.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cdbYsoEasio

  17. #17 Janine, She Wolf Of Pharyngula, OM
    December 27, 2009

    On The Media has a history of the Wilhelm Scream.

  18. #18 Janine, She Wolf Of Pharyngula, OM
    December 27, 2009

    On The Media has a history of the Wilhelm Scream.

    (I tried to embed the media player but my comment went to review. We all know what happens there.

    Ready at 15.)

  19. #19 raven
    December 27, 2009

    This illuminates a common phenomenon.

    Most xians have never read the bible.

    It isn’t all their fault.

    Most xian sects do their best to hide 95% of the bible.

    It is full of contradictions, the same story told differently 2 or 3 times, weird sex, genocide, forgeries and old rules that are pointless and blatantly illegal these days.

    Growing up we all just got tiny bits and pieces that never made any sense since they were taken out of context. Revelations was treated like the crazy and dangerous Aunt locked in the attic. Calvinism wasn’t mentioned once despite it supposedly being a Calvinistic sect. My impression is that the theologians and ministers devoutly hoped that no one would ever ask, “who is Calvin anyway?”

    I’m sure they had the best of intentions in doing all that. They didn’t want the brightest half of the congregation to run out the doors screaming.

    The RCC resisted having the bible translated from the Latin, a dead language, and mass produced. Wonder why?

  20. #20 raven
    December 27, 2009

    Hector Avalos in his book, The End of Biblical Studies, makes the case that the bible is an old anthology written millenia ago that has no relevance to us today.

    So we should put it on the pile of ancient literature with all the other old books and move on.

    I’m not sure I would go that far, but really couldn’t tell you why we shouldn’t do that.

  21. #21 Pareidolius
    December 27, 2009

    Oooooh, I smell product tie-ins! She-Bearz?!

    Voice overs . . .

    Taunting Kids:
    ?Bal-dy! Bal-dy! Bal-dy!?

    Elisha:
    ?God, they have mocked me! Kill ?em! Kill ?em all!?

    Bears (mega-echo effect):
    RAAAWWWWWRRRRRRRRR!

    (Cue Heavy Metal Track)

    V/O (The ?Sunday, Sunday, Sunday? Guy):
    Hey Kids! She-Bearz? (RRRAAAWWWRRRR!) action figures! You play God and show those punks how it?s done . . . Bethel Style! Head?s will be stomped and the Lord?s vengeance will flow like iced holy water!
    She-Bearz?! (RRRAAAWWWRRRR!) Now with Head-Snappin’, Gut-Spewin’ Action-Claws?!

    Superfast Announcer Guy:
    (She-Bearz? Bible Village, Bethel Mall, Elisha Krome-Dome? Avenger and She-Bearz? accessories sold separately) From 2Kingz Toys. Choking hazard.

  22. #22 MadScientist
    December 27, 2009

    My god’s going to kill you and your friends for teasing me, so nyah! That’s so christian; I’m glad the USA was not founded on christian values.

  23. #23 Kel, OM
    December 27, 2009
  24. #24 Gregory Greenwood
    December 27, 2009

    Just remmember everyone, Christianity explicity forbids violence with that whole ‘turn the other cheek’ and ‘love thy neighbour’ stuff. Well, in the new testament anyway. Back in the day god was a bit more of a ‘troubled’ individual. He was wild in his youth. He fell in with the wrong crowd and got heavy into the nose candy. Before he knew what he was doing he was smiting indiscriminately at the merest suggestion that someone had ‘dissed’ him or any of his subordinates.

    Killer She Bears were just the begginning. From there it got worse and worse and before long it was plagues, divinely mandated genocide and demanding propitiation through child sacrifice.

    ‘Baby Face’ Yahweh was heading off a cliff with his eyes closed and his foot flat on the accelerator when something happened to shock him to his senses. He discovered that he was not as omnipotent or omniscient as he had believed. He met his Waterloo; iron chariots. For some reason this nominally all-powerful divine mob boss just couldn’t handle iron chariots. He was completely ferros-phobic.

    Thus began a long road to recovery. First rehab (which he went through even more times than Amy Winehouse) and then therapy to help him deal with his anger issues and his irrational fear of primative iron vehicles.

