Thursday, May 20, 2010

257: From Bad to Worse & Ezekiel: In Review

Ezekiel 46-48
"These are the tribes, listed by name: At the northern frontier, Dan will have one portion; it will follow the Hethlon road to Lebo Hamath; Hazar Enan and the northern border of Damascus next to Hamath will be part of its border from the east side to the west side." - Ezekiel 48:1

And I thought yesterday was bad. Today is all about the rules and regulations of the temple and the division of land.

Chapter 46 is a list of regulations about the temple. This includes: keeping the east gate closed except on the sabbath and during new moons, leaving in the door opposite from the one you entered (if you go in you have to take the full tour), and offering a year old lamb every day. I really hope there is none of this in the New Testament (only two and a half weeks away!).

Chapter 47 starts with Ezekiel discovering a river flowing from below the east side of the temple. The bronze measuring man takes out his measuring line and measures off the river 1000 cubits (1500 feet) at a time. By the time the man has gone 4000 cubits the water from the river is too deep to walk in. The bronze man then stops and says "Son of man, do you see this?". See what?The river? I think he sees it. Aren't messengers of God supposed to say something insightful?

The rest of chapter 47 and all of chapter 48 are about dividing land. I have nothing to say about this, it was about as exciting as reading a phone book.

Ezekiel: In Review
If I had to use a single word to describe Ezekiel it would be "insane". It has certainly been, in my opinion, the most outlandish book of the bible so far.

The book starts with four headed angels covered in eyeballs. Floating next to these angels are magical floating wheels filled with hot coals. Floating over the four headed angels and magical wheels is a half bronze half fire God. How can anyone walk away from this saying "yeah, that seems reasonable I think I'll live my life by this book". If anyone today had a vision that was half as crazy as that they would be swiftly sent to the funny farm.

Near the end of the book God resurrects a vast army of dead soldiers. Wasn't the resurrection supposed to be the thing that made Jesus special? Why don't we worship any one of those soldiers that were resurrected? Who's to say any one of them didn't die for our sins.

The last chapters are filled with Ezekiel following around a man made of bronze measuring a temple that my bible annotations say doesn't yet exist.

If anyone tells me that the bible is reasonable or in any way based in reality, I'm going to tell them to read the book of Ezekiel. If they can't see reason after that, they're just as insane/high as Ezekiel.

Is atheism or being secular a religion? Two authors think so:
Two academics who are also respected book authors said recently that secularism is just as much a religion as is Christianity and Islam.
Wow, two people? As we all know, it only takes two people's opinion to make an idea true and factual. Like any good fundie article, we have the standard "religious people are being oppressed" reference:
In Somerville’s article, “Religion has a role to play in the public square” she wrote, “It’s a mistake to accept that secularism is neutral. It too is a belief system used to bind people together. We need all voices to be heard in the democratic public square, and they have a right to be heard.”
What country does she live in? When has a religious "voice" been banned from the public square? The act of reading this article is evidence that you can spout whatever sort of religious rhetoric you want and not be silenced (as it should be).
Buruma, who also wrote the book Taming the Gods, said secularism, like laicite is ideological. “To extol reason as the highest form of human expression, that wants to ban religious symbols from public places and so on…it can become quite dogmatic, which secularism doesn’t have to be,” according to rd magazine.
But secularism does not say we should ban religious symbols from public places, just publically owned places (i.e. government owned). Not to mention that Christians/Muslims/etc. usually only want their particular brand of religion put in the public square. The government should have no role in promoting religion (which is much different than banning religion in the public square).
Somerville adds that separation of church and state is simply a doctrine meant to protect the state from being controlled or wrongfully interfered with by a religion or religions, and to protect religions, within their valid sphere of operation, from state interference or control.
Where is this principle being violated by the state? Religions are allowed to go far beyond their bounds, like putting nativity scenes outside city halls and (until recently) putting the Ten Commandments in courthouses. If I wore the Ten Commandments around my neck I'm sure people would assume that I was promoting Christianity. Why is it any different for the government?


  1. And alas, one of the greatest recordings of a psychedelic drug experience comes to an end. If I remember correctly from my primary school days, we don't get much in that range of insanity until Revelations. Though it's sad that the book ends so... administratively. I'd be more impressed if there were more crazy visions and all that to round it off.

  2. This isn't the last time you'll encounter mass resurrections either - look at Matthew. It makes you wonder what was special about Jesus considering how common the phenomenon apparently was.



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