Saturday, November 28, 2009

84: More Rape & Judges: In Review

Judges 19-21
Pounding on the door, they shouted to the old man who owned the house, "Bring out the man who came to your house so we can have sex with him." - Judges 19:22

Ok, I'm going to furiously type this, I got started a little late today.

A man (a random Levite) takes a concubine. They have some family drama (she cheats on him) and they repeatedly spend the night at their father's house. Finally they leave (after a lot of boring verses), and go to Gibeah (a Benjamite city). This turns out to be a replay of Sodom. The men of Gibeah see the Levite and his concubine go into an old man's house. The men surround the old man's house and demand that he give them the Levite so they can have sex with him. The old man says that there is a perfectly good concubine to rape (he also offers his own daughter).

The men say no, so the old man throws the other man's concubine outside. The rapists change their mind and decide they are interested in the concubine. They rape her and abuse her throughout the night. The men inside go to sleep.

When they wake up in the morning they find her on the doorstep and tell her to get up. She's dead. Instead of burying his dead partner, the man chops her into 12 pieces and sends her to all of the tribes of Israel. He chops her up? Why would he do that?

The Israelites apparently don't appreciate dismembered pieces of a corpse being sent to them and go to war with the Benjamites. Many a paragraph is spent describing the armies of Israel that are sent against the Benjamites. I'll spare you the details.

God finally returns (we haven't seen him in awhile) and gives permission for the Israelites to destroy the Benjamites. I wonder how God decided between the corrupt Israelites and the corrupt Benjamites. The Israelites defeat the Benjamites, of course with God's assistance.

The Israelites, after beating the Benjamites, pledge not to give any Benjamites wives. I guess the Benjamites don't have any women. The next day they build an altar to God and one of the Israeli cities doesn't send a representative to worship. Israel gathers an army and kills everyone in the city except for the virgins and gives those virgins to the Benjamites for wives. Problem solved? Not quite. Not all of the Benjamites have wives.

The Israelites tell the Benjamites to hide in the vineyards while the women of Shiloh come to entertain them. The Benjamites then kidnap the women and keep them for wives. Great solution.

Judges: In Review
As I said in the beginning, the entire premise of Judges is that the Israelites are naughty, and God sends someone to save them. God fails to save them (from himself) to varying degrees throughout judges. But, of course, it's the people who fail, because God can't.

Why does God even need to send anyone to save Israel. Why can't he do it himself? I can hear the Christians shouting "he can't revoke free will". But what difference does it make if he unfairly gives an advantage to a "judge" or just comes down and does whatever he wants to do himself? Is there any difference for free will?

*News*
Want to make a quick $15,000? Just go hand write a bible. Ok, so that might not be quick.

Reportedly, over 31,000 different people contributed to the writing of this NIV bible. They then proceeded to sell it on Ebay. Of course.

Ok, enough said. Must publish.

(via The Christian Post)

Friday, November 27, 2009

83: Delilah's Thongs

Judges 16-18
If anyone ties me with seven fresh thongs that have not been dried, I'll become as weak as any other man. - Judges 16:7

Samson goes to Gaza, where he finds a prostitute and goes to bed with her. The people of Gaza are somehow alerted that Samson is there and they want to kill him. They decide to wait till morning to try. Samson "lay there" in bed with the prostitute (sure he did) till the middle of the night. He then ripped up the city gate and carried it to the top of a hill. Did the people of Gaza ever look for him? Why did he have to rip up the city gate? We're never told.

Some time later (I love the unspecific time frame) he falls in love with another woman. The woman's name is Delilah. The Philistines go to Delilah and tell her to find the secret to Samson's power. Is he superman or something? Does he seriously have a secret weakness? If Samson's power is given by God, and a mortal can take it away if they find his secret weakness, then is God being a puppet here? A mortal decides whether God gives Samson power or not?

Delilah asks what his weakness is. Samson says that if he is tied up with fresh thongs that he will become weak. I think every man has that weakness. Before I get too ahead of myself, I'll remind you that a "thong" means a bowstring. So whenever I say "thong" make sure to think bowstring.

