Murders: God vs. Satan

These calculations by Steve Wells are a year old, but I just became aware of them and decided to post them. It’s a list of people whom God killed, as recounted in the Bible. The Biblical figures go all the way from the 42 youths killed by a God-sent bear in retribution for their joking about Elisha’s bald head, to the 14,700 Israelites killed for complaining about God’s killing.

There are two sets of calculations: those reported in the Bible itself, and estimates when the Bible doesn’t give figures:

Estimate from Bible: 2,476,636

Estimate from Bible and other sources:  24,634,205

What is Satan’s toll?  Ten!

It appears that Satan only killed 10 people: the seven sons and three daughters of Job. And he only does this because god allowed it as part of a bet! Technically the blood is on god’s hands for these as well.

Data thus show conclusively that God is between 200,000 and 2,000,000 times more murderous than Satan.

h/t: Juan

150 Comments

  1. Posted April 27, 2011 at 5:34 am | Permalink

    God is jealous, wants constant worship, wants to control every small details of our lives, and wants to keep humanity living in ignorance.

    Satan on the other hand wants us to be free to do stuff, and wants us to eat from the tree of knowledge.

    If I were “the evil one” the first thing I would do would be to convince everyone that my adversary is the evil one and that I am the good one.

    The next thing I would do would be to create lots of religions, make them all different, tell them all they are the only true religion, promise the same things to different people, and tell them that one day “the others” will start a war to take what I have promised to them.

    If god and satan really do exist then satan is the good guy, and Yahweh is the deceiver.

    • joao
      Posted April 27, 2011 at 6:32 am | Permalink

      Actually, that was more or less the spirit in the book “The Gospel According to Jesus Christ” from Jose Saramago. One of my favorite books!

      • Helena Constantine
        Posted April 27, 2011 at 6:21 pm | Permalink

        And long before that, the Gnostic Gospels.

    • Ichthyic
      Posted April 27, 2011 at 2:32 pm | Permalink

      God is jealous, wants constant worship, wants to control every small details of our lives, and wants to keep humanity living in ignorance.

      IOW, God is a Republican.

    • Dan L.
      Posted April 28, 2011 at 2:28 pm | Permalink

      Yah, compare the myth about Lucifer the light-bringer inventing free thought and being cast out of heaven as punishment to the myth about Prometheus the fire-bringer giving man the capacity for free thought and being thrown out of Olympus for it (and chained to a rock and tortured for all eternity).

      Same myth pretty much, but Prometheus is a sympathetic character even if he is ultimately punished for disrupting the natural order of things. Pagan Greeks acknowledged (though maybe not always consciously) the tension between social order and free thought.

      In Greek mythology, free thought was a trade-off. In Christian mythology, it’s pure evil. Go figure.

      • Microraptor
        Posted April 28, 2011 at 6:06 pm | Permalink

        Technically, Prometheus wasn’t punished for disrupting the natural order, he was punished for giving humans the power to rely on themselves instead of the gods.

  2. Posted April 27, 2011 at 5:35 am | Permalink

    I guess God isn’t who you thought he was.

    • whyevolutionistrue
      Posted April 27, 2011 at 5:40 am | Permalink

      Nope, I pretty much knew he was a murderous megalomaniac. I didn’t know, though, that he may have been worse than Hitler.

      • Posted April 27, 2011 at 5:42 am | Permalink

        If the 24 million, he should be in a hall of evil with Pol Pot, Hitler and Stalin.

        (except he is not an atheist)

        • Maverick
          Posted April 27, 2011 at 5:44 am | Permalink

          I don’t know. Religious folk might think him too immoral to be a theist.

        • bric
          Posted April 27, 2011 at 7:19 am | Permalink

          Mao wins out easily – around 30 million is the best estimate

          • Posted April 27, 2011 at 7:45 am | Permalink

            Dunno, did Mao wipe out something like 99.99% of all humans and all beasts at one time? (the flood story)

            No one can rival that in *relative* terms. Then again, Mao actually existed.

            • bric
              Posted April 27, 2011 at 10:59 am | Permalink

              Sorry I was only thinking of credible entities

        • CW
          Posted April 27, 2011 at 3:14 pm | Permalink

          When did Hitler become an atheist?

          • Jolo
            Posted April 28, 2011 at 3:51 pm | Permalink

            2 weeks ago, at lunch. He wa sitting there eating a cucumber sandwich and suddenly spouted out with “By God, I think God wants me to be an atheist!” and so he was.

      • Sajanas
        Posted April 27, 2011 at 6:04 am | Permalink

        And that’s not considering that, according to Genesis, he has doomed every living entity on earth to die, and their descendants, because a woman and man ate some magic fruit.

        • nichole
          Posted April 27, 2011 at 1:06 pm | Permalink

          Yeah, by making us *not immortal* isn’t god responsible for everyone’s death ever?

    • steve oberski
      Posted April 27, 2011 at 5:48 am | Permalink

      god is exactly what you think it is, just like any other imaginary being.

      god has the same opinions that you do on abortion, homosexual marriage, choice in dying, stem cell technology and any other area where bronze age mythology forces itself into the public space.

      • C. Lindberg
        Posted April 27, 2011 at 6:50 pm | Permalink

        Well said, Steve. Well said.

    • Posted April 27, 2011 at 8:46 am | Permalink

      So you want us to believe in this…thing, Daniel?

    • Dominic
      Posted April 27, 2011 at 8:58 am | Permalink

      “Who”? You believe in god Daniel, yet you give him person? Strange. ‘It’ would be more appropriate.

    • Rob
      Posted April 27, 2011 at 9:56 am | Permalink

      How about answering all those questions posed to you in the Biologos thread?

      Or are you committing a sin?

      • Posted April 27, 2011 at 4:01 pm | Permalink

        Rob, you should know religionists don’t have to answer questions. The eleventh commandment is “Thou shalt hit n’ run in the comment threads of thy foe.”

