Lev. 11:12 Whatsoever hath no fins nor scales in the waters, that shall be an abomination unto you.
June 27, 2007 7:50 AM   Subscribe

What are some good, unholy, "scripture"-like quotes I can use as an email signature?

I frequently correspond with holy-rollers to whom I am related. They append Bible verses to every email. I'd like to do the same, but I am an unborn-again secular humanist. I'd like to gather a pool of "scriptures" to draw from to use in my email signature.

This thread had some good ideas, but not exactly what I'm looking for.

Ideally they will be from semi-recognizable sources such as well-known authors or historic texts, but they should also be either irreverent in tone or antithetical to fundamentalist Christian values.

I'd prefer if the sources also sound like scripture, perhaps especially heretical passages from gnostic gospels, apocrypha, etc.

Maybe even Buddhist, Zoroastrian, or Hindu writings.

I'm not looking for rabid satanic statements or anything overtly offensive, just something that would rankle James Dobson, something that expresses a philosophy that fundamentalists might have a problem with, but that an ecumenical person of faith could see the value of.
posted by mds35 to Religion & Philosophy (54 answers total) 83 users marked this as a favorite
Response by poster: And I suppose the Bible verse in the title is a lot like what I'm looking for, so if any Bible scholars want to "cherry-pick" some oft-ignored passages that make fundies uncomfortable, then by all means chime in!
posted by mds35 at 7:58 AM on June 27, 2007

Best answer: Actual Scriptures:

Genesis 9:1
But Onan knew that the offspring would not be his; so whenever he lay with his brother's wife, he spilled his semen on the ground to keep from producing offspring for his brother.

Ezekiel 23: 21
"(She) lusted after her paramours there, whose members were like those of donkeys, and whose emission was like that of stallions."
posted by The Deej at 8:02 AM on June 27, 2007 [2 favorites]

My favorite bible quote is from Revelations, which is really just a plethora of good and extremely weird quotes - REV 18:2 -
" 2 With a mighty voice he shouted: 'Fallen! Fallen is Babylon the Great! She has become a home for demons and a haunt for every evil spirit, a haunt for every unclean and detestable bird. 3 For all the nations have drunk the maddening wine of her adulteries. The kings of the earth committed adultery with her, and the merchants of the earth grew rich from her excessive luxuries.' "

Nothing says unholy like drinking the blood of saints and causing an entire nation to fall into God's not-so-good-graces.
posted by banannafish at 8:04 AM on June 27, 2007

Response by poster: The Deej, that totally rocks!

I can tell this is going to be a good thread.
posted by mds35 at 8:04 AM on June 27, 2007

Best answer: "...And thou shalt have great sickness by disease of thy bowels, until thy bowels fall out by reason of the sickness day by day." (II Chronicles 21:14-15)

Wherefore my bowels shall sound like a harp for Moab, and mine inward parts for Kirharesh. (Isaiah 16:11)
posted by The Deej at 8:06 AM on June 27, 2007

Best answer: Also actual scriptures, not exactly heretical, but kind of silly:

Proverbs 21:9
"Better to live on a corner of the roof than to share a house with a quarrelsome wife."

Proverbs 27:8
"Like a bird that strays from its nest is a man who strays from his home."
(Do we really NEED a proverb to tell us this?)

Matthew 22:27
"Finally, the woman died."

Jeremiah 20:9b
"I am weary of holding it in - indeed I cannot."
posted by Zephyrial at 8:07 AM on June 27, 2007

The Deej, that totally rocks!

Well, I just like to share The Word.
posted by The Deej at 8:07 AM on June 27, 2007

This isn't precisely what you asked for, but how about:

"Ye shall keep my statutes ... a garment mingled of linen and woollen [shall not] come upon thee." (Lev 19:19)

Since few people nowadays have any strong views about wearing clothes of mixed materials, quoting this verse in particular suggests a certain ironic tone, that you're being irrelevant with the biblical text. But no fundamentalist could possibly criticise you for appending some of "God's Word"™ to your emails.