Let me start over. Samson's weakness is being tied up with fresh, wet thongs. The Philistines bring her some wet thongs (why are they wet?). Delilah apparently doesn't wear have any thongs. She then proceeds to tie him up. The bible doesn't say that Samson is asleep or in any way incapacitated, but for some reason he is letting Delilah tie him up. Once she is done, she tells Samson the Philistines are upon him and he snaps the thongs. What a liar! I thought lying was a sin, some prophet this is. I guess Samson just enjoys being tied up with thongs.

Samson continues this little game for awhile. Next time he tells Delilah that his weakness is being tied up with ropes. Again, this fails to work. He then tells her that if she ties him up with his own hair that he will become weak. Again, he breaks free effortlessly. Finally, he tells her (truthfully this time) that if she shaves his head he will become weak. This is so ridiculous. What does cutting his hair off have to do with God giving him powers? The excuse given in the bible is that Samson is a Nazarite, and Nazarites mustn't shave their heads. God can't see past the fact that someone else shaved his head and preserve his powers? One more thing, why would Samson actually give away his secret if he knew Delilah was working with the Philistines (it's pretty obvious at this point, the Philistines jump out right after he's tied up every time)?

The Philistines shave Samson's head. They finally capture him and gouge his eyes out. He spends time in a Philistine prison and his hair grows back. The Philistines, not realizing that if his hair grew back he would regain his strength, take him to their temple and make him perform for them. Samson asks to rest on the support pillars of the temple. With his regained strength he pulls the entire temple down on top of himself and all of the Philistines, killing everyone. God seems to have abandoned this prophet.

In chapter 17 we're introduced to a new character (prophet?) named Micah. Micah makes cast idols in his spare time. One day a Levite comes to his house and Micah tells him that he will pay him to be a priest. The Levite agrees.

Awhile later, some Danites come to Micah's house and ask his Levite priest if they will have a successful journey (they are looking for a place to settle for the Danites). The priest says God has blessed their journey.

The Danites end up stealing Micah's cast idol and his Levite priest. They then go on to destroy a peaceful villiage and claim it as their own. The way the bible words it seems to condemn what the Danites did. But isn't this the exact same thing the last generation of Israelites did with God's blessing? As a side note, the Levite said their journey would be successful; it was. So is this Levite really communicating with God as he says, or not? The bible makes no distinction between good and bad prophets.

I seriously hope the story of Micah has a point in the next chapters, otherwise it was a huge waste of time.

*News*
Ever have someone come to your door with a bible in hand? Well you might want to think twice about opening the door for them. A man posing as a bible salesman (aka a Mormon) forced his way into a woman's home. He reportedly threatened her with a knife and beat her with a frying pan.

The article never claims any intent to rob. Maybe he was just trying to forcibly imbue the holy spirit into her. She finally does what any reasonable person would do to someone trying to forcibly convert them, and maces him in the face.

I've never had anyone try to convert me via beating me with a frying pan before. I'm not sure if I'm willing to try that method.

(via WWAY News Channel 3)

Thursday, November 26, 2009

82: Killed With an Ass

Judges 13-15
Finding a fresh jawbone of a donkey, he grabbed it and struck down a thousand men. - Judges 15:15

Thanksgiving edition (aka super late and half-assed)!

Again the Israelites are naughty. I think you get the idea at this point. See every other post on Judges if you don't know what I'm talking about. This time they are occupied by the Philistines.

An angel comes to a sterile woman named Zorah, and tells her she will have a child. She has a child and names him Samson. Again, this angel is strangely interchangeable with God. When they find out who the angel is they are afraid they are going to die because they looked at God. Is this an angel or God? Make up your mind bible.

Samson grows up and falls in love with a Philistine. Oh no! The bible says that God somehow arranged this infatuation. So God suspends free will in that situation but not in others? That makes perfect sense.

