When it comes to Iron Age bloody myths, the Hindu Mahabharata beats out the Jewish/Christian Bible hands down by two orders of magnitude. Steve Wells documents how the God of the Bible sanctioned almost 25 million deaths, while the Mahabharata itself (11.26) tells us that 1,660,020,000 died in the dharma-sanctified mutual family slaughter on the plain of Kurukshetra alone — even more die elsewhere.
Question to readers: Am I a bad father to read such bloody literature to my 11 year-old daughter — not the Bible, mind you, but the Mahabharata? Maybe I should instead read her the gory tales of how Yahweh cheers on the Jews to slaughter of Moabites, Ammonites and Philistines — that way she can at least grow up knowing the same sacred stories as her friends and perhaps fit in better. What do you think?
Note: See more of my posts on the Mahabharata here.