23 December 2008

The Green Bible: An excerise in dishonesty

Have you seen "The Green Bible"? Well if not, you really should take a look. You won't find a more dishonest book anywhere.

It was published a few months ago and I recently found a copy in the public library. Its approach is simple: highlight in green all passages that provide God's instructions about caring for the environment.

I don't have time to go through all of the passages that are marked green in the Green Bible (there are over 1,000), so I thought I'd just pick one of the Bible's books and go through that. I chose Revelation.

There are 41 "green" passages in Revelation. Here they are.

  1. And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood. Revelation 1:5-7

    (Protect the environment by washing it in Jesus's blood.)

  2. He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God. 2:7

    (This was marked green since it has the word "tree" in it.)

  3. Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth. 3:10

    (God is going to tempt every living thing on earth -- except for Christians, of course. God likes Christians.)

  4. And when those beasts give glory and honour and thanks to him that sat on the throne, who liveth for ever and ever. 4:9

    (Beasts give glory, honor, and thanks to a God that sits around on a throne in heaven. But the beasts here are kind of special (see the preceding verse 4:8). They have six wings and are covered with eyes, and they sing continuously day and night: "Holy, holy, holy, LORD God Almighty, which was, and is, and is to come.")

  5. Thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created. 4:11

    (God created guinea worms, bot flies and parasitic wasps for his own pleasure. He likes to watch things suffer.)

  6. And I beheld, and, lo, in the midst of the throne and of the four beasts, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent forth into all the earth. 5:6

    (There are 4 beasts and a dead lamb with 7 horns and 7 eyes which are really the 7 spirits of God that were sent down to earth for some reason. I'm sure there's an important environmental message from God here somewhere.)

  7. And every creature which is in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, heard I saying, Blessing, and honour, and glory, and power, be unto him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever. 5:12-13

    (Animals spend all their time praying out loud in Hebrew, saying stuff like: "God you are so big...")

  8. And there went out another horse that was red: and power was given to him that sat thereon to take peace from the earth, and that they should kill one another: and there was given unto him a great sword. 6:4

    (God will send an all-powerful red horse with a big sword to take peace from the earth by forcing people to kill each other.)

  9. And I looked, and behold a pale horse: and his name that sat on him was Death, and Hell followed with him. And power was given unto them over the fourth part of the earth, to kill with sword, and with hunger, and with death, and with the beasts of the earth. 6:8

    (God will send an all-powerful pale horse that will kill one fourth of the human population with war, starvation, and predatory animals. Note: The Green Bible says it will be a "pale green horse." That's why this verse is marked green.)

  10. And the heaven departed as a scroll when it is rolled together; and every mountain and island were moved out of their places. 6:14

    (God rolled up the sky and moved islands and mountains around. Just for the heck of it, I guess.)

  11. I saw four angels standing on the four corners of the earth ... And I saw another angel ... and he cried with a loud voice to the four angels, to whom it was given to hurt the earth and the sea, Saying, Hurt not the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees, till we have sealed the servants of our God in their foreheads. 7:1-3

    (God assigned four angels to hurt the earth and the sea, but he tells them to wait until he has marked 144,000 male virgins. When he's done with the marking job, though, the angels can go ahead and hurt the earth and sea.

    This verse is one that Christians like to use to show God's loving concern for the environment. But the previous verse (7:2) makes it clear that it was the angels' God-given job to "hurt the earth and the sea" just as soon as they finished their forehead marking job.

    A friend of the family gave us a coffee cup that features this verse and the cute illustration shown below.)

  12. And all the angels stood round about the throne, and about the elders and the four beasts, and fell before the throne on their faces, and worshipped God, Saying, Amen: Blessing, and glory, and wisdom, and thanksgiving, and honour, and power, and might, be unto our God for ever and ever. Amen. 7:11-12

    (The angels, elders, and beasts all hang around the throne saying "Oh God, you are so big. So absolutely huge. Gosh, we're all really impressed up here, I can assure you..." for ever and ever.)

  13. They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more; neither shall the sun light on them, nor any heat. The Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters: and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes. 7:16-17

    (The 144,000 male virgins will be fed by a lamb, drink living water, and have their tears washed away by God.)

  14. And the angel took the censer, and filled it with fire of the altar, and cast it into the earth: and there were voices, and thunderings, and lightnings, and an earthquake. 8:5

    (An angel took some fire from the altar in heaven and threw it down to earth which caused loud voices, thunder, lightening and an earthquake.)

  15. The first angel sounded, and there followed hail and fire mingled with blood, and they were cast upon the earth: and the third part of trees was burnt up, and all green grass was burnt up. And the second angel sounded, and as it were a great mountain burning with fire was cast into the sea: and the third part of the sea became blood; And the third part of the creatures which were in the sea, and had life, died; and the third part of the ships were destroyed. And the third angel sounded, and there fell a great star from heaven, burning as it were a lamp, and it fell upon the third part of the rivers, and upon the fountains of waters. 8:7-10

    (The 1st angel causes hail, fire mixed with blood, and burned down 1/3 of the earth's trees. The 2nd angel burns up a mountain and casts it into the sea, making 1/3 of the sea blood and killing 1/3 of sea life. And the 3rd angel made a star fall from heaven that burned up 1/3 of the rivers.)

