Monday, May 14, 2007

Argument Against the Story of Noah's Ark

Take your average fundamentalist christian, you know, the kind that doesn't 'believe' in evolution. They usually say something like, 'god could've done things that way if he'd wanted to, but he didn't, and the reason we know is because we have the bible.' The bible, to them, disproves evolution. Any pseudoscience or flim flam they use to refute the facts are merely vehicals for them to 'prove' that the bible is incontrovertable fact. That every word in it was meant to be there, and that every word was divinely inspired. Meaning, there were no 'reception problems' with the authors, they took no liberties with the information god gave them to inscribe, that this was god using them as pencils.

I intend to show that the story of Noah's ark all but disproves that the bible could be divinely inspired, incontrovertable written truth directly from the mouth of god.

The first given in the argument is described above, it's the 'the bible is true and not false in any circumstance, and the things that happened in it really happened exactly the way they are described' hypothesis.

The second given in the argument is that god created the world as it appears today, with no evolution working on a 'seed' population by mutation making all the different life forms possible. No, say the creationists. The world, as we know it, with all the animals about which we now know, was created by god just like it says in Chapter 1, and everything that you see around you and that we know about was present and accounted for at the time of Noah.

If the first assumption is true, that means that the measurements handed down to the author of Genesis were correct, that they didn't accidentally put a decimal in the wrong place or anything. But if the second assumption is also true, then every animal that exists around us now existed back then. And all the animals we know about now (for instance, all the species of beetles) would not fit on an ark whose measurements are defined in Genesis. I'm sorry.

There are two rebuttals possible: the one is that man DID get it wrong, and misunderstood what god was saying. That will throw the whole rest of the book into question, because it could never be so convenient that the author is mistaken only when he is contradicting modern day knowledge.

The second rebuttal is that god, in essence, used magic. That god, the all-knowing spiritual entity that saw fit to make everything by hand and then put all these fossils in the record that contradict his own word, described an ark that would not accomodate two of every kind of animal that exists in the world, and resorted to 'mysterious' means to get all those animals onto the boat. Abracadabra!

Neither of these responses is very appealing. Far be it from me to insist that I know everything (I don't, for instance, know what happens to us after we die, but I suspect it has something to do with decomposition) but the fact that no one knows how god would have fit all those animals onto that boat really bothers me. Shrinking ray? Atomizer? I am harking back to an earlier age in the western world, when men discovered physical laws, such as the laws of motion, and attributed these laws to a god that had set up a beautifully mathematically simple order to the world he created. I am invoking the spirits of the scientists that many now claim only studied science in order to bring to light the underlying order that they felt god had put there. If you shoot a cannonball in the air, you can calculate where the cannonball will land. And you will be right over and over again. And this, say the believers, is because of god.

God has the complex in his corner when it comes to evolution. Nothing as complex as a light sensing organ could have evolved due to enviromental pressures and genetic mutation. God has to be there. God has the simple in his corner when it comes to math. Nothing as elegant and simple as F=ma could be found to be true if it weren't for god making the order. They attribute every kind of pattern and order that their minds percieve to god, regardless of whether that order even actually exists! So for human knowledge to have discovered the lives and deaths of stars and single celled organisms to be constantly hounded by a group of people so spiritually stupid as to cling to a notion handed down to them from the stone age--that there are 'some things we can NEVER know because GOD WORKS IN MYSTERIOUS WAYS'-- confounds scientific thought and confounds the society which thrives because of it

The things we SHOULDN'T know are vast. The things we CAN'T know should compel us to ask questions of our own faculties. The things we DON'T know should give rise to scientific inquiry. The things these theists SAY they know are convieniently things that can never BE known, and therefore, can never be proved nor disproved. The kernel of truth at the heart of any and all monotheistic religions is that they are a virus that can only sustain itself by acquiring new hosts, and that love and kindness practiced by christians is only a delivery method for their parasite.

In conclusion: either we live in a world where the physical laws are subject at any moment to the whims of a deity that has not spoken in 2000 years, or the laws stick, and the god that created them--who may or may not be bound by them--would abide by them because he CAN. All Genesis Chapter 6 had to contain to prove the existance of the christian god was measurements for an ark that could contain two each of every animal in existance: presto, you've got your proof. But it doesn't.

