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Posts Tagged ‘Exodus’

Exodus, in Rhyme

by Noah Lugeons

Okay, so I know that this is already in the post right below this one, but I had a few people ask if I could post it separately so that they could link to the poem directly.  So here it is, Exodus, by god, via Moses, via me:

 

The lord said unto Moses, “An Egyptian’s what you pose as,

But just look at all their noses, and you’ll see that you’re a Jew.”

Unto the Lord then replied Moses, “So what do you suppose is,

gonna happen when they know this? Just what am I to do?”

 

So he wandered as he pondered, of the Hebrews he grew fonder

So when he saw one get dishonored he attacked the perpetrator.

The dude was dead so Moses fled but in his head what Yahweh said

Still gave him dread as off he sped, telling Egypt “See you later.”

 

So when he finished with his fleein’ he wound up in Midian,

And he found a priest agreein’ to give up his daughter’s hand.

But the crazy shit he started seein’ left him guaranteein’

That his purpose would be freein’ all the Hebrews in the land.

 

See, he was tending Jethro’s flocks, when on some holy ground he walks,

He finds a burning bush that talks, and it tells him of his fate.

He asks god to choose another, since when he speaks he gets all buggered

God says, “Sure I guess you stutter, but your brother would be great.”

 

So upon this holy edict, they headed back to Egypt

And needed Gershom’s wee-dick when Moses wrestled god,

The Hebrews didn’t dare go, so Moses talked to Pharoah

With his eyes enraged and narrow and both his hands on Aaron’s rod;

 

He said, “LET MY PEOPLE GO!”  But the Pharaoh just said “No”,

And fearing that might be so, tossed down the staff that god empowered,

It became a snake but those Egyptians, also had magicians,

Both of their staffs started hissin’, but quickly got devoured.

 

Still the pharaoh, unimpressed, left this grievance unredressed,

And as you might have guessed, the plagues are here unveiled.

The bloody waters soon arise, frogs start falling from the skies,

He sends a bunch of gnats and flies; epidemics, boils and hail

 

Still, the Hebrews were unpardoned, when God’s locusts ate their gardens,

Since the pharaoh’s heart was hardened, Moses needed one last card to play.

Now with the firstborns lying dead, the pharaoh finally said,

“Take your unleavened bread, and go the fuck away!”

 

They rejoiced with sounds like thunder, when the pharaoh knuckled under,

They grabbed a bunch of plunder and followed smoke that god provided;

But soon doubts about the route came out, unto Moses the devout would shout,

“I guess god’s no fucking eagle scout, just look where we’ve been guided!”

 

You see, pharaoh sent his men of war, in hopes of settling the score,

And here the Jews are on the shore, trapped and ripe for slaughter;

So Moses, feeling like a schmuck, says, “God I think you got us stuck”

It looks like they’re completely fucked, until God divides the water.

 

Forty years of eating manna later, Moses talks to his creator,

So he could act as God’s translator and carve commandments into stone,

And on the impatient Jews behalf, Aaron makes a golden calf,

Which they then pray to, bringing wrath, for which no mercy would be shown.

 

Then starting in chapter twenty four, we mostly just discuss decor,

Despite their being plenty more, important things to tackle,

Important shit just gets ignored, as we spend the last sixteen chapters bored,

Learning exactly how the Lord, wants his tabernacle.

Episode 13: Partial Transcript

by Noah Lugeons and Heath Enwright

Sponsor:

Today’s episode of the Scathing Atheist is brought to you by the Hebrew delivery service, “Jew P S”.  When you’ve got Hebrews that absolutely must be delivered out of bondage tonight, turn to Jew P S.  Remember, not hail nor boils nor falling frogs shall stay our couriers from their appointed rounds”

Jew P S, all package, no foreskin.

And now, the Scathing Atheist…

Intro:

It’s Thursday, It’s May 16th and either this show is moving to Comedy Central next week or Sylvia Brown is full of shit.

