Month: March 2013

The Gold Calf

The story of the Gold Calf in the book of Exodus has to be one of my favorites. It is a story of an incredibly jealous god and a ridiculously stupid group of people, which ended up raising a ton of red flags for me about god and Christianity.

It starts off with a group of people waiting around for Moses to return to them from the mountain conversation he is having with god. They are getting a little antsy and are starting to think that Moses will not return. They clearly have no other purpose in their lives but to praise and blindly follow anything and everything because, after a while, they approach Aaron begging him to make them a new god since this one is taking so long. Aaron, who is one of god’s newly appointed priests, says, “Sure” and tells them all to break off their gold earrings for him. They do so and Aaron then proceeds to melt it all down and shape the gold into a calf. The people then immediately start praising this calf, dancing, giving it burnt offerings and proclaiming that it is the savior of their people.

Adoration_of_Golden_Calf_Poussin_1629

…Huh??

If these people are so easily persuaded into praising anything that comes their way, what does that say about god at this point?Clearly he is no more impressive than a little golden calf or any other god for that matter. Most Christians will look at this and say that this is not a reflection of god’s power but a reflection of the stupidity of people- and I would agree. However, I would take it a step further in saying that the stupidity of people is also to blame for the praises given to god as he “exists” today. These people were so ready and willing to offer their praises to anything because they were desperate and needed something to look up to and something to believe in. This part of the story says to me that god is interchangeable with any and everything. The only common denominator is a group of desperate, weak, like-minded people ready and willing to listen to anything anyone has to say- anything that will make them feel better, or give them an excuse for being or acting a certain way. Which is why there are so many different factions within Christianity.

Are you really inspired by the Virgin Mary? Join Catholicism! Do you sort of like Catholicism but don’t love the idea of all those saints? Well then perhaps Lutheranism is the religion for you! Or, do you enjoy the Old Testament and finding a good sale? Give Judaism a try! Maybe you really hate celebrating your birthday, or any holiday for that matter, and you could see yourself talking to people door-to-door? Jehovah’s Witness would be perfect for you! Or, perhaps you believe there was more to the Bible and you are thankful that Joseph Smith discovered those missing parts? Well then I think Mormonism is for you! Whatever your fancy, feel free to choose your religion and your god. And don’t let that pesky religion you were raised on get in the way of your choice; what do your parents know anyways?

Ok, back to the story. As these people are praising this calf, god sees them (of course) and it infuriates him:

And the Lord said to Moses, ‘I have seen this people, and indeed it is a stiff-necked people! Now therefore, let me alone, that my wrath may burn hot against them and I may consume them. And I will make of you a great nation.’ ” Exodus 32:9-10

God is a very jealous god and now he wants to kill them all- after he insults them first. Sort of like when your ex finds out you have a new boyfriend/girlfriend and the jealousy consumes them. They have invested so much time into you and now you have just simply moved on? No way Jose! (Jesus??)

Well, Moses sees that god is angry and is going to kill all of these people and he’s like, “Woah. Wait a minute! I just dragged these people through the desert and the sea for christsake! And now you just want to wipe them out? Hell no.” Well, actually he says it a little more like this:

Then Moses pleaded with the Lord his God, and said: ‘Lord, why does Your wrath burn hot against Your people whom You have brought out of the land of Egypt with great power and with a mighty hand? Why should the Egyptians speak, and say, ‘He brought them out to harm them, to kill them in the mountains, and to consume them from the face of the earth’? Turn from your fierce wrath, and relent from this harm to Your people. Remember Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, Your servants, to whom You swore by Your own self, and said to them, ‘I will multiply your descendants as the stars of heaven; and all this land that I have spoken of I give to your descendants, and they shall inherit it forever.’ ” Exodus 32:11-13

Basically, Moses uses the old, ‘What will the neighbors think?’ number on god to talk some sense into him and to not let all of his earlier efforts go to waste and it works! Really?! The supposed omnipotent, all-powerful, all-knowing god just listens to Moses?? Couldn’t he have come up with that reasoning himself before he let his anger get to him? Wasn’t it Jesus, not god, that was supposed to bear all the human characteristics so that we could relate to him/it? And, what good is a god if he has no sense of reason? It seems to me that god is the hot-headed, jealous type. The type you can’t break up with because you might end up in a battered women’s home. (But, he loves you!)