The measurements for the ark in Genesis no doubt comfortably contain two of every animal that the authors knew about. And that's what disproves this book being the word of an all knowing god.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Genesis Chapter 6 (v. 1 to 22)

This chapter starts off with an overview of how the population of people that god had created increases. Men had daughters, other men found these daughters attractive, and married "any of them they chose." So the author is making a point that there were no arranged marriages, and that people married women by choosing them based on beauty.

But god says suddenly that man is mortal. Which you might've guessed from some of the characters in the last chapter. . . you know, dying. Yes, says god, "his days will be a hundred and twenty years." It's such a random statement that I almost react to it with a sigh and a 'whatever.' Okay, not almost.

The author goes on to describe humans called Nephilim, that were around then, and after that time too. These people were heroes. Of old. Or something. Again: 'whatever.'

The lord then decides that man is wicked. Which, for me, comes out of left field.

"every inclination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil all the time."

Sheesh. Harsh, god. Surely there was SOMETHING good down on the planet. You know, besides the garden from which you had barred everyone. No, apparently god was sorry he'd made men, and he had acid reflux to boot. Or "his heart was filled with pain" means something else.

So god said, I'm gonna just wipe everything out. Because it's all rubbish anyway. It's what Eddie Izzard calls "the etch-a-sketch end of the world." Even though it's man i'm really pissed at, I figure a clean slate is the way to go.

"But Noah found favor in the eyes of the Lord."

Well good for him.

Noah, it says, was "blameless," which makes me raise an eyebrow, I must say. Yeah, he walked with god. And the author again mentions his three sons (like that sitcom?) Shem, Ham and Japheth, the middle child of which sounds the most appetizing.

The earth was corrupt and people were violent and god saw this and said to Noah (probably when they were 'walking' one day) that he was gonna wipe it all out. Everything. He explains how the earth is filled with violence, and it's all because of man. Can you see Noah looking sideways at god with a horrified expression? Because I can.

Anyway, says god, enough of this. You need to make an ark of cypress, and coat it in pitch and make some rooms in it, all cozy-like.

I imagine god whipping out some blueprints before he continues telling Noah the actual measurements of the boat. Why any author would think we as readers need to know the MEASUREMENTS of the boat has always astonished me. Boy is that some useless information. Unless you're debating the verbatim truth of the bible, in which case it's GRAVY!

The translators of the NIV have seen fit to convert the measurements of cubits into feet and inches. So, being a bit of a geek, I dug out my old King James Version (which I recieved after being baptised in the blood, hallelujah) to include both units. Then I thought, why stop there? Why not convert the measurements into the Systeme International? Well all right then.

The ark, god is saying, needs to be 300 cubits long. Are you writing this down? Noah says, oh, yeah, lemme get a pen. Okay. So a cubit is a foot and a half long. And the metres below are approximate.

Length 300 cubits = 450 feet = 137 metres.

Width 50 cubits = 75 feet = 23 metres.

Height 30 cubits = 45 feet = 13 metres.

A line of windows around the top, under the roof, is mentioned measuring one cubit, imaginably provided so that methane gas doesn't build up on the inside. Eugh.

For comparison, the Hollywood sign in California is also 45 feet tall and 450 feet long.

God told Noah, don't forget the door, and make some decks in it, you know, like one of those carnival cruise ships. But no karaoke!

Noah is writing all this down, while trying to keep up with god as they're walking, calculating the distance to the nearest cypress forest and whether god would notice if he used a couple planks from that oak tree he'd cut down the other day.

I'm going to flood the whole planet! says god. What's a planet? asks Noah. Oh, it's a greek word, anyway, focus! It's all going down, man!

Look, Noah, here's the plan: You and your wife, and your three sons, and their wives, will get on the ark, and you won't die, oh and onto the ark I'd like you to bring two of all living things.

Then god goes on to make a list of the living things, and this might be because Noah is staring at him slackjawed after that last statement. You know, two of every kind of bird, and animal, and all those things that creep. On the ark. With you. Oh, and take every kind of food there is.

Then the author tells us that Noah did everything god told him to.

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Genesis Chapter 5 (v.1 to 32)

"This is the written account of Adam's line."

Hm. This sounds like one of those 'beget' chapters. . .

