Saturday, February 20, 2010

168: Though I Walk Through the Valley of the Shadow of Death

Psalms 21-25
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. - Psalm 23:4 KJV

You may have noticed I reverted to the King James Version. I've heard Psalm 23 so many times as the KJV translation that the NIV translation just doesn't sound right. All the Psalms are from David again.

Psalm 21: God is great. He kills lots of David's enemies.

Psalm 22: Starts out with "My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?". Hmm, that sounds oddly familiar. Anyway, David goes back to crying and saying God doesn't ever help him. I think David needs some medication. Just about every other chapter he changes his mind about what God does and does not do for him.

Psalm 23:
The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.
He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake.
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.
Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever. [KJV]
I don't know if I like this because I've heard it so much or because it's actually good. I suspect it's the former. But I get to keep my atheist card because The Raven is still better. I don't really have much to say about this.

Psalm 24: God is glorious, blah blah.

Psalm 25: David prays for God to destroy his enemies and bless him again. Does David have nothing original to say?

Apparently I've been making a mistake in going to random churches for free. I should be getting cash!

James Sabot has decided that he wants people to go to his church so bad that he's going to pay them with his own money. For selected services, he brings seven envelops. Two with $5, two with $10, two with $50, and one lucky envelope with $100. I think I should start demanding at least $5 for every church service I go to.

In all seriousness, I think this strategy is destined to fail. Nothing is going to be accomplished (that the church wants to be accomplished) by bribing people with money to go to church. I go to churches because I'm interested in learning/experiencing what a religion is like. If someone paid me to go to a service that I didn't really want to go to, I would just take the money and nap. Maybe that money would have gone to better use going to a charity.

If anyone wants to pay me to go to church. Ignore the last paragraph. Money to go to church sounds like a GREAT idea.

(via Inforum)

Friday, February 19, 2010

167: God Will Love You... If You Agree With Me

Psalms 17-20
In the heavens he has pitched a tent for the sun - Psalm 19:4

All the Psalms today are again from David.

Psalm 17: David prays to God for God's love. He again says the wicked (aka, anyone that's not David) are evil and deserve God's wrath.

Psalm 18: God is a rock (in that he's inanimate?). David spends the first part of the chapter describing how God rained down fire from the sky. He finishes out by saying how God is perfect and wonderful (again).

Psalm 19: God "pitches a tent" for the sun in heaven. I don't know what this means, so I will assume God meant it to sound dirty to American ears. There's not really anything else of interest in this chapter.

Psalm 20: David prays that righteous people will get God's protection.

Psalm 23 is tomorrow! At least that won't be terribly unexciting.

A youth pastor decided to have a bible study in his hot tub. The trick? You had to be naked, and masturbate away your lust.

This is the official report:
Between 2005 and 2008, Pete Newman became a close friend of his by attending family dinners, sleepovers, bible studies, taking vacations together and writing letters. Pete would hold one-on-one sessions with (the boy) in Pete's hot tub (at Pete's residence) and would request they be naked. Pete would discuss life's struggles with (him) and talk about masturbation. Pete would explain that if (the boy) would masturbate with him in his hot tub then there would be no lust and therefore (the boy) would not be sinning.
Jesus Christ. How about nobody trust random men with spending alone time with your children. Just seems like a bad idea in general.

I'm going to publish before I pass out from tiredness. You can read the rest of the story/analysis at The Turner Report.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

166: God is Great(ish)

Psalms 9-16
The fool says in his heart, "There is no God." They are corrupt, their deeds are vile;
there is no one who does good.- Psalm 14:1

All the Psalms today are written by David.

Psalm 9: David praises God for utterly destroying David's enemies. David prays for even more terror to befall them at the hands of God. I thought this was supposed to be a happy book of praise.

Psalm 10: David switches gears a bit. The first thing he asks is why God stands off in times of need, and why he hides himself all the time. He spends the rest of the chapter pondering why evil people run free without feeling God's wrath.

Psalm 11: David says God hates violence. So God hates himself?

Psalm 12: David bemoans the fact that there are no more faithful people in the world. Of course, not faithful and wicked are one in the same to David.

Psalm 13: David again switches back to crying because God hides himself all the time. But he still trusts God... For some reason.

Psalm 14: We have yet another jab at atheism from Psalms, David says that those who don't believe in God are fools. All atheists are corrupt and their deeds are foul. Man, I guess I need to start being nastier to people. The bible says I have to.

