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Live Blogging the Bible: Leviticus Preface

by Noah Lugeons

On the suggestion of a professor that Carl interviewed on the Post Rapture Looting Atheist Podcast, when I set out to read the bible, I purchased the 4th Edition New Oxford Annotated Bible.  It was a bit more of an investment than many of my other bible options, but the annotations, reading guides, maps, apocrypha and summaries made it well worth the investment.

Each book in the New Oxford is preceded by a series of short essays that deal with authorship, interpretation, structure, history and a short “reading guide” aimed to help the student appreciate exactly what they’ll be reading.  Thus far these essays have been rather useful in structuring the discussions we have on the books as well as giving me a bit of a life raft while I’m drowning in the prehistoric insanity of this tome.

The reading guide for Leviticus contained a rather interesting suggestion that basically said the best way to read Leviticus is to not read it.  After a brief and desperate attempt to downplay the raving lunacy of this section of the bible, the scholars offered the following advice:

Because the focus of Leviticus’s narrative is the law and in its divine speeches, the book is most profitably read first according to legal topic rather than from beginning to end.

In keeping with the theme of our “Holy Babble” segment, of course, I ignored this advice and dove right in.  And it didn’t take long to figure out why they discourage such activity.  I would submit that it’s all but impossible to maintain the internal fiction of divine authorship after reading even the first several verses in Leviticus.

It’s also no wonder to me that while most of us our familiar with many of the stories in Genesis and Exodus, we don’t know a damned thing about Leviticus.  It certainly wouldn’t do well for the “divinely inspired” camp to try to rationalize the crazy shit in this book.  Let’s just say it’ll be a long damn time before some creationist group opted for the moniker “Answers in Leviticus”.

I’m sure it’s not the most fucked up book in the bible (I hear tell that Deuteronomy trumps it early and often), but it is certainly the most fucked up thing I’ve ever read.  There can be little doubt that this is a simple amalgamation of horribly misguided, pre-scientific tribal customs codified in a time before we understood medicine, meteorology, biology or succinctness.

Episode 15 – Partial Transcript

by Noah Lugeons & Heath Enwright

Sponsor:

Today’s episode of the Scathing Atheist is brought to you by the new anti-erection medication for all of your overnight camping trips with known pedaphiles and children needs.  The flaccidating power of new Celibacyalis will tame even the most immaculate ejaculate.

Celibacyalis, because only the Pope can be infallible, but anyone can be in-phallus-able.

And now, the Scathing Atheist.

Intro:

It’s Thursday, it’s May 30th and what the fuck Detroit? You were up 3-1 in that goddamned series.

I’m your host Noah Lugeons and from bohemian New York, New York, this is the Scathing Atheist.

On this week’s episode:

  • A recent law change in Texas will make it legal to not break the law,

  • Iowa takes concrete steps to be dumber and less vaccinated,

  • And we’ll make you laugh so hard a little bit of pee comes out,

But first, the Diatribe:

Diatribe:

I’d like to start off tonight with, an update on the soundclip that opened our show last week.  And for the apparently sizable percentage of our audience with bong related memory deficiencies, it was the one where Wolf Blitzer makes almost as much of an ass of himself as he did when he went on Jeopardy and proved himself to be biologically fungal in mental function. And if you somehow missed that clip on the YouTube, the Twitter and the Facebook, the story goes like this:

Man means woman, woman’s holding baby in front of a house recently destroyed by a tornado, man is a salivating news whore so he puts a camera in front of her.  So here’s this feeble-minded simpleton who managed to score a negative $4600 on the dumbed down Jeopardy they give to celebrities and he’s vamping for questions so he asks the poor woman if she remembers to thank god.

Now, I can’t really blame Wolf Blitzer for assuming that the random Oklahoman he was talking to was Christian.  You’re gonna win that bet a lot more than you’re gonna lose it.  Hell, it’s not like answering “What is Jerusalem?” when the clue was “Jesus hailed from this town”, but it’s still a stupid thing to ask someone about whom you know nothing.  But it’s Wolf “which appendages do the pants go on again?” Blitzer so you expect shit like that.

But what followed is something you wouldn’t expect.  Instead of looking at her shoes and muttering “well… yeah, whatever, I thank him, sure” she very politely and somewhat timidly said, “well, no, because I’m an atheist”.  And then Wolf laughs. Like retarded people getting pudding .

The woman he was talking to at the time, now identified as one Rebecca Vitsmun, didn’t have to self-identify as an atheist.  She could have just shrugged.  But she used the A word.  She said on national TV (albeit a channel nobody watches) that no, she doesn’t thank God because she doesn’t believe in God.  And if anyone had been watching, they might have said, “Hey look, there’s a regular person with real problems and an adorable baby that isn’t religious and seems like a normal human.”

Keep in mind that normally there’s no reward for saying, “No, I’m an atheist”.  In fact, when you live in Oklahoma there’s often something quite antipodal to a reward.  If she was doing it with any end goal in mind it was probably a subtle reminder to Wolf and the other newscasters out there that they shouldn’t assume people are religious.  It’s a bit of a sacrifice to send a very important message.

Wolf Blitzer won’t learn, of course, because he’s so stupid that he doesn’t even know he’s too stupid to go on Jeopardy, but I’m willing to bet that a number of other news anchors are taking notes.  But not Wolf.  Because it was rainy that day and his crayons don’t work in the rain.  And I’m sorry if it seems like I’m focusing too much on Wolf’s mental-impairments, but we are talking about a guy who once looked at a bowl of penne on a television screen and said, “What is fettucini?”  I mean, fettucini Wolf?  Are you fucking kidding me?

So I heard this silly little soundclip and decided to open the show with it.  And I wasn’t the only one who thought it deserved a share because within 24 of the live broadcast it was all over the atheist blogosphere and all over the english speaking world atheists were giving Rebecca an enthusiastic fist pump.  But the story doesn’t end here, because it turns out that wasn’t all we were giving her.

Enter comedian and secular church co-founder Doug Stanhope who sees this thing and realizes that it’s a perfect time to show the world the benefit of putting your faith in the faithless.  So he started an Indiegogo campaign called “Atheists Unite” to raise money to help our latest viral celebrity rebuild.  And it turned out that we atheists thought it a fantastic idea.

So thanks to the efforts of Stanhope, the inexplicable morality of non-believers and the power of the atheist blogosphere, the secular community was able to raise $50,000 for Vitsmun in less than three quarters of a day with more pouring in to help her and other recently smited people in Oklahoma.

Now, originally I was going to tack this update on to the end of the headlines section, but the more I thought about it, the more I realized that this story represented every single step between now and secular majority.  It begins with normal people standing up and proudly (if timidly) proclaiming their atheism.  It ends with secular humanism stepping in and serving those functions that we’ve left to churches for so long.

Christians have a lot of places to go when shit hits the fan.  Within hours of the storm clouds clearing there were religious missionaries there to help the religious people cope.  And most of these people are probably just good people that want to help.  They’d be happy to help the atheists too, but they’re not equipped.  They can only exacerbate the stress by talking about god’s plan and asking us if we remembered to thank Super Jesus.

In researching for this show, I come across a lot of shit that makes me wonder if there’s any point in fighting this fight.  I see laws being passed today that the 18th century would be embarassed by.  I see world leaders justifying their actions with Aesop’s fables.  I see people being killed by the hundreds for believing in the right imaginary friend the wrong way.  And it makes me want to start a podcast about hockey or something.

