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Posts Tagged ‘the holy bible’

Live Blogging the Bible: Deuteronomy 12:31

July 17, 2013 77 comments

by Noah Lugeons

God loves a good genocide.

I can’t help but feel like they’re going out of their way to make this god character an asshole so that it’ll be more cathartic when he’s redeemed, but I’ve gotta be honest, even with 61 books to do it, I’m not sure if there’s any way they can make me like this guy.

So in chapter 12 god reminds us why we can’t realistically entertain the “moral guide” notion of the bible by spelling out all the good reasons to thoroughly destroy every member and memory of the cities they’re all about to ravage.  This is late in the chapter after a thrilling and detailed reminiscence about proper meat-eating etiquette.

God’s explaining why you shouldn’t worship any other gods or even know about how other people worship, which he reminds us of no fewer than infinity times in the book of Deuteronomy.  And in an apparent effort to soften the blow of killing women and children, livestock and slaves, then burning homes, buildings, temples, possessions, clothes and any remnant of a civilization to the ground, Moses takes a minute to remind us just how horrible these societies are:

You must not [worship their gods] because every abhorrent thing they have done for their gods.  They would even burn their sons and their daughters in the fire to their gods.

My first thought was of Abraham taking ol’ Isaac for a midnight stroll so the actual depth of the irony of this passage took me a second to process.  God’s in the middle of telling them to kill all of these heathens, even the children.  Their god is telling them that they have to burn their enemy’s children because their enemies would burn their children for their god.

But it’s totally still divinely inspired, though…

A Non-Trivial Problem

June 12, 2013 1 comment

by Noah Lugeons

I’ve been trapped in an endless and ultimately pointless debate on this blog for over a week now.  It all began when a pseudo-theistic pseudo-apologist commented on one of my “Live Blogging the Bible” posts with something that amounted to

“Tee-hee, yeah, this is a pretty silly part of the bible.  I agree.  But still, man is that book incredible and divine.”

Of course, I haven’t read the whole book and have barely crested the “preface” stage, but I still have to take issue with this assertion.  The book cannot be more than the sum of its parts.  If there are any genuinely meritorious parts of the book, one would still have to weigh them against the unscrupulous horrors in other parts of the book.  And honestly, the rest of the book would have to pretty damn good to make up for the misguided anti-morality of the first three books.

The crux of the apologists argument was that my cursory reading of the bible was worthless as I wasn’t taking the time to understand it in context.  I was also focused only on the bible and not the rich theology that has evolved through the ages.  Christianity, he argued, is not the bible.  The bible is just a starting point and the theology of the faith had advanced so much since the days of Moses’ foreskin aided wrestling match.

I pointed out that it’s not really possible to say that theology “advanced”, as one can no more say that theology of today is in accordance with the divine than the theology of yesteryear.  It’s like talking about a breakthrough in homeopathy or phrenology.  If the endeavor has no measurable value, it can’t be said to advance.  Advance suggests a destination.

Instead of answering that charge, my esteemed opponent instead accused me of “religious intolerance” as though I did not boast of it.  He suggested that I’d simply divided the world into the good people who are against religion and the bad people who are in favor of it.  It was a thinly veiled charge of anti-theistic bigotry that rested on my continued insistence that without a goal one can draw no nearer to the goal.  How dare I be so intolerant of people making bold and demonstrably false truth claims while insisting that they’re point of view should be respected and accepted without the burden of evidence?

This is a common tack from the “liberal” theist (and by liberal I refer here to their theology, not their politics).  Atheists are bullies that are every bit as dogmatic as the believers.  We’re intolerant of religious people (which is true) which means we’re just like the Muslims who are intolerant of the Jews (which is bullshit).  They, on the other hand, are agnostics with a property-less god and the only honest position: self-imposed ignorance.  We should just live and let live and who cares if fundamentalists stand in the way of science or oppress gays or mistreat women?  That’s not religion’s fault.

