Saturday, March 20, 2010

196: Wisdom is a Woman... Really

Proverbs 7-9
Wisdom has built her house; she has hewn out its seven pillars. - Proverbs 9:1

Chapter 7 is a story about a man being led astray by an adulteress. This is told from the point of view of someone peeping out their window. One night, a young man is walking along the road. An evil woman comes out to meet him, dressed like a prostitute. She immediately grabs hold of the man and starts making out with him. She tells him that her husband has gone away on a long journey, so he should come in and have sex with her all night. The man follows her into her house, and the peeping tom doesn't see what happens after that, but he's sure that the man is going straight to his grave. Where do I find these women? I've never met (or even heard of) anyone that lurks outside their house and jumps on random men as they walk past.

Chapter 8 is written by the personification of wisdom. I think. Wisdom is apparently a woman. God invented wisdom before the world came into being. They seem to have accidentally left that part out of Genesis.

Chapter 9 goes on telling this story of the wisdom lady. I think we've officially taken this personification too far. Wisdom builds a house on 7 pillars, prepares meat, mixes wine, and has many maids. "Folly" is also a woman. She sits outside of her house, tempting all of the men who are "walking straight paths". For the second day in a row, I'm not sure if this is supposed to be a metaphor. My logical half says yes, it's probably a metaphor. But my bible reading, talking snakes are real half, tells me that nothing is too ridiculous not to be real. The life of Wisdom seems too well described to write off immediately as a metaphor.

Do mircles really happen? This newspaper has put it to a popular vote, and decided that they do!

According to this newspaper, NPR conducted a poll that said 80% of Americans think that miracles do, in fact, happen. This prompted the newspaper to title their article "In Theory: Miracles happen". All you need to do these days to create a new theory is bring it to a popular vote? I'm pretty sure the opinion of the masses has no relevance in a scientific theory.

The article goes on to say that there are many instances of miracles, involving healing. Ok. Just give me a double blind study that shows the statistically significant effects of miracle healing. I know of a similar study about the power of prayer that showed no significant impact of praying for an ill person.

I certainly hope these people are being "miraculously healed", then going to a real doctor to get cured.

(via La CaƱada Valley Sun)

Friday, March 19, 2010

195: The Bible is a Metaphor

Proverbs 4-6
Do not lust in your heart after her beauty or let her captivate you with her eyes, for the prostitute reduces you to a loaf of bread, and the adulteress preys upon your very life. - Proverbs 6:25-26

In chapter four we have yet another proverb about wisdom. The bible just repeats over and over again that you must do everything you can to attain wisdom. I guess this means all of those Christians who don't like to pay attention in class have one more thing to feel guilty about.

Chapter five is a warning against adultery. The bible starts out by saying the lips of the adulterous drip honey, and her speech is as smooth as oil. Sounds good so far. However, the bible goes on to say that the adulterous will lead you down the path strait to the grave. Wait. We're talking about adulterers, not murderers right? I think the only way that an adulterer can lead you to your grave is if your wife/husband kills you (of course, the bible only mentions female adulterers).

The bible continues, saying that if you don't stay far away from the adulterers, strangers will take all your wealth, and you will come to utter ruin. Apparently burglars can sense when you're sleeping with someone that isn't your wife, and they will immediately rob you of everything you have. I know that must be true, because the bible says so.

Chapter six enumerates seven things that God hates.

1. Haughty eyes: If you are condescending, God hates you (or at least hates your eyes).

2. Lying: Because we didn't get that in the ten commandments.

3. Shedding innocent blood: God (and everyone else) gets around this one by having an extremely loose definition of the word "innocent". The people of the promised land were, of course, not innocent. Not even the newborn babies that were ruthlessly slaughtered. They committed the awful crime of being born in the wrong place at the wrong time.

4. A heart that devises wicked schemes: Brains that devise wicked schemes seem to be fine though.

5. Feet that are quick to rush into evil: I've never heard of evil feet. Is this one of those metaphors? It's too bad that the bible switches between metaphors and reality without mentioning the difference.

6. False witnesses: Because that's not covered in the "lying" section.

7. A man who stirs up dissension: George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and Ben Franklin. God sounds pretty un-American. God, if you don't like Amerr'ca then you can git out (as they say).

The end of chapter six is just another warning against adultery, but the mental images in this section are just too amusing to pass over. The bible warns that if you happen upon a wayward prostitute and give into your desires, she will reduce you to a loaf of bread. Yes, you read right, you will be magically transformed into a loaf of bread. Sorry, was that a metaphor? I don't think transforming someone into pumpernickel is much more far-fetched than a talking snake, or talking donkey, or magic bread falling from the sky. If you call something a metaphor just because it's ridiculous then there's not going to be much reality left in the bible.