Perhaps Deuteronomy 22:20-21 would have a similar effect:
"[If] tokens of virginity be not found for the damsel: Then they shall bring out the damsel to the door of her father's house, and the men of her city shall stone her with stones that she die"
posted by Aloysius Bear at 8:08 AM on June 27, 2007

Best answer: I'll give it a shot. There aren't necessarily scripture, but they're more irreverent refutations of the judeo-christian mythos.

So far as I can remember, there is not one word in the Gospels in praise of intelligence. --Bertrand Russell

The secret source of humor is not joy but sorrow; there is no humor in heaven. --Mark Twain

If you go to Heaven without being naturally qualified for it, you will not enjoy yourself there. --George Bernard Shaw

Heathen, n. A benighted creature who has the folly to worship something that he can see and feel. --Ambrose Bierce, The Devil's Dictionary

(interesting sidenote regarding the usual ask.mefi comment disclaimer: isn't this an example of a question where the wisecracks provide answers? )
posted by namewithoutwords at 8:09 AM on June 27, 2007

Find your preferred translation, but I really like Jesus's words in Matthew 7:21-23 (maybe just v23 would work). For more serious theological and philosophical purposes, it's worth bearing in mind that a few verses earlier he said something about judging not. But this still might be useful:

7:21. Not every one that saith to me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven: but he that doth the will of my Father who is in heaven, he shall enter into the kingdom of heaven.

7:22. Many will say to me in that day: Lord, Lord, have not we prophesied in thy name, and cast out devils in thy name, and done many miracles in thy name?

7:23. And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, you that work iniquity.
posted by ibmcginty at 8:09 AM on June 27, 2007 [2 favorites]

Best answer: "Now kill all the boys. And kill every woman who has slept with a man, but save for yourselves every girl who has never slept with a man." - Numbers 31:17. Good old Moses speaking there.
posted by jbickers at 8:26 AM on June 27, 2007

Psalm 14:1
The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God.

Luke 12:57
"Why do you not judge for yourselves what is right?" - Jesus
posted by Robot Johnny at 8:27 AM on June 27, 2007 [5 favorites]

"All great religions, in order to escape absurdity, have to admit a dilution of agnosticism. It is only the savage, whether of the African bush or the American gospel tent, who pretends to know the will and intent of God exactly and completely. "For who hath known the mind of the Lord?" asked Paul of the Romans. "How unsearchable are His judgments, and His was past finding out." "It is the glory of God," said Solomon, "to conceal a thing." "Clouds and darkness," said David, "are around Him." "No man," said the Preacher, "can find out the work of God." ... The difference between religions is a difference in their relative content of agnosticism. The most satisfying and ecstatic faith is almost purely agnostic. It trusts absolutely without professing to know at all," - H. L. Mencken.

You could pick a piece of this, or find the bible passages Mencken was quoting. I think the "For who hath known the mind of the Lord?" bit is an especially effective yet gentle rebuff to overbearing religious types.
posted by vytae at 8:35 AM on June 27, 2007 [2 favorites]

Oh, and from Vonnegut:

"Peculiar travel suggestions are dancing lessons from God."

"There's only one rule that I know of, babies—God damn it, you've got to be kind."

"She was a fool, and so am I, and so is anyone who thinks he sees what God is doing."

"There are plenty of good reasons for fighting, but no good reason ever to hate without reservation, to imagine that God Almighty Himself hates with you, too."

etc. at http://www.avclub.com/content/node/60935/1
posted by vytae at 8:38 AM on June 27, 2007 [2 favorites]

Best answer: I say fill up their inbox with an incredibly long and tedious Biblical genealogy list.
posted by game warden to the events rhino at 8:42 AM on June 27, 2007

It may be worth noting that "Love the sinner, hate the sin" is nowhere in the bible. That was St. Augustine's idea.

Why worry about a speck in your friend's eye when you have a log in your own? How can you think of saying, `Let me help you get rid of that speck in your eye,' when you can't see past the log in your own eye? Hypocrite! First get rid of the log from your own eyes; then perhaps you will see well enough to deal with the speck in your friend's eye.
--Matthew 7:3-5

Alternately, you could give them the same verses they give you in plain english. (Ps 23:1 -"God, my shepherd! I don't need a thing.")

