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The TL:DR Bible: Epilogue


What do you do when you wake up and you realize that you have doubts about your faith? I turned to my scriptures and I read them.

Did it help resolve the doubts?

No. It made the doubts stronger. Whether it’s the contradictions or the immoral moral laws supposedly dictated from on high to a desert tribal leader that we have no historical or archaeological evidence for, it seems almost certain that the bible was written by men addressing the issues and the culture of their own day.

So what did I find?

Well, I found out that there is a theme of social justice running from the prophets through the New Testament. I found a debate about the place of outsiders and whether or not God or a God could love them. He does. I found some good moral instruction.

And I found that it’s time for me to leave Evangelical Christianity behind. The current state of its politics make it easier, as does the views of most Evangelicals towards progressives in general and liberal Christians in particular.

At the end of the journey, I have more questions than answers, more doubt than faith, more ignorance than knowledge. I am an agnostic Christian who isn’t sure a God exists, but likes the idea of a benevolent one and a future hope and thinks that social justice is worth fighting for.

So call it what you will, judge me according to your standards, I have to be true to my own heart and mind. And if there is a loving God worthy of worship, I’m sure He (or She) will understand.

Thank you for reading along with me.

When I have time, I will compile all of my posts, edit them, and produce them in  book form. If you’re interested in that, stay tuned, I will announce when it’s ready.

But, for now, it’s time to move on to the next Abrahamic religion.

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The TL:DR Bible: Revelation 4-6


Chapter 4:

After I finished writing the letter, I saw a door in the middle of the sky. Jesus said, “Come on up, Dude. I’ll show you the future… the future… the future…”

So the Holy Spirit lifted me up and I saw God sitting on a throne. He looked like jewels… all shiny and colorful with an emerald rainbow behind him. There were 24 smaller thrones next to his and the 24 elders at on them. Those guys were wearing white and had gold crowns on their heads. God’s throne put on a lightning show. In front of the throne, seven lamps blazed. These are the seven spirits of God… you thought God only had one Spirit? Nope. He’s got six or seven more.

In front of God’s throne is a sea of glass for some reason. God makes some weird interior design choices. See the Tabernacle.

Flying around the throne is a lion, an ox, a man, and an eagle. They each have six wings and are covered with eyeballs. And they spend all of their time saying, “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty who was, and is, and is to come.”

I guess even God needs some good hype men.

And apparently every time those guys say how holy God is, the elders get off their thrones, bow to God, and offer him their crowns and tell God how amazing He is too.

I guess God forgets how awesome He is if He’s not constantly reminded of it.

 

Chapter 5:

God is holding a sealed scroll. It has seven seals on it.

baby-seals-learning-to-swim

Aw… who’s a cute little harbinger of doom? You are! You are!

And an angel says, “Anyone want to try opening it?”

But no one can, so John has a sad. Until an angels says, “Well, Jesus hasn’t given it a try yet.” So Jesus steps dramatically out of the shadows with his stigmata showing, but he has seven horns growing out of his head and seven eyes which are the seven spirits of God he sent out to the Earth… so these are different than the seven lampstands… so God has 14 or 15 spirits now? Okay… Seven eyed, seven-horned, bleeding from his stigmata Jesus takes the scroll and everyone falls down before him and plays the harp and burns the prayers of the saints.

“You’re worthy to open up the scroll, because you shed your blood to redeem some of those humans down there to be priests to God and rulers over the Earth.”

And then all of heaven says, “Seven eyed, seven horned Jesus bleeding from his stigmata is awesome and worthy.”

And then the entire universe says how awesome Jesus is and everyone worships him.

And Jesus is probably thinking, “Guys, I’m just going to open a book. It’s really not something you should make a big deal over.”

 

Chapter 6:

So seven eyed, seven horned Jesus bleeding from his stigmata opens up the first seal, and a white horse shoots out with a rider carrying a bow and wearing a crown and he goes around conquering stuff.

Then seal two barks and a red horse comes out carrying War.

Seal three unlocks Famine who is carrying scales and riding a black horse, and someone says, “Oi,  the price of food has really gone up! It’s criminal!”

And Seal four unleashes a sickly yellow-green horse with Death riding it. Hades follows behind him. “What am I doing here?” Hades thinks. “This religion doesn’t even believe I exist!” And Death and Hades team up to kill a fourth of the Earth’s population of animals and people.