It is an intellectually dishonest position and what’s more, anyone smart enough to take this position is also smart enough to see why it’s bullshit.  Religious extremism is (as the name would suggest) simply a point on the spectrum of religiosity.  Some people have benign tumors but that doesn’t mean tumors aren’t a problem.  Fundamentalism is a problem that (a) all religions share and (b) cannot be found outside of a religious context.  This would suggest that fundamentalism is a necessary byproduct of religion.  And it really doesn’t matter what a bunch of Muslim scholars say about peace and love if the true believers are hacking people to death in the streets.

This is not a “live and let live” situation.  This is a situation that demands intolerance.  Religion is a non-trivial problem.

No rational person would wish for the destruction of the world.  Such a proposition is as irrational as any you might propose.  What’s more, no person irrational enough to wish for the destruction of the world could possibly acquire the means and assistance he or she  would need to make it happen.  While technology does give us the means to global catastrophe, it is hard to imagine that anyone with the stated goal of world destruction could find anyone willing to lend a hand.  Sure, a clever statesmen could use nationalism and deceit to trick enough people into helping him, but the very nature of logic forbids any large scale attempt to bring about the end of one’s own species.

But, of course, if logic can be removed, there is no such safeguard.  If one can be convinced without evidence that a whole different universe exists after you die that is way better and way more important than this petty world, you could overcome your natural survival instinct and happily march the planet toward the apocalypse that your god has promised you.

No doubt the liberal defender of theism would roll their eyes at this nightmare scenario.  They would pretend it is ridiculous.  They would pretend that there aren’t large, organized, multi-national groups with exactly this goal.  They would pretend that somehow reason can prevail amid a group that has outlawed reason.

And of course they would.  They have to.  They can’t accept that the same thing that gives them their own personal love-Jesus might also have a dark side.  And they certainly can’t accept that the dark side eclipses the bright side.

Religious extremism is just religion without constraint.  No religion has ever voluntarily tempered itself.  No religion has ever neutered its own power.  It is the job of the secularist, the job of the scientist and the job of the atheist to castrate religion every time it thrusts its scrotum into the rest of the world.  As fond as religion is of mutilating it’s own genitals, they still leave that job to us.

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.

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?”

Public Bible Study

April 27, 2013 5 comments

by Noah Lugeons

I spent the day yesterday doing my civic duty.  I did jury duty once before in a small town down south and I was in and out in two hours, but in NYC it’s a bit different.  Here you go into a large room and sit there for eight hours while they play bad movies so loud it’s hard to read.  They call names and you leave and go do something, but I’m not entirely sure what it is, as my name was never called.  So I basically sat in a large, uncomfortable room where I wasn’t allowed to use my phone for eight hours.

Luckily, I had some reading I needed to catch up on.  We won’t be covering Exodus on the show until episode 13, but that’s no excuse to slack off.  So I brought my Oxford 4th Edition Annotated NSRV Bible and I brought a notepad in case jokes or segment possibilities occurred to me while I was reading and I brought a highlighter, as I’ve taken to highlighting every passage in the bible where god does something horrible.  And for some reason, it never occurred to me what kind of reaction this was going to draw.

So there I am, whittling away very long hours at a table with a bible that I’m clearly studying intently.  I shouldn’t have been at all surprised when a very friendly Christian woman (or, as I would discover, a Christian woman with a very friendly facade) walked up to me, pulled up a seat and said, “I don’t want to interrupt your bible study, but if you don’t mind, are you in seminary?”

For the record, I could not possibly look less like I was in seminary without the addition of facial tattoos.

Now, three answers occurred to me, but none of them seemed socially acceptable:

  1. “Atheist. Just reading it to make fun of it later,”
  2. “Oh please,have a seat.  Anything to interrupt me from this horrible fucking book” and
  3. “I’m boning up for an interview for the new anti-Christ position.”

