Tuesday, January 27, 2009

The Hall O' Big Bible Fun - ( Inadvertant as it may be)

Ok, I'm a skeptic about most things, and I look for rational and reasoned solutions to life's questions and problems. I make no claim about whether the universe has a creator or is, itself, a natural phenomenon. But that being said, I simply do not make the claim, so I suppose I'm a non believer.
I certainly am a non believer in any of the major "religions" which are all rather feeble attempts to explain the universe to cavemen and simpletons and are merely anachronisms in today's world.

That being said, there are plenty of good reasons to learn about the belief systems man invented over the years. One is that if NOT taken literally, there is meaningful stuff occasionally. And the humor is quite good...though likely unintentional. Many adherents to Christian fundamentalism, (the belief that the bible is literally true) only accept the King James version, so for the sake of avoiding linguistic faux pas, these pearls of wisdom are from that particular publication.

In The Old Testament

Genesis 2:18-20
Seeing Adam wandering alone in the Garden of Eden, God concludes that it is not good that he should be alone, and decides to make him a "help meet". "And out of the ground the Lord God formed every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air; and brought them unto Adam to see what he would call them: and whatsoever Adam called every living creature, that was the name thereof. And Adam gave names to all cattle, and to the fowl of the air, and to every beast of the field; but for Adam there was not found an help meet for him." Oh Fiddlesticks

Adam does not find his "help meet" until God creates Eve from one of his ribs as he sleeps. Why it took God this long to get it right, however, is puzzling. Did he not realize that none of the animals were suitable wives for Adam? If the first man had pronounced one of them suitable, would the Almighty have presided over a solemn marriage ceremony between a human being and, say, a hippopotamus?

If God had not created the animals with the intent of finding Adam a wife, then why does the text bother to point out that none of them were suitable for that purpose? Perspiring minds want to know!

Genesis 6:5-7, 8:21
God decides to send a great flood to kill all humans, except for Noah and his family, because man's heart is evil. "And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.... And the Lord said, I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth." Later, after the flood waters recede, God promises never to do it again because man's heart is evil. "And the Lord said in his heart, I will not again curse the ground any more for man's sake; for the imagination of man's heart is evil from his youth; neither will I again smite any more every thing living, as I have done."

Why should our "evil imaginations" first doom us and then save us? After all didn't the all powerful create them too? Is the all powerful a screw-up? Why does a perfect God change his mind about how to deal with mere mortals?

Exodus 17:11-12
Led by Moses and Joshua, the Israelites are battling the heathen Amalekites. As long as Moses holds up his hands, the Israelites are able to defeat their foes, but as soon as he gets tired and puts his hands down, they start to lose. Aaron and Hur hold up his arms for him until sundown so Israel can kick his butt.

Why should Moses should have to do this for Israel to win? If it is a test of his dedication then allowing Aaron and Hur to hold up his arms for him seems like cheating and wouldn't the all knowing big guy with the beard know he was cheating? Maybe God just decided to make his prophet do funny poses for his own entertainment. (" Hey! If you want Israel to win, hold up your arms! Now stand on one foot! Now do the Chicken Dance! You do the Hokey Pokey....after all that truly is "what it's all about!"). Maybe if GWB had done the watusi...

Exodus 33:23
"And I will take away mine hand, and thou shalt see my back parts"

God moons Moses!

Now that's funny!

Numbers 22:20-22
God tells Balaam that if men come to him and tell him to go with them, he should. Men come to Balaam. They tell him to go with them. He does. God gets mad at Balaam for going.

As strange as it seems, this is exactly what the text says. No justification is given as to why God should be angry at Balaam for doing exactly what God told him to do. Is the lesson to be learned not to listen to the Supernatural Comic Creator? Um, ...it's a ho ho holy mystery.

Deuteronomy 23:1
According to this verse, any man whose testicles have been crushed or whose penis has been cut off "shall not enter into the congregation of the Lord."

God judges us based our genitals? Really? Who would have guessed!

Press the Button Now!

Deuteronomy 23:10,14, Leviticus 15:19-30
God ( Or the guys that made this stuff up) seem obsessed with certain bodily fluids, these verses lay out his all-important instructions for dealing with menstruation, nocturnal emissions, and disposal of feces. We learn in Leviticus, a menstruating woman is "unclean" during her period, and must remain apart from the rest of her people for a minimum of seven days. Then, she must sacrifice two pigeons as a "sin offering", "to make an atonement... before the Lord for the issue of her uncleanness."

So God considers it a sin to have a period? Didn't he create women the way he wanted them to be? What's up with that?

Men who have nocturnal emissions get off more lightly, according to Deuteronomy 23:10. Apparently they're not as "unclean" as menstruating women, and don't have to sacrifice animals to God to be forgiven - they merely have to stay outside the camp for a day.

In verse 14, we have detailed instructions on how to dispose of feces. "Because the Lord your God walks in the midst of your camp, to save you and to give up your enemies before you; therefore your camp must be holy, that he may not see anything indecent among you, and turn away from you".