The story continues with Moses returning to the people and dividing them up, asking those that are with god to join him and those that aren’t to leave. Then, with the group of followers, proceeds to murder thousands of people.

“And he said to them, “Thus says the Lord God of Israel: ‘Let every man put his sword on his side, and go in and out from entrance to entrance throughout the camp, and let every man kill his brother, every man his companion and every man his neighbor.’ So the sons of Levi did according to the word of Moses. And about three thousand men of the people fell that day.” Exodus 32:27-28

Then, to add injury to insult after they just murdered everyone they knew, Moses tells them that they still have not satisfied god and that they will need to atone for their sins. Moses summons god and ask him to forgive them and god says something like, “Fine. You go and take these people to the place I told you to take them, as planned.” But he adds this,

” ‘Nevertheless, in the day when I visit for punishment, I will visit punishment upon them for their sin.’ So the Lord plagued the people because of what they did with the calf which Aaron made.” Exodus 32: 34-35

Angry-God1

Is that a threat? It sure sounds like a threat to me… If you are a god, why threaten at all? Why not do something? And, more importantly, isn’t god supposed to be all-loving? Or, is it just that we haven’t gotten to that part yet? How can I believe that god “loves us” when he goes around acting like that? Why the crazy jealousy, the temper, the fits of rage, the controlling, the anger, the threats if you leave and the threats even when you stay? Again, I refer back to the angry ex and the dangerous, jealous relationship- If we are taught that when humans treat us this way it is bad, then why is it OK for our god to do the same?

Advertisements

Christianity’s God Awfully Awkward, Nightmarish Question -John Zande

Great read.

JesusIt’s the most overlooked question in the Christian world, the stuff of nightmares for Sunday school teachers across the planet: If Jesus was God, why didn’t he say anything useful?

He didn’t mention bacteria, pasteurization, or the importance of dental hygiene. He didn’t explain lightning, the tides, the sun, our position in the solar system, the galaxy, gravity, the composition of the atmosphere, or dispense the formula for sun block. He didn’t point anyone in the direction of morphine, teach a soul about the nature of asthma, epilepsy, atoms, genetics, subatomic particles, the periodic table, volcanology, the causes of headaches, muscle cramps, prenatal care, plate tectonics, architecture, evolution, or tell a single living being about the science of corrective-optics. He didn’t mention anything about better, faster, safer forms of transportation, communication technology, math, the metric system, a new swimming technique, scuba diving, blast furnaces, magnetic compasses, quartz watches, wind turbines…

View original post 671 more words

Jesus is a Prick

041110

I constantly hear arguments from proponents of Christianity that Jesus is some all-loving, all-accepting (unless you are gay or vote Democrat) dude and no matter what I do in my life “He loves me and wants me to love him back.” Sure there are lots of verses and stories outlining those arguments in the Bible, but there are also tons that show otherwise. Take this one for starters:

Do not think that I came to bring peace on earth. I did not come to bring peace but a sword. For I have come to set a man against his father, a daughter against her mother and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law, and a man’s enemies will be those in his own household. He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me. He who finds his life will lose it, and he who loses his life for My sake will find it.” Matthew 10:34-39

