Uncle Aaron’s Bible stories are humorous, cynical takes on Bible stories, as they read literally from the actual Bible, not the bastardized versions your ignorant Sunday School Teacher told you when you were a kid. A few liberties are taken with the various interpretations people have of these stories over the centuries.
So as not to repeat myself in notes here’s the basic sources spiel:
I use the Revised Standard Version of the Bible as my primary source for all these stories. I reference Young’s Literal Translation and Green’s Literal Translation for clarification if something is confusing. I also reference the Orthodox Jewish Bible as it has words in Hebrew transliterated into English which helps. If I am still uncertain about something I will look at an interlinear or parallel Bible that has the direct English translations right under the Hebrew or Greek. I very occasionally use extra biblical sources, scholarly works, and commentaries to understand some of the ancient euphemisms and idioms that aren’t always clear thousands of years after they were written. I try to note my sources when this happens, but this is at heart a creative work and I don’t particularly feel the need to be methodical about that.
Is it true that the Bible says X like your story says?
I strive to be as accurate as possible and not put anything in here that’s not actually in the Bible, or isn’t an interpretation a lot of people have had at some point. Typically I keep more in my stories that your average Sunday School Curriculum does. So if I say Moses’ wife gave his son a surprised field circumcision to appease God, instead of just circumcising Moses, that’s in there.
If I say she touched the severed foreskin to Moses penis, that’s a different story. I say that because it’s widely accepted that ‘feet’ are often a euphemism for ‘penis’ in the Bible. If I say Eve suddenly becomes horny for her Adam after she ate the forbidden fruit, that’s because the story indicates that, and a lot of people believed that, but it doesn’t outright say it. I reserve some literary license for these stories.
Why Do This?
One day my wife asked me about some Bible stories. So I told her about Moses son getting a surprise field circumcision. I told it in a way she could understand (she wasn’t raised in church) and found hilarious without really adding anything. Been telling Bible stories almost every night for months.
She’d never heard or read about any of the weirder stuff in the Bible. Her knowledge extended to just what she was told as a child in Sunday School.
Don’t you realize you’ll get a lot of hate from Fundamentalists and Evangelicals?
I’m quite aware of how hostile people from fundamentalist groups can be. There are people who will fly into a rage even if you merely question something they hold to be true, especially if their truth is a lie. Questioning ones beliefs and dismissing those you find to be untrue is painful, but necessary for growth as a human being.
Have you ever actually read the Bible?
I have, multiple times in multiple translations. I’ve read the KJV all the way through a few times. Have read the NIV and a few other translations either all the way through or the vast majority of it. My church used to participate in a yearly reading of the Bible on live TV, so I’ve even read Leviticus through Judges on television. Yes, at twelve years old I got to say ‘ass’ on live television and did not get in trouble. I also got to say ‘hemorrhoids’.
I haven’t done that thing where you read through the Bible in one year though. I tried once, but realized it’s actually not an accomplishment. You’d actually have to be incredibly unmotivated to take that long. If you’re an average reader of English and can spare an hour a day you can plow through one of those modern translations in less than two months. If you aren’t familiar with the language in the KJV, it might take you three or four if you really tried to understand it all.
In the course of your three years in middle school, you probably read about two Bibles worth of words just during the school year (9 or 10 months these days). A lot of middle school kids blow through a couple of YA series in the summer for fun, and those are roughly the equivalent in word count to one Bible. If you listen to an audiobook version of the Bible, they’re about seventy five hours long, which is only about ten hours longer than it’d take you to read it to yourself. You can do it in 35 if you play it at double speed.
So you’ve read the Bible, but what makes you qualified to rewrite these stories?
I can write, I have research skills and I like to think I’m funny. I don’t know that anyone is qualified to do a thing until they’ve actually done it. There isn’t a regulatory body that says I can’t rewrite three thousand year old stories any way I want. Just a bunch of people who’ll get upset if I do so. And I suppose if I post a lot of verses in a copyrighted version of the Bible without permission.
You criticize scripture kinda hard, are you an atheist?
No. Not even remotely. I’m a born again Christian who believes that Jesus is God, born of a virgin, died and rose again. I believe in the Trinity, that the Father, Son and Holy Spirit are the same being, and yet three separate persons. I also believe this is a mystery human beings cannot fully comprehend.
Are you some kind of heretic?
I think that’s patently obvious. I self identify as some flavor of gnostic. I purposefully didn’t even describe the Trinity correctly. In my youth I was a super conservative Southern Baptist, with only a few weird leanings. As I’ve gotten older my beliefs have evolved and I see how inane the things I held dear in my childhood were.
I am partially in the mythicist camp about whether Jesus existed or not. I believe he was a real person, and was the Son of God. I just don’t believe that everything we’re told about him in the Gospels is correct.
What led you to these beliefs?
Human life is complex, and its often hard to pinpoint a single exact reason anyone does anything. The closest I can come to that is something that happened when I was maybe sixteen or so. I had a Sunday School teacher who went to my mom in private and told her she didn’t think I was really born again. She claimed that “Aaron has a lot of head knowledge, but no heart knowledge”. This caused a cascading series of issues in my family, my mom asked me about my salvation constantly for quite a while. At one point I was even asked for proof of my salvation.
This ‘heart knowledge’ is emotion based insight that she and others like her claim to have. It is not earned through long experience like the wisdom of the elderly. It is not the hard won knowledge of the scholar. It is certainly not the insight into the divine of the mystic either. It’s just normal human feelings that change as often as the weather.
Basically, it’s an excuse not to study scripture, and give an out when you don’t like something.