The fifth seal barks and all of the martyrs say, “Hey, God, when are you going to beat the shit out of those assholes who killed us?” You think Christianity is about love and forgiveness? Ha ha ha… no. Our Christian martyrs want blood. But God hands them all a white robe and says, “Yeah, yeah, I’ll get around to bathing in the blood of my enemies soon. Just stop nagging me about it, would you? I need more martyrs first!”

The sixth seal barks and a huge earthquake happens. The sun goes out, the mood turns blood red, and all of the stars from heaven fall to the Earth and collapse into one giant singularity incinerating the globe and everything on it and creating a supermassive black hole. But somehow the Earth survives. Then every mountain falls down and every Island sinks into the sea. (Sorry, Gilligan.) Somehow, this also doesn’t kill everyone. Because everyone is now running around hiding in the caves of the mountains that just collapsed begging them to hide them from Vengeance God and Seven eyed, seven horned Jesus bleeding from his stigmata.

The TL:DR Bible: Revelation 1-3


Chapter 1:

The revelation of Jesus Christ given by an angel to me, John. Happy is the person who reads and listens to this book because Jesus will be back any day now. Yep… any day now…

To the seven churches, grace and peace to you from God and Jesus Christ who will be returning soon. Again… just went out for a pack of smokes. He’ll be back.

“I am the A and the Z,” says the Lord. “I am, I was, I will be, the All-powerful. And don’t ask me to make any rocks that I can’t lift, because it’s not funny anymore.”

I was exiled to the island of Patmos when I was in the Spirit one Sunday. (Spirit is what I call the local mushrooms.) And I heard a loud voice say, “Write what you see and send it to Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia (“Yo, Adrian!”), and Laodicea.”

Then I turned to look at the voice speaking to me. There were seven golden lamps on golden lampstands, and in the middle of those stood a man with a robe that went down to his feet. He wore a gold sash, his hair and beard were white, his eyes were glowing orange like fire, his feet were glowing bronze and his voice sounded like crashing waves on a beach. He held seven stars in his right hand and had a sword coming out of his mouth. Yes, it’s Sword-Mouth Jesus now with spring-loaded action. Available at Toys-R-Us.

I fell down and he touched me and said, “Fear not. I am the first and the last, the living one. I was dead, but I got better. I have the keys of death and Hades. Write what you see: the things that were, are, and will be. The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches which are the lampstands.”

 

Chapter 2:

To Ephesus, write:

“Hi, it’s Jesus. I’m aware of your good works. You hate the wicked and give out good theology tests to prospective prophets, but you guys just don’t love me like you used to anymore. So start loving me more or else I’ll shut down your church. If you endure, you can have a snack from the tree of Life.”

 

To Smyrna write:

Hey, it’s Jesus, guys.

I know you’re having a hard time being poor and hated by those devil Jews, but don’t fear what you’re going to suffer. Things are going to suck for ten days and you may end up dead or in prison, but if you endure, you can earn a crown of life and avoid my torturing you for all eternity.

 

Dear Pergamum:

I’ve got a sword coming out of my mouth.

Look, I know you guys live in Satan’s living room and you guys have been super faithful even when they were killing you, but I’m not happy about your guys eating meat offered to idols. (“Paul said it was sort of okay.” “Well, if Paul said to jump off a bridge, would you?”) You guys are also still sort of banging the temple prostitutes. Also, you guys are embracing the teachings of the Nicolaitans. So cut that out or I’ll use my sword mouth on you.

 

Dear Thyatira:

I’ve got glowy eyes and hot bronze feet.

You guys are doing well, but you’re tolerating Jezebel. She’s teaching me to have unauthorized sex and eat meat sacrificed to idols.

“But Paul-“

“I don’t care what Paul says. Does Paul have glowy eyes and burning bronze feet?”

“No.”

“Alright then… Tell Jezebel I’m going to kill her, her kids, and her followers with disease and the rest of you keep being Christians until I arrive and I’ll make you kings and princes over the nations. I’ll also give you the morning star. Might be kind of hard to hold a star in your right hand, but I’ll give it to you.”

 

Chapter 3:

Dear Sardis:

You guys are dead. So pretty much do the opposite of what you’ve been doing. I mean, there are a few of you that are doing okay. Those guys will be dressed in white robes and will get into heaven.