And honestly, there are a lot of situations where I would have run with any of those, but in this instance it wouldn’t have been appropriate.  After all, I was inviting the conversation by publicly reading a bible to the point of highlighting and taking notes.  It was a fair question and she was probably a really nice person and I was going to be stuck in a room with her for most of the rest of the day, so I scratched all of those answers.

Then my mind started automatically looking for excuses.  I was clearly reading and writing in English so I couldn’t go with the old, “¿Que?” and it would be hard to pretend that I actually had porn hidden inside it unless I could actually make with some porn (and remember, I wasn’t allowed to bring in my phone).

Ultimately I opted for the truth and that pissed her off so much I wish ended up wishing I’d just been a dick.

“Actually I’m an atheist and I’m studying it for debate purposes,” I said in as friendly a way as possible.

“So you don’t believe a word of it?” she asked incredulously.

“Well, I mean… I believe some of the geography and stuff.”

She made several false starts at speech at this point.  She clearly wanted to say several things that Jesus wouldn’t let her say.  Finally she settled on something like, “Well I hope you find some answers in there because I don’t envy your soul.”

“Okay, well… you know… have a nice day or whatever,” I offer back and she welcomes the opportunity to end the conversation.  She takes a seat well across the room and kind of half-ass glares at me a bit.

At this point I realize that unless I want to do this a few more times, I should put the bible away and read something else.  I suppose she took it as a personal insult that the other distraction I brought was “The God Virus”.

Episode 8: Partial Transcript

April 11, 2013 1 comment

by Noah Lugeons & Heath Enwright

Sponsor:

This week’s episode of the Scathing Atheist is brought to you by Mitt Romney’s new brand of baking soda, Mormon Hammer.  Guaranteed to keep your fridge as free of odor as it is of alcohol, caffeine and gender-equality.  So send one of your wives to the store and tell them to look for the whitest baking soda on the shelf: Mormon Hammer.

And now, the Scathing Atheist…

Intro:

It’s Thursday, It’s April 11th and bananas are my worst nightmare.

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

On this week’s episode,

  • A Louisiana legislator tries to teach kids about religious freedom by taking it away,
  • We’ll use the word “fuck” more times than there’s any real need to and
  • My wife and my best friend will join me for the most disappointing threesome of all time.

But first, the Diatribe…

Diatribe:

“How Hubble Saved My Soul”

I rejected religion at an early age.  My parents were religious but they weren’t church-goers and they only made a half-ass attempt to brainwash me.  I can’t tell you exactly when I out-logiced religion, but my earliest atheist memory is at the age of 8 when my 3rd grade teacher settled an argument between me and some other kid by affirming that there was too a god.

Now, I’d say I was proud of that fact, but atheism is nothing to be proud of.  Outsmarting a book that starts contradicting itself in the second chapter isn’t very hard.  And, as I proved for many years after rejecting my parent’s faith, you can be both an atheist and a gullible dipshit simultaneously.

See, I didn’t do the whole religion thing, but I was every bit as irrational in my puerile new-age hippy tie-dye, goatee, anything goes, neo-pagan spiritualism.  I dismissed all the doctrines, but I still had a soft spot in my brain for ancient wisdom.  What’s more, I wanted magic and eternal life.  I just wasn’t willing to get them from a church.

So I alternately identified myself as a Wiccan, a spiritualist, a Thelemite or, my personal favorite, a Pangeantheologist.  I read books on witchcraft and Kabbalah and chakras and high magick and low magick and herbal magick and color magick and chaos magick and shamanic magick and Enochian magick.  And I read the I Ching and I read Tarot cards and I read runes and I read palms.  And I read Aleister Crowley and Raymond Buckland and Donald Kraig and Israel Regardie and Peter Carroll.  And I went to pagan communes and I met gurus and I went on silence retreats and I danced naked around bonfires and I called upon ancient spirits and I invoked undines and deep down I knew the whole time that it was a load of shit.