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

On this week’s episode,

  • We’ll meet a liberal Muslim fighting for women’s rights to be publicly beaten

  • Jesus backs a loser in Miami

  • And Lucinda will join Heath and me to discuss the only book of the bible named after a Bob  Marley album

But first, the Diatribe.

Diatribe:

There was a time in human history when religion served a purpose.  It was a doctrine of culture, a subset of knowledge, an honest attempt to know what was, at the time, unknowable.  The earliest assertions of religion were based on empirical evidence and we can hardly fault early humans for not quite figuring out shit like lightning and earthquakes.

So they pointed to the nearest place they couldn’t reach and said god was there, tossing down thunderbolts and shaking the ground.  He was just up on that mountain there, you know, the one we can’t reach the top of?  Yeah, that one.  He’s up there making all this shit happen so now we understand it and we can control it.  If the earth shakes, we offer some goat’s bladders or something and it’ll stop shaking.

And as misguided as it was, it wasn’t malicious.  It was a synthesis of the best available information.  The problem, of course, is that there wasn’t really any god up there so we had to rely on people to tell us what god was so pissed off about.  And once you become the conduit of god, it’s gotta be damn tempting to decide god’s pissed off about how many virgins you’re not boning, or how many feasts you’re not eating.  At the very least god probably wants you to spend the day in quiet contemplation while all the other saps plow the fields.

So at some point between the question and the answer, religion became something else entirely.  It abandoned its desire to find truth in favor of a new desire to dictate truth.  After all, the idea that god wants you to have more money and nicer clothes might not stand up to objective scrutiny so fuck objective scrutiny.

So when we got to the top of the mountain religion just pushed god further back.  Turns out he was on the clouds, see… the really, really high up ones.  But don’t worry, we might have been wrong about where god was but we were definitely right about him wanting us to bone more virgins and eat more food.  What’s that you say?  You build an airplane and checked on the clouds and he wasn’t there?  Did I say clouds?  I meant… what’s that stuff above clouds?  Space!  That’s what I meant.  God was in space this whole time.  What?  Checked there too, did you?  Well, when I say space, of course, what I mean is “alternate dimension that you can never get to no matter where you look” so quit asking so many questions and trust me on the nicer clothes and more food stuff.

Because when your power comes from your ability to dictate the truth, the real, actual, “doesn’t-give-a-shit-what-you-say” truth necessarily becomes your enemy.  You have to be an impediment to discovery, a nemesis of knowledge.  You have to literally set yourself in opposition to reality.  To reality!

So sure, it’s fine to map the heavens as long as you didn’t notice a major hole in church doctrine while you were doing it.  It’s fine to examine all god’s creatures as long as you didn’t figure out how they got there.  It was fine to study every word of the bible as long as you didn’t notice the ones that contradicted each other.

There is a large swath of history where I’m perfectly willing to forgive religion for existing.  Hell, even the first few centuries of the scientific revolution could have left an educated person in doubt.  But nobody who is alive today was alive when anybody was alive who was alive when religion could justify its own existence.  Today it’s degenerated into nothing but a disease; a cancer that exists only to perpetuate itself.  A tumor that doesn’t know when to die.

And to turn a blind-eye to it and say, “well that’s just what those people believe and that’s perfectly alright” is to intellectually subsidize the equivalent of the DoDo preservation society.  They’ve had enough time to find a reason to exist.  We’ve given religion at least eight centuries to find something useful to do, but they haven’t.  Instead, they’ve become a stumbling block on the path toward knowledge.  In a lot of ways they didn’t have a choice, but that doesn’t make the sin any more forgivable.  Faith is the exact opposite of science and they peddle it as a virtue.

Religion has nothing to offer the world but more religion.  Give it another thousand years or another thousand centuries and it’ll still have nothing more to offer.  But imagine what science could do with that time… especially if there was no religion there to stand in the way.