Song of Songs from The Message. via
posted by lysdexic at 8:42 AM on June 27, 2007 [1 favorite]

Best answer: "This is what the LORD Almighty, the God of Israel, says: Drink, get drunk and vomit, and fall to rise no more" - Jeremiah 25:27
posted by tmcw at 8:45 AM on June 27, 2007 [2 favorites]

Best answer: If you're really feeling nasty, there's always Psalm 137, verse 9: "Happy shall he be, that taketh and dasheth thy little ones Against the rock."

It's not pretty in any translation.
posted by lysdexic at 8:49 AM on June 27, 2007 [2 favorites]

Had to go to the Wayback Machine to find this, and they're a bit inflammatory, but the Internet Infidels used to have a quote file. Not scriptural in form either.
posted by edd at 8:55 AM on June 27, 2007 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Good stuff, folks. Thanks a ton and keep'em coming. I'm having a hard time not marking all as best answer.

Also, more non-Bible quotes are still needed.
posted by mds35 at 8:58 AM on June 27, 2007

"God has no religion." - Mahatma Gandhi
posted by contessa at 9:10 AM on June 27, 2007 [1 favorite]

The Deej: Are you sure about those verses?

Genesis 9:1 is "And God blessed Noah and his sons, and said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth." in the King James. Your verse is actually 38:9 in my bible.

The other one is actually Ezekiel 23:20, although 23:21 is pretty good too.
posted by jtfowl0 at 9:12 AM on June 27, 2007

Best answer: "From there Elisha went up to Bethel. As he was walking along the road, some youths came out of the town and jeered at him. "Go on up, you baldhead!" they said. "Go on up, you baldhead!" He turned around, looked at them and called down a curse on them in the name of the LORD. Then two bears came out of the woods and mauled forty-two of the youths." - 2 Kings 2:23-24
posted by nicwolff at 9:16 AM on June 27, 2007 [2 favorites]

Lots of good non-biblical quotes from Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, George Washington here.
posted by peep at 9:29 AM on June 27, 2007

Genesis 30:15 and Ezekiel 4:15.
posted by brownpau at 9:30 AM on June 27, 2007

Leviticus 20:9
If anyone curses his father or mother, he must be put to death.

Deuteronomy 22:20-1 If, however, the charge is true and no proof of the girl’s virginity can be found, she shall be brought to the door of her father’s house and there the men of her town shall stone her to death. She has done a disgraceful thing in Israel by being promiscuous while still in her father’s house.

Exodus 35:2
For six days, work is to be done, but the seventh day shall be your holy day, a Sabbath of rest to the LORD. Whoever does any work on it must be put to death.

20:10-17 When you march up to attack a city, make its people an offer of peace. If they accept and open their gates, all the people in it shall be subject to forced labor and shall work for you. If they refuse to make peace and they engage you in battle, lay siege to that city. When the Lord your God delivers it into your hand, put to the sword all the men in it. As for the women, the children, the livestock and everything else in the city, you may take these as plunder for yourselves. . . . This is how you are to treat all the cities that are at a distance from you and do not belong to the nations nearby.
However, in the cities of the nations the Lord your God is giving you as an inheritance, do not leave alive anything that breathes. Completely destroy them—the Hittites, Amorites, Canaanites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites—as the Lord your God has commanded you.
Exodus 21:20-21 If a man beats his male or female slave with a rod and the slave dies as a direct result, he must be punished, but he is not to be punished if the slave gets up after a day or two, since the slave is his property

Pairs of quotes

Matthew 5:16 Let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your father in heaven.
Matthew 6:1 Be careful not to do your ‘acts of righteousness’ before men, to be seen by them.
posted by beccaj at 9:30 AM on June 27, 2007

Here are some goodies.
posted by GarageWine at 9:31 AM on June 27, 2007

Ecclesiastes 3:19: "Man's fate is like that of the animals; the same fate awaits them both: As one dies, so dies the other. All have the same breath; man has no advantage over the animal. Everything is meaningless."