    Today, god is a changed deity. He expressly forbids the capricious use of violence. These days he only advocates violence in the name of his son Jeebus. Of course, god and Jeebus are one in the same person, and they impregnated their own mother to become their own father, so it is fair to say that he still has a few issues to work out. On the other hand, he has not recently sought to exterminate every living thing on Earth except for the inhabitants of a pre-historic QE2, and that has to count as progress.

  25. #25 'Tis Himself, OM
    December 27, 2009

    I can hear Ol’ Elisha now: “Lord, these kids are being snotty to me, time for some smiting.”

    The Lord does like his smiting. That “turn the other cheek” stuff is for sissy gods.

  26. #26 black-wolf72
    December 27, 2009

    I wonder how Christians reconcile this.

    “God is unchanging. He’s different now.”

    I refuse to accept that they really don’t see this.

  27. #27 Meathead
    December 27, 2009

    @#23:

    I can’t help but picture young Jehovah now as Scarface. Sitting in his heavenly mansion with a huge pile of coke. Say hero to my rittle friend!

  28. #28 Alverant
    December 27, 2009

    Awesome clip. I love that passage. It paints a much more accurate picture of their religion than say spitting on sick people to make them well.

    The part with the one kid saying, “I didn’t call him bald!” was priceless since that passage says only SOME kids called him bald and 42 kids died for it.

    So where was God when I was in middle school? I would have converted if the bullies got ripped to shreds by bears.

  29. #29 Moggie
    December 27, 2009

    #18:

    This illuminates a common phenomenon.

    Most xians have never read the bible.

    It isn’t all their fault.

    Most xian sects do their best to hide 95% of the bible.

    No excuses. Working in IT, I know the importance of reading the documentation – and only my job depends on that. If I believed the stakes included either eternal bliss or eternal punishment, I’d damn well spend a few days reading the manual. 2 Kings… well, Christians would doubtless claim that that book doesn’t matter any more. But, time and again, one finds Christians who clearly haven’t even read the gospels. Really, folks, if you’ve read a Left Behind book but can’t be arsed to get through a few hundred pages of what you claim is the most important thing ever written, I question your commitment.

  30. #30 Alverant
    December 27, 2009

    (Side note, the company who did this clip also did an Avatar Wars clip of CGI vs Muscular Heroes that’s pretty good.)

  31. #31 Carlie
    December 27, 2009

    Now here’s the weird thing. When I was a Christian, I read the Bible through several times. But I had no idea this story existed until I heard about it a few years ago after deconverting. I don’t think I’m that terrible of a reader – I’m not sure exactly what it is, but I think it’s more a matter that they emphasize some parts SO MUCH rather than trying specifically to avoid certain stories that even when Christians try to read the rest, it doesn’t really sink in. Everyone kind of zones out during the Kings and the Chronicles because they expect it to be dull and boring, since sermons never come from it and all. I remember a few of the summer church camps I went to did the “read the Bible through” thing where people would sign up for half-hour shifts so that someone was reading it out loud 24/7 until it was finished, and NOBODY wanted to get stuck in the Chronicles or in Obadiah or something like that. So re:#18, I don’t think that it’s a conscious decision to hide parts of the Bible so much as an entire cultural overlooking of it. It’s like the side-by-side comparisons of the nativity; Christians have read all of the versions, just not in that particular way, so the discrepancies just don’t consciously appear.

  32. #32 Gregory Greenwood
    December 27, 2009

    Meathead @ 26;

    ‘I can’t help but picture young Jehovah now as Scarface. Sitting in his heavenly mansion with a huge pile of coke. Say hero to my rittle friend!’

    Scarface was the inspiration for that post. I was watching the film last night as it happens. Of course, I had to change the ending a bit since no helpful drug lord has got around to shooting god in the back with a shotgun yet.

    Rather than an assault rifle with complimentary grenade launcher, god’s ‘rittle friend’ would probably be natural disasters of some kind, or possibly large scale terrorist acts. After all, havn’t some xians claimed that 9/11 came about because of acceptence of homosexuality in society and the godless atheists causing the entire country to incur god’s wrath? I think they also said that Hurricane Katrina was an expression of god’s drug-fuelled rages . . . err, I mean ‘divine judgement’.