Well it is "unholy" to relieve oneself, and the sight of human feces so repulses God that he will abandon anyone who does not dispose of it discreetly! Did God really need to tell these guys not to poop where they eat or walk? And will all gastro related Drs. be going to the place with the guy with the pitchfork?

Why did God create these bodily functions in the first place if he's so disgusted by them. Doesn't the infinite, almighty Creator of the universe have more important things to concern himself with? Why does his ego demand he be worshiped, not merely respected or loved? If I were god I wouldn't care whether you believed I existed or not, let alone demand you spend time saying how huge and wonderful I am. How your so impressed down here. What an egotist!

Judges 1:19
"And the Lord was with Judah; and he drave out the inhabitants of the mountain; but could not drive out the inhabitants of the valley, because they had chariots of iron."

Well if your choice is between having God on your side and having iron chariots, you should apparently take the chariots! So much for omnipotence. Apparently Jehovah is a member of one of those species of British and Scottish fairies who were repelled by cold iron or garlic. It'd be just like those little tricksters to masquerade as the all-powerful God of the Israelites!

Judges 6:36-40
Gideon offers the following test to see if he is to be the agent of Israel's salvation: he will leave a woolen fleece out on the ground overnight, and in the morning if it is wet with dew while all the surrounding earth is dry, he will know God's answer is yes. He duly does this, and finds the fleece wet and the ground dry in the morning, but isn't convinced. If you really mean it, he says, make the fleece miraculously dry and the ground miraculously wet. This happens.

Okay, far be it from me to question the wisdom of Gideon, but why couldn't he just ask for a yes-or-no answer? Throughout the Bible God speaks audibly to both believers and nonbelievers (as he did with Balaam, for example). Was that too hard for him to do in this instance, or does he just prefer doing inane parlor tricks?

Judges 9:13
"Wine cheereth God and man."

Okay, man I can see. But how does wine cheer God? Does the Almighty get drunk? Not that it wouldn't explain some things. But based on his evident low sense of humor displayed in other verses, maybe what amuses him more is watching other people get drunk and make fools of themselves.

1 Samuel 19:24
The Spirit of God comes upon Saul and causes him to start giving prophecies. Apparently getting just a little carried away, Saul takes off all his clothes, "prophesied before Samuel in like manner, and lay down naked all that day and all that night."

No mention is made of Samuel's reaction. I guess people just acted that way back then.

1 Samuel 30:1
After being completely killed off by Saul in 1 Samuel 15:7-8 and 15:33, and then being completely killed off again by David in 1 Samuel 27:8-11, the Amalekites invade Israel yet again!

Those Amalekites were resurected! God and Hollywood profit (prophet) from sequels.

2 Kings 21:12
"Therefore thus saith the Lord God of Israel, Behold, I am bringing such evil upon Jerusalem and Judah, that whosoever heareth of it, both his ears shall tingle."

In other verses, God has already threatened to punish or punished people with death, drowning, dragons, serpents, lions, bears, dogs, wild beasts, evil spirits, confusion, mutilation, cannibalism, rape, slavery, stoning, scourging, swords, axes, arrows, rods, fire, frost, blood, burning coals, brimstone, thunderbolts, storms, famine, drought, fever, plague, pestilence, inflammation, itching, leprosy, open sores, boils, hemorrhoids, hornets, locusts, frogs, lice, flies, worms, infanticide, infertility, miscarriages, madness, blindness, dismemberment, drunkenness, darkness, hail, earthquakes, and by spreading dung on their faces. By this verse he must have run out of ideas. ("And I'm gonna smite you so bad, that... that... um... whoever hears about it, their ears will tingle!")

(For all these punishments, here are the Bible references, in order: Acts 5:5-10, Genesis 7:20-22, Jeremiah 10:22, Numbers 21:6, 2 Kings 17:25, 2 Kings 2:24, 1 Kings 21:23, Leviticus 26:22, 1 Samuel 16:14, Genesis 11:9, Ezekiel 23:25 & 34, Ezekiel 5:10, Numbers 31:18, Deuteronomy 28:48, Numbers 15:35-36, Leviticus 19:20, Exodus 22:24, 2 Samuel 12:31, Deuteronomy 32:42, Psalms 2:9, Numbers 16:35, Psalms 78:47, Revelation 16:3, Psalms 140:10, Revelation 9:18, Psalms 78:48, Psalms 83:15, Jeremiah 24:10, Amos 4:7, Leviticus 26:16, Numbers 11:33, 1 Chronicles 21:14, Deuteronomy 28:22, Deuteronomy 28:27, Numbers 12:9-10, Revelation 16:2, Exodus 9:9-11, 1 Samuel 5:6, Exodus 23:28, Exodus 10:12-14, Exodus 8:2-6, Exodus 8:16-17, Exodus 8:21-24, Deuteronomy 28:39, Exodus 12:29-30, Genesis 20:18, Hosea 9:14, Zechariah 12:4, Acts 13:11, Psalms 58:7, Jeremiah 13:13, Exodus 10:22, Exodus 9:23-25, Revelation 11:13, and Malachi 2:3.)