The author starts this chapter by again saying that man was created in god's image. And that god named them 'man' after he created them both. So male and female are both called 'man.'

Adam was 130 years old when he had the replacement kid, Seth. After that, Adam lived for 800 more years, and had other kids. Probably a lot of them, I'm thinking. So when he died he was 930. I think his final words were: "It's about bloody time."

When Seth was 105, (and Adam would have been 235) he had a son named Enosh (though no mention is made of Enoshropolis). Seth had a bunch of kids, and died at the age of 912.

When Enosh was 90 years old, (and Adam was 325 and Seth was 195) he "became the father of Kenan." After this he lived for 815 more years.

When Kenan was 70, (Adam would have been 395, Seth was 265, and Enosh was 160) he had Mahalalel (whoa, say that five times fast.) Kenan died at 910.

When Mahalalel was 65 (Adam was 460, Seth was 330, Enosh was 225, and Kenan was 135) he had a kid named Jared. Mahalalel then lived 'til he was 895.

Jared was 162 when he became the father of Enoch (Enochropolis?). Incidentally, Mahalalel was 227 when he became a grandfather. And Kenan was 297 when he became a great-grandfather. Enosh was 387 when he became a great-great-grandfather. Seth was a great-great-great-grandfather at the age of 462. And Adam would have been 622 when he became a great-great-great-great-grandfather. Whew!

Jared lived to be 962.

Enoch became a father at 65, (Adam: 687, Seth: 527, Enosh: 452, Kenan: 362, Mahalalel: 292, Jared: 227) and named the kid Methusela. But Enoch only lived for 365 years. He must've eaten a high-fat diet.

Methusela was a dad at 187, (Adam: 874, Seth: 714, Enosh: 639, Kenan: 549, Mahalalel: 479, Jared: 414, Enoch: 252) and had a son named Lamech. Did this Lamech have two wives and kill some dude? It doesn't say.

Lamech had a kid named Noah when he was 182 (Adam had been dead for 126 years, Seth was 709, Enosh: 821, Kenan: 731, Mahalalel: 661, Jared: 596, Enoch had been dead for 69 years, possibly from a heart attack, and Methusela was 369).

Noah, according to his father Lamech, was to be a comfort to them in their hard times since god had cursed the soil. Lamech died when he was 777. When Lamech was 683, Noah had Shem, Ham and Japheth, all after he'd turned 500.

Well, that was a snooze of a chapter. But it does bring up an interesting question to all you christians out there: do you really believe the verbatim truth of the bible? Do you really think these people lived for 900+ years? Towards the end of this lineage, the author claims that about 8 generations of people were alive at the same time. Family reunions must've been such a drag.

I think that some of this is an attempt to link all the stories together. That Noah can be traced back to Adam. Which doesn't seem like it should be important; I always thought the implication was that Adam, being the first man, was the father of everyone who came after. But this can't be the case if you have to go to the trouble of listing the bloodline of Noah all the way back to Adam. It seems other people existed separate the first created two, and the only way they could've gotten there within the construct of this story is if god made them and put them there. That this creating of other people is never explicitly mentioned has always bothered me.

The other point I think I need to address is how sneakily the author slipped in this second account of the offspring of Adam. The last chapter lists sons (and one daughter!) and even some things that they did, some trends they started. The names don't quite overlap, though. But there are some that are the same, and I'm sure it isn't coincidental: I think that the names are too important in the lore of these stories to be given to someone who isn't "the" person. Like naming someone in a story George W. Bush. People are going to ask, is that "the" George W. Bush?

In the last chapter, Enoch of Enochropolis was the son of Cain, the murderer. In this chapter, Enoch is a son in the bloodline springing from Cain's brother Seth, who is NOT a murderer. In the last chapter, Lamech was the son of Methushael, and in this chapter he's the son of Methusela. Sounds like the same name to me. In the last chapter, mention is made of Lamech becoming a murderer like his great-great-great-grandfather, Cain. In this chapter, Lamech is not a distant grandson of Cain, and no mention is made of anything that he did other than that his son, Noah, will be a comfort. At least in this chapter we are free to assume that Cain did indeed spend his life wandering, and didn't build any cities.

In the last chapter, Seth has a son named Enosh, and nothing more is mentioned. In this chapter, Seth has a son named Enosh as well.