Basically, Jesus is incredibly selfish and doesn’t even want you to love the people who raised you, who you have known your entire life, more than you love him- even though he bailed before you were born and left you with nothing but a book full of ridiculous stories. And, god forbid (pun intended) you find meaning to your life and are successful and love it. Jesus never got to do that because he was too busy dying for you and now he wants you to return the favor. Only if you die miserable, like he did, will he decide you are worthy of saving. Yep, Jesus is a prick. Here is another example from the book of Luke in which he describes his same intent for division as in the book of Matthew, but in a more I’m-going-to-throw-a-temper-tantrum-about-it kind of way:

I came to send fire on the earth, and how I wish it were already kindled!” Luke 12:49

Both the book of Matthew and the book of Luke describe this desire of Jesus to make it known that he did not come to earth to make friends, he came to show-off a few miracles, die, and then proceed to hold it against us for the rest of time. But, before he dies, and alongside performing some of those miracles, he is going to go right ahead and take the opportunity to screw around with everyone. He does this by describing the desires of god and explaining how to utilize those desires to spend an eternity with him in heaven; the problem is, he refuses to just tell it like it is. He insists on using confusing parables that make no sense, setting most of his would-be believers up for failure. After being asked by the prophets why he speaks in such confusing parables, Jesus responds,

Because it has been given to you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been given. For whoever has, to him more will be given, and he will have abundance; but whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken away from him. Therefore, I speak in parables, because seeing they do not see, and hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand.” Matthew 13:11-13

When I read passages like this, it only further concretes my belief that religion was made up by man as a means to control the population. It is so blatant in this passage (there is also a similar one in the book of Mark) that in order to fully know and understand these teachings, one must never doubt, or look too deep into it. One must simply take the lesson at face value and interpret it as Jesus wants you to, not as you actually do. Because, in actually interpreting stories on your own, you are bound to interpret incorrectly and maybe, just maybe, you may begin to doubt the validity or the importance of the lesson. So, the less you think about it, the better off you (and the)y are. It’s genius if it actually works, and sadly, it does.

tumblr_lizpcqwaZ51qda2v1o1_1280

Another reason I believe Jesus is a prick is because he has a horrible temper. Take the infamous story of the fig tree for example:

Now the next day, when they had come out from Bethany, He was hungry. And seeing from afar a fig tree having leaves, He went to see if perhaps He would find something on it. When He came to it, He found nothing but leaves, for it was not the season for figs. In response Jesus said to it, ‘Let no one eat fruit from you ever again.’ And His disciples heard it.” Mark 11:12-14

He knew there would be no fruit on it because “it was not the season for figs” and yet he still got pissed at it for not feeding him in his time of hunger. To give him the benefit of the doubt, I have said and done some pretty mean things out of hunger, too. But, this man is supposed to be the savior! The healer! The prince of peace and love! He can’t have normal human instincts… and if he does, he certainly can’t let them get the better of him! Which brings me to my next point: If Jesus was real, and that’s a HUGE if,  how can we hold him on such a high pedestal? He is just like us! What makes him so different and so special? He is no god; sure he did some lame tricks turning water into wine and walking on water but, wouldn’t a real god simply create a fig on that tree to then pick and eat? Or summon a nice turkey dinner to appear on his table? How can we be so faithful to a god so human when humans are constantly failing us? Wouldn’t this then imply that either, A. This god would end up failing us as well, or B. That perhaps a god so human is that way because he was created by humans and is therefore whatever we want him to be? The Hindus certainly would never stoop so low; their gods are constantly doing far more miraculous, god-like things on a daily basis and would never submit themselves to petty hunger or any other human feeling for that matter. Hindus have textbook examples of gods. Why didn’t the creators of the Christian god/Jesus get together with the creators of the Hindu gods and exchange game plans?

But, I guess that’s the point of Christianity, isn’t it? That god sent his only son to us, made him as human as possible so that we could relate and see our children in him, just to then sacrifice him for us, even though we never asked him to, so that we may live in guilt of it forever. Therefore, god is also a prick. Like father, like son.