  16. And the fifth angel sounded, and I saw a star fall from heaven unto the earth: and to him was given the key of the bottomless pit ... And there came out of the smoke locusts upon the earth: and unto them was given power, as the scorpions of the earth have power. And it was commanded them that they should not hurt the grass of the earth, neither any green thing, neither any tree; but only those men which have not the seal of God in their foreheads. 9:1-4

    (The 5th angel causes a star to fall from heaven and is given the key to a bottomless pit with locusts and scorpions. But God tells the scorpions not to hurt trees or grass -- only people that don't have the proper seals on their foreheads.)

  17. And the angel which I saw stand upon the sea and upon the earth lifted up his hand to heaven, And sware by him that liveth for ever and ever, who created heaven, and the things that therein are, and the earth, and the things that therein are, and the sea, and the things which are therein, that there should be time no longer. 10:5-6

    (An angel stands on sea and land and says there will be no more time. Could this be God's way of warning us that time is running out for us to save the planet? Of course it could. This is the Bible; anything could mean anything or nothing at all.)

  18. These are the two olive trees, and the two candlesticks standing before the God of the earth. 11:4

    (There were these two olive trees and two candlesticks and they walked into a bar and said to the bartender...)

  19. And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever. 11:15

    (The 7th angel sounded, there were some voices in heaven, and Jesus will reign forever and ever. I wonder what environmental message God is trying to convey in this passage.)

  20. And the nations were angry, and thy wrath is come, and the time of the dead, that they should be judged, and that thou shouldest give reward unto thy servants the prophets, and to the saints, and them that fear thy name, small and great; and shouldest destroy them which destroy the earth. 11:18

    Is God going to "destroy them which destroy the earth." But I thought God told the angels to hurt the earth? Is God going to destroy himself?

  21. Woe to the inhabiters of the earth and of the sea! for the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time. 12:12

    (The devil is going to hurt the inhabitants of the earth and sea. And God is going to ls going to just sit back and watch. God likes to watch.)

  22. And I saw one of his heads as it were wounded to death; and his deadly wound was healed: and all the world wondered after the beast. 13:3

    (The whole world wondered after the wounded beast. You know, the one that came out of the sea with ten horns and seven heads that looked like a leopard but with feet like a bear and a mouth like a lion. Yeah that one.)

  23. And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people. 14:6

    (A flying angel preaches to the folks on earth, writing in smoke the words, "Surrender Dorothy.")

  24. And I looked, and behold a white cloud, and upon the cloud one sat like unto the Son of man, having on his head a golden crown, and in his hand a sharp sickle. 14:14

    (Jesus sits in a white cloud with a gold crown and a sharp sickle. Everyone that sees him wonders what the fuck is he doing with that sickle.)

  25. And I saw another sign in heaven, great and marvellous, seven angels having the seven last plagues; for in them is filled up the wrath of God. 15:1

    (A marvelous sign of God's wrath and concern for the environment: 7 angels with 7 plagues filled with the wrath of God.)

  26. And they sing the song of Moses the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying, Great and marvellous are thy works, Lord God Almighty; just and true are thy ways, thou King of saints. Who shall not fear thee, O Lord, and glorify thy name? for thou only art holy. 15:3-4

    (Everybody in heaven sings the "song of the lamb" and says cool things like, "Oh God, you are so strong, and well, just so super...")

  27. And I heard a great voice out of the temple saying to the seven angels, Go your ways, and pour out the vials of the wrath of God upon the earth. 16:1

    (God tells the angels to destroy the environment by pouring out the wrath of God on the earth.)

  28. And every island fled away, and the mountains were not found. And there fell upon men a great hail out of heaven, every stone about the weight of a talent. 16:20-21

    (God destroyed the islands and mountains and huge hail fell from heaven that killed many people. He did this because he loves islands, mountains, and people so much!)

  29. And after these things I heard a great voice of much people in heaven, saying, Alleluia; Salvation, and glory, and honour, and power, unto the Lord our God: For true and righteous are his judgments: for he hath judged the great whore, which did corrupt the earth with her fornication, and hath avenged the blood of his servants at her hand. 19:1-2

    (God judged the great whore that corrupted the earth with her fornication.)

  30. And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. 20:12

    (Dead people will be judged by God.)

  31. And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire. 20:14-15

    (God will throw most dead people into a lake of fire.)

  32. And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea. 21:1-3

    (God will soon destroy the earth, both land and sea. He doesn't value them and neither should you.)

  33. And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful. 21:5

    (God is going to make all things new -- right after he gets done destroying everything!)

  34. The fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death. 21:6-8

    (God will burn some dead people forever.)

  35. And he carried me away in the spirit to a great and high mountain, and shewed me that great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God, Having the glory of God: and her light was like unto a stone most precious, even like a jasper stone, clear as crystal. 21:10-11

    (An angel carried the author of Revelation to a high mountain to show him Jerusalem. It had really cool lights.)