    • Posted April 27, 2011 at 3:59 pm | Permalink

      A trifling, petty, jealous, immature, insecure little gnome with enormous power but no self–control and no sense of proportion when it comes to punishing his “beloved” creation for their comparatively infintessimal crimes? For Chrissakes, forget the endless bloodbaths of the Old Testament if you like – he invented Hell in the sequel! He’s like that mad bugger from the SAW movies – each torture more gratuitously pornographic than the last!

      So, yeah. That’s more or less what I think of your god. And you worship him. What would you think of someone who worships a god of death and torment?

    • Kevin
      Posted April 27, 2011 at 5:14 pm | Permalink

      At the risk of offending Dr. Coyne.

      Daniel: You are an insufferable prick. A non-thinking godbot who would excuse the senseless murder of MILLIONS of innocents.

      Please die a terrible, horrible painfully long death. And on your death bed, with your last gasp, realize that all of your god-botting has been for naught. And that your entire life has been in the service of nothing but an imaginary friend.

      There is no god. Period.

      • whyevolutionistrue
        Posted April 27, 2011 at 5:39 pm | Permalink

        Umm. . .I can’t let this invective go unremarked. Yes, Daniel’s sentiments are offensive, but please DO NOT WISH FOR A READER’S DEATH. After all, that’s what the religious people are doing to Christopher Hitchens.

        No more, please!

        • Kevin
          Posted April 27, 2011 at 5:53 pm | Permalink

          I apologize to you but not to him.

          He REVELS in misery. He GLOATS at needless slaughter. Without the sadistic demands of his psychopathic god, he would be nothing more than a little child picking the wings off of flies.

    • Posted April 27, 2011 at 7:35 pm | Permalink

      “I guess God isn’t”

      You got that right.

  3. Sean W.
    Posted April 27, 2011 at 5:39 am | Permalink

    Does Jesus count? Or is that suicide?

    Can never figure that one out…

    • Microraptor
      Posted April 27, 2011 at 10:34 am | Permalink

      I thought suicide was a sin.

    • NoAstronomer
      Posted April 27, 2011 at 10:42 am | Permalink

      Well, maybe assisted suicide … it’s impossible to hammer the last nail in yourself.

      Mike.

      • Posted April 27, 2011 at 11:13 am | Permalink

        Not if you’ve got a pneumatic nail gun and some string….

        b&

        • NoAstronomer
          Posted April 27, 2011 at 12:26 pm | Permalink

          I can buy that. Though you’d also need something to hoist the cross up. Some sort of Rube Goldberg auto-crucifixion device.

          • Rob
            Posted April 27, 2011 at 1:36 pm | Permalink

            Paging David Carradine

            • Posted April 27, 2011 at 7:37 pm | Permalink

              Neither LOL nor ROTFL, but silently sitting here shaking with mirth at the thought of JC crucifying himself with a pneumatic nail gun and some string and some sort of Rube Goldberg auto-crucifixion device.

              • Posted April 27, 2011 at 7:38 pm | Permalink

                Or indeed some sort of Heath Robinson auto-circumcision device.

      • Ichthyic
        Posted April 27, 2011 at 2:35 pm | Permalink

        It wasn’t the nails that killed him anyway, supposedly.

        It can’t be strict suicide, but it might have been assisted suicide…

        • Ichthyic
          Posted April 27, 2011 at 2:36 pm | Permalink

          …by spear to the guts?

    • Mattapult
      Posted April 28, 2011 at 6:08 am | Permalink

      I think it’s closer to a suicide-by-cop scenario. Except the omnipotent being didn’t have to pull a gun, he knew exactly the situation he created for himself and the outcome.

  4. Matt
    Posted April 27, 2011 at 5:42 am | Permalink

    It’s always difficult when it comes to Christian theology.

    On one hand, it is the source of so much unnecessary strife that it makes me want to rant about how wrong it is.

    But then on the other hand, when I actually spend time thinking about it I am overcome with the thought that the whole thing is just so ridiculous, even on it’s face, that spending time “debunking” it is incredibly pointless.

    • Ray Thaw
      Posted April 27, 2011 at 6:14 am | Permalink

      I think it provides an entertainment value…

      • Posted April 27, 2011 at 7:39 am | Permalink

        It’s like discussing how many people the Vorlons have killed versus the Shadows, except people think God and Satan are real.

        • Ichthyic
          Posted April 27, 2011 at 2:37 pm | Permalink

          Sweet! Bab5 reference FTW!

  5. James C. Trager
    Posted April 27, 2011 at 6:00 am | Permalink

    And let it be noted that the one and only christian god killed the mama eagle to remind us atheistic eagle “worshipers” of his awesome power and that we should believe only in him. “Clearly”, it was the christian god’s will, and what was meant to be, and happened for a reason, etc, etc, etc, ad nauseum infinitum!

    • Jeanine
      Posted April 27, 2011 at 12:24 pm | Permalink

      That mama-eagle-killing-asshole. Didn’t he also recently strike down that famous polar bear? Yeah…how many non-humans have also been killed in this tyrant’s name?

    • James C. Trager
      Posted April 28, 2011 at 5:41 am | Permalink

      Oops, I diminished the impact of my statement with bad Latin — ad nauseam infinitam.

      Gotta add, this thread is fascinating and disturbing!

  6. stvs
    Posted April 27, 2011 at 6:01 am | Permalink

    Let’s not forget Jesus’ New Testament invocations to slaughter by Him an for Him:

    But those enemies of mine who did not want me to be king over them—bring them here and kill them in front of me.
    —Jesus, Luke 19:2

     

    Saint John Chrysostom explained the meaning of Jesus’ words 300 years later:

    [T]he Jewish people were driven by their drunkenness and plumpness to the ultimate evil; they kicked about, they failed to accept the yoke of Christ, nor did they pull the plow of his teaching. Another prophet hinted at this when he said: “Israel is as obstinate as a stubborn heifer.” … Although such beasts are unfit for work, they are fit for killing. And this is what happened to the Jews: while they were making themselves unfit for work, they grew fit for slaughter. This is why Christ said: “But as for these my enemies, who did not want me to be king over them, bring them here and slay them.” (Luke 19:27)
    —John Chrysostom (349–ca. 407), Eight Homilies Against the Jews, Homily 1