This chapter gets a little trippy. A lion comes and attacks Samson while he is going to claim the Philistine woman as his wife (with his parents). God gives Samson super human strength and he rips apart the lion with his bare hands. He rips apart the lion just "as he might have torn a young goat". What? Who tears apart young goats? He finally meets the woman (I guess he was just checking her out before) and they plan to get married. "Some time later" (however long that is) he looks at the lion carcass and bees have nested inside of it. His first instinct is to eat the honey, from inside a rotting lion carcass, and give some to the rest of his family. Yummy?

Samson's father throws him a party for the wedding and 30 Philistines attend. Samson decides to give them a riddle. If they can't figure it out, they have to give him 30 linen garments, if they can he has to give them all linen garments. Here's the riddle:
Out of the eater, something to eat;
Out of the strong, something sweet.
Wow, the riddle actually rhymes in English. Anyway, the Philistines can't figure it out because that's the most cryptic riddle of all time. These Philistines really don't want to lose this bet. They threaten to burn down Samson's wife's house if she wont tell them the answer to the riddle.

Samson's wife begs Samson for seven days to tell her the riddle. Finally he does and she tells the Philistines. What's the huge deal with this riddle? This is a whole new level of competitiveness.
Here is the equally cryptic answer:
What is sweeter than honey?
What is stronger than a lion?
Instead of Samson spending his own money and giving the Philistines garments, he kills 30 men from Ashkelon (some random city) and steals their clothes. Somehow I think the Philistines are going to notice that the garments are covered in blood.

Samson's wife is given to one of the Philistines that attended the wedding. Samson's wife's father says that he thought Samson hated his wife so he gave her to his friend. Samson is pissed. He goes out and catches 300 foxes and ties them together, he then ties torches to them and runs them through the Philistine's fields, setting them ablaze. There has to be an easier way to set fields on fire. Why is he punishing random Philistines for something that his wife's father did?

The Philistines respond by killing Samson's wife and her father. Again, what did they do? It was Samson that lit their fields on fire. The Philistines then go to apprehend Samson. Samson finds the "fresh jawbone of a donkey". What's a fresh jawbone? Does that mean he grabbed a donkey and ripped it's jaw out? He uses this fresh jawbone to slaughter a thousand men. I guess God got bored with normal killing.

*News*
Hate the twilight book series? You're not alone. The Vatican has released a message about the newest movie "New Moon", calling it a “moral void more dangerous than any deviant message".

Monsignor Franco Perazzolo (aka, some Catholic guy) says that "This film is nothing more than a moral vacuum with a deviant message and as such should be of concern". Anyone who has read the books (as I'm sure none of the people at the Vatican have) knows that the books aren't tomes of demonology. Maybe tomes of preteen Edward worship. There aren't any gay vampires so the Vatican shouldn't be upset.

If you want to see some of the other quotes or the rest of the story click the link below.

(via CathNews USA [and about a billion other places])

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

81: Daughters Make Good Burnt Offerings

Judges 10-12
And Jephthah made a vow to the LORD : "If you give the Ammonites into my hands, whatever comes out of the door of my house to meet me when I return in triumph from the Ammonites will be the LORD's, and I will sacrifice it as a burnt offering." Judges 11:30-31

Chapter 10 repeats the Judges format. Israelites worship other gods. Israel somehow decides they like the "real" God again. God reluctantly sends a Judge. At the end of chapter 10 the bible says that God can bear Israel's misery no longer. Which implies that God is ok with misery up to a certain point (I guess that makes sense with all of the suffering in the world).

In Judges 11 we hear about Jephthah, a great warrior. He is ejected from Israel by his brothers because his mother is a prostitute. Of course, when the Ammonites attack Israel, they want Jephthah back to fight them. He reluctantly agrees. The Ammonites must be a large army because Jephthah makes a deal with God, and it's part of our quote of the day:
If you give the Ammonites into my hands, whatever comes out of the door of my house to meet me when I return in triumph from the Ammonites will be the LORD's, and I will sacrifice it as a burnt offering.
Long story short, he beats the Ammonites. Jephthah apparently looked over the fact that when he returned home his daughter might run out of the house to meet him. Now he has made a deal with God to sacrifice his daughter as a burnt offering. Who said God didn't encourage child sacrifice?