  33. #33 raven
    December 27, 2009

    I don’t think that it’s a conscious decision to hide parts of the Bible so much as an entire cultural overlooking of it.

    The people who know, the ministers and teachers, certainly don’t point out the mountains of weird stuff.

    Most people if they do read it at all especially the majority of weird stuff don’t seem to catch it. I didn’t until I started reading it critically. Who knows, most people must just read it because they are told they should without paying much attention. It is an old book that doesn’t have much to say to 21st century civilization. Who really cares what a bunch of long dead highland dwellers thought about the Philistines or shell fish eaters?

  34. #34 maxamillion
    December 27, 2009

    They could have at least tried to make it funny.

  35. #35 Happy Tentacles
    December 27, 2009

    Why only she-bears? Were the he-bears all down the pub at the time?

  36. #36 BlueMonday
    December 27, 2009

    I guess I was raised in a pretty crazy sect of xianity, but I know this story well. It was often preached on when I was a kid. In fact, the pastor of my parents’ church was and is quite fond of preaching the more gory details of the Old Testament. I suppose that could explain why my 20-year-old brother, who was in that church from the time he was 2, is about one scripture away from xian jihad. It’s very sad. I’m glad most xians don’t know these stories. They require too steep a price in order to reconcile them with one’s own life.

  37. #37 Zeno
    December 27, 2009

    I remember this story being featured in my Catholic school reader with a nice illustration (it might have been this one) of the bears attacking young boys (the victims appeared to be between 8 and 12) while a bearded and bald-pated Elisha calmly continued his way down a nice woodland path. It was obviously supposed to be a cautionary tale about disrespecting one’s elders. As a second-grader at the time, I took it pretty seriously and didn’t question that God might kill you for mouthing off. The subsidiary lesson is that God is a dick.

  38. #38 tsig0
    December 27, 2009

    It’s all because af a misinterpretation of the word “maul”.

    In old testament Hebrew the word was “mate’” which means “to have intercourse with” so it’s easy to see that those who mock prophets are truly fucked.

  39. #39 kilternkafuffle
    December 27, 2009

    The way my Christian friend reconciles this is pretty telling.

    He says that all people are fallen sinners and deserve death. So God is right to kill us anytime he pleases. AND our senses of morality and justice are fallen, so we cannot judge the morality of the Bible – it is actually moral in God’s eyes.

    It’s an unfalsifiable argument.

  40. #40 Gregory Greenwood
    December 27, 2009

    tsigo @ 37;

    If those are the only two options, I think I would rather be mauled.

  41. #41 Gyeong Hwa Pak, the Pikachu of Anthropology
    December 27, 2009

    AND our senses of morality and justice are fallen, so we cannot judge the morality of the Bible – it is actually moral in God’s eyes.

    Wow God has really lousy morals.

  42. #42 ex-minister
    December 27, 2009

    The man who said turn the other cheek and love thy neighbor also said

    Matthew 10
    34 Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword.
    35 For I have come to turn a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law
    36 a man?s enemies will be the members of his own household.

    It is pick and choose what you like. The book for all situations.
    And remember you must take it literally. 8-P

  43. #43 ex-minister
    December 27, 2009

    Carlie @30 wrote:
    Now here’s the weird thing. When I was a Christian, I read the Bible through several times. But I had no idea this story existed until I heard about it a few years ago after deconverting.

    I studied the bible (I see it is lovingly called babble here-good one) intensely. Whenever we came to text like this we would again point back to two facts. ONE: I am a sinful man, I see things darkly. TWO: The Bible is inspired by God. The lesson you are told is you must tremble before God and not mock his prophets. It teaches parents to bring up their kids to respect the same. I learned this rule early on RESPECT = FEAR, don’t question or mock. There is a whole lot of explaining with the Bible, but as long as you don’t think (God’s messed up giving us that ability) and know you are ALWAYS WRONG in this relationship with the Church and God you will live eternally with them in heaven on streets of gold and Dammit don’t start questioning it then either.

