A nonbeliever's SECOND reading of the Bible

A nonbeliever's SECOND reading of the Bible
Hunc tu caveto.

Monday, July 27, 2009

God teaches Moses magic tricks

Day 15 - Moses starts off Chapter 4 by teaching Moses a series of magic tricks: 1) turning a staff into a snake, 2) the leprous hand healing trick, and 3) turning water into blood.

What an odd collection of tricks to exhibit, especially when the desired outcome is to free an entire culture from slavery. Moses was still a little nervous, even with these handy dandy magic tricks up his sleeve. "Um, God. I'm not a very good speaker also."

God admits something very odd in response. "Who hath made man's mouth? or who maketh the dumb, or deaf, or the seeing, or the blind? have not I the LORD?"

Does this mean that God makes retarded people on purpose? Yes! Apparently. I always thought that, theologically speaking, Down's Syndrome and other birth defects were derived from the Original Sin. But in Exodus 4:11 God's saying that He makes them dumb. Well, that answers a lot of questions! Except for, "Why?"

Well anyways, God arranges to have Moses's well-spoken brother Aaron speak on behalf of him.

Amazingly, God tells Moses that after the magic tricks, He (God) will harden the heart of the Pharoah so that he will still not free the Israelites. This hardening of the heart eventually leads to the slaughter of first-born sons, and eventually the plagues, locusts, etc. Personally, I think the big Y.H.W.H. just wants to use his omnipotence on the Egyptians. Y'know? Just for the hell of it! I would.

I think it's a horrible thing, but that's because I'm speaking from a human perspective. But from an all-knowing and all-powerful standpoint, it would be kind of like burning ants with a magnifying class, except on a much vaster scale. Yes, I was one of those boys who did that. That's why there's no doubt that the God of the Bible is definitely an immature man - maybe even a boy! An all-knowing, all-powerful pre-pubescent male.

Putting foreskin on Moses' feet

Before Moses reaches Egypt, God ruffles Moses up a little. He actually tries to kill Moses because his son hasn't been circumcised yet! Perhaps at the last moment, Moses' wife slices the offending extra skin off and throws it at Moses's feet, and the all-powerful Lord of the Universe stops trying to kill Moses. In the words of instant messagers and bloggers around the world: WTF!!!

I guess it's a good idea to have a foreskin handy next time God attacks you!

First visit to the Big P

The Big P is the Pharoah, in case you were wondering. Chapter 5 is about Moses, Aaron, and God's first meeting with the king of Egypt. It didn't work out too well. Actually, I think it pissed the Pharoah off.

The Pharoah ordered that no more straw be given to the Israelites to help them in their brickmaking, but they still had the same quota of bricks to make. Yea, the Pharoah is a complete asshole. The Israelites inability to produce gets them in trouble and they are treated even worse. So, the Israelites blame Moses and then Moses complains to God.

God says, "Hey Moses, this is all part of the plan. Now you're going to see what I can do, bub."

The Second Visit

After Moses whines to God, God reveals His "other name" to Moses - Jehovah. Big whoop. Moses is asking why God doesn't do anything, and the best God can do is tell Moses another one of his multiple names?

God reassures Moses that this is all part of His divine plan. Moses again approaches the pharoah. Remember when he complained to God about being a bad speaker? Well, he complains again, saying, "how then shall Pharaoh hear me, who am of uncircumcised lips?"

Uncircumcised lips? Wow, that's kind of a strange thing to blurt out. Moses really does have a problem; it's called Tourette's.

After another long and boring bloodline, Moses finally visits the Pharoah and sparks a very odd (and ridiculous) magical show. Moses and Aaron throw down their rods, and the Pharoah brings his magicians into the fray. The Pharoah's magicians were able to replicate the serpentine rod experiment, but their serpents were eaten by Moses's. Next, Moses and Aaron place their staffs into the Nile, and it turns to blood and stinks up the place.

What's funny is that the magicians do the same thing, making the river even worse!

Then Moses, with the help of God, create an invasion of frogs. And of course, the magicians do so too! Stupid magicians.

The magicians fail with the next magic trick - LICE! Yep, Moses and Aaron create lice all throughout the land, but the magicians couldn't pull that one off. It was impressive they were able to do the other stuff, though, I'll give them that.

Then, Moses, Aaron, and God send a swarm of FLIES! Holy crap! But that didn't work, so Team Jehovah kill off all of Egypt's cows! Nope. Didn't work. The Pharoah won't budge.

Team Jehovah launches another divine attack, this time with boils on the skin of Egyptians. But still, the Pharoah would not budge. This is one tough Pharoah, mind you. Another attack by Moses and Aaron and God - HAIL AND FIRE to destroy Egypt's crops!

But still, the Pharoah would not budge. He would not free the Israelites. In retaliation, God (and Moses and Aaron) send locusts to eat the crops even more. No dice.

God and company do another plague - DARKNESS!!! The land was dark for three days (except for wherever an Israelite happened to stay. But still the Pharoah wouldn't change his stance.

It takes one final plague to change the Pharoah's mind long enough to free the Israelites. God sends out an angel to slaughter the firstborn of Egypt. After experiencing the death of his son, the Pharoah finally lets them go.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

It's a breath of fresh air to finally hit up a new book. Exodus is differs from Genesis because while it may very well be mythical, it is no longer trying to explain the origins of man (thankfully). I can safely say that Genesis fails miserably at that. And there was only one character who I rooted for: Joseph.
A Jewish population explosion

For some reason, the authors of Exodus still come off as being prone to exaggeration. Joseph has about 70 offspring or family members (it was unclear what was meant), and then just a few hundred years, the Israelite population jumps up to MILLIONS. The new pharoah, who never heard of Joseph, began to worry about the Israelite threat, and decides that the best thing to do is to enslave them all.

But even in captivity, the Israelites bred and multiplied like rabbits. In response, the pharoah takes on a new tactic: post-birth abortion, aka infanticide. He orders that all newborn boys be killed. The midwives have trouble stomaching this, and refuse to do it. Their explanation to the pharoah is that the Israelite women were to quick and wound up giving birth before the midwives can get to them. God liked that explanation apparently, and rewards the midwives for their lie.

The pharoah, however, ups the ante and asks that all Israelite male children be thrown into the river. That's got to have a crappy effect on the water supply, but something tells me that no one followed this rule.

The Birth of Moses

The story of Moses's birth is very similar to the legends surrounding the ancient king Sargon of Akkadia, who predates Moses. Sargon reigned in 2270 BCE. In contrast, Moses was supposedly born in 1320 BCE; almost 900 years later. The existence of Moses is also questionable, and he is most likely a legendary or even mythological figure - as there really is no archaeological data to show he existed.

Anyhow, Moses was born in secret and his mother put him in a reed basket and was later found by Egyptian royalty. Similarly, Sargon was born of a woman of lower classes, placed in a river in a reed basket, and he was later found by Akkadian royalty. Both Moses and Sargon were eventually accepted by the royal family. The similarity ends there, because Sargon went on to be emperor of Akkadia and Moses went on to be the man who freed the Israelites from captivity.

