How “Young Sheldon” Can Test Your Apologetics

Young Sheldon, Season 1: Ep. 18, CBS

I was recently on Facebook and this video clip “Young Sheldon” scrolled across my feed. I’ve seen all the promos for this show that run on TV, but this was the first actual clip I had seen. Take a watch.

In the scene, Sheldon’s mom, the classic southern-raise, Bible Belt mother, is upset when she finds explicit things in the comic books he has been reading. Like any reasonable mother, she decides to take them away. As she stacks the comic books from his room into a box, Sheldon, using his quick whit, retorts with a passive aggressive comment saying, “There’s one more book that belongs in the box. [It’s] filled with adultery, genocide, and even human sacrifice.” He then places a Bible on the bed.

That’s an interesting thought by Mr. Sheldon but that got me thinking: “How many people who saw this episode started second guessing the Bible they thought they knew?” I can only imagine the number of people that started asking questions like, “Does the Bible really talk about that stuff?” “Is that what it supports?” Let’s take each of Sheldon’s claims one at a time!

Adultery?

“There’s no way this could actually be in the Bible, right?” Well… Wrong actually. David. Sampson, kinda. Abraham. These are examples of people committing some sort of adulterous action over the course of their time mentioned in the Bible. David was considered to be a man after God’s own heart. Abraham was the father to the nation of Israel and was revered for his faith in the Lord. Some atheists may say this evidence proves that the Bible is a lie since all these things are in it.

Not really. The Bible teaches that man kind is sinful and broken. No matter how close we think we are to God, we will still mess up simply because we’re human. Every time some form of adultery occurs in the Bible, it’s NEVER celebrated! Often, it’s looked at as the example of “what not to do” or how even the strongest followers of God can mess up. The Bible doesn’t teach how to become the perfect version of yourself, but it does teach about Jesus being the Atonement for all our sins. So, Sheldon, the Bible is showing us imperfect people? That’s okay, because no where is it written that Christians are perfect. You don’t have to look far to find that.

Genocide?

There are roughly 17,000 distinctly unique people groups around the world. Many times throughout history people have tried to wipe out entire groups of people: it’s called genocide. Examples include the Holocaust, Cambodia, and Armenian Genocide. Groups likes the Amalekites, Perizzites, Hivites, and Jebusites don’t exist today. According to Biblical accounts, that’s because God commanded the Israelites to slaughter them all. That doesn’t sound too just or loving. Why would God command that then?

How are we even supposed to begin processing that? We must first understand that the Canaanites were doing things that most any civilized society in the world would have condoned—incest, infant sacrifice, ritual prostitution, bestiality. It’s not like they were completely innocent before God or even man when God brought on their judgement. Moreover, God waited over 400 years before He commanded that they be “driven out” and utterly destroyed once they reached rock bottom. At this point in history, God was using war as a means to judging the nations. His judgement was just because of all the sins they were committing.

Human Sacrifice?

You betcha! This is in the Bible. There’s Abraham laying his son Issac on an altar, where he intended on sacrificing him as a burnt offering. Then, there’s Jephthah. He made a covenant with God saying that he would sacrifice the very next thing that came through his gates. Unfortunately, that happened to be his daughter; he followed through with his covenant.

Both of these instances, which are among the most common cited when talking about human sacrifice in the Bible, deal with obedience to God. Ultimately, Abraham and Isaac was meant to be a picture of the coming King. Isaac was spared because God provided a ram for Abraham. Abraham knew God had never failed him yet and that He wouldn’t start then. Obeying God was the best thing he could have done! In regards to Jephthah, he found himself in a covenant that he made with the Lord about sacrificing the next thing to walk through the gates. Covenants were not meant to be broken and to do so would have resulted in severe punishment. These things seem odd at first but when put into the larger scheme of the Bible they fit together nicely, just like a puzzle piece.