The two chapters appear to be written by two different sources which have different priorities. The 4th chapter seems to want to get the message across that killing is still not a reason for killing, even after many generations since Cain. The 5th chapter seems to be focused on the lineage of Noah, and how that lineage, between Noah and Cain, was not a straight line. The mention of his three sons is an afterthought.

Monday, May 7, 2007

Genesis Chapter 4 (v.1-26)

"Adam lay with his wife Eve, and she became pregnant"

How romantic. She bore Cain first. She went through labour and then said, 'with the help of god i have brought forth a man.' Except it wasn't a man. It was a baby. Or maybe, back then, people were born fully clothed and grown. At an undisclosed time later (they could have even been twins) she bore Abel. Abel doesn't get the 'man' proclamation. The novelty of bearing children wears off so quickly. . .

So they grew up. Or they were already grown when they were born. At any rate, it turned out that Abel kept flocks, he was a shepherd. Or maybe he kept a flock of geese. Sparrows? Maybe he just wore flock pants. Cain, on the other hand, tilled the soil. He had a green thumb. A green something anyway.

People back then had to make sacrifices to their gods. Nothing special there. Saying that you appreciate benevolence by tithing a portion of what you reap to whatever god you think bestowed such benevolence seems like a pretty logical idea. And if the good times continue, well, your offering must have pleased that god. If you fall on hard times, you better sacrifice more, because whatever you were sacrificing obviously wasn't enough.

As his offering, Abel slaughtered defensless animals--fat ones that couldn't run very fast--and god really liked that. We aren't told how Abel or anyone else knew that god liked it. Just that he did. He liked it a lot.

Cain, who tilled the land remember, offered up to god "fruits of the soil." This probably didn't involve any slaughtering. . . Needless to say, god did not look with favour upon that meagre tithe. Cain was pretty pissed off at this. As would I be.

Yeah, so vegetables don't scream or moan or bleat when you kill them. And no, they don't bleed all dramatically over the altar, drip drip drip in a godly puddle. I think god was being unfair. Or that he's a bloodthirsty psycho--I mean mysterious. . .

God gave Cain a lecture about how Cain should do what is right. Not sure where the lesson is. Did he not tithe enough? It doesn't say if he did or didn't. And now he has to listen to god telling him that sin is "crouching at your door" blah blah blah.

So he went to his brother Gullabel--I mean Abel, and told him that he wanted to take a walk with him out in the fields. I imagine someone asking a dog they're about to abandon, "Wanna go for a car ride?? You like car rides, dontcha?"

Cain kills Abel. Perhaps Abel was also fat, and couldn't run very fast.

"Then the Lord said to Cain, 'Where is your brother Abel?"

He went on to say, "I want to give him this 'best person in the world' trophy. It's made of gold."

Cain said, "uhhhhhh. . . hmmm. . . Who?. . . Oh! Oh yeah, my BROTHER Abel. . . thought you meant someone. . .uhh. . . How the hell should I know?!?!" Or something like that.

Then god, who can hear blood (perhaps this is why he likes animal sacrifices so much) says he can hear Abel's blood crying out from the ground. (Imaginably, it's crying, "D'oh!") So either god is really confused, or asked Cain a question the answer to which he already knew. God isn't a very likable character so far.

He goes on to put a curse on Cain, so the man can no longer farm like he used to, and that he has to wander around restlessly. Cain replied, "Dammit!!!! What the. . . .aaaaarggggh!" And rightly so.

Cain, bewailing, "People I meet (I assume you've made more people since my mom and dad) are gonna KILL me when they find out about this curse and stuff!" is told by god that he will bear a mark, (ostensibly one that reads "Do not kill this man, signed God") and so will be spared death at the hands of another man. But bears or snakes, being unable to read, would probably find him a tasty treat.

So Cain went away from god's presence (Yes! No more nagging!) and lived in Nod, which is east of Eden. He lay with his wife (?!?!) that he acquired from. . . somewhere. . . maybe Nod was full of hotties, who knows. Anyway, she bore a kid named Enoch. Cain was building a city at the time, or just a settlement, at any rate I'm pretty sure either of those precludes the wandering part of the curse that god put on him. Cain, not wandering, named his city after his son, Enoch. So they lived in Enochville. Enochsburg. Enochborough. Enochdom. Enochropolis. Ah, the last one's the best.