  36. And the city had no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it: for the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof. 21:23-24

    (The new Jerusalem won't need the sun or moon, so you can trash the whole solar system if you feel like it.)

  37. And there shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie: but they which are written in the Lamb's book of life. 21:27

    (Only people whose names are written in the book of life will get into the heavenly city.)

  38. And he shewed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb. In the midst of the street of it, and on either side of the river, was there the tree of life, which bare twelve manner of fruits, and yielded her fruit every month: and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. 22:1-2

    (In heaven there will be a tree that has 12 kinds of fruit with leaves that will heal nations. And there will be horses of different colors, singing munchkins, and a great and powerful wizard.)

  39. And there shall be no night there; and they need no candle, neither light of the sun; for the Lord God giveth them light: and they shall reign for ever and ever. 22:5

    (There will be no sun, night, or candles in heaven. Just God. All God, all the time.)

  40. Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city. 22:14

    (The "tree of life" is not a real tree. Real trees will all be destroyed by God along with everything else on earth.)

  41. And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely. 22:17

    (The spirit and the bride and everyone that hears says, "Come".)

  42. Okay. That's it. That's all the verses in Revelation that are marked green in the Green Bible. The question is why. Why were any of these verses marked green?

    Revelation, like the rest of the Bible, is clear: God doesn't give a damn about the environment. He gave power to angels to damage earth and sea (Revelation 7:2-3); sent angels to burn earth, trees and grass (8:7); burned mountains and threw them into the sea (8:8); turned one third of the sea into blood, killing one third of its wildlife (8:8-9); threw down a star from heaven to destroy one third of the rivers (8:10); killed "every living soul in the sea" (16:3); dried up the Euphrates river (16:12); destroyed islands and mountains (16:20); ; and he plans to soon destroy the entire earth and every living thing on it. (21:1).

    You'd have to be dishonest to mark anything green in the Bible. But that didn't stop the creators of the Green Bible.

9 comments:

Michael said...

Like all other "Holy Books", I hope they print it on soft paper... so that when I use it to wipe my ass, it doesn't scratch!!

Michael said...

If I want to read a "Fairy Tale" I'd choose a Philip Pullman book, Like the GOLDEN COMPASS. It's much better reading than some silly 'bible'.

Anon said...

I was laughing out loud at your comments, Steve. I think The Wizard of Oz is funnier, more realistic, and undoubtedly more eco-friendly than The God of Israel. (The Wizard lives in the Emerald City after all, and there's green everywhere there!!)

I can't believe how dishonest the authors/editors of the Green Bible are being. My guess is they figure that most people won't actually read the Green Bible, just like most people don't actually read the regular Bible. So they can just mark as green whatever verses they want and people will just glance and say "Look at all the green in there! I guess God was the first environmentalist!"

I don't know about the other books, but a large portion of verses they chose for Revelation are actually about death and destruction and very un-eco-friendly. The other verses just seem to be highlighted because they mention plants or animals. The few that comes close to being "green" only do so when taken out of context.

Assuming the other books are similar, I have a subtitle to suggest for this version of the Bible. The Green Bible: The Greatest Greenwash Ever Told

Michael said...

You say you want a revelation??? The 'bible' in all its versions, is BULLSHIT!!!

Errancy said...

Shameful. Silly exegesis like this really doesn't help make the case for Christianity and environmentalism going together.

RR said...

They don't go together.

The bible "gives" man dominion over the things of the earth... It teaches that everything is here for god's glory.

Christianity isn't concerned with environmentalism: it is concerned with promulgating its set of myths that give power to a class of people who claim to know the will of an all-powerful god. That is Christianity in its entirety...

Brucker said...

>>>Hurt not the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees<<<

Sheesh, talk about taking a verse out of context! This is a goofy idea. As a Christian and an environmentalist (to some degree, far more of the former, obviously), I'd like to say that if I'd made the "Green Bible" (which I wouldn't have) there might have been at most something like twenty verses in green, and that's probably pushing it. This is obviously a marketing scheme to either get environmentalists to become Christians, or vice versa.

Misty said...

My favorite "green" passage in the Bible comes from Mark 11:12-14, 20:1. Jesus comes to a fig tree that has no figs on it because "the time of figs was not yet." It's just not fig season. What does he do? He curses the tree, and kills it so that "No man may eat fruit of thee hereafter for ever." Well, the next day ol' Jesus and his disciples come upon the tree again, and his disciples think it's just great that the tree is withered at the roots and dead. What a great moral and environmentally peaceful story I think that is. Angrily kill the tree with magic because you can't wait for the appropriate season, and make sure that no people or animals can ever have the benefits that the tree offers. He didn't even use the wood for anything. There isn't a corporate polluter on earth today that I can think of that would act so illogically as the illustrious messiah did.

Unknown said...

Oh that was funny. my favorite had to be how apparently, the horseman of the Apocalypse DEATH himself, is sent onto the earth to slaughter mankind in various nasty ways, because god loves the environment! Or he's mad that we ruined the environment? Sounds fair!