The Shocking Bible
(Printed in the Elmira Star Gazette on April 24, 1997.)

Rev. Duane Arnold Sr. (April 6, Star Gazette) wrote that I quoted the Bible out of context for the shock value. (Click here for the letter that Rev. Arnold refers to.) Most people may be surprised, but the Bible is a shocking book. Among the violence, incest, vengeance, and murder, there are some sections of morality. However, in addition to the proclamations against the "wickedness of people", the Bible seems to give unjustifiably detailed descriptions of that which it forbids.

According to Rev. Arnold, the "wickedness" of promiscuity and "lewd conduct" are being denounced in Ezekiel 23:19-21. And how better to do it than by comparing the size of men's penises to those of donkeys and their sperm flow to those of horses? If adult movies had the disclaimer, "Contains wickedness and lewd conduct. This is forbidden behavior for which you will burn in hell," could they then be used as lessons of morality?

I'm not sure what message the Onan story (Genesis 38) is supposed to deliver. God murdered Er for no given reason . God murdered Onan for practicing birth control. God allowed Er 's wife to remain unrecognized by Er's father, Judah, while they had sex. The messages: fear God; don't waste perfectly good semen; and if you should, by accident, have sex with your widowed daughter-in-law, remember what happened to Onan.

There are many other examples.

Read the Bible. But be warned, you may be shocked.

John L. Ferri
Towanda, PA

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