Headlines:

Joining me tonight for headlines it my color commentator, Heath Enwright.  Heath, are you ready to comment on colors?

I don’t care for whites.  It’s getting embarrassing for us.

Well done, sir.  And now on to the news.  Our lead story tonight takes us to a state known for comedically sized hats, giant hunks of dead cow and long stretches of highway with nowhere to take a shit, Texas, where a state judge recently declared the establishment clause optional.

Yeah they like to conveniently forget about the 1st Amendment, but the entire state can recite the 2nd one word for word.  I picture an entire state populated by the bad guys from “A Time To Kill”.

Fairly accurate from my experiences with the state.  Tonight’s story begins about 250 miles east of the part of Texas that doesn’t suck in a small town called Kountze where the high school cheerleaders are fond of holding up banners with wholesome messages like “But thanks be to God, which gives us victory through our Lord Jesus Christ”, “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me” and, “Fuck atheists, people of non-Christian faiths and proper grammar”.

“And fuck you for already having come up with several Cunts jokes.”

Cunts is a small enclave, laying between Woodville and Lumberton, on Highway 69!!!.

I’m not even slightly fucking with you.  All those things are actually true.

It’s also adjacent to the “Big Thicket National Preserve” and it’s due south of “Beaver’s Bend National Park”.  Nice when geography just writes the jokes for you isn’t it?

The shape of the town on google maps even vaguely resembles a vagina with an oversized clit pointing up Highway 69 toward Woodville.

Priceless.

And with a tip of the cap to Kevin Smith, I’ll mention that an oversized clit is a lot like a small dick, and we can check off dick joke and vagina joke on story 1.

And a Kevin Smith reference so you’ve damn near hit for the cycle in the first inning.  So anyway, back to the story here, the Freedom From Religion Foundation politely pointed out that their football team isn’t allowed to directly endorse a particular religion, but a state judge disagreed, citing his eventual need to get re-elected.  The FFRF convincingly argues that this is tantamount to declaring an official school-religion.  Obviously we’ll have more on this as it develops.

Kountze needs to be told what to do.

I’m sure they would agree.

Texas Cheerleaders allowed to raise Biblical banner: http://ffrf.org/news/news-releases/item/17683-official-school-religion-ok%E2%80%99d-by-texas-court

Our next story takes us to the number one state in: agricultural non-point source nutrient reduction, per capita tornado deaths and prescription drug abuse, Oklahoma, a state which, despite having Seth Andrews in it most of the time, sucks.

If you take your state name, and add an exclamation, and you get the title of an old-timey musical, it doesn’t bode well for progressive politics in the region.

As evidence of that assertion, I offer one Muldrow high school, where a freethinking student recently complained about ten commandment plaques that hung in every fucking classroom.  The school was told to take them down and in a show of just how vapid the Christian comprehension of the whole minority consideration concept is, the students started a petition to revoke separation of church and state.

Can’t we just compromise and have a wall with plaques from all different religions . . .  

So that atheist kids can vandalize the wall, and everyone can get all symbolically incredulous.

Yeah, well this just proves once again that Christianity can’t stand on it’s own in a free market of ideas.  Christians have responded with threats against the complaining student and his family, some online bullying and a jackass pastor offering students free “ten commandments” T-shirts to remind kids that plaques or no, non-Christians are still a hated minority round these a’ here parts..

Isn’t there something about thou shalt not steal tax revenue for fictional purposes?

Student faces backlash after alerting FFRF to 10 Commandments displays in classrooms: http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2013/05/12/oklahoma-high-school-student-seeks-removal-of-ten-commandment-displays/

And from the “Bet-You-Can’t-Collect-Em-All” file, Pope Frankie-Panky canonized over 800 saints all at once last weekend.  It’s not clear if this is related to poor dashboard-sales projections for the 2nd quarter, but I like his focus on productivity.

In a move that can have no outcome at all but to piss off Muslims, the Pope went ahead with Ex-Benedict’s plan to Canonize the 813 “Martyrs of Otranto” who were beheaded by Ottoman soldiers for refusing to convert to Islam.

