Monday, August 30, 2010

Pseudepigrapha Psalad Psurgery VII: Second Peter

Chapter 1
  • Verse 4: God "has given us [its] very great and precious promises..." Let's think about these great and precious promises, shall we? You get to avoid eternal torture in fire, which I'm sure most of us would count as a good thing. What else? Life in heaven, where presumably there are no more earthly pleasures: no sex, no food, no sleep, no lying around in bed on a weekend morning, no backrubs, no hot showers, no keggers, no striving toward a personal goal, none of the joy that corresponds to reaching a goal that you weren't sure of, no reading, no learning, no danger and therefore no adventure. Also, you get the knowledge that many people whom you love dearly are in excruciating, inescapable agony along with countless strangers you never met. And what will you do for all eternity? Worship Yahweh-Jesus, apparently unceasingly. That's all. Heaven is not a good place; the only attribute that makes it any better than hell is the lack of fire-torture. This is not a good god.
  • Verse 5: Make every effort to add knowledge to your faith. Given the anti-education attitude so prevalent among Jesusianismists, it's a good thing that this epistle is a forgery.
  • Verse 16: "We did not follow cleverly invented stories..." Now this is one that all Jesusianismists interpret incorrectly. They think that faux-Peter means, "The stories we told you were not invented." But surely he's not saying that, as that would be a lie, and there are no lies in the bible. What he really means is that the stories were invented un-cleverly.
Chapter 2
  • Verse 3: "In their greed these teachers will exploit you with stories they have made up." Can you say, "Institute for Creation Resarch?" "Discovery Institute?" "Creation Museum?"
Chapter 3
  • Verse 10: "...the elements will be destroyed by fire..." This makes me think about the inerrancy of the bible. What can inerrancy mean when the claim contains a word that means something obviously false? Surely, by the word "elements", faux-Peter meant earth, air, fire, and water, but we now know those not to be elements. Or should we assume that the word elements is just a poor choice by modern translators? That it really should have been rendered "earth, air, fire, and water"? If so, then what will happen, for example, to the sun? Fire, you say? No. Fire is the result of a chemical reaction, the exchange of electrons between molecules. There is no fire on the sun. What happens there is nuclear fusion, which has nothing to do with electrons or chemistry. What will happen to the rest of the solar system? Surely none of it can be called "earth", can it? I can see that this is descending into science-geek mental masturbation. I'll spare you.

      Pseudepigrapha Psalad Psurgery V(e): Hebrews In Context III

      Continuing my context exploration for the New Testament book known as Hebrews. Here I cover Chapters 10 - 13.
      • Hebrews 10:5-7 - "Sacrifice and offering you did not desire," etc., etc. This is from Psalm 40:6-8. So this is supposed to be Jesus speaking, right? Keep reading the psalm, up to Verse 12: " sins have overtaken me...they are more than the hairs of my head"! Oops. Not to mention the verse just before that, "Do not withhold your mercy from me, O Yahweh". Why would Jesus need to ask Yahweh for mercy? Since when did Yahweh show mercy to Jesus? Oh, it would have to show him mercy if he was a sinner, which he freely admits in Verse 12.
      • Hebrews 10:30 - "It is mine to avenge; I will repay." This is from Deuteronomy 32:35. But keep reading, and you will find that Yahweh takes hedonistic pleasure in killing, as indicated in Verse 42. Thunderf00t has a YouTube video about the passage where Yahweh talks about making its arrows drunk with blood, so I need not elaborate further.
      • Hebrews 12:26 - "Once more I will shake not only the earth but also the heavens." This is from Haggai 2:6. For context, read on to Verse 8: "The silver is mine and the gold is mine". What does the Supreme Being, which has access to all silver and gold in the universe, want with the silver and gold from this tiny planet? And why would it care about silver and gold in the first place? Jesusianismists will want to say something about how this is a metaphor for Yahweh wanting us to devote ourselves to it and keep nothing for our selfish selves, not our riches, not our lives, not even our children. Fine, let it be symbolic of something, but you guys should not claim that Yahweh's words, when taken literally, are absolutely false. Yahweh wants your devotion and your children, but it also obviously wants the actual silver and actual gold for itself.
      • Hebrews 12:29 - "God is a consuming fire." This is from Deuteronomy 4:24. Back up a bit, to Verse 21 and you'll see that Yahweh swears all the time, in spite of Jesus saying that doing so is from the evil one.
      • Hebrews 13:5 - "Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you." This is from Deuteronomy 31:6. The author of Hebrews is trying to use this verse as an admonition to believers to be free from the love of money and to be content with what they have. But what is the original context? The despicable Israeli campaign of terror as Joshua led them across the Jordan: "[Yahweh]...will destroy these nations before you, and you will take possession of their land." Lovely.
      • Hebrews 13:6 - "Yahweh is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?" This is from Psalm 118:6-7. The context is that of an ancient, bellicose, savage tribe of superstitious ignoramuses. Why is it that the Supreme Being could not teach peace?

      Friday, August 27, 2010

      Pseudepigrapha Psalad Psurgery VI: First Peter

      The elephant in the room, which I've never heard anyone mention, is the fact that although Jesus himself said explicitly that Peter was the rock on which the church would be built, none of Peter's writings were accepted into the canon, only these two tiny missives feebly claiming to have been written by him. Worse, Paul, the so-called Apostle to the Gentiles, who suspiciously never got around to giving us any of the details of his miraculous conversion experience, and who openly opposed Peter the Jesus-appointed Rock, sets the vast majority of Jesusianismist doctrine.

      Chapter 1
      • Verse 8: "Though you have not seen him, you love him". Because Jesusianism is so ingrained in our collective consciousness, we usually don't stop to think about how strange this is. Parents are forever telling their moonstruck teenagers that it's not possible to love someone whom you don't know. Further on in the same verse, believers "are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy". But again, parents know that those intense feelings between amorous youngsters are not really love. Why this double standard? We know better than to believe our children's claims of undying love for each other, and we understand that their strong emotions have no profound meaning, but we accept without question the claims of otherwise rational people who profess love for a person whom they've never even seen and about whom they know almost nothing, and who use as evidence of the truth of their claim their intense personal experience.
      • Verse 18: "...the empty way of life handed down to you from your forefathers..." In your face, Yahweh!
      Chapter 2
      • Verse 7: "The stone the builders rejected has become the capstone." Now here is a prophetic statement in the truest sense: it can be interpreted to mean almost anything, and yet no matter how one interprets it, it has at least a faint ring of truth about it. I interpret it thus: the rejected stone that is now the capstone is human reason. Throughout human history, until just a few centuries ago, people have either been completely unaware of the power of human thought, or, in the case of Jesusianism over the last thousand years or so, have actively suppressed human thought in favor of paralyzing superstition. Score one point for the bible.
      • Verse 12: "Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they may accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us." Wow, make that two points. Too bad Jesusianismists don't read their bibles more often. If you guys did anything like this you'd get far less harassment. I think that the problem must go back to Matthew 5:11, "Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me." Jesus really put his foot in it here, not foreseeing that his followers would think that being persecuted would be a sign that they were living up to his standards. He was so pugnacious, and held so firmly to his us-and-them mentality, that he never could set a good example. Neither he nor his followers have ever seen that they're being persecuted because they're a pox, not because they're meek, merciful, pure in heart, peacemakers, or even because they go around preaching nonsense about salvation. See also Verse 20, " is it to your credit if you receive a beating for doing wrong and endure it?" And Chapter 3, Verse 13, "Who is going to harm you if you are eager to do good?" And 3:17, "It is suffer for doing good than for evil." And 4:14, "If you are insulted because of the name of Christ, you are blessed". But you're insulted because you're a boil on the ass of society, not because of the name of Christ.
      • Verse 18: "Slaves, submit yourselves to your masters...[even] to those who are harsh." A lot of Jesusianismists try to claim that slavery in Peter's day was not nearly as brutal as slavery in the U.S. a couple of centuries ago. I don't think it's safe for them to claim that no slaves were ever treated abominably during all those centuries while Yahweh, Jesus, Paul, and Peter were out there endorsing slavery. And now that I think of it, what modern Jesusianismists are really saying, perhaps without realizing it, is that at least some types of slavery are ok. One Jesusianismist told me just yesterday that Onesimus, the slave in Paul's epistle to Philemon, must have been the kind of slave who had sold himself into slavery, because if he had been the victim of trafficking, Paul would have condemned the owner. So Paul very clearly endorsed the kind of slavery where people sell themselves. Again, I say, slavery is wrong. All slavery. That makes me more moral than Yahweh and pals.
      • Verses 21 - 22: " should follow in [Christ's] deceit was found in his mouth." YouTubers NephilimFree and TruthfulChristian, I conclude that you guys are ignorant and wrongheaded, but at least not mendacious. ShockOfGod, ThickShades, JesusLovesRoger, and especially the snake-oil front ppsimmons, are your ears burning yet?
      Chapter 3
      • Verse 6: Follow the holy and righteous example of "Sarah, who obeyed Abraham and called him her master." Oh, you mean like in Genesis 12:10-19, where Abraham told Sarah, his wife, to go fuck Pharaoh? Context, people.
      • Verse 7: Husbands, treat your wives "as the weaker partner". No Jesusianismist can also call him- or herself a feminist. Also, deutero-Peter continues, "so that nothing will hinder your prayers." So if you treat your wife as an equal, your prayers are hindered.
      • Verse 9: "Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult". Who obeys this command?
      • Verse 15: "Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have." ShockOfGod, with your silly trick that works only on the ignorant, challenging us to prove that atheismism is accurate and correct, this verse is for you. Peter (or whoever) never says, "Always be prepared to challenge an opposing viewpoint and play dishonest games to cause the ignorant to think that you've given the reason for the hope that you have."
      Chapter 4
      • Verse 3: Another list of terrible sins: "debauchery, lust, drunkenness, orgies, carousing, and detestable idolatry." The bible makes very clear the twisted, lopsided, backward, inside-out priorities of Jesusianism and its god.
      • Verse 5: Pagans "will have to give account to him who is ready to judge". What happened to I Corinthians 13:5, where love "keeps no record of wrongs"?
      Chapter 5
      • Verse 5: A quote from Proverbs 3:34, which he must be getting from the mistranslated Septuagint. The actual verse in Proverbs is, "[It] mocks proud mockers but gives grace to the humble." I hear Jesusianismists tossing around the words "proud" and "arrogant" quite often in reference to those of us who are not slaves to superstition. I think you guys have it all wrong. It is not out of pride and arrogance that we oppose you. It is out of a deep respect for human beings in general, and a deep respect for the truth. Humility doesn't even seem like a virtue to me. I'd much rather people just have an accurate estimate of their worth and importance, rather than an artificially modest or low estimate of it.