Moses commits murder, exiles himself

Now an adult, Moses is the only Hebrew who isn't a slave. One day, he sees one of the slave drivers excessively beating a Hebrew, and Moses gets angry and kills the Egyptian. While Moses thought he had done it secretly, someone had apparently noticed. The Pharoah gets wind of it, Moses escapes, and flees to land of the Midianites, where he marries a Midianite and stays there until the Pharoah dies. During his stay with the Midianites, Moses's wife bears a son named Gershom.

The Israelite people were crying out to God to get them out of slavery, and the Almighty Creator of the Universe suddenly remembered his promise to Abraham, Jacob and Isaac.

The Burning Bush

Okay, now I'm confused. In Chapter 2, his father-in-law's name was Reuel. But in Chapter 3, it opens up by saying his name is Jethro. Later on in Judges and Numbers, his father-in-law's name changes to Hobab. In any case, Moses was watching his father-in-law's flock of sheep when he saw a burning bush. This wasn't any old burning bush, as the fire was not consuming the plant. As Moses got closer to investigate the strange sight, the voice of God emanated from the bush, "Before you get closer, take of your shoes. 'Cause this is holy ground."

The all-knowing Creator of the Universe explained to Moses that he heard the cries of the Israelite slaves and saw how they were being treated, and He now has a mission for Moses. To paraphrase into modern English, "Go to Egypt and bring my people out of there. I got your back."

Moses asks an interesting question to God. "Um, when I tell the Israelites that their God has sent me, and they ask what your name is, what do I tell them?"

"I AM THAT I AM," is My name, says God. Later on in Exodus, He says His name is Jealous, and still later in Exodus; Jehovah. God's got a lot of names; I AM, Jehovah, Yahweh, God, Lord, El, El Elyon, El Shaddai, etc. I wish I could do that. Sometimes I wish my name was a cool manly name like Brock, or Chuck.

The rest of Chapter 3 is God bragging about how cool He is, and how He's going to smite the Egyptians with His wonders, and how the people will follow Moses because he's buddies with the Almighty, and that the Israelites will leave Egypt with great riches because the women will basically steal from their masters when they leave. God's such a jock.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Man, Genesis is long. I've read an average of three chapters a day, and I have about eight left. I've also been focusing on videos too, if you haven't noticed. Anyways, I'm going to finish Genesis right here (good riddance).

One thing that really pisses me off about Genesis is how stupid everyone is. Last we left off, Joseph was made second-in-command by the Egyptian Pharoah because of his accurate predictions. During the seven good years, the Egyptians stored corn; and during the seven bad years, they lived off the corn they stored and sold it to neighboring countries (Genesis says ALL nations, but I doubt that's true).

Joseph tricks his brothers

Well, one day Joseph's own brothers came to Egypt to buy some corn. These are the same guys who left Joseph to die in a well. Joseph recognized them, but none of them recognized him. See? That's what I mean about how stupid the characters are in Genesis.

Joseph approached his brothers and, speaking through an interpreter, accused them of being spies. He took as prisoner one of the brothers, and sent the rest back to retrieve the youngest son. I guess he made a deal that if they went back to Canaan and brought their youngest son, he would drop the charges of them being spies.

When the brothers got home, they found that each of their sacks had extra money. Actually, there's a contradiction because Genesis 42:29-35 says they found the money at home in Canaan; and 42:27 and 42:31 say they found the money in the inn back in Egypt.

Eventually, after they ran out of supplies, the brothers went back to Egypt and brought their youngest brother along, and brought twice the money to repay for what they guessed was an oversight on the Egyptians (the money they found in the sacks).

And STILL the brothers don't recognize Joseph! Maybe Egyptians wore a lot of makeup? Was he a Bronze Age emo kid? Even then, I'd think I'd recognize my brother.

Joseph reveals himself to his brothers

Yes, he is an emo kid! He couldn't take it anymore and breaks down crying. "It's me guys. It's your brother Joseph. Remember me? The guy you tried to kill way back when?"

Understandably, the brothers were a bit disturbed by this news. I would be too, if I were them. He told his brothers not to worry about that whole murder-your-brother episode. It was God who sent him away; not them. I'll remember this line next time I murder someone.

He sends his brothers back with a bunch of gifts and money, and asks that they all return, with their father (who is now called Israel finally).

Jacob's reunion with Joseph

The disbelieving Jacob (aka Israel) makes the trek to Egypt and sees his longlost son. "Now I can die," he tells him. "Now that I know you're alive."

Before that happens Jacob even meets the pharoah, who is amazed at Jacob's age (130 years). Joseph's family settles in Egypt, and they wind up dying there.

Check this out

Friday, July 17, 2009

Guess what? I entered another video contest! And the rules are the same. They're asking for the most ratings and comments just to get into the final category. Please view (it's only 30 seconds), rate, and comment. If I'm able to make the final category, then I'll be judged by regular judges. The theme is an "Awkward Ringtone Moment". The link is at the bottom.


Background: Atlantic Ocean, 1944. A U.S. submarine is being tracked by German destroyers. A command echoes through the loudspeakers, "Rig for silent running."

Tech Savvy Seaman Recruit Andrews, fresh out of boot camp, doesn't know why the submarine and its crew must be silent. Petty Officer Perry is his supervisor, tasked with teaching Andrews the ropes of submarine life.

Who would've thought that the young sailor was so far ahead of his time?Yes, it's historically inaccurate.

Yes, that's the same person (me), with and without a beard. Yes, those are gameplay shots of Silent Hunter 4. This is a submission for a the Awkward Ringtone Moments contest. Please rate and comment!

Click here to view video

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Slightly off subject, but I didn't realize it when I entered the contest, but apparently the most votes and comments I get, the more likely it is that I will win. So I am recruiting you.

Please review this short 30 second clip on YouTube and vote honestly, or critique it. I accept 5 stars, but if you don't like it, I'll take 4. ; )

Click here

Joseph gets thrown in jail because of a eunuch's wife

I think I wrote before that the Pharoah's wife was digging on Joseph. Whoops, it's actually the wife of a EUNUCH! I never knew eunuch's had wives!
Joseph was sold to Potiphar, a general of the Egyptian army (and a eunuch), and Potiphar thought Joseph was the bomb. He made Joseph the head slave of his house.

Well, one day while Potiphar was out, his wife started making passes at Joseph, but good Joseph rejected her. One day she grabbed his garment (he was probably just wearing some sort of tunic or something, but he took off (his tunic fell off), and she pretty much cried, "Rape!"

Poor Joseph was thrown in jail because of this.

Women can be such bitches sometimes.

Joseph interprets two dreams

One interesting this is that the head honcho at the jail liked Joseph, and made him responsible for all the new prisoners.

One night, two new prisoners, a baker and a cup-bearer (the latter's job is probably the crappiest job I've ever heard of), had a dream. For clarification, a Cup-Bearer is basically a butler. The next day, Joseph noticed they had long faces, and they tell Joe it's because they don't have an interpreter. Joe tells them, "Hey, I've got the Almighty Creator of the Universe on my side, who is all-powerful and all-knowing, I could probably interpret those dreams for ya."

After hearing their dreams, Joseph say, "Oh, that's easy. Mr. Butler, in three days the Pharoah will let you be cup-bearer again and you will live. Remember to tell the Pharoah about me. Hook me up. But you, Mr. Baker; you gonna die."