Psalm 15: David says that those who are blameless in all things will never be shaken. Wait, so I guess Job wasn't shaken? Because he was blameless.

Psalm 16:God is great. The end.

Well, if you read this before about 10:00 PM Thursday, you would have noticed that the news section was conspicuously blank. I was experiencing the tea party movement first hand. About half way through this guy's crazy rant I feared I would be there past midnight and therefore miss a day of my actual bible post. I decided to publish from my iPod sans news section just in case.

Since I don't really feel like looking up news at this point, I think I'll share a little bit of what I've learned about the tea party tonight. My friend Mike (Politics and Pucks) was there with me, so I'm sure he'll have a much more political opinion about the horror we witnessed. I'm more interested in the religious/crazy aspect to it.

Flier for the Event

First of all, the speaker was Donn Brown, who is running for Indiana State Representative in 2010. Some of his crazy is immediately apparent on his website. He's pro death penalty for just about anything. He thinks hanging (explicitly in public) should be brought back. America needs to go back to being a God fearing nation (with Levitical law apparently).

He bemoaned the fact that 60% of Indiana funds went to education (I don't know if this is true). He's tired of hearing the words "diversity" and "tolerance" because those terms divide Americans. However, he thinks that almost all powers should be given back to the state, because all of America can't be governed in one way (p.s. That's not dividing America).

The right to keep and bear arms was brought up. Somebody in the audience said that Americans should be able to own automatic weapons. Mike asked Donn if he thought people should be able to have rocket launchers... "Yes"... Tanks.... "Yes"... He said whatever weapon an individual can afford (as long as they are a "law abiding citizen") they should be able to own. At this point I decided to take it to the extreme and ask if every citizen (that can afford it) should be able to own a nuclear weapon. That question was never answered. Great.

A few other points of stupidity. He said feminism (and liberalism) are the death of America. Right, and every citizen owning a nuclear weapon wouldn't at all be the death of America. The Constitution is in tatters, the end of America is near. Also, if a woman has a baby, she should be at home with that baby. Because men can't raise children as well as women can.

I, for one, will be voting for whoever is running against this guy.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

165: Coming Soon to a Church Near You, Ninja Pastors

Psalms 1-8
O Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth! - Psalm 8:1

Well, this could be pretty boring. The Psalms don't seem to have a coherent story line. Who knows how interesting (or not) they might be. It looks like I'm going to be in Psalms for about a month.

I'll go Psalm by Psalm because they're all pretty much their own story.

Psalm 1: Don't be wicked, if you follow God you will be happy. Until he kills your family of course.

Psalm 2: The kings of the world don't obey God. But God laughs at them and terrifies them with his wrath.

Psalm 3 (A Psalm of David): David begging God to deliver him from his enemies. This was when he was fleeing from his son Absalom.

Psalm 4 (Another Psalm of David): David saying God has made him joyful.

Psalm 5 (David): David says God doesn't take pleasure in evil. God sure does a lot of things that seem evil, apparently he doesn't enjoy it.

Psalm 6 (David): David asking God not to rebuke him, and to spare him from his wrath.

Psalm 7 (David): David asks God to not spare his wrath from his enemies. Right, only spare your wrath if your wrath is directed at me.

Psalm 8 (David): David says God is majestic and glorious.

I'm already bored.

I tried to embed this video, but I failed. So go here, watch the video, and come back.

Wait, this is becoming a national movement? This should make religious debates far more interesting (terrifying). Something seems fundamentally wrong with saying "Fight for Jesus". As a side note, I find it hilarious (and a little like powerthirst) that his Church is called "EXTREME Ministries".

I don't have too much more to say about this, that news report was hilarious enough as it is.

(via ABC News)

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

164: Replacement Children, Better Than the First Set & Job: In Review

Job 40-42
The Lord blessed the latter part of Job's life more than the first. He had fourteen thousand sheep, six thousand camels, a thousand yoke of oxen and a thousand donkeys. And he also had seven sons and three daughters. - Job 42:12-13

The section starts today with God continuing to try to impress Job. He lists a few more animals that he can beat the crap out of (who cares?), and how big a fish he can reel in. So just because someone is stronger they are better? I guess I'm an inferior specimen of human.

Job replies to God, I'll just repeat what he says:
I know that you can do all things;
no plan of yours can be thwarted.

You asked, 'Who is this that obscures my counsel without knowledge?'
Surely I spoke of things I did not understand,
things too wonderful for me to know.

