The Fundamentalists’ Science Class: Putting the Moron in Oxymoron

superintendent_chalmers_on_god_by_fiskefyren-d6niqe2Religion-based science classes sound like something you might find in rural Saudi Arabia or Pakistan…or North Carolina, U.S.A.

Public schools in Rowan County, NC have gotten help from Pastor Doug Hefner in teaching elementary school kids that the Earth was created in seven days and that the Bible has predicted scientific breakthoughs.

If only the Bible had included instructions on how to construct a simple microscope or even hinted at a non-geocentric universe! Instead the Bible has given us these scientifically dubious gems:

The kingdom of heaven is like a grain of mustard seed which a man took and put in his field, which is smaller than all seeds. —Matthew 13:31

People do set high expectations on their Messiah of choice, but Jesus would be the first to admit that he was a carpenter and was not speaking as an expert in botany.

In this zoology lesson we learn that when goats mate in front of striped tree bark, they have spotted offspring:

Jacob placed the striped branches in all the watering troughs, so that they would be directly in front of the flocks when they came to drink. When the flocks were in heat and came to drink, they mated in front of the branches, and they bore young that were streaked, or speckled, or spotted. —Genesis 30:37-39

What should you do when you are bitten by a venomous snake? Consult the Bible:

And Moses made a serpent of brass, and put it upon a pole, and it came to pass, that if a serpent had bitten any man, when he beheld the serpent of brass, he was made well. —Numbers 21:9

Now about those seven days of creation, is anybody else bothered that God created all those sun-dependent plants a day before he made the sun?

The earth brought forth grass, herbs yielding seed after their kind, and trees bearing fruit with its seed in it, after their kind, and God saw that it was good. There was evening, and there was morning, a third day.

God made the two great lights: the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night. He also made the stars. There was evening, and there was morning, a fourth day. —Genesis 1:12-13,16,19

And lastly (though there are plenty more examples I’ll save for another time) here’s one Bible quote that has actually killed people, many of them being defenseless children who receive inadequate medical care from Bible-deluded parents who probably meant well:

And the prayer of faith will save the one who is sick.
—James 5:15

Pastor Doug proudly defends his Bible-based science class as being scientifically valid by declaring, “I think this program dates back to the 60s.” Sadly, he is absolutely correct that he is teaching the youth of North Carolina science from the 60s. But not from the 1960s. From the 60s.

Michael Morris is the author of Bible Funmentionables: A Lighthearted Look at the Wildest Verses You’ve NEVER Been Told!, which features all of the shocking and hilarious verses that your minister, rabbi, or charismatic cult leader is afraid to preach.

Barberism in Amish Country

NEWS FLASH!!! (and possibly a sign of the Apocalypse): the LEAST common crime in the nation has been committed!

An Amish gang armed with semi-automatic shears snuffed out the beards of five other Amish men last year. This case has gripped the nation like few other Amish-on-Amish attacks. Unwilling to plea their case down to involuntary beardslaughter, the trial is currently under way in Cleveland, Ohio.

The gang leader, Sam Mullet is the alleged mastermind of this low-tech hate crime spree. Not to blame the victims too much, but when you hear that the Mullet Gang is coming to town, you’re pretty much guaranteed that someone is going to end up having a really bad hair day.

The beardectomies were Mullet’s retribution over disputes with other Amish leaders. To make matters worse, Mullet’s sister testified that her brother abused his power as bishop by taking advantage of some Amish women. She accused him of “close sitting” with the women, even going so far as to “look into their eyes.”

Fortunately for the men who lost their facial hair against their wishes, the Bible does offer them some consolation: It could have been worse—at least they didn’t expose your backsides!

So Hanun took David’s servants, and after shaving off half of their beards, and cutting off their garments in the middle, even to their buttocks, he sent them away. When they told it unto David, he sent to meet them, because the men were greatly ashamed. And the king said, “Stay at Jericho until your beards be grown, and then return.” —2 Samuel 10:4-5

So the Bible lesson IS NOT “Don’t be ashamed of losing your beard.” Instead the Bible lesson IS “Stay ashamed until your beard grows back.” Nowhere does it state that David’s servants also sewed up the holes in the backs of their robes. Hopefully they did not follow God’s example when he appear to Moses:

And again the Lord said, “Behold there is a place near me, and thou shalt stand upon the rock. And when my glory shall pass by, I will set thee in a hole of the rock, and protect thee with my right hand, till I pass. And I will take away my hand, and thou shalt see my back parts, but my face thou canst not see.” —Exodus 33:20-23

It’s easy to have some fun at the feuding Amish’s expense, but evidently they take their hair care way, way more seriously than even Lady Gaga, Mr. T, and Chestur Arthur combined. Most likely their devotion to beards is based on this Bible admonition:

Ye shall not shave the corners of your head round, neither shalt thou mutilate the corners of thy beard. —Leviticus 19:27

Scholars have yet to agree on how exactly you cut the corners of your head round, but they do postulate that if anybody can figure it out, it will most likely be a member of the dreaded Mullet Gang. I just hope that people like Johnny Mullet (an actual name of one of the Mullet Gang—who sounds like he belongs in a Damon Runyon story) serve their debt to society, maybe eventually lobby for effective scissors control laws, and put this whole hair-razing episode behind them.

Michael Morris is the author of Bible Funmentionables: A Lighthearted Look at the Wildest Verses You’ve NEVER Been Told!, which features all of the shocking and hilarious verses that your minister, rabbi, or charismatic cult leader is afraid to preach.