    But my favorite is Jesus’ promise to slaughter on horseback all of mankind left after His second coming:

    … Worship God! For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.
    Now I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse. And He who sat on him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and makes war.
    His eyes were like a flame of fire, and on His head were many crowns. He had a name written that no one knew except Himself.
    He was clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God. …
    Now out of His mouth goes a sharp sword, that with it He should strike the nations. And He Himself will rule them with a rod of iron. He Himself treads the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God.
    And He has on His robe and on His thigh a name written:
    KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS.
    Then I saw an angel standing in the sun; and he cried with a loud voice, saying to all the birds that fly in the midst of heaven, “Come and gather together for the supper of the great God,
    that you may eat the flesh of kings, the flesh of captains, the flesh of mighty men, the flesh of horses and of those who sit on them, and the flesh of all people, free and slave, both small and great.”
    And I saw the beast, the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against Him who sat on the horse and against His army.
    Then the beast was captured, and with him the false prophet who worked signs in his presence, by which he deceived those who received the mark of the beast and those who worshiped his image. These two were cast alive into the lake of fire burning with brimstone.
    And the rest were killed with the sword which proceeded from the mouth of Him who sat on the horse. And all the birds were filled with their flesh.
    Revelation 19:10-21

    This is none other than David Lynch’s “Cowboy” from Mulholland Drive, who we will see “once if we do good, and twice if we do bad.”

    The Jehovah’s Witnesses even produced a cartoon about Jesus slaughtering mankind:

    • Ray Thaw
      Posted April 27, 2011 at 6:18 am | Permalink

      Copyright issues with this vid…won’t play… FYI

      • stvs
        Posted April 27, 2011 at 6:43 am | Permalink

        Google youtube Jehovah’s witness cartoon. Someone will have re-posted this classic:

        • Ichthyic
          Posted April 27, 2011 at 2:38 pm | Permalink

          ah, NOW I get it:

          BIO.

          LOGOS.

          Biologos.

          Now I get why those clowns named the site as they did.

          • Posted April 27, 2011 at 2:57 pm | Permalink

            Oh, I’ve made that point gobs of times.

            Bio = life
            Logos = word

            John 14:6 Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.

            John 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

            Is it any surprise that an organization that’s named after two of Jesus’s epithets is an evangelical Christian ministry?

            Cheers,

            b&

            • Ichthyic
              Posted April 27, 2011 at 3:02 pm | Permalink

              Is it any surprise

              no.

          • stvs
            Posted April 27, 2011 at 3:14 pm | Permalink

            And it’s particularly galling that they corrupted the Latin suffix -logia with Christian nonsense.

        • Kevin
          Posted April 27, 2011 at 5:58 pm | Permalink

          I think these kinds of imaginings are hilarious.

          Jesus comes with a sword.

          Mr. Sword, meet Mr. Uzi.

          It’s like the writers of the prophecies had no conception of weaponry more modern than what they already knew … hmmm … how much of a prophecy could it be, then?

          Jesus with a neutron bomb — not THAT would be prophecy!

    • Jeanine
      Posted April 27, 2011 at 12:29 pm | Permalink

      ahh! The cowboy! You know, I never made that connection…but it is a good one. Damn, now I have a hankerin’ to watch Mulholland Drive, but alas hubby does not care for David Lynch. Even told him about the hot lesbian scene. Didn’t bite.

    • Rich
      Posted October 16, 2011 at 4:54 pm | Permalink

      And there was a man called by the name of Zaccheus; he was a chief tax collector and he was rich. 3 Zaccheus was trying to see who Jesus was, and was unable because of the crowd, for he was small in stature. Luke19:2??? this is the correct version BTW

  7. Posted April 27, 2011 at 6:16 am | Permalink

    I could almost — not quite, but almost — pretend to think about forgiving YHWH for the Egyptian massacre and the rape of Midian.

    But let’s not forget the Flood, in which YHWH did, of malice aforethought, drown each and every kitten on the face of the earth, without mercy nor compassion.

    I mean, seriously? What more does it take to demonstrate that a character is the evilest motherfucking asshole sonofabitch you can think of than to show that character drowning kittens? And this evil motherfucking asshole sonofabitch didn’t merely drown a sackful of kittens — he drowned them all. Every single last one of them. Not just in the town, not just in the land, but everywhere on the whole planet.

    And not just the kittens of housecats, but all the lion cubs, and the tiger cubs, and the jaguar cubs, and the bobkittens, and the….

    Damn.

    Really, people? You can read a passage like that and still think this character is a hero? ‘Cuz, if that’s your idea of what it means to do and be good, then you really have no place in civil society.

    Cheers,

    b&

    • Jeanine
      Posted April 27, 2011 at 12:30 pm | Permalink

      Let’s not forget the baby dinosaurs and unicorns.

    • madamX
      Posted April 27, 2011 at 2:25 pm | Permalink

      That, along with undiagnosed OCD, is the reason I would pray for forgiveness probably over a hundred times a day as a small child. I was wracked with fear that I had not worshipped enough. My mother would smile approvingly when she would witness my obsessive prayer rituals. Why do we torture children this way?

    • Kevin
      Posted April 27, 2011 at 6:01 pm | Permalink

      Not ALL kittehs. Two of the kitteh “kind” were on the boat … and then evolved in to tigers, lions, pumas, lynx, and house cats. In about 3000 years — that’s not just evolution, that’s SUPER evolution.

      • Posted April 27, 2011 at 6:56 pm | Permalink

        Not “kittehs” — “kitteNs.”

        It’s bad enough that he killed all but two (seven?) of the adults.

        But to drown the fluffballs? All of them? Everywhere? That takes even more evil than I can imagine.

        b&

    • Mattapult
      Posted April 28, 2011 at 6:02 am | Permalink

      Not just a hero, but that story is popular as a Christians childrens story.

  8. gerard26
    Posted April 27, 2011 at 6:17 am | Permalink

    The Christian god ranks right up with there with some of the most infamous killers the world has ever known. And we are to see him as a moral exemplary?

