18 January 2010

Jon Stewart finds a few good Bible verses

I'm sure you've heard the latest crazy thing that Pat Robertson has said: that the earthquake in Haiti was a punishment from God for the slave revolt of 1791 in which the Haitian slaves made a pact with the devil.

You've probably also seen Jon Stewart's reaction.

After showing the Robertson video clip, Stewart got out a jumbo edition of the Bible and said:

Look how big your book is!

As if the Bible were filled with good, comforting verses for the devastated people of Haiti. He even found and quoted four verses from four different translations of the Bible.

The LORD is close to the brokenhearted; he rescues those who are crushed in spirit. Psalm 34:18
Fear thou not; for I [am] with thee: be not dismayed; for I [am] thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness. Isaiah 41:10
Thou who hast made me see many sore troubles wilt revive me again; from the depths of the earth thou wilt bring me up again. Psalm 71:20
Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor my covenant of peace be removed," says the Lord, who has compassion on you. Isaiah 54:10

And in a way, Jon Stewart and his staff should be commended for this. Because although the Bible is indeed a very big book, it is not a very good one. So it's not easy to find good stuff in the Bible, no matter what translation you use.

It's much easier to find verses that support Pat Robertson's position. God killed millions of people in the Bible for all kinds of stupid reasons or for no reason at all. And he enjoyed every minute of it.

God sent a flood to drown people, smashed them with burning stones, burned them to death for complaining, sent fiery serpents to bite them, bears to rip up their children, forced family and friends to kill each other, and gave people hemorrhoids in their secret parts. And that's just a small sample of God's killings. He is proud of each and every one of them.

Here's what he has to say about them:

I kill ... I wound ... I will make my arrows drunk with blood, and my sword shall devour flesh. Deuteronomy 32:39-42

If God exists, he sent the earthquake on the people of Haiti. And he did it for a reason that is every bit as stupid as the one that Pat Robertson came up with. (Someone spilled his seed on the ground, had inter-racial sex, danced naked around a golden calf, picked up some sticks on the sabbath, complained about the lack of food and water, made fun of a bald-headed preacher, had a census of some kind, burned the wrong kind of incense, believed in the wrong god, had the wrong parents, was born in the wrong country, or made a pact with the devil.)

It's true, of course, that Pat Robertson is full of shit. But the shit that he's full of is the Bible, the whole Bible, and nothing but the Bible. It should be exposed for what it is instead of trying to cover it up with a few good verses and a swipe at Rachel Maddow.


Matthew Blanchette said...

Well, at least he was trying to show what Pat Robertson should have said...


S. Molina said...

I think you might of missed the point. Stewart wasn't trying to prove the bible is a good book.

Big fan of your blog, keep it up

Steve Wells said...

You might be right about that S. Molina. But it seems to me that Stewart was trying to show that the Bible is filled with good stuff, so how could Pat Robertson come up with such crazy, nasty stuff (like God was punishing the Haitians for making a pact with the devil)?

Baconsbud said...

I like the way Jon does this. Yes he should have shown that what Pat was saying could be justified then said the verses he did say. I figure it was done the way it was to protect the show from attack from other media outlets and select groups that doesn't want the population to know how evil the bible really is.

Fleegman said...

Ok, serious question. No, really.

See, I've always wondered (because - shocker - the Bible doesn't make it clear) if God was upset because Onan spilled his seed on the ground, or because he disobeyed God's commandment to impregnate his dead brother's wife.

Since this is such an important distinction (given how much they look down on masturbation), I'm surprised it's not a bit more clear cut than that.

I would submit that it doesn't say masturbation is bad, it says disobeying God is bad.


Mike aka MonolithTMA said...

Personally, I got choked up when I saw Jon Stewart read those verses. Why is it that a comedian can show more compassion than a preacher who supposedly represents a religion of love?

Steve Wells said...


I'm not sure what pissed off God so much when Onan spilled his seed on the ground. The Bible just says that God killed him; it doesn't say why. It's always hard to know why imaginary gods do the crazy things that they do.

busterggi said...

You're absolutely right Steve, if Yahweh wanted Onan's sister-in-law to get pregnant he should have done it himself.

Heck, at least she wasn't a 12 year old virgin (or is that why Yahweh wasn't interested in her?).

Puzzled said...

I have always thought that story seems to be more about messing around with inheritance laws than about masturbation. Religions have seized on it, of course, for social engineering purposes.