A nonbeliever's SECOND reading of the Bible

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

Friday, November 19, 2010

The ancient god Molech was a contemporary of Yahweh.

Joshua's Final Message (Joshua 23 & 24) - Reading the Old Testament is kind of cool, because we can really get a picture of the mindset of the people who founded a religion that would eventually evolve into Christianity, Islam, and even Mormonism.

In this story, Joshua is about 110 years old and he knows he's about to kick the bucket.  Oddly enough, it doesn't seem like he thinks he's going anywhere except into the ground.  To Joshua, it seems, there is no afterlife.  And the only purpose in worshipping Yahweh is so that He doesn't smite you in this life.

His final message is for the Israelites to not worship any other gods, nor to mention their names.  And this really illuminates the thoughts that were going through the minds of the people who actually wrote these stories down.  Today, we live in a society that is tolerant toward different religions and even tolerant to those with no religion.  But back then, these people were trying to establish a new religion and so they had to deal rather harshly with any competition.

So, no wonder they were so worried about people worshipping other gods.  The way the writers wrote about the subject made it seem like it was one of the greatest problems of their age.

Another subject that is brought up is the question of free will.  Joshua, speaking for Yahweh, says to "Choose who you will serve ..."  Choose one of these other gods and Yahweh will smite you, but choose Yahweh and you will be blessed.  Isn't that kind of like saying to your child (to steal an example from nonstampcollector), "You can choose whatever ice cream you want, but if you don't choose vanilla I'm going to take away all your toys, you can't watch cartoons, and you're going to be grounded for a week."

Is that what free will has come to?

At the end of the book, Joshua dies and there's a contradiction too.  Joshua 24:32 says that Joshua bought a parcel of land in which to lay to rest the bones of Joseph.  But in Acts 7:16, it says Abraham bought the parcel of land.  So, we have ourselves a nice little contradiction between the Old and New Testaments.

Next time we start reading the Book of Judges.

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