  9. Posted April 27, 2011 at 6:27 am | Permalink

    As a former Christian, it amazes me how little all this biblical slaughter bothered me when I was in Christianity. I suppose one becomes numb to it.

    When it really started to bother me, I didn’t stay there much longer.

    Some claim that the “New Testatment” paints a better picture of God, but that’s not true, because 1) a large proportion, probably a majority, of humanity are there destined for eternal torment and 2) the earthly slaughter, detailed in Revelation, is even worse than in the Hebrew Bible.

    • Posted April 27, 2011 at 6:46 am | Permalink

      If by “better picture” you mean, “evil on a human rather than superhuman scale,” I’ll go along with you.

      There’s Hell and the Apocalypse that you mention, of course, but Jesus in his human incarnation ain’t no choir boy.

      He came not to bring peace but a sword. All those who would not that he reign over them should be slaughtered at his feet. None shall come to the Father but through him, and the only way to love him is to hate one’s family and one’s self.

      And, perhaps my favorite, in the Goddamned Sermon on the Fucking Mount itself, every many who’s ever looked at a pretty woman, lusted after her, and failed to immediately gouge out his eyes, is condemned to Hell.

      28 But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.

      29 And if thy right eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell.

      30 And if thy right hand offend thee, cut it off, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell.

      It’s not like the rest of the Sermon is all sweetness and light, either. The very next pair of lines has been the cause of untold millions of cases of spousal abuse including out-and-out torture. A few lines earlier, he went to great pains to most emphatically emphasize the timeless imperative of the Mosaic laws — and I’m sure everybody here remembers that those laws include such gems as death by stoning for picking up a twig on the worng day of the week and the commandment that rape victims shall be forced to “marry” their rapists.

      The Jesus character is unabashedly that of an insane sociopath. How he got the reputation as the “Prince of Peace” is utterly beyond me. If the scattered pleasantries he muttered here and there are all that such an appellation takes, then you’ll find just as many in Mein Kampf — and Hitler even kissed babies, too!

      Cheers,

      b&

      • Kevin
        Posted April 27, 2011 at 5:17 pm | Permalink

        Heh. Most of the nice sayings were plagiarized from Rabbi Hillel…

        Regards.

        • Posted April 27, 2011 at 7:01 pm | Permalink

          …who, in turn, I have no doubt, stole it from somebody who stole it from somebody…who stole it from somebody who translated it from the mother-tongue spoken in Namibia….

          b&

    • Posted April 27, 2011 at 7:43 am | Permalink

      Indeed. If anything, Revelation not only swells Yahweh’s kill count enormously, it also dwells on loving descriptions of the tortures he will be inflicting on humans both before and after they die.

    • Posted April 27, 2011 at 7:58 am | Permalink

      I remember that when one of us asked:
      “But what about the you-must-not-kill commandment” the reply was:
      “It’s not the same: God may kill because he is able to resurrect the dead, so, he doesn’t really kill.”

      • Dominic
        Posted April 27, 2011 at 9:05 am | Permalink

        But if he does/did, that means those people god kills do not get a chance to repent & see the light! So he condemns them to hell from the moment they are born. A just god?

  10. Posted April 27, 2011 at 6:47 am | Permalink

    “in retribution for their joking about Elijah’s bald head . . .”

    Actually, it was Elisha’s bald head, not Elijah’s: “Go up, thou baldhead. Go up, thou baldhead.”

    Richard

    • whyevolutionistrue
      Posted April 27, 2011 at 6:57 am | Permalink

      Indeed; a typo. Thanks for the theology correction, Dr. Dawkins!

    • Posted April 27, 2011 at 7:10 am | Permalink

      Elisha, Elijah… I’m of the theory they’re basically the same figure (slight name changes are common in the Bible- c.f. Abram/Abraham), we just had two slightly different cycles of stories. Later editors thought they were different, so arranged their stories chronologically.

    • stvs
      Posted April 27, 2011 at 7:56 am | Permalink

      Richard,

      If you haven’t already, do yourself a favor and go watch Mulholland Drive. Then watch it again. Mulholland Drive is the most blasphemous, anti-Christian film of all time, whose allegorical theme is the subject of this very post. David Lynch surpasses even his surrealist antecedent Luis Buñuel.

      The “GNU” atheist meme ridicules the idea that there is anything new about our atheism, and a lot of us are quite familiar with our predecessors, but it’s my observation that we’re not as conversant with great atheist films as we should be, perhaps because atheism in film is necessarily concealed.

      Here are a few of my recommendations of great atheist films:

      Buñuel: Viridiana. Famous Last Supper scene, but so much more.

      Buñuel and Dalí: Un Chien Andalou and L’Âge d’Or. The last scene of L’Âge d’Or depicts Jesus scalping women and hanging his trophies on the cross. Caused riots in Paris. After both fled from fascist Spain, Dalí denounced Buñuel as an atheist to New York’s Cardinal Spellman, resulting in Buñuel’s dismissal from MOMA and the necessity of his emigration to Mexico. There is an obvious influence of Un Chien Andalou in Mel Gibson’s Passion, perhaps due to Gibson’s cinematographer.

      Lynch:  Mulholland Drive. An allegory of the Gospel of Jesus, set in the Hollywood of dreams.

      Coen Brothers: A Serious Man. An allegory of Job.

      Pasolini: The Gospel According to St. Matthew. The only Gospel film I’m aware of that explicitly shows Herod’s slaughter of babies. Mel Gibson chose to film his Passion at the very same location as Pasolini, Matera, Italy, and is obviously influenced by Pasolini.

      Pasolini: La ricotta. An allegory of the Passion, set in the world of Roman cinema.

      • Ichthyic
        Posted April 27, 2011 at 2:50 pm | Permalink

        great list! there’s a couple there I haven’t seen myself.