      Thursday, August 26, 2010

      Now Hiring Quality Assurance Personnel

      My thoughts on the last two books of the bible that might be authentic. Jude in particular is problematic for those who claim that the bible is inerrant, but James has some doozies as well.


      Chapter 1
      • Verses 10 - 11: "...the one who is rich...will pass away like a wild flower...the rich man will fade away even while he goes about his business." I'll make this the last time I say it: Jesusianismists, you guys are in so much trouble.
      • Verse 17: "...the Father...does not change like shifting shadows." It seems to me that Jesusianismists become suspicious whenever someone admits that he is wrong. They prefer a god that starts off wrong and stays wrong forever, rather than one that can say, "I'm sorry." I've heard way too many of them complain that science keeps "changing its mind". Guys, what's really happening is that we're getting closer to the truth, pruning out any ideas that don't hold up to scrutiny. You should try it; it's a lot more intellectually honest than your rigid superstitions.
      • Verses 22 - 24: "Do not merely listen to the what it says...the man who looks intently into the perfect law...not forgetting...but doing it...will be blessed." I'm still trying to figure out how Jesusianismists ignore so much of the clear and unambiguous instruction in the bible. I even made a YouTube video about it.
      • Verse 27: "Religion that God our Father look after orphans and widows..." How many of you are doing this?
      Chapter 2
      • Verses 6 - 7: "Is it not the rich who are exploiting you? Are they not the ones who are dragging you into court? Are they not the ones who are slandering the noble name of [Jesus]?' If there ever was a timeless and/or prophetic statement in the bible, this is it. You guys really should take a close look at your Tea Party, your Republican Party, your church leaders; they really are exploiting you and your ignorance.
      • Verse 10: "...whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at one point is guilty of breaking all of it." If you get a divorce, you have become a lawbreaker. It's one thing to fall into sin, like accidentally seeing porn in your email and becoming aroused by it. It's another thing entirely to make a conscious, deliberate, premeditated decision to slap poor Jesus in the face by getting a divorce. You Prop 8 people really are terrible hypocrites, and your priorities are completely upside-down. The number of couples getting a divorce is far greater than the number of gay couples attempting to marry. Why aren't you having rallies to outlaw divorce by constitutional amendment?
      • Verse 25: Rahab the prostitute / innkeeper / taco cart proprietor was considered righteous for lying about the spies she was hiding. See Joshua 2 : 1 - 7 for details. Islam alert! It's ok to lie if it furthers the cause of your deity, no matter how evil or bloodthirsty it is.
      Chapter 3
      • Verse 1: "Not many of you should presume to be teachers...because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly." All of you radio hosts, authors, pundits, YouTubers, take note.
      • Verse 12: "...can a fig tree bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs?" I don't know, can a righteous and merciful deity kill babies, or an omniscient and loving god-man advise people not to wash their hands before they eat?
      • Verse 17: "...the wisdom that comes from heaven is...peace-loving, considerate, submissive...impartial and sincere." Glenn Beck, Sarah Palin, Bill O'Reilly, Allen West, read your bible!
      Chapter 4
      • Verses 11 - 12: "Anyone who...judges [his brother]...judges [the law]...who are you to judge your neighbor?" This flies in the face of I Corinthians 5:12. The house of Jesusianism is divided against itself, "and there was much rejoicing."
      Chapter 5
      • Verses 1 - 5: " rich people, weep and wail...your wealth has rotted...[its] corrosion will testify against you...the wages you failed to pay the workmen who mowed your fields are crying out against have lived on the earth in have fattened yourselves..." All you people who oppose living wage ordinances, minimum wage regulations, all you who nickel-and-dime employees who are barely getting by, this one's for you.
      • Verse 12: " not swear...let your "Yes" be yes, and your "No" no, or you will be condemned." Echoing the words of Jesus in Matthew 5:34-37. Many Jesusianismists want to challenge atheismists to "deny the Holy Spirit," which is a reference to Matthew 12:31-32, where Jesus says that anyone who speaks against the Holy Spirit "will not be forgiven". How is "will be condemned" different from "will not be forgiven"? They seem identical to me. The fact that this verse in James doesn't seem to prey on the minds of Jesusianimists in the same way as the verse in Matthew is just another example of this strange Jesusianismist habit of contemptuously dismissing clear instructions in the bible. Until recently, U.S. courts required people to swear on a bible to tell the truth. All of those people who obeyed that requirement are condemned, right? Why were there no Jesusianismist rallies to make a new amendment to get rid of this sinful swearing-in method?
      • Verse 14: "Is any one of you sick? He should call the elders of the church to pray over him and anoint him with oil in the name of the Lord." Who does this?
      • Verse 15: "...the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well..." Oh really? Tell me again that the bible is inerrant?
      • Verses 6 and 9: "...the angels who...abandoned their own home," and I'm pretty sure that Satan would be included in this bunch, "...he has kept in darkness, bound with everlasting chains..." But then he goes on to talk about "the archangel Michael...disputing with the devil about the body of Moses". So Satan, bound with everlasting chains, somehow managed to get Michael's attention? Why wouldn't Michael just ignore him?
      • Verses 8 and 15 - 17: dreamers, polluters of their own bodies, slanderers of celestial beings (?!?), speakers of harsh words against the Lord, grumblers, faultfinders, boasters, flatterers, scoffers: these are the types of people of whom Yahweh disapproves. Never mind about slavery, rape, torture, child abuse, environmental irresponsibility, cruelty to animals, and the like; Yahweh doesn't mind those so much.
      • Verses 9 and 14: Jude refers to the book of Enoch and another writing that might have been called The Assumption of Moses, or The Testament of Moses, or The Ascension of Moses. I will have to research this before I can say anything intelligent about it. But if the book of Jude is the inspired, inerrant word of the Supreme Being, then why are these books of Enoch and Moses not included in the canon?

      Tuesday, August 24, 2010

      Pseudepigrapha Psalad Psurgery V(d): Hebrews In Context II

      Continuing my context exploration for the New Testament book known as Hebrews. Here I cover Chapters 2 - 8.
      • Hebrews 2:6-8 - This is from Psalm 8:4-6: "What is man that you are mindful of him, the son of man that you care for him?" In two millennia, has no one noticed the obvious problem? The psalm is asking why Yahweh should even bother with us lowly humans. If "the son of man" means "Jesus", which the author of Hebrews obviously intends, then we can rephrase the psalm: "What is Jesus that you care for him?" Why would a psalm purportedly prophesying the messiah ask Yahweh why it cares about the messiah?
      • Hebrews 2:11-12: The author is trying to make the point that believers are Jesus' siblings, putting the words of Psalm 22 into Jesus' mouth: "I will declare your name to my brothers". But if these words can be put into Jesus' mouth, then let's also put this in, from Verse 9 of that psalm: " brought me out of the womb; you made me trust in you..." Why does Yahweh have to make itself trust itself?
      • Hebrews 2:13: "I will put my trust in him." Isaiah 8:17. Put it into context: although Hebrews 6:18 says that it is impossible for Yahweh to lie, back up just a bit in Isaiah, to Verse 14, where it says that Yahweh has no problem being a stone that causes men to stumble, a rock that makes them fall, a trap and a snare. Big fucking deal if it's impossible for Yahweh to lie if it can yet be such a deceiver.
      • Hebrews 2:13 again: "Here am I, and the children God has given me." From Isaiah 8:18, where the prophet seems to be talking about his offspring. Jesus did indeed sire offspring after he went to live in Kashmir in about 30 CE. He was known there as Jus Asaf, which means "leader of the healed". But that's an aside; my real point is that in context, believers can't be Jesus' children, because they are his brothers according to Hebrews 2:12.
      • Hebrews 3:7-11 - A quote from Psalm 95:7-11. But the author of Hebrews claims that it is the "Holy Spirit" who is saying all this. How does he know it's the Holy Spirit? The psalm doesn't indicate who is speaking.
      • Hebrews 5:6 - "You are a priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek." This is from Psalm 110:4. Read a little further in the psalm: the lord "will crush kings on the day of [its] wrath. [It] will judge the nations, heaping up the dead and crushing the rulers of the whole earth." So much for peace on earth. Also, Verse 7 of the psalm: "[It] will drink from a brook beside the way". Yahweh drinks? It gets thirsty? It has needs? I need to read the deity manual again, so I can understand how an omnipotent, unchanging deity can not only become thirsty, but become thirsty.
      • Hebrews 6:14 - "I will surely bless you and give you many descendants." This is from Genesis 22:17. The context for this wonderful promise from Yahweh is that Abraham has just attempted to perform a child sacrifice by Yahweh's order (although Jesusianismists often say that child sacrifice is the justification for the Israelite slaughter of Amalekite and Midianite babies). Nice how this deity juxtaposes blessings with atrocities and hypocrisy.
      • Hebrews 8:5 - "See that you make everything according to the pattern shown you on the mountain." The author uses this verse to suggest that the Jewish temple and sanctuary are copies and shadows of what is in heaven. The verse is from Exodus Chapter 25, the beginning of Yahweh's tedious specifications for its holy structures and the grounds around them, rituals of sacrifice, priestly garments and accessories, consecration of priests, etc. Just read Exodus 25-30 and ask yourself, "Is this so-called deity really worthy of worship? With all these weird needs?" And what could possibly be in heaven of which all this is a shadow and a copy? Can you really love this god?
      • Hebrews 8:8-12 - A long excerpt from Jeremiah 31. Looking through the chapter for context, I find, in Verse 30, that "everyone will die for his own sin". Strange, this isn't what Paul says in Romans 5:12, "...sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men..." And it isn't what Paul says in I Corinthians 15:22, " in Adam all die..." So the author of Hebrews obviously disagrees with the concept of original sin, therefore he disagrees with Paul. Thus is the house of Jesusianism doomed to fall. Thank god! May god speed the day!

