An atheist has emblazoned his truck with an "offensive" Bible verse in an attempt to prove just how "hateful" the Christian faith really is, reveals a new report.
Five years ago, Tom Hicks of Chesterfield, Virginia painted 1 Corinthians 14:34 on the back of his truck: "Women shall be silent and submissive." Along with the verse, Hicks painted on three crosses, the fish symbol and the expression "Read The Bible", reports WTVR.
When asked about the controversial verse, Hicks explained he is an atheist and wants to prove to people that the Bible is a "hateful piece of work".
"The reason I put this particular message on, I want people to read the Bible, I want them to see this message and say is that true," he said. "Right now I don't believe there's a God so I guess you would say I'm an atheist...[the Bible is] a hateful, hateful piece of work which Christians try to turn around and they talk about love."
Hicks told the outlet he's become accustomed to people taking pictures of his tailgate and mouthing obscenities at him. He said he hopes that those who see the verse will be so offended, they'll read the Bible to understand how terrible it really is.
"Hopefully people will read it and learn for themselves, these preachers and priests and ministers, they're making stuff up," he said.
However, Pastor Joey Anthony of Mt. Pleasant Baptist Church told the outlet the verse has clearly been taken out of context -- especially when you actually look at what the rest of the Bible says.
"Jesus really did raise women to a level - where as in that culture they were seen as second class citizens - but Jesus loves all people and he raised women up to a different level, really," he said, explaining that while there is violence in the Bible, there is also love.
"The very person who wrote that passage of scripture in Corinthians, also wrote in Ephesians that husbands are to love their wives just as Christ loved the church, which is an unconditional love, and it's a sacrificial love," Anthony added.
Reverend James Sprouse of Trinity United Methodist Church in McLean told WUSA that the Apostle Paul, the author of the Corinthian epistles, was speaking directly to the people of Corinth.
"As for women being any less than men, even in the Corinth church, that's not what they intended," he said. "Although women weren't supposed to speak in the contest of teaching, (they were uneducated) they were allowed to prophesied. And evidently, they were getting so loud, so boisterous, it's almost like listening to one of the talking head shows on TV where everyone's talking over top of each other."
He added that verse does not mean women need to be silent. "What they were trying to do was get some kind of order and structure to their assemblies together," he said.
Meanwhile, Hicks said he's never thought about taking the scripture verse off his tailgate -- but he has considered highlighting different, equally "offensive" verses.