Sure enough, in three days the Pharoah holds a banquet and the Cup-Bearer gets his job back (yippee?) and the baker is hung on a tree and birds eat his flesh.

This is an interesting story, and I hate it when you help people out and they don't give you credit. So far, Joseph is the first main character that I'm actually cheering for. I hope something bad happens to the Butler.

The Pharoah's Dream

One night the pharoah has a dream, and it troubles him so much that he summons all the magicians and wise men in Egypt. Unfortunately, none of them can interpret it. Finally, the butler remembers the Hebrew guy that interpreted his dream, and he tells the pharoah. The pharoah summons Joseph, and Joseph interprets his dream.

I always wonder about people that claim to have the ability to make predictions. A lot of them say God told them, and other say it is inherent. I've heard some very interesting "psychic" statements and predictions from a few people, and I have no idea how they do it. For instance, an ex fling of mine said that I have an ex who works at a Macy's at a nearby mall. And she was right! But this girl had no connection to anyone that knows the girl I used to go out with. Then again ... what a useless prediction that was!

Joseph's predictions are at least useful. His interpretation of the Pharoah's dream was that Egypt would have seven years of prosperity; followed by seven years of abject famine. He said that Egypt needs to raise its taxes and build up its reserves to live through the seven years of famine.

The Pharoah is impressed by this and makes Joseph the second-in-command of Egypt. The next seven years are great, and the Egyptians store food for the upcoming famine. Then the famine comes, except the Bible says it's not regional; IT'S GLOBAL! God created a famine over the face of all the Earth, just so Joseph can get rich!

It even says all the nations of the world came to Egypt to buy corn. All of them? Even the Mayans? The Australian aborigines? Of course not. The ancient Hebrews who wrote this knew of no such cultures. They thought the entire Earth was relatively small compared to what we know today.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Brothers attempt murder against their brother

Jacob's favorite son was Joseph, and MAN did he show it. He actually made Joseph a coat with many colors. Jacob's favor was so obvious to his other sons, that they actually got jealous. But for some reason, they hated Joseph. I have to say they are misdirecting their anger; they should be angry at their father, not their brother.

Anyways, the brothers conspire to kill Joseph. They ambush him, take his multi-colored coat, and then throw him into a well to starve and die. The brothers then slaughter one of Joseph's goats and rub the jacket in the blood. They return to pops with the bloody and ripped-up coat, and Jacob naturally feels really, really bad.

Sold into slavery

But Joseph isn't dead yet. Soon, a group of Midianites happen by and find him in the well. They take him out and basically enslave him. He is then sold to the Egyptians, but it is unclear as to how he got to Egypt, because this chapter has two conflicting accounts. Genesis 37:28 says that the Midianites sell Joseph to Ishmaelites for 20 shekels, and then the Ishmaelites sell him to the Egyptians. But Genesis 37:36 says that the Midianites take Joseph to Egypt and sell him to the Egyptians.

A story of in-law incest, wasted semen and godly slaughter

Okay, ready for a crazy story of in-law incest, semen wasting, and wanton murder by the God Himself?

Judah is one of Jacob's kids, and one of the co-conspirators of Joseph's ambush. It was actually Judah's idea to throw Joseph in a well, rather than butcher the guy. So from that deduce that he was a somewhat reasonable guy, despite throwing his brother into a well with the intent to kill him.

Anyways, Judah sees a Canaanite chick and maybe marries her. Not sure. One thing is for sure, they have sex. And she gives birth to three sons (ofcourse); named Er, Onan, and Shelah. Judah eventually (there's no sense of time passing, but I'm guessing a decade later ...) find Er a wife named Tamar. For some
reason, the Creator of the Universe doesn't like Er, and He kills him, leaving Tamar as a widow.

Judah tells Onan to have sex with Tamar, as he is the brother-in-law. Yea, that doesn't right. God kills Tamar's husband for no reason (it says that God found Er to be wicked), and now her husband's brother has to have sex with her??? Doesn't she have a say in this?

So Onan has sex with her, but feels awkward because he knows the offspring will not be considered his. He pulls out and jizzes on the ground. If I were Onan, I would simply feel guilty for having sex with my brother's wife; Onan feels awkward because the offspring would technically be his dead brother's; not his. At the very least, he doesn't have his priorities straight.

God disapproves of Onan's wanton semen-spilling, and so the Almighty and Omniscient One kills Onan. Judah then tells Tamar to hang out around the house until the youngest son (Shelah) grows up. During her stay, Judah's wife dies and he goes to hang out with some friends to be comforted. While he's gone, Tamar takes off her widow garments (widows had special clothes?) and puts on a veil, and sits out in an open place.

When Judah comes back, he sees her but doesn't know that she is his daughter-in-law. "Hey, can I come inside you?" he asks. Very romantic, isn't he? He kind of reminds me of Russel Crowe's character in A Beautiful Mind. To be fair, Judah thought she was a whore. For payment, he gives Tamar his staff, bracelets, and a signet.

Judah later finds out that it was Tamar who was acting like a whore, and Judah comes to logical conclusion during this time period: "Let's burn her!"

But she brings out the staff, bracelets, and a signet, and says to Judah, "Hey, I'm pregnant with YOUR kid, buddy."

This has an effect on the Bronze Age male, and he lets her go. She later gives birth to twins, one of whom, Pharez, is the ancestor of Jesus himself!

Next time I'll talk about how the Egyptian Pharoah's wife begins to dig Joseph.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Jacob reunites with Esau

Encamped by the river, Jacob's arch-nemesis brother Esau approaches with 400 men. Jacob only has two concubines, two wives, and a bunch of children. But oddly, Esau isn't out for revenge. He's actually happy to see Jacob and they embrace each other. I'm not sure why he needed 400 men, though. Maybe for effect?

Jacob is happy that Esau likes him now. As Jacob gives Esau gifts, he tells Esau, "I have seen your face, as though I had seen the face of God."

That is a very strange thing to say, especially since Jacob HAS seen the face of God. Does this mean that God is red, hairy, beastman? Or maybe Jacob's a liar. He has lied a few times already.

Rape and Slaughter

Jacob's daughter Leah is goes out to see the countryside, performing the very odd task of "seeing the daughters of the land."

A man named Shechem, a prince of the land pounced upon her and basically raped her. He was apparently in love with her. He asks his father Hamor to "get me this damsel to wife." Basically, "Whoops, I just raped her, and now I want to marry her."

So Hamor went out to find Jacob so that he can arrange a marriage between Dinah and Shechem. Jacob and his sons had heard that Shechem was a rapist, though. Hamor comes with the jolly idea that each party should trade women with each other; like cattle. Rather than be up front with Hamor, Jacob lies and says that she can't marry Shechem because everyone is uncircumcised.

Hamor and Jacob hammer out a deal to have ALL the men in the city circumcised! Hamor and Shechem go back to the city and tell everyone, "Jacob and his family are peaceful people. Let them live and trade with us. We will take their daughters as wives, and give our daughters to them. The only catch is that all the men have to cut the tips of their penises off. But hey, free chicks!"

So basically, another pile of foreskins for the all-powerful Creator of the Universe. Yippee!