      Sunday, August 22, 2010

      Pseudepigrapha Psalad Psurgery V(c): Hebrews In Context I

      One interesting attribute of Hebrews is that the author quotes the Old Testament extensively. Jesusianismists often charge atheismists with taking bible verses out of context. Strangely, although I find that the author of Hebrews takes a few of the Old Testament verses out of context, I've never heard any Jesusianismist complain about it. This is a multi-part essay. In the first parts, Parts 'a' and 'b', I covered Hebrews taken at face value, just as I did all the preceding books of the New Testament. In this part, Part 'c' and those that follow, I'll look into the true context of the Old Testament verses used by the author. Here I'll cover Hebrews Chapter 1, in which the author is absolutely fixated on the idea of convincing his audience that Jesus is superior to the angels. Why people should care about Jesus' relationship to angels is anyone's guess.
      • Hebrews 1:4-5 - " which of the angels did God ever say, 'You are my Son; today I have become your Father'"? This is from Psalm 2:7, a psalm about how everyone is sick of being enslaved by Yahweh and its "anointed one". So what if there's something about adoption in there. For context, so you can see what kind of guy your savior is, read a little further, to Verse 12, "Kiss the son, lest he be angry and you be destroyed in your way, for his wrath can flare up in a moment." Jesus will get angry and destroy you like an out-of-season fig tree if you don't kiss his ass.
      • Again in Hebrews 1:5 - "I will be his father, and he will be my son." That's from II Samuel 7:14, but read on for context; in this case, just the next few words: "When he does wrong, I will punish him with the rod of men, with floggings inflicted by men." Now, if Yahweh was talking about Jesus in the first sentence, who was it talking about in the second sentence? Taken in context, it seems that Yahweh was talking about Jesus. So Yahweh fully expected Jesus to disobey and it expected to punish him. Also, this father-son business is repeated in I Chronicles 17:13, without the stuff about disobedience and punishment, but since the bible never contradicts itself, it must be true that the verse in I Chronicles is just a paraphrasing, not an Islam-style abrogation, of the verse in II Samuel.
      • Hebrews 1:6 - "Let all God's angels worship him." This is from Deuteronomy 32:43. Besides the fact that this appears in the Septuagint and the Dead Sea Scrolls, the Masoretic text lacks this phrase altogether. More importantly, the "him" in this sentence is Yahweh itself, not any "son of man" or descendant of David.
      • Hebrews 1:7 - "He makes his angels winds, his servants flames of fire." This is a terrible mistranslation of Psalm 104:4, which isn't even about angels: "[It] makes winds [its] messengers, flames of fire [its] servants." Now, it's true that the Hebrew word, I think it's mala'ak (feel free to correct me), can mean both angel and messenger, but that is not the point. My point is that the author of Hebrews totally misses the meaning of the verse, because either the Septuagint, from which he seems to be drawing, mistranslated the original Hebrew, or because he is taking the verse out of context. It's not about angels. It's about Yahweh, and how it has mastery over the elements.
      • Hebrews 1:8 - Jesus is so great that God has set him above his companions. This mistranslation of Psalm 45:6-7 at least isn't grossly misconstrued. But I have a problem with "God has set you above your companions". How can this be, if Jesus is Yahweh? How can this be, if Jesus is eternally unchanging?
      • Hebrews 1:10-12 - "In the beginning, O Lord," blah, blah, blah. Another mild mistranslation, this time of Psalm 102:25-47. Also a bit of paraphrasing, but the worst problem here is the author's implication that this psalm is about the Messiah. According to the psalm itself, it's "A prayer of an afflicted man," and it's addressed specifically to Yahweh, not any "lord" or "son" or "descendant of David".
      • Hebrews 1:13 - Finally, the end of this filibuster about Jesus' superiority to the angels: "Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet". I suppose I could complain about the fact that the Supreme Being can't figure out a way not to have enemies, and has to humiliate its enemies, but I'll stick with context issues for now. I have no complaints about context on this one. Good job, Barnabas. Or Apollo. Or whoever.

      Saturday, August 21, 2010

      Pseudepigrapha Psalad Psurgery V(b): Hebrews Sans Context II

      Chapter 7, Verse 10: "...when Melchizedek met Abraham, Levi was still in the body of his ancestor." Wrong. Levi did not exist. The atoms that ultimately became his body existed, but in no sense did Levi exist, and if any of the atoms that became Levi were in Abraham's body, they comprised an infinitesimally small fraction of what would become Levi. It is first-century ignorance of biology that believes that people exist inside their ancestors' bodies. If you want to claim that Levi's spirit existed before his body existed, then you have to accept that Levi's spirit was in Abraham's body, which sounds to me more like an occult notion than Jesusianism.

      Chapter 8, Verse 7: "...if there had been nothing wrong with that first covenant, no place would have been sought for another." So there was clearly something wrong with the covenant. So Yahweh made a mistake, right? Or changed its mind?

      Chapter 9
      • Verse 3: "Behind the second curtain was...the Most Holy Place, which had the golden altar of incense and the gold-covered ark of the covenant." There are a couple of problems with this verse. To see the problems, we have to go back to Exodus 25:11 and 30:3. The former, recounting instructions to Moses on the construction of the ark of the covenant, says, "Overlay it with pure gold". The latter, concerning the altar of incense, says, "Overlay [it] with pure gold". So why does the author of Hebrews refer to the altar as "golden" and the ark as "gold-covered"? Nit-picking, you say? Not when this god condemns me just for thinking about sex. But the big problem with Hebrews 9:3 is the claim that the altar was in the Most Holy Place. Go back to Exodus 26:33, " the ark...behind the curtain..." then see Exodus 30:6, "Put the altar in front of the curtain..." The bible contains no contradictions? Come on, you guys.
      • Verse 27: " is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment..." Can you say "Lazarus" (John 11:43-44)? "Young man" (Luke 7:14-15)? "My child" (Luke 8:54-55)? "Holy people" (Matthew 27:52)?
      Chapter 10
      • Verse 5: "...when Christ came into the world, he said, 'Sacrifice and offering you did not desire...'" Hmm, I'm pretty sure that these were not Christ's first words, and I'm pretty sure that he didn't say anything for at least the better part of a year, if not longer. Also, if Yahweh did not desire sacrifice and offerings, then why did it spend so much time describing the required sacrifices and offerings in detail? And why did it sacrifice its son?
      • Verses 25 & 37: "...let us encourage one another--and all the more as you see the Day approaching." " just a very little while, 'He who is coming will come...'" This author agrees with Paul and Jesus in their obvious conviction that "the Day" was coming soon.
      • Verse 34: "You...joyfully accepted the confiscation of your property, because you knew that you yourselves had better and lasting possessions." I'm really starting to get the feeling that most people, at least in the West, who claim to be Jesusianismists simply don't believe the bible to be true. Funny, when I recall that a lot of Jesusianismists like to assert that atheists aren't really atheists.
      Chapter 11, Verse 12: From Abraham "came descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as countless as the sand on the seashore." Literalists, have you read this? There seem to be at least 100 billion stars, possibly several times that number, in the Milky Way alone.

      Chapter 12, Verse 6: "...the Lord...punishes [its children]." Then it's not a very good father. Punishment is not only an ancient, misguided, and ineffective teaching method, it's just plain wrong.

      Chapter 13, Verse 2: "...entertain strangers..." Who does this? "...some people have entertained angels without knowing it." Who believes this?

      Thursday, August 19, 2010

      Pseudepigrapha Psalad Psurgery V(a): Hebrews Sans Context I

      One interesting attribute of Hebrews is that the author quotes the Old Testament extensively. Jesusianismists often charge atheismists with taking bible verses out of context. Strangely, although I find that the author of Hebrews takes a few of the Old Testament verses out of context, I've never heard any Jesusianismist complain about it. This is a multi-part essay. In the first two parts, Parts 'a' and 'b', I'll cover Hebrews taken at face value, just as I have all the other books of the New Testament. In Part 'c' and those that follow, I'll look into the true context of the Old Testament verses used by the author. Now, a few words about authorship.

      There are reasons to believe that the book of Hebrews was written by Apollos, the Jew from Alexandria mentioned in Acts 18:24.

      There are reasons to believe that the book of Hebrews was written by Barnabas, the Levite from Cyprus mentioned in Acts 4:36, who for a time accompanied the Apostle Paul as recounted in Acts 12:25 - 15:39, at which time Paul and Barnabas "had such a sharp disagreement that they parted company".

      It is certain that the Apostle Paul was not the author of Hebrews. To my endless delight, the split between Paul and Barnabas brought doom on the church, at least according to Jesus, in Matthew 12:25, "Every kingdom divided against itself will be ruined."

      Before I go through verses in order, I'll point out some unfortunate uses of the verb to become. The root of the problem is in Chapter 13, Verse 8, where the author says, "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever." Now, notice Chapter 1, Verse 4: "...[Jesus] became..." and Chapter 2, Verse 17: " order that he might become a...high priest..." Now if Jesus always has been and always will be unchanging, then how can he become anything?

      Next, Chapter 1, Verse 5:  " I have become your Father". In other words, Yahweh adopted the fully human Jesus, which Paul suggests in Romans as well. I believe it was the Marcionites, devout Jesusianismists in their day, also subscribed to this view. Now I'll move on to my usual sequential survey. Here I'll cover Chapters 3 - 6.

