Saturday, January 9, 2010

126: David, Again

1 Chronicles 15-17
For great is the LORD and most worthy of praise;
he is to be feared above all gods. - 1 Chronicles 16:25

We're slowly making our way through Samuel (aka Chronicles). The ark is brought to Jerusalem. David had kept it in another town because he thought God was going to kill him, like he'd killed Uzzah. Then God promises David he will "build a house" for him. David sings, says a psalm, and prays. I'll spare you the details, considering I've already given you the details when I was in Samuel.

How can the church remain relevant in 2010? Hypothesis: read the bible. I think not.

This is what the article has to say:
The modern Church is viewed by many as an agent of intolerance and by others as a self-help success program. It has become increasingly difficult to find the correlation between the faith of our fathers and the confused, anemic faith of today.
An agent of intolerance? No, they just hate gay people, Muslims, and anyone else that doesn't think the way they do. What's intolerant about that?

Their solution is to, of course, read more scripture:
In order for the church to be relevant in 2010 it must find its identity in Jesus and become scripturally literate.
Right, so what does the scripture say about tolerance that we're missing? The only things I've read so far, pertaining to tolerance, say that we're supposed to kill people that don't believe the way we do (and everyone else that does anything "wrong" for that matter). Granted, I haven't read the whole bible, but since the bible is inerrant we have to assume that it wouldn't be inconsistent.

I've been harsh on the writers of this article, but they do have some nice things to say:
The Church will be most Christ-like when its collective voices are used not to condemn homosexuals but to eradicate AIDS.

Their efforts will be most effective when they are focused not on personal prosperity but on the poverty that grips about one billion people worldwide.

They will be most persuasive when they model lives of personal integrity and therefore have a moral voice to stem the tide of the sex trade that degrades the human race.
I wholeheartedly agree with this, but is this anywhere in the scripture? I think not. If you want to twist your religion to be nice, then fine, but don't pretend to be taking the scriptural high ground.

(via Faux News)

Friday, January 8, 2010

125: Sex Isn't a Ham Sandwich

1 Chronicles 12-14
When they came to the threshing floor of Kidon, Uzzah reached out his hand to steady the ark, because the oxen stumbled. The LORD's anger burned against Uzzah, and he struck him down because he had put his hand on the ark. So he died there before God. - 1 Chronicles 13:9-10

Today's section lists all of the warriors of David, talks about the ark being brought back to Jerusalem, and talks about David's descendants. The only thing that bears repeating is when the ark is brought to Jerusalem and Uzzah reaches out to steady it (resulting in his death). Link here.

My Bible on: Sex
I don't know if I've mentioned this before, but the bible I read is actually a teen study bible (don't worry, it's still the NIV word for word). The only thing different between this bible and a normal NIV bible are side notes on almost every page, and full laminated pages, dispersed throughout, that have tips for your life. I've been overlooking them, but now that I've seen them I just have to post them.

I think I'm going to add this as an every week kind of thing (because I'm a creature of habit). So tune in Fridays if you want to be amused/infuriated at the ridiculous things in this bible.

(This bible was published in 1998 by Zondervan Publishing House, "Features" written by Larry and Sue Richards)

This isn't for reading it's just to give you an idea of what this looks like.

Sex (seks n.)
1. Male or Female
2. The sexual urge or instinct, or sexual desire as it shows itself in behavior.

(Alternate Definition: a three-letter word with some really l-o-n-g-range consequences) [Did my bible just make a sexual innuendo?]

Is all sex considered a sin? [never answered] Why should you wait? [never directly answered] Can you do everything but? [never answered] What's so bad about it if you love the person and have protection? [never directly answered] Does the Bible say anything to teens about sex? [The bible says things about sex, but not directly to teens. And I answered that myself.]

"So God created... male and female... God blessed them and said to them, ' Be fruitful.' " - Genesis 1:27-28

God invented sex. He designed the hormones that trigger your desires. He designed every nerve ending that magnifies pleasure [creepy]. Sex isn't wrong [great!]. Sex is good, a gift from God who loves you [So... Go have sex right now?].

" 'This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh;'... For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they ill become one flesh." - Genesis 2:23-24

Physical hunger can easily be satisfied by eating some food. However, the sex drive isn't like hunger [Sex drive can be easily satisfied with sex, sorry bible], and intercourse isn't a ham sandwich [Depends on what you're into]. Sex isn't just physical-its spiritual too [I think not].

