Will sent me a bit of sporting news today, Kentucky Cross Country Runner Pulls Out of Regional Championships Rather Than Run With Bib Number 666. It is already getting a bunch of attention and you can expect the Christian conservatives to make a big deal about it. Codie Thacker will be seen as a hero who refused to harm her relationship with God for glory in a track and field event. But I have a question: what if she’s just an idiot?
I’ve always found the Christian obsession with the number 666 ridiculous. For one thing, the Bible doesn’t say that the number itself is evil or that anything associated with it is evil. It says that the “beast” will have that number. Aristotle laid this out a few centuries earlier than Jesus was supposedly walking around. It goes as follows. “All the beasts will have the number 666” does not imply “All that have the number 666 are beasts.”
Beyond this, I would think that Christians wouldn’t like all this nonsense about 666. After all, this is superstition. In fact, it is very much creating idols. All the stuff about Satan smacks of a religion that has fallen back into polytheism. In the Old Testament, Satan seems more like a pixie. But in the modern conception of him, he is a god. There’s no getting around that. If there is a big fight coming between Good and Evil, it can’t be between a God and “not a god.” No one would even pay to watch that fight on pay per view. But whatever; I’ve been complaining for years that Christians don’t take their religion very seriously. It’s one apostasy after another.
The first thing I thought when I saw that their girl was making a bold stand for Revelation 13:18 was, “Don’t you read the news?!” Back in 2005, there was a lot of reporting saying that the number 666 was a mis-translation. Now it could be that I was just more aware of this because I love the whole issue of Biblical translations. One of my favorite things is to ask Christians what language most of the New Testament is written in. The average Christian has no idea. I don’t think most of them ever thought that it was anything but English!
The truth is, we don’t know what the number of the beast is. But it seems that the number of the Beast was not originally 666, but rather 616. How do we know this? Well, that’s Dick Cheney’s address! Oh, I kid the former vice-president! Here’s the thing. All we have of the Bibles in the first couple of centuries after Jesus are fragments like the one pictured above. So we run into this problem that a single error can be repeated over and over again in many early Bibles. But the earliest fragment we have says that it is 616, not 666. Now some early scholars thought that it was a mistake. We really don’t know, but many modern scholars think that 616 is correct.
This brings up a very important question. Do Christians believe what they believe because it is in the Bible or even because it is official church dogma? Or do they believe it because it is simply what everyone else believes? It is an important distinction. In the case of Codie Thacker, she wasn’t standing up for Christ or for her church. She was just standing up for folklore. As it is, I question whether she has ever even read Revelation 13:18. It’s really hard to get through the Book of Revelation—it’s bizarre. Most Christians focus on more relevant parts of the Bible like the Gospels (“Jesus loves you”) or Leviticus (“Get the fags”).
Christians may hold up Thacker as a hero. But she is no such thing. She’s just another Christian who doesn’t even take her own faith seriously. She’s yet another superstitious cultural Christian whose thinking is limited to knowing that Christianity is “right” and other religions are “wrong.” But as a typical example of the bankruptcy of American Christianity, she’s a total winner.