God Loves Killing Children, Part 2

God loves killing children, but he wants you to believe that other gods love it more. In doing this, he is attempting to assert himself as the less blood-thirsty of your options. But, I’m not buying it. Here’s why: In the midst of all this child killing going on throughout the bible, god says this:

When the Lord your God cuts off from before you the nations which you go to dispossess, and you displace them and dwell in their land, take heed to yourself that you are not ensnared to follow them, after they are destroyed from before you, and that you do not inquire after their gods, saying, ‘ How did these nations serve their gods? I also will do likewise.’ You shall not worship the Lord your God that way; for every abomination to the Lord which He hates they have done to their gods; for they burn even their sons and daughters in the fire to their gods. Whatever I command you, be careful to observe it; you shall not add to it nor take away from it.” Deuteronomy 12:29-32

huh2

He is using the example of burning children to convince people that other religions/gods are bad; a fear tactic, if you will. And yet, god himself is guilty of this very action. He has allowed it and even welcomes it as a tribute and offering. I give you the story of Jephthah:

And Jephthah made a vow to the Lord, and said, ‘If you indeed will deliver the people of Ammon into my hands, then it will be that whatever comes out of the doors of my house to meet me, when I return in peace from the people of Ammon, shall surely be the Lord’s and I will offer it up as a burnt offering.” Judges 11:30-31

God holds up his end of the bargain, so…

When Jephthah came to his house at Mizpah, there was his daughter, coming out to meet him with timbrels and dancing; and she was his only child. Besides her he had neither son nor daughter. And it came to pass, when he saw her, that he tore his clothes, and said, ‘Alas, my daughter! You have brought me very low! You are among those who trouble me! For I have given my word to the Lord, and I cannot go back on it.’ So she said to him, ‘My father, if you have given your word to the Lord, do to me according to what has gone out of your mouth, because the Lord has avenged you of your enemies, the people of Ammon.’ Then she sad to her father, ‘Let this thing be done for me: let me alone for two months, that I may go and wander on the mountains and bewail my virginity, my friends and I.’ So he said, ‘Go.’ And he sent her away for two months; and she went with her friends, and bewailed her virginity on the mountains. And it was so at the end of two months that she returned to her father, and he carried out his vow with her which he had vowed. She knew no man.” Judges 11:34-39

So… how is this offering of a burnt child any different from the offerings to the other gods he warned his followers about? Oh, that’s right- it’s not.

Bite_Your_Bible

God Loves Killing Children, Part 1

scared-child

It seems that once god got a taste of killing children in the book of Exodus for the tenth plague, he just couldn’t help himself- he had to kill more. The bible is full of stories depicting god’s demands to kill children, his preference of death as a consequence for children that misbehave and his allowance and acceptance of those that kill children in his honor or in his name. Here’s a fun example about a man killing a bunch of kids in the name of the lord for making fun of him:

Then he (Elisha) went up from there to Bethel; and as he was going up the road, some youths came from the city and mocked him, and said to him, ‘Go up, you baldhead! Go up, you baldhead!’ So he turned around and looked at them, and pronounced a curse on them in the name of the Lord. And two female bears came out of the woods and mauled forty-two of the youths.” 2 Kings 2:23-24

This passage is almost comical to me. Some kids call you baldhead so you send bears to maul them to death? Gnarly. I mean, it can’t really be an insult if it’s true, right? Why not ask for a new head of hair in the name of the lord instead of a gruesome death sentence for a bunch of brats?

This is an interesting take on what we should do to those nations we are at war with. I wonder how the UN would feel about this:

Everyone who is found will be thrust through, and everyone who is captured will fall by the sword. Their children will also be dashed to pieces before their eyes; their houses will be plundered and their wives ravished. ‘Behold, I will stir up the Medes against them, who will not regard silver; and as for gold, they will not delight in it. Also, their bows will dash the young men to pieces, and they will have no pity on the fruit of the womb; Their eye will not spare children.” Isaiah 13:15-18

In these three verses alone, there is a clear message that the children will die. In fact, it is mentioned four times! What is with his obsession with killing children anyways? Wouldn’t he have just spent all that time molding them and making them into his perfect little images? Planning their lives for them as so many modern-day Christians believe? What would be the point in killing them all off? Could it be that he is so adamant about killing them so that they don’t grow up and hate him for killing their parents?? Hmm?? Scared are we, god?