You said, 'Listen now, and I will speak;
I will question you,
and you shall answer me.'

My ears had heard of you
but now my eyes have seen you.

Therefore I despise myself
and repent in dust and ashes.
Really Job? You just spent an entire book's worth of text describing how God is a dick. He talked you out of that one pretty easy. "Hey Job, I just killed your family, but look at all these animals I can kill". I'm glad God didn't have a logical rebuttal, something terrible might have happened... Like the bible making sense.

God isn't done talking yet. He tells Job's friends that he's mad at them for not "speaking about [him] what is right". You're mad at the people that were trying to defend you and totally not mad at the guy that just tore you apart for this entire book? Why?!

Wait a minute, I thought the original point of all this whole story is that God was proving a point to Satan. Did God prove his point? Obviously not, Job stopped worshiping God (or at least started calling him a dick on a regular basis). Does God care? Does God even mention that he's failed to impress Satan? Apparently not.

Job ends up getting back twice of all the things he lost. There's only a small problem with this; His original children are still dead! Now, I've never had children, but I suspect that when one of them dies you can't just get a new one and feel better. You can barely even do that with a dog.

The bible never mentions whether Job is actually happy.

Job: In Review
I'm already hearing cries of "this book is a metaphor!" My bible seems to be missing the "This book is a metaphor" label. Maybe it just got ripped out. I see no reason to immediately call this book a metaphor (any more than the other books) just because it says something crazy or something that people don't like.

Another point: Even if this is a metaphor, it still must be trying to convey a message. What is that message? God can kill people for no reason and you should forgive him? I guess I'm not sure what labeling the book a metaphor gets you out of. Even if this didn't happen it's still a shitty story about the nature of God.

In the end, this may have been the most entertaining book, but it was also the most terrible. God either personally killed Job's family (metaphorically or not), or allowed them to be killed. He then preceded to have no remorse, he didn't even say "oops, sorry". In fact, he came to Job and said that he should bow down and worship him. What did God do in this book that deserved worship?

Let's pretend we somehow get great evidence for God and we all believe he exists. Are we going to worship this God? Maybe out of fear but not out of love. A God that will randomly kill my family and not care is not a God I want to worship. I don't think I want a replacement family at this point.

A middle school science teacher from North Carolina may (probably will be) fired for comments left on her Facebook page.

First things first. Why the hell would you leave your Facebook profile public as a middle school teacher? You have to figure your kids are going to be bored enough with their middle school lives that they're going to try to snoop your Facebook. Especially when you put stupid things on your profile.

Stupid thing one: She said that her students leaving a bible on her desk was a "hate crime". Really? A naive 13 year old trying to save your soul is a hate crime? Even if it was done as a practical joke/out of spite, at worst it was a crime of ignorance.

Stupid thing two: She commented on how she was going to shame her students over the incident. That's really the best course of action? Way to be a role model. I realize teaching subjects like evolution in a North Carolina classroom must not be the most pleasant of experiences, but man up (or woman up *dodges feminist wrath*). Whatever your ideology is, you definitely can't "shame" your students (or anyone) into agreeing with you.

Stupid thing three: She complained how her students spread rumors that she was a "Jesus hater". Aww, poor baby. Maybe if you didn't want middle school drama you shouldn't have signed up to teach middle school. You're really hurt by thirteen year old's making fun of you? Who's the adult here?

Stupid thing four: She said she "... can't believe the cruelty and ignorance of people sometimes". They're thirteen! Thirteen year old's are ignorant and, for the most part, cruel. That's just how it is. Did you not know this when signing up to teach middle school?

There are a few other things that weren't on her Facebook. There was apparently an incident in class where a post card of Jesus was dropped off at her desk. She immediately decided the best course of action was to throw it away in front of her class. I wonder where that silly "Jesus hater" rumor got started.

In a separate incident, she was teaching evolution and some students asked what God's role in creation was. She sent them to the office. Why wouldn't you answer that question instead of immediately being pissed?

There are a couple of morals to this story. 1. For the love of God, set your Facebook profile to private. 2. Don't say nasty shit about your middle school students and you don't have to worry about their parents finding out.

[Disclaimer: I'm taking this article at face value. I can't vouch for the truth of all the statements. I will happily withdraw some or all of my criticisms of this teacher if these allegations turn out to be false or exaggerated.]