In Enochropolis, Enoch had a kid named Irad (one assumes he had a wife but it doesn't say). Irad had a child named Mahujael, and Mahujael had a kid named Methushael, who was the father of Lamech. Enochropolis is now a happenin joint!

"Lamech married two women."

Whoa, full plate for the great-great-grandson of the namesake of Enochropolis. His wives names were Adah and Zillah. With Adah he had Jabal. Jabal started the whole livestock-raising, living-in-tents thing. He was a crazy trendsetter, that one. His brother Jubal (think they got mixed up in school?) was a no-good musician, who is noted as the father of ALL people who play the harp and/or the flute. So if you're thinking of taking up either of those instruments, you better check your lineage.

Lamech's other kid, the one he had with Zillah, Tubal-Cain, forged tools out of metal. He had a sister named Naamah. I cannot understand why she is mentioned at all in this sausagefest.

Lamech, one day, says to both his wives, 'listen to me! I just killed this guy. He was young. But he injured me. So I offed him. Hmmm.'

I can't help inserting a unison response from Zillah and Adah, 'You did WHAT?!?'

'Yeah,' Lamech continues, 'Uh, so if Cain is avenged seven times for killing some guy, then I am too. -NO, wait, I'm avenged. . . SEVENTY-seven times! Yeah! that's the ticket!'

This is where this story ends. I take this to mean that even if someone offs some guy, don't kill them for retribution.

The author then informs us that Adam had another kid to replace Abel, who was killed. I think that what they mean here is:

Make love, not war.

The proper response when a family member is killed, according to the author, is not to go out and kill the guy that did it, but to make more people. And I like this message.

The replacement kid's named was Seth, and he had a kid named, coincidentally, Enosh. But 'Enoshropolis' is much harder to say. . .

"At that time men began to call on the name of the Lord."

Not even gonna take a stab at this one. If you can explain why this is the last line of the chapter, comment on the blog about it.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Genesis Chapter 3 (v. 1 to 24)

"Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the Lord God made."

God, apparently, had an ordering of craftiness, and decided that the serpent should be at the top. At the bottom would be. . . I dunno. Man.

The serpent asked "the woman" if God had told her not to eat from any tree in the garden. Either all animals talked back then, or the woman was incredibly hard to surprise. If a snake came up to me and asked me about God, I'd crush its head, but whatever.

The woman said, naw, we just can't eat from the tree in the middle of the garden. Or touch it. Touch it and die, He said.

The serpent, --telling the truth, I might add-- said, you won't die, you stupid clout. God just doesn't want you knowing the difference between good and evil.

The last statement, if it were really true, would preclude God putting a serpent OR the tree in the garden to begin with.

Then the author says that the woman saw that this fruit was tasty looking, and also "desirable for gaining wisdom." So this woman wanted to be wise. Is that bad? Is it good?

Of course she gave some to her husband --"who was with her"-- and he ate it. A lot of children's bibles picture Eve going with the fruit off in search of Adam, with Adam blamelessly not knowing whatever was happening. But he was there. With her. And didn't say anything.

Then they realized they were naked and tried to cover themselves with fig leaves.

God was walking around in the garden in the "cool of the day" and the two heard him and hid. When God called for Adam, (didn't God know where he was?) the man said he was hiding because he was naked.

God said, where'd you pick up that lingo? . . .Waaaait a minute. . . You've been eating from the tree! The one I told you not to eat from!!

The man (probably pointing a finger) said, yeah it was this woman that YOU put here! SHE gave me the fruit!

Now I imagine both of them looking at her and she says, uh-uh! the serpent! the serpent decieved me!

There should have been a better argument here. There should have been the question put to God as to why He told them both that eating from the tree would strike them down dead. What would he have said to that? 'Yeah, that was tasty fruit, and look! I'm still alive! Explain THAT!'

So God said to the serpent, you've done it now, I'm cursing your kind. You'll have to slither and eat dust. And the serpent probably replied, I don't eat dust, I eat rats. And God probably said, it's a figure of speech, and crushed the serpent's head, causing it to bite the dust.

Also, God made it so people hate snakes. And that snakes try to bite people. AND, because he was on a roll, he made childbirth very painful, and made women subservient to their husbands.

