Sex, Drunkenness, Violence, and The Bible

3=8X12-POSTER copy“Good artists are not cowards.” —– Kevin Marshall Chopson

One of the most important components of writing is being honest.  Life has many complexities that are not easily explained away.  Personally, I believe that the writers of both the Old and New Testaments were some of the bravest and talented writers in history.  No matter what religious views you maintain, these authors clearly and meticulously documented detailed accounts of sex, drunkenness, and violence associated with humanity.  It seems ironic that so many religious groups resist discussion of these difficult subjects, when the core stories found in the Bible acutely address uncomfortable topics.  From Genesis to the Revelation we read graphic depictions of “normal” humans participating in unspeakable (pun intended) actions.  These accounts detail perverted, and wanton, sexual activity along with savage, unmentionable depictions of violence, and lastly repeated participation in unrestrained drunkenness.
I find it impressive that these talented scribes carefully preserved the vices found throughout their own history.  It appears in most cases, that the reader is intended to identify with the protagonists in these awkward tales.  Just a few of the more base situations to examine:
1)    Lot’s daughters get him drunk on two separate occasions to have an incestuous sexual relationship with him.
2)    After Noah gets drunk his son Ham, appears to have acted on some form of homosexual impulse with his father.  (Scholars disagree on exactly what this refers to, but all acknowledge that someone did something to displease God after the flood.
3)    Though poetic, the story of Oholah and Oholibah found in the book of Ezekiel, is one of the most sexually explicit depictions of carnality in any ancient manuscript.  If it was made into a movie it would be rated XXX.
4)    After slacking as a king, David has sex with another mans wife (causing conception), then proceeds to connive a way to assassinate her husband and keep her to himself.
5)    A Levite permits men to rape his concubine and then chops her into pieces to send to all twelve of the tribes as a call to arms.
I could go on and on, since the Bible is full of “normal” people doing really bad things.  Why did these authors focus on such undesirable elements of society?  I am convinced that they wanted us to wrestle with the uncomfortable reality that all of us, suffer from similar desires, addictions, and habits.  The careful reader cannot ignore these challenging subjects, and must discuss them with friends and family.  We must ask the important questions of “why” these particular stories were preserved.  Sharing our problems with others develops a relationship, and we are more likely to resolve both internal and external conflict, which produces a healthy diversity that compels people show what is in the heart.