But once in awhile I come across a story like this and it gives me hope.  And it reminds me that there’s really some power in this community even if we are a bunch of unherdable pussies.  It reminds me that even our weird, nebulous, infrastructureless, leaderless movement can still get things done.  And it reminds me that Wolf Blitzer is verifiably nine thousand, two hundred Jeopardy-dollars stupider than NANCY GRACE.  And I like being reminded of stuff like that.

Atheist Community raises money for Wolf Blitzer’s surprise Oklahoma atheist: http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2013/05/24/has-the-oklahoma-atheist-been-saved/

And Proof that Wolf is really that stupid: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DVC28oemocA

Headlines:

Joining me for headlines tonight is my fellow ignorance wrangler, Heath Enwright.  Heath, are you ready to corral the flock?

I’m trying really hard to be the shepherd.

In our lead story tonight, it looks like we’re all going to heaven, unless, of course, the infallible guy was wrong, which, according to the people who believe him to be infallible, he was.  The story begins at morning mass where the new, controversial pontiff controversially declared that everybody could get into heaven even if they’re not Catholic… and there was controversy.

I love when the pious get meaningless news…that they believe to be terrible news.  Turns out they’ve spent their entire seratonin-deprived lives hedging their bets on the losing end of Pascal’s Wager.  What’s wrong?  You been completely wasting your time confiding your darkest secrets to an asexual man in the next stall every Sunday?

Could have just as well been going to a Minnesota airport mens room, and getting more than just your ego stroked?

Couldn’t be less productive than confession.  Anyway, the atheist community, who, truth be told, could give a shit less what some senile old coot thinks about our chances of making it to space paradise, welcomed the statement and gave the pope a pat on the back for trying.  In fact, many people of a number of different faiths welcomed the statement, but you can bet your ass that none of them were Catholic.

As quickly as they could rev up the holy-laptop…

Is that a Gateway… to Heaven?

No, they’re pretentious so it’s probably an I-Maccabees.

Wouldn’t they spring for the Adonai-Pad?

Well, whatever they used, the underlings that pull the pope’s strings took to the series of tubes to clarify the statement and assure faithful Catholics that what he really meant was the exact opposite of what he said.  Despite infallible rumors to the contrary, only Catholics get sky-cake.

Nope, too late.  You heard him, and like you said he’s infallible.  “All my atheist sins of reason done been warshed away . . . Come on in boys, the water is fine.”

It’s gotta hurt to find out from Megatron that the heathen Autobots can have real cake, and sky cake, and eat it too.  That’s like blowing someone for drugs that you’re not going to take, and then finding out they’ve been giving away free drugs to atheists the whole time.

Pope Decides Atheists Can Go to Heaven: http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2013/05/23/heaven-for-atheists-pope-sparks-debate/

And in “It’s-Not-Praying-If-I-Don’t-Agree-With-You” news, Arizona legislator Steve Smith called for a metaphysical mulligan last week after atheist representative Juan Mendez profaned that body’s ritual of morning incantations by offering his own prayer to start the session.  Steve Smith, who, in addition to being two washed up NFL wide-outs, is apparently also an old, white, bigoted fuck-plunger, was incensed by the audacity of equality and offered a second prayer in (quote) “repentance” for the godless heathen’s prayer.

That’s weird, because normally Representative Mendez arrives very late to these sessions, as Arizona law requires that he show his ID to any white person that sees him along the way.    

Sounds like Smith is being fairly open-minded.  He’s willing to allow anybody – even an atheist – to deliver a Christian prayer before the session?  

Smith offered this hilariously stupid analogy to justify his actions, “If you don’t love this country… don’t say ‘I want to lead this body in the pledge’ and stand up there and say… ‘You know what, I love England’.”

Yeah we can’t have politicians wasting their time dwelling on societal problems.  We need them focused on old books.   

So apparently the constitutionally dubious opening prayer is okay and doesn’t endorse a particular faith group, but if you don’t pray to Mary’s Baby-Daddy, the Christians still get to pray anyway.

Michael Richards isn’t racist . . . We had Chris Rock open for him.

Atheist Prayer Not Good Enough For Arizona Lawmaker: http://news.yahoo.com/arizona-house-non-prayer-sparks-christian-213521848.html

And in military news, the state of Texas has issued a preemptive strike in the war on Christmas with House Bill 308, which protects a teacher or student’s rights to say “Merry Christmas” without repercussions.  It also gives the districts the right to put up Christmas decorations, too.  So apparently they can open the gates of the prisons and let all those “Merry Christmas” wishin’, mistletoe-hangin’ hoodlums back out on the streets.

I heard this legislation is just a piggy back on another larger bill, re-affirming that under Texas law, murder is still frowned upon.  The amended murder ban would also include an exclamation point at the end.  Texans want to show how serious they are about not murdering, unless of course, you’re paid by the government to inject people with poison.

Now, as an atheist, my ears always perk up when I hear about state legislators making things legal that are already legal and you don’t have to dig too deeply into this one to see what the real goal is.  The bill doesn’t change a single letter of any law anywhere.  What it does is send a firm message that atheists can go fuck themselves if they think they’re comin’ after the baby Jesus and our manger scene.

Well, if they’re worried about somebody stealing the baby Jesus from their tax-embezzlement-funded, life-sized shoebox diorama, why don’t they just nail him down?

Are they sensitive about that for some reason?

And just to clarify the visual gag I was using during a podcast, my arms were extended outward as I made that suggestion.

Who says sight-gags don’t work on audio?  The bill specifically states that Christmas decorations are fine as long as there is at least one symbol from one other faith somewhere.  Like, a menorah in the closet or a buddha in the attic or something.

Like a Jew under the floorboards?

…at least you didn’t say in an urn.

…or oven.

In fact, it even says that “at least one secular scene or symbol” is sufficient to offset the Christian-ness of a nativity scene leading one to ask, what the fuck is a “secular” symbol?  I mean, are they saying as long as there’s a cross and a non-cross object, it’s okay?

Crosses are all about perpendicular, so they must mean secular objects like 2 lines that are extremely parallel.  

“I mean, sure, that’s a diorama of Christ on the cross, but look at this secular umbrella stand next to it, so… you know?”

I guess representations of factual a priori knowledge would be secular objects.  

I’m sure when questions like these come up, the highly-educated members of the Texas legislature routinely discusses Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason, and the concepts behind the (analytic / synthetic) and (a priori / a posteriori) distinctions.  

Yes, I’m sure that Rick Perry can both comprehend and spell those concepts.

Texas mounts preemptive strike in the War on Christmas: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/2013/05/24/texas-set-to-pass-bill-protecting-the-phrase-merry-christmas-from-well-no-one-really/

And in morbidly-obese-gubernatorial news, New Jersey governor Chris Christie has decided that they’re pretty much recovered from that hurricane shit and now they’ve got a spare 11 and a quarter million dollars to give to seminaries for capital improvements.  And no, I don’t have to be fucking kidding you, because I’m not.

You’ve must have been fucking kidding me when you said “I don’t have to be fucking kidding you”.

I wasn’t.

The appropriations are tucked away amid 174 less questionable grants going to 44 less questionable colleges around the state.  But if you go a-diggin’ you’ll find two line items totalling $11.25 million going to two religious schools.  And I’m not talking “We’re Notre Dame and we love Jesus and we’re religious” religious schools, I’m talking about “We’re training religious people to be more religious and only people of our religion can come here” religious schools.