He's going to find a loophole and get out of sacrificing his daughter right? Wrong. He gives her two months to wander the countryside and weep with her friends. Then he sacrifices her. God is silent on the matter.

Jephthah goes on to destroy the Ephriamites in chapter 12. Whenever they find an Ephriamite they ask him to pronounce the word "Shiboleth" if he can't, they kill him. I guess you just have to work on your Israeli accent to live.

*News*
This is silly news today, but it's too stupid not to write about.

The article is titled "Bruce Gradkowski: What The Bible Can Tell Us About His Future". My first reaction was who the hell is Bruce Gradkowski? He is the current Oakland Raiders quarterback. Oh no.

The article goes on to try to apply the story of Noah to the story of the Raiders quarterback. No, just say no. Bruce is the "dove" that Noah sent out. The Raiders win on November 22 was symbolic of Noah sending out the dove for the first time. Now Damali Binta YAEL (aka the idiot writing this article) thinks that they should send out Bruce two more times, just like Noah's dove.

Really Damali? Really? You're really going to try to apply the bible to sports? I certainly hope this is a joke article.

(via Bleacher Report [warning: link may contain stupid])

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

80: I Worship Green Idols

Judges 8-9
"Draw your sword and kill me so they can't say, 'A woman killed him.' " - Judges 9:54

As you can see, I've added a quote of the day. I'll find some quote that I find weird/interesting(/inspiring?) from that days reading and put it at the top.

Gideon pretty much goes off the deep end in chapter 8. He is pursuing the Midianite kings Zebah and Zalmunna. In his pursuit, he stops in a city for rest. He asks the residents of the city to give him food and drink. They ask why they should do this. Keep in mind, they don't say no, they just ask "Why should we?". Gideon responds by saying he is going to tear their flesh with desert thorns and briers. What? Why?

Gideon moves on to another city, he must be hungry. He asks this city for bread also. The bible says that these people respond the exact same as the people in the previous city. This time Gideon says he is going to tear down their tower. Nice guy.

Gideon eventually captures Zebah and Zalmunna. Before killing them, he comes back to the towns that wouldn't feed him. He tortures the people of the first town with thorns and briers, and he kills the people of the second town. He makes sure not to forget to tear down their tower. I'm pretty sure they don't care about their tower if they're dead.

Gideon moves on to killing Zebah and Zalmunna. He questions them, and finds out that they killed his brothers. Gideon is so angry at this that he... Doesn't kill them. What? Instead he tells his young son to kill them. Zebah and Zalmunna (apparently the voice of reason in this situation) tell him that he should kill them himself. Gideon agrees and kills them. God doesn't say it's bad to have your son kill people, in fact, this is another one of those chapters where God forgets to show up.

The people of Israel beg for Gideon to rule them. He wont, and his quote to them is priceless:
But Gideon told them, "I will not rule over you, nor will my son rule over you. The Lord will rule over you." And he said, "I do have one request, that each of you give me an earring from your share of the plunder." - Judges 8:23-24
God is wonderful, now give me some money. I guess we know where this concept originated.

Gideon goes on to have seventy sons with many wives and at least one concubine. At the end of chapter 8 Gideon dies, and again the Israelites begin worshiping Baal. This is starting to bother me, there has to be something compelling about this Baal God for the Israelites to continually worship him. I looked up a picture of this God to see what was so interesting.


Ba'al 14th-12th Century BCE

All praise to Baal, the one true God! I mean... Whoa. His giant, green, bulbous head is just so irresistible.

Gideon's son Abimelech (not the same as the other two Abimelechs in the bible, I'm getting pretty good at spelling it now) is also a nut job. This is the son he had with his concubine. Abimelech decides to kill the rest of his brothers (all 70 of them). Only one of Gideon's sons, the youngest, escapes.