Then, when the men were "still sore" (OUCH!), two of Jacob's sons walk into the town and basically slaughter every man in the city, including King Hamor and Shechem. The rest of Jacob's sons then plunder the city, taking with them all the wives and children as captive.

Jacob isn't pleased with this. "Why the heck did you do THAT?!?" He basically said. "Now everyone's going to think we're hostile and band together against us!"

That was a fairly wise observation.

The brothers rationalized their slaughter by saying, "So we should've let him treat our sister like a whore?"

This gets behind the mentality of men back then. To these people, rape is not a crime against the woman; it's a crime against the man. This is the same morality that brought about Muslim honor killings. To contrast, in rape cases today, justice is upon the individual who committed the crime, not the people who live in proximity to the person. The response of Jacob's family was that the rape of Dinah was a crime against them and their family line.

Jacob renamed Israel, again ... and Jacob renames Bethel, again

Jacob, now with an army of women and children P.O.W.s, heads back to Bethel. He then confiscates their false gods, which they were holding in their hands (idols).

All the surrounding cities were scared of the sons of Jacob, and they did not want to pursue them. Along the way, God Himself appears to Jacob (He's a frequent visitor) and says that Jacob's name is no longer "Jacob," but Israel. Didn't we go over this before. Yes! After Jacob WRESTLED with GOD and WON! But for some reason, the name didn't stick, so God is renaming him again. Guess what? It still doesn't stick.

And when Jacob is in Bethel, he names it Bethel AGAIN, right before his wife Rachel dies. Isaac also dies, at the tender age of 180.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Day 10, A Love Story. I could've sworn that I've said that the Bible is the one of the most oddball collection of stories I've ever read. Right? Well, it continues with Jacob's trek to find a wife, and escape his hairy brother. It actually starts off as nice little love story.

Jacob makes it to his cousin's house, and finds that his cousin Rachel is simply to die for. He offers his uncle to work seven years in exchange for Rachel's hand in marriage. His uncle agrees, but after seven years he tricks Jacob. After seven years, Jacob says "Give me my wife, so we can do some humpin'."

His uncle gives him a different daughter, Leah, instead. But Jacob doesn't notice for some reason. In fact, he goes ahead and has sex with her and is surprised the next morning that it isn't Rachel.

What the heck is this guy smoking?!?

After finding out, he demands to have Rachel, and finally the uncle complies. Jacob then does the horizontal hokey-pokey with Rachel. God sees that Leah, who is now also married to Jacob, is hated, and so the Almighty Lord of the Universe opens Leah's womb and makes Rachel barren. This has happened three generations in a row. There's got to be some sort of significance to this, right?

Here's a weird thing about Jacob and Leah's relationship; Jacob supposedly hates her, but she winds up bearing FOUR SONS to him! That means that they've been having some angry sex, which is the kind of hatred we can all bear, I imagine.

The Baby-Making Contest

What follows is the oddest wife competition I've ever heard of. Rachel gets jealous of Leah for bearing four sons, so she passive-aggressively threatens Jacob by saying, "You better give me kids or I will die."

Jacob responds that it's not his fault that God made her that way.

Rachel then offers a slave-girl to Jacob to have sex with, and says that she will give birth on her behalf. Jacob naturally obliges, and the slave-girl eventually gives birth to two sons.

Leah then realizes that she isn't able to have kids anymore, and so she offers HER slave-girl to Jacob to give birth on her behalf. This slave-girl gives birth to two more sons!

Later, Leah is picking her son's mandrakes from the field and Rachel nonchalantly asks to trade the mandrakes for a night of hot sex with Jacob. Leah didn't refuse the offer, and when Jacob had sex with Leah, she was actually able to conceive again! Over the course of the next few years, she gives birth to two sons and a daughter. One friggin' girl out of this whole mess?!

God suddenly remembers Rachel, opens her womb up, and now Rachel FINALLY gives birth to her own son.

A Useless Magic Trick

This whole escapade is going on at Jacob's uncle's house, and Jacob, probably homesick, starts feeling like he wants to head back to his own country.

Before he does, Jacob does a useless and scientifically unlikely magic trick in order to gain a flock. This was probably useless because his uncle had grown fond of Jacob and was willing to give him anything he wanted. I'm not sure if I understand Jacob's thinking myself. Jacob gets rods from a green poplar tree, and paints white streaks in them. Then he lets goats, sheep, and cattle copulate in front of these rods, so that they would give birth to speckled, striped, and spotted offspring. Jacob then keeps the stronger of the offspring, and gives his uncle the weaker.

His uncle starts to not like Jacob at this point, and at this point God tells Jacob to leave.

Jacob Literally Wrestles With God

Jacob takes off with his two wives, two concubines, and a bunch of kids. After some final dealings with his angry uncle and some praise from God, or an angel, regarding his genetic magic trick, he's left in relative peace. It is now time to meet his brother Esau, who 20 years ago wanted to kill Jacob.

Esau, 20 years later, is still pissed off. That's one hell of a blood-feud, and raises an army of 400 at hearing of Jacob's return. Jacob in turn offers a gift of "200 she goats, 20 he-goats, 200 ewes, 20 rams, 30 milch camels with their colts, 40 kine, 10 bulls, 20 she-asses, and 10 foals."

The good old days, when people traded livestock!

Apparently, the gift appeased Esau enough to allow Jacob to send all his family and belongings across a creek, and Jacob was left alone for the night, until a man came out of nowhere and starts wrestling him! This man reveals himself to be the Almighty Lord of the Universe Himself! Jacob, a mere mortal, wrestles God and actually wins. God loses so bad against Jacob that He even dislocates His leg.

After Jacob defeats God in this wrestling match, God tells Jacob that his name is now Israel, for he wrestled against God and won. The Bible still refers to Jacob as "Jacob", though.

Holy crap! Jacob wrestles - WRESTLES - with the ALL-POWERFUL LORD OF THE UNIVERSE - and WINS!!! That's got to put a dent in the omnipotency theory.

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Day 9, Chapter 26. Young Isaac is a chip off the old block. He pulls the same weird get-rich-quick scheme that his father did, and with the same guy; Abimelech, the king of Gerar.

God tells Isaac to go to Gerar, because He will make Isaac's seed "multiply as the stars of heaven." Isaac is quick to be sold to this idea. This is the Bible, and it's telling us about the interests of Bronze Age people. Again, we see how important it is for men to have a strong lineage. I suspect at the period of time that this was written, the Israelites didn't have a belief in the afterlife. Rather, their immortality came from their bloodlines.

Anyways, the men of Gerar find Isaac's wife Rebekah to be gorgeous, and Isaac, just like his dad Abraham, says that Rebekah is his sister. After awhile, Abimelech looks out the window and sees Isaac "sporting" with Rebekah. Abimelech catches on and says, "Man, why the F*CK did you lie to us about being married to her @$$HOLE!"

No, he didn't say that. But he should've. Hell. If I was Abimelech, I would have as well.

Abimelech then decrees that no man shall sleep with Isaac's wife, and if they try, they will surely be killed.

Isaac was probably already rich at this time, but what he gained from Abimelech was an element of security.