First of all, I’m not ok with Notre Dame getting any public money if they’re going to teach students about fictional characters like god and Manti Teo’s girlfriend.  Also, after doing some google images research on this, I’m fairly certain that former Notre Dame head football coach Charlie Weiss is the same person as governor Christie.

Hard to believe considering that when Sandy hit, Christie was able to mount a defense.

The two grants include a $650,000 grant to Princeton Theological Seminary and a stereotype reinforcing $10.6 million to the Beth Medrash Govoha rabbinical school.  I think it’s worth noting that the latter of the two not only excludes non-Jews, but non-men as well so one must invoke exponents to express the unconstitutional nature of these grants.

Really?!?!  $11.25 million dollars going to teach clergy?  How much does it cost to build a new pseudo-science lab?  Are they demonstrating scripture concepts with large hadron colliders now?  

Something strikes me odd about a rabbinical school modernizing anyway.

Chris Christie Wants to Funnel Millions in Taxpayer Dollars to Seminaries: https://www.au.org/blogs/wall-of-separation/paying-for-praying-nj-governor-seeks-to-award-taxpayer-millions-to

And in “If-We-Stop-Testing-These-Kids-They’ll-Stop-Failing” News, the Iowa state legislature recently passed House File 215 in an effort to lower the bar of homeschooling standards so far that a person might theoretically trip over it.  HF 215 ensures the success of every child by removing any standard that would require them to learn or do anything.

Is this in response to an outcry that Iowa parents were making their homeschooled children too smart?

Or maybe too healthy, as among the standards on the chopping block here is the requirement that homeschooled children be vaccinated

Most homeschooled children in Iowa are baptised, so why would they need vaccinations?

What’s worse is that some of this other shit is worse.  This thing goes from relaxed to catatonic with revisions like:

  • Homeschooled children no longer have to spend a set number of days a year learning things

  • Homeschooled children no longer have to learn any things

  • Homeschooled children never have to demonstrate knowledge of things

What is this, “No Child Pushed Ahead?  Can parents get vouchers to cover the costs of not teaching?

Just the latest in Iowa’s aggressive strategy to end Mississippi’s reign as the stupidest state in the country.

And that’s a competitive category.

Iowa deregulates home-schooling: ttp://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/2013/05/27/new-legislation-will-allow-iowas-homeschooling-parents-to-not-teach-their-children/

And in “We-Can-No-Longer-Afford-To-Be-Picky” news, the Church of England recently unveiled plans to allow people with vaginas to become bishops.  After decades spent debating something the rest of the world had figured out so thoroughly it had long been encoded in law, the Church of England had decided that women have functional brains, too.

The Catholic Church needs to take a cue here.  This would put a huge dent in the rape case numbers.  I’m not saying female priests wouldn’t be capable of abusing their power, but it would end up being consensual way more of the time.  When I was a 12-year-old boy, I would have happily taken a BJ from a toothless old nun.  

12 years old?  I’d still take a… oh, nevermind.

So perhaps it was for the toothless blowjobs,, perhaps it’s because you can’t fuck something up if it never has any actual results anyway or maybe it was spurred on by a genuine change of heart, the important thing to note is that they’re not going to rush into this.  They’re only one full century behind modern thought on this so they’re gonna give it a couple more years before they revoke their bigotry.

This sounds a lot like the way the Republican Party is being forced to reluctantly embrace colored people.  

And estrogened people at the same time.

Now, I have to point this out: In every article I saw on this they say that the church made “concessions” to the people who opposed women bishops, but I couldn’t find any details on that and I’m dying to know what that would entail.  I mean, what, they can be bishops but I can still call them “Toots” and they have to make me a sandwich if I ask?

Listen guys, the female bishop thing is happening, but as a concession . . .  From now on, “No” means “Yes”, and “Yes” means “Anal”.

Church of England to Allow Women Bishops in 2015: http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/05/24/us-britain-church-bishops-idUSBRE94N0RV20130524

And finally tonight in our international forecast on demonic activity, we turn to Madrid where the devil seems to be winning one fiddle-battle after another.  An anonymous spokeswoman for the archdiocese of Madrid told the Associated Press that they had only one priest who was fully trained in devil-wrestling and that just wasn’t enough.

Is a spokeswoman like a female spokesman?  Like a woman talking?

I doubt it… they’re Catholic.

Now, apparently you can only make the normal water turn into magic devil-kryptonite if you’ve been authorized by a bishop to do so and, of course, the Vatican is well aware of how silly the whole exorcism thing looks to everyone except idiots.  As evidence, I offer the recent shit show that erupted when stories got out that one might have been performed in St. Peter’s Square last week by Pope San Francisco Treat.

You’ve been managing to get lots of mileage out of Pope Francis nicknames.  This time you’ve got him as gay rice.

Thanks you.  I project that by episode 24 I’ll be using shit like Pope Fart-rancis so enjoy it while you can.  But anyway, this leaves Spain in a delicate position because they’ve got one exorcist Bruce Lee-ing his way through the Spanish demon-hordes here and he’s in desperate need of reinforcements, but nobody’s coming to help.  And somebody please tell Michael Bay that I’d sell him that script cheap if he wants it.

So I would normally make a Michael Bay joke here, but where does one find anything to criticize in films such as Pearl Harbor, Bad Boys 2, The Island, Transformers, Transformers 2, Transformers 3, and Untitled Transformers Sequel?

I think that’s the most offensive thing you’ve ever said on this show, so I guess we can close it out there.  Heath, thanks for joining me.

And when we come back, we’ll HTTP colon… oh wait, that’s the link.

The Holy Babble Supplement:

I got an email the other day about our Holy Babble segment and it accused us of just cherry picking out the bad shit and ignoring the good shit.

Well that’s the point of our segment.  We’re not fact checking the bible line by line to see how bad their batting average is; we’re out to make circumcised dick jokes at its expense.  

And boy does this thing have dick jokes, but I’d still respectlessly disagree with the dink who sent this email because we really haven’t had to do that at all.  We’ve really just been telling the story as it’s written and it really is that fucked up.  In fact, if anything, we’ve left out some of the most fucked-up stuff so that we’d have time to talk about the spattering of good stuff.

Non-evil stuff anyway.

Right.  So as evidence of that, we’d like to offer you the top five horribly fucked up things we didn’t talk about when we broke down the first two books of the Bible in a segment we like to call…

The HOLY BABBLE… SUPPLEMENT

5) Genesis 6.

Now, we skimmed over the whole Noah’s Ark bit because plenty has been said about what ridiculous horseshit it is, so when we talked about it, we never even mentioned what an implausible concept it is.  Who feeds what to who?  What are they drinking?  And who’s shoveling all the shit?

Sounds like an impossible to solve LSAT question.  If you have a bag of grain, and 2 foxes, and 2 hens, and 2 of every other animal, on one side of the river, and an impossible ark on the other side . . .  Also, why did the birds need an ark to survive a flood?  

And what about the amphibians?  And where did Noah go to pick up two polar bears?  And how did they keep everything from fucking everything?

Seems like if FEMA had hired this Noah guy before Katrina, blacks might not be extinct in New Orleans.  

Yeah, they definitely needed a few more cubits of emergency housing.  Now, to keep things fair, I did look at what the apologists had to say about these questions and according to AIG, the ark would have produced about 11 metric tonnes of shit a day, a quota that Answers In Genesis can only aspire to.

http://www.answersingenesis.org/articles/am/v2/n2/caring-for-the-animals

4) Exodus 21:7

This is a verse that starts with the words, “When a man sells his daughter as a slave,” and doesn’t then go on to say, “you will castrate him with a rusty mayonnaise lid and let him bleed to death in the public square.”  How could we possibly be cherry picking the worst stuff if we skipped over the bit where it outlines the ethical way to sell your daughter as a slave?