God's design for sex is very specific: one man with one woman within the legal bonds of marriage [It sure seems to work in a lot of other situations, design flaw?]. How special do you want sex to be with the person you marry? [answer: Very special, so have sex before marriage so you know your partner isn't terrible in bed.] How much to you want to be "one" with him or her-instead of five or eighteen or thirty-three? [What does that even mean?] It's easy to say, "I love you." But only "I do" says you're really one, for always [till you divorce like 50% of Americans].

You've just been presented exhibit A in the case for comprehensive sex education.

We have another fundie letter to the editor.

He was responding to another letter that compared the bible to ancient Syrian stories. To this he responded (in the title of his letter) "The Bible is not a collection of stories". Uh, it's not? It sure seems like a collection of stories to me.

The letter (like any fundie letter) contains the mandatory true Scotsman fallacy, cliche saying, and claim that Christians are persecuted:
I do know that true Christians who have put their faith in Christ would not willingly kill in the name of Christ.

Joining a church or reading the Bible won’t make you a Christian any more than going to a garage will make you a car.

I, like Mr. Crusenberry, become defensive of our faith when it is persecuted, as opposed to other beliefs.
Is there an "angry letter" format that you learn about in church?


Thursday, January 7, 2010

124: Samuel, Disguised as Chronicles

1 Chronicles 9-11
Saul said to his armor-bearer, "Draw your sword and run me through, or these uncircumcised fellows will come and abuse me." But his armor-bearer was terrified and would not do it; so Saul took his own sword and fell on it. - 1 Chronicles 10:4

My first reaction to this section was "text that doesn't look like a list! It must be a story!" I was right, but unfortunately the stories are the exact same things we've already talked about. Why would the writers tell us the stories that go with theses genealogies but not the stories from, say, Genesis? These stories don't seem any more relevant/interesting than any others.

The stories they mention are: Saul killing himself, David becoming king (and conquering Jerusalem), and David's mighty men (which I barely mentioned before because they're not very interesting). The stories are pretty much copied verbatim.

Republican gubernatorial candidate for Alabama, Bradley Byrne, is scrambling to recant his "anti-bible" statement.

Bradley Byrne

He is quoted as saying:
I think there are parts of the Bible that are meant to be literally true and parts that are not ... It is unimportant whether some details of the Bible, such as people living for hundreds of years, are factually correct.
A republican candidate from Alabama should know better than to say things like that.

The fundie backlash was swift. Byrne received his first big endorsement from the Alabama Retail Association, which owns a grocery store named Piggly Wiggly (awesome name). This is what one person has to say about the endorsement:
Just got a call from a person at my Church letting me know about this. My family will not be shopping at Ragland Piggly Wiggly stores anymore or anything else they [the Alabama Retail Association presumably] own. I don't shop at places that think it is OK to stand next to people who don't believe the Bible is all true.
Right, because the opinions of your grocery store management matter so much when it comes to buying groceries. We must maintain the sanctity of Piggly Wiggly!

Byrne now says that he was misquoted and says "I believe the Bible is true, every word of it." Of course you do *winkwink*.

(via The Huntsville Times)

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

123: 1 Chronicles, Boring Book or Most Boring Book?

1 Chronicles 7-8
The sons of Asher: Imnah, Ishvah, Ishvi and Beriah.
Their sister was Serah.

The sons of Beriah:
Heber and Malkiel, who was the father of Birzaith.
Heber was the father of Japhlet, Shomer and Hotham and of their sister Shua.
The sons of Japhlet: Pasach, Bimhal and Ashvath.
These were Japhlet's sons.

The sons of Shomer: Ahi, Rohgah, Hubbah and Aram.
The sons of his brother Helem: Zophah, Imna, Shelesh and Amal.
The sons of Zophah:
Suah, Harnepher, Shual, Beri, Imrah, Bezer, Hod, Shamma, Shilshah, Ithran and Beera.
The sons of Jether: Jephunneh, Pispah and Ara.
The sons of Ulla:
Arah, Hanniel and Rizia. - 1 Chronicles 7:30-39

If someone is getting something out of reading these sections of the bible I'd really love to know. For being the most inspiring book in the universe the bible sure has some useless (useless to anyone reading it today that is) sections.