In fact, just read all of Ecclesiastes. Lots of useful stuff in there.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 9:47 AM on June 27, 2007

"Now in darkness the world stops turning" -Discharge.

Don't know if it sounds biblical enough but I always loved that line.
posted by Max Power at 10:01 AM on June 27, 2007 [1 favorite]

The Deej: Are you sure about those verses?

Thanks for catching that, I mis-edited in my morning laziness. Doesn't the bible say something about sloth?
posted by The Deej at 10:12 AM on June 27, 2007

"Peace on earth!" We sing it,
And pay a million priests to bring it
After two-thousand years of mass,
We've got as far as poison-gas.

- Thomas Hardy, Christmas 1924
posted by bluenausea at 11:28 AM on June 27, 2007 [2 favorites]

Best answer: Here is a nice weird passage from Exodus

24 And it came to pass by the way in the inn, that the LORD met him [Moses], and sought to kill him.

25 Then Zipporah took a sharp stone, and cut off the foreskin of her son, and cast it at his feet, and said, Surely a bloody husband art thou to me.
posted by jadepearl at 12:14 PM on June 27, 2007

I like Ezekiel 25:17 - "The path of the righteous man is beset on all sides by the iniquity of the selfish, and the tyrrany of evil men.
Blessed is he, who in the name of charity and good will, shepherds the weak through the valley of darkness, for he is truly his brother's keeper and the finder of lost children.
And I will strike down upon thee with great veneance and furious anger those who attempt to poison and destroy my brothers. And you will know my name is the Lord, when I lay my vengeance upon thee."

Egad. All from memory, even. I need a hobby.
posted by TheNewWazoo at 12:44 PM on June 27, 2007

Sounds like you already have one.
posted by The Deej at 12:59 PM on June 27, 2007

The verse from Pulp Fiction isn't actually in the Bible, unfortunately. Might be funny on an e-mail, though.

If you want related paraphernalia, try Landover Baptist's sadistic bible verses:

"Hath he not sent me to the men which sit on the wall, that they may eat their own dung, and drink their own piss with you?"
~2 Kings 18:27

Ecclesiastes also has some excellent verses if you want to send a message:

"Say not, 'Why were the former days better than these?' For it is not from wisdom that you ask this." ~7:10
"Be not righteous overmuch, and do not make yourself overwise; why should you destroy yourself?" ~7:16
posted by Paragon at 2:06 PM on June 27, 2007 [1 favorite]

TheNewWazoo, it's a great passage, but it's not exactly biblical. It's from Pulp Fiction and also lesser known film, Karate Kiba, that Tarantino was referencing. Essentially, it's a mishmash of actual Biblical quotes and some bible-y sounding stuff.
posted by donnagirl at 2:10 PM on June 27, 2007

Should have previewed, dammit. I blame it on the iniquity of the selfish.
posted by donnagirl at 2:11 PM on June 27, 2007

No need to use the pulp fictionalization of the verse when the actual text will do:
Ezekiel 25:17: And I will execute great vengeance upon them with furious rebukes; and they shall know that I am the LORD, when I shall lay my vengeance upon them.

If you want to point to hypocrisy, try these:
Matthew 5:39 But I tell you, Do not resist an evil person. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also.
44-45 But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.

Or maybe 1 John 2:15 Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.
1 Peter 2:18 Slaves, submit yourselves to your masters with all respect, not only to those who are good and considerate, but also to those who are harsh.

Want childish vulgarity? KJV is good for that.
Genesis 22:5 And Abraham said unto his young men, Abide ye here with the ass; and I and the lad will go yonder and worship, and come again to you.
Genesis 44:3 As soon as the morning was light, the men were sent away, they and their asses.
Numbers 22:30 And the ass said unto Balaam, Am not I thine ass, upon which thou hast ridden ever since I was thine unto this day? was I ever wont to do so unto thee? and he said, Nay.
Proverbs 26:3 A whip for the horse, a bridle for the ass, and a rod for the fool's back. (Kinky!)

