It seems like for every person who has sat down and studied the Christian Bible cover to cover, there are several hundred who know only what they picked up from half-remembered Sunday school lessons and that Mel Gibson movie. So, as we've covered previously, many of the things we think came straight out of the Bible actually aren't mentioned in there at all.
But if many of the most iconic features of Christianity aren't taking up space in the holy book, it makes one wonder just what, in fact, is in there. Well, for starters, there's ...
5God Getting into a Wrestling Match With a Man (and Tapping Out)
What You Know
If the Old Testament taught us anything, it's that God is one bad dude -- badder than Leroy Brown by a factor immeasurable, because He's freaking God. Seriously, we remember the whole "Superman could beat up Batman" playground argument as kids being brought to an untimely end by that one killjoy religious kid who said, "Well, God could beat them both up!" And there's no arguing with that because, as the creator of the universe, God created ass-kicking.
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And the Japanese were all like "We have mods for everything."
What You Didn't Know
If you're not a total novice, you know that one of the key figures early in the Bible is Jacob, aka the father of the 12 tribes of Israel. We're not going to recount his whole story here, but at one point he's running for his life and finds himself all alone in the desert. Just a man and his thoughts.
Oh, and God, who, out of nowhere, grabs Jacob from behind. Now, you might think that being grabbed from behind by the Big Guy himself pretty much means your ass is ash, but not so with Jacob -- nope, Jacob wrestles Him (not knowing that it's Him, with a capital "H") all night long.
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And God said, let there be ass-kicking. And there was ass-kicking.
When dawn arrives and the two are still going at it, God realizes that he has accidentally solved the ancient thought experiment, "Could God create a wrestler so badass that not even He could pin him?" and figures out He's not going to win. So instead he touches Jacob's hip and causes it to go out of the socket. This is probably an illegal move, but who are you going to complain to?
But Jacob still won't relent, so something unexpected happens: God asks Jacob to let Him go, and Jacob -- still not knowing who he has in a headlock -- demands that his attacker bless him first. It's only then that he finds out what's really happening -- that he's essentially beaten up God.
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"Oh, hey, dude, I was just kidding. We're cool, right?"
And you might not have guessed it (what with His penchant for plagues and smiting and stuff), but God is apparently not a sore loser. He did indeed bless Jacob, with a new name:
"And he said, Thy name shall be called no more Jacob, but Israel: for as a prince hast thou power with God and with men, and hast prevailed."
We should note here that there are different versions of the text, and some translations say that it was merely an angel sent by God that Jacob wrestled into submission, which honestly only makes the story about 10 percent less weird.
4Jesus' Many Brothers and Sisters
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What You Know
The virgin birth of Jesus is one of the very cornerstones of Christianity. You know the drill: God sent the Holy Spirit down from heaven to plant His son directly into Mary's womb, skipping right over what is arguably the one and only fun part of the human pregnancy. Some denominations (like the biggest of them all, Roman Catholicism) take it one step further, teaching that not only was Mary a virgin until giving birth to Jesus, but that she led her entire life dong-free.
"What? Oh, no, I'm fine. Just daydreaming. Not about dicks, though."
What You Didn't Know
In a revelation that just gave us an idea for the bitchingest family sitcom ever, it turns out Jesus wasn't the only brat tinkering around in Joseph's wood shop, because according to the Bible, he had brothers and sisters. This isn't some obscure trivia: Jesus' siblings are referenced right here in Mark 6:3:
"Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary, the brother of James, and Joses, and of Juda, and Simon? and are not his sisters here with us? And they were offended at him."
Well, they were after they saw some of the drunken texts he was sending out.
And the holy siblings pop up again in Matthew 13:55-56:
"Is not this the carpenter's son? is not his mother called Mary? and his brethren, James, and Joses, and Simon, and Juda? And his sisters, are they not all with us? Whence then hath this man all these things?"
So there were not only at least four brothers, but multiple sisters. All growing up in the same house as the Messiah. This doesn't change anything in terms of what the various sects believe (the "Mary was always a virgin" theory figures the kids were Joseph's from a previous marriage), but it does mean the Bible left out some of the most interesting stories. Did the other kids get along with Jesus? At what point did they know he wasn't just another kid (he started schooling church elders as early as age 12)? If nothing else, it had to have made things weird around Christmas.