Month: February 2013

Fun With Deuteronomy, Part 2

I HAD to post this passage next because I just think it is hilarious. It’s a little long, but stick it out- the best part is at the end.

5 “If brothers dwell together, and one of them dies and has no son, the widow of the dead man shall not be married to a stranger outside the family; her husband’s brother shall go in to her, take her as his wife, and perform the duty of a husband’s brother to her. 6 And it shall be that the firstborn son which she bears will succeed to the name of his dead brother, that his name may not be blotted out of Israel. 7 But if the man does not want to take his brother’s wife, then let his brother’s wife go up to the gate to the elders, and say, ‘My husband’s brother refuses to raise up a name to his brother in Israel; he will not perform the duty of my husband’s brother.’ 8 Then the elders of his city shall call him and speak to him. But if he stands firm and says, ‘I do not want to take her,’ 9 then his brother’s wife shall come to him in the presence of the elders, remove his sandal from his foot, spit in his face, and answer and say, ‘So shall it be done to the man who will not build up his brother’s house.’ 10 And his name shall be called in Israel, ‘The house of him who had his sandal removed.’ Deuteronomy 25:5-10

wtf-cat

“The house of him who had his sandal removed”?? Who comes up with this stuff?! I’m guessing, based on context alone, that this is a name you should be offended by. Call me crazy, but I just don’t see it! Ok, all hilarity aside, I have some huge issues with this passage.

The first one is with the overall basic premise (weird, huh?). It solidifies (for the umpteenth time) what the Bible so lovingly thinks of women- that we are objects. To say that a “woman shall not be married to a stranger outside the family” does not seem protective and endearing to me, it sounds more like this family has invested time and money into this woman and they aren’t going to let her go just because her husband is now dead. I say this taking into consideration the entire context of the book (something Atheists are commonly, and almost always mistakenly, accused of not doing.) On top of that, it assumes that the woman would want nothing more than to remain in the family to now sleep with her brother-in-law and hold him accountable if he does not wish to be with her. It seems to be a very distorted view of women, if you ask me.

My second issue is with the verse that says, “[…] her husband’s brother shall go in to her, take her as his wife, and perform the duty of a husband’s brother to her”. What exactly is that duty? Ask anyone around and they would most likely offer suggestions like, “check in on her every once in a while”, “offer to help with any house or automobile repairs as needed”, or “invite her over for Thanksgiving dinner.” I bet you won’t get a single one that says, “Sleep with her and name your first child after your dead brother. Everyone knows that.” But that is exactly what this passage is telling you to do. I would like to point out that perhaps whoever holds the copyrights to the Bible should consider suing the writers of the movie Pearl Harbor for using their idea (though maybe a little tweaked) without permission.

It seems to me that standing up for yourself and declaring that you will not sleep and bear children with your dead brother’s wife should be commended, not condemned. Any good man should be proud to live in a house called, “The house of him who had his sandal removed”. I wonder where I can get a door mat that says that….

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Fun With Deuteronomy, Part 1

If a man has a stubborn and rebellious son who will not obey the voice of his father or the voice of his mother, and who, when they have chastened him, will not heed them, then his father and his mother shall take hold of him and bring him out to the elders of his city to the gate of his city. And they shall say to the elders of his city, ‘This son of ours is stubborn and rebellious; he will not obey our voice; he is a glutton and a drunkard.’ Then all of the men in his city shall stone him to death with stones; so you shall put away the evil from among you, and all Israel shall hear and fear.” Deuteronomy 21:18-21

