10.28.2011

David Barton & The Religious Right Want Women To Be Respected Like They Are In The Bible

Via Right Wing Watch:
On a Believers Voice of Victory episode that aired today, David Barton told televangelist Kenneth Copeland that women are most elevated in a society that has “conformed to the Scriptures.” Citing Religious Right activist Rabbie Daniel Lapin, Barton said that the Bible is actually the basis of women’s rights, while in “Islam” and secular societies like France and “the Norwegian countries,” women have fewer rights and less respect. Perhaps Barton should read The Handmaid’s Tale before arguing that women will prosper in a society run strictly according to biblical law.
For those unfamiliar with Barton, you can learn more than you'd care to know in this profile by The People For The American Way:
Newt Gingrich promises to seek his advice and counsel for the 2012 presidential campaign. Mike Huckabee calls him America’s greatest historian, says he should be writing the curriculum for American students, and in fact suggested that all Americans should be “forced at gunpoint” to listen to his broadcasts. Michelle Bachmann calls him “a treasure for our nation” and invited him to teach one of her Tea Party Caucus classes on the Constitution for members of Congress. State legislators from around the country invite him to share his “wisdom” with them. Glenn Beck calls him “the most important man in America.” Who is this guy?

This guy is David Barton, a Republican Party activist and a fast-talking, self-promoting, self-taught, self-proclaimed historian who is miseducating millions of Americans about U.S. history and the Constitution.
That's just the tip of the iceberg. Read the full report for a complete picture.

Barton is not the only high profile conservative Christian figure (or organization) to favor a Biblical view of women. The recent Republican onslaught of Draconian measures against women's health is rooted in Biblical law. Michele Bachmann's "submission" to hubby Marcus has obvious Biblical ties. Constitutional lawyer and conservative activist Phyllis Schlafly believes women cannot be raped by their husbands. Family Research Council President Tony Perkins seemed to think that it might be okay for Sarah Palin to run for office, since an elected official is not a spiritual leader. Christian bookstores yanked Gospel Magazine off the shelves because its cover featured (gasp!) female pastors. A full-page ad ran in USA Today affirming that a "wife is to submit herself graciously to the servant leadership of her husband." The affirmation was signed by Mike Huckabee, Franklin Graham, TD Jakes, Tony Evans, and others.

So, if Barton and others believe that Biblical law is such a great source of guidance on the treatment of women, maybe we should look a little closer at how the Bible handles women's rights:

"And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel.” To the woman he said, “I will make your pains in childbearing very severe; with painful labor you will give birth to children. Your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you.” - Genesis 3:15-16

And Adam was not the one deceived; it was the woman who was deceived and became a sinner. 15 But women will be saved through childbearing—if they continue in faith, love and holiness with propriety. - 1 Timothy 2:14-15

If two men are fighting and the wife of one of them comes to rescue her husband from his assailant, and she reaches out and seizes him by his private parts, you shall cut off her hand. Show her no pity. - Deuteronomy 25:11-12

But I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, makes her the victim of adultery, and anyone who marries a divorced woman commits adultery. - Matthew 5:32

If a man marries a woman who becomes displeasing to him because he finds something indecent about her, and he writes her a certificate of divorce, gives it to her and sends her from his house. - Deuteronomy 24:1

If he has no daughter, give his inheritance to his brothers. If he has no brothers, give his inheritance to his father’s brothers. If his father had no brothers, give his inheritance to the nearest relative in his clan, that he may possess it. This is to have the force of law for the Israelites, as the LORD commanded Moses. - Numbers 27:8-11

If a man happens to meet a virgin who is not pledged to be married and rapes her and they are discovered, he shall pay her father fifty shekels of silver. He must marry the young woman, for he has violated her. He can never divorce her as long as he lives. - Deuteronomy 22:28-29

A woman who becomes pregnant and gives birth to a son will be ceremonially unclean for seven days, just as she is unclean during her monthly period. On the eighth day the boy is to be circumcised. Then the woman must wait thirty-three days to be purified from her bleeding. She must not touch anything sacred or go to the sanctuary until the days of her purification are over. If she gives birth to a daughter, for two weeks the woman will be unclean, as during her period. Then she must wait sixty-six days to be purified from her bleeding. - Leviticus 12:1-5

If a man happens to meet in a town a virgin pledged to be married and he sleeps with her, you shall take both of them to the gate of that town and stone them to death—the young woman because she was in a town and did not scream for help, and the man because he violated another man’s wife. You must purge the evil from among you. - Deuteronomy 22:23-24