The cognitive dissonance wasn’t that hard at first, because I was getting laid.  But it got harder and harder as I learned more and more about this stuff.  There was never any substance.  It never made any more sense.  There were never any deeper secrets and there were never any results.

My friends would all say, “Oh, you’ve gotta meet this guru” and when I do, I figure out five minutes in that he knows less about what he’s talking about than I do after reading three books on the subject.   I would get together with some coven for a big communal spell and I would happen to catch them on one of those rare nights when nothing happened at all.  Or worse yet, you would know the ceremony was over when the most gullible jackass in the room says, “Did you feel that?!”

And as I’m going through this whole five year acid trip of the soul, something else was happening too.  And even though I wouldn’t realize it for a quite a while, it was steadily eroding the foundation of my bullshit; I started to see the images being returned from the Hubble Space Telescope.

Like practically everyone, I fell in love with these images as soon as I saw them. I was fascinated and I couldn’t possibly see enough. I wanted to know more about what they were and the incredible universe they revealed. But more than that I wanted to know how we got them and what they meant.  It was slow and sometimes painful, but that was the origin of my love for science.

Somehow underpaid, uninspired public school teachers had failed to instill any real appreciation for something as fascinating as everything in my developing mind and it took seeing the universe in this scale for me to truly appreciate the wonders of human curiosity.

But it sure made that cognitive dissonance harder.  After all, if science said what I believed was bullshit and they could back it up with pictures of the entire fucking universe, who was I to disagree?  How could I cocoon myself in some arrogant worldview that places humanity in the center of it all when there were things like the Hubble Deep Field Image to contradict me?

Even the young religions had a multi-century head start on science when it came to this whole “heaven” thing and they were happy to tell you what it was like and who was in charge and how you could get there, but they never managed to take pictures. We never glimpsed the earliest stars through the power of herbal supplements. We never saw a cloud of dust four light years across through proper breathing techniques.  We never saw galaxies forming with color-infused water.  The methods and practiced that all my hippy gurus promoted had been around for centuries and sometimes millenia, and yet knowledge of their deep and mystical secrets had never managed something as stupefying and eye-opening as even the lowliest of Hubble’s observations.  And yes, I’m talking about the blurry shit before they fixed it.

Sure, you eat enough mushrooms and get in a sweat lodge, you’ll see all the bright lights and pretty colors Hubble has to offer, but there’s nothing there.  Just like every other silly little spiritual distraction, there’s nothing there.  It’s all empty, hollow, meaningless, unsatisfying, Chicken Soup for the Brain drivel.  It demands that you suspend your disbelief even to the point of suspending your own senses.  It demands that you practice for years at something you can’t actually get better at.  It demands that you nod along with every stupid post-modernist notion some yoga instructor blurts out because you don’t want to be the only one at the party wearing incredulity.

But science, as Carl Sagan said, brings the goods. The appeal of all the spiritual mumbo-jumbo was rooted in my desire to be part of something larger, but when I glanced at the universe through the eyes of a space telescope, I saw that science was offering me something larger than any new-age guru could dream of. And what’s more is that it was real; tangible; provable. Unlike the “truth” offered by faith, science demands nothing in return.

And that’s how Hubble saved my soul.

Headlines:

Joining me tonight for headlines is my fidus Achates, Heath Enwright.  Heath, are you ready to, um… I don’t know, feed us?

In our lead story tonight, the state of North Carolina decided to declare a state religion last week, then the ether wore off and they wondered who that lump in the bed was and where that tattoo came from and what the fuck they were thinking.

This story starts in Rowan County, North Carolina (go Mustangs!) where a lawsuit threatened to stop county commissioners from opening their meetings with a prayer.  They had two choices, one was concede, give up the prayer and not look like stupid assholes.  The other was to try to rewrite the constitution.

