I’ve been known to occasionally take the piss on the damn Bible, everyone knows that. But if you’ve been wondering why I always harass the Old Testament stories and never the New, well, it’s because the New Testament is super boring. Sure, there are 4 books about Jesus that are all sort of the same story Rashomon-ed up. But the rest is mostly lame letters and stuff until the crazy end of the world story- which sounds cool, until you remember it’s an allegory for 1st Century politics and/or the ravings of an obvious madman.
The only exception to all those boring letters is Acts, which is basically the “Where Are They Now” follow up to the Jesus narrative (The term “now” being figurative, as all these people died millennia ago). Acts is the only really interesting part of the NT if you grew up in a church, because A.) you grow up with Jesus’ story bashed into your head so hard that it becomes monotonous at an early age, B.) Revelation is just ridiculous bullshit, and finally C.) the rest of the NT has no narrative at all. I don’t know about you, but Paul going on and on and on about morality and what it means to be a Christian and oh my god I’m too bored to finish this sentence. Point is, if you want to make fun of the Bible post-Jesus, you gotta go to Acts. Luckily, at times it is totally bonkers. Two paragraphs should be more than enough introduction for everyone, let’s talk about Saint Peter’s Death Gaze (Of The Damned!)!™
Wait, you don’t believe me? I swear I am not making any of this stuff up. After Jesus died he apparently gave Peter all sorts of crazy superpowers, that is totally canonical. Along with your standard issue Biblical magical healing powers, Acts of the Apostles Edition Peter came equipped with a built in universal translator, the ability to cast Life 2 and enact literal resurrection upon the dead, and the ability to have weird and symbolic dreams about animals wrapped up in bedsheets (or something, don't worry about it). But his craziest (and most terrifying) power was definitely his Death Stare. Guys, that is straight out of Acts Chapter 5, Saint Peter could (and did) kill a man just by looking at him (… for Christ, I guess?).
Now, you know how Jesus was kind of anti-ownership and stuff? You know, “Render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s” and the whole “easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than a rich man to enter the kingdom”? All that stuff? Yeah. I’m not going to call Jesus a total hippy, because the dude also said some pretty harsh stuff that is very un-hippy like (“He who does not abide in me is as a branch cast off and burned” is pretty much the opposite of mellow). But after he died his followers went straight up commune.
I mean, we are talking militant anti-property to the max. Nobody owned anything, everyone shared everything, and I may even mean EVERYTHING everything. (Sexy times are not discussed in the book, but I’m going to imply them here, because I think it would make the disciples less boring.) All of the followers were expected to listen to Jesus’ “sell everything and follow me” to the letter, with the proceeds being shared amongst the pro-Jesus lobby.
But there’s always going to be a turd in the punchbowl. You see, some people who weren’t religious fanatics also thought that a lot of what Jesus said made sense, and maybe there was something to these teachings. But apocalyptic preachers were a dime a dozen at the time, so maybe they thought they SHOULDN’T just give every single thing they owned to his followers. I mean, say they hadn’t personally witnessed any of the crazy awesome magic stuff the apostles were talking about. Sure, maybe they had heard rumors, and these Jesus guys were WAY into it, but it all seemed just a little farfetched to them, if they were honest with themselves.
One such “slightly doubtful, but intrigued” person was a man named Ananias, and no, he had no relation to the former High Priest who assisted with the whole crucifixion thing*. We’re not given much information on him, other than he and his wife, Sapphira (which is an awesome name) happened to own some land, and also happened to want to get into this new “Jesus thing” clique. So, the two of them sold their land, and- figuring that no one but dangerous fanatics would really buy into the “EVERYTHING that is yours is now part of our CRAZY END OF THE WORLD CULT” stuff- deciding they’d give some of the money to the church… but maybe they’d keep some of it off to the side, just in case.
If you read the title of this post, you already know that they had made a grave error. (Haha, punning!)
Ananias comes to Peter, and -according to the damn book- literally laid the money at his feet. I’m picturing Peter on some massive thrown built out of the piles of other currency brought before him like he’s a sinister Scrooge McDuck or something, but I have an overactive imagination. Still, Peter turns straight up supervillain here.
Peter: “Ananias… Why has Satan filled your heart? So much that you would LIE to the HOLY SPIRIT?!?!”
A very confused Ananias looks around, going “Uh… you said you would like a donation…?”
Peter goes on, hellfire burning in his eyes: “This is NOT all of the money you received from selling your own PERSONAL land. Which was YOURS, REMEMBER? Yours, not OURS, but everything you owned is now OURS, because of JESUS!”
Ananias, just now realizing how unhinged the profusely sweating Simon Peter really is, begins to become concerned. “I thought… I thought that was a parable, or… Or something. You can’t possibly be serious. Literally give up everything to you guys? Who I just met? That’s crazy!”
Yes. Yes it is. But Peter is kind of a fanatic, like I said. “YOU HAVE LIED, MY GOOD SIR, NOT TO ME, AS A MAN, BUT TO GOD HIMSELF! SMOKE THAT BITCH!”
Visualized here, in this painting by my second favorite Ninja Turtle.
Boom! DEATH GAZE. Ananias falls dead right before him, just like that, because Peter and the
cult church need all of the
money. OR ELSE. After having disposed of the body (yes, that
part is mentioned in Acts as well) Peter waits around for Sapphira to show
up. No one bothers to tell her that
Peter just killed her husband with his mind, so when Peter asked her “Hey, was
that donation Ananias made the whole thing?”
She didn’t really stop and think about it when she replied “Yeah, sure.”
SMOKE THAT BITCH! Death gaze times two! That’s what you get for considering the concept of personal ownership, jerkbags!
Immediately following this incident, Acts Chapter 5, Verse 11 states “And a great fear came upon all the church, and upon as many as heard these things.”
No shit. You'd be scared too, if your spiritual leader just killed two people with his mind/eyes/whatever.
So, moral of the story: When vaguely hippy-ish religious cultists offer you eternal salvation and happiness as long as you submit to their absolute rule and socio-political philosophy, maybe do some due diligence before you sign up, just in case their de facto spiritual leader happens to have the ability to instant-murder you at the smallest slight. Also, the founding fathers of Christianity were pretty crazy, but you probably already knew that.
*= That person actually existed for real, and not just as part of a ridiculous story cobbled together from other local myths. Guys, “Death Gazes” do not really exist. This story did not literally happen. That’s insane. If you’re still confused about this, I don’t even know what to say.