If a man sells his daughter as a servant, she is not to go free as male servants do. If she does not please the master who has selected her for himself, he must let her be redeemed. He has no right to sell her to foreigners, because he has broken faith with her. - Exodus 21:7-8

Women should remain silent in the churches. They are not allowed to speak, but must be in submission, as the law says. If they want to inquire about something, they should ask their own husbands at home; for it is disgraceful for a woman to speak in the church. - 1 Corinthians 14:34-35

A woman should learn in quietness and full submission. I do not permit a woman to teach or to assume authority over a man; she must be quiet. - 1 Timothy 2:11-12

Sometimes I wonder if folks like Barton have actually read the Bible. Anyone who has spent any amount of time with the scriptures knows that the Bible is probably one of the last books you'd consult for guidance on women's rights.

I have yet to see a modern secular justification for barbaric, oppressive treatment of women. A society that chooses to comport to ancient scripture on matters of human rights is a society based on male dominance, misogyny, and injustice.







Astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson Tweets Baseball

Since my beloved Red Sox missed the playoffs following their curse-esque September nosedive, I have avoided watching baseball altogether this postseason. It's too painful. I didn't even have the chance to root against the Yankees in the World Series.

I have, however, found some consolation in the post-season tweets of astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson.

Tyson has wowed us for years with his intermingling of science and pop culture, He's showed up on Jeopardy!, Who Wants To Be A Millionare?, and Wait Wait...Don't Tell Me! He's appeared on The Colbert Report, The Daily Show, Conan O'Brien, and The Big Bang Theory. On his radio show, Star Talk, he has analyzed the physics behind the powers of superheroes.

Tyson's baseball tweets have run the gamut: the physics of baseball, breakdowns of player salaries, suggestions for new rules, and new criteria for awards.

I've collected some of his gems below (running in order, from the playoffs through the World Series):

  • Yankees must win tonite. CC Sabbathia in relief on the mound. During the regular season, he earned $6,500 per pitch.
  • Yankees must win tonite. A-Rod is 0 for 2. During the regular season, he earned $86,000 per at-bat.
  • You can play baseball on the airless Moon, but only if you find a way not to suffocate & if you don't care about curve balls
  • New baseball rules I'd like to see: if the pitch that hits you is ball four, you should get to advance to second base.
  • Baseball should track extraordinary plays that fielders can bank, and then credit against errors they might later commit.
  • If you walk on 4 pitches it should count against the pitcher. But if you walk on 8 pitches, it should count as a hit.
  • On the Moon, with 1/6 of Earth's gravity, a 400 ft home run would travel nearly half a mile. Do the physics.
  • The "ManagerOfTheYear" award should not be a vote, but should go to who gets the most wins per dollar of player salaries paid
  • Just an FYI: It takes twice as much energy to throw a baseball 100mph than it does to throw one at 70mph. Do The Physics

Follow Neil on Twitter at @neiltyson

10.27.2011

Bryan Fischer: 'Gays Aren't Born That Way -- Here's The Proof!'

"Part of maturity is recognizing that there are certain impulsing that we need to resist," says Bryan Fischer.

Bryan Fischer, douchebag
It sounds to me like Bry has some impulse issues of his own. He stated on his radio show today:
"I have made it my mission in life to never be alone in a room with a woman other than my wife. I've never ridden in a car with a woman. I've never had coffee at a restaurant with a woman. I've never had lunch -- not even a business lunch, not even a professional lunch with a colleague...have never done it, and never will do it."
Apparently, if you don't want gay things to happen, you should make sure you are always alone, or in a crowd.

Fischer is thrilled about a new study that suggests "religiously-mediated sexual orientation change" is possible. He writes
All it takes is one man to prove that homosexuals aren't inevitably trapped in that lifestyle, and that sexual orientation is not an immutable characteristic like race. As the saying goes, it's impossible to meet an ex-black, but it turns out that it is not impossible to meet an ex-gay.

In fact, there are a bunch of them out there.

And the research proving that change is possible has now been published in a peer-reviewed scientific journal, which takes that snide and snarky objection away from the deviancy cabal.

