The Bible For People Who Hate The Bible (Books 1 & 2)
2005 12 08
By Kim Petersen | dissidentvoice.org
Since George W. Bush assumed the US presidency, his regime has defied international law and wreaked murderous havoc on developing nations. Many political pundits have pointed to the neoconservative agenda as announced in the Project for the New American Century’s unabashed call for a Pax Americana. But Bush and some of his circle also claim to be taking cues from the Christian God. If this is true, then presumably Christian teaching is influencing the only superpower and hence the rest of the world.
The Bible forms the core of Christian thought. It is a selective compilation of tales that has had and has stupefying transformative powers in the world. As such, an understanding of the Bible is important. Toronto-based Tony Malone is an accomplished musician and freethinker who devoted several years researching rare and valuable biblical works. The result was his two richly illustrated books The Bible For People Who Hate The Bible. The title is rather delimiting, but the author intends the books for people who don’t want to read the Bible and who are offended by large religious groups [disclaimer: the present writer feels no hatred for books, has read the Bible, and is unoffended by people’s choice of religious affiliation].
Book One tackles the Old Testament and the second book scrutinizes the New Testament. Malone explores various texts and themes in depth and is unafraid to state his conclusions, some of which will likely astound the reader.
Malone writes that the Old Testament is built on a “shaking and bizarre” foundation. He cites myriad examples to support his contention. For example, Malone considers the tale of baby Moses being placed in the Nile to be a plagiarism of the tale of Sargon the Great Akkadian king who as a child was floated in the Euphrates. Malone also questions whether there was more than one Moses in the Old Testament.
To understand Moses, Malone maintains, it is necessary to remove “God” from the picture. Throughout the books, Malone prefers to use god’s name as it appears in the original Hebrew texts: YHWH with vowels inserted. Yahweh is portrayed as a racist god, a god who sanctions ethnic cleansing to create a Lebensraum and genocide to protect the supposed racial purity of his chosen people. Malone calculates the slaughter of at least 100,000 Midianites by the Israelites on Yahweh’s orders “because one of their women dared to love an Israelite man.” The genocide included the slaughter of all non-virgins, with the virgins taken as chattel -- 32 to be sacrificed to Yahweh. Malone comments: “It is genocide on an exciting [sic] new scale, dwarfing their slaughters of the Amorites and Bashanites.”
Although not dealt with by Malone, the fury of Yahweh at this interracial mingling emphasizes a socio-biological oddity about Jewishness, in that Jewishness is understood to denote both ethnicity and religion. It calls into question what exactly is meant by a “chosen people.” Yahweh chose the Jews out of his love for them (Deuteronomy 7:7-8), and yet it is theoretically possible, based on religious affiliation, to enter into chosen status through conversion to Judaism.
The “chosen people” status is lamentable in that it presents a deity who plays favorites and this favoritism invites ethnocentrism and its ugly offsprings: cultural imperialism, racism, and xenophobia. Examples of each are replete and described in Malone’s books.
Malone, however, throws a wrench into the belief of racial purity, as he ponders the controversy of whether Moses was an Israelite or a Midianite Arab, a topic previously stirred up by Sigmund Freud among others.
Malone points out, that with the possible exception of Mark’s gospel, the New Testament is a series of essays on the purported life of Jesus by people who never met him. Much like the Old Testament, the New Testament contravenes progressive values. Woman is subordinate to man; slavery is condoned (and, in fact, slaves are exhorted to honor their masters); and, those disobedient to God are turned into homosexuals as punishment. But the message of Jesus is one of liberating people from the cult of Law.
The major messenger for spreading Jesus’ word to Gentiles was Paul. Malone portrays Paul as a figure who cashed in on a Jesus cult, inventing his own version of Jesus’ message, which he took on the road. Malone wonders about Paul’s sudden disappearance, with the contradictory legacy of Jesus as an idol.
