Monday, April 19, 2010

226: Competitive Wailing

Jeremiah 7-9
"This is what the LORD Almighty says: 'Consider now! Call for the wailing women to come; send for the most skillful of them. Let them come quickly and wail over us till our eyes overflow with tears and water streams from our eyelids.' " - Jeremiah 9:17-18

I'm really ready to be done with the Old Testament. We have yet another day of God describing how he's going to kill everyone in Israel. Just do it already, I'm tired of hearing about it.

God tells Jeremiah to go to Shiloh and see what he's done to it. He says that he has done the same thing to Shiloh that he's going to do to Israel. Unfortunately, the bible never says what happened to Shiloh! I guess this paragraph is for Jeremiah's benefit only, after he visits Shiloh. I can pretty much fill in the blanks, though. Considering he spends the rest of the chapter describing how he's going to utterly destroy Israel, I'm assuming (just taking a wild guess here) that he destroyed Shiloh.

God describes for the rest of the chapter how he's going to kill everyone for worshiping false idols. He says that the Israelites will bury the dead until there is no more room in the ground. The bodies will lie out in the elements and carrion birds will eat them. I don't think there's anything to be said that I haven't already said about God killing people. Just remember, God loves you. Even when he's mercilessly slaughtering you and feeding you to wild animals.

In the beginning of the next chapter God says that he is going to dig up the bones of everyone in Jerusalem. Excuse me? Is there a point to this? Not only is God going to kill everyone, but he feels that he needs to dig up the graves of those who are already dead. So much for rest in peace. Not when God's around.

The rest of chapter 8 is about Jeremiah conspiring to leave the cities to escape God's wrath. That's all you have to do to escape? Can God not find you outside of the city? Fun random fact (because there's nothing else to say about this chapter): Jeremiah 8:22 reads "Is there no balm in Gilead?" Devoted Poe fans (like myself) may know why I find this interesting.

Chapter 9 is a little strange. The majority is just the same tired story. Jerusalem was naughty because they worshiped false idols, now God is going to come destroy them. The interesting part is when God tells Jeremiah to get the city's best wailers to come cry for Jerusalem. I didn't know there were skilled and unskilled wailers. Should this be added as an Olympic sport? "Women's Wailing" It kind of has a ring to it. Of course, all this wailing isn't actually going to do them any good. I think God just enjoys the sounds of human suffering.

Today's article is not a foreign subject to most college students. Gideons passing out bibles on campus.

The particular school in question in Saginaw Valley State in Michigan, but the arguments for and against Gideons apply to pretty much any school. The writers of today's article feels that the Gideons are generally nice people and should be allowed to pass out whatever they want on campus:
On Wednesday morning the Gideons stood by the entrances to buildings on campus and handed out New Testaments. The Gideons are a group that distributes Bibles all across the world to hospitals, hotel rooms, etc. The ones I encountered bid me a good morning and asked if I’d like a Bible. I didn’t think much about it until I got to my class and heard the guys sitting behind me expressing adamant dislike for being approached in such a way. I bumped into a few friends who also declared that they didn’t like the “obstruction” of the entrance ways, which forced students to either speak with the men or be rude.
The writer goes on to imply that the Gideons weren't in the way, but maybe that was just her experience. I wonder if her opinion would be different if the Gideons were passing out Satanic bibles. Now, you may argue that the Satanic bible is offensive and the "real" bible is not. But offensive to whom? I certainly know a lot of people that are offended by the real bible. If you accept one group passing out whatever they want, you must accept all groups passing out whatever they want.

There are some other problems with the Gideons in my personal experience. First, they generally don't have permission to be on campus passing out material. While I agree that this is usually harmless when it's the Gideons, it sets a bad precedence that anyone can pass out anything they want on campus. Second, from what I've seen, passing out bibles is an incredibly wasteful endeavor. As soon as I walk past the Gideons I inevitably walk past a trash can full of Gideon bibles. May I suggest passing out Gideon bibles in USB form? That way even if the students don't want the bible they would have a free USB drive. It would probably cost less, be less wasteful, and the Gideons could include a full bible instead of the silly abridged versions. But I'm just a silly atheist, what do I know.

(via The Valley Vanguard)


  1. Hey, at least it's just giving out bibles. At my school, I've got fundies sitting right outside the computer science building carrying signs that say "Repent" with their holders yelling at me to get saved. I don't see what good that does anyone. I'm not sure what kind of weak person you'd have to be for that kind of witnessing to be effective.

  2. Handing out USB sticks. Great idea! I would take a few.

    BTW, I don't normally correct your typos, but it's "bad precedent," not "bad precedence."



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