 

Dear Philadelphia:

I open and shut doors.

I’m opening a door for you guys. You guys have held fast despite the opposition of the devil Jews. So I’m going to make them bow and grovel at your feet so you know I love you.

Because you’ve been faithful, I will keep you from the hour of testing coming upon the entire world. I’m coming back from the liquor store quickly guys, so Keep the faith. If you do, I’ll make you a pillar in my temple and write God’s name on you and give you a sweet Jerusalem Tattoo.

 

Dear Laodicea:

You guys make me spew. You think you’re rich, but your wretched, poor, miserable, blind, and naked, so repent and come to me for true riches and healing. I stand at the door and knock, if you guys answer, I’ll come in and eat with you. If you endure, I will let you sit next to me in heaven.

The TL:DR Bible: 2 Thessalonians


Chapter 1:

To the church in Thessalonica, from Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy.

We’re still super happy for you guys, because you believe what we believe and you are loving one another, so we boast about you to the other churches. (“Why can’t you be more like Thessalonica?” we say, and they shout, “YOU LOVE THEM MORE THAN US!” and roll their eyes and storm off to their room.)

You guys do this despite the persecution, which is the proof that God is going to come and deal out misery and suffering to those who oppress you, even to eternal destruction, but God will deal kindly with you, provided you remain worthy of your calling, so Jesus will be glorified in your deeds.

 

Chapter 2:

So guys, about the coming of Jesus, it hasn’t happened yet, so don’t believe those people who say it has. Jesus won’t come until lots of people fall away from the true faith, then the man of lawlessness will be revealed, who opposes and sets himself above every god, and takes a seat in the temple of God proclaiming himself as God.

This lawlessness works even now, but is seized by a power. The thing that seizes it will be taken away and then God will destroy that person with the breath of his mouth. This person comes in union with the activity of the devil and produces signs and wonders to deceive those who are perishing, so God will send upon them a delusion so they will believe the lie, so they can be judged. (Which seems a bit unfair, but you know… sort of what God does in the Old Testament. See Pharaoh and David as examples.)

(I don’t think any of this necessitates the common evangelical reading of a far future prophesy, so much as a commentary on the churches’ current status. The New Testament writers were very convinced of the need to warn their readers about what they considered false strains of Christianity that were spreading. The apostasy warned of could reference one of these growing divisions within the early church and disagreement about the nature of Christianity.)

But you guys are destined for glory because God has called you out of the ranks of those losers and you do Jesus right.

 

Chapter 3:

Pray for us, that our message spreads quickly as it did with you and we will be rescued from our oppressors. God is faithful and will strengthen and preserve you. We’re confident that you’ll keep doing what we tell you to do.

Keep away from those that lead a disorderly and undisciplined life. We didn’t mooch off of you, they shouldn’t mooch off of you either. Rather, if they’re able, let them get a job and take care of themselves. We hear of some people who are idle and getting into trouble by butting into their neighbors’ business. Get a job, live quietly and mind your own business, people. But you do not weary of doing good. (In other words, this does not relieve you of your obligation to help the poor, modern American Christians…)

If anyone doesn’t listen to us, shun them. But don’t think of them as an enemy, but as someone in need of correction.

I’m signing this letter myself, Baby. Paul.

The TL:DR Bible: Acts 3-4


Chapter 3:

Peter and John are going to Temple to pray. They see a guy who can’t walk begging for money, so Pete stops.

“Hey, man, I don’t have any money, but in the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene, walk!”

Pete grabs the guy, yanks him up and the man can walk now. So he leaps and runs around praising God for his healing and causing a big stir. Pete notices the crowd looking at them, so he figures it’s time to give another sermon tinged with just a bit of antisemitism.

“Why are you all so surprised? We didn’t do this. God through Jesus did. You know, Jesus, the guy you killed and asked for a murderer instead of him? You killed the prince of life, but God raised him from the dead. We’re witnesses of this, and that’s how we healed this man through faith in Jesus.

“Okay, you guys didn’t know you were being all Christ killers, and God did sort of foreordain it all to happen, like it says in the Old Testament… if you kind of squint and take verses out of their context and apply them to the future instead… Anyway, Jesus is the prophet Moses promised, and if you don’t follow my… I mean, his teachings… you’re going to die. So who wants to join up?”