Actually, I assumed I would cherry pick something from this, but their guidelines on this are surprisingly reasonable.  It even includes guarantees the whores won’t be sold to foreigners . . . so that’s nice.

True.  It even encourages you to continue to feed her after you get bored of fucking her.

It also says that if you buy her for your son and she marries the slave you have to treat the slave like your daughter.  Which sounds good until you consider that one book earlier Lot was tossing his daughters to rape-starved sodomites.

Which brings us to…

3) Genesis 19:30-38

Here we have a lovely little story about those same daughters repeatedly force-fucking their dad.  It doesn’t set anything up or connect anything to anything.  It’s just there to give perverse goat-herders an image to jackoff to and insult Moabites.

I guess the lesson here is “Dad’s dick is better than no dick at all.”  

That’s the moral, yeah.  So in this passage, Lot, after escaping from Sodom with his two date-rapist daughters and his favorite salt-lick, unwillingly impregnates his daughters with two inbred, incestuous, polydactyl prison babies.

Must have been legitimate rape.

Well, the Jews were probably worried about future persecution on account of their genetic superiority, so a few extra fingers and chromosomes just made sense.  Nobody figured every single Moabite would settle in the same 3-block radius in Brooklyn.

I guess the one good thing about being gang raped by sodomites is that you won’t get pregnant…

I wouldn’t say that’s the ONLY perk about being gang-raped by sodomites.

2) Exodus 21:20-21

There’s no way to dress this one up worse than it comes off in the actual bible, so here it is from the NIV version:

“Anyone who beats their male or female slave with a rod must be punished if the slave dies as a direct result, but they are not to be punished if the slave recovers after a day or two, since the slave is their property.”

I can’t help but picture a Jewish version of a Southern plantation owner.  Like Woody Allen instead of Don Johnson in Django.  

Yes, Exodus was full of fair and equitable treatment of one’s slaves.  For example, while one was encouraged to regularly beat one’s slaves and children, the gouging out of a slaves eye was frowned upon.  In fact, the rule says that if you knock out the slaves eye you have to let him go, so I figure if I was a slave, I’d just be moving my eyes in front of the whip constantly.

1) Genesis 9:20-27

And finally, the most perplexing parable in the book to this point, we didn’t even mention the crazy post-deluvian antics of Noah and his dancing weiner.

This is the “If your dad’s a drunk, you need to walk around your house backwards wearing a cape” chapter.  

Right, apparently they were supposed to walk around shading the lower half of their vision like the Bela Lugosi double in Plan 9 From Outer Space.

Not sure how the fuck we forgot to mention this part, considering I plan to be an alcoholic father one day.

As it turns out, if I want to smite my son and get him sent to hell, all I have to do is get wasted and pass out while hanging brain.  Or more directly, just wake him up with a tea bag.  

I guess that really shows the concern my dad had for my soul.  When I was a kid he would only take his dick out when he was behind me.

I think this chapter is the basis for the penis game in “Waiting”

I never saw that flick.  How does that game work? … Oh fuck dude!

Outro:

I had one quick but important announcement before we close things out for the night.  In response to a number of requests for Scathing Atheist shwag, Heath and I are commissioning the design of three Scathing Atheist T-Shirts that will be available soon if you’re willing to interpret the word “soon” in a geological sense.

But between now and then, we want your help deciding exactly what to put on those shirts.  We’ll be doing shirts for three of our many fine sponsors.  I’ll be posting a poll on our blog and on Facebook, so if there’s a particular sponsor you’d wear on a T-Shirt, let us know.  You can let us know over Twitter, on Facebook, via email or, if you want to make absolutely sure your vote is counted, you can add your preference to the end of a 5 star review on iTunes.

That’s all the time we’ve got for tonight’s show, but we’ll be back in 168 hours to tackle one of the most infamous books in the bible.  If you can’t wait that long, be sure to check out our erratically published blog at Scathing Atheist (dot) com.  You’ll also get your daily fix of Scatheism by following us on Twitter and liking us on Facebook.  And don’t forget to check out our You-Tube channel, even though everything on it is just a segment pulled from the podcast which you’ve probably already heard.

I want to thank Heath for all his help this week.  I also want to thank Reap from the Angry Atheist for providing this week’s Farnsworth quote.  Hard to believe he had the ten seconds to spare with all the content that dude is producing in a week, so if you haven’t checked out the Angry Atheist yet, I definitely recommend it along with ReapSow Radio, which you’ll find linked on the shownotes for this episode.

http://angryatheist.info/

http://www.reapsowradio.com/

But finally and most importantly, we have to take a minute to honor this week’s most sexually attractive human beings, Paul, Dee, Kevin and Graham, who distinguished themselves this week by giving us money.  Paul, whose clever inventions and godlike nunchaku skills will one day save humanity; Dee whose wit and sharp mind are the very metric by which future robot generations will measure their intellect; Kevin, whose agility, fearlessness and ability to banter well with supervillains are the envy of masked-vigilantes everywhere and Graham; whose very presence soothes children, moistens vaginas and lengthens telomeres even over Skype.  These truly  superlative citizens have all earned their place in history and in my heart with their stolid generosity.  And we love them all equally, except Graham who we love just a little more because holy shit, the dude donated a hundred bucks.  Which was fucking awesome and totally made my week.  Thanks bro.

If you, too, would like to earn your eventual spot beside these exceptional bipeds on the Mount Rushmore of altruism and erudition, you’ll find the donate button on the right side of our homepage at Scathing Atheist (dot) com.  Remember, not every donation goes straight to booze and weed.  Some of it goes to hosting and stuff.

If you have questions, comments or death threats, you’ll find all the contact info on the contact page of our website.  All the music used in this episode was written and performed by yours truly and yes, I did have my permission.

The Moral Lessons of Exodus

May 13, 2013 6 comments

by Noah Lugeons

Exodus is a good guide for morality only if you compare it to Genesis.  I’ll give the book of Exodus the credit that it did seem that on some level the authors were aware that this book would one day be used as a moral guide.  In Genesis we basically got a bunch of morally dubious just-so stories but in Exodus at least we get a haphazard, antiquated, random list of dictates.

Granted, that only comprises a small portion of the book.  The majority of Exodus is consumed with god’s sick revenge fantasy against all things Egyptian and some really detailed instructions on how he wants his tabernacle (which are repeated no fewer than four times in the fucking book).  So it seemed that the authors figured all moral enigmas could be taken care of in about four chapters but we need at least a dozen chapters to hammer down how many cubits of tanned rams’ skins and goat hair each curtain around the tent around the altar get.

So despite the fact that god spends the first half of Exodus breaking many of the commandments he’s going to lay down later, the book does manage to squeeze in a few good moral nuggets.  It’ll make for a kind of long list, but I’m going to break all of the “commandments” down here and we’ll rate them all on a moral scale with the following grades:

  • (M, +2) for truly moral,
  • (A, +-0) for ambiguous and/or meaningless,
  • (AM, +1) for ambiguous but leaning moral,
  • (AI, -1) for ambiguous but leaning immoral,
  • (I, -2) for immoral and
  • (H, -4) for horribly immoral on several levels.