All he cursed Adam with was parched and dry soil. And then Adam invented irrigation. So that problem was solved. He got off easy.

"Adam named his wife Eve". Up until now she was referred to as "the woman."

Then God, being a fan of high fashion, clothed the couple in the finest furs, because fig leaves are so last season. And God said, now man has become like "us" (????) and knows good and evil. I'm kicking him out before he finds out what fruit from the tree of life does. Can't have that.

God kicked people out of his stupid garden, and put an angel at one of the gates with a flaming sword in order to guard the way back, or, possibly, because he was a drama queen.

Here I must interject a question to all Christians, respectfully. Who is "us?" Was he talking to the Devil? Other Gods? Why was the Devil immortal? Why would God create a tree for immortality at all?

None of it makes logical sense to me. But it's a good story.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Genesis Chapter 2 (V.1 to 25)

Quote: "he rested from all the work"

WHEW!! What a TASK creating a world! Even for a divine being (I suppose). But all the stuff god did, he liked very much. It never says where god decides that the week should have 7 days, the author just assumes that everyone's on the same page there. This seventh day--of the week--is made holy. So it's a holy day. And it has been inferred that we people should also keep the day holy and rest, but this isn't explicitly stated. Now, I've seen calendars in Europe that start with Monday, thereby making the 7th day Sunday, but not here in America. So I'm not sure we should rest at all, and I'm also confused as to WHAT day we should rest.

Also, here's the first contradiction of sorts: in verse 4 the author begins to tell the creating story. Again. Were we not paying attention to the first? Did the first one go into too much detail? Is the author giving us a summary of the first chapter?

Here we go: So when god made the earth and heaven, and before there was any rain or plants, but there was land that was watered by some mechanism (the water cycle?) god made a man out of dirt. So whereas in chapter 1 god makes man on the 6th day, after making fish and birds and oceans and PLANTS, in this chapter, man predates plants. Hmm.

Quote: "In the middle of the garden was the tree of life and the tree of knowledge of good and evil."

God plants a garden in a place called Eden and sticks the man he created there. There are things in the garden to eat and look at that are nice, as well as these two trees that are in the middle, that god decides to put there for whatever reason.

The author mentions that the spring that waters the garden splits into 4 headwaters, and gives their names, and even mentions that the first one runs through a land full of gold--

Quote: "(The gold of that land is good;"

I like this quote. Cause you can't trust bad gold. Bad gold is for suckers.

So god places man there in that garden. And tells him to take care of it. God wanted to have a gardener, or a landscape guy, so THAT'S why we are all here, people.

And god says to the still unnamed gardener, hey there's lots of stuff here for you to prune, etc. But if you eat off of the tree of knowledge, you'll fall down dead. Seems simple.

Here I must insert that surely there were many other plants in the garden that weren't so good to eat, that in so eating, the man would fall down dead. But god doesn't think he needs to mention this. Nightshade?. . . . uuuh. Go ahead! Boy it LOOKS tasty. . .

This will be lie number 1 that god tells man. Oh, I'm sure there are people that like to say, oh well, the first man was immortal, and the tree of knowledge dealt mortality to the man, and that's what god meant. God meant, eat this fruit, and you'll die EVENTUALLY.

But that's not what's written. And the same people who like to wax symbolic in this part of the bible love to take chapter 1 as an entire and literal truth. If there is no truth to things that are not found in the literal scripture (evolution?) then this whole, 'well, the first dude was immortal and THAT's what god meant' shit needs to stop.

Now for another contradiction. In this version, god creates animals because he thinks the man he made needs a helper. He fashions them exactly like the man, from the dust, and everything, and lets the man name them.

Quote: "But for Adam no suitable helper was found."

None of the animals' resumes were very good. By the way, there is no mention in this part, as in chapter 1, of procreating. Also, this is the first mention of the man's name. So maybe he named himself when he was naming the rest of the animals.

When Adam turned out to be a picky bastard, god made him fall into a deep sleep (possibly by the swift application of a large, blunt object) and took out one of the dude's ribs. Wha?

Yeah, this ALWAYS confused me. Even as a child.

So god is creating and creating, and all these animals and plants and things spring up, and poof! Or, he says something and his speech causes them to come into being. Or he uses hands (?) to fashion things out of dirt, and there you go!