Stanton L. Jones and Mark A. Yarhouse have published a longitudinal study of "religiously-mediated sexual orientation change" in the Journal of Sex and Marital Therapy. It's found in Volume 37, pages 404-427 for any doubters in the crowd.
How did the study work, exactly?
Jones and Yarhouse followed 61 individuals over a 6-7 year period who completed reparative therapy work with Exodus International. Of these 61 men and women, 53% had successful outcomes. Twenty-three percent reported a successful conversion to heterosexuality, both in orientation and functioning, while an additional 30% achieved behavioral chastity as well as substantive "dis-identification" with a homosexual orientation. (Twenty percent of the subjects abandoned the process and fully embraced a homosexual identity.)
The most amazing quote in Fischer's piece is this gem:
The left is profoundly anti-science and will be predictably anti-science in responding to these findings.
Wow. That's rich, coming from Fischer, who categorically denies evolution and climate change.

Exodus International, for the uninitiated, is a Christian ex-gay therapy organization which promotes "the message of Freedom from homosexuality through the power of Jesus Christ."

It's important to note that Michael Bussee, one of the founders of Exodus, and Gary Cooper, a leader within the ministry of Exodus, left the group to be with each other in 1979. Bussee has been a long-time critic of Exodus.

In 2007, Bussee, along with Jeremy Marks, the former president of Exodus International Europe, and Darlene Bogle, the founder of Paraklete Ministries, an Exodus referral agency. issued an apology to those who had been misled by Exodus. The three stated that although they acted sincerely at the time of their involvement, their message had caused isolation, shame and fear. The three had, in time, become disillusioned with promoting gay conversion.

"Some who heard our message were compelled to try to change an integral part of themselves, bringing harm to themselves and their families," stated the three in the apology.

Another Exodus Chairman, John Paulk was removed by the board of directors when he was identified drinking and flirting at Mr. P's, a Washington, D.C. gay bar, Paulk was introducing himself to patrons of the bar as "John Clint," a name he had used in his previous life as a hustler in Ohio. Paulk was the author of "Not Afraid to Change; The Remarkable Story of How One Man Overcame Homosexuality," and was on staff with Focus on the Family, where was manager of their Homosexuality and Gender Department.

According to the press release for the study Fischer cites, "the results do not prove that categorical change in sexual orientation is possible for everyone or anyone, but rather that meaningful shifts along a continuum that constitute real changes appear possible for some."

So, the study shows that some people can actually deny their impulses through religion, guilt, and shame -- we all know how well chastity has worked out for the Catholic Church.

Personally, I'm a little blown away that the Journal of Sex and Marital Therapy published such garbage. The study proves nothing, except that religion-based bigotry and coercion therapy can shame people into living dishonestly.

How many more participants will eventually reach a breaking point, like 20% of the study's participants, and like Bussee, Cooper, Marks, Bogle, and Paulk --- five higher-ups in the Exodus organization -- and eventually admit that they were simply buying into a lie?

Certainly, the likes of Bryan Fischer will simply shrug any such instances off as cases who were not strong enough in their resistance to deviant impulses. Perhaps they ended up having coffee with a member of the same sex and it all went to hell.









Colbert On The War On Halloween: ‘Jesus Was the Original Zombie’

Halloween is an awkward time for some religious folks. Fundamnetalists, in particular, have a hard time embracing the holiday that Pat Robertson calls 'Satan's Night.'

How can allow our children to participate in this ritual, especially when most of that candy is prayed over by witches?

To avoid slipping into the hands of Satan, many religious folks have gravitated towards holier alternatives, such as trunk-or-treat (which honestly sound more like something Ted Bundy might have encouraged), scripture candy, or Jesus Ween

Stephen Colbert helps us sort it out on his segment, The War on Halloween.



The Colbert ReportMon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
War on Halloween - Costume Swapping & Jesus Ween
www.colbertnation.com
Colbert Report Full EpisodesPolitical Humor & Satire BlogVideo Archive






Science: What's It Up To?

The Daily Show's Aasif Mandvi brilliantly skewers the science denialism embraced by so much of the religious right. The clip addresses Herman Cain's climate science denial, Rick Santorum's denial of evolution, and Michele Bachmann's claim that HPV vaccines cause mental retardation.

Mandvi is joined by Republican strategist, Noelle Nikpour, who unwittingly provides most of the comedy in the clip.
Noelle Nikpour: It’s very confusing for a child to be only taught evolution to go home to a household where their parents say, “Well, wait a minute. . . God created the Earth!”

Aasif Mandvi: What is the point of teaching children facts if it’s just going to confuse them?