We're up to the genealogy of Saul today. There's still a long way to go to get to the end of 2 Kings (where we left off).

I've been spending the past couple of days comparing the bible to a dictionary. New York judge Donald Williams has made my metaphor into reality. In his swearing in ceremony this Monday, he used a dictionary instead of a bible for his oath of office.

What does this mean? Is judge Williams a flaming atheist that refuses to use a bible? No, they just lost their bible. He said it was ok to use a dictionary instead of a bible because this was a ceremonial swearing in (he had been sworn in officially on the previous Friday). But wasn't his first swearing in just ceremonial too? Do people really think they are putting up their immortal soul as collateral if they are a dishonest judge?

The article also mentions a related story. Mayor Bloomberg was sworn in on the first of the year with his family bible present. Unfortunately, he forgot the whole hand on the bible part of the ceremony and left his hand at his side. Is this a secret ploy to save his soul from eternal torment because he's a dishonest mayor? I'm sure some fundies out there think so.

For the record, US government officials aren't required to swear in on a bible, but most do to appease the masses.

(via KLJB Fox 18 News)

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

122: The Biblical Yawnfest Continues

1 Chronicles 6
The sons of Aaron:
Nadab, Abihu, Eleazar and Ithamar.

Eleazar was the father of Phinehas,
Phinehas the father of Abishua,

Abishua the father of Bukki,
Bukki the father of Uzzi,

Uzzi the father of Zerahiah,

Zerahiah the father of Meraioth,

Meraioth the father of Amariah,
Amariah the father of Ahitub,

Ahitub the father of Zadok,

Zadok the father of Ahimaaz,

Ahimaaz the father of Azariah,

Azariah the father of Johanan,

Johanan the father of Azariah (it was he who served as priest in the temple Solomon built in Jerusalem),

Azariah the father of Amariah,

Amariah the father of Ahitub,

Ahitub the father of Zadok,

Zadok the father of Shallum,
Shallum the father of Hilkiah,

Hilkiah the father of Azariah,

Azariah the father of Seraiah,

and Seraiah the father of Jehozadak. - 1 Chronicles 6:3-14

Forget water boarding, make the people at Guantanamo bay read 1 Chronicles.

If I were doing the dividing for the biblical reading I would make this all one section, because nothing actually happens. Unfortunately I'm not doing the dividing so I'll just have to suffer through this boredom.

Ever wonder when the rapture is going to happen? Well, Harold Camping knows. The date? May 21, 2011.

Now, you may ask, is this prophecy biblical? Of course it is! This is his foolproof formula:
The number 5, Camping concluded, equals "atonement." Ten is "completeness." Seventeen means "heaven." Camping patiently explained how he reached his conclusion for May 21, 2011.

"Christ hung on the cross April 1, 33 A.D.," he began. "Now go to April 1 of 2011 A.D., and that's 1,978 years."

Camping then multiplied 1,978 by 365.2422 days - the number of days in each solar year, not to be confused with a calendar year.

Next, Camping noted that April 1 to May 21 encompasses 51 days. Add 51 to the sum of previous multiplication total, and it equals 722,500.

Camping realized that (5 x 10 x 17) x (5 x 10 x 17) = 722,500.

Or put into words: (Atonement x Completeness x Heaven), squared.
Why didn't I think of that?! It's so clear, and not stupid at all.

*end sarcasm*

Even if you buy this crackpot formula, who says atonement, completeness, and heaven multiplied together and squared equals rapture? Wouldn't it make more sense to add them together? Why square them at all? Oh that's right, because he has to make his ridiculous numbers fit.

To make matters worse, Camping has already made one prediction that the world was going to end (on Sept. 6, 1994). Which, of course, failed to come to pass.

If we consider that these numbers don't really make any sense, even if the numbers are right the operations don't make sense, and the fact that Camping has already made faulty predictions, we can rest assured that this crazy person has no followers. Right? Right?! Unfortunately, people are buying the bullshit:
Rick LaCasse, who attended the September 1994 service in Alameda, said that 15 years later, his faith in Camping has only strengthened.