Abimelech reigns over Shechem for several years. When the people of Shechem decide to revolt he starts slaughtering them. He chases the people revolting against him to another town with a strong tower. All of the people of the town hide in this tower. As Abimelech tries to storm the tower a woman throws a millstone at his head, cracking his skull. This is where our quote of the day comes in. Instead of trying to recover, Abimelech tells one of his soldiers to kill him so that people wont say a woman killed him.

Of course, the credit for killing Abimelech is given to God. The bible says that God has repaid Abimelech's wickedness. How exactly did he do that? The woman threw the rock, and the soldier killed him. Did God take away their free will momentarily to repay Abimelech's wickedness? You can't say that God takes away free will to repay some wickedness, but not to prevent any bad things from happening.

*News*
“You must defend those who are helpless and have no hope. Be fair and give justice to the poor and homeless.”

Where do you think that quote came from? I'll give you a hint, it's a message of hope... It might make for a good change... It makes you want to say "Yes we can" a little...

Did you guess Barak Obama? Sorry, you're wrong, but you're in good company (ok, I may have led you on a little). Sixteen percent of Americans attributed that quote to Obama, while only thirteen percent guessed that it was from bible, it's actual origin. Some of the other contenders were Oprah, Bono, and Angelina Jolie (yay America).

This is making the Christian news circuit because it's just further proof of the horrible condition Christianity is in, in America. Right, Christians go through such terrible oppression here.

There have been a few passages that say to help the poor, but these are far outnumbered by the times that the bible says to go kill people, so I can't say that I would immediately attribute that passage to the bible. I am disappointed in the Christians that are already supposed to have read this all the way through, yet still can't attribute passages to their holy book. I'll tell you what I think when I get to Proverbs (the origin of the quote) in a few months.

(via The Christian Post)

Monday, November 23, 2009

79: Gideon Gets Evidence, Why Don't We?

Judges 6-7
Again the Israelites worship other gods, and again they are taken over. This time by the Midianites. God sends an "angel of the Lord" to see Gideon. Angels are always strange, they seem to be interchangeable with God, or the bible just can't figure out who's talking.

The people God has picked so far as prophets always seem to be pretty open to the idea that some random person talking to them is God, just because they say so. Not Gideon. He wants proof, and unlike the rest of us, he gets it. Granted, it's not very good proof. Gideon sacrifices some meat to the angel, and the angel burns it up on the rock and disappears. This reminds me of just about every disappearing act I've ever seen; a big ball of smoke and someone disappearing.

Gideon buys it and is immediately afraid that God is going to kill him for looking upon his face (just as he said he would to Moses). God says not to worry, Gideon isn't going to die. God then tells Gideon to destroy his father's alter to Baal and cut down his Asherah poles. Gideon does as he is told and the next morning the townspeople demand that Gideon die for what he did. Joash (Gideon's father) says something great to the mob:
Are you going to plead Baal's cause? Are you trying to save him? ... If Baal really is a god, he can defend himself when someone breaks down his altar.
If only some Christians had the same sentiment as Joash, this world would be a much better place. So, if your God really is a God, he can deal with his problems himself. Which means that Christians can stop protesting gay marriage, because if God is so offended he can deal with the matter all by himself. That is, if your God is really a God.

At the end of chapter 6 Gideon again asks for evidence, and again he receives all the evidence he needs. For being fair and just, God sure seems to pick favorites. The Israelites get whatever land they want, even though they aren't better people. Gideon gets all the evidence he wants, even though he's no different from anyone else.

Now that Gideon is properly convinced, God tells him to raise an army. Gideon ends up raising 32,000 men. God says that's too many. If they went to battle with that many then Israel would just say they did all the fighting for themselves. Gideon, to get rid of people, says that anyone who is afraid can go home. This prompts 22,000 to leave. This is still to many men for God. Gideon takes the remaining men to a pond (or some body of water) and watches them drink. Anyone who scoops up the water with their hand and drinks it (only 300), as opposed to leaning down and drinking it straight out of the pond, gets to stay. Everyone else has to leave. I'm not sure what that test had to do with anything.