But he's scratching his head on this 'helper' thing. He needs to take a piece of man in order to fashion a helper that Adam will tolerate as being okay.

Quote: "This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh"

So the first woman was created from the first man. Which is. . . almost. . . incestuous sounding. I'm wincing as I'm typing this, but I can't help how stupid it sounds to me! And then the author goes on to say that THIS is why men must leave the nest of their parents and find his own woman at some point. The logic doesn't add up to me. Let's recap.

God made man. Man needed a helper. God made animals. Man didn't like them. God took a piece of man and made an animal out of that. Man liked this--it was like he was and he's a narcissist. It CAME from him. He was the provider of the rib, therefore he gave rise to woman. And because god made woman, and woman comes from man, men must get married.

Oh, okay. I get it. Because god went to the trouble for this first guy, all subsequent guys better make damn sure they take advantage of the opportunity. That sounds reasonable. Besides the glaringly misogynistic side to it, that woman only exists on the planet to help man, there's the question of why birds leave the nest, why stallions leave the herd to start their own. . . WE have a reason for coupling and starting families, but in this version of the creation story, the animals are neither given a reason to multiply nor told to do so.

So the two chapters complement each other and contradict each other, like two different eye witness accounts of something. I always wanted to believe that there was a divine being that wrote some shit down to help us poor mortals, but if this is the book he wrote--or even inspired--it's off to a stupid start.

Then, as an afterthought, the author mentions that these first people were naked, but they didn't care. This is seen as an example of innocence, because people nowadays are ashamed of being unclothed. Of course, there were no other people around. So the jury's still out on whether they were unashamed because they were alone or because they were 'innocent.'

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Genesis Chapter 1 (V.1 to 31)

Let's dive right in.

Quote: "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth."

So the first line has god creating two things. But in the next line, it is stated that the earth (that god just created) is formless. So god SORT of created. . . something. But it's formless. And empty. Oh, yeah, and dark. Reeeeally DARK. But not empty. Cause god was there. Check.

Then he makes light. And boy is it good. He likes it. But he has to separate it from the darkness. Because the darkness and the light are always passing notes.

Quote: "And there was evening, and there was morning--the first day."

I have a problem with this sentence (and the others that are patterned after it). Because days, for humans, start with the MORNING and not the EVENING. Or maybe god was on the 24 hour clock, and the 'evening' refers to hour zero, which would TECHNICALLY be morning. . . And maybe not, maybe our whole calendar is wrong. It would have to be if we celebrate the sabbath on sunday, which is supposed to be the 7th day--but I'm getting ahead of myself.

Then god creates water. But he has to separate the water above from below. Thereby making heaven. . . which. . . he already made in the first line. He wanted to make damn sure it was there, I suppose, because that's where people would always look when invoking his name.

Then god put all the water in one place. And said "STAY!" And when that happened, there was dry ground. And he names the water 'seas' and the dry ground 'land.'

No offense, but this first part of Genesis always seemed rather ridiculous to me. But it gives you real insight into the way ancient peoples thought. Writing and reading and literature was a sacred thing, and words. . . words were paramount. So not only is Genesis establishing that this particular god made everything, the authors are also seeking to establish that the words they use for things were first uttered by this divine being. That's powerful stuff.

Then god invented angiosperms. Sorry, my science background is rearing its ugly head. God said that the 'land' he'd just made up should have these living organisms on it that derive nutrients from the soil through varying degrees of something called capillary action, and that they should bear fruit with seeds (instead of having coitus with each other, which would be pretty creepy). And boy, was THAT thing he just did GOOD. He liked it.

And on the fourth day, god decided to put the sun in the sky because the vegetation he'd created was dying pitifully. Aaaaaah, photosynthesis. But, even though he sets up the sun and the moon, he doesn't name them. And I think that's another clue from our authors, and a very clever one at that. Because there were many who worshipped one or both of these two things AS gods, and the author wanted to portray them as just light sources, lamps, not divine beings. Kind of like "Oh yeah, well my god MADE UP your SUN!! Ppppttthhhhht!" Boy was that ever a good day for god. He really liked what he did there.

The fifth day god made ocean dwellers and sky dwellers. So, fish and birds. And I suppose that includes penguins and flying fish quite neatly. And he BLESSED these creatures. So plants can go to HELL cause critters, they're BLESSED. He told them to be fruitful (but not BEAR fruit, cause that's for the vegetation) so not only were they blessed, they got to have sex. Or maybe THAT was the blessing. . .