  44. #44 chuckgoecke
    December 27, 2009

    tsigo #37: I knew there was a reason I though those she-bears were hot. But then again, I’ve always been attracted to the more hirsute gals.

  45. #45 DLC
    December 27, 2009

    Every bad thing that happens is done by an Atheist.
    Every good thing that happens is done by a Good Christian.
    Not a Christian? don’t worry, if you do a significantly good deed, you will be one within a few minutes after your demise.

    I had a chuckle at the arrogance of the “You only say you don’t believe in god, you’re just being petulant and denying god ” line of bull.

  46. #46 KOPD42
    December 27, 2009

    God’s lackey curses youths to be ripped apart by bears because they called him bald and we’re still supposed to believe that

    “the core of the Christian faith is humility?”

  47. #47 mmelliott01
    December 27, 2009

    This brings to mind a question I’ve wondered about for years: Is there any sect of Christianity or Judaism that particularly reveres (for example) the Book of Micah?

    I mean, are they ALL fixated on Genesis or Revelations, or does someone see something cosmic and profound in Nahum or Haggai?

  48. #48 tim Rowledge
    December 27, 2009

    Hang on – forty-two? Forty two?

    How dare they mock the One True Book!

  49. #49 Sylvie
    December 28, 2009

    It’s obviously a classic case of the “after therefore because of” fallacy! So a prophet with a thinning thatch is insulted by the local delinquents (rather tame delinquents at that) and calls down a curse upon them. Coincidentally, a couple of hungry bears slouch into town and make off with several of the kids for their dinner. The prophet, seeing an opening, claims that it was the curse that summoned the homicidal bears. And voila, religious history is made. Mind you, 42 is a bit much isn’t it, even for hungry bears…

  50. #50 maxamillion
    December 28, 2009

    tsig0 #38

    It’s all because af a misinterpretation of the word “maul”.

    In old testament Hebrew the word was “mate’” which means “to have intercourse with” so it’s easy to see that those who mock prophets are truly fucked.

    Now that would have made it funny, the bears could have been hard of hearing and mistaken “maul” for “mate”. It’s easily done.

  51. #51 shonny
    December 28, 2009

    What strikes me about the biblical myths is that they seem like compensation for insignificance, impotence, and unimportance of goatfuckers with no real culture or society.
    And the xians then seem to have tried their darnedest to rectify this by re-enacting all the fictitious biblical crimes in real life.

  52. #52 blf
    December 28, 2009

    It was an incident during an early game of Rugby. The Cheeky Kiddies had successfully tackled ball-carrier “Bald” Elisha several metres from the touchline but then found themselves being relentlessly pushed back by the Xian Bears rolling maul.

  53. #53 shonny
    December 28, 2009

    Maybe this is the time for Tim Minchin again?
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4DXl68NF_uI&feature=related

  54. #54 blf
    December 28, 2009

    When I was a Christian, I read the Bible through several times. But I had no idea this story existed until I heard about it a few years ago after deconverting. I don’t think I’m that terrible of a reader…

    I happened to notice that in The KJV version the word used is not maul but tare:

    2 Kings 2 2:24 And he turned back, and looked on them, and cursed them in the name of the LORD. And there came forth two she bears out of the wood, and tare forty and two children of them.

    I had to look up ?tare?, it wasn’t at all obvious to me what the bears did to the 42 childrean. The Online Etymology Dictionary explains:

    tear (v.) “pull apart,” O.E. [Old English] teran (…past tense tær, pp. toren),… The O.E. past tense survived long enough to get into Bible translations as tare before giving place 17c. to tore, which is from the old pp. toren. …

    So I can believe someone who isn’t paying close attention when reading the KJV might misread or not correctly comprehend that sentence. (What I don’t know is how often tare is used in the KJV—if it’s used a lot, it’d be reasonable to expect someone reading for comprehension would know what it means, even if, like me, they had to look it up.)

  55. #55 csrster
    December 28, 2009

    The Jewish literature on the bears incident is a bit confused. The Talmud definitely seems to criticize Elisha for overreacting, but there also seems to be a “there must be more to this story than it says on CNN” element in the various commentaries.