Nikpour: It confuses the children when they go home. We as Americans—we are paying tax dollars for our children to be educated. We need to offer them every theory that’s out there. It’s all about choice; it’s all about freedom.

Mandvi: It should be up to the American people to decide what’s true.

Nikpour: Absolutely! Doesn’t it make common sense?






Pat Buchanan's Fanatical Bigotry Tour


Paleoconservative (and Paleolithic) blowhard Pat Buchanan is currently on the road promoting his new book, Suicide of a Superpower: Will America Survive to 2025?

I am not going to pretend to have read Pat's book. Luckily, there are others out there willing to take one for the team.

Talking Points Memo recently compiled Twelve Pretty Racist Or Just Crazy Quotes From Pat Buchanan’s New Book, which includes the following gems:
If [conservative political commentator Heather] Mac Donald’s statistics are accurate, 49 of every 50 muggings and murders in New York are the work of minorities. That might explain why black folks have trouble getting a cab. Every New York cabby must know the odds, should he pick up a man of color at night.

Perhaps some of us misremember the past. But the racial, religious, cultural, social, political, and economic divides today seem greater than they seemed even in the segregation cities some of us grew up in.
Back then, black and white lived apart, went to different schools and churches, played on different playgrounds, and went to different restaurants, bars, theaters, and soda fountains. But we shared a country and a culture. We were one nation. We were Americans.

The white population will begin to shrink and, should present birth rates persist, slowly disappear. Hispanics already comprise 42 percent of New Mexico’s population, 37 percent of California’s, 38 percent of Texas’s, and over half the population of Arizona under the age of twenty. ……. Mexico is moving north. Ethnically, linguistically, and culturally, the verdict of 1848 is being overturned. Will this Mexican nation within a nation advance the goals of the Constitution—to “insure domestic tranquility” and “make us a more perfect union”? Or has our passivity in the face of this invasion imperiled our union?
There's more where that came from.

And here's Pat on LGBT equality:
A nation dedicated to the proposition that all are equal and entitled to equal rewards must end up constantly discriminating against its talented tenth, for that is the only way a free society can guarantee social and economic equality. And consider the costs incurred, the injustices done, the freedoms curtailed--all in the name of equality.

Can anyone believe this absurd notion of equality was intended by or written into the constitution by the Congress that produced the 14th Amendment? Although gay marriage has been rejected in 31 states in referenda, judges continue to declare that such unions be treated as marriages. An idea of equality rejected democratically by voters is being imposed dictatorially.

In December 2010, a repudiated liberal Congress imposed its San Francisco values on the armed forces by ordering homosexuals admitted to all branches of the service. Indoctrination of recruits, soldiers, and officers into an acceptance of the gay life style will transfer authority over the military, the most respected institution in America, to agents of a deeply resented and widely detested managerial state.

Media Matters has compiled highlights from Patty's talk show appearances surrounding his book tour, where he has been "defending his past anti-LGBT bigotry, knowingly appearing on a pro-white radio show, and refusing to disavow genetic theories of racial superiority and inferiority."






10.26.2011

Perspective: The Lifetime Of The Universe Mapped Onto A Single Calendar Year

A reader commenting on yesterday's post depicting the history of the world cast into a 24-hour clock brought up another wonderful time-scale concept.

The Cosmic Calendar casts the 13.7 billion year lifetime of the universe into a single calendar year, and was popularized by Carl Sagan on his television series Cosmos, and in his book The Dragons of Eden.

A few mind-blowing bits of perspective:
  • The Milky Way does not form until May.
  • Our Solar System arrives in August.
  • First life appears on Earth in September.
  • Dinosaurs are extinct on December 30.
  • Modern humans evolve on December 31 at approximately 11:54pm.
  • Recorded history begins in the final 15 seconds of the year.
  • Columbus arrives in America in the last second of the year.


(Image via Wikipedia)


Dawkins: 'Somebody As Intelligent As Jesus Would Have Been An Atheist'

As part of John Harris's National Conversations in The Guardian, Richard Dawkins discusses the accusations that he believes religion to be a 'pernicious virus.'

These types of emotive and provocative statements, argues Harris, have soured many people's opinion of Dawkins.

Dawkins, who has become somewhat of a bogeyman to religious folks, is actually much more accommodating than many give him credit for.

In the following discussion, he concedes to being an agnostic, explains that religious moderates are not the ones who get him riled up, and, in the extended interview, states that somebody as intelligent as Jesus would have been an atheist.

