01 September 2009

The Worst Verse in the Bible

Ship of Fools is asking people to name the worst verse in the Bible. You can nominate your favorite worst verse here.

I always have a hard time with this. There are so many to choose from. But I picked Jeremiah 19:9.
And I will cause them to eat the flesh of their sons and the flesh of their daughters, and they shall eat every one the flesh of his friend....
A god that would force parents to eat their children is a god everyone should stay away from.

Which verse do you think is the worst? I'm especially interested in what believers think about this. Are there any bad verses in the Bible, or is Jeremiah 19:9 as good as Leviticus 19:18?


Cristiano SamZZ said...

To me the worst will always be Psalm 137, 9:

"Happy shall he be, that taketh and dasheth thy little ones against the stones."

I mean, what kind of monster would ever write something like that??

Lennart said...

Incidentally this might be what I've been looking for. I attend a small, private christian high school and I'll be graduating next June. At the ceremony each student can pick a Bible verse that is said when they receive their diploma. I might be able to choose a good one from here. I was so far favouring just using Judges 1:19 about the iron chariots. I don't want something to incendiary and if even that verse is rejected I'll just choose one of the dumb ones with none of inspiring gusto the verses are usually chosen for. Thanks!

Unknown said...

For me, now and always, the contest is won in these verses.

What better proof that the Christian god is a god neither of love nor of mercy than that he would "punish" a rapist by forcing his victim to marry him?

twillight said...

There was only two parts in the Bible that just shot up my circuits, and one of that was Psalms 137.9:
"Happy are those who smash babies' head on a rock."

Cannibalism is one thing, and, well, that is at least presented in a negative context. But that one...

Ian said...

Cristiano SamZZ's pick is a good one, but I've got to go with 1 Samuel 15:3:

"Now go and smite Amalek, and utterly destroy all that they have, and spare them not; but slay both man and woman, infant and suckling, ox and sheep, camel and ass."

An explicit command to commit genocide. You can't get much worse than that.

Unknown said...

"In the beginning" I reckon. It's the verse that kicks off all the abject immorality and stupidity that follows.

That psalm is bloody atrocious too, though.

I Am said...

I agree with edna. I often wish the thing had never been written, from the first verse to the last.

Then again, John 3:16 is also a bad one in my opinion. Just one verse brainwashes people to think that:

* God exists
* It's okay, and even loving, to commit human sacrifice
* People will live forever because of this murder
* People must believe unreasonable fairy tales in order to live forever
* And implicitly (explicitly stated shortly thereafter) that not believing the fairy tale will cause them, or those around them, to burn in hell.

But other times, I think the "bad" verses of the Bible (dashing kids and all) may not actually be the worst. If the Bible just had verses like this, it would have been abandoned long ago. It's the occasional nice verse that keeps people clinging to the Bible. Throw those rarities out, and many people would be throwing their Bibles out.

I call for a version of the Bible that only has the bad verses. Does anyone know if such a thing exists?

Joe said...

The excuse that Christian's of a liberal persuasion always seem to trot out is that the Old Testament some how doesn't count - Jesus negated it.

Now, perhaps it's my bad searching, but I've never found this mystery disclaimer ("do not try this at home"). The most he seems to do is revoke the food laws (i.e. eating shellfish is ok, just like setting bears on kids...).

Mountain Mom said...

Ezekiel 4:12 is excellent. God basically says eat shit & die, huh?

And thou shalt eat it as barley cakes, and thou shalt bake it with dung that cometh out of man, in their sight.

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Lorraine said...

I don't remember chapter/verse too well.

Certainly the worst book in the Bible is Joshua, the textbook of ethnic cleansing--far worse than Judges, the textbook of terrorism. Judges certainly contains some tragic atrocities, though, such as the sacrifice of Jephthah's daughter, and that other woman who whose remains were distributed to the 12 tribes.

v_quixotic said...

As far as verses that have done the most damage, my vote goes to Exodus 22:18

"Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live."

Yhis verse alone is probably responsible for the deaths of tens of thousands if not millions of women. (real flesh and blood women that is - not 'make believe' women like the deaths tallied so far...)

Matthew Blanchette said...

The whole of 1 Samuel, chapter 15, wherein God rejects Saul for being too nice to a captive people and not murdering the shit out of them; Saul tries to please God by hacking Agag to pieces, but God doesn't care, and [i]"pantywaist"[/i] Saul is replaced by David, the petty and immoral. Nice guy, that God, huh?

Normachc said...

Deuteronomy 22 28-28

Basically, If you're lonely,and in need of a companion rape any hot virgin you find and get a wife...

Ruthless enough for 'ya?

Normachc said...

Deuteronomy 22 28-28

Basically, If you're lonely,and in need of a companion rape any hot virgin you find and get a wife...

Ruthless enough for 'ya?

Unknown said...

For consideration:

“Slaves, submit yourselves to your masters with all respect, not only to the good and gentle but also to the cruel.”
(1 Peter 2:18)

Unknown said...

"Lo I have a painful diease in my loins."

psalms 38 verse 7