The chapter ends by comparing giving into a prostitute with pouring hot coals in your lap. I've never slept with a prostitute, or poured hot coals in my lap, so I'll have to take the bible's word for it.

You're getting a video today because I can't find any interesting bible news. If you stumble across any interesting bible stories be sure to let me know!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

194: Lean not on Your Own Understanding

Proverbs 1-3
For attaining wisdom and discipline; for understanding words of insight; for acquiring a disciplined and prudent life, doing what is right and just and fair; for giving prudence to the simple, knowledge and discretion to the young let the wise listen and add to their learning, and let the discerning get guidance for understanding proverbs and parables, the sayings and riddles of the wise. - Proverbs 1:2-6

Proverbs starts out by stating it's purpose. This is basically to lay out rules that will help you out with your life. These proverbs are written by Solomon and David.

The first lesson is a warning against enticement. It's basically the same lesson as "If everyone was jumping off a bridge, would you do it too?". The example given in the bible is that if people ask you to help them mug someone, don't do it.

The second lesson is about not rejecting wisdom. The bible says that only fools hate knowledge. Why do I think that the "wisdom" mentioned is only the wisdom that lines up with the teachings of the bible? I only mention this because a lot of the Christians I talk to tell me they follow the bible, but then reject evolution (wisdom) and in turn most of biology. Yet another case of only following the bible when it's convenient.

Chapter 2 starts out by saying that if you cry out for understanding and insight, you will find fear of God. That hasn't quite worked out for me. I find myself "crying out" for insight and understanding, and I'm certainly not led to God.

The chapter goes on to say that all wisdom comes from God. Really? The theory of relativity was based on God? Is this also how Newtons laws were derived? Actually, God could have just come down and told early man all of these theories (and probably better theories than we can think of). In fact, God could have told us how to farm the land, and how to make advanced medicine. But then he wouldn't have gotten to enjoy watching us starve, and die of relatively easy to cure diseases.

The bible even says that wisdom will save you from adulterers. That's an interesting theory. I'd like to see the graph of higher educated adults vs. amount of adulterers. Maybe that's just me being nerdy.

In Proverbs 3, we come across a rather (in)famous line, "Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding". I generally find this line terrifying when I see it posted on a twitter page, or Facebook wall. It just comes off to me as something a crazy person would say. Don't trust in your own rational understanding of the world, trust in something that you can't sense and can barely experience. Not to mention that the people who murder because "God told them to" were definitely not trusting in their own understanding.

The chapter also says that you should not despise when God disciplines you, because he only disciplines those he loves. Really? When he rained down fire on Sodom and Gomorrah he was really just raining down super hot love? I think not.

I'm always told to put what I read in the "context of the time". NPR has written an interesting article, putting the bible and the quran in the contexts of their time.

The assertion of NPR is that most of the violence in the quran was meant to be used as defense against the infidel, rather than holy warfare (contrary to popular belief). While the violence in the bible was just unadulterated genocide. I can attest that at least the bible side of this assessment is accurate. God tells the Israelites they can have the promised land. If the inhabitants of the promised land don't want to give up their land, then they are to be completely destroyed. Men, women, and children, all are to be killed.

I don't claim to have the expertise on the quran to be a part of this argument (the argument being whether the quran is more violent than the bible), but the article is definitely worth a read.

(via NPR)

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

193: Every Star Has A Name & Psalms: In Review

Psalms 146-150
He determines the number of the stars and calls them each by name. - Psalm 147:4

All the psalms today are anonymous.

Psalm 146: God is wonderful. Don't trust anyone but God. So don't trust anyone, ever.

Psalm 147: God has actually named every star. Which is quite a task, considering there is around a septillion stars in the universe. Anonymous goes on to say that God hurls down hail like pebbles and no one can withstand his icy blast. Great guy.

Psalm 148: This psalm says "praise" 13 times. There are 14 verses. In conclusion, this psalm really, really wants you to praise God.

Psalm 149: Praise God, again. Why are all of these anonymous psalms so pointless?

Psalm 150: This chapter says praise in every single line of the psalm. It just lists a bunch of ways to praise God.

Psalms: In Review

I've decided there are three types of Psalm:

1. God is great, praise him.

2. God is terrible, he's invisible, vengeful, and refuses to help people.

3. (Mostly David) God, please kill my enemies.

If you can find a psalm that isn't one, or a combination of these three types, I'll give you a gold star.

In general, the psalms were pretty boring and pointless.