 

Chapter 4:

But, wouldn’t you know it? Apparently the priests aren’t happy about the big stir their causing, not to mention preaching about a resurrection and Jesus, so they grab them and throw them into religious jail overnight.

But another 2,000 men join the church, making the total number of believers 5,000 or so men… because they’re the ones that count, amirite?

So the next morning, the priests bring them out.

“So how did you heal this man?”

“You’re putting us on trial because we helped a sick person?”

“You’ve read the gospels. Of course we are. We’re the super evil villains.”

“Yeah, we healed him by the power of Jesus. You guys rejected him, but God exalted him and raised him from the dead. There is no salvation apart from him.”

So they are all super amazed at Peter and John and can’t answer them, so they send them away for a moment while they talk among themselves.

“Well, we’ve got to shut this new religion down. Bring them back in. Okay, guys, you did a little miracle. Good for you. But now you must stop teaching and healing in the name of Jesus. MUHAHAHAHAHAHA!”

“Yeah, we’re not going to stop.”

“Okay, you got us, but seriously stop it. You can go now.”

So they all go home and everyone prays and says, “God totally predicted all of this. Help us not to shut up, but to speak even more and do even more miracles.”

Then an earthquake happens, everyone is filled again with the Holy Spirit and starts running around saying bible verses out loud.

Still being an apocalyptic cult, the wealthy start selling off their goods and lands and giving the money to the church to share with the poor. So everyone got what they needed. And a guy named Joseph sells a plot of land and brings the money and puts it in front of the apostles.

“Didn’t Jesus say something about not letting anyone know about your giving?”

“Yeah, that’s a part of the bible we’re going to ignore.”

The TL:DR Bible: John 13-14


Chapter 13:

Jesus and company are in the room where they will eat the Passover meal. Before that happens, Jesus grabs a basin, some water, and a towel and washes the disciples’ feet.

Peter: No way, Jesus.

Jesus: If I don’t wash your feet, you have no part with me.

Peter: How about a sponge bath then?

Jesus: Just your feet will be fine.

After he’s done, Jesus says, “I’m your master and I washed your feet. Do the same to each other and act in humility and service. Also one of you is totally going to betray me.”

Peter signals the disciple whom Jesus loved to ask who it is. This disciple, resting their head on Jesus chest or stomach or shoulder, asks who it is. Which, maybe it’s a cultural thing, but that seems really intimate for just friends to be doing.

Jesus signifies that it’s Judas, who gets possessed by Satan and runs off to tell the Pharisees where Jesus is going. Despite asking the question and getting an answer, everyone is still acting like idiots and lets Judas go.

Jesus: I, uh… I just told you guys that he was going to betray me.

Disciples: Durrrrr…. I thought he was going to go buy more groceries.

Jesus: No, I just said, “My betrayer is the one I give a piece of bread to dipped in sauce.” Then I gave it to Judas.

Disciples: Maybe he’s going out to give money to the poor…

Jesus: If there’s a fifth gospel, I am so getting better disciples.

Jesus: I’m going away and you can’t follow right now. But I give you a new commandment to love one another as I have loved you. All men will know you are my disciples by your love.

Peter: Where are you going?

Jesus: You can’t follow me now, but you’ll follow me soon enough.

Peter: I’d die for you.

Jesus: Yeah, we’ve been through this three times already. You’re going to deny me three times.

 

Chapter 14:

Jesus: Don’t be troubled. You believe in God, believe in me too. I will go to prepare a place for you and come back. You know the way I go.

Thomas: Yeah, know we don’t.

Jesus: I am the way, the truth, and the life; no one comes to God but through me. If you know me, you know my Father and have seen him.

Philip: We haven’t though. Show him to us.

Jesus: IF you’ve seen me, you’ve seen the Father. If you believe in Me, you will do greater works than Me. Whatever you ask in my name, I will do it. If you love me, do what I’ve said.

I will ask the Father to send you the Holy Spirit.

I will return to you. After a while, I will be gone, but you will see Me. Because I live, you will live too. If you keep my commandments, you show that you love me, and you will be loved by the one who loves me. If you don’t keep my commandments, you don’t love me or the Father.

The Holy Spirit will help guide you and help you remember my words.

But the devil comes soon. He has no power over me. Let us go, so the world will know that I love the Father.