The Death Toll In The Bible Is Higher Than You Think

For centuries, the Bible has been a book of comfort, hope, and encouragement for many of the world's religions. Yet, if the Bible was made into a movie, it would probably get an R rating. Incest, rape, murder, and even references to infanticide permeate the pages. Even absent violence, there are other gruesome passages, including unflinching accounts of starvation or dying of painful, chronic illnesses.

What is more, the number of people recorded as being killed in the text — whether directly by God, by people acting on orders from God, or people acting in God's name — is quite high, by the document's own admission. And if the events depicted in the text are to be taken as true, historical things that actually happened, then the death toll may have been even higher.

So what is the Bible's estimated death toll? Well, it appears to be in the millions, as it turns out.

The number varies depending on whom you ask

In the book "Drunk with Blood: God's Killings in the Bible," author Steve Wells crunched the numbers and looked at every death, whether reported as a single death or a massive death (such as in battle or due to famine), that God was at least obliquely involved in, throughout the Bible. As reported via the Dwindling In Unbelief blog, he looked at the numbers of dead listed in the text (where there are specific numbers). Further, those numbers are compared to estimates of how many people might have actually died and been left out of the final count. Both numbers are well into the millions.

The biggest single instance of mass death in the Bible is the Great Flood. Though the text doesn't give an exact number, estimates claim that as many as 20 million people died in the event. Various famines and wars also claimed tens of thousands, as reported in the text, possibly even more, according to scientific estimates. Taking the Bible at its word (and including events referenced in extra-canonical books) reveals a death count of 2,821,364, while the actual number, due to the text's having left out flood deaths, is probably pushing 24,994,828.

Wired took things even further and compared the God-ordained deaths to those caused by, or carried out in the name of, God's antitheses, Satan. That number is only 10, meaning that God was at least partially responsible for 227,037% more deaths than Satan was.