“If you’re an exvangelical who has been scrolling through TikTok lately, you may have stumbled across a duo singing what sounds suspiciously like evangelical worship music. Until you hear the lyrics. ‘Anyone who is captured will be cut down and run through with a sword,’ they sing in harmony, guitar strums in sync. ‘Their little children will be dashed to death before their eyes.'” [They’re quoting Isaiah 13:15-16 from the Bible.]
I recommend watching the TikTok video. It’s quite well done. And it makes you think.
It reminds me of some Unitarian Universalist teens I knew twenty years ago, long before the days of TikTok. Their eyes had been caught by the fans at sports events who held up signs reading “John 3:16.” This Bible verse is the favorite of traditional Christians: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” It is supposed to entice nonbelievers into becoming Christians.
In response, these Unitarian Universalist teens decided that they were going to make a sign that read “Genesis 19:6-8” and hold it up during a Red Sox game. That’s the Bible passage where a mob besieges Lot’s house, because he’s hiding some angels from God. The mob demands that Lot throw the angels out to them, so they can lynch them. But instead Lots offers to throw his virgin daughters out to the mob to be raped by them. He’d rather sacrifice his daughters than betray the angels.
The Bible is a complex book. It contains some good ethical writing, it has some profound mystical moments, but it also contains passages that are difficult to interpret, and it has icky bits as well. You can’t just pick out the dozen verses you especially enjoy, and ignore the difficult parts and the icky bits.