Monday, July 26, 2010

Don't Acts, Don't Tell, Part IX: Acts, Chapters 17 - 27

Part IX, the conclusion of my "Don't Acts, Don't Tell" Series.

Chapter 17
  • Verses 3 and 11: Paul goes around proving that Jesus is the Christ;  the noble Bereans examine the Scriptures every day to verify Paul's radical claims. Why is it that it's noble to allow someone to convince you of a metaphysical claim, which can't be tested or checked in any way whatsoever? And how is it noble that these people worship a bloodthirsty, misogynistic baby killer, which can be verified in their scripture?
  • Verse 5: "The Jews were jealous". At least when Jesusianismists use silly rhetorical tricks in their arguements, they can claim biblical precedent. Are we really to believe that the Jews opposed Jesusianism simply due to jealousy? Will you marriage bigots allow us to charge that your only reason for opposing homosexuality is fear of your own latent gay tendencies? On what can you possibly base a claim that the ancient Jews were more likely to be one-dimensional idiots than you are?
  • Verse 21: "All the Athenians and the foreigners who lived there spent their time doing nothing but talking about and listening to the latest ideas." Well, at least now we know from where Jesusianismists get their anti-education sentiments. Talking about and listening to the latest ideas is what brought us democracy, modern medicine, computers, social justice, and many other excellent aspects of modern life that benefit even anti-education, anti-knowledge Jesusianismists.
  • Verse 23: Paul has noticed in Athens an altar to "an unknown god". He preaches to the Athenians that Yahweh is this god that they have been worshiping without actually knowing who or what it is. Is that really ok with Yahweh, for us to invent a deity in our minds, based on no actual knowledge whatsoever, then to give it a name? That doesn't sound like the personal relationship that Jesusianismists go on about. I can't imagine being happy with my daughter personifying a teddy bear and then declaring that it is her dad, and that she loves it and has a personal relationship with it. This is a very strange god.
  • Verse 25: "[God] is not served by human hands". Really? What's all that animal sacrifice about if not service by human hands?
  • Verse 31: God has given proof that Jesus is the Messiah, by raising him from the dead. Really? Then what was proven about Lazarus? The little girl in Matthew 9:25? All those holy people who came out of their graves in Matthew 27:52?
Chapter 18, Verse 6: "When the Jews opposed Paul and became abusive, he shook out his clothes in protest and said to them, 'Your blood be on your own heads!'" So he did this not because they opposed him, but because they opposed him and became abusive. What happened to "turn the other cheek"? What happened to "forgive them for they know not what they do"? Jesusianismists are wimps. They give up as soon as the name-calling starts. If I believed that someone would be tortured if they didn't heed my message, I'd tear my hair out looking for ways to warn them, not get all pissy because they got sick of me. Jesusianismists prove, by their own propensity to give up on the rest of us, that they don't really believe the message of Jesusianism.

Chapter 23
  • Verse 3: The high priest orders that Paul be struck on the mouth. Paul turns the other cheek in this fashion: "God will strike you, you whitewashed wall!" Interpretation is a wonderful tool. You can use it to make anything mean anything.
  • Verse 6: Paul says, "I stand on trial because of my hope in the resurrection of the dead." Interesting. I thought that it was because he was proclaiming that the blasphemer Jesus had been the Messiah. This complicates things: what was Paul actually preaching that was so offensive to the Jews? The metaphysical (i.e., unprovable) claim that the dead will eventually be resurrected? It's all so complex. I'm inclined to agree with Gallio, proconsul of Achaia, in Acts 18:14 - 15: since this all involves questions about words and names and Jewish law, it's not reasonable to listen to the argument, and they should just settle the matter themselves. It has nothing to do with me, that's for sure.
Chapter 26, Verse 23: Paul refers to Jesus as "the first to rise from the dead". Wrong. Paul forgot to read his bible that day. Besides all the people Jesus resurrected, there were resurrections in the Old Testament too, which Paul should have remembered.

Chapter 27, Verse 21: Paul tells the men on the ship, " should have taken my advice not to sail from Crete". I guess he didn't know about Jesus' comments about sparrows and how nothing happens apart from the will of God.

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