"Evidently, he was wrong," LaCasse allowed, "but this time it is going to happen. There was some doubt last time, but we didn't have any proofs. This time we do."

Would his opinion of Camping change if May 21, 2011, ended without incident?

"I can't even think like that," LaCasse said. "Everything is too positive right now. There's too little time to think like that."

Henry has made a fatal mistake in his predictions (which, in fairness, the article mentions), in that the bible says you can't make predictions:
No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark; and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away. That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. Two men will be in the field; one will be taken and the other left. Two women will be grinding with a hand mill; one will be taken and the other left.

Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come. - Matthew 24:36-42
Now stop making predictions!

(via The San Francisco Chronicle)

Monday, January 4, 2010

121: The Bible: Now Just a List of Names

1 Chronicles 3-5
Solomon's son was Rehoboam,
Abijah his son,
Asa his son,
Jehoshaphat his son,
Jehoram his son,
Ahaziah his son,
Joash his son,
Amaziah his son,
Azariah his son,
Jotham his son,
Ahaz his son,
Hezekiah his son,
Manasseh his son,
Amon his son,
Josiah his son. - 1 Chronicles 3:10-14

I certainly hope that the entire book of 1 Chronicles isn't like this. If you ever can't fall asleep try to read this. You will either fall asleep or hit yourself in the head with a hammer to put yourself out of your misery. Either way you'll be unconscious. You're welcome.

I try not to get too ahead of myself, but when some idiot person makes a bible prophecy claim I have to read ahead a bit.

Was the holocaust foretold in the bible? Henry Ocansey thinks so. The passage he points to is Revelation 12:13-14:
When the dragon saw that he had been hurled to the earth, he pursued the woman who had given birth to the male child. The woman was given the two wings of a great eagle, so that she might fly to the place prepared for her in the desert, where she would be taken care of for a time, times and half a time, out of the serpent's reach.
Wait, there's a dragon?! Oh, of course this is symbolism. I don't know how much more succinctly the bible could have spelled this out, it so obviously predicts the holocaust. For those of you that don't see the obvious clarity of this prediction, Henry will spell it out for you:
The dragon represents Satan. The woman represents the Jewish people around the world. The great eagle obviously represents the United States and all these events occurred in proper sequence as history unfolded. As a result, we ought to realize that God allows terrible things to happen, but God also predicts history and when the prophecies occur correctly, we should understand that we have a God who is alive and active. His allowance of great suffering turns many people away from seeking Him, but the Bible never said that life was going to be a walk in the park. [emphasis is mine]
Who says if the prophecies are occurring correctly? He goes on to say that America was preordained by God, and God and Satan are real, just like the wind. In that they only exist when there is a pressure differential in the atmosphere? That may be the wrong part of the metaphor.

I would ask the question "why does God let all of these people die in the holocaust if he knew it was going to happen?". But it's really not out of character, God has been killing/letting people die from the very beginning. The real question seems to be, why are we still calling this God "good"?

(via The SOP)

Sunday, January 3, 2010

120: Kinda Like Reading a Dictionary

1 Chronicles 1-2
Attai was the father of Nathan,
Nathan the father of Zabad,
Zabad the father of Ephlal,
Ephlal the father of Obed,
Obed the father of Jehu,
Jehu the father of Azariah,
Azariah the father of Helez,
Helez the father of Eleasah,
Eleasah the father of Sismai,
Sismai the father of Shallum,
Shallum the father of Jekamiah,
and Jekamiah the father of Elishama. - 1 Chronicles 2:36-41

That quote is but a small sample of what this entire section is like. This is not just a chronology, but it is talking about things the bible has already told us. So anything that even has the potential of being interesting (which is really nothing in this section) is something I've already talked about.

It's like Deuteronomy all over again. I guess I'll try to find interesting news, because I really don't have anything to say about this section.

What's going to happen to your beloved pet after the rapture? A group of confirmed atheists will guarantee (for a small price) that your pet is cared for after your departure.

What? You think this is a scam? Blasphemy! The rapture is going to happen, and it's going to happen soon. Do you hate your animals? You also won't need money after the rapture, so you can begin donating to me now (to avoid taxes).

(via Eternal Earth-Bound Pets)

p.s. I realize this is old news... I'll do better when I'm back in school and I can procrastinate my school work by looking for awesome news stories.

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