(via The Tribune)

Monday, February 15, 2010

163: God Doesn't Know What He's Talking About

Job 38-39
Then the Lord answered Job out of the storm. - Job 38:1

God finally decides that he's going to answer Job (which is more than the rest of us get). Instead of answering any of Job's questions, he decides to try to intimidate Job into forgetting that he just killed his family.

God tells Job how he set the foundations for the earth and marked off it's dimensions. He asks Job if he's ever "given orders to the morning" or "set dawn in it's place". I didn't realize the sun had to be whipped into shape every morning/evening. Oh wait, that doesn't make sense, because morning and evening only exist to a stationary observer on the earth. As I read this, I'm beginning to question if God knows how the laws of nature work.

God continues to reinforce my doubt. He says "have you entered the storehouses of the snow or seen the storehouses of the hail". Uh, God, that's not quite how snow and hail work. You see, snow is actually formed in the clouds by freezing water droplets. There isn't actually a storehouse of snow that is sprinkled around when snow falls. Hailstones form in a similar manner, cyclically passing through storm clouds until their weight counteracts force of the updraft and they fall to earth. Wait, why am I telling you this? You are supposed to know this shit.

God goes on to ask whether Job has been to the place that the lightning is dispersed. God, hello, that's not how lightning works. How is it that my average high school education (and a few years of unrelated college education) has made me smarter than God? All I need is a good sized storm and a loud speaker and I'll be able to convince someone I'm God.

God continues to dig his stupid hole. He asks Job if he could bring fourth the constellations like God does. Unfortunately the constellations aren't "brought about" by anyone. They merely appear to move across the sky throughout the year as the earth moves about the sun. I get the feeling God wouldn't do very well on "Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader".

God then asks Job about random animals. Apparently God watches everything that every animal in the world does, and thinks that Job should be impressed. I certainly hope that God has something more convincing to say by tomorrow. He's definitely not given me a good reason to forgive him for killing Job's family.

Joe the plumber now hates John McCain and Sarah Palin. And he called President Obama an "honest politician". This is a sign, the apocalypse is nigh.

The quote that is sure to be circulating the interwebs for a few weeks is this:
McCain was trying to use me. I happened to be the face of middle Americans. It was a ploy... [In response to the reporter asking if he should be grateful to McCain for putting him in the public eye] I don't owe him shit. He really screwed my life up, is how I look at it.
No shit genius. When did you come across that little gem of knowledge? I'm pretty sure everyone in the universe knew that "Joe the Plumber" (aka Sam Wurzelbacher) was a ploy to make McCain seem like he was in touch with "middle America". Was this even a secret?

Of course, Sam's praise of the president was prefaced with "I think his ideaology is un-American", but we'll look over that for now. He went on to say "[Obama] is one of the more honest politicians. At least he told us what he wanted to do." He also says that he dislikes the people that deny Obama was born in Hawaii, because it only drives people away and makes the tea-partiers look crazy.

I guess sometime between the 2008 election and now, Sam visited Oz and picked up a brain.

(via CBS News)

Sunday, February 14, 2010

162: Elihu Fails

Job 35-37
The godless in heart harbor resentment;
even when he fetters them, they do not cry for help.
They die in their youth,
among male prostitutes of the shrines. - Job 13-14

Well, as much as Elihu promised that he was going to tell us something new and exciting to convince Job to stop complaining, he's failed to follow through. He pretty much says that God makes rain and made everything in the universe. What a revolutionary concept. Also, God is so great that he's beyond our understanding. I've never heard that argument before.

The one thing that I did find interesting is the quote of the day. (---Read Now---) This could be why some Christians think atheists are super-heathens that hate everyone. The bible does say so after all. We always "harbor resentment" (I resent that). We don't cry out to God for help (maybe because we don't think God exists). Oh, and I almost forgot to tell you, if you're an atheist, you're going to die in your youth hanging out with prostitutes.

Be sure to tune in tomorrow. The title of the first paragraph is "The Lord Speaks". Sounds interesting.

As many of you know, this Friday was Darwin Day. This has led some organizations to declare this weekend "Evolution Weekend". The organizations doing this may surprise you.

Over the weekend nearly 850 churches across the country had sermons about science and religion, and their ability to coexist. Leading up to this was the clergy letter project. Over 13,000 clergymen signed a letter saying that religion and science can coexist (peacefully).

I could pretty much talk about this all day, but my homework procrastinating has caught up with me. Check out the article, it's pretty interesting.

(via The Milford Daily News)

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