        *runs off to look*

      • Jeanine
        Posted April 27, 2011 at 2:52 pm | Permalink

        Hrm, I read your other post regarding MD. I think Lynch is fascinated overall with Good vs Evil (Twin Peaks, anyone?). I do not feel educated enough to oppose your views, as honestly much of what you said went over my head. I felt that some of it was reaching, but can’t prove it. I have spent many, many, many hours discussing MD with a Lynch fanatic, and he had his own and equally viable interpretation. Me? I think Lynch likes to fuck with us, and MD was never meant to be figured out. Ever. Ever. I think it is beautiful and dark and entertaining and highly underrated, but not “solvable” and am happy just to let it be what it is.

        • stvs
          Posted April 27, 2011 at 4:16 pm | Permalink

          Lynch likes to fuck with us, and MD was never meant to be figured out.

          I have little patience for claims that art like this film is meaningless, especially when they are posed, as is Mulholland Drive, as a puzzle demanding to be solved.

          The deconstruction I linked to stands or falls on the evidence, and I welcome any fact-based comments and challenges. Absolutely every scene of MD makes perfect sense as a blasphemous allegory of the Gospel.

          Lynch himself links the “bum” (aka the “Wicked Witch of the West”) with God in an interview with Chris Rodley:

          Q: Can you say something about the scariest: the horrible, blackened derelict behind Winkies?

          A: … I used to go there [Denny’s on Sunset Boulevard] and have breakfast … Behind me there were three people and they were talking about God. (Lynch on Lynch, p. 277)

          That said, Lynch is a genius at conveying multiple story lines in parallel, oftentimes using the very same scenes and symbols, making other (but not all or any) interpretations possibly valid. And Mulholland Drive stands by itself as the apogee of “meaningless” surrealism, if you choose to ignore the solution to the puzzle it demands that you solve.

          • Posted April 27, 2011 at 5:11 pm | Permalink

            I see I came off rather apathetic and lazy, and that was not my intention. MD is certainly not meaningless. Few could watch it and say it was meaningless. I think before I respond, I will take the time to re-watch it (been a couple years)under the influence of your interpretation.

          • Posted April 28, 2011 at 4:43 am | Permalink

            I’m a bit of an aLynchist myself, after Dune.

    • Dominic
      Posted April 27, 2011 at 9:06 am | Permalink

      Well as a baldy I am on the side of the bears here! ;)

    • latsot
      Posted April 27, 2011 at 10:08 am | Permalink

      When I first heard this story as a child (I’m going to guess I was about six), I imagined Elisha’s outrage at the lack of respect and his expletives at the children attacking him, then his horror at the sound of the bears munching the children. Then his fragmented….yeah….and….you…you’ll all get a…a bit of that…. if you call me…bald…

      I always imagined him looking at his cursing finger and wondering if it went a bit wrong.

      As a six year old, this question got me told off quite a lot.

      • NoAstronomer
        Posted April 27, 2011 at 10:47 am | Permalink

        I got told off for asking how Jonah breathed and what he ate and wouldn’t he have been digested.

        Mike.

      • Jeanine
        Posted April 27, 2011 at 12:47 pm | Permalink

        Seriously LOL’ing here.

      • Posted April 27, 2011 at 12:54 pm | Permalink

        That was one of my dad’s favourite Bible stories — he thought the story was hilarious, perhaps because he was bald from early adulthood.

        As Bible-believing Christians, we all sort of took God’s homocidal nature in stride.

        • M'thew
          Posted May 9, 2011 at 7:02 am | Permalink

          Yes, ‘homocidal’ of course, but also primarily ‘homicidal’.

        • latsot
          Posted May 9, 2011 at 8:25 am | Permalink

          Are you certain hilarity is the appropriate response?

  11. Phira
    Posted April 27, 2011 at 6:55 am | Permalink

    Satan doesn’t want to kill people. He just wants to live up here, where there’s so much room, where babies burp and flowers bloom.

    DUH.

    (South Park is awesome)

  12. daveau
    Posted April 27, 2011 at 7:00 am | Permalink

    Friggin’ God. What an asshole.

  13. DesertHedgehog
    Posted April 27, 2011 at 7:04 am | Permalink

    Sorry, but as a male of a Certain Age, and thus terrified of one day discovering a bald spot…I’ll side with Yahweh on this one.

  14. Posted April 27, 2011 at 7:24 am | Permalink

    Well, this is simply because Satan doesn’t appear in the Old Testament- except for in Job. But even there, he’s far from the fleshed-out devil character of post-biblical conception.

    A better metric would be the bodycount of the neighbor’s gods (Baal, Dagon, Chemosh, etc) but the Israelite writers tended to portray them as powerless.

    • Neil
      Posted April 27, 2011 at 8:47 am | Permalink

      Indeed. In the old testament, the term ha-satan, translation “the accuser”, refers not to a specific entity, but to those who challenge the faith of others. Today we would call them gnu atheists.

    • Tim Harris
      Posted April 27, 2011 at 3:30 pm | Permalink

      In fact, in Job, Satan is actually a member of Jehovah’s entourage.

      • Tim Harris
        Posted April 27, 2011 at 3:30 pm | Permalink

        in fact…actually – oh dear

        • Posted April 27, 2011 at 8:30 pm | Permalink

          Ha! When my daughter was 1 or so, one of the few words she said was “duck,” but she pronounced it “guck.” As I picked up a book to read it to her, I pointed and said “book.” She said “guck.” I said “no, this is a book,” and, picking up a nearby toy duck, “this is a guck. I mean, duck.”

  15. Insightful Ape
    Posted April 27, 2011 at 7:35 am | Permalink

    Steve Wells is great. I am a fan of his site, Skeptics Annotated Bible.
    As for the killings-some are downright bizarre. For example the killing of a million-yes, one million!-Ethiopians. I wonder what people in the christian majority country of Ethiopia think about that.

  16. Posted April 27, 2011 at 7:45 am | Permalink

    Fortunately, it’s not true. There is no [killing] god.

    • Posted April 27, 2011 at 8:14 am | Permalink

      Hey, the Baron Scarpia and Darth Vader are both fictional, too. And they’re both despicably evil so-and-sos, too.

