Thursday, December 24, 2009

110: Ahab, the Pouty King & 1 Kings: In Review

1 Kings 21-22
Then two scoundrels came and sat opposite him and brought charges against Naboth before the people, saying, "Naboth has cursed both God and the king." So they took him outside the city and stoned him to death. - 1 Kings 21:13

Ahab tells Naboth that he wants his vineyard. Naboth says no. Ahab then proceeds to go home and pout. He refuses to eat. His wife sees him and tells him to "cheer up" (bible's words not mine), and promises that she will get him that vineyard.

Ahab's wife sends a letter to the nobles in Naboth's city telling them to appoint Naboth to a prominent position. She then tells them to seat two scoundrels with him and have them say that Naboth cursed God. They do this, and Naboth is stoned to death for his "crime".

Ahab goes to seize the dead man's vineyard. Elijah meets him there and says he is going to bring ruin to his family. When Ahab hears this he tears his clothes and stops eating again. God notices how humble Ahab is and decides to give him a reprieve. I'm not sure how he's humble, he still seems like a pouty brat to me. But that was nice of God, this means that the rest of Ahab's family doesn't have to die too, right? Wrong. God merely puts off the family's punishment for a generation. This is, I suppose, to guarantee that only the innocent get punished (the way God likes it).

Micaiah, a prophet, tells Ahab not to go to war with Ramoth Gilead or he will die. Ahab doesn't believe him and does it anyway. This turns out to be a bad idea, Ahab is killed in battle and the rest of the Israelites return home.

1 Kings: In Review
1 Kings really reminds me of Judges without the whole God part. Nothing terribly exciting happens, and nearly all the kings are "bad". Meaning, generally, that they worship the wrong gods. The people that actually do nasty things (for example, have people killed like in today's post) get a reprieve as long as they're "humble".

Someone is surely going to say that God isn't destroying people because that would violate free will. But God had no problem completely obliterating people's free will (ie killing them) in previous books. What's with the change of heart? Throughout this book it's claimed that God was somehow causing kings to be killed on the battlefield. Someone's free will had to be tampered with if God caused that to happen. Sorry, free will and all-powerful judgment giver don't mix.

*News*
Can a real Christian have a Christmas tree? Reasonable person's answer: Duh, yes. [bonus: That's a true Scotsman fallacy.] Fundie's answer: Yes, unless someone writes an article that says the bible forbids Christmas trees.

A woman in Texas wrote this to a newspaper editorial Q&A:
My husband recently read an article on the Web that the Bible forbids Christians from having a Christmas tree in their house (Jeremiah 10:3.) was the Bible verse that the article listed. Our children are going to be crushed if we don’t have a tree this Christmas. What can I do?
(I'm going to leave out my complaints about the woman butchering the English language.)

The columnist responds with an explanation as to why the bible doesn't forbid Christmas trees, thus saving Christmas. That, for me, is not the point. The point is, does this woman value a sentence in the bible over the happiness of her children? Does it really concern you that much that you would stop doing something so obviously harmless that you and your family enjoy?

People can make the bible say whatever they want it to say (because it contradicts itself so many times). If you're going to concern yourself with every article that every person writes, you and your children are going to have a pretty terrible life.

(via The Tribune)
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