Christianity is one of the most widespread religions in the world, with more than two billion followers worldwide. Historians (both secular and theistic) tend to agree that the spread of Christianity has been an example of a pretty successful spiritual mission . . . as far as human history is concerned, anyway! The religion centers around the figure of Jesus Christ (hence the name), though most of what scholars know about Jesus today actually comes from the Bible, the holy book of the Christian religion.
But there are also a lot of things in the Bible that the majority of Christians do not even know about, things so taboo that most religious people would instantly denounce them as “ungodly.” As it turns out, getting down to some of the more obscure passages of the Bible can open some pretty weird doors, and some of them even seem downright terrifying. Here are ten of the darkest and least-known Christian beliefs, straight from the holy book itself.
10 Slaves Should Be Good Subjects To Their Masters, Both The Gentle And The Harsh
This is one of the more controversial passages on the list. In the Douay-Rheims edition of the Holy Bible, the passage is translated like this:
Servants, be subject to your masters with all fear, not only to the good and gentle, but also to the froward.—1 Peter 2:18
But in other versions of the Bible, it is translated a bit differently. The New International Version, for example, uses the word “Slaves” instead of “Servants” and “harsh” instead of “froward.”
Some people believe that this is a commandment that justifies slave ownership. Some even go as far as to say that the passage makes a biblical case for sexual slavery. Others, however, believe that it was just mistranslated in some versions of the scripture.
Either way, it does seem to advocate docility in the face of harsh leadership as opposed to resistance. And that makes it a pretty dark commandment.
9 You May Beat Your Slaves
This comes from the Book of Exodus. There is actually a lot of material in Exodus about slave ownership, but this particular passage is quite disturbing:
He that striketh his bondman or bondwoman with a rod, and they die under his hands, shall be guilty of the crime.
But if the party remain alive a day or two, he shall not be subject to the punishment, because it is his money.—Exodus 21:20–21
According to this rule, a slaveowner who beats his slave to death shall be found “guilty of the crime” . . . but if the slave is able to stay alive for a day or two after, then there will be no punishment for the slaveowner.
Why? Because the slave is technically (according to biblical law) his property.
8 Women Found Not To Be Virgins On Their Wedding Day Should Be Stoned
This one comes from Deuteronomy and is particularly disturbing, as it involves a death sentence for women who have allegedly lost their virginity before their wedding.
But if what he charged her with be true, and virginity be not found in the damsel:
They shall cast her out of the doors of her father’s house, and the men of the city shall stone her to death, and she shall die: because she hath done a wicked thing in Israel, to play the whore in her father’s house: and thou shalt take away the evil out of the midst of thee.—Deuteronomy 22:20–21
Apparently, “playing the whore” in your father’s house is a pretty big deal, according to the Bible.
7 If A Woman Is Raped And Does Not Cry Out, She Shall Be Stoned
This belief, once again, comes from the Book of Deuteronomy.
If a man have espoused a damsel that is a virgin, and some one find her in the city, and lie with her,
Thou shalt bring them both out to the gate of that city, and they shall be stoned: the damsel, because she cried not out, being in the city: the man, because he hath humbled his neighbour’s wife. And thou shalt take away the evil from the midst of thee.—Deuteronomy 22:23–24
This one is a little bit more complicated, but it basically says this: If a virgin is married, but someone finds her in the city and has sex with her, and she does not “cry out,” then both he and she shall be taken outside the city to be stoned.
Why? Because he has “humbled his neighbour’s wife.”
One might say that this actually sounds more like a cheating situation than a rape situation. But why, then, does it specifically say “because she cried not out?” Why would there even be a mention of that if rape wasn’t somehow related?
One could say that this provides a way for her to prove her innocence, because if she screams out during the act, she is technically not to be punished. But what if he covers her mouth or threatens her with death if she cries out?
What it really sounds like is a barbaric loophole.