      Chapter 3
      • Verse 7: "If you hear [its] voice, do not harden your hearts." Then we atheismists are safe, right? We've never heard its voice.
      • Verse 11: Yahweh "declared on oath". See also Chapter 6, Verse 13, where Yahweh "swore by itself". Now take a look at Matthew 5:34-37: "Do not swear at all...Simply let your 'yes' be 'yes' and your 'no' 'no'; anything beyond this comes from the evil one. More true than most Jesusianismists realize: Yahweh is truly the evil one.
      Chapter 4, Verse 3: "[Yahweh's] work has been finished since the creation of the world." So all that intervening in the affairs of the Israelites, all that punishing, all that saving, not to mention the uncounted prayers it has answered, none of that counts as work?
        Chapter 6, Verse 18: " is impossible for God to lie..." And unnecessary, since it seems to have a lying spirit on staff, putting it to good use in First Kings 22:19-23: "I saw Yahweh sitting on its throne with all the host of heaven standing around it on its right and on its left. And Yahweh said, 'Who will entice Ahab into attacking [the city] and going to his death there?' One suggested this, and another that. Finally, a spirit came forward, stood before Yahweh and said, 'I will entice him.' 'By what means?' Yahweh asked. 'I will go out and be a lying spirit in the mouths of all his prophets,' he said. 'You will succeed in enticing him,' said Yahweh. 'Go and do it.' So now Yahweh has put a lying spirit in the mouths of all these prophets of yours." In case you missed these verses, they're repeated in Second Chronicles 18:18-22.

        And if God's lying spirit is too busy, God itself will just send "a powerful delusion so [people] will believe [lies]." See II Thessalonians 2:11. It's not really saying much in favor of God to claim that it cannot lie.

          Wednesday, August 18, 2010

          Pseudepigrapha Psalad Psurgery IV: The Pastoral Epistles

          First Timothy
          • Chapter 1, Verse 10: The author here seems to condemn the slave trade, but not ownership of slaves. He underscores his endorsement of slave ownership in Chapter 6, Verse 1, and in Titus 2:9, where he has advice for both slaves and masters.
          • Chapter 2
            • Verse 4: God "wants all men to be saved", and Chapter 4, Verse 10, God "is the savior of all men". These don't fit well with II Thessalonians 2:11 - 13, where God chooses only some to be saved and deliberately deludes the rest of us.
            • Verse 15: "...women will be saved through childbearing". I had no idea. I thought that women had to confess and believe just like men. I feel sorry for all those nuns, thinking that they will be in heaven with Jesus.
          • Chapter 4
            • Verses 2 - 3: "...hypocritical liars...forbid people to marry". Amen, Brother!
            • Verse 4: "...everything God created is good". Bullshit, Brother!
          • Chapter 6
            • Verse 15: God is the "only ruler"? What about all those rulers and authorities mentioned in the Ephesians/Colossians mashup?
            • Verse 16: " one has seen or can see" God. What is Moses, chopped liver?
          • Bullets Dodged:
            • Chapter 2
              • Verse 9: Women should dress modestly, not braiding their hair or wearing gold, pearls, or expensive clothing.
              • Verse 12: Women are not allowed to teach. Women are not allowed to have authority over a man. Hey, Prop 8 people: why aren't you making a big fuss about women holding positions of authority in American companies, the government, and the military? Isn't God crashing planes into buildings and leaving millions of Pakistanis destitute because of this terrible sinfulness in the U.S.?
            • Chapter 3, Verse 2: Church authority figures (men only, remember!) must be above reproach, temperate, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not given to drunkenness, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money. They must manage their own families well and their children must obey them with proper respect. They must have a good reputation with non-believers. You guys are so, so lucky that Paul didn't write this letter.
          Second Timothy
          • Chapter 3
            • Verse 12: "...everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted." This is not only stupid, it's simply false. The vast majority of rational people in the world don't give a shit about your private sex lives, which seems to be the main emphasis of Jesusianism. I persecute only those Jesusianismists who wish to impose their wrongheaded will on our government, or those who wish to get their myths taught as fact in science classes, or those who teach children that they are evil and sinful and deserve punishment. Live your life however you want, but stop hurting and limiting other people, and the so-called persecution will shrink to nothing.
            • Verse 16: "All Scripture is God-breathed". Compare this to Mark 10:5, "It was because your hearts were hard that Moses wrote you [the law permitting divorce]." So at least that part of Scripture was Moses-written, not God-breathed, not to mention that apparently it was without God's approval that Moses wrote that bit of Scripture.
          • Chapter 4, Verse 14: "Alexander the metalworker did me a gread deal of harm. The Lord will repay him for what he has done." What happened to I Corinthians 13:5, where love keeps no record of wrongs?

          There's only one thing worth mentioning in Titus: Chapter 1, Verse 12, in which the author demonstrates that although gay sex is not ok, racism is quite acceptable: "Cretans are always liars, evil brutes, lazy gluttons."

          Tuesday, August 17, 2010

          Pseudepigrapha Psalad Psurgery III: Second Thessalonians

          Chapter 1
          • Verse 6: God will pay back trouble to those who trouble you. So much for I Corinthians 13:5: Love "keeps no record of wrongs".
          • Verse 7: Jesus is coming with powerful angels? Why would the Supreme Being in all its omnipotence need to bring a posse of angels with it? Why would it even need to come to earth? Why not just speak its judgment on us all, Genesis style?
          • Verse 8: Jesus will punish those who do not know God. I've heard a lot of Jesusianismists claim that those children who starved to death in Africa will somehow get a chance to hear the gospel, so they can choose whether to follow the demonic Yahweh. This verse puts the lie to that claim.
          Chapter 2
          • Verse 3: "The day of the Lord," which apparently means the day when Jesus comes back to punish all of us fornicators, will not come "until the rebellion occurs and the man of lawlessness is revealed". What the hell? Verses like this one, along that business about "rulers and authorities" and the "kingdom of the air" back in Ephesians, have the distinct ring of the occult about them. When I read this stuff, I get the impression that there were all kinds of crazy notions floating around back then. What am I saying? There are still all kinds of crazy notions even now, among people who should know better.
          • Verse 8: Jesus will overthrow the lawless one with the breath of his mouth. I guess that makes sense: an omnipotent god would also be omnihalitosic.
          • Verse 9: There will be "counterfeit miracles, signs, and wonders", apparently performed by Satan and/or this mysterious lawless one. Jesusianismists, it seems to me that you guys are quite arrogant to believe that you can distinguish between a real MSW and a counterfeit MSW.
          • Verse 10: We who object to this hideous non-deity refuse to love the truth. If the author had not already discredited himself by spewing nonsense from the beginning, I might be moved to be a little bit offended. I do, in fact, love the truth. I have been searching for it my whole life. I question things all the time, and I've had to admit that I was wrong more times than I can count. One of my biggest admissions of error was my admission that the bible is a load of shit, not a holy book by any stretch of the imagination.
          • Verses 11 and 13: God chose some people to be saved, and sends the rest of us a powerful delusion so we will believe lies and be condemned. Nice.
          Bullets Dodged
          • Chapter 3, Verse 6: keep away from every brother who is idle and does not live according to Jesusianismist teachings.
          • Chapter 3, Verse 14: "If anyone does not obey our instruction in this letter..." Umm, what instruction? To keep away from idle brothers? This letter hasn't said anything instructive.

          Sunday, August 15, 2010

          Pseudepigrapha Psalad Psurgery II: Colossians

          Also known as Ephesians Warmed Over.

          The scholarly consensus seems to be that there is a connection of some kind between Ephesian and Colossians, but that at least one of the two books was definitely not written by the Apostle Paul. The connection between the two epistles is obvious even to the layperson: Colossians is a rehash of Ephesians, but it says even less, if that were possible. After reading the two, my totally wild, uninformed guess is that Ephesians is slightly more likely to be authentic, or to be more precise and not appear to lend more credence to Ephesians than I actually do, I'll say that Colossians looks like a ham-handed copy of Ephesians, which itself has a distinctly porky scent about it. Still, to give the devil Yahweh its due, I've looked through Colossians for anything that warrants comment. And as you've surely guessed by now, I did find a couple of stupid parts to spotlight.