deuteronomy-21-18-211

Many Christians argue that passages like these in Old Testament books like this one are irrelevant to modern-day Christianity and that, therefore, all arguments made referring to any of them are moot. I say that is a weak excuse to try to cover up the awful stories, advice and traditions that in today’s modern world seem harsh and unappealing. I say it is weak because it is not rational to base your entire life, your entire faith on one book just to then turn around and say that some of it doesn’t matter. If that is the case, then what’s to say that all of it doesn’t matter? And who determined which parts mattered and were relevant and which parts weren’t? I would say the above passage is irrelevant because murder is against the law and many faithful Christians would agree with me. But, there are plenty of passages in Deuteronomy that were declared law but are not considered to be against the law in our “real” world. For example, Deuteronomy 25:13-14 says, “You shall not have in your bag differing weights, a heavy and a light. You shall not have in your house differing measures, a large and a small.” Neither of those things are against the law so why do you carry your cell phone and your iPad in your purse? Why haven’t you sworn off measuring cups in your house? I’ll tell you why: Because it’s STUPID. So, explain to me how the rest of the Bible isn’t stupid. Please. I would LOVE to hear it. And while you are at it, explain to me how one can, in clear conscience, live their life by a book in which they throw out more than half of it, cling to a few parts of it and claim that it is the guidebook to living as a decent human being on this earth?

Contradictions

By this we know love, because he laid down his life for us. And we also ought to lay down our lives for our brethren.” 1 John 3:16

You shall fear the Lord your God and serve him, and shall take oaths in his name.” Deuteronomy 6:13

Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God.” 1 John 4:7

For the Lord your God is a jealous God among you, lest the anger of the Lord your God be aroused against you and destroy you from the dace of the earth.” Deuteronomy 6:15

Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for he is good! For his mercy endures forever.” Psalm 118:1

Then if you walk contrary to me, and are not willing to obey me, I will bring on you seven times more plagues, according to your sins.” Leviticus 26:21

For the Lord is good; his mercy is everlasting, and his truth endures to all generations.” Psalm 100:5

I will also do this to you: I will even appoint terror over you, wasting disease and fever which shall consume the eyes and cause sorrow of heart.” Leviticus 26:16

Wait a minute… am I reading from the same book?? What poor character development… Am I supposed to like this guy or hate him? If the Hunger Games trilogy was this confusing they sure as hell wouldn’t have made a movie out of it let alone used it to try to convince an entire population that it was based on warnings from a time-travelers first-hand experience in the future. Although, because it is not so poorly written, I’m sure I could start by drawing parallels to the god of Christianity, lure in some innocent believers and then eventually create my own religion. Hmm… there’s an idea. I could probably get a real following from that….

51DR7yj7OeL__SL500_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-big,TopRight,35,-73_OU01_SS500_Oh, damn. Someone already beat me to it.

The Red Light

NB_bumpersticker

I was driving home this weekend and stopped at a light behind a car with this sticker plastered on it. I have seen these stickers before, and I have definitely heard the many arguments revolving around this little statement but, this time I really thought about what that could statement could mean to someone who went out of their way to acquire it and put it on their car. First off, why do you think that the media is liberal? and second, why does that therefore mean you should not believe it?

To me, nothing is more dangerous than people with the inability or lack of desire to think for themselves. These types of people, in my experience, are willing to accept vague, open statements like this one without much thought to what it means or why they came to agree with that conclusion. Your everyday, conservative, republicans are almost always guilty of this which I honestly believe has a lot to do with their faith. They have been conditioned to blindly believe anything anyone in a perceived position of power tells them to believe. Is our entire media industry liberal? Really? The whole thing? Radio… television… magazines… newspapers… blogs… news sites… You get the point. There are a TON of media outlets out there and to say that all of them are liberal is just, well, ignorant. So how did this person I am sitting behind at the red light come to this conclusion and decide to share it with his fellow motorists?

I think I know why: the conservative republicans have always been really good at getting their message out to their followers. They play off of your fears, your faith, your family; everything that means anything to you. And it works really well. They have aligned themselves with people in such a way that the democratic party has yet been able to parallel. Democrats tend to work off of common sense and the acknowledgement that your family is not the only family on this planet and we should therefore act accordingly (hence the “liberal elitist”). The Republicans, however, tend to work off of your irrational fears and belief systems. If they can say that the media is liberal, well then they can counter any and everything that is said that does not align itself with their political message. It leaves everything wide open for argument and each time it is argued it is only more engrained in their follower’s head that the media MUST be liberal. It’s a perfect strategy and the poor guy in front of me at the light has fallen for it. But we Democrats are better than that, right?! Maybe… Which brings me to my next point: IF the media is liberal, why then should you not believe it?