6 If You Force An Unbetrothed Virgin To Have Sex, You Can Purchase Her
This is yet another strange but surprisingly shocking passage from Deuteronomy:
If a man find a damsel that is a virgin, who is not espoused, and taking her, lie with her, and the matter come to judgment:
He that lay with her shall give to the father of the maid fifty sides of silver, and shall have her to wife, because he hath humbled her: he may not put her away all the days of his life.—Deuteronomy 22:28–29
This could possibly be described as fornication, but the “taking her” part really makes it sound quite forced. In any case, it does not sound like she has much of a choice in the matter. Plus, if he buys her, they are to be married forever.
What is worse than being forced to have sex? Maybe being forced, by law, to marry the person who forced you.
5 You Cannot Enter The Church Of The Lord If Your Testicles Or Penis Have Been Removed
As it turns out, the ancient Christian texts have some pretty tough standards for who was allowed into the church. And for men, it sounds like genitals were a necessity if they wanted to be involved in the service.
Here is what the passage actually says:
An eunuch, whose testicles are broken or cut away, or yard cut off, shall not enter into the church of the Lord.—Deuteronomy 23:1
It doesn’t get much plainer than that. But it also begs the question: How did they know who had genitals?
4 If You Commit Adultery, You Shall Be Put To Death
This passage comes from Leviticus and basically says that if any man commits adultery with the wife of another man, both of them shall be put to death.
Here is the exact passage:
If any man commit adultery with the wife of another, and defile his neighbour’s wife, let them be put to death, both the adulterer and the adulteress.—Leviticus 20:10
Talk about a lover scorned, right?
3 If Someone You Love Tries To Tempt You Away From God, They Should Be Put To Death
This one is kind of long-winded—but it gets pretty dark.
If thy brother the son of thy mother, or thy son, or daughter, or thy wife that is in thy bosom, or thy friend, whom thou lovest as thy own soul, would persuade thee secretly, saying: Let us go, and serve strange gods, which thou knowest not, nor thy fathers,
Of all the nations round about, that are near or afar off, from one end of the earth to the other,
Consent not to him, hear him not, neither let thy eye spare him to pity and conceal him,
But thou shalt presently put him to death. It Let thy hand be first upon him, and afterwards the hands of all the people.
With stones shall he be stoned to death: because he would have withdrawn thee from the Lord thy God, who brought thee out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage:—Deuteronomy 13:6–10
It would seem that steadfast devotion to the religion is of the utmost importance; at least, that is what one can assume by reading this passage!
On another, somewhat related note, it seems that the death penalty was pretty common according to some of these ancient holy laws.
2 God Commanded His People To Commit Genocide
This passage comes from 1 Samuel and involves the prophet Samuel relaying a message from God to Saul, the king of Israel:
Thus saith the Lord of hosts: I have reckoned up all that Amalec hath done to Israel: I how he opposed them in the way when they came up out of Egypt.
Now therefore go, and smite Amalec, and utterly destroy all that he hath: spare him not, nor covet any thing that is his: but slay both man and woman, child and suckling, ox and sheep, camel and ass.—1 Samuel 15:2–3
In this passage, the God of the Israelites pronounces judgement over their enemies, the Amalekites, by ordering that Israel completely wipe them out, men, women, children, and animals included.
This is just another dark testament to the fact that the God of the Holy Bible, the alleged father of Jesus Christ, most definitely had no qualms about ordering people’s deaths—whether they be men, women, children, or even entire civilizations.
1 Homosexuals Shall Be Put To Death
This is one of the darkest verses in the Holy Bible. And yet, many Christians do not even know that it exists.
If any one lie with a man as with a woman, both have committed an abomination, let them be put to death: their blood be upon them.—Leviticus 20:13
This verse is literally saying that if two men have sex, as a man and a woman would have sex, then they shall be put to death because they have committed “an abomination.”
This verse is a little bit strange because it omits any reference to female homosexuality, though some say that this just bears witness to the patriarchal, homophobic ideals of the society that the laws came from.
But in any case, it is most definitely included among the darker parts of the Holy Bible not often talked about . . . even by Christians.
Joshua Sigafus is an author, a thinker, and a human who believes in trying to make the world a better place. You can find him on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/JoshSigafusauthor/.