This would be 813 good candidates for the Darwin Awards.  Choosing to die in the name of Catholic god – instead of pretending you like Allah – is borderline window-licker.  Why does an omnipotent god need people to die for him?  Either Catholic god is real and the martyrs don’t matter, or Allah is real and the martyrs don’t matter, or neither is real and the martyrs REALLY don’t matter.

And you know what else doesn’t matter?  Being a saint.  Sure, back in the 15th century it was a pretty exclusive club, but now they’re letting everybody in.  Aren’t you supposed to have 2 miracles before you can be a saint?  Even if we accept that getting a Pope who’s trying to patch things up with the Muslims to canonize you when all you ever really did was say “Fuck Muslims” back in the 1400s counts as one miracle, what’s the other one?

People caring 600 years later.

Pope names 800 new saints: http://news.yahoo.com/pope-francis-names-800-saints-one-235904106.html

And in “Fuck-The-Children” news, two elementary schools in Lake City, Arkansas cancelled sixth grade graduation ceremonies because a bunch of atheists wouldn’t let them include prayers.  Rather than adjusting the ceremony to Constitutional standards, the school district elected to rob their student body of the coming-of-age milestone that is a 6th grade graduation.

“Sorry kids, the uppity negro that runs the federal government stopped letting our backwards town embezzle tax revenue for the tooth fairy, so you’ll all have to get your meaningless ceremony fix at church on Sunday like usual.”

Yeah, because for the record, I’d be fine with this if they’d just cancelled it because a 6th grade graduation is stupid.

School in Arkansas cancels graduation because atheists won’t let them pray: http://www.takepart.com/article/2013/05/09/arkansas-school-prayer-wrecked-graduation

In other news tonight, we hear from the all-too-often silent progressive wing of Islam.  Controversial cleric Shaikh Isam Talimah says that stoning women for adultery is a practice that Muslims should abandon… in favor of whipping them.

I think it’s a personal preference thing.  The stoning is more murdery, whereas the whipping is more rapey.  So you’ve gotta decide what kind of Muslim husband you want to be.  

That’s right, Talimah isn’t arguing with the idea of physically abusing women publicly for consensual sex, he’s arguing with the method of physically abusing women publicly for consensual sex.

This is going to hurt the image of Islam as a peaceful religion, as it so clearly states in their subway literature.

Controversial Cleric claims that women should not be stoned… should be lashed: http://gulfnews.com/news/gulf/qatar/stoning-is-not-shariah-says-qatar-scholar-1.1178703

And finally tonight, from the “Tell-Me-This-Is-Real,-Tell-Me-This-Is-Real,-Holy-Shit-It’s-Real” department, North Miami Mayoral candidate Anna L. Pierre recently put out a campaign flyer claiming an endorsement from none other than Jesus Christ.

And I can’t emphasize enough that this is a real thing that actually happened, despite the fact that this woman’s name is “Anal Peer”, which is exactly the kind of name we’d have given her if we were making this shit up.

How much clergy dick do you suppose she sucked to get JC Bump in an election?

And I should point out that that joke isn’t sexist.  Heath would have made the same joke if she were a dude.

In unrelated news, from now on, the Marlins and the Dolphins, will both be known as the Jesus Fish.

Well, not so fast because of the 8 candidates on the ballot, Pierre somehow managed to finish 8th despite the fact that in addition to Christ, the Savior, she also boasted endorsements from the “Bladder Health and Reconstructive Urology Institute” and “Sunset Ranches” over on Palmetto Expressway just past Popeye’s.  Some, including herself, blame her poor election day results on evil voodoo spells being used against her.  And again, this is all actually happening in the real universe that you and I live in.

Next week on Awful TV Show, God’s savior son and a dick doctor team up in support of a former Haitian pop star overcoming voodoo spells to contend in her mayoral race.