Application

These challenges may come up in a conversation and they can see rather troubling at first, but before you panic, ask these people if they can name any examples of those three: adultery, genocide, and human sacrifice or whatever they challenge you on. Once you’ve done that, you’ll probably find that they couldn’t give any detailed examples of those things. If that’s the case, refer them to some of the explanations given in this article. Then, see where the conversation leads from there! Remember, it’s okay to tell a person that you’re not sure about a claim, and you want to research it so you can better answer their questions.

11 comments

  1. So, young Sheldon was right about human sacrifice. I felt like your answer concerning Jephtah was a bit of a side-step to the argument, so I read the chapter of Judges that narrated it and find that Sheldon was right on this one. I, myself am a Christian, but I’m still puzzled by this part(among others) of the Bible. What lesson was there to be learned here?

    Don’t get me wrong. I am, by no means, rebelling against God or the Bible. I just remembered what I read in a post somewhere that “a person who doesn’t question his religion and only follows it blindly is either a fool who can be swayed by any sound doctrine or person who wishes to get to know his God more intimately.” I tend to be the latter.

    1. Hey Glen, Caleb here. Thanks for your comment!

      You’re right! We definitely should examine why we believe what we do! I didn’t mean to make it seem like I was side stepping the issue Jephthah’s actions of sacrificing his daughter. Jephthah actually did sacrifice his daughter. I wanted to get at the “why” he sacrificed his daughter since there’s no denying that he did. I believe that God included it into the Old Testament writings to show how serious a covenant with the Lord is. If Jephthah had simply broken the covenant, what would that say about all the other covenants with the Lord throughout the Bible. Had he broken the covenant, the Lord would have had to punish him. Rather than breaking the covenant and being punished, he obeyed and followed through with his covenant. Furthermore, this shows us how serious a covenant with the Lord is! It’s good news for us that Christ keeps these covenants so seriously with his people! Covenants should not be made flippantly.

      1. I just wanted to add, that Judges is all about people who “did what was right in their own eyes” It shows that Jepthah didn’t really understand how to honor God. He made a vow that went against God’s law: “You must not worship the Lord your God the way the other nations worship their gods, for they perform for their gods every detestable act that the Lord hates. They even burn their sons and daughters as sacrifices to their gods.”
        ‭‭Deuteronomy‬ ‭12:31‬ ‭NLT‬‬
        As far as I know, the text never condones what he did.

      2. I just wanted to add, that Judges is all about people who “did what was right in their own eyes” It shows that Jepthah didn’t really understand how to honor God. He made a vow that went against God’s law: “You must not worship the Lord your God the way the other nations worship their gods, for they perform for their gods every detestable act that the Lord hates. They even burn their sons and daughters as sacrifices to their gods.”
        ‭‭Deuteronomy‬ ‭12:31‬ ‭NLT‬‬
        As far as I know, the text never condones what he did.

      3. Thanks for replying, Caleb. I appreciate the explanation and your follow up comment. But now, I’m even more puzzled. Because God was never for human sacrifices especially, if its for His sake. Even though, as you mentioned, the Bible did not condone the action, it makes me wonder why God allowed it to happen. I haven’t read the entire story but wouldn’t have God intervened on behalf of the daughter because she was innocent? Why was there no warnings or signs that something like that could happen? I know this may be a little too big to bite and chew, so if you could provide a link on any commentaries about Jephthah and his story, that would be great! Thanks again!

      4. My mistake. Sorry, Rachel. I thought it was Caleb who made the follow up comment. Thanks for your input on the matter!

  2. These are common objections, sure. I think the problem is that this sort of this is included on a popular TV show. Talk about an agenda. What ever happened to just normal television?

    1. I agree! Television has done an excellent job of merging their agenda into their entertainment! Just imagine if Christians were doing the same with Gospel in our conversations! Talk about changing the world!

  3. This was so good, my friend!

    A lot of people have the same views that Sheldon does when it comes to the Bible. This post is a great example of what to say in response to that.

    There are a lot of people who think that because these things are in the Bible, that it gives them an excuse to watch, read, and view certain media productions (I know some Christians who believe this too). But it’s all in the context! These things have a completely different meaning in the Bible than it does in secular media productions.

    You just made me think hard about this, Caleb! Haha

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