We’ll start with the eight and a half commandments:

  1. (AI, -1) You shall not make an idol or worship any god before me (fuck Jewish tradition, that’s one commandment).
  2. (AI, -1) You shall not take the lord’s name in vain (fuck Catholic tradition, this is a different commandment).
  3. (AM, +1) Remember the Sabbath day and keep it holy.
  4. (AM, +1) Honor your mother and father.
  5. (M, +2) You shall not kill. (Hey, they finally got one that really is moral!)
  6. (AM, +1) You shall not commit adultery.
  7. (M, +2) You shall not steal.
  8. (M, +2) You shall not bear false witness.
  9. (A, +-0) You shall not covet your neighbors shit (fuck Protestant tradition, this is one commandment).

So far we’ve got 3 genuine moral ones, three that lean that way and two that lean against.  That gives Exodus a +7 on the moral scale, so that’s not too bad.  But then we get into all the sub-commandments and it gets pretty wonky.

  1. (I, -2) You shall make me an altar and kill sheep and ox for the fuck of it.
  2. (A) If you make me an altar of stone, don’t carve on it.
  3. (A) And don’t make steps that lead up to it or people will see your junk.
  4. (H, -4) When you buy a male Hebrew slave… (does it really matter what it says after that?)
  5. (H, -4) When a man sells his daughter as a slave... (and again, unless the next words are “he should get ass raped by porcupines, it’s not moral)
  6. (AI, -1) Whoever strikes a person mortally should be put to death. (Not having the capital punishment debate, but I’m only counting it as somewhat immoral to placate everyone)
  7. (H, -4) Whoever strikes mother of father should be put to death. (Regardless of your stance on capital punishment, that’s fucking harsh)
  8. (AI, -1) Whoever kidnaps a person should be put to death. (Can’t we just say, “thou shall not kidnap”?  I’d give him a +2 for that)
  9. (H, -4) Whoever curses mother and father should be put to death. (So by god’s standards, you might as well hit them, too)
  10. (M, +2) Don’t hit people with stones when you argue (paraphrased)
  11. (I, -2) When a person beats his slave to death, he should be punished. (I hold back on the -4 because at least the asshole gets punished in this one, but…)
  12. (H, -4) If you beat him to death but he lingers on for a few days before dying, you’re all good.
  13. (I, -2) If you injure a pregnant woman so that she miscarriages, you owe her husband money. (I don’t know what to do with this shit, but I know it isn’t moral)
  14. (I, -2) If you take out your slaves eye you have to free him or her. (Well isn’t that nice of you…)
  15. (AM, +1) If your ox gores somebody it’s not your fault unless you knew the ox liked to gore people. (Okay, so that’s kind of moralish but holy shit, compared to the bad stuff it’s pretty light)
  16. (M, +2) If you leave your pit uncovered and somebody’s goat falls in, you owe them a goat.
  17. (M, +2) If your ox kills my ox, we sell the living ox and split the profits.
  18. (M, +2) Don’t steal other people’s livestock (but since we already covered this one, it should hardly count)
  19. (A) If you beat a thief to death who broke into your house, you don’t get in trouble.  I’d count that as moral, except that it stipulates that he has to be breaking in at night, so if he breaks in during the day you have to use colorful language or something.
  20. (M, +2) Don’t let your ox eat my vineyard.
  21. (M, +2) Don’t catch my vineyard on fire.
  22. (AI, -1) If you steal something from somebody’s house that they were holding for somebody else, you’re in more trouble than if had been their thing. (No indication as to why, but no positive points since I’ve already awarded 4 points for the self evident notion of not stealing other people’s stuff)
  23. (AI, -1) If we’re arguing over who owns something, we should let god decide.
  24. (AI, -1) If I sell you a donkey and it’s sick, I’m in no trouble as long as I swear before god that I had no idea.
  25. (AI, -1) If your donkey dies while I’m borrowing it, I owe you a donkey.
  26. (H, -4) If you seduce a virgin you have to give her dad money and marry her. (and she, of course, has not choice in the matter and doesn’t even get a cut of the money)
  27. (H, -4) Kill witches. (This should really be at least a -8 if you consider the actual result of this passage)
  28. (H, -4) Kill people with other religions.
  29. (M, +2) Don’t oppress immigrants (Shame those conservative right-wingers don’t read the bible or they’d know this one)
  30. (AI, -1) Don’t charge interest to Jews. (The implication is that it’s okay to charge interest to others, but one way or the other I think it’s a dubious position to stake out as a “moral” one)
  31. (AI, -1) Don’t revile god or curse a leader of your people. (To which I say fuck god and the leaders of my people)
  32. (AI, -1) Don’t hesitate to give god good shit.
  33. (I, -2) Give your firstborn everythings (ox, sheep, children, etc.) to god.
  34. (A) Don’t eat meat that was mangled in the field.
  35. (M, +2) Don’t spread rumors.
  36. (M, +2) Don’t act as a malicious witness or follow a majority in wrong doing.
  37. (M, +2) Don’t steal donkeys even if you really hate the person who owns the donkey.
  38. (M, +2) Seriously, don’t steal the motherfucking donkey.
  39. (M, +-0) Remember that thing I just said about not oppressing resident aliens? yeah, exactly that again in the exact same words.  Again. (No points for making the same moral point twice within eight paragraphs)
  40. (AM, +1) Leave your land unplanted one year out of seven.
  41. (AM, +-0) Again, repeating the Sabbath bit. (Again, no points for repeating the same shit over and over)
  42. (AM, +1) Hold three feasts for god each year. (I give them partial credit because celebrating with the community is a good idea… not exactly a moral imperative, but a good idea)
  43. (AI, -1) Don’t appear before god empty-handed. (To be fair, you’re not gonna appear before god anyway)
  44. (A) You shall not offer the blood of my sacrifice with anything leavened. (WTF?)
  45. (AI, -1) Give the priests the best fruits.
  46. (AM, +1) Don’t boil a kid in it’s mother’s milk. (Sure, cause that seems pretty fucked up)

And that’s pretty much all god offers in Exodus in the way of moral instructions.  If you add up the 47 sub-commandments, you get a whopping negative 28 (negative 21 if you factor in the 8 and a half commandments).  Even if you quibble with a couple of my scores, you have to admit that we’re dealing with a pretty crappy source for ethics.

It also bears mention that of the 15 things that I rated moral, 11 of them are meaningless if you don’t have any goats, oxen or vineyards, so even a negative twenty eight is probably too high a score.  I mean, there’s no way I know of to quantify the relative morality of an act, but if there was, I’m willing to bet beating a slave to death would be way more than twice as immoral as spreading rumors.

Live Blogging the Bible: Exodus 25-31

May 11, 2013 3 comments

by Noah Lugeons

Well, I just finished the “interior decorating” portion of Exodus.  For those who haven’t read the book (and how I increasingly envy them), this is the part where Moses goes up on Mt. Sinai to receive the word of god.  He’s up there for forty days and forty nights and honestly, it seems like god ran out of shit to talk about after day three.

The chapters immediately before 25 detail the closest thing to morality that the book has to offer yet.  This part includes the nine commandments and the numerous supplementary commandments like “Thou shalt not boil a kid in its mother’s milk” and “Thou shall not offer the blood of my sacrifice with anything leavened” and as haphazard as this list is, many of the particulars deal with real world situations (mostly ox related).