And when we were told to get up early at church camp, I always enjoyed Proverbs 27:14 If a man loudly blesses his neighbor early in the morning, it will be taken as a curse.
posted by kyleg at 2:17 PM on June 27, 2007

If you're going to do it properly, you should really be quoting Anton LaVey :P His books are a riot, and you can't fail to come across quotes that will annoy the preachers. Hell, even mentioning his name is going to get some kind of response. Examples:

"All religions of a spiritual nature are inventions of man. He has created an entire system of gods with nothing more than his carnal brain. Just because he has an ego, and cannot accept it, he has to externalize it into some great spiritual device which he calls "God"."

"On Saturday night, I would see men lusting after half-naked girls dancing at the carnival, and on Sunday morning when I was playing organ for tent-show evangelists at the other end of the carnival lot, I would see these same men sitting in the pews with their wives and children, asking God to forgive them and purge them of carnal desires. And the next Saturday they'd be back at the carnival or some other place of indulgence. I knew then that the Christian church thrives on hypocrisy, and that man's carnal nature will out no matter how much it is purged or scoured by any white-light religion."

"A little child learns that if he wishes for something hard enough, it will come true. This is meaningful. Wishing indicates desire, whereas prayer is accompanied by apprehension. Scripture has twisted desire into lust, covetousness, and greed. Be as a child, and do not stifle desire."

"You cannot love everyone; it is ridiculous to think you can. If you love everyone and everything you lose your natural powers of selection and wind up being a pretty poor judge of character and quality."

Absolutely loads from Wikiquote.
posted by saturnine at 2:19 PM on June 27, 2007

If you use Firefox, type "about:mozilla" in the address bar and you'll see this:
And so at last the beast fell and the unbelievers rejoiced.
But all was not lost, for from the ash rose a great bird.
The bird gazed down upon the unbelievers and cast fire
and thunder upon them. For the beast had been
reborn with its strength renewed, and the
followers of Mammon cowered in horror.

from The Book of Mozilla, 7:15
posted by RussHy at 3:15 PM on June 27, 2007 [5 favorites]

The Pulp Fiction quote exactly fits mds35's criteria and request for "more non-Bible quotes."
posted by kirkaracha at 3:26 PM on June 27, 2007

Best answer: Holy cow, RussHy, that's pretty awesome.
posted by ibmcginty at 3:31 PM on June 27, 2007

There's a nice reference of "Indecent Bible Quotes" here, compiled in an effort to challenge the CDA. Though some of the ones here are more fun!
posted by Andrhia at 4:36 PM on June 27, 2007

Money quote:
Numbers 5:27
And when he hath made her drink the water, then it shall come to pass, if she be defiled, and have acted unfaithfully against her husband, that the water that causeth the curse shall enter into her and become bitter, and her belly shall swell, and her thigh shall fall away; and the woman shall be a curse among her people.

Numbers 5 basically has instructions for taking your wife to the temple priest for a forced abortion if you suspect her of infidelity. Note also that in ancient Hebrew law, infants didn't count as persons until 30 days after birth. The biblical basis for proscribing abortion is contrived by those with their own agenda./side note
posted by mullingitover at 8:21 PM on June 27, 2007 [2 favorites]

Best answer: Here are a few handsful of non-Bible quotes you may enjoy:

I do not feel obliged to believe that that same God who has endowed us with sense, reason, and intellect has intended us to forego their use.
– Galileo Galilei

You can safely assume that you’ve created God in your own image when it turns out that God hates all the same people you do.
– Anne Lamott

I still say a church steeple with a lightning rod on top shows a lack of confidence.
– Doug MacLeod

The Church says that the Earth is flat, but I know that it is round. For I have seen the shadow on the moon and I have more faith in the Shadow than in the Church.
– Ferdinand Magellan

When I was a kid I used to pray every night for a new bicycle. Then I realized that the Lord doesn’t work that way, so I stole one and asked for forgiveness.
– Emo Phillips

I contend that we are both atheists. I just believe in one fewer god than you do. When you understand why you dismiss all the other possible gods, you will understand why I dismiss yours.
– Stephen Roberts