Do you really love Star Wars? Well you may want to join the Jedi Church.

One of the Jedi Church flock was kicked out of a job center recently for refusing to put his hood down. He has since received a formal apology from the job center. In their letter, they said "We are committed to provide a customer service which embraces diversity and respects customers' religion." Really? You're committed to protecting even the most ridiculous of religions. So can I make up a religion that requires me to be drunk at all times? Do you have to respect that too? I'll assume this means you have to respect the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster. Therefore every Friday is a holiday!

P.S. I think we know now why this guy was in a job center to start with.

(via Fox News)

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

192: God Ignores David, Again

Psalm 140-145
O LORD, what is man that you care for him, the son of man that you think of him? Man is like a breath; his days are like a fleeting shadow. - Psalm 144:3-4

All the Psalms today are written by David. Should be an annoying and repetitive day.

Psalm 140: David begs for God to save him from his enemies. I really think God heard you the first time David. David suggests a few more ways that God could destroy his enemies for him; rain coals on their head, throw them into fire, or throw them into a pit. David seems like a whiny toddler that won't leave you alone till he gets what he wants.

Psalm 141: David says it's ok if righteous men strike him or rebuke him. I think if someone is beating you he's not very righteous.

Psalm 142: David tells God about how he cries to him all of the time. This is my prayer: God, give David what he wants so he will stop bitching. Amen. I'm surprised that even an all powerful being can resist the nagging of king David.

Psalm 143: Yet again David pleads with God to save him from his enemies. David really never came off as this annoying till we got to psalms. No wonder David's enemies want to kill him, they're just trying to shut him up.

Psalm 144: God is a rock (yes, I'm still amused by this). David tells God another way that he could destroy David's enemies (this time lightning). At what point can we declare David clinically insane? Allow me to quote Albert Einstein "Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results." Well, David is certainly doing, and saying, the same thing over and over and over and over ... and over again, and he's obviously expecting God to eventually come to his senses and come help him. On top of this, David is probably talking to himself, so that makes him extra insane.

Psalm 145: This is labeled a psalm of praise. And surprise, surprise it's a psalm of praise. I question David's motives for writing a psalm of praise after God has obviously not given him the help he wanted. Maybe he's trying to butter him up to finally help him? Or maybe he's just insane (the prevailing theory).

I've been generally supportive of kids bringing their bibles to school, and even reading it when they were supposed to be reading good books. But someone has finally crossed the line (the line being my arbitrary line of acceptability).

A Kentucky middle school student has been suspended for standing on a chair in the cafeteria, shouting bible verses. When she was told to step down, she refused, continuing her biblical rant. This has prompted a morning prayer circle in support of the suspended student. The students feel that her two day suspension was too severe. Really? I've seen students expelled for bringing squirt guns to school. I think an uncontrolled, possibly dangerous (it's easy to fall off a chair) rant, deserves a couple of days off.

I come away from reading this article with one big question, who are this girl's parents? What has this kid been indoctrinated with that would prompt her to do something this crazy at 14 years old?

Moral of the story: bring your bible to school, read it when you're allowed to, even talk about it with your friends. Don't stand on a chair and shout it out loud. Don't refuse to stop when your teacher tells you to. Don't pretend you're being oppressed when you're suspended for two days. (i.e. Don't be psycho.)

(via Louisville Courier-Journal)

Monday, March 15, 2010

191: Is God Pro-Life?

Psalm 133-139
For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb. - Psalm 139:13

Psalm 133 (David): David says how pleasant it is when Aaron pours oil all over himself. A little creepy David.

Psalm 134 (anonymous): Praise the servants of God. This is another psalm that's 3 sentences long.

Psalm 135 (anonymous): Any good block of Psalms isn't complete without a bible recap. This psalmist tells us about God killing the firstborn of Egypt.

Psalm 136 (anonymous): This is a special section. In that it says "His love endures forever" after every single line of the psalm. This is a total of 26 times. I'll assume the writer is repeating this to try to convince himself that God loves him. Maybe this all loving God will appear eventually to one of the psalmists.

Psalm 137 (anonymous): This writer tells God that they won't play the harp in a foreign land. The Babylonians wanted them to play songs of Zion for them, but they refused because they were not in Israel. Isn't God supposed to know this stuff already?

Psalm 138 (David): David says he is going to praise God forever and ever. He also wishes that all the kings of the earth would praise God. I'm getting really tired of David.