Sounds better than the “Teeny-Bopper Vampire” crap my wife watches…

North Miami Mayoral Candidate claims endorsement from Jesus: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/2013/05/13/north-miami-mayoral-candidate-says-she-is-endorsed-by-jesus-christ/

Well, that does it for headlines tonight.  When we return, my aforementioned wife will join us to discuss a book that sucked even more than Twilight.

Poem:

Exodus in Two Minutes

by Noah Lugeons

 

The lord said unto Moses, “An Egyptian’s what you pose as,

But just look at all their noses, and you’ll see that you’re a Jew.”

Unto the Lord then replied Moses, “So what do you suppose is,

gonna happen when they know this? Just what am I to do?”

 

So he wandered as he pondered, of the Hebrews he grew fonder

So when he saw one get dishonored he attacked the perpetrator.

The dude was dead so Moses fled but in his head what Yahweh said

Still gave him dread as off he sped, telling Egypt “See you later.”

 

So when he finished with his fleein’ he wound up in Midian,

And he found a priest agreein’ to give up his daughter’s hand.

But the crazy shit he started seein’ left him guaranteein’

That his purpose would be freein’ all the Hebrews in the land.

 

See, he was tending Jethro’s flocks, when on some holy ground he walks,

He finds a burning bush that talks, and it tells him of his fate.

He asks god to choose another, since when he speaks he gets all buggered

God says, “Sure I guess you stutter, but your brother would be great.”

 

So upon this holy edict, they headed back to Egypt

And needed Gershom’s wee-dick when Moses wrestled god,

The Hebrews didn’t dare go, so Moses talked to Pharoah

With his eyes enraged and narrow and both his hands on Aaron’s rod;

 

He said, “LET MY PEOPLE GO!”  But the Pharaoh just said “No”,

And fearing that might be so, tossed down the staff that god empowered,

It became a snake but those Egyptians, also had magicians,

Both of their staffs started hissin’, but quickly got devoured.

 

Still the pharaoh, unimpressed, left this grievance unredressed,

And as you might have guessed, the plagues are here unveiled.

The bloody waters soon arise, frogs start falling from the skies,

He sends a bunch of gnats and flies; epidemics, boils and hail

 

Still, the Hebrews were unpardoned, when God’s locusts ate their gardens,

Since the pharaoh’s heart was hardened, Moses needed one last card to play.

Now with the firstborns lying dead, the pharaoh finally said,

“Take your unleavened bread, and go the fuck away!”

 

They rejoiced with sounds like thunder, when the pharaoh knuckled under,

They grabbed a bunch of plunder and followed smoke that god provided;

But soon doubts about the route came out, unto Moses the devout would shout,

“I guess god’s no fucking eagle scout, just look where we’ve been guided!”

 

You see, pharaoh sent his men of war, in hopes of settling the score,

And here the Jews are on the shore, trapped and ripe for slaughter;

So Moses, feeling like a schmuck, says, “God I think you got us stuck”

It looks like they’re completely fucked, until God divides the water.

 

Forty years of eating manna later, Moses talks to his creator,

So he could act as God’s translator and carve commandments into stone,

And on the impatient Jews behalf, Aaron makes a golden calf,

Which they then pray to, bringing wrath, for which no mercy would be shown.

 

Then starting in chapter twenty four, we mostly just discuss decor,

Despite their being plenty more, important things to tackle,

Important shit just gets ignored, as we spend the last sixteen chapters bored,

Learning exactly how the Lord, wants his tabernacle.

Outro:

Before we close out the show tonight, I want to remind everyone that Heath and I are pretty good at this speaking shit so if you’re involved with an atheist or secular group in the vaguely New-Englandish area and you’d like us to address your group with our off-color wit and topical critiques, you’ll find all the contact info on the Contact page of our website.