  56. #56 blf
    December 28, 2009

    [T]here also seems to be a “there must be more to this story than it says on CNN” element in the various commentaries.

    You mean there are circumstances when magicking-up two bears to eat 42 children is moral behaviour?

  57. #57 Legion
    December 28, 2009

    We’ve known several people who have read the bible from cover to cover, but stare in open-mouthed wonder when we point out some of the more insane, immoral, and contradictory content therein.

    We’ve concluded that this awareness gap between what’s actually in the bible and what they believe is in there has to do with the fact that reading and studying are two different things.

    Any moron with a reasonable grasp of the alphabet and a talent for sounding out multi-syllabic words, can muddle his way through the bible, but will he comprehend what he’s read?

    Not likely. It would be like sounding out the words of some text written in a language different from your own. Sure, you read it, but what the hell does it mean.?

    To really understand the bible, it helps to acquire complimentary knowledge about the history and culture(s) in which the bible was spawned, the history of its evolution, a basic working knowledge of human behavior, and an understanding of the human propensity for myth-making. Oh yeah, and knowing a few basics about science wouldn’t hurt either.

    Of course, to engage in even a fraction of that level of inquiry and scholarship contradicts the age old tradition of intentional ignorance upon which blind faith is built.

    BTW, we love the linebacker-like hit at 2:04. Shades of Terry Tate wethinks.

  58. #58 Carlie
    December 28, 2009

    blf – thanks! I only know “tare” as a way to clear out scale measurements, so I can easily see glossing over the whole story and not really knowing what happened.

  59. #59 https://www.google.com/accounts/o8/id?id=AItOawmeq-hy3HHPlneST-0JjJvaQ08EvG5DEPE
    December 28, 2009

    Funny, but that Elisha dude reminds me of Voldemort.

  60. #60 thrawn369
    December 28, 2009

    I only recently found out why they told him to “Go Up”. Elijah had previously ascended into heaven, and the Youths didn’t like those prophets, so they told Elisha that he should “Go Up” too and leave everyone alone. Maybe they were Baal worshippers angry about their priests being murdered.

    So the Youths the first to joke about Fundies being raptured up and leaving the rest of us alone. Nothing new under the sun indeed…

  61. #61 AJ Milne
    December 28, 2009

    Tales of folk just somehow zoning out and missing weirdness like this aside, to repeat the advice occasionally offered here, I do seriously think most Christians should absolutely be encouraged to read the bible. At length. In detail. On their own. And just think about it a bit…

    (Infomercial shill voice on: ‘I did this. And look at me now…’)

    In fact, actually, most religious adherents would generally do well to do the same with their own canon, whatever it might be. Having browsed a fair number of ‘em over time, I suspect there’s a pretty good chance you get essentially the same effect.

    Literacy, in the long run, will be no friend of religion.

    (/And as any bullshitter and most criminal organizations will tell you: if you’re up to no good, be wary of putting anything in writing you don’t so much need to. That stuff has a way of coming up in official proceedings, later…)

  62. #62 raven
    December 28, 2009

    if you’re up to no good, be wary of putting anything in writing you don’t so much need to. That stuff has a way of coming up in official proceedings, later…)

    Yes, you got it.

    Scientists and politicians always make two simple errors.

    1. Assume email is private and goes to the great bit bucket in the sky.

    The reality seems to be that everything on the internet is immortal and will be repeated when it is at its most awkward for you.

    2. The media can and will accurately interview someone and repeat it in a fair and balanced way.

    That can happen but not often.

  63. #63 Alverant
    December 28, 2009

    I just realized something. Nowhere in that passage does it state that any of the 42 murdered kids were the ones doing the name calling! For all we know the kids chanting “baldy” got away without a scratch! And since there’s a bit of difference between any reasonable definition of the word “some” and the quantity 42, we can conclude that most of the murdered kids didn’t do anything wrong and the bears just went crazy. Way to go God, next time pick a weapon with some ability to AIM!

  64. #64 Carlie
    December 28, 2009

    Bears might like to kill kids, but they don’t dig on dancing.

    My gods, there’s a Tim Minchin song for everything.