          Chapter 1
          • Verse 18: "...he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead". Wrong. The author/plagiarist obviously never read any of the gospels, in which "many" people came out of their graves, or were resurrected before anyone had a chance to bury them. However, we already knew from Romans 6:9--"Since Christ was raised from the dead he cannot die again"--that Paul never read any of the gospels either, or at least had not read any by the time he wrote Romans.
          • Verse 19, and Chapter 2, Verse 9: "God was pleased to have all [its] fullness dwell in him," and "in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form." Jesus is Yahweh, you say? Not if "God was pleased to" can be construed to imply "God decided to", which seems fairly safe, especially when Paul (and/or his imitators) never get right down to stating simply, Jesus is Yahweh.
          • Verse 20: "God was reconcile to itself all things". Wrong, at least according to modern, mainstream Jesusianism, in which God is reconciled only to those who kiss its ass properly. According to Jesus himself, God is reconciled only to the children of Israel, and the occasional Gentile who kisses his ass properly.
          • Verse 24: "I fill up in my flesh what is still lacking in regard to Christ's afflictions". Is the author claiming that his own suffering is somehow contributing to the same cause that Christ's suffering addressed? If not, then what is he saying? I can't make any sense out of it other than that he is saying that Christ's suffering was not the whole story, but that suffering by some of Christ's followers was also necessary to the salvation of mankind.
          • Verse 26: "...the mystery that has been kept hidden for ages..." So much for I Corinthians 13:6, "[Love] rejoices with the truth."
          Chapter 2
          • Verse 4: "I tell you this so that no one may deceive you by fine-sounding arguments." Oh, yeah, because Romans 7:13 is more convincing for its lack of sounding fine: "Did that which is good, then, become death to me? By no means! But in order that sin might be recognized as sin it produced death in me through what was good, so that through the commandment sin might become utterly sinful."
          • Verse 8: Don't depend on "human tradition". Oh, you mean like the tradition that Colossians was written by Paul? That the miracle stories are all true? That Revelation was written by John the Apostle? That a god that murders babies is a good god, while a devil that doesn't murder babies is evil? At least 90% of what Jesusianismists believe is based on tradition; very little of the bible is verified by actual knowledge, and much of the bible is utterly discredited by primary school science. And let's not forget that what was then called human tradition is now called ignorant superstition. Our knowledge and critical thinking are something completely other, completely different from what this ancient writer ever knew.
          • Verse 8 again: Don't depend on "the basic principles of this world". Oh, you mean like using our brains? I had originally inveighed against this idea, because it sounded to me like a command not to use our brains, but then I got to Verse 20, where the author equates the basic principles of this world with Yahweh's weird Pentateuchal rules. Those don't seem like the basic principles of any world except the twisted world of first-century Palestinians. Never mind.
          • Verse 11: "...circumcision done by the hands of men..." It's funny how Paul (and/or his imitators), whenever they mention circumcision, they always manage to mention the hands of men in the same breath. There seems to be a lot more closet homosexuality in the bible than Jesusianismists want to admit.
          • Verses 21 - 23: "'Do not handle! Do not taste! Do not touch!' These...are based on human commands and teachings...such regulations indeed have an appearance of wisdom...with their false humility...but they lack any value..." Funny, those commands came straight from the mouth of Yahweh last time I heard. So much for the bible never contradicting itself.
          Chapter 3
          • Verse 1: "Christ is seated at the right hand of God." Ok, I've said it a million times: Jesus is not Yahweh. So I'll step outside of my own cliche here. Jesusianismists want to say that this sort of language is just metaphor, that the author never intended to mean that Christ is literally sitting, or that Yahweh actually has a right hand. But why, if this message is so important, if this tenet of Jesusianism is crucial to one's salvation, would God have its servants always using obscure, anthropomorphic metaphors? Or at least, if metaphor is required, why wouldn't God have at least one of its servants say something like, "Yeah, I know it's strange, but in a way that we don't understand, Jesus and Yahweh are the same being." Why can't the Supreme Being's most important message to mankind contain even a single, clear statement that still sounds right a mere two thousand years later?
          Bullets Dodged

          More commands that Jesusianismists can safely ignore, not knowing the identity or authority of the person who did a mashup of Ephesians to create this epistle.
          • Chapter 3, Verse 5: "Put to death...sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry."
          • Chapter 3, Verse 8: "Rid yourselves of...anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language."
          • Chapter 3, Verse 12: "Clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience."
          • Chapter 3, Verse 14: "Over all these virtues put on love." I'd say that it would be better for everyone to put love at the top, but then given Jesus' example (see my I Corinthians Supplemental YouTube video), it might be better for us to forget about love and create something new.
          • Chapter 3, Verse 18 - Chapter 4, Verse 1:  Wives submit to husbands, husbands don't be harsh with your wives, children obey your parents, fathers do not embitter your children, slaves obey your masters, masters provide your slaves with what is right and fair.

              Thursday, August 12, 2010

              Every tongue shall lick his boots--eternally! Philippians

              Chapter 1
              • Verses 15 - 18: "It is true that some preach Christ out of envy and rivalry...[preaching] Christ out of selfish ambition, not sincerely, supposing that they can stir up trouble for me...But the important thing is that in every way, whether from false motives or true, Christ is preached." How would preaching Christ stir up trouble for Paul? Surely it would cause him no trouble if they were preaching the truth. So they must have been preaching lies. But if that's the case, why couldn't Paul just point out that these liars weren't performing any miracles? As I've asked before, would God allow false teachers to perform miracles? If so, then we need to ignore all of the miracles of Jesus, Peter, Paul, etc., and try to discern whether their message seems like the kind of message one would expect from a Supreme Being.
              • Verse 19: Paul mentions the "Spirit of Jesus Christ". It has always seemed to me that the Holy Spirit is like a neglected stepchild. Here, it appears that he's not really talking about the Holy Spirit of the not-yet-formulated doctrine of the Trinity. Otherwise one might expect him to say, "The Holy Spirit," rather than the "Spirit of Jesus Christ". Sounds like Paul was not a Trinitarian.
              • Verses 21 - 23: " me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. If I am to go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labor for me. Yet...I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far". This is one of the glaring weaknesses of Jesusianism: the claim that being with Christ is better, but the tendency toward unwillingness to go and be with Christ, and especially the tendency toward trying to keep other people, regardless of their earthly sufferings, alive on earth and suffering. Paul emphasizes this weird hypocrisy in Chapter 2, Verse 27, when he says that God, in allowing Epaphroditus to continue his earthly existence, was having mercy on him.
              Chapter 2
              • Verses 5 - 6: A perfect opportunity for Paul to say explicitly that Jesus is the same creature as Yahweh, the human manifestation of the Supreme Being of the universe. What does Paul say? Depending on your translation, Christ was in the form of God, was in very nature God, had equal status with God, was essentially one with God, was like God, and one translation just comes right out and says that "he was God" (New Living Translation). The original Greek, at least according to this Greek bible website, centers on these two words: "μορφῇ θεοῦ", which come out of Babel Fish as "form of god". I'm not willing to accept these two words, tossed up with some flowery prose and written by a guy who is not exactly the clear thinker one might expect in a spokesperson for Jesus himself, as even a suggestion that Jesus is God. If Jesus were God, this would have been a perfect opportunity for Paul to say, explicitly, "Jesus is God." How hard would that have been? Why would God have made it so obscure, given that it loves us all and wants all of us to be saved?
              • Verses 8 - 9: Jesus "became obedient to death--even death on a cross! Therefore God exalted him to the highest place..." So much is made of Jesus' death. But if he knew that his death was temporary, that his suffering was for the purpose of sparing billions of people from his hideous monster-father, then his death doesn't seem like such a big deal to me. I bet you could find many, many people who would take on Jesus' punishment (even spending three days in hell, which Jesus definitely did not do--even if he did go to hell it was only for about a day and a half), if they knew that doing so would spare tens of billions of people from infinite torture. No, I wouldn't want to do it, and I can't claim that I would, but I also am not held up the world over as the example of supreme sacrifice. Jesus just doesn't impress me. I guess that's why I started making all these videos.
              • Verses 10 - 11: " the name of Jesus every knee should bow...and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord." This dude has one massive ego. An infinite ego, I presume, because even the most narcissistic mortal would get tired of having his boots licked after a while. But not Jesus, not Yahweh. This deity is infinite in all respects.
              Chapter 4
              • Verse 1: This is fairly typical of any Jesusianismist discourse: a bunch of hot air, ending with, "...that is how you should stand firm in the Lord..." Just go watch any Jesusianismist on YouTube and you'll notice that they say absolutely nothing, and then conclude their pontifications as though they've just filled your head to overflowing. I guess that's what their god wants of them.
              • Verse 8: "...whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable--if anything is excellent or praiseworthy--think about such things." If you guys showed even a hint that you're doing anything like this, you'd have a lot more converts.

              Wednesday, August 11, 2010

              Pseudepigrapha Psalad Psurgery I: Ephesians

              The collection of writings that we know as the New Testament of the Bible is exactly the sort of product that one would expect from a committee effort. And not even a committee of qualified experts, but rather a motley horde of semi-literate cult leaders each competing for ego strokes by ensuring that his opinions (not knowledge!) were accepted as The Truth (with a capital 'T').

              When these stories and letters were written, literacy, critical thinking, and good scholarship were still centuries in the future. In those days people tended to pass knowledge around orally, and they tended to believe what they were told without any serious reflection, provided that the teller of the story could speak forcefully or with enough authority and finesse to silence his opponents, regardless of whether the teller was speaking the truth. Sounds a lot like modern religious discourse, now that I think of it.

              For these reasons, many writings were accepted into the New Testament canon whose claims of authorship are subject to serious doubt. Six letters explicitly claim to have been written by the Apostle Paul, although we now know this to be false. The letters are Ephesians, Colossians, 2 Thessalonians, 1 & 2 Timothy, and Titus. The epistle to the Hebrews, which fails to indicate its authorship, was at times assumed by some to be from Paul's hand, but now that we have tools far more sophisticated than first-millennium tradition and hearsay, we can confidently say that Paul did not write Hebrews.

              It is unclear who wrote the Book of James, although there is some consensus that it was James, the half-brother of Jesus. Naturally, anyone who believes that Jesus' mother Mary remained a virgin for her whole life would have to reject this view. First and Second Peter were perhaps written by someone named Peter, but certainly not by the Apostle Peter, the rock on which Jesus intended to build his church. There is considerable scholarly doubt that the Apostle John was involved in any of the five New Testament books that bear his name, and even if he was, it is clear that he was not the author of Revelation.

              In this series I will discuss the pseudepigraphal books of the bible, with some emphasis on the doctrines to which Jesusianismists subscribe unnecessarily, given that the instructions come from sources of questionable authenticity and veracity.

              The epistle to the Ephesians promises at first to be an empty, frothy pep talk about how great it is to be a Jesusianismist. Surprisingly, it does contain some ideas worth discussing, but one must dig through the fluff to find them.

              Chapter 1

              Chapter 1 is noteworthy only in its repeated use of the word predestined. This is a disgusting word, and I'm shocked that anyone can even respect, much less claim to love, a god that predestines certain lucky people to be spared from eternal suffering, predestining the rest to an unspeakably horrid fate.