And before we cue the music, we have to spend a minute recognizing the generosity, ethical fortitude and enormous penises of this week’s best people; Matthew, Richard and Mr. Blue who proved their bravery this week by giving us money.  Only the most intelligent and righteous people give us money and I hope that Matthew, Richard and Reservoir Dogs Deleted Character Mr. Blue fully appreciate that even if they should together cure cancer one day, their support for this program will still probably rank as the most benevolent action of their lives.

If you, too, would like to guarantee yourself a front row seat in atheist heaven, you’ll find the donate button on the right side of our homepage at Scathing Atheist (dot) com.

That’s does it for tonight’s show but if you want more, there’s more.  You’ll find occasional nuggets of Scatheism on our blog, our YouTube Channel, our Facebook page and our Twitter Feed.  You’ll also find more than 11 and a half episodes in our archives, which you should really listen to on Stitcher because we’re on Stitcher and Stitcher likes it when I tell you to listen on Stitcher.

And if you enjoy the show, please help us out by leaving us a good review on iTunes and be sure to tell everyone at church about us.  And before we run out of time, a big thanks to Heath and Lucinda for joining me tonight, Justin Schieber for providing tonight’s Farnsworth quote and, of course, Matthew, Richard and especially Mr. Blue, who is addition to donating this week, also sent along some headlines for us and the great chemo bit I used after the diatribe.

If you have questions, comments or death threats, you’ll find all the contact info 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.

 

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?”

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 10:1

May 6, 2013 3 comments

by Noah Lugeons

Holy shit is this god guy a dick.

So I’ve gotten to the plagues and I have to admit that even though I knew how many their were, I never bothered to check out what all of them were.  Sure, I knew about the bloody Nile and the staff into the snake and the boils and the first born and the frogs, but I didn’t realize he also plagued the Egyptians with gnats and flies and hail and shit.

But the other thing I never realized was that God made pharaoh disobey him just so he could show off how many flies and gnats he could make.

It actually says that throughout the plague narrative.  Again and again the bible talks of god “hardening pharaoh’s heart” so that he will disobey Moses’ commands.  He hardens the hearts of both pharaoh and his officials.  He ensures that pharaoh refuses to let the Israelites go just so he can send more plagues.

I could back this up by directing you to passages like Exodus 4:21, 7:13, 9:7, 9:12 and 9:35, but why bother when you can just look at Exodus 10:1-

Then the Lord said to Moses, “Go to Pharaoh; for I have hardened his heart and the heart of his officials, in order that I may show these signs of mine among them…

And if this doesn’t spell it out plainly enough, the next verse really nail it down,

…and that you may tell your children and grandchildren how I have made fools of the Egyptians and what signs I have done among them – so that you may know that I am the Lord.”

Thus far there haven’t been many things that were clearly spelled out in the bible.  The authors and editors seemed to have a thing for ridiculously vague and ambiguous.  But this is one of the minority of instances where they make good and damn well that you know what’s going on here:

God is threatening the people of Egyptian with Eli Roth level horrors, he’s circumventing pharaoh’s freewill so that he won’t obey the directives, he’s perpetrating the horrors and then he’s doing it some more.  And why is he doing this?  Because fuck Egyptians, that’s why.

I suppose an apologist could argue that sometimes God just has to remind everyone how bad-ass he is and I’m willing to concede that, but couldn’t he show how awesome he was by curing diseases instead of creating them?  Couldn’t Moses have sauntered in there and said, “Hey, if you let my people go, God will cure all the disease in Egypt, turn the Nile to beer and give you a lot of kids (which seemed to be the only currency these biblical folks cared about)”?

Or if he insisted on being so damn negative, couldn’t he have just given boils and gnats and shit to the pharaoh?  How much more effective would the hail storm be if it was following pharaoh around and not hitting anyone else?  That’s some seriously divine intervention.  But no, he makes his point by giving all the people boils, killing slaves with hail, starving people with pestilence, dehydrating them with stinky, fatal blood-water and murdering their first born children.

What irresponsible fuck gave this guy omnipotence?

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.