      Indeed, Vader may well be the first villain in popular Western culture to rival the Judeo-Christian pantheon in scale. According to the pffft of all knowledge, Alderaan had a population of almost two billion sentients before Vader nuked it from orbit on a whim.

      How people can recognize Vader as a bad guy but mistrake YHWH for a good guy is utterly beyond me.

      Cheers,

      b&

      • latsot
        Posted April 27, 2011 at 8:35 am | Permalink

        But Vader didn’t nuke Alderaan, Tarkin did. And not on a whim, but to show off his shiny new deathstar.

        That’s the problem with you astarwarsists: you’re just so ignorant, not like we sophisticated starwarsogians.

      • Tim Martin
        Posted April 27, 2011 at 9:23 am | Permalink

        Yeah but Darth Vader wears BLACK, and EVIL MUSIC plays when he enters the room! It’s all about subtle moral cues.

        • Dominic
          Posted April 28, 2011 at 2:24 am | Permalink

          How do you know Darth is evil? The emperor is the one who manipulates things doesn’t he? Darth starts good, gets frustrated with stuff, then takes it out on a few Enemies of the Emperor, before [spoiler alert!] finally repenting at the end. Secondly, how do you know it is evil music? It is because you were told it is evil music! It is just music. I think someone should make a Star Wars meets Lord of the Rings film.

      • Rob
        Posted April 27, 2011 at 1:37 pm | Permalink

        You need to check this out.

        http://darthside.blogspot.com/

  17. latsot
    Posted April 27, 2011 at 7:55 am | Permalink

    The bible illustrated in lego is one of the greatest bible resources you’ll ever see. The story of Job happens to be my personal favourite:

    http://www.thebricktestament.com/job/meet_job/jb01_01.html

    • Posted April 27, 2011 at 8:08 am | Permalink

      The omniscient god does not know where Satan was and has to ask.
      And he doesn’t read mind :”Have you taken note of my servant Job?”

      • latsot
        Posted April 27, 2011 at 8:18 am | Permalink

        Then he gets drawn into a drunken bet with Satan.

    • latsot
      Posted April 27, 2011 at 8:22 am | Permalink

      It’s only a matter of time before someone recrates the bible in minecraft.

      It’s going to be me, isn’t it :(

      • Dominic
        Posted April 27, 2011 at 9:10 am | Permalink

        What on earth is ‘minecraft’? And yes, it probably is going to be you!

        • latsot
          Posted April 27, 2011 at 9:31 am | Permalink

          Damn and blast. I’ve got a paper to write and a bike to fix. I’m not going to get to it before next week, I’m afraid.

          • Dominic
            Posted April 27, 2011 at 9:45 am | Permalink

            I too have a bike to fix – & off work until Tuesday! If only god could do something useful like fix the chain for me – & surely he could do it without getting oil on his pinkies – then maybe I could believe in him!

            • latsot
              Posted April 27, 2011 at 9:49 am | Permalink

              I bought a chain fixing tool today, as it happens. You could always believe in me.

              I wouldn’t recommend it.

      • stvs
        Posted April 27, 2011 at 9:40 am | Permalink

        Someone has to do it. Burdies eatin ded pplz meat! LOLcat Revelation 19:10-21:

        10 Ai sed “kthx”, but the hovr d00d sed “don’t kthx mai, kthx Ceiling Cat. An u know Baby Jesus tellz it laik it is”.

        11 OMG, now dere is white horsie in hole in Ceiling! D00d ridin horsie does judgin an wants to give u karate.

        12 This d00d has teh fier eyez, an loadz of shiny crowns laik teh Queen. Also like Clint Eastwood cos has no name.

        13 D00d has red dress, an his name is teh word of Ceiling Cat. So he has name, lmao.

        14 Ceiling armies are d00dz on white horsies, wiv white clothesez on.

        15 OMG, horsie d00d spittin out soard to kill pplz! An can make dem do stuffz with metal stick! He is stamping on pplz cos Ceiling Cat is angry an wants pwnage!

        16 D00d has matchin tat an writin on dress, which says gud stuffz about Ceiling Cat.

        17 A hovr d00d sed “Oh hai burdies, u want comin to Ceiling Cat’s 4 food?”

        18 “Is lotz of ded pplz meat, an ded horsie meat tho, so prob just vulturez. An crowz”.

        19 An teh monstah an lotz of pplz sez “do you want karate?”

        20 But teh monstar was pwned, an also teh lying d00d who been makin pplz worshipin idles and stuffs, an dey was frown in teh lake of fier fartz. Byses!

        21 Horsie d00d killed teh other pplz with his sord, an wtf! Burdies eatin ded pplz meat! An not just vulturez and stuffs!

    • Wowbagger
      Posted April 27, 2011 at 6:57 pm | Permalink

      Satan has pretty, glittery wings!

  18. Posted April 27, 2011 at 8:07 am | Permalink

    My friend Gary Devaney has a compilation of Bible God’s crimes on his website: http://thegodmurders.com/

  19. TheBlackCat
    Posted April 27, 2011 at 8:42 am | Permalink

    What about all of Job’s servants? Weren’t they killed as well? Or am I remembering incorrectly?

    • latsot
      Posted April 27, 2011 at 8:45 am | Permalink

      That’s a good point. He had ‘a great number’ of servants.

      Still all done with god’s express permission though.

  20. Scote
    Posted April 27, 2011 at 8:46 am | Permalink

    Given all the deaths god caused in the bible, and given that most Christians think god sends billions of people to be tortured for all of eternity, I sometimes ask Christians what makes Satan more evil than god. I never get a clear answer.

  21. Sigmund
    Posted April 27, 2011 at 9:07 am | Permalink

    The whole concept of Satan and Hell fall apart under the slightest examination.
    For a start once there exists the possibility that anyone will be consigned to Hell for eternity you are left with the logical conclusion that a personal Heaven is rather tenuous. In other words every Christian who will end up in Heaven probably knows someone they love who will not be saved and will thus end up in Hell – perhaps a child, parent, partner or friend. What sort of ‘heaven’ can it be when you know that someone you love is currently being tortured.
    As for Satan, if God knew he’d turn out that bad then isn’t He responsible for the devilish one’s actions?