              Chapter 2
              • Verse 2: The author refers to "the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient." What the hell does that mean? What is the kingdom of the air? Who is its ruler? Jesusianismists will say that this is obviously Satan. I disagree. It is not obvious at all. More likely it's Aang from the children's cartoon Avatar.
              • Verse 17 says, "[Jesus] came and preached peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near." Bullshit. "Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword." Matt 10:34. "Do you think I came to bring peace on earth? No, I tell you, but division." Luke 12:51.
              Chapter 3
              • Verses 2 - 3: "Surely you have heard about...the mystery made known to me by revelation." Well, no, we heard that you were struck blind and had some sort of auditory hallucination, but you never told us any of the details about what must have been a very long conversation with Jesus. Too bad, the details would have made you a thousand times more credible, regardless of whether you claim to be Paul.
              • Verse 10: the "wisdom of God should be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms". What realms are these? What rulers and authorities are these? Seems like this author is similar to Paul in his recreational drug use.
              • Verse 20: Glory "to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine". I don't know, I can imagine a limb being regrown, but Yahweh somehow has never mustered up the power to cause this to happen. I read an article recently about how evil, atheismist scientismists are making progress in this direction. Want to place a bet on whether Yahweh or humans will get there first?
              Chapter 4
              • Verse 9: "What does 'he ascended' mean except that he also descended to the lower, earthly regions?" This might also be rendered, "...he also descended to the depths of the earth." Either way, it's one of the stupidest suggestions I've ever read in the bible, and that's saying something. Since when does ascending even imply a descent? Paul is glad that he didn't write this crap.
              • Verse 8: Yes, back up to the verse where this word, ascended, is introduced: "When he ascended on high, he led captives in his train, and gave gifts to men." This quote is a terrible mistranslation of Psalm 68, Verse 18: "When you ascended on high, you led captives in your train, you received gifts from men". This author does a good job of imitating Paul, not only by using mistranslated verses from the Talmud, but also by grossly lifting verses out of context. If the author really wanted to tell us something meaningful about Yahweh and the kind of people who love it, he would have skipped ahead a bit in the Psalm, to Verses 21 - 23: "Surely God will crush the heads of his enemies...The Lord says, 'I will bring them...that you may plunge your feet in the blood of your foes, while the tongues of your dogs have their share.'" What does 'he ascended' mean except that he also descended so fully into barbarism that he couldn't descend any further? The diligent exegete could carry this idea forward in Ephesians 4:11 to illuminating effect: It was he who gave some to be anorexic, some to be paraplegic, some to be epileptic, and some to be poliomyelitic and tubercular. Now that is what we've grown to expect from Yahweh.
              Chapter 6, Verse 12: Here we go again with "rulers...authorities...powers of this dark world and...the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms." What the hell is he talking about?
                Bullets Dodged

                This epistle lays down some rules for Jesusianismists, but thank goodness that you don't have to follow any of them, not knowing who the heck wrote this silly thing.
                • Chapter 4, Verses 25 - 32: Put off falsehood; don't sin in anger; don't let the sun go down on your anger; stop stealing; do something useful with your own hands; talk not unwholesomely, but only in a way that is helpful for building others up according to their needs; get rid of bitterness, rage, anger, brawling, slander, malice.
                • Chapter 5, Verses 3 - 4: there must be no sexual immorality, impurity, greed, obscenity, foolish talk, coarse joking.
                • Chapter 5, Verse 5: "No immoral, impure, or greedy person has any inheritance in the kingdom of God."
                • Chapter 5, Verse 22: "Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord."
                • Chapter 6, Verse 1: "Children, obey your parents in the Lord." Good thing we don't have to obey this one: I can't even figure out what it means.
                • Chapter 6, Verse 5: "Slaves, obey your earthly masters". Good thing it was an impostor who wrote this letter; otherwise we might think that Yahweh is ok with slavery.

                Monday, August 9, 2010

                Yahweh's penis obssession: Galatians

                As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, I was once a Jesusianismist. Paul’s epistle to the Galatians was always extremely confusing and frustrating for me. Until now, I had always been confused when Paul would go on about how Jesusianismists should vigorously refrain from observing Jewish law. I never could understand why it should be that if we no longer have to follow that law, adultery is still considered sinful. Seriously, every time I ever read I Corinthians 6:12 or 10:23, I would want to tear my hair out, because it seemed like Paul was saying that it’s ok to masturbate, but then he would always go on about how we’re supposed to flee sexual immorality. But Yahweh has been gracious to me tonight, opening my mind for the first time.

                After reading Galatians, I am finally, after some 30-odd years of frustration, beginning to understand what Paul meant when he harped on and on about the differences between justification by observing the law and justification by faith in Christ. Before Christ, the only way to atone for sin was by observing the arcane rituals, rules, and sacrifices required by the law, and the atonement was not so much atonement as a placeholder, a symbol for Christ, the final sacrifice. After Christ, the rituals, rules, and sacrifices are all discarded (although that totally contradicts what Jesus himself said in Matthew 5:17-20, where he plainly states that the law is still in effect until heaven and earth disappear, and underscored in Luke 22:16, where he indicates that he intends to observe the Passover with his pals at the end of everything, clearly after the crucifixion). But there is an implied distinction here, one that I never noticed until now: there’s a difference between observing the law and behaving in a way that pleases Yahweh. Paul is saying that Jesusianismists don’t have to observe the dietary laws, the festival schedule, the animal sacrifices--in fact they should positively avoid doing so. He is definitely not saying that it’s ok to throw out the Old Testament rules against homosexuality, slander, and coveting. Those items are on the list titled “Sin”, not the list titled “Law”. I finally get it. Jesusianismists are free from ritual observance, not free to sin.

                (Seems like I have another project to take on, if I survive the New Testament: go back through the Pentateuch and make two lists: one titled “Law”, where I’ll put the rules that Jesusianismists can safely ignore, and the other titled “Sin”, where I’ll put the rules that, when broken, result in earthquakes, terrorist attacks, tsunamis, babies with birth defects, and the grisly deaths of uncounted children. Now see, I would think that if Yahweh really loved us and had really had a heart-to-heart with Paul, this distinction could have been made far more obvious. Surely Yahweh knew that lots of people like me would get stuck on this concept without any clarification.)

                The epistle to the Galatians is Paul’s attempt to get them to understand that they are entirely free of the old Jewish law. Apparently someone had visited the church and told everyone that they have to observe Yahweh’s weird rules in order to be Jesusianismists. Paul puts special emphasis on the fact that circumcision, the ultimate sign of being Jewish, is no longer required. In Chapter 2, Verse 3, he says that while in Jerusalem, “not even Titus, who was with me, was compelled to be circumcised, even though he was a Greek.” You go, Paul! Wait…what about Acts 16:3? Paul circumcised Timothy, “because of the Jews who lived in that area”! What? Sounds like Paul was still new to the cult, and had not yet worked out his sophisticated theory of justification by grace through faith.

                Now that I’ve had this epiphany, I’m asking myself anew why the Jesus cult was so popular. It would have been just another god to worship, but without all of the cumbersome rituals. According to Romans 10:9, all one has to do to join the club is confess with one’s mouth, “Jesus is Lord”, and believe that Yahweh raised Jesus from the dead. I can see hordes of people jumping onto that wagon: a nice little insurance policy just in case this Yahweh/Yeshua is for reals. Seems like deaf-mutes can’t be saved, because they can’t confess with their mouths. I wonder if it’s ok if the person who wants to convert has a lisp.

                Paul spends most of the letter trying to convince the Galatians to hold onto what he originally taught them. I've heard it pointed out many times that if you have the truth, then it's not that hard to convince people that you have the truth. All this attorney-talk just emphasizes the fact that Paul is manufacturing this stuff as he goes. Embedded in his courtroom speech are a few verses that at least warrant some comment:
                • Chapter 2, Verses 11 - 21, Paul brags about how he confronted Peter openly about Peter’s hypocrisy: withdrawing himself from the company of converted Gentiles when some hard-line Jews came to visit. Seems like Yahweh allows for ex post facto rules: before Paul decided that grace was the key, he continued to observe Jewish law, just like Peter. But after Paul had hammered out a few of the myriad kinks in his new religion, everyone who continued to observe (or even show some sympathy for) Jewish law was a hypocrite who needed to be publicly humiliated. Also, Paul opposed Peter? Peter “was clearly in the wrong”? I don’t know how that fits with Matthew 16:18-19, “On this rock I will build my church…I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven…” Most Jesusianismists seem to agree that this is Jesus putting Peter in charge of the church. How can Paul say that Peter is wrong, after such a ringing endorsement from Jesus?
                • Chapter 3, Verse 5: “Does God give you its spirit and work miracles among you because you observe the law, or because you believe [the gospel]?” Paul is clearly not thinking straight. Wouldn’t it be that if they were doing things all wrong, God would withdraw the magical powers from them so they’d know that they were blowing it? If God allowed them to continue performing miracles even when they were behaving badly or believing incorrectly, then how can the performance of miracles count as credentials for someone claiming to have the true word of God?
                • Chapter 3, Verse 16: “The promises were spoken to Abraham and to his seed. The Scripture does not say, ‘and to seeds,’ meaning many people, but ‘and to your seed,’ meaning one person, who is Christ.” Now, Jesusianismists, you complain a lot about verses being taken out of context, but what happens when your boy Paul goes nuts taking verses out of context? This business about seed being singular or plural: he’s referring to three different OT verses: Gen 12:7 when Abram (as he was then known) and Yahweh barely knew each other; 13:15, which I’ll come back to, and 24:7, where something rather homoerotic was going on between Abraham and his chief servant. But it’s the context of 13:15 that really gets my attention: read 13:15 and 16 together: “All the land that you see I will give to you and your offspring/seed forever. I will make your offspring/seed like the dust of the earth, so that if anyone could count the dust, then your offspring could be counted.” I tried looking through a Hebrew Talmud, and I found that I have no idea whether this Hebrew word for seed/offspring is singular or plural. However, given Yahweh’s pronouncement that Abraham’s seed will be exceedingly numerous, we can safely say that Yahweh did indeed mean seed in the plural, contrary to Paul’s out-of-context misinterpretation. I am reminded that Paul disagreed with Peter, to whom Jesus gave carte blanche.
                • Chapter 3, Verse 19: “The law was put into effect through angels by a mediator.” What? What does this mean? To what is he referring? I don’t recall any mention of angels being involved when Chuck Heston was up there breathing volcano fumes.
                • Chapter 5, Verses 19 – 21: Things that are still sinful even after the law has been fulfilled by Christ’s sacrifice: “sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy, drunkenness, orgies, and the like.” Here he sounds like a true Jesusianismist, putting sex at the top of the list and quite pointedly leaving out slavery, social inequality, child abuse, trashing the environment, “and the like.”
                • Chapter 6, Verse 10: “As we have the opportunity, let us do good to all people”. You guys really should read this book occasionally. There are a few good spots.