There he goes again with those emotive and provocative statements. But maybe, says Dawkins, these statements are not as emotive as we think they are.

 

 You can listen to a longer version of this interview, which includes Dawkins' statement about Jesus, here.



10.25.2011

Bryan Fischer: 'Why Not Feature Hitler & John Wayne Gacy During LGBT Month?'

Sorry, Bryan Fischer, but you've already earned your Asshole merit badge. We can't keep handing these things out.

American Family Association spokesman and gigantic asshole, Bryan Fischer, just keeps raising the bar, folks. Yesterday on his radio show, Bryan discussed his favorite bogeyman: Teh Gays. More specifically, Mr. Fischer was discussing LGBT History Month. Boy, did he get his panties in a bunch.

While LGBT History Month is nearly over, Fischer addressed it in relation to the Viki Knox controversy. You can hear his comments here.
This whole thing is about Lesbian, Gay, Bi, Transgender History Month. So my question again, if this is about homosexual history month, are they going to feature all the homosexuals that had an enormous impact on history?

Are they going to feature John Wayne Gacy? He's the homosexual pedophile, remember, that killed thirty-three young boys and young teenagers and buried them under the crawlspace in his house. He was a homosexual. Is he going to be a part of their display?

Adolf Hitler had a record as a homosexual prostitute in the streets of Vienna in the 1910s. He was denied promotions in the German military in World War I because of his homosexual behavior. He formed the Nazi Party in a homosexual bar, a gay bar, in Munich. All of his enforcers, almost every one of the Brownshirts; all the officers and almost all the Brownshirts were homosexuals. Is that going to be a part of Lesbian, Gay, Bi, Transgender Month? We will wait to see.

Not only are Fischer's comments hateful, offensive, and inaccurate, but his logic is completely stupid.

Bryan Fischer, asshole
I suppose, by his logic, Fischer would suggest we celebrate Susan Smith and Andrea Yates on Mother's Day.

Do you suggest we canonize Aileen Wuornos during Women's History Month, Bryan? Do we pay tribute to Richard Ramirez and the Menendez Brothers during National Hispanic Heritage Month? Do we honor the Dahmers during Military Family Week?

We can play this game all day long. I know you love to vilify an entire group of people by propping up one bad example. You also think that by pointing out that some bad people accepted evolution, that evolution should be rejected. Guess what, Brian? Evolution is still a naturally occurring phenomenon whether bad people accept it or not. LGBT people still exist even if one of them happens to do something wrong.  Guess how many serial killers and dictators were heterosexual, Bryan? A whole lot of them.

I keep thinking that, sooner or later, even the American Family Association (which despite its benign and virtuous-sounding name is a bona fide hate group) will think that he's gone too far.

And you'd think that American politicians would have the dignity to refuse to be associated with such a hateful little bile-spewing butthole, but they're practically waiting in line to hang out with him (or share the stage with him).

Don't hold your breath. Actually, in this case you might want to.







What Are They Smoking At Herman Cain Campaign HQ? Redux

Last month we asked, "What Are They Smoking At Herman Cain Campaign HQ?"

This month, while Cain is certainly enjoying more success in the polls than he was last month, we're still asking the same question.

This time around, however, there's no hiding the smoking part.





10.24.2011

The Relative Insignificance Of Your Problems (And Perhaps, Humanity)

If there's anything that's difficult for humans to grasp, it's the relative insignificance of humans.

While going about our days, it's easy for the little things to set us off.  A bad experience in the DMV line can alter our mood for the entire day. Getting cut off in traffic can raise our blood pressure. Getting rejected by an employer or a romantic interest can seem like the end of the world.

The below image, from the University of Wisconsin's Geoscience department, should help you put things into perspective. When the history of the world, and the evolution of life, is cast into a 24-hour clock, it's difficult to not feel that many of our daily gripes are trivial. In fact, it's difficult to not feel as if humanity itself is kind of trivial.

If the history of the world were cast into a 24-hour clock, humans would not show up until 11:58:43 PM.

Keep in mind that, in addition to the immensity of this timeline, it has been 13.75 ± 0.13 billion years since the Big Bang. (Earth was formed a mere 4.54 billion years ago).

If that's not enough to make those worries melt away, also consider that there are at least 100 billion stars with planets in our galaxy and about 100 billion galaxies in the observable universe. If we widen the scope, we must also consider that scientists have estimated there are at least 10 trillion planetary systems in the known universe, with many planets possibly harboring intelligent life.