Scared Inside Final

Here is another example of god using the death/eradication of children as punishment for the actions of adults he doesn’t like:

As for Ephraim, their glory shall fly away like a bird- no birth, no pregnancy, and no conception! Though they bring up their children, yet I will bereave them to the last man. Yes, woe to them when I depart from them! Just as I saw Ephraim like Tyre, planted in a pleasant place, so Ephraim will bring out his children to the murderer. Give them, O Lord- what will you give? Give them a miscarrying womb and dry breasts! All their wickedness is in Gilgal, for there I hated them. Because of the evil of their deeds I will drive them from My house; I will love them no more. All their princes are rebellious. Ephraim is stricken, their root is dried up; they shall bear no fruit. Yes, were they to bear children, I would kill the darlings of their womb.” Hosea 9:11-16

Here’s what I am having a really hard time grasping: Weren’t these people his creation, too? Didn’t he already know that they would betray him? If god has a plan for us (“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11), why would he make this his plan for them?

It’s OK, I’ll Pray For You.

Prayer is just another one of those strange religious anomalies that firms up the notion in my mind that religion is pure bullshit. I actually find that I feel sorry for people who depend on prayer, the ones who believe in it whole heartedly. It’s a weakness.

To me, praying is like wishing on a shooting star or making a wish after throwing a penny in a well or blowing out the candles on your birthday cake; there really is no point to it. Wishes aren’t granted by stars or wells or gods, they are granted by the Make a Wish Foundation and Extreme Home Makeover. No matter how much people desperately wish or pray for a turn of events, it will never get them anything or anywhere in life. Yet, people still insist on it, some even risk their lives for it. Some even decline medical care for it! I mean, how desperate (Ignorant? Stupid?) do you have to be to honestly believe that speaking to someone/something in your mind will get you what you want/need?

But still, people insist on it. They believe in it. Why? Because when they pray for something and it doesn’t play out like they had hoped, well then it just wasn’t a part of god’s plan. But, when they pray for something and it does happen, then it’s a goddamn miracle! And all it takes is one of those “miracles” to make them a believer for life. Ok, now I know what you are thinking: “Didn’t any of them ever take a math class? Were they sick the day the class learned about probabilities and odds?” I mean, you throw a quarter in the air so many times, it is going to land on heads eventually, right? Nope. It will land on heads when god wants it to land on heads. You just have to keep being faithful and keep praying that one day this quarter will land heads-up. And, if you are really good, and you aren’t gay, and you don’t use birth control and you never have an abortion, well then god might just look down upon you with favor and flip that coin for you. …People actually believe this stuff and I think it’s sad. Sad and scary.

Well actually, I stop thinking it’s sad the moment they turn and try to focus their prayer magic on me. When someone says, “I’ll pray for you” or, “God bless” I actually take offense.  Why go there? I mean, your waitress can’t even say “Merry Christmas” to you in the restaurant but you are going to take it upon yourself to let me know that you pity me enough to ask your god for help with my life? I never really understood why people say they will pray for you. If I’m in a shitty situation, wouldn’t it be sufficient for me to pray for myself? Or is it that the more people who pray for you the more important god thinks you and your problems are? And honestly, are you really going to pray for me? Are you really going to fold your hands and close your eyes and pray to a god that my life gets better? And are you going to be specific about my issue? Or are you just going to add my name to the list of names you rattle off in your nightly prayers? Does that matter to your god?