Psalm 139 (David): I've seen this psalm pointed to a lot as a reason to be pro-life. David was supposedly knit together in his mother's womb. Which, by the way, basic biology tells us isn't true. No knitting goes on inside wombs. The psalm goes on to say that God knows everything that's going to happen to you before you are born, and everything is part of God's plan. But wait a minute, doesn't that mean that every abortion ever performed was part of God's plan?

You can't say everything that happens is part of God's plan, then conveniently exclude everything bad that happens. If everything is God's plan, then every robbery, murder, rape, and yes, abortion is part of God's plan. If my logic is incorrect then someone please correct me.


God has told yet another person to commit a atrocious crime.

58 year old James Fall has admitted to marrying a 10 year old girl and molesting her for almost 10 years. Why? It's God's plan.

This sends me off on a bit of a tangent. If you're a Christian and someone tells you they did something crazy because God told them to, can you really say God didn't? After all, God works in mysterious ways. He lets little kids be killed by cancer, and perfectly good people get killed in car accidents. Who's to say he doesn't tell creepy old men to rape little kids? Is it really that much worse than killing little kids? We already know God has a history of telling the Israelites to kill women and children, what's the difference?

Well, now that I've pissed off every Christian in existence, I don't have much to say about this ass hole. If you want to hear the gruesome details click the link.

(via WCCO)

Sunday, March 14, 2010

190: God, The Slave Master

Psalm 120-132
As the eyes of slaves look to the hand of their master, as the eyes of a maid look to the hand of her mistress, so our eyes look to the LORD our God, till he shows us his mercy. - Psalm 123:2

All the psalms today are "songs of ascent". Whatever that means.

Psalm 120 (anonymous): This man bemoans the fact that he lives among people who love war. Finally, something in the bible I can relate to.

Psalm 121 (anonymous): God will keep you from all harm. Unless you're Job. So much in the bible has huge cognitive dissonance with Job.

Psalm 122 (David): David prays for peace in Jerusalem. Maybe if David didn't wage so much war there would be a chance for peace.

Psalm 123 (anonymous): This person lifts his eyes up to God. He says that he lifts his eyes up to God just as a slave looks up to his master. What? That's a terrible metaphor. We're supposed to look up to God as the person who forces us to do what he says, and punishes us horribly if we do otherwise? Oh wait, that's a great metaphor.

Psalm 124 (David): If God weren't on Israel's side, then they would have been taken over by their enemies, says David. Too bad Israel does eventually get taken over by the Babylonians. I guess God isn't really on Israel's side.

Psalm 125 (anonymous): Anonymous prays that God will do good to the good people, and banish the people who were bad. Yes, that would be great if God ever did that.

Psalm 126 (anonymous): Everyone was happy when they got to come back to Zion. Anonymous prays that Israel's fortune will be restored by God.

Psalm 127 (Solomon): Unless God builds a house, it is built in vain. Sorry all you construction workers out there, you're actually not doing anything useful. If you're standing watch over a city, you are also useless. Apparently only God can watch over cities and build buildings. I'll assume this is some strange metaphor since it makes no sense.

Psalm 128 (anonymous): Those who fear God are blessed. Thanks for letting us know, anonymous, we've never heard that one before.

Psalm 129 (anonymous): Israel is being oppressed (what else is new?). This writer claims that God has cut the cords of their oppression. Great, now they can live under God's oppressive law instead of their enemies' oppressive law.

Psalm 130 (anonymous): God forgives sins. I guess not all sins though, otherwise the whole killing Jesus thing seems kind of silly.

Psalm 131 (David): David claims that he isn't prideful any more. Sure you're not David.

Psalm 132 (anonymous): This anonymous author tries to convince God to remember David and do what he says. In fact, this guy spends most of the chapter telling God to do what David says. Nice try David! You thought you could call yourself anonymous and slip one past God did you?

Some people give up sweets or coke for lent. Evelyn Boyd decided to give up food, period. Spoiler alert: if you don't eat food you will eventually die.

Evelyn asked her husband and children to leave her alone for weeks on end while she fasted and prayed. This wasn't the first time she had done this, but it was the last. After several weeks with no contact, Evelyn's husband (a Pentecostal preacher) forced his way in the room and found his wife dead.

The husband decided not to check on his wife because he wanted to "respect her privacy". Uh, there's a difference between respecting your wife's privacy and letting her starve herself to death. Is God going to be upset with you if someone checks on you once a day to make sure you're not having a serious problem (death, for example)? At some point, someone needed to tell this lady no. If someone's doing something as obviously dangerous as not eating for weeks, someone needs to step up and tell them that what they're doing is stupid.

The exact cause of death is not yet known. I wonder if it has something to do with the whole, locking herself in a room and not eating thing.

(via The Associated Press)

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