    • Posted April 27, 2011 at 9:21 am | Permalink

      In other words every Christian who will end up in Heaven probably knows someone they love who will not be saved and will thus end up in Hell – perhaps a child, parent, partner or friend.

      I’ve had more than one Christian explain this by saying something to the effect that Jesus hands out some really good Valium that makes you not give a shit. Of course, that’s not the language they used, but you get the point.

      And many Christians throughout history have proposed that one of the greatest pleasures to be had in Heaven is observing the tormenting of the damned.

      Needless to say, Christianity is not compatible with good mental hygiene.

      Cheers,

      b&

      • Sigmund
        Posted April 27, 2011 at 9:45 am | Permalink

        I think the looking down at the torment of the damned is one point but I don’t think christians generally care to face the idea that their scripture if true means that someone they love will be amongst the damned.
        The valium option has been suggested to me before – as well as the suggestion that your heavenly self won’t contain any of your earthly affects, including memories!
        I suspect the idea of wiping clean all your earthly memories is something that even christians might find difficult to accept – considering that most of them want to meet their dead parents in Heaven – what’s the point if you won’t remember each other!

        • Ichthyic
          Posted April 27, 2011 at 2:59 pm | Permalink

          I don’t think christians generally care to face the idea that their scripture if true means that someone they love will be amongst the damned.

          FFS! If true, they don’t even want to face the fact that THEY THEMSELVES are most likely to be amongst the damned.

          • Tim Harris
            Posted April 27, 2011 at 3:36 pm | Permalink

            Which is why Darwin said the doctrine of hell was ‘damnable’ – it meant that his father and friends and good people he loved and respected would be tortured eternally for not accepting what in the Christian view is the ‘gift’ of faith

        • Dominic
          Posted April 28, 2011 at 2:14 am | Permalink

          If the self does not exist as such in heaven, or ‘spirits’ are emasculated somehow, what is the point of heaven?

          • Sigmund
            Posted April 28, 2011 at 5:09 am | Permalink

            It’s to gather up voices that will sing praise of God for all eternity.
            It doesn’t make any sort of logical sense if you give it any thought. The thing is that so few Christians have given it a moments thought. Imagine turning up in ‘heaven’ and being told that your only child has not been ‘saved’ and so is therefore being tortured by demons (created by God) for all eternity. How heavenly is ‘heaven’ under that circumstance?
            That is why, when faced with a fundie christian, I no longer try to debate evolution (that’s what they expect and are inoculated against these arguments (usually by being completely ignorant of biological facts). What I do instead is ask them to explain the logic of heaven and hell when even the most virtuous and religiously observant of lives is no guarantee that you will not spend an eternity knowing a loved one is undergoing constant torture.
            They usually end up in an argument that involves the removal of memories but it is always clear that this is an unclear point and one they haven’t thought out properly. It’s usually enough to plant a seed of doubt in their mind, something that rarely happens (with fundies, at least) with the evolution question.

            • latsot
              Posted April 28, 2011 at 5:35 am | Permalink

              Imagine turning up in ‘heaven’ and being told that your only child has not been ‘saved’ and so is therefore being tortured by demons (created by God) for all eternity. How heavenly is ‘heaven’ under that circumstance?

              Admittedly faith-heads are more concerned with their fancy-nancy eternal life than in the ordinary one the rest of us get, but don’t forget the earthly commitments such as loving neighbours and that whole business with asses.

              It would seem that if my (very Christian) parents love me, they’d be concerned in their earthly lives about the fact that I’m an atheist and therefore going to hell. Likewise, my (even more Christian) sister. They should want to save me: evangelism is an important part of Christianity after all. Also, they shouldn’t want nasty things to happen to me if they can prevent it. That’s both a religious and a parenting job.

              They don’t though. They’ve all tried once or twice, but fairly half-heartedly.

              So either they don’t love me or they’ve abdicated their evangelical responsibilities. Or both. Could be any or all of the above.

              • Sigmund
                Posted April 28, 2011 at 6:00 am | Permalink

                I suspect that the reason for the difficulty with atheism is that to try to reconvert an atheist (who has lost their previous faith because he or she doesn’t see any evidence for that religion) they actually have to argue using a thought out series of reasoning. It’s like a six year old trying to convince a ten year old why Santa really exists – it’s not going to take long before an awkward question pops up that undermines their own reasons for belief. As soon as they realize this they will most likely become reluctant to pursue it further.

              • latsot
                Posted April 28, 2011 at 6:24 am | Permalink

                Sigmund:

                I suspect that the reason for the difficulty with atheism is that to try to reconvert an atheist (who has lost their previous faith because he or she doesn’t see any evidence for that religion) they actually have to argue using a thought out series of reasoning. It’s like a six year old trying to convince a ten year old why Santa really exists – it’s not going to take long before an awkward question pops up that undermines their own reasons for belief. As soon as they realize this they will most likely become reluctant to pursue it further.

                Or to put it another way, they don’t really believe what they believe they believe. Even about their own beliefs.

    • NoAstronomer
      Posted April 27, 2011 at 10:51 am | Permalink

      Well duh … obviously if the thought of unbelievers deservedly burning in hell for all time makes you upset then you’re probably not a real christian.

      And therefore destined for hell.

      Sorry.

      Mike.

    • Posted April 27, 2011 at 2:27 pm | Permalink

      Which is why I’m never surprised to notice sociopathic tendencies in most believers I encounter. The thought just doesn’t bother them that much.

      • Kevin
        Posted April 27, 2011 at 6:26 pm | Permalink

        I know several theists of this persuasion (not including the execrable Daniel).

        They positively beam at the prospect of watching “the damned” suffer in the afterlife.

        Sometimes I feel sorry for them. In my experience, they most often live on the margins of society, struggling to make a living and meet the demands of their greedy god (cough-preacher-cough).

        I can see how they can only make sense of their present condition by assuming that in the future after-death, they’ll be able to look down on the unfortunate.