Put God to work for you and maximize your potential in our divinely ordered capitalist system.
– Norman Vincent Peale

To you I’m an atheist; to God, I’m the Loyal Opposition.
– Woody Allen

I like your Christ. I do not like your Christians. They are so unlike your Christ.
– Gandhi

Whatever a man prays for, he prays for a miracle. Every prayer reduces
itself to this: “Great God, grant that twice two be not four.”
– Ivan Sergeievich Turgenev

In Lubbock, we grew up with two main things: God loves you and he’s gonna send you to hell, and that sex is bad and dirty and nasty and awful and you should save it for the one you love.
– Butch Hancock

I would defend the liberty of consenting adult creationists to practice whatever intellectual perversions they like in the privacy of their own homes; but it is also necessary to protect the young and innocent.
– Arthur C. Clarke

The greatest tragedy in mankind’s entire history may be the hijacking of morality by religion.
– Arthur C. Clarke

You save yourself or you remain unsaved.
– Alice Seybold

Men never do evil so completely and cheerfully as when they do it from religious conviction.
– Blaise Pascal

The opposite of fundamentalism is not scientism or modernism. The opposite of fundamentalism is humility.
– Kate Tucker, Unitarian minister

The opposite of faith is not doubt. The opposite of faith is certainty. A person who claims to know the mind or will of God is pathological.
– The Rev. Alan Jones, dean of Grace Cathedral

Religion is what keeps the poor from murdering the rich.
– Napoleon
posted by bryon at 8:51 PM on June 27, 2007 [16 favorites]

Wow, bryon, do you have a source for the Napoleon quote?
posted by magnusbe at 5:57 AM on June 28, 2007

Isaiah 26:20 (Darby): Come, my people, enter into thy chambers, and shut thy doors about thee; hide thyself just for a little moment, until the indignation be past.

Some translations have it "the LORD's indignation", but most of them make it sound like it's the addressees' own indignation which they need to hide (from). . . .

(upon further reading: actually, most of Isaiah 26 is pretty fun. . .)
posted by FlyingMonkey at 6:47 AM on June 28, 2007

Best answer: I hope I'm not too late here, but this one really makes me laugh, out of context:

"Then Nathan said to David, 'You are the man!'"
-- 2 Samuel 12:7
posted by invitapriore at 11:44 AM on June 28, 2007

Best answer: Deuteronomy 25:11-12 is a personal fave; here's how it goes in the Oxford Study Edition of the New English Bible:

When two men are fighting and the wife of one of them comes near to drag her husband clear of his opponent, if she puts out her hand and catches hold of the man's genitals, you shall cut off her hand and show her no mercy.

The first time I read it I thought, 'Did this happen a lot in ancient times?' Also, Ken's Guide to the Bible is must-reading for this kind of stuff.
posted by mediareport at 7:34 PM on June 28, 2007

Sorry, magnusbe; I can't locate a source for the quote other than that it came from Napoleon Bonaparte.
posted by bryon at 8:13 PM on June 28, 2007

cobaltnine, where can I get my hands on the Pratchett quotes? I'd love to see a list...
posted by yggdrasil at 11:23 AM on July 2, 2007

There are tons on the LSpace, in the Annotated Pratchett file, by book, although some one-liners are in the one-liners file below that.

My own quote list was an experiment in using PHP for the first time - I needed a dozen or so quotes so I could have them pop up in my webpages in a div. It's small, slightly pro-evil, and available here.
posted by cobaltnine at 7:57 PM on July 2, 2007

Romans 13:8 - Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law.

Corinthians 13 - Now abideth faith, hope and love. These three; but the greatest of these is love.

Proverbs 26:20 - Without wood a fire goes out; without gossip a quarrel dies down

[Many proverbs are pretty good].
posted by Rashomon at 9:10 PM on July 5, 2007

Best answer: “No man whose testicles are crushed or whose penis is cut off shall be admitted to the assembly of the Lord.”

- Deuteronomy 23:1
posted by Demogorgon at 7:05 PM on November 25, 2007

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