                Saturday, August 7, 2010

                An argument for separating church and state: II Corinthians

                II Corinthians is an early Jesusianismist example of why matters of doctrine should be kept separate from the mundane, and clearly labeled: when one throws them all together and stirs vigorously, it becomes impossible to determine which parts are which. The bulk of this epistle reads like private correspondence, in no way useful to anyone except the members of the church at Corinth, and only at that particular time in history. Most of this letter has aged quite badly. Still, with a bit of righteous perseverance, I did find a few points worth mentioning, a few points that were about more than just who has laundry duty this week.
                • Chapter 1, Verses 9 - 11: Paul talks about how he and his companions suffered great hardships in Asia. In their hearts they "felt the sentence of death", but God delivered them, granting them gracious favor. If they believed that they would be with God in bliss after their bodies died, then why didn’t he mention that belief here, a perfect place to mention it. Why didn’t he say something like, "We thought we were going to die, and for that we were happy, not only because we would then be allowed to be with God, but also because nothing happens apart from the will of God." Seems like Paul’s theology doesn’t match that of modern Jesusianismists.
                • Also, what is this in verse 11 about God granting the gracious favor of deliverance from death, in answer to the prayers of the Corinthians? Sounds to me like the Corinthians were praying for Paul’s earthly life to be spared, in arrogant violation of Jesus’ clear instruction on how to pray, specifically the part about "thy will be done".
                • 2:5-11: Forgive and comfort some guy who had committed some unspecified sin. Some Jesusianismists want to say that this is the guy referred to in I Cor 5, the guy who was sleeping with his father’s wife, but I don’t see how Paul could possibly be talking about the same man. In I Cor 5, Paul says, "Hand this man over to Satan, in order that [something (the sinful nature, his body, or the flesh)] may be destroyed, and his spirit saved on the day of the lord." It’s all over for that man, at least concerning his continued membership in that church, and possibly concerning his continued existence as a living human being.
                • And if that’s not enough to convince you that Paul had no intention of ever forgiving this swinger, notice I Cor 5:13, "Expel the wicked man from among you." Here, Paul is paraphrasing some OT commands:
                  • Deut 17:7, "You must purge the evil from among you." Let’s be good Jesusianismists and note the context of this command, backing up to Deut 17:2: Yahweh is instructing the Jews on how to treat anyone who worships any god other than Yahweh: "stone that person to death."
                  • Deut 19:19, "You must purge the evil from among you." Context: Deut 19:16: if anyone breaks the 9th commandment, the people must perform on him the punishment that his victim would have received had the slanderer been telling the truth.
                  • Deut 21:21, "You must purge the evil from among you." Context Deut 21:18: A stubborn and rebellious son who does not obey his father and mother is to be stoned to death.
                  • Deut 22:21, "You must purge the evil from among you." Context Deut 22:13: if a girl has sex before she is married, then she is to be stoned to death.
                  • Deut 22:24, "You must purge the evil from among you." Context Deut 22:23: if a girl is pledged to be married but sleeps with (or is raped by) a man who is not her betrothed, both the girl and the man are to be stoned to death.
                  • Deut 24:7, "If a man is caught kidnapping one of his brother Israelites and treats him as a slave or sells him, the kidnapper must dies. You must purge the evil from among you."
                • I can’t imagine that Paul intended to forgive the guy who had been handed over to Satan.
                • Chapter 5, Verses 2, 4, and 8: Paul makes a big fuss about how Jesusianismists all wish that they could hurry up and be with God, but just a few verses back he was talking about what a great favor it was that God had left them in their human bodies. He can’t seem to make up his mind.
                • Chapter 6, Verse14: "Do not be yoked together with unbelievers." What does this mean? Does it mean that Jesusianismists should not work for companies owned by atheismists? Should not work for companies that hire atheismists? Should not marry atheismists? Untold millions of you fail on all three counts. What does this command really mean, and are you obeying it? If not, then "you have believed in vain."
                • Chapter 8, Verses 3 - 15: "Our desire is not that others might be relieved while you are hard pressed, but that there might be equality. At the present time your plenty will supply what they need, so that in turn their plenty will supply what you need. Then there will be equality, as it is written: "He who gathered much did not have too much, and he who gathered little did not have too little." Teabaggers, Obama-bashers, Socialism-haters, take note.
                • Chapter 9, Verse 7: "Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give…" Poor Ananias and Sapphira; too bad they were Petrine Jesusianismists instead of the Pauline flavor.
                • Chapters 10 - 13: Paul expends a lot of energy defending himself to the Corinthians, trying to convince them that he is the one with the true message, and some other men who have claimed to be apostles are false. But he goes about it all wrong, talking about how he has always been honest, how he has gone through many hardships, on and on. He seems not to see the obvious even when he says it himself, in 12:12: "The things that mark an apostle—signs, wonders and miracles—were done among you with great perseverance."
                • Let’s think about this statement for a moment, shall we? All along, one of the signs that someone was preaching the truth of Christ was his ability to perform SWMs, as when Peter commanded the beggar to be healed in Acts 3:6, when Peter executed Ananias and Sapphira in Acts 5:5-10, when Paul struck Elymas blind in Acts 13:11, and when Paul healed the cripple man in Acts 14:10. So why is it that in II Cor 10 – 13, Paul mentions practically as an aside his copious performances of SWMs to defend his position? Why doesn’t he point out that those speaking against him are performing no SWMs? I can think of only two explanations for him not to mention this. Either (1) no one performed any SWMs, ever, or (2) both true and false apostles were able to perform SWMs. If the former, then why did anyone ever believe Paul, who would have been just another guy with just another interpretation of the Talmud? If the latter, then shouldn’t we assume that these so-called false apostles had something meaningful to say? Shouldn’t we be very unhappy that their teachings have been lost? And why would God enable both camps to perform SWMs if one of the camps was telling lies? I’ve never understood why anyone would think that an SWM would be an indicator that the performer is a messenger of the Supreme Being, anyway.

                Monday, August 2, 2010

                Minutiae, Mutation, Marana tha: I Corinthians

                This is my analysis of the New Testament book known as I Corinthians. On reading this epistle to the congregation at Corinth from the Apostle Paul, I am struck by the mundanity of the issues discussed. Jesusianismists have spent centuries poring over this epistle, extracting all kinds of rich, complex theology from it. I find the subjects discussed by Paul to be rather small, considering that God obviously intended for this letter to inform the lives of its children for at least 2000 years. I am also struck by how much of this letter, in the form of direct, unambiguous orders from Paul to the Corinthians, is contemptuously ignored by almost all modern Jesusianismists. Seems that they would rather take something ambiguous and turn it into rigid doctrine that ends up creating division rather than obey clear commands from the very inventor of their religion.