Later, after Isaac has matured as a businessman and landowner, God reappears to him and other people see that God was hanging out with Isaac, and so King Abimelech, a guy named Ahuzzath (who was Abimelech's friend), and the general of army of Gerar, come to Isaac and form an alliance of sorts. Who can blame them, after all? The friggin' LORD OF THE UNIVERSE is hanging out with Isaac, the guy they just kicked out of Gerar.

At the end of Chapter 26, Isaac and Rebekah's son Esau marries TWO Hittite women, Judith and Bashemath. Isaac and Rebekah are pissed off because their son actually had the gaul to marry a Hittite! The nerve of him. Wow, Hittites must've been pretty low back then.

Chapter 27. The oddest, craziest, most f***ed up thing happens in Chapter 27. Isaac is now an old, blind man, and asks his hairy son Esau to hunt some venison and bring it to him. Isaac tells Esau that when he comes back from the hunt, Esau will receive his "blessing." "Blessing" seems to refer the passing on of Isaac's inheritance.

A few chapters ago Esau gave up his birthright, which is apparently not the same thing as a blessing. I suppose a birthright just means some other sort of privilege (like being the favored son). Blessing is the actual passing of inheritance.

Rebekah overhears the conversation and while Esau is out doing his father's bidding, she sends the younger, smooth-skinned son Jacob to his father with freshly killed and prepared goats. Rebekah also disguises Jacob by making him put goat skin over his neck and hands. Jacob enters his father's room and tells him that he is Esau, and that the reason he came back so fast was that God gave the meat to him.

Isaac buys it! And oddly enough, God buys it too! Isaac hears Jacob's voice, but after touching his hands concludes that this is indeed Esau. He tells Jacob, "Let people serve thee, and nations bow down to thee: be lord over thy brethren, and let thy mother's sons bow down to thee: cursed be every one that curseth thee, and blessed be he that blesseth thee."

As soon as Jacob leaves the room, Esau comes back, and is understandably pissed off that his dad gave the blessing to Jacob. Esau cries to his father, and says, "Don't you have at least one blessing for me?"

If I was Esau, I'd say something like, "Um dad, you're blind and you just blessed the wrong guy. Your OTHER son just tricked you."

Isaac then does something that is truly jacked up. He tells Esau his blessing, "You get to serve your little brother as his right-hand man."

Esau is pissed off and vows to kill his brother. Rebekah overhears this and sends Jacob away until Esau's anger wavers. And then racist Rebekah closes the chapter by hoping that Jacob doesn't marry one of those dirty Canaanites.
Chapter 28. Aside from more intolerance from Isaac and Rebekah, Jacob is also fleeing his brother Esau and has a vision of the ladder, known more popularly as "Jacob's Ladder."
At the top of the ladder is God, who promises Jacob, just like he promised Abraham and Isaac, that his seed will be like dust and that his people will be spread all over the Earth.
Man, this promise is said repeatedly by the all-knowing, all-powerful creator of the Universe, and still has not been upheld to this very day!
He wakes up, pours oil on the stone that he was sleeping on, and calls the town "Bethel", although the town is called Luz.
First of all, who is Jacob to be naming other people's towns??? Most importantly, in this chapter Jacob names the town "Bethel" before he meets his future wife Rachel. Later on in Genesis, he names the town Bethel again just before Rachel dies. AND, the town has always been called Bethel, according to Genesis 12:8 and 13:3.
Okay, so I'm still upset about fundamentalists who believe these things are literally true; but I'm also a bit confused with the moderates and liberals who not only don't know what they believe, but they offer some sort of legitimacy to the fundamentalists.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Day 8, Chapter 23. Sarah finally dies at the tender old age of 127, a little bit over the age that God said he'd let live. I wonder if she was still hot?

Abraham, on the other hand, lives on to be 175 years old! The rest of Chapter 23 is Abraham bartering with some guy named Ephron over a field. Abe is thinking of using a cave on the field to bury Sarah and possibly use it as a family burial plot. Ephron actually offers the cave for free, but Abraham insists on buying it.

Chapter 24. In Chapter 24, Abraham is beginning to succumb to his age. He asks his head servant to bring Isaac to his old stomping grounds to find a woman to marry. And to make sure the servant does this, Abraham has the servant hold him "under his thigh" to give an oath. There is dispute on what this type of oath is all about. The most interesting is that the oath actually involved holding Abraham's testicles!

Imagine, a man holding the testicles of a 175-year-old man! It's an interesting oath. I'd probably have multiple females swearing this oath to me.
Anyways, the servant goes to a city called Nahor in Mesopotamia. He has interesting way of choosing Isaac's wife, too. He basically waits by a well and the first woman who lets him drink water, and gives water to his camels, will be the lucky girl.
I'm glad my parents didn't use this tactic for my wife. Actually, I'm glad my parents had very little say in who I was marrying.
The lucky girl is a young virgin (they make a big deal about this) named Rebekah. She was basically very hospitable. After asking if he could drink water, she says, "Sure! Here ya go!" And she offers food and water for the camels, too.
The servant is awestruck by her kindness and immediately starts worshipping God. That must've been awkward for Rebekah.
After telling Rebekah's brother about his experience and getting his permission, Abraham's servant returns home with Rebekah. The chapter ends with a touching moment when Isaac is in the field meditating. Isaac opens his eyes and sees the camels coming, and Rebekah sees him. "Who's the hottie?" she basically asks.
The servant says that is the man she's going to marry, and she immediately covers herself in a veil. Shortly afterward, they marry and consummate the marriage inside his parents' tent. Isaac also finally feels better after the death of his mother, because he got laid. Ah yes, the healing power of sex. Even the folks who wrote the Bible recognized its healing powers!
Chapter 25. But wait! Abraham takes ANOTHER WIFE!!! Her name is Keturah. A couple of chapters ago, it said he was succumbing to old age and now he's taking another wife? And guess what? Keturah gives birth to SIX KIDS! Imagine that. An approximately 175-year-old widower, find another wife and fathers SIX KIDS. He's most likely in the low-180s now, unless she had sextuplets.
Abraham finally dies, and leaves his estate to Isaac. To all the kids born from his many concubines, he gives them gifts and sends them away. Apparently, Sarah was the only one that had problems giving birth. Abraham humped quite a few chicks and it seems a lot of them had children; even sons. Unfortunately, they're never acknowledged and Isaac is said to be Abraham's "only son." Very strange customs, indeed.
Later, after some more family lineage stuff that I am glossing over, Rebekah (Isaac's wife) finds out she's pregnant. Apparently, she was barren, but with God's help she gives birth to two boys; Esau and Jacob. When Esau was born, he "first came out red, all over like a hairy garment." I'm guessing that he had a lot of red hair all over his body? And then came Jacob, who was holding Esau's heel.
God didn't like poor Esau. Isaac did, because Esau was a great hunter, and Isaac enjoyed the venison he caught. But God HATED Esau! Wow. That's pretty strange, and there's no reason given as to why he hated him, either. He created Esau, and He hates him. The ultimate Catch-22.
The chapter ends with Jacob tricking Esau to sell his birthright (because Esau was slightly older). Esau came from the field and was feeling faint. Jacob had just finished making ... I don't know - soup? Esau, who felt like he was going to die, gave up his birthright for some "pottage of lentiles" (lentil soup?) and a little bit of bread.
That sucks. Sell away your inheritance and birthrights for a piece of bread and a bowl of lentil soup?
Well, I'm going to put the Bible away until tomorrow. I am mystified at how Christians look to the Bible and swear that it is full of wisdom and that it is the Word of God Himself. If anything, it's a record of ancient and alien customs, of which we should be thankful we no longer practice.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Day 7 - In Chapter 18, God and three angels visit Abraham at his home, where old Abe SERVES THEM water, a calf, milk, and butter. That's right, God and the angels not only eat and drink, but they apparently have no problem eating un-kosher meals! That is, if they boiled the calf in milk (Exodus 23:19).