‘Believe’ is such a strange word to be used in this instance, but again, it plays in to your fears and emotions much more effectively than if they were to say, “The liberal media lies” or “I disagree with the liberal media”. Those statements are saying the same thing but they don’t make it personal, which doesn’t make it scary, which, in turn, doesn’t make it appealing. Regardless, the part I am having such a hard time with is that everyone is entitled to freedom of the press and free speech- liberals and conservatives alike. So how is it that their conservative voices are not being heard or are being squandered by the liberals? Is it that they don’t speak up? Well, we all know that can’t be it! Or is it that the liberals are a part of some sort of government conspiracy in which we go through everyday and weed out all the “non-liberal” leaning news reports and make them disappear? Plausible? I think not.

I guess we should take it as a compliment that they honestly believe we have this sort of power but the argument just doesn’t hold any legitimacy for me. And not only that, I have a very hard time believing that it does hold legitimacy for a lot of the US population. Isn’t it just a matter of whether you agree with the way the news is being reported or not? What does it have to do with beliefs? I’m stumped- it just isn’t common sensical.

Blind

A young girl raped by her father and now carrying his child…

A man is shunned for being in one single, honest relationship his entire life with another man…

A child losing his mother to a simple procedure gone wrong at the hands of a drunk surgeon…

A Jew, taken away from his home and worked until he was a pile of ashes…

A woman being beaten by her loving husband with no moral grounds for divorce…

A man whipped until there is no more skin on his back just because of the color of his skin…

A child starving to death with its family while their government grows rich…

An elderly woman dying of a perfectly treatable ailment simply because she cannot afford the medication…

A tornado rips someone’s life apart, a hurricane blows it away and an earthquake eats it up never to be seen again…

These things happen everyday and I have a very hard time understanding how any rational human being could praise a god in this world. If there is a god and s/he/it allows these things to happen, how can one blindly give their heart to it? Are we that desperate? That needy? That scared and self-conscious? Why do we teach our children that life on this earth is nothing, that real life comes after death when you step through those pearly gates? Why can’t life on earth be rewarding and full-filling? If we teach our children instead that this is the only life we have and to make it through we must treat others with dignity and respect, would they make different decisions? The world would be a better place if people weren’t driven by fear but instead by compassion.We must take responsibility for the good and the terrible things we do as a human race and we must always strive to make ourselves better people.

I choose to live for today and for tomorrow. I choose to be a good person because I believe it is the right thing to do, not because some anonymous guy wrote some ancient book and told me to, or else! I have faith in humanity, not some ghost in the sky. To me, this all just seems so obvious. Don’t allow yourself to be brainwashed. Think for yourself and determine your own conclusions. Be driven by the heart and mind, not by blind faith and fear.

Interpretations

” You shall not make any cuttings in your flesh for the dead, nor tattoo any marks on you: I am the Lord.” Leviticus 19:28

My Tattoos make me a sinner.

“For everyone who curses his father or his mother shall surely be put to death. He has cursed his father or his mother. His blood shall be upon him.” Leviticus 20:9

Every teenager should be dead.

“For any man who has a defect shall not approach: a man blind or lame, who has a marred face or any limb too long, a man who has a defect in his eye, or eczema or scab, or is a eunuch. He has a defect; he shall not come near to offer the bread of his God.” Leviticus 21:18-22

Didn’t “God” create man in his image? Didn’t he give them these defects, or at least allow it? How can he defect someone and then cast them out? Is my grandfather, who has been a pastor for decades, now no longer allowed to preach “God’s word” because his skin cancer was discovered too late and they had to remove his eye?

How can I agree with Matthew, Mark, Luke and John when they can’t even agree with each other?

Self-titled

A mysterious cloud has eNveloped the world.

For thOusands of years it has granted

Love, Hope, Fear, Condemnation, Death,

Confusion to its Grinning citizens.

A delusional population helplessly marches forward with book in hand.

Their hope and faith cOnstantly being destroyed by

Suffering, Famine, Disasters, War, Death.

Yet they blindly move forward, never asking questions for fear of damnation.

Yea, though they walk through the valley of the shadow of Death

as the fear of evil consumes them.

For it seems that thou art on vacation.