You know what’s fun to do during office meetings? Quote random Bible passages as if they have relevance to the matter at hand. “Well, I think it would be helpful to remember the words of Ezekiel 23:20 here.” And when everyone looks at you strangely, you say, “You know… Ezekiel 23:20! ‘There she lusted after her lovers, whose genitals were like those of donkeys.’ It’s in the Bible, people!” Trust me, meetings take a radical turn for the weird when Ezekiel 23:20 makes its way on to the agenda.
The funny thing is that you could make up quotes out of thin air, and people would believe you because it’s not very often that you run across someone who has read the Bible so thoroughly that they’d be able to spot a fake quote. For instance, without cheating, try to spot the fictional verse in the following list:
- I have given thee cow’s dung for man’s dung, and thou shalt prepare thy bread therewith
- Behold, I will corrupt your seed and spread dung upon your faces
- Hath he not sent me to the men that sit upon the wall, that they may eat their own dung and drink their own piss with you?
Surprise! Those are all actual quotes from the Bible, something you should think about long and hard the next time you attend a church pot luck dinner.
Making matters more difficult, of course, is the fact that the vast majority of people do not read the Bible, but rather a particular translation of the Bible. For instance, the King James version of the Bible is dignified and restrained, while the New American Standard version of the Bible contains a recipe for a spicy avocado dip and Steve Miller song lyrics.
So feel free to make up any quote you want. No one is going to be able to call your bluff on it.
“Lo, and it was known that upon the day that the lady met this fellow that they did know that it was much more than a hunch. This group would verily become a family, and thus was begat the Brady Bunch.” – Alice 23:12
Actually, if characters in the Bible had better name recognition, making up quotes would be much more difficult. God and Jesus? They’ve got top-notch name recognition, and no one can deny that. I mean, people yell their names out during sex. But once you get beyond the Big Two, the Q-scores drop right off the charts.
Let’s look at Genesis 5, otherwise known as the endless begat portion of the Bible. “Enoch begat Methuselah, Methuselah begat Lamech, Lamech begat Noah”, and on and on. There was an awful lot of begatting going on back then, and the end result is that with all of those minor characters introduced all at once, the reader is going to get confused.
However, if they had used characters with better name recognition, keeping it all straight would’ve been a breeze:
Elvis begat the Beatles, the Beatles begat Wings, Wings begat Paul and Linda McCartney, Linda lived two score and sixteen years, died, and now walks with the Lord. This cleared the way for Heather Mills, who begat a large divorce settlement, and now she rests her good leg on a large stack of Paul’s money and looks upon her surroundings and says, “It is good.”
That is a whole lot easier to remember than who Enos is and how long he lived (905 years, which reminds me: The Bible is a little light on fact-checking too.)
Think about that. If the Bible were to be recast, biblical literacy would instantly go way, way up. If the 1975 Cincinnati Reds were cast as the Sodomites, for instance, not only would I instantly know who they are, where they lived, and what their names were, I’d also know how many doubles they hit (278).
If you ask me (and really, why wouldn’t you?), Christianity is missing out on a golden opportunity here. And remember, this is coming from an ordained minister.