God, all-knowing and all-powerful, then asks Abraham, "Where's your wife?"

God's got good news for them, and He reports to Abe that Sarah will have a son. Sarah, from behind a tent wall, overhears this and laughs her @$$ off because she's 90 YEARS OLD! God punks Sarah a little bit because she laughed, and she says she wasn't laughing at God, she was laughing because she was afraid.

At about this point, God looks toward Sodom and wonders aloud to one of his angels, "Should I hide from Abraham that little thing-a-ma-jiggie that I'm about to do?"

Nice. A little foreshadowing. God's planning another mass killing, and is trying to be modest about it. God can't hold it in, He's probably very giddy, and says, "Alright, Sodom and Gomorrah are doing horrible things, and I'm basically about to blow the two places up."

Abraham is concerned and asks, "You're going to kill both the righteous and the wicked?" This starts an interesting bartering process. "What if there's 50 righteous people in Sodom, will you spare the city?"

"Yes, I will spare it," replies the Almighty.

"What about if there is 45?"

"I'll spare it."

Finally, Abraham gets down to 10. "Hmm ... well, what about 10?"

And God agrees. He will not destroy the city if there are 10 innocent Sodomites. How hard is it to find an innocent person? Well, children are innocent. Newborns? Toddlers? Nah ... there are apparently no innocent newborns and toddlers in Sodom. Not even 10 of them.

Chapter 19. God sends two angels out to Sodom and they visit Abe's brother Lot, who is supposedly the only known righteous person in the city. The angels EAT and WASH THEIR FEET! The residents find the angels to be sexually irresistable and the men of the city surround Lot's House. "Hey Lot!" they call. "Where's those two dudes you brought into your home. Let them out so we can get jiggy wit' 'em!"

Lot, being the righteous man and a great host, refuses to let his guests be raped by the Sodomites. Instead, he offers his two virgin daughters. "They're virgins! Take them, and do with them what you will," he says.

Like I said in the last post, Lot is a despicable human being. What other person aside from an immoral one would offer up their daughters (virgin or not) to a mob of sexually depraved men? Angels are supernatural warriors, and can easily take out a mob of humans. Sure enough, the angels blind all the men surrounding the door and the angels make their escape.

In 19:14, the angels tell Lot to take his family (son-in-laws, daughters, wife, etc.) elsewhere because they're going to blow up Sodom. But wait; son-in-laws? Lot just lied to a mob of rapists and offered his virgin daughters to them. But they're not virgins - they're married! Lot is a liar and a coward.

The angels say when they leave, that no one should look back. Everyone knows what happens next. Lot escapes with his wife and daughters (the son-in-laws thought Lot was a nutjob ... they were right!), and then his wife looks back and turns into a pillar of salt. I'm with comedian Julia Sweeney on this one, I think that Lot's wife did it in purpose. "Being a pillar of salt is PREFERABLE to be married to Lot."

So, Lot and his daughters are the only survivors. They find a cave in the mountains. Lot's daughters, who are now single, apparently think that God killed EVERYBODY. They say, "Woe is us, there ain't a man out there to come (cum?) in us. Let's get daddy drunk so that we can have sex with him, and preserve his seed."

Who the hell are these people?!?! Family values, in the Old Testament, is all about preserving the patriarchal family line. That's it. Maybe the New Testament is better? Well, when I get there, and that won't be for a while, I can guarantee that it isn't. The truth is, I don't know where conservative Christians get their family values. I know for sure that it isn't from the Bible.

I'm glad that Chapter 19 ends, and I'm glad to start reading about Abraham again. Maybe this sickening feeling in my stomach will soon go away. Yea right.

Chapter 20. Well, Abe is lying about Sarah being his sister again, and for the SAME REASON! And why not? He got hooked up pretty damn good the last time! This time, it is King Abimelech of a nation called Gerar. For some strange reason, the King of Gerar finds Sarah - who is 90 YEARS OLD - simply gorgeous. But God tells the King, in a dream, that Sarah is married and that the King shouldn't have sex with her or He'll destroy Gerar. The King, who is very reasonable, opts not to hump her and returns her to Abraham. And, like the Pharoah, says, "Why the F*CK didn't you tell me you were married, A$$H*LE!!! Why'd you lie to me?"

He didn't say exactly like that. But he should've, though. I would've.

Abraham weasels his way out of it and says that technically, she is his sister; just a half-sister. So he didn't really lie! And the reason that he lied was that he was scared the King would kill him just to have 90-year-old Sarah.

Like the pharoah, King Abimelech gives Abraham slaves and riches. Unlike the pharoah, he invites Abraham to stay in his land. And God heals the wombs of all the women in King Abimelech's household. Apparently, God sewed all of them shut because King Abimelech believed Abraham's lie, even though he never touched Sarah!

Chapter 21. Finally, 90-year-old Sarah gives birth to her son, and Abraham names him Isaac. As Isaac's growing up, old Hagar's son Ishmael mocks, or inappropriately plays with, Isaac. It's unclear as to what happened. Perhaps Ishmael, who is supposedly 16 years old by this time, was molesting Isaac? Whatever it was, it was bad enough that Sarah arranges (with God's help) to get Hagar and Ishmael kicked out, which Abraham agrees to.

Oddly, Genesis seems to err (probably by later editing) and suggest that Ishmael is but a child, which is of course impossible. Abe sees Hagar off with a bottle of water and some food. Hagar is holding Ishmael over her shoulder (pretty tough to do if he's a 16-year-old) and later, after running out of water, she casts Ishmael under a shrub so that he will die. An angel saves them by pointing out that there's a well right next to them.

Chapter 21 goes on and on, and eventually ends with Abraham moving to the land of the Philistines, which is another historical inaccuracy because the Philistines didn't arrive on the scene until 800 years later, in 1200 BCE.

Chapter 22. God decides to test Abraham. God tells Abraham to sacrifice his only son. "Take now thy only son, whom you love ... and offer him as a burnt offering."

In other words, "Hey Abraham, you know that son that you worked so hard for and whom you love. I'd like you to burn him alive as proof of your love to me."

Abraham obeys, and doesn't ask any questions. In fact, he tells his son that they're both going to perform an animal sacrifice. Very awkward. It would be kind of hard to break it to your only son that you're about to murder him because God requested it. So, they take their "long walk" together to where the sacrifice is tol take place.

Isaac notices that they've gathered wood, and basically says, "Okay, we have fire and wood. So, um, where's the lamb?"

Abraham replies that the lamb will be provided. He then promptly ties up Isaac and puts him on the wood, he grasps his knife, and just when Abraham was about to kill his son, God says, "Ha ha, just kidding Abe. Don't kill your son. I just wanted to see if you'd actually do it."