Relax.

h/t Sheril Kirshenbaum







Guest Post: One Way I've Changed, Since Becoming A Dad

The below guest post was written by Matt Shipman, a science writer and father of three who lives in Raleigh. You can follow Matt on Twitter at @ShipLives or connect with him here on Google+. This is the first in an ongoing series of 'Allies For Equality' guest posts.

I've always felt that gay rights were important. I have gay friends and family members who I love and respect, so I could hardly feel otherwise. But gay rights have become increasingly important to me since I started a family.

I have three wonderful children. They are the center of my universe, and I never knew it was possible to love anyone or anything as much as I love them. It is awesome, in the true sense of the word -- it inspires awe.

Whenever I see a news item about a child who has taken his or her own life as a result of bullying or ostracization, the first thing I think of is the fact that that was someone's child. I talk to, hold and comfort my children every day. I watch them play with other kids. Many of my closest friends have young kids. It is impossible to tell which of these youngsters will be gay. The idea that someone could want to hurt any of these children because of their sexual orientation triggers my protective instincts. But I can't follow my kids around for the rest of their lives and protect them, much less all of the other kids that call me "Uncle Ship" or "Mister Ship."

So I feel compelled to reject anything -- anything -- that seems to intimate that someone who is gay is somehow less important than someone who is straight. That runs the gamut from slurs to the rights that we all (should) enjoy as citizens. Being a child and a teenager is difficult enough. We don't need to introduce artificial hurdles that contribute, intentionally or not, to hateful behavior.




Michele Bachmann Doesn't Judge Homosexuals -- Except When She Does

After David Gregory played Michele Bachmann recordings of herself stating, among other things, that homosexuality is "part of Satan," "sexual dysfunction," and "personal enslavement," she clarified that she doesn't judge homosexuals.

In fact, states Bachmann, if she were president, she would treat them with "honor and dignity." And by "honor and dignity" she means "as Satanic and dysfunctional slaves."

She also stated that she would have no problem appointing an openly gay judge, as long as they shared her views -- which are that homosexuality is "part of Satan," "sexual dysfunction," and "personal enslavement."









Man Burns Bible, Tosses It Into Crowd, At Pope's Sunday Mass

Yesterday during a two-hour Sunday Mass in St. Peter's Square, Pope Benedict XVI named three new saints for the Catholic Church.

However, it was hard to top the excitement of a disruption caused by a man who climbed out onto the upper colonnade, burned a bible, and yelled, "Pope, where is Christ?" before throwing the burned bible into the crowd below.

The man was talked down by the Pope's posse and whisked away. The Vatican has not disclosed the dungeon location where the man is currently being held.

(I kid. I hope.)



Slicing and Dicing Biblical Data

Openbible.info has done an interesting analysis of the positive and negative sentiment in the Bible, and has created some pretty neat and visually stunning visualizations from their findings.

According to Open Bible, the below visualization "explores the ups and downs of the Bible narrative, using sentiment analysis to quantify when positive and negative events are happening:"


Click for larger image, or grab a full size download here (.png, 4000×4000 pixels).

Things start off well with creation, turn negative with Job and the patriarchs, improve again with Moses, dip with the period of the judges, recover with David, and have a mixed record (especially negative when Samaria is around) during the monarchy. The exilic period isn’t as negative as you might expect, nor the return period as positive. In the New Testament, things start off fine with Jesus, then quickly turn negative as opposition to his message grows. The story of the early church, especially in the epistles, is largely positive.

Responding to commenters on the site, Open Bible created another visualization, this time with the data arranged by book "with a moving average of five verses on either side. (By comparison, the [other] visualization uses a moving average of 150 verses on either side.)"


Click for larger image, or grab a full size download here (.png, 2680×4000 pixels).

While the data, or the visualizations, aren't exactly mind-blowing or surprising to anyone who has a good knowledge of Biblical narratives, it is compelling in that it illustrates the way that modern technology allows us to explore ancient manuscripts in ways that its writers never would have imagined.

And while the above data-slicing may point to the wealth of negative sentiment in the Bible as a means of illustrating the questionable nature of much of its content, it also reminds us that The Bible is at its heart a work of literature. Any literature without its peaks and valleys would not have very much to offer anyone.

I would be interested in seeing some more complex, and telling, data analysis, such as a comparison of harmful vs. non-harmful commands given by God, or a comparison of prohibitive vs. permissive language.

See Open Bible for more information, including methodology.