Malone, however, argues that Jesus’ message was only for Jews. Based on Jesus’ interaction with a Syrophoenician woman (Mark 7:24-30), which Malone describes as “the biggest paradox in the character of Jesus,” he deduces that Jesus is a racist like other Old Testament leaders. A historical stream of consciousness is indicated: a recent poll by the Dahaf Institute for Madar, the Palestinian Center for Israel Studies, showed that a majority of Israeli Jews wants Arab Israelis to leave Palestine (renamed Israel by its ethnic cleansers).
Malone depicts a Jesus exasperated by his apostles’ difficulty at grasping his parables. When Peter tells Jesus that he considers him to be the messiah, Jesus tells him to keep quiet about this wrongful conclusion (Mark 8:27-30).
Malone provides an unusual interpretation of who the Son of Man and Messiah are. The Messiah is the Son of Man, which is the nation of Israel. This puts a different slant on what Jesus meant when he said the Son of Man would be raised from the dead.
The author, however, regards the resurrection as metaphorical and views it as a later addition to the Old Testament based on Egyptian mythology.
Apocrypha and spiritualism aside, much of Jesus’ agenda promoted progressive values. Malone notes that Jesus railed against the capitalism practiced by the temple priests. Indeed, the behavior of possessive individualism contradicts the teaching of Jesus. Malone also interestingly explicates the infinitesimal odds, clearly enounced by Jesus, against a rich man entering heaven -- that of a camel passing through the eye of a needle (Mark 10:25). Jesus reserved great praise for the oppressed; when an old widow dropped a few coins into the collection box, Jesus lauded this act as manifold more generous than any rich person’s charity (Mark 12:41-44).
Malone holds that Jesus’ message was against personal aggrandizement. In Mark 9:33-35, Jesus responded to a dispute among the apostles as to who was greater: “Whoever thinks he should be the most important has to first take his place as the least important.” It seems that such reasoning should also be applicable at a societal level? Logical inference suggests that an ethnicity that claims to be a “chosen race” should then strive to act as though it was the “least chosen race.”
The author emphasizes the preeminence of Mark’s gospel, but charges that it has been tampered with. The first tampering accentuated is the falsehood that the gospel must be spread to all nations. Jesus, Malone iterates, is on Earth to preach to the “children” (Jews) and not the “dogs” (Gentiles).
Malone identifies the prophets’ plan for Israelites to gain authority over other peoples; this was Yahweh’s promise. This provokes the question: how does this plan square with Gentiles being called to Jesus? Furthermore, what Gentile would go along with this? In the context of today, the neoconservatives’ designs for the Middle East mimic Zionist Jews’ aspirations for the region. From Malone’s text, a conclusion leaps out; the New Testament turns anti-Judaism on its head: Gentiles are, in fact, protecting anti-Gentiles.
In 313 CE, Constantine Augustus issued the Edict of Milan that legalized Christianity in the Roman Empire. Eventually, the Romans co-opted the Israelites’ Old Testament plan and through Jesus they pursued a new route to world power, a route followed by the Catholic Church. Although the Vatican’s influence still pervades today, the seat of imperialist power is in Washington. The neoconservatives have rallied the support of fundamentalist Christianity to implement their imperialist agenda.
The fervent Christianity aroused by the Bible poses a palpable danger. Malone states, “The Bible is a weapon … one of the most frightening tools ever developed by man.” This is the importance of Malone’s “pop literature.” His two books contain a wealth of information and conclusions that provoke contemplation relevant to many important world events.
Kim Petersen is a writer living in Nova Scotia, Canada. He can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Bible For People Who Hate The Bible (Books 1 & 2)
Written by Tony Malone
Publisher: Saint Oxen Books
Format: Paperback, 236 & 252 pages
Pub Date: 2002-2003
Article from: http://www.dissidentvoice.org/Apr05/Petersen0427.htm
Related: Tony Malone (Blogspot.com)