And God sends a ram instead, and Isaac and his father have some quality time sacrificing the ram together.

Just some thoughts - only an evil God would request this of a father, and only an evil father would carry through with it. Frankly, their morality is alien to me and I can't help but think that these people in the Old Testament are psychos.

Monday, July 06, 2009

Day 5 - I am on Genesis, Chapter 12. And to be honest, I'm not going to be able to get to the child sacrifice just yet. I forgot how long the saga of Abraham was.

The story of Abram, later to become Abraham, starts with God telling Abe to get the hell out of Dodge so he can be a founder of a "great nation." Abraham makes the journey south toward Egypt, and takes with him his wife Sarai (Sarah), and Lot, who will be instrumental in the future destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah.

A side note on Lot - He is one of the big honchos of the Old Testament, and I'd argue that everyone living today would agree that he was just about as evil as the folks in Sodom and Gomorrah. I mean, he gave his "virgin" daughters up to a mob so they can be raped, just to save two angels from being raped. Angels! Angels are supposed to be warriors. On top of that, Lot lied about his daughters virginity. More on that in a later entry, but I wanted to point out that our morality today is so much different than it was back then.

Back to Abram's story - On the way to Egypt, Abram tells his 70-year-old wife Sarai that she is very beautiful and that the Egyptians will kill him in order to have her; so he's going to tell the Egyptians that she is his sister. She is his half-sister, after all. Yea, that's gross but incestual type relationships were common back then.

I don't know what the Egyptian standard of beauty is, but how many 70-year-old women out there are hot? Hot enough to murder for? This is waaaaaay before Botox and plastic surgery folks, and well after God had sentenced mankind to the 120-year max lifespan. Was there an elderly fetish going on at the time?

Sure enough, the Egyptians actually do think that Sarai is the cat's pajamas, and true to his word, Abram says that she is his sister. The Pharoah even thinks she's hot, and gives Abram livestock and slaves so that Sarai could be part of his harem. God gets pissed off as usual and sends a plague on the pharoah and his family.

Man, that sucks! The Pharoah thinks a 70-year-old chick is hot, trades with Abram livestock and slaves so that Sarai can be part of his harem, and then gets punished (by GOD, no less!) because he believed Abram's lie. That ain't right!

Pharoah somehow gets wind of Abram's lie and said to Abram, "Why the F**K did you lie to me, @$$hole?" Okay, he didn't say that, but he should've. I would've. But the Pharoah didn't understand why he was lied to about his wife, and sent them away with all the stuff they accumulated as well. How nice. Abram basically just pimped out his wife and became rich because of it!

In Chapter 13 it says that Abram was very rich in cattle, silver, and gold - it doesn't say that he was rich because he whored his wife out to the Pharoah, but that is basically what happened. Abram and Lot wind up settling with the Canaanites somewhere south of Egypt.

For some reason, the herdsman of Abram's and Lot's herds get pissed off at each other, and Abram and Lot decide to split up. "You go left, and I go right," is basically what they agree on. Abram settles in with the Canaanites, and Lot winds up living near Sodom and Gomorrah.

The Bible says that the men in Sodom "were wicked and sinners before the LORD exceedingly." But there is nothing specific. This of course will later play out with the infamous story of Sodom and Gomorrah, which is one of the main reasons so many conservative Christians hate gays.

Male gays especially; lesbians are tolerable. It's like what the comedian Bill Hicks said, "Two women together in bed is God's way of showing how much he loves us. Two men together in bed is evil. Two women together in bed is a miracle bestowed on God's children. Two men together in bed is satanic."

As for Abram, God tells him that he can have the land of Canaan "forever". This verse (Genesis 13:14-15) is one of the main justifications for the unending warfare that exists in the Middle East. And history will tell us that this promise was broken multiple times throughout the following millennia. Most of the time since then, the land was controlled by other people as well. It's only been the 60 years or so that Jews have regained control over this area.

Chapter 14 is a very dry report of battles and rebellions. One interesting event was when Lot was taken captive in Sodom, and Abram hears of the news. Abram responds by training and ARMY OF SLAVES (318 of them) and sending them to rescue Lot. The army of slaves pursues Lot's captors into the city of Dan. The mention of Dan, by the way, is proof that Genesis was edited later, as the City of Dan did not exist until later. The guy whom Dan is named for wasn't even born yet!

Abram plans a night assault with his slave army and successfully saves Lot, some women (Lot's women or Sodom's women?), and some goods. But Abram does return the goods, and keeps just enough for his army to survive the journey back.

In Chapter 15, Abram is a little concerned that he has not produced any male offspring and starts to consider one of the slaves born in his house to be his heir. God tells Abram not to worry, he'll have countless seeds (like the stars, in fact).

"Just sacrifice some animals to me," says God. Specifically, God asks for a 3-year-old heifer, a 3-year-old she-goat, a 3-year-old ram, a turtledove, and a young pigeon. Abram does it, but still no dice.

By Chapter 16, even Sarai is concerned that no offspring have been born, and suspects it is her own advanced age. She even tells Abram to have sex with a female slave named Hagar. After having sex with the old man, Hagar conceives and all of a sudden Sarai gets PISSED OFF and JEALOUS.

God and an angel tell Hagar that the son, to be called Ishmael, will have a successful lineage, as long as Hagar returns to Sarai as her slave. "Oh yea, and there's something else I'd like to tell you about your son," the angel says. "He will be a wild man; his hand will be against every man, and every man's hand against him; and he shall dwell in the presence of all his brethren."

Finally, in Chapter 17, God makes a covenant with Abram, and it goes something like this. "You can have all the land of Canaan if you and all the men in your tribe chop of the tips of your penises. And any man that doesn't have this operation done will no longer have a soul."

Abram is now called Abraham, and Sarai is now called Sarah. God tells Abe that Sarah will give birth to a son (at 90 years old!) and Abraham understandably laughs. So, Abraham happily chop off his foreskin, as well the foreskin of 13-year-old Ishmael and every male in his house. The word "house" used here is probably more like a tribe at this point, and includes other families, herdsmen, slaves, etc. More than likely, by the time this was finished there was a sizeable amount of penis flesh laying around. Just imagine that, piles of foreskins!

I will end this section of Abraham's story here. And will continue tomorrow with the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah; and God's request for Abraham to sacrifice his son Isaac, who will be his heir.

Thursday, July 02, 2009

The Tower of Babel -

Unless you're into funny names like Nimrod and Arphaxad, or if you like reading more into things than you need to, I would advise skipping Chapter 10 of Genesis. Chapter 10 is just the usual boring family lineage one finds sprinkled here and there throughout the Bible. The ancient Israelites idea of "family values" was basically to protect and preserve the family line as much as possible.

After all the 'begats' I come across another famous tale - the Tower of Babel. The Bible tells me that prior to the Tower's downfall, all of humanity spoke one language. I'm going to call "Bullsh*t!" on this one! The Tower of Babel event supposedly occurred around 2400 BCE. By this time, there were numerous civilizations in full effect. Not just the Sumerians, but the Egyptians as well. And what about the smattering of Native American tribes who may not have been full-fledged civilizations, but were on what would one day be American soil at the time? Or the various Asian, European, and African tribes. Archaeologists believed Neandertals (who went extinct maybe 24,000 years ago) had to have some sort of language. And of course, are own ancient ancestors evolved maybe 2 million years ago. Anyways, you get the picture.