  • They were trying to invoke a silly little idea that I remember my 10th grade history teacher asserting.  The idea is that the constitution only forbids congress from establishing a religion, not the individual states.
  • I’m not sure if there’s any real constitutional ground for that argument but I’m skeptical and so is North Carolina House Speaker Thom Tillis, who killed the bill once the national media started to make a stink about this.  Which suggests to me that somehow North Carolina legislators didn’t realize that people were gonna make a stink about this.
  • And that’s why we need watchdog groups.

LEAD STORY: The North Carolina State Religion: http://news.yahoo.com/could-north-carolina-actually-declare-state-religion-130700725.html Follow Up : http://www.goddiscussion.com/108691/north-carolina-house-speaker-kills-bill-that-would-have-allowed-the-state-to-create-a-state-sponsored-religion-in-violation-of-first-amendment-to-the-constitution/

And in “I’ll see your state religion and raise you twelve pounds of raw bat-shit” news, Louisiana State Representative Katrina R. Jackson has proposed a new bill that would force students to recite the Lord’s Prayer along with the Pledge of Allegiance every morning.

With an inspiring effort to yet be the most destructive Katrina in Louisiana’s history, Representative Jackson attempts to justify the bill with some of the most Orwellian language since Orwell.  She actually says:

  • “Students shall be informed that these exercises are not meant to influence an individual’s personal religious beliefs in any manner.”
  • The recitations shall be conducted so that students learn of America’s great freedoms, including the freedom of religion symbolized by the recitation of the Lord’s Prayer.

Louisiana state rep proposes a prayer-in-school law: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/2013/04/05/louisiana-state-representative-students-should-learn-freedom-of-religion-by-reciting-the-lords-prayer-every-morning/

And following up on a story we covered back in episode 4, the big Jesus picture in Jackson, Ohio is coming down.  You’ll recall a flurry of defensive posturing by the school board, who insisted that nothing on heaven or earth was going to make them take down their beloved Jesus pitcher.

Well, it turned out that all it took was an insurance company deciding that Jesus was a liability.  And this goes to show you how heartless we atheists are.  They tried to compromise.  They offered to take the picture down from the Middle School and put it up in the High School but that wasn’t good enough for those secular humanist jackoffs.

But I do think it’s worth pointing out what a signpost this really is.  It doesn’t take too many successful lawsuits by atheists to convince insurance companies to pull the plug on shit like this before it ends up wasting a truckload of taxpayer money.

Follow Up: School in Jackson Ohio agrees to remove Jesus painting: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/2013/04/03/the-giant-portrait-of-jesus-is-finally-coming-down/

And in more shameful news, a new poll finds that 13% of Americans think that Obama is the anti-Christ.  Many of our listeners will have already heard about this survey, as we’re not the only media outlet that found that number interesting.  In addition to that statistic, the study also found that:

  • 20% of Americans believe that childhood vaccines are linked to autism,
  • 9% believe that fluoride is added to the water to control our minds,
  • And 4% believe that shape-shifting lizards secretly control our government.

I find some of those numbers hard to believe and I hope that there was a lot of the “these questions have gotten so stupid I’m gonna start fucking with the interviewer” effect in it, but the fact that David Icke’s lizard theory is even well known enough to be included on the survey is plenty of evidence of some horrible failures in public education.

–          I’d still be ashamed if only 13% of people believed that there would be an anti-christ.

Studies show that 13% of Americans think Obama is the anti-Christ: http://www.publicpolicypolling.com/pdf/2011/PPP_Release_National_ConspiracyTheories_040213.pdf

And sometimes you’re combing through news sources and you see a headline so promising you know it’s gonna make the show even before you read the article.  A headline on the Christian Newswire caught my attention the other day.  It said, and I quote, “Stephen Hawking Solves Bible Creation Mystery Proving the Bible Accurate”.

And basically what we’ve got here is every bit as stupid as what you expect when you read it.  This apologist Paul Hutchins is trying to employ one of the Muslim apologist’s favorite tactics, the one where you say, “look