        That’s a feature of Xtianity, not a bug. One of its prime selling points. No matter how crappy their lives are, in the end, they get the “last laugh”.

        In the end, their undisguised glee at the thought of seeing billions of people tortured is what gets me over any feelings of sympathy I might have.

        It’s institutionalized sadism. Anyone with a moral sense at all would reject such notions — but Xtianity regards this as a virtue.

        • Posted April 27, 2011 at 9:00 pm | Permalink

          they most often live on the margins of society, struggling to make a living and meet the demands of their greedy god (cough-preacher-cough)

          I was raised in the Mormon church. One of the more serious sins a Mormon can commit is not paying a full tithe each month. The importance of tithe-paying is given a LOT of air time. Combine this with the more-or-less official position that a husband and wife are to produce as many offspring as possible, and you’ve got a reprehensible institution that is literally stealing candy (read: nutrition of any kind, clothing, shelter, etc) from babies. Especially when the parents struggle to make ends meet – and of course the church claims such a situation is the one that most demands obedience; the greatest blessings will come to those who sacrifice the most.

          Unconscionable!

          Absolutely agree w the rest of your comment, and would add that in my experience (w the extremely right-wing Mormon bunch) even those who’re well-off often display that sadism.

        • Dominic
          Posted April 28, 2011 at 12:04 pm | Permalink

          If there were a hell there would be a special corner for smug git like the ones who think they are saved.

  22. Dominic
    Posted April 27, 2011 at 9:23 am | Permalink

    Relax everyone, god did not kill anyone – it does not exist!

    • Posted April 27, 2011 at 1:18 pm | Permalink

      The gods haven’t killed anybody or done anything else, sure.

      But rivers — nay, seas, seas of blood have been spilled in in their names and at the behest of those trusted to be their spokesmen.

      b&

  23. Gregory James
    Posted April 27, 2011 at 11:19 am | Permalink

    I LOVE the parts about how God giving them hemorrhoids in their secret parts.

    • Insightful Ape
      Posted April 27, 2011 at 1:09 pm | Permalink

      Don’t forget the golden hemorrhoids!

  24. Karaktur
    Posted April 27, 2011 at 12:18 pm | Permalink

    Hasn’t God, by intelligent design, actually killed everyone who has ever lived?

  25. Jeanine
    Posted April 27, 2011 at 12:56 pm | Permalink

    Werleman’s ‘God Hates You. Hate Him Back’ has a running death toll for each biblical book. Hilarious, yet disturbing at the same time. You know, I’ve ready plenty of the bible, but since the idea of Satan is so utterly ridiculous, I kinda glossed over much of the Satan stuff. I didn’t actually realize that Satan is accountable for only 10 deaths. Oooh, scurry? No, I think I’d be more afraid of the other dude.

  26. Alex SL
    Posted April 27, 2011 at 3:03 pm | Permalink

    Sorry if somebody mentioned that already (no time to read all the comments), but didn’t Ebonmuse of DaylightAtheism do the same calculation, like, yeeeears ago?

  27. 386sx
    Posted April 27, 2011 at 6:08 pm | Permalink

    16:4 And when Moses heard it, he fell upon his face:

    Ouch that’s gotta hurt. Kinda feel bad for the guy, what with falling on his face all the time and the LORD shouting LORD all day in all caps and whatnot.

  28. mike
    Posted April 27, 2011 at 6:49 pm | Permalink

    very interesting

  29. KP
    Posted April 27, 2011 at 8:44 pm | Permalink

    The Apologetic will claim that Satan’s numbers should include all of the people under his evil influence who have committed murder through all time.

  30. Hans K
    Posted April 28, 2011 at 6:45 am | Permalink

    Someone said that god isn’t an atheist, in a matter of fact he/she would be if he/she would exist because, he/she does not has the need to believe in his/herself exactly like atheists do :)

  31. Gayle Stone
    Posted April 28, 2011 at 12:38 pm | Permalink

    It is fortunate that the killings in the Bible are fictitious. The real killings by those holding the Bible and Koran in their hand and killing “In the Name of God/Allah” probably top the ones in the Bible 200 fold.

  32. Posted April 28, 2011 at 1:45 pm | Permalink

    Just thought of a possible theologian’s response. What about this:

    - Atheists do not recognize a higher power.
    - God does not recognize a higher power.
    - Therefore God is an atheist.

    Therefore, God’s body count should be added to the atheist’s (Mao’s, Pol Pot’s, Stalin’s) death toll!

  33. Digester
    Posted July 4, 2012 at 12:49 pm | Permalink

    The only thing am afraid of in this life is death. But what if I found myself in hell for eternity? It means I am not going to die again, so there’s nothing more to be scared of.

    When going( to hell) ,I will carry my pack of cards that I will play with my friends when the fire will be tormenting us.

    We’ll agonize for a while cos we are still new to the place. But we’ll get used to the fire after 2 years or so , when we can play our cards in peace. Cos we know the fire is bluffing, that it ain’t going to kill us….the friendship bond will be great cos we know we will live for eternity…..

  34. Posted January 19, 2013 at 2:23 pm | Permalink

    I wouldn’t say that the data itself shows God to be “more murderous” than Satan. Unless your definition of murder is merely “killing,” I would think the matter should require much more complicated inquiry than a simple statistic.


3 Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. [...] Jerry Coyne points toward calculations comparing the number of people killed by Our Heavenly Father Who Loves Us and people killed by Satan, according to the Inerrant Bible. Fundamentalists will be weirdly comforted, I imagine, to learn that the Big Guy wins decisively. This entry was posted in General. Bookmark the permalink. ← No foul — if the victim is a young boy blog comments powered by Disqus /* [...]

  2. [...] Murders: God vs. Satan: These calculations by Steve Wells are a year old, but I just became aware of them and decided to post them. It’s a list of people whom God killed, as recounted in the Bible. The Biblical figures go all the way from the 42 youths killed by a God-sent bear in retribution for their joking about Elisha’s bald head, to the 14,700 Israelites killed for complaining about God’s killing. [...]

  3. [...] Jerry Coyne is a follower of the competition. [...]

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