                Rather than going through the book verse by verse as I have in my other posts, this time I'll play some word games as Paul did in Romans, and as he does quite a bit in this epistle too. Note that I'm leaving out the one word that everyone thinks of when they think of I Corinthians: love. I'll cover that one in its own separate video.
                • Credibility
                • Chapter 3, Verse 20: “…the kingdom of God is not a matter of talk but of power.” So, Jesusianismists, let’s see some power. All I know about is your talk.
                • Health
                • Chapter 11, Verses 29 - 30: A number of your congregation have died by eating and drinking judgment onto themselves, by eating and drinking without recognizing the body of the lord. I wish that Paul had elaborated on this; surely this is one of the leading causes of death among Jesusianismists, but just as surely we don’t know exactly what the dead have done wrong.
                • Insubordination
                  • Chapter 5, Verses 1 - 12: Expel the immoral brother. Amazing. I don’t know of any Jesusianismist church that follows these instructions. My guess is that any church that does this sort of thing is thought of as a fringe group. Someone please let me know if this perception of mine is way off.
                  • Check this out: in Verse 5, “hand this man over to Satan, so that the sinful nature may be destroyed”. This is a bit ambiguous; my NIV has footnotes indicating two possible alternate translations for “sinful nature”: it could mean “that his body may be destroyed”, or “that the flesh may be destroyed”. Now we know that Peter had no problem executing Ananias and Saphira, whose worst possible crime was a watered-down form of embezzlement, but let’s give Paul the benefit of the doubt, letting Verse 2 inform our interpretation: the Corinthians should have “put out of [their] fellowship the man who did this”. Ok, so maybe Paul wasn’t suggesting that the man be executed, but he’s definitely and unequivocally telling the Corinthians to kick the guy out of the church.
                  • Who does this? Which denominations? And why not all denominations? In Verse 11 he goes even further: “…you must not associate with anyone who [claims to be a Christian] but is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater, a slanderer, a drunkard, or a swindler.” Given Jesus’ unequivocal pronouncements, I have to assume that divorce is included in “sexual immorality”, not to mention Paul’s reinforcement just a few verses further on, in Chapter 7, Verse 11: “A wife must not separate from her husband, but if she does, she must remain unmarried or be reconciled. And a husband must not divorce his wife.”
                  • You guys are in such big trouble. Back here in Chapter 5, Verses 12 - 13 Paul explicitly commands the believers to judge other believers and expel the wicked. Quite a bit different from the milquetoast “it’s not my place to judge” that I hear from Jesusianismists almost unanimously. And I guess these harsh instructions are the nail in the coffin for John 7:53 – 8:11, the apocryphal story of Jesus intoning, “If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone”. Paul unequivocally commands you to throw stones.
                  • Chapter 6, Verses 1 - 11: You guys are commanded not to take each other to a secular court. Which bible are you reading?
                  • Chapter 11
                    • Verses 5 - 15: Women should cover their heads, or be disgraced by having their hair cut off. I expect to see a lot of covered or bald heads by the time you guys get out of church next Sunday.
                    • Verses 9 and 27: Unless you speak intelligible words with your tongue, how will anyone know what you’re saying? You will just be speaking into the air. If anyone speaks a tongue, two—or three at the most—should speak, one at a time, and someone must interpret.
                    • Verses 34 - 35: “…women should remain silent in the churches. They are not allowed to speak…it is disgraceful for a woman to speak in the church.” If she wants to inquire about something, she should ask her own husband at home.
                  • The Occult
                    • Conscience
                    • Chapter 8, Verses 1 - 13: If I commit an act that I feel ok about, but it causes a brother who isn’t ok with it to follow my example, but with a guilty conscience, then my brother is destroyed? I wish that Paul had elaborated on this one. It sounds plain weird.
                    • Marriage
                    • Chapter 7, Verse 14 has some strange ideas: the unbelieving spouse is sanctified by his/her believing spouse, thus the children of such a union are holy. I would think that sanctified and holy were synonyms for saved, but in Verse 16 he implies at least that sanctified is not the same as saved. He doesn’t elaborate on holy. But given Jesus pronouncement of doom back in John 3:5, “…no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the spirit,” holy must also not mean saved. So, what do sanctified and holy mean, and why are they important enough for him to mention, yet common enough, at least in that culture, for him not to have to define them?
                    • Salvation
                    • Chapter 15, Verse 2: For all of you who believe in the doctrine, “Once saved, always saved,” this one’s for you: “By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain.” Busted. None of you except the most insane comes even close to holding firmly to Paul’s words.
                    • Trinity
                      • Chapter 3, Verse 23: “…you are of Christ, and Christ is of God.” I don’t see how Paul could have stated any more clearly that Jesus is not Yahweh, unless he meant to say that each Jesusianismist is Jesus in the same way.
                      • Chapter 10, Verses 1 - 13: The Israelites of Moses’ day drank from the spiritual rock that accompanied them, and that rock was Christ. Paul seems almost to be saying that Jesus was there with the Israelites, but note that he still doesn’t say that Jesus is Yahweh. This would have been an excellent place for him to say so.
                      • Chapter 15, Verse 28: “…the Son himself will be made subject to him who put everything under him…” Another opportunity to say that the Son is God, whiffed.
                    • Revisionism
                    • Chapter 9, Verses 9 - 10: “’Do not muzzle an ox while it is treading out the grain.’ Is it about oxen that God is concerned?...this was written for us”. I guess if I survive the New Testament I’ll have to go back and review Exodus and Leviticus with this principle in mind.
                    • Sanction
                    • Chapter 11, Verse 19: “…there have to be differences among you to show which of you have God’s approval.” I wish that he had elaborated on this one; it would have been nice to have a clear indicator of God’s approval, especially when war occurs and both sides say, “God is on our side.”
                    • Scandal
                    • Chapter 12, Verse 23: I love this: “…the parts [of one’s body] that are unpresentable are treated with special modesty”. Perhaps you guys should apply this principle to some of your leaders. You might be embarrassed less often.
                    • Sectarianism
                    • Chapter 1, Verses 10 - 12: “I follow Paul/Peter/Christ”. Exactly: as soon as Jesus turned his disciples loose, his house was divided. It is therefore doomed to ruin, per his own prognostication. He should have instructed them to keep their mouths shut. He should have come back sooner, before his church had a chance to splinter into millions of ridiculous pieces.
                    • Sexism
                      • Chapter 7, Verses 36 - 38: A sickening display of the lowly status of women in that culture. Paul advises men on how to decide on getting married to some virgin, having to do with the virgin getting on in years and needing a husband, but he has nothing to say to the women. My NIV has a footnote that suggests that this disgusting bit of sexism could have been directed to the fathers of the virgins, mutatis mutandis, rather than the fiancées of the virgins. So the women are just property. Were you chattel when you were called? Don’t let it trouble you.
                      • Chapter 11, Verses 1 - 16: Man is clearly superior to woman, who was "created for man". So disgustingly sexist that I can hardly think clearly to say anything about it. But apparently it’s disgusting to modern Jesusianismists too, as none of you seems to do this except the women on the fringes. One strange passage here, about which I've never heard anyone comment: because woman came from man and was created for man, and because of the angels, the woman ought to have a sign of authority on her head. What the hell? The angels?
                      • Slavery
                      • Chapter 7, Verse 21: “Were you a slave when you were called? Don’t let it trouble you”. Paul talks like a typical, overfed Westerner. Obviously he had no idea what a slave’s life might be like. He does tell slaves to gain their freedom if they can, but he has already indicated in Romans that they should do so only by legal means. Therefore, they’re not allowed to escape their masters, because the law makes them the property of their masters. The Jesusianismists who helped with the underground railroad were sinners, traitors to their faith.
                      • Shame
                        • Chapter 1, Verse 27: He goes on about shame, yet another one of those concepts without which we’d be better off. He also mentions boasting, which would be considerably reduced in the world if it weren’t for all the shame and self-loathing, two major foundation blocks of Jesusianismistism.
                        • Chapter 4, Verse 5: God “will expose the motives of men’s hearts.” See, this is a crusty old deity with crusty old ways. This is just more shame. Why would we need to expose everyone’s motives? It’s obvious: everyone wants to be loved. Some of us are more damaged than others and we manifest the lack of love in our lives in unpleasant ways, but that is no reason to cruelly expose people’s souls.
                        • Timetables
                        • Chapter 7, Verses 26 and 29: “Because of the present crisis…remain as you are…time is short.” Paul obviously believed that his Christ would return soon, as Jesus himself seemed to believe also.
                        • Voluntary Stupidity
                        • Chapter 1, Verse 17 - Chapter 2, Verse 16: The gospel is to be preached, “not with words of human wisdom, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power.” Well said, Brother Paul! Jesusianismists reject all forms of education, reason, and logic, in order to puff up the cross, which was already empty except for its cargo of hot air. Paul crows and crows about how Jesusianismists put no stock in wisdom. This is where Jesusianismists get their justification for rejecting science and reason, for their suspicion of education and knowledge. The core of the idea is in Chapter 1, Verse 21, “God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe.” I’m not impressed with a religion that celebrates the abdication of rational thought.

                        Sunday, August 1, 2010

                        Refudenounce the Roots VI: Romans, Chapters 10 - 16

                        Part VI, the final part, of my "Refudenounce the Roots" Series.

                        In Chapter 10 Paul is mobbed yet again by Old Testament ghosts. This time it's Moses, David, Isaiah, Hosea, and Joel. He drones on about belief and righteousness too.  There are really only two interesting points about this chapter:
                        • For the most part Paul seems to be saying that Moses had it all wrong. This is in line with what Jesus said, back in Matthew 19:8, about Moses making unauthorized concessions to the hardness of the hearts of the Jews. So much for the bible being infallible and containing no contradictions.
                        • Verse 9: "...if you confess with your mouth, 'Jesus is Lord,' and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved." This is nothing like anything Jesus ever said. It also flies in the face of Trinitarianism, for its glaring failure to say "God" instead of "Lord". And if this were true, if it were really this easy to be saved, then why would we need all 27 of these New Testament books? Why would we need a bible at all? Why wouldn't we just kill everyone as soon as he/she accepted Jesus, so he/she could get on with eternity? Why would we need centuries' worth of exegesis, elucidation, elaboration? Why would we need laws against gay marriage? Stoner!
                        Chapter 11: focus on the cultivation of olive trees for a while. Dude! Olive trees are a lot like people!
                        • Verse 20: Here's a gem: "Do not be arrogant..." Don't assume that you understand the Supreme Being well enough to speak on its behalf. Don't assume that you would recognize God if you saw it. Don't assume that God even knows that you exist. No, kidding, he didn't say all that. He just said, "Do not be arrogant, but be afraid." Thanks, Yoda. I was already afraid of this god when it started drowning babies.
                        • Verse 26: "...all Israel will be saved." Nah, God doesn't show favoritism. That would be ungodly.
                        Chapter 12, Verse 9: "Hate what is evil; cling to what is good." I can get behind that idea. Unfortunately, Jesusianismists' ideas about good and evil seem exactly backward in some really important areas.

                        Chapter 13, Verses 3 - 4: "...rulers hold no terror for those who do right," and "[The one in authority] is God's servant to do you good." Wow, thanks for explaining to me that all those people killed by tyrants during the 20th century never experienced terror, and that their executions were good.

                        In Chapter 14 Paul rambles for a bit about eating and food, judgment, and faith. Nothing of any consequence.

                        Chapter 15, Verse 5: "May the god who gives endurance and encouragement give you a spirit of unity among yourselves". Whoops, I guess Paul prayed to the wrong god for this one. He should have prayed to the god who gives a spirit of unity. Obviously, this prayer didn't work at all.

                        Chapter 16
                        • Verse 4: "[Priscilla and Aquila] risked their lives for me." Hmm, if you think that you'll be spending eternity in heaven after your body dies, then what meaning can it possibly have to risk one's life? Stoner. Actually, no, it seems that most Jesusianismists share Paul's internally inconsistent world-view. They think that heaven is bliss, but they don't want to leave this life, and they try very hard to make sure that no one else (say, unwanted fetuses, who certainly would be very much wanted in heaven) leaves this life until they've spent at least a few decades in it, even if they're suffering miserably the whole time.
                        • Verse 20: "The god of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet." Yeah, Paul has a hard time keeping his gods straight. The god of peace wouldn't go around crushing anyone, I should think.
                        • Verse 27: "To the only wise god..." Paul was clearly a polytheist: he mentioned no fewer than three gods in this book.
                        For my own sake, I hope that Paul was sober when writing his other epistles.