God, finally satisfied with the number of soldiers, tells Gideon to go destroy Midian. God says if Gideon is afraid to attack a city with 300 men (duh), that he should go secretly listen to what the people in the town are saying. He goes and listens, this is what he hears two men saying:
Gideon arrived just as a man was telling a friend his dream. "I had a dream," he was saying. "A round loaf of barley bread came tumbling into the Midianite camp. It struck the tent with such force that the tent overturned and collapsed."

His friend responded, "This can be nothing other than the sword of Gideon son of Joash, the Israelite. God has given the Midianites and the whole camp into his hands."
What? I'm calling bullshit. Why would someone interpret a dream like that to mean that some random person that they don't know, from a country that is completely subdued, is going to come and attack? And on top of that, a God that you don't believe in is helping them? I don't think so.

Anyway, Gideon is encouraged by this and tells all his men to grab trumpets and jars with torches inside them. Uh, ok? On Gideon's command they all break their jars, revealing their torches, and blow their trumpets. This sets the city into a frenzy and the Midianites run away and/or kill each other. All of the Israelites in the surrounding areas come and claim Midian back. It never mentions that Gideon and his 300 person army did anything, they just blew their trumpets and broke their jars.

*News*
Several Christian sources are apparently making the bible go viral this week. Because Christians can be hip and cool with twitter, just like congressmen. Facebook and Myspace are also supposedly targets. Right, we need a few more Christian spam messages on Facebook.

I figured I would do my part and come up with a bible verse that could go viral. Here's my favorite:

Facebook/Myspace
"I will destroy your high places, cut down your incense altars and pile your dead bodies on the lifeless forms of your idols, and I will abhor you." - Love, God: Leviticus 26:30

Or for you twitterers:
"I will abhor you." - Love, God: Leviticus 26:30

If all four of my readers repost this it's definitely going viral (just kidding, I have at least five readers).

(via Christian News Wire)

Sunday, November 22, 2009

78: God's Tests are Rigged

Judges 3-5
The beginning of chapter 3 tells us that God has left certain civilizations alive to test the Israelites. Why would an all loving God do this? Why would an all knowing God need to test his servants?

The Israelites fail the test as usual, just as God knew they would. God then sells his people into the hands of their enemies. When the Israelites cry out, God decides to send a judge to help them. God is blatantly setting the Israelites up to fail. After God's judge saves them there is peace for 40 years.

Again, the Israelites worship other Gods, just as God knew they would. God sends another judge. This judge goes to the king of Moab (the people that are oppressing the Israelites at the time) and assassinates him. He then brings back and army and destroys Moab.

The last line of chapter 3 mentions some random person (Shamgar) killing 600 Philistines with an oxgoad (aka cattle prod). This single verse is the subject of much speculation and artwork.

Shamgar kills the Philistines

Again, the Israelites cannot stop doing bad things. Largely because God gives them so many opportunities to do bad things. Again, God sends a judge and again the Israelites are saved. The king of the opposing city is again killed but his death is a little interesting. He flees from the battle with the Israelites and hides in the tent of who he thinks is a friend. The woman he flees to gives him something to drink and says that she will hide him. As soon as he falls asleep, she gets a tent stake and drives it through his temple. No explanation is given as to why she would do this, maybe so she would be saved from the Israelites?

All of chapter 5 is a song. These songs are largely lost on English readers; they don't rhyme and they don't make a whole lot of sense.

*News*
I found an article in the "American Thinker" today, about how Islam is a violent religion. The article skirts very close to suggesting that Islam should be outlawed. Here is pretty much the premise of the article:
Any honest evaluation of the history of Islam will indicate that it cannot be pigeonholed as if it were merely a different sect that utilizes a crescent rather than a cross as a symbol. Islam is fundamentally incompatible with Western attitudes toward religion and society.
Right, and any honest evaluation of the history of Judaism (and in turn, Christianity) would find that the Israelites, and the Christians that came after them, killed and maimed with the best of them. Under the guise of combating ignorance on Islam, the author spouts ignorance about his own religion. The assertion that Christianity, and Judaism have always been a peaceful religions is laughable. He/she must not read the bible.
 

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