Thursday, October 13, 2011

Graphic Bible: 1 Samuel 18:25-27

Then Saul said, "Thus shall you say to David, 'The king desires no bride-price except a hundred foreskins of the Philistines, that he may be avenged of the king's enemies.'" Now Saul thought to make David fall by the hand of the Philistines. And when his servants told David these words, it pleased David well to be the king's son-in-law. Before the time had expired, David arose and went, along with his men, and killed two hundred of the Philistines. And David brought their foreskins, which were given in full number to the king, that he might become the king's son-in-law. And Saul gave him his daughter Michal for a wife. (English Standard Version)

Seriously, David, what the crap? Collecting 100 foreskins wasn't enough so you decided to collect an extra hundred? Ow. Ow. Ow ow ow. Just thinking about that hurts. What would we think about someone today if he went around cutting off hundreds of people's foreskins? Seriously, David, seriously.

Now for some explanation. I dislike the term "Family Friendly," especially when applied to Christianity. Many of you in the AFB already know this. I make no attempt to hide my disdain for groups that constantly claim Christianity is inherently family friendly and therefore all Christian related content must also be family friendly. Because it's not. And I don't think it should be.

Now, don't get me wrong. I have nothing against age appropriate content. I certainly don't think an 8 year old should read Preacher. But, if I go by the same criteria I used to make that judgment (violence, sex, etc.), then I should also be opposed to an 8 year old reading, say, the book of Judges. And lots of other parts of the Bible.
During my research for my thesis, I came across an article about graphic novels by Andrew D. Arnold. In it, Arnold describes his encounter with a librarian while doing his own research on the topic: “'You mean like pornographic?” queried the startled librarian when I asked for help researching articles about graphic novels.”

The word "graphic" has many other meanings besides implying the use of pictures, images, or visuals. We probably use it more often to refer to something deemed extreme, explicit, obscene, and even pornographic. Though we don't often admit it, many stories and verses from the Bible would fall under the latter uses of the word "graphic."

And that's what this (likely) non-daily feature will be about: those nasty, graphic bits of the Bible that we tend to not talk about...especially when we complain about violence and sex in movies and on television. Credit must be given to Mike for planting the seed for this idea in my head (though this may be something he doesn't want any credit for).

But will this have anything to do with Wednesday Theology other than the multiple meanings of the word "graphic?" Well, yes, hopefully. When I can find it, I will try to include examples of these Bible passages depicted in various forms of graphic literature. And fair warning, in some cases that will get graphic in all senses of the word. Think about Lot and his daughters the next time you complain about how a movie isn't as family friendly as the Bible...

The story as depicted by the Brick Testament. Here David is counting out all the foreskins before Saul. You're welcome.

Also, in case you're wondering, NSFW = Not Safe For Work. As in, your employer might not be too smiley about you looking up such graphic content at the office. So, you've been warned. Cause the Bible gets kinda nasty. Just ask those 200 Philistines.

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