Psalms 78:66
"And he smote his enemies in the hinder parts: he put them to a perpetual reproach."

God kicks some ass!

Isaiah 20:2-3
God instructs Isaiah to take off all his clothes and wander around completely naked for three years as a "sign and a wonder."

Yeah people must have wondered, all right. You might chalk this up to another example of God making his prophets do ridiculous things for his own amusement, but Isaiah shows in many places that his own hold on reality is tenuous. He writes that God will "hiss for the fly... and for the bee" (7:18), will force every man to "eat the flesh of his own arm" (9:20 - Bon Appetitte!), and will send a perverse spirit that will cause the Egyptians to err "as a drunken man staggereth in his vomit" (19:14 - Yellowbeard comes to mind!). He orders women to strip (32:11), and says that God will punish them by "discovering their secret parts" (3:17). He says that God "will feed them that oppress me with their own flesh; and they shall be drunken with their own blood, as with sweet wine" (49:26 - yum!); either that, or they'll "eat their own dung, and drink their own urine" (36:12). So either God was having a much weirder daythan Hunter S. Thompson ever had, or else Isaiah was one of the many Biblical figures who could have benefited from modern psychological medication.

Ezekiel 2:9,3:1-3
God writes a scroll in front of Ezekiel's eyes, and then instructs him, "Son of man, eat that thou findest; eat this roll.... cause thy belly to eat, and fill thy bowels with this roll that I give thee." Ezekiel complies, and finds it to be sweet as honey.

Doubtless this is all very symbolic, mystical, and informative in some way or another.

Ezekiel 13:18-20
"Thus saith the Lord God, Woe to the women that sew pillows.... Behold, I am against your pillows."

A true classic! But God's wrath doesn't end with pillows, oh no. In 13:21 he further promises to spill out his anger on kerchiefs ("Your kerchiefs also will I tear"), and just a few verses earlier, in 13:15, he swears terrible vengeance against a wall. ("Thus will I accomplish my wrath upon the wall.") What God has against innocent masonry and embroidery is not explained. Nor is anything else of consequence.

(Then again, maybe Ezekiel's to blame; this guy is plainly a few locusts short of a plague. In chapter 1 he sees some four-headed, four-winged creatures that Dr. Moreau could never have dreamed of, as well as God's "loins." In 4:12 he says that God told him to eat barley cakes baked with "dung that cometh out of man"; not too tasty, but better than fathers eating their sons and sons eating their fathers, which we are told will happen in 5:10. In chapter 4 he is told to lie on his left side for 390 days, then to lie on his right side for 40 days, without turning over. No doubt this is all very symbolic, but I don't think the sinful Israelites were too impressed by their prophets rolling in the mud. In 8:2-3, God's loins put in another appearance, and in 29:8 he makes all the Egyptians' "loins to be at a stand." In chapter 23 Ezekiel rants - at great length - about two women who, as punishment for committing adultery with men "whose issue is like the issue of horses", will have their houses burned down, their sons and daughters killed with swords, their noses and ears cut off, will be forced to "pluck off" their own breasts, and will finally be stoned to death. Praise the Lord! And in 10:12 he mentions wheeled cherubim, whose wheels were covered with eyes. "As for the wheels, it was cried unto them in my hearing, O wheel." Clearly Ezekiel, like Isaiah, is another of those prophets who couldn't poke sanity with a long pole.)

Hosea 8:4
The Israelites set up princes, and "I knew it not," complains God.

So much for omniscience eh?.

Jonah 1:3
Jonah is instructed by God to go preach to Nineveh. But he apparently prefers not to do this, and so he runs away. "But Jonah rose up to flee unto Tarshish from the presence of the Lord, and went down to Joppa; and he found a ship going to Tarshish: so he paid the fare thereof, and went down into it, to go with them unto Tarshish from the presence of the Lord."

So much for omnipresence too.If you don't want to listen to the God...simply run away, run away!

This is but a small sampling of Biblical humor. I don't understand how anyone could possibly believe this is literally true, but then again I didn't believe there were enough fools to re-elect Bush, or not understand that importing all your manufacturing and outsourcing all your jobs would lead to a collapsed economy. To each his own, and rememeber:

"There are no sects in geometry."

Remember folks-
Give a man a fish, and you'll feed him for a day;
Give him a religion, and he'll starve to death while praying for a fish.

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Anonymous said...

Your going to burn in fire and brimstone!

Anonymous said...

That was a very classical Bible Exposition and Commentary. Please keep on posting just good exegesis. Wee need these kind of thing so many folks can understand King James' Bible better! Just Chris.

Jim Dandy said...

A bible study group I want to join!
Where do I sign up?