And on the sixth day god made things that live on the land and walk about, including livestock and wild animals. This phrase again and again: "each according to its kind." Oh, good. I'd hate for you to get your blueprints mixed up. But he did it right, so he sat back and said, aye-oop, good job, god! But then he wants to go and fuck it all up.

Because this is the day he makes man. And the blueprint for man is himself. But earlier he is described as a 'spirit' upon the deep. So I guess that's what man should be. And he said, Hey, you need to get up and rule these stupid animals I made, they're making a mess.

Quote: "Male and female he created them."

Just like the rest of the animals. No beautiful and meaningful preamble just : people. Then, in my favourite part of this chapter, god GIVES all this earth, the animals and the plants, to man, for man to take care of. This is not only poignant now, I believe it served another purpose then. I think that a lot of the 'pagan' religions of those days believed that people were at the mercy of nature. This book, in the first chapter, says that THIS god elected to have MAN have control over nature. I think it may have stemmed from what could have been a very primeval story about how man settled down and instead of going out to find what nature had decided to grow here and there and picking it, and instead of going out in hunting parties to see what kind of animals nature had around where they were living, they started to grow food on purpose, and keep their animals penned so they could eat them at their leisure. Just a thought I had.

The poignancy I can see this holding now is in a globally ecological way--the environment. If some divine being hands you a planet it made, dammit you'd better take care of it. Do all you can to keep it clean and to keep care of all those plants and animals.

I have to mention that, while the author talks about livestock, god tells man he can eat plants, and that the animals can eat the plants, but makes no mention of the animals eating any other animals, including man. So if you take this literally, so far, I think you should become a vegetarian.

Man was that ever a great sixth day! Give yourself a cookie, god!

Tuesday, February 13, 2007


My partner in crime, Millicent (who is also hot to trot in the sheets and on top of them) asked me if I wanted to read the bible with her. I said "What the hell are you injecting now?" but after she explained the premise of this Searching for Meaning exercise I am happy to oblige. She doesn't use drugs nor inject things by the way. I just like saying that. Well, I've never really said that until now but it sounds okay so I may start saying "what the hell are you injecting now?" when someone asks me a question that is totally outside of any tracking device in my brain.

Anyway, we're going to read the fucking bible, give it a chance, and see what happens. We're atheists, but we will read this bible (why are they all made out of such very thin paper?) very carefully and do our best to present our take on what we've learned, laughed at, pondered over eating fresh croissants with creamy butter and delightful coffee during the usual church hour(s) in the south, or cast off as downright preposterous for crying out loud.

Millicent is the brains of this outfit. I just dig her ass.

Delighted to Meet You

So, I live in the South of the US of A. I moved here when I was young, from somewhere decidedly unlike the South of the US of A. I was raised as a Protestant Christian, usually in the Presbyterian faith, and like many others (you know who you are) liked to have my Minister/Pastor read the Bible FOR me and then tell me what it means to me. Somewhere in my muddled adolescence I decided that I didn't like feeling like all my friends were going to spend an eternity burning and being poked by various nasty daemons. Even IF some of them seemed like they'd enjoy getting poked in such a manner. . .
I'm an atheist now, with sort of Buddhist leanings--which is, let's face it, just a flavour of atheism, just as Christianity is the atheism of every OTHER major religion (and it doesn't even KNOW about the minor ones.)
The Bible still intrigues me. Maybe because I'm certain that whatever Pastor/Minister I had put their own spin on the scripture when it was regurgitated to me on Sunday morning. Maybe because so many people feel like it's the rock upon which they stand--that a BOOK could also be a ROCK has always fascinated me. Kinda like a door being ajar.
My partner and I have decided that there may be good in the book, and there may be bad. But that we should formulate our opinions according to what WE see there, and not what anyone tells us we SHOULD see there. So we are going to start at the beginning (Genesis) and read until we get to the end--of the Bible or our wits, we aren't sure. But our minds will be open. And if the proof is in the pudding, then let this be a testament to the way god can change a couple of atheists by his word alone. If not, we'll have a grand and interesting time finding out what's actually IN this ancient tome.