I also love (insert sarcasm here) how people credit their prayers to your successes as well. Thank you for praying for me to graduate college, I couldn’t have done it without you and your prayers… and Sallie Mae… and all the countless hours I spent studying. Oh, and thank you so much for praying for my marriage that you thought would never last. I’m glad god made it work, too.

Yep, god sure does work in mysterious ways. And the chances are about 50/50 that he’ll work in the ways you want him to.

PrayingHands%20prayer%20request

Fun With Deuteronomy, Part 3 (Women’s Edition)

“When you go out to war against your enemies, and the Lord your God delivers them into your hand, and you take them captive, and you see among the captives a beautiful woman, and desire her and would take her for your wife, then you shall bring her home to your house, and she shall shave her head and trim her nails. She shall put off the clothes of her captivity, remain in your house, and mourn her father and her mother a full month; after that you may go in to her and be her husband, and she shall be your wife. And it shall be, if you have no delight in her, then you shall set her free, but you certainly shall not sell her for money; you shall not treat her brutally, because you have humbled her.” Deuteronomy 21:10-14

There are many verses in the Bible about war and how men must only kill men but are free to plunder and take all the women and children they desire for slaves. This one in particular really bothers me because it not only involves the kidnapping of a woman, but also forcing her to be your wife- if, after you have your way with her, you still desire her. The good news for the captured woman is that he has to wait a month to let her mourn before he can even think about touching her (a nice enough gesture for the Old Testament Bible) but after that, game on! The strangest contradiction in this passage is that the woman is taken and treated as an object (finders, keepers) and yet she is given time to grieve like a human. Well, which is it? Human or object? The passage contradicts itself again at the end stating basically that once you have had your way with her, you have two options: 1. You liked her and you would like to keep her for yourself (objectify-ing) or, 2. You decided that you don’t like her after all and you set her free (objectify-ing). BUT, don’t beat her or sell her because you are the one that ruined her after all (humanizing). Huh? The god of the Old Testament (aka a group of slimy dudes with a need to satiate their worldly, sexual desires and fantasies) seems to be constantly making it OK for a man to put a woman in the position he desires so that he can have his way with her while she sits back and enjoys and is grateful. Another example is this:

“If a man finds a young woman who is a virgin, who is not betrothed, and he seizes her and lies with her, and they are found out, then the man who lay with her shall give to the young woman’s father fifty shekels of silver, and she shall be his wife because he has humbled her; he shall not be permitted to divorce her all his days.” Deuteronomy 22:28-29

Deuteronomy22_28-29

So basically, you can rape any unmarried virgin (I am not sure how they always know who is a virgin and who is not… Word of mouth?) BUT, you will have to marry her and pay for her and you can never be divorced from her.

I imagine my father’s reaction in this instance:

Rapist knocks on my father’s door.

RAPIST “Hello, sir. I have recently raped your daughter. Here is the fifty shekels I owe you- she was great!”

MY FATHER “I’ll be right back…”

My father goes into his house and returns with a loaded shotgun pointed right at the rapist’s face. He shoots and keeps the money.

-End Scene-

First of all, what kind of father would ever be OK with this? and second, is the payment and requirement never to divorce the man’s only punishment for doing something so horrible to someone? Is it even supposed to be a punishment? To me, this is a more disturbing version of licking something as a child to call dibs; the idea being that no one will want it after you have licked it, so it’s yours! To me, this is yet another instance in which that group of slimy, perverted men (or the god of the Old Testament) are giving themselves permission to take anything or anyone they want and do what they please to them without consequences- in particular, women.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, but it boggles my mind how women can accept this objectification and irrational hatred of and for women. Why can’t they see through all the god bullshit and see it for what it really is- a feeble (yet disgustingly successful) attempt by men to feel more powerful and to satisfy their desires and fantasies. Luckily for Christian women, there are laws in the US that trump religious law and prevent these sort of actions from actually playing out. Would women still be Christians if we allowed religious law to take over? I sure hope not.