But then God, supremely inefficient time manager that he is, decides that he’s pretty much taken care of all of human interaction with a few ox rules and a dictate to kill witches.  So he spends the rest of his time on “Project Runway: Tabernacle Edition” and we spend 7 FUCKING CHAPTERS getting the low-down on exactly how he wants his tabernacle built… and his ark built… and his curtains… and his altar… and his separate little “incense altar”… and the clothes for his priests… and, I shit you not, the wash basin that the priests will use that will sit outside the tent.

For seven full chapters, we’re treated to details like (ex 27:16 & 27:17):

For the gate of the court there shall be a screen twenty cubits long, of blue, purple and crimson yarns, and of fine twisted linen, embroidered with needlework; it shall have four pillars and with them four bases.  All the pillars around the court shall be banded with silver, their hooks shall be of silver, and their bases of bronze”

So apparently when Christians call the bible a “book of answers”, they assume one of your questions was “yes, but if I’m making an ark for god tablets, what kind of wood should I use for the poles to carry it?”

Episode 12: Partial Transcript

by Noah Lugeons & Heath Enwright

(Note: Transcript may contain portions that were edited for time reasons)

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And now, the Scathing Atheist.

Intro:

It’s Thursday, It’s May 9th and somebody needs to tell people in Kentucky to stop wearing “I ‘heart’ KY” shirts

I’m your host Noah Lugeons and from voluptuous New York, New York, this is the Scathing Atheist.

On this week’s episode,

  • Christians will get upset about imaginary threats to their imaginary friend,

  • We’ll learn that in Turkey, you’re autistic,

  • And Darrel Ray will rejoin us to talk about pee-pees and coochies,

But first, the Diatribe.

Diatribe:

I started my post-secondary education at a small state college in rural Georgia.  And while you may not know me that well, even if this is your first time listening to the show you’ve probably already figured out that I’m not exactly right for a small state college in rural Georgia.  Let’s just say that my theological opinions ran counter to the prevailing ones.

You may have also picked up on the fact that I really don’t give two shits who I offend.

As you can imagine, this made for a combustible mix that didn’t take long to ignite.

I all but insured it with what I thought a harmless and excessively hilarious gag.  My dorm number was 174, but with a piece of posterboard and a sharpie, I cleverly changed it to 666.  Now, rural Georgia or no, I didn’t think this would actually piss anyone off.  Sure, they’re all Christian there, but this was college.  We were all a bunch of seditious rebels telling the status quo to go fuck itself, right?

Well, as it turns out, not so much.  Later that day I came back to a 174 where I’d left a 666 and below it there was a handwritten note.  I don’t recall every word of it, but I remember the opening line exactly:

“All the rest of us on this hall are Christian.”

The righteous vandal went on to explain that they didn’t want to see none of my satanic crap any-no-how and if I didn’t love Jesus I didn’t belong in that dorm hall, I didn’t belong in that college, I didn’t belong in that state and, come down to it, I didn’t belong in this country.  I was not welcome.

And, of course, I left a response.  Again, I don’t recall it verbatim, but it was a variation on the following:

“How feeble is your conviction if the very fact that someone doesn’t agree with you threatens it?”

I probably used a lot more words than that and I probably ensured that a few of them would force his ass to the dictionary, but that was the core of my rebuttal.  It’s been twenty years and I’m starting to think he’s not going to respond at all.

But that continues to be my strongest issue with religion as a whole.  If your idea has merit, it doesn’t need you there to defend it.  You can simply place it in the public arena and it can fend for itself.  Hell, how impressive would an omnipotent god be if he needed you to fight his battles for him?

If you want to see the deafening echo of this threat-response, just express your atheism on any social media venue and watch the wagons circle.  They’ll attack your intellect, your motivations, your morals, your conviction and occasionally your penis size (regardless of your gender).  They’ll gather together like white blood cells to defend their precious idea.

But meritorious ideas don’t need white blood cells.  If your ideas need to be reinforced once a week, they’re bullshit.  If you need to read the same book over and over again and hang out with people pre-screened to agree with you, you’re giving the bullshit armor.  If your ideas need to be propagated by an organized group that exists only to propagate your ideas they are bullshit.  And finally, if you’re threatened by people thinking you’re full of shit, it can only be because you’re full of shit.

Nobody ever had to show up at my door on a Saturday morning to convince me that A is equal to C if both are equal to B.  Nobody ever had to sneak a pamphlet into my Halloween candy to convince me that elephants are bigger than gerbils.  Nobody ever woke up early and dressed their kids up so that they could go somewhere and sing songs about cesium atoms having 55 protons.

Nobody ever passionately held a belief because it was true.  If it’s true, you don’t need passion.  Logic is more than enough of a scaffolding to hold up a genuine fact.  You only passion if logic isn’t enough.

Headlines:

Joining me for headlines tonight is the Pythias to my Damon, Heath Enwright.  Heath, are you ready to… be pithy, I guess?

Like Tina Fey if she were a dude?

She’s not a dude?  I feel so much less gay now…

In our lead story tonight, Christians across the internet are screaming themselves hoarse over an almost completely bullshit story about the Pentagon court-martialing people for being Christian.

Christianity pays for an entire staff of dudes who speak loudly about bullshit stories every week.  As a group, not exactly the pantheon of epistemological rigor.  

The tiny nugget of truth buried among this citadel of bullshit involves an April 23rd meeting between Mikey Weinstein, the head of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation and a group of pentagon officials including several generals and a chaplain.  And the very fact that the pentagon had the audacity to sit down with a person bearing legitimate complaints about clear violations of military prohibitions against religious proselytization was more than Christians could bear.

If they’re not careful, all this logic is gonna snowball out of control.  

Don’t worry, the paragons of journalistic integrity at Fox News were quick to put the brakes on it.  They noticed an article about this meeting and asked the pentagon if there were any plans to court-martial chaplains who proselytize.  The pentagon said no, but that wouldn’t piss of their viewers so they pretended the answer was yes.  And before long bloggers were leading off with headlines like “Pentagon Confirms They May Court-Martial Soldiers Who Hold Christian Faith”.

Yeah, court martialing 90% of the armed forces.  That shouldn’t fuck up military readiness, should it?  I mean, who’s gonna remotely fly all these drones?

They manage to inflate a low-level meeting to Weinstein now chairing a panel to reform court-martial procedures, they conclude that this will mean the end of military chaplains and that Obama’s Defense Department was (quote) “promising to bring criminal charges against any military personnel who express or share their faith.”

I’m beginning to think Obama made up all that stuff about being Christian and white, just to get elected.  

So yeah, scant amount of dubious evidence, passionately held conclusion despite overwhelming data to the contrary.  Been there, done that.

Pentagon warns Christian soldiers that proselytization will be met with court martial: http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/statements/2013/may/06/blog-posting/bloggers-say-pentagon-may-court-martial-christian-/ & http://nation.foxnews.com/religion/2013/05/03/rear-admiral-says-faith-under-attack-military & http://www.christiannewswire.com/news/2569472030.html

And in other Christians-Being-Furious-Over-Shit-That-Didn’t-Actually-Happen News, a high-school track team in Texas was disqualified from a 4 by 100 meter relay last weekend when a runner made a religious gesture at the end of the race.

Jews are gonna get offended by swastikas . . . Muslims are gonna get offended by Danish cartoons . . .  As an atheist, I’m supremely offended by any trinity-related gesture.  Don’t we get to pick an N-word too?  We’ve got unholy cows.

That sounds fair to me, but it really wouldn’t matter in this case because they weren’t actually disqualified because of a religious gesture, but rather because the judges deemed it “excessive celebration” and backed it up with clearly stated rules that specifically forbade “raising the hands or arms in celebration” after winning because, you know, it’s un-Jesus-y.

