Despite the fact that the Bible represents the best selling book of all time and serves as the sacred script for the Judeo-Christian faiths, it also stands as a book, by the majority, believed from ignorance. Strangely, in the Middle Ages the Catholic Church forbade the reading of the Bible by its congregation for fear that the people would misinterpret the texts. Many priests knew of the problematic and dark verses in the Bible. Too much questioning could result in a loss of faith, or so they thought. As a result, only the Church fathers had the right to make interpretations for its people. This gave the early Church power over its people and, at the same time, prevented the majority of the populace from ever becoming educated.
One would think that with today's practice of freedom of religion, education, free press and the availability of the Bible to anyone, that the Bible and its history would result in common knowledge. Nothing could stand further from the truth. Most Church fathers today concentrate only on the "good" phrases of the Bible. This of course represents an admirable approach as it serves to teach, stabilize and give meaning and morals to people in a society. However, Christians and Jews rarely hear about the dark side of the Scriptures from their religious leaders. Although most Christians own a Bible, few of them spend the time to actually read and understand what it actually represents. Many Christians find it shocking, even blasphemous for someone to point out that the Bible contains, not only errors, but atrocities that no Christian in good conscious would ever think of acting out. For example, how many Christians and Jews today would feel happy to bash a child's head against the rocks? Any secular question of this nature, of course, would result in revulsion, yet just such phrases occur in the Bible as well obscenities, filth and many horrendous phrases.
I do not write from a Bible scholar's perspective but rather from my personal studies from a skeptical point of view aimed at showing the problems with beliefs, especially religious beliefs about the Bible. The Dark Bible represents selections from the Bible that aroused my skepticism ranging from my early Christian beliefs to my present stage as a full blown skeptic. As Isaac Asimov once said, "Properly read, the Bible is the most potent force for atheism ever conceived."
It will, perhaps, come from "good" Christians who will object most strongly to what I have put in and left out from the Dark Bible. However you may judge it, I have edited the Dark Bible in this way for several reasons:
Firstly, I wanted to share with people that the Bible does not represent only "high morality" or a means to better one's life; that most of the Bible, in fact, concerns itself with conquest, war, killings, and curses, many times coming from directly from Yahweh (God). By today's standards, many of these Biblical stories describe despicable atrocities.
Secondly, there exists a minority of faithful fundamentalists who take the Bible literally and act out or condone the atrocities in the Bible. Religion and governments, for centuries, have instigated wars, pogroms, racism, hatred, anti-Semitism, terrorism, and the teaching of the "inferiority" of women based on their religious beliefs. I want to point out some of the Biblical verses that people of faith have used as justification for their atrocities and also to help people become aware, and beware of the dangers that can result from belief in the Bible.
Thirdly, to make this knowledge easily available, I edited out the admirable phrases of the Bible in order to get to the point. Most people know about these "good" verses, and I should not have to point them out (there exists a plethora of books about the admirable works). I also left out most of the dark phrases of the Bible for if I had included them all, it would literally involve more information, along with the comments, than the Bible itself. I tried to keep this relatively compact. As a result, the Dark Bible represents a small sampling. I encourage the reader to investigate the history of the Bible and why it contains the stories that it does.
From the sampling of the dark passages of the Bible presented in this Dark version, it should become self evident that if one wishes to defend the concept of a "good" and "loving" God, the Bible should serve as the last source to use for supporting evidence.
Moreover, if we wish to know ourselves, it may well serve us to learn the limitations of our language system. The written form has existed for only about six thousand years; only a brief instant of time relative to our millions of years of evolution. The Bible represents the Bronze Age beliefs of men at the birth of writing. As in most evolutionary trends, mistakes get made, sometimes fatally. Indeed, our species has become even more violent in relation to strengths of faith in written Scripture. Unfortunately faith relies on hope and ignorance. Only education and critical thinking can allow us the means to correct our mistakes.
With technology advancing every year, our weapons have the capability to destroy whole cities, countries, if not every person on the earth. If people continue to base their actions on ancient Biblical reasoning, any small minority who gains access to the destructive technology may very well carry out holocaust-like proportions on innocent men, women and children. It has happened before and it can easily happen again. Today we still see the destructive acts carried out around the world which originate from deep cultural roots based on religious scripture. Although belief structures have given rise to ethnic culture, it can also produce life threatening situations to our existence on earth. Understanding our belief-systems and to de-emphasize the sacredness of the Bible may well help to prevent our own destruction.
The Dark Bible uses the King James Version (1611) Bible as its main source because more Christians use this version than any other (although various alternate verses come from other Bible versions with a caption as to its source.). It will help to use this text along with the reading of each verse with the complete chapter from the Bible so as to gain a better understanding of its context, or, simply click on a verse and it will take you to an online Bible where you can peruse the entire context. Many of the comments come paraphrased from established scholarly published work.
At no time should anyone use the Dark Bible to support another religion like Islam (which has even worse dark verses in its Quran. See the Skeptic's Annotated Quran).
The Dark Bible, copyright © 2006 by Jim Walker. No one may use the contents of the Dark Bible without permission or without proper citation and with a direct link to NoBeliefs.com. Preferably, use a link to the Dark Bible pages rather than copying the html code to your site. In this way, updates will appear as they occur.