I've been revising the SAB as I blog God's killings, adding cruelties (and other stuff) that I'd previously missed as I go along. When I first wrote this post nearly two years ago, 907 cruel passages were highlighted in the SAB. Now there are 1001. I suspect that before I'm get to God's 90th killing, there will be several hundred more.
After posting this challenge to believers, I received a response from GotQuestions.org. They told me that they were writing responses to the SAB's short list of cruelties and asked if I would be willing to link to them. I happily agreed and added links as they wrote their responses.
Some time later, however, they removed them all. I was never told why, but all of the links that I had created suddenly died.
If any other believers would like to respond to the SAB's list of cruelties, I will add links at the SAB. I'd even consider adding their responses as guest posts on this blog.
For several years now, I've encouraged believers to respond to the highlighted verses at the SAB. And quite a few have done so. I've provided links at the bottom of the appropriate SAB pages to all of the responses that I've found on the web.
Nearly all of the responses have one thing in common: they focus on the Bible's contradictions. Of course there are a lot of them (more than 400 are listed at the SAB), and I understand why they concern Bible believers. But contradictions are the least of the Bible's problems.
That's why believers like to focus on them. I've never seen a contradiction that a believer can't explain. They can always talk their way around it by saying, "That's what the Bible says, but that's not what it means" or "It could have been this way or it could have been that." And since the Bible is often hard to understand, it's hard to argue with them.
But as Mark Twain said, "It ain't the parts of the Bible that I can't understand that bother me, it is the parts that I do understand."
I think that's true for most people -- or it would be, if they had read the Bible, which most people have not.
That's why I created the SAB. To highlight the things I understand well enough to be bothered by. And I'm not bothered much by the contradictions; I'm bothered by the Bible's cruelty.
So far I've marked 907 passages in the Bible that I consider cruel. Acts that were performed, commanded, or inspired by a supposedly kind and loving God.
Now it's true that some on the list are minor, and some might not seem cruel to everyone. Some passages are on the list for excessive violence, even when God may not have been directly involved. So let's focus on those that will seem cruel to nearly everyone.
To help with that, I've created a short list of 237 cruel passages from the Bible. In most cases the cruelty will be clear just from reading the passage. When not, I've tried to add a note to clarify it's meaning. But I think most people who read these passages will be bothered by them, though most believers will try hard not to admit it, even to themselves.
Here's one to get started with. (To be fair, I'll try to include some later from the Quran and Book of Mormon, too.) Here it is.
And he [Elisha] went up from thence unto Bethel: and as he was going up by the way, there came forth little children out of the city, and mocked him, and said unto him, Go up, thou bald head; go up, thou bald head. 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. 2 Kings 2:23-24
Are there any Bible believers that are not bothered by this story? If so, I'd like to hear from them.