The Bible records more murder, mayhem, sadness, and disgusting human behavior than an entire season of Desperate Housewives. Quentin Tarantino has nothing on this violent disturbing book. To me this is rather confusing. Wouldn’t more people like the Bible and maybe even believe in God if the Bible were more like those sweet, uplifting Chicken Soup for the Soul books or an episode of Barney?
Take Judges 21 for example. In the Book of Judges a bunch of guys need wives and so slaughter every person in another town except the virgins. Then in the Book of Ruth everyone but the two women die in the first paragraph. Wow.
Sometimes I just want to read the sections that tell about Jesus holding children on his lap and healing blind people.
So, why did God let all this awful stuff find its way into the Bible?
Reality TV is not real. If that spoils it for you, I apologize. Obviously there are elements of these shows that are real. The competition, the ups and downs of relationships, the tears and laughter are true elements of life. But in the name of entertainment the producers and directors carefully craft what we see, manipulating situations and splicing scenes, and therefore producing an hour of TV that is anything but real. The producers keep the show just dangerous enough to be exciting but safe enough so they don’t get sued.
Is that what we expect of God and the Bible? That he direct and produce, manipulate and splice life so that it’s safe but exciting?
Maybe that’s why we get so uncomfortable with the violent, painful sections of Scripture. They are bold, gritty, ugly, real, not sanitized. And God rarely gives a narrated voice over to explain why he would let such things happen. Just like real life.
And when I am being real, I appreciate these sometimes incomprehensible sections of the Bible more than reality TV because they let me know God will be there for me even when my heart and life is at its ugliest.
P.S. This was first written for and adapted from www.bibleconversation.com