The story of the Tower begins in Genesis, Chapter 11. In order to be closer to the gods, men start building a humongous tower so that they can be close to heaven. Given that these are superstitious men in the desert, this seems like a fairly innocent thing to do.

But God sees this from his heavenly perch, and decides to come down and inspect the tower. An ALL-KNOWING, ALL-POWERFUL God, comes down from heaven, to look at a tower being built by Bronze Age men. Actually, God and at least one other came down, because He says, "Let US come down."

If I was reading the Bible for spiritual inspiration, I would've stopped reading at the conflicting creation story in the second chapter of Genesis. Fortunately, I'm reading it for other reasons, so I'm just letting the "physical God who needs to come down and inspect buildings" thing slide.

After inspection, God apparently sees this tower as a threat. A THREAT!!! He thinks that if the humans reach Him in heaven, they will become omnipotent like Him. Huh?

In response, God and his friend(s) (other gods? Angels?) go down among the builders of the tower and confuse them by giving them multiple languages and then scatter these people to all ends of the Earth.

The rest of the Chapter 11 is more geneaology that we can casually skip. The most important thing is the birth of one of Judaism's legendary and mythological heroes, Abraham, whom I will discuss next time.

I am more suspicious than ever that those religious folks who claim to have read the Bible, didn't. Or they are lacking reading comprehension and critical thinking skills. More likely, they have so much conviction in the Talking Snake theory, that their minds are doing unneccessary mental gymnastics just to fit the Bible's message with a modern-day worldview with up-to-date data and facts. Either way, I'm really starting to feel bad for pious, religious people, and concerned for American politics in general.

In conclusion, I must invoke our modern day understanding of reality on this story. When we're talking about towers to heaven, the Tower of Babel must have been very UNIMPRESSIVE in light of all the buildings that have ever been built. We're talking about Bronze Age technology here, folks. This thing, if it even existed, was way smaller than the average skyscraper, let alone the Sears Tower. If the Sears Tower can't reach "heaven", then imagine how inadequate the Tower of Babel was.

I am sad to report that the god of the Bible is a very petty god, indeed. Can't these religious people just believe in a deist God? That's what all of their arguments (Prime Mover, First Cause, Design, etc.) point to, not this mentally unstable character in the Bible. As a nonbeliever, I have no problem with a deist God, because there's no dogma attached to it.

Tune in next time to read about Abraham, the supposed founder of Judaism, and his near-successful attempt at child sacrifice.

I am at the story of Noah's Ark. Someone needs to edit the Bible - badly. Dozens, if not hundreds, of people altered it and changed it prior to its canonization. This part of the Old Testament was probably canonized before 'The Exile' of the Jews.

I last left off at Chapter 6, the beginning of the stories of Noah. Yes, I said stories. There's at least two distinct narrations going on at the same time.

The authors of this section of the Bible are all over the place. For instance, in Chapter 6 God asks Noah to bring two of each animal into the ark, and then in Chapter 7, which is essentially an altered version of Chapter 6, God tells Noah to bring seven of each clean animal and two of each unclean animal.

Chapter 6 starts off by saying that by Noah's time man had multiplied and gave birth to daughters, whom the "sons of God" thought were hot stuff and wanted to have sex with them. Nobody knows what is meant by the "sons of God" but most people think they are angels. Angels with penises? WHY?!?!

Somewhere between the giants and the angelic sex, God gets tired of struggling with man's flesh and says men shall only live for 120 years. Except for Noah, because he lives another 350 years after the flood.

After sentencing humans to live 120 years (which is still a nice age to live to), the story jumps to men having evil thoughts, and God's decision TO KILL EVERY LIVING THING because of these evil thoughts! Wow! What a bad idea!

Even the children and unborn fetuses? Those were evil too, I guess. Not to mention the poor critters - millions of species of germs, insects, mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians - many of which only exist in very isolated geographic locations (i.e. kangaroos), and what about dinosaurs?

So, all humans die except for Noah, of course, who is described as "just and perfect." Yes, the same Noah who later on gets drunk and naked in front of his family. Wow! For Noah to be considered just and perfect compared to everyone else, I'm wondering what everyone else was like.

God tells Noah to make an ark that is 450 feet long. How is a 450 foot long boat going to carry MILLIONS of species of different kinds of creatures? The Bible says the animals walked onto the ark on the "self-same" day, which means they had to enter the ark at a rate of at least 20 animals a second!

Chapter 7 flip-flops alot, but basically the deluge begins by God opening "the windows of heaven", an allusion the firmament. The firmament is an invisible solid barrier that separates the waters of chaos (instead of space, they believed that there was an infinite amount of water up there) to keep us dry. The firmament is actually mentioned in the first chapter creation account. It's hard to understand now because we modern humans know there's no such thing as a firmament, but the ancient Israelites apparently believed that there was a firmament, and God occasionally opened it to let in a little water. This was probably their explanation for rain, or why the sky was blue.

In Chapter 7, the flood is said to last 40 days and 40 nights, but then it says in the same chapter that the flood lasted 150 days! Like I said - either someone's messing with us or whoever canonized this didn't care to factcheck.

Finally, in Chapter 8, "God remembers Noah."

I like to think God said, "Oh yea, I forgot about the guy with the boat and all the animals."

In Chapter 8 again, there's reference to both 150 days and 40 days, as if there's no problem with mentioning each right next to each other. There's other problems too. Noah sends out a raven which flew about to and fro until the water dried up, but he also sent a dove, which seven days later comes back with an olive leaf.


Another problem - Genesis says that the waters dried up in the first month, and then later it says it was the second month. If people really took the Bible literally, they'd be insane.

But that's not the end of the madness. God tells Noah to let all the animals out and let them multiply and be abundant, but Noah also builds an altar and sacrifices the extra "clean animals" (remember the seven pairs of clean animals?).

After smelling the sweet smell of burning animals (mmm ... hamburgers), God now feels bad for what He's done. "I will not again curse the ground any more for man's sake; for the imagination of man's heart is evil from his youth ; neither will I again smite any more every thing living, as I have done."

Those are the word of an all-knowing, all-powerful God. He actually felt bad for slaughtering off wholesale a whole population of humans and animals. How comforting!

And as a sign of his sorrow, he makes a rainbow to remind Himself not to slaughter off all the animals again. Rainbows, in case you didn't know, are natural occurrences that happen when light reflects of water at a certain angle. Now, when I see a rainbow, I imagine in my head that God is telling Himself, "Oh yea, I almost forgot not to MURDER OFF ENTIRE POPULATIONS OF ORGANISMS!!!"

Chapter 9 ends with Noah being drunk and naked and pissed off at his sons for seeing him drunk and naked. Noah lives 350 years AFTER the flood.

As you can probably tell, I'm pretty pissed off right now. This is obviously the clumsy handiwork of priests who are trying to reconcile TWO conflicting flood accounts. There are literally millions of people out there who believe this story is literally true, AND they vote.

Next time, I'm going to topple the Tower of Babel.