Do we really need to sit Christianity down for a quick seminar on what subset means?  Did religion really manage to brainwash away the Venn diagram concept?  That’s like a free built-in piece of brain functionality they’re throwing away.  And don’t they believe that somebody REALLY IMPORTANT designed all the brains?  

Well, I don’t know… if god made man in his own image then most of god is an idiot.  But this is how desperate Christians are to maintain their “help, help, I’m being oppressed” narrative.

Supreme omnipotent power is a mandate from the masses.

Excellent supplementary reference.  So here we’ve got a high school kid who gets disqualified from a track meet and it’s being reported on national news.  Nevermind that he was DQed for “excessive celebration and acting disrespectfully toward officials” and admits himself that there was no oppression of his faith here.

We can’t keep having laws that say “No doing stupid shit, unless you REALLY believe in it, and have a group of people with similar hats.”

Track Team disqualified for making “Religious Gesture” (Officially for “excessive celebration”): http://www.christianpost.com/news/was-relay-team-disqualified-from-state-championships-for-religious-gesture-95251/

Our next story takes us to New York Cities parking lot, New Jersey, where three members of the Trenton Diocese have resigned amid allegations that they knowingly allowed a child-molester to accompany them on overnight youth retreats.

Father Michael Fugee was convicted of fondling a teenage boy in 2003, but the conviction was overturned on appeal despite the fact that he had previously confessed to investigators.  Rather than retry the case, the prosecutors struck a deal with the archdiocese of Newark that would allow Fugee to remain with the ministry provided that he didn’t work with children.

I’m worried we won’t get in a dick joke if we don’t take the opportunity here.  

This show does have a two dick-joke minimum…

So what do you suppose they had in their video library there?  Movies like A Few Good Boys

The Priests of the Southern Child?

Altar Boys on the Side

Rosemary’s Adolescent

The Best Little Rectory in Texas

Super 8… Year Olds

Defrock of Ages (8-12)

And for the Jewish clients maybe Who Fucked Roger’s Rabbi?

It’s worth noting that in 2009 the archdiocese assigned him to the Saint Michael’s Medical Center in Newark and eventually removed him amidst scandal when this unsettling history came to light, so basically they’ve been moving this child-molester from place to place and waiting for somebody to say, “Hey, isn’t that dude a child-molester?” and then moving him somewhere else.

Wonderful . . . they figured out bit torrent for pedophiles.

3 resign from NJ church in pedophile priest scandal: http://news.yahoo.com/3-resign-nj-church-priest-scandal-161033762.html

And in our next story, a Turkish taint-stain has proven that when it comes to autism, one can actually have one’s head further up one’s ass than the anti-vaxers. Fehmi Kaya, the head of the Health and Education Associations for Autistic Children in Adana, Turkey said in a recent interview that atheism is (quote) “a different form of autism”.

If you’re gonna compare atheism to a mental disorder, autism is possibly the most flattering choice.  Rain Man was an awesome dude.  Sometimes autism comes with some super powers.  

On the other hand, theism as a mental disorder, would be something more like addiction to delusional psychosis with an extra chromosome on top.

Arguing that autism is the result of a lack of development in the “faith” center of the brain, he explains that this is why autistic children lack empathy with others, just like we atheists.

Kind of like the way Martin Luther King had an underdeveloped bigotry center of his brain.

Turkish Head of Education Dept. says Atheism is a Form of Autism: http://www.examiner.com/article/all-autistic-kids-are-atheists-and-atheism-is-a-form-of-autism & http://www.timeturk.com/en/2013/04/22/all-autistic-kids-are-atheists.html

And finally tonight, from the “If-God-Existed-He-Wouldn’t-Make-It-So-Easy-On-Me” News, the priest who was in charge of the treatment center where they sent priests accused of inappropriate sexual conduct has resigned amid allegations of inappropriate sexual conduct.

You’ve gotta be a little suspicious of these corporate climber types.  “So I hear you need somebody to head up the new Rape Department.  Look no further.  I’m your guy.  I know rape backwards and forwards.  I know it inside out… coming and going.  I know it like the back of my fist.

What would that resume look like?

Now, in defense of Monsignor Edward J. Arsenault, former president and CEO of the Saint Luke Institute he was accused of more than just sexual impropriety.  He’s also being investigated for some shady financial practices so he’s really proving himself Catholic to the core.

Throw in some Nazi affiliation and you’ve got the holy trinity.

And, of course, to a Monsignor the term “inappropriate sexual conduct” is redundant.  So this could be an inappropriate, consensual relationship with his hand for all they care.  If he’s coming, it’s inappropriate.

What if God blows you in a dream? . . .  An Immaculate Erection scenario . . .

Or Ejaculate Conception…

Would that count as honorable discharge?

Priest who heads top clergy treatment center resigns amid allegations of impropriety: http://www.religionnews.com/2013/05/06/priest-who-heads-top-clergy-treatment-center-accused-of-impropriety/

Well, unfortunately we’ll have to leave you on that puzzler, as that’s all the time we’ve got for headlines tonight.  Heath, thanks once again for joining me tonight.

And when we return, you’ll witness the second coming of Darrel Ray.

Calendar:

It’s time for the atheist calendar portion of the show.  Back and well rested from a hiatus on last week’s episode, this is the part of the show we set aside to keep everyone up to speed on all the great atheist and secular events happening around country and around the world.

We’ve already talked them up a couple of times on the show, but a quick reminder that the weekend of May 17th has two big events; Imagine No Religion 3 in Kamloops, BC and the Women in Secularism Conference in Washington DC.  Details on the lineups are linked on the website.

Imagine No Religion 3: http://inr3.eventbrite.ca/

Women in Secularism Conference: http://www.womeninsecularism.org/

At the end of the month we’ve got the American Humanist Association Annual Conference in beautiful San Diego, California.  They’ll be honoring some of the very best in the Secular Humanist movement including 2013’s Humanist of the Year, Dan Savage.  Other honorees include Greta Christina, Katha Pollitt (I hope I’m pronouncing her name right…), Carl Coon and Richard Leakey.  Oh, and did I mention Richard Dawkins was gonna be there?  So yeah, if you’re in the same hemisphere as this thing (and by that, I mean Western or Northern), you should really try to make it.

American Humanist Association’s Annual Meeting: http://conference.americanhumanist.org/

The following weekend they’ll be doing something pretty similar on the other side of the Atlantic.  The British Humanist Association Annual Conference will be taking place in Leeds over the weekend of June 7th.  They’ll be honoring Terry Pratchett with the 2013 Award for Services to Humanism.  They’ve already got a pretty impressive list of confirmed speakers and they’re promising more to come.

British Humanist Association’s Annual Meeting: http://bhaconference.org.uk/

You’ll find more information, including links to the homepages for all these events under the “Show Notes” for this episode.  Remember, if you’re involved with an atheist, humanist, skeptical or secular event that could use a little free publicity, let me know.  I’d be happy to plug your event to thousands of people who probably live nowhere near it, many of whom will hear it in archives long after it’s over.  You’ll find all the contact info on the contact page at Scathing Atheist (dot) com.

Outro:

Before we wrap things up for the night I wanted to make a quick correction about last week’s episode.  But unfortunately it looks like we didn’t fuck anything up last week so I won’t get to.  I promise to try less hard next time.

Normally I close the show out by thanking all the people who help make it go.  I usually thank all the people who send encouraging emails, follow us on Twitter, like us on Facebook, subscribe to us on YouTube, rate us on iTunes and tell their friends about us.  Then I’ll thank people like Heath Enwright and Darrel Ray who joined me on the show and I’ll usually thank people like Bill and Suzy from the “Bar Room Atheist” podcast for providing the Farnsworth quote this week and for putting together a really fun and relaxed podcast which you’ll find linked on our shownotes.

Bar Room Atheists on iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/bar-room-atheist

And I usually thank everybody who could have spent the last 30 minutes listening to any number of awesome things and chose to listen to this show instead.  And above all, I usually thank the world’s most astute, intelligent and discerning people, the one’s who donate money to our show.  People like Justin, this week’s most valuable human.

But I’m not going to do that tonight.  It’s not that all those aforementioned people don’t deserve thanks; they do, especially Justin because he gave us money, but I’ve got a really important thanks this week and I’m afraid it would have overshadow all those other ones.  I want to thank one of the most dedicated, influential and admirable people in the modern secular movement.  Eugenie Scott, long time director of the National Center for Science Education and valiant warrior against creationism and science denialism recently announced her retirement.

So I want to say to Eugenie Scott that we in the secular community cannot thank you enough for all the hard work you’ve done in defense of science and rationality.  After a long and successful career taking on all comers, you’ve earned the right to retire in peace, knowing that you’ve made a substantive difference and that you’ve inspired an army of freethinkers to follow in your footsteps even if none of them will ever quite fill your shoes.  So from the bottom of my heart, thank you.

That does it for tonight, but we’ll be back in 168 hours with the “Out of Egypt” Edition where Lucinda and Heath will join me to pour over 40 more chapters of immoral bullshit in the “Holy Babble”.  But if you can’t wait that long for more us, fear not.  Even in two parts I didn’t have quite enough room for all the good stuff from that Darrel Ray interview so I added a quick bonus question and answer to the “Extras” page on the website.  While you’re there, be sure to check out our erratically published blog and if you want to help me buy a new alternator and a car to put it in, click on the donate button on the right side of the page.

If you have comments, questions or death threats, you’ll find all the contact information on the “contact” page at Scathing Atheist (dot) com.  All the music used in this episode was written and performed by yours truly and yes, I did have my permission.

Live Blogging the Bible, Exodus 22:28

May 8, 2013 6 comments

by Noah Lugeons

So I’m at the part of the bible where God gives Moses the 10 commandments, which, by the way there aren’t ten of.  I don’t give a shit how you decide to count those fuckers, there aren’t ten.  I can see a reasonable argument for 9, 8, 11 or even 12, but to get to 10 you’ve got to start cutting these suckers up mid-sentence at some points and adding whole paragraphs together at others.

But after the 8 commandments, God carries on and it really seems like he just lost his train of thought.  He keeps spouting out moral dictates, but they’re as haphazard as you can imagine.  He’ll go straight from a details proscription for who pays who what if a donkey falling into an uncovered pit to a command to kill female sorcerers.  A couple of these things do seem reasonably moral, but some of them actually start out with stuff like, “When a father sells his daughter into slavery…” and end with something other than him be punished mercilessly.

I suppose I should sit back and enjoy, as I know I’m in for a lot more of these schizophrenic lists of archaic morals and some of them are hilarious.  These tend to be the parts of the bible you most often hear atheists alluding to, as they are the quickest proof that this book is a horrible source for morality and as I come across the little nuggets I’ve quoted before this whole endeavor seems momentarily less pointless.

Most of the best shit is in Leviticus, to be sure, but I was quite pleased to come across this one tonight.  I’ll be sure to toss it out next time I see one of my Christophile friends or neighbors bitching about Obama.  Exodus 22:28;

You  shall not revile God or curse a leader of your people.

I can see how that one gets lost, as it is sandwiched between a pointlessly involved explication of why you shouldn’t borrow your neighbors cloak and then not give it back to him if he’s cold and a warning not to delay in making offerings from the fullness of your harvest, so I can see how maybe it got tossed out as archaic.  I mean… who sleeps in a cloak any more, right?

But to all of those Obama-haters that actually believe in this silly little book, it might be a conflict worth losing sleep over.  At the very least, I can hope.

Live Blogging the Bible, Exodus 4:24-26

by Noah Lugeons

Even after only a book and 3 chapters, the title of “weirdest part of the bible” is a tough one to earn.  I’m only 100 pages in or so and already I’ve had to stop, scratch my head, re-read, re-scratch my head and sigh in frustrated confusion approximately one time for every 3 chapters.

If pressed, up until this morning I’d have listed the curse Noah lays on his grandson when his grandson’s dad sees his pecker as the weirdest part of the bible, though I’d have hemmed and hawed a bit between that and the part where Jacob wrestles god on the river.

But now there is a brand new contender and I actually think it might remain the bible’s weirdest passage no matter how much of this crap I read.  For those familiar with the bible, this is the part where Moses’ wife gives him magical foreskin powers so he can kick god’s ass.  And for those of you unfamiliar with the bible, that part actually exists and if you don’t believe me, check out Exodus 4:24-26 and tell me what the fuck is going on there then:

On the way, at a place where they spent the night, the Lord met him [Moses] and tried to kill him.  But Zipporah [Moses’ wife] took a flint and cut off her son’s foreskin and touched it to his feet and said, “Truly you are a bridegroom of blood to me!”  So he let him alone.  It was then she said, “A bridegroom of blood by circumcision.”

For a little context (and I’m afraid a little is all you’re gonna get), this is shortly after God charges Moses to go to Egypt and free the Israelites in bondage.  God appears in burning bush form, tells Moses to go to the pharaoh, loads him up with a few magic tricks and tells him to meet Aaron along the way.  And then, for no reason the bible bothers to explain, god appears and tries to kill Moses.  But not very hard.  Because of Zipporah’s clever foreskin maneuver.

There are so many fucking questions here, I don’t know where to start.  Why would god try to kill Moses?  How omnipotent is this guy if he can’t handle a Jew and his foreskin wielding wife?  If god can appear in a form that can ineffectually assassinate Moses, why the burning bush crap a few passages earlier?  And, most importantly, what the fuck?

This is some seriously crazy shit and the bible carries on like none of it happened a few verses later.  God just got thwarted by a piece of baby-dick and we’re just supposed to move on like this was no big deal?  And just how many of the early Jewish fathers have defeated god in a wrestling match?

I hoped that the annotations would help, but they just made it worse.  They refer to this whole thing as an “Enigmatic Episode” and point out that when it says that Zipporah touched the foreskin to Moses’ feet, that may have been a euphemism for his nuts.  Seriously.

So as I’m reading it, the scene from Zipporah’s perspective has to go something like this:

  • Awakened in the middle of the night by sounds of a struggle.
  • Wipe the sleep out of her eyes and glances through the moonlight to see her husband getting his ass kicked by God, Almighty.
  • Says to herself, “If only I had something to mutilate my son’s cock with!”  Finds flint.
  • Hastily circumcises her infant with a random, unsanitized stone in the dark.
  • Disrobes Moses’ while he’s fighting god.
  • Touches his cock with bleeding ring of baby genital.
  • God says… “Gross!  I don’t even want to wrestle any more!”
  • Says, “Truly you are a bridegroom of blood to me!”

I’m no closer to understanding this book, but at least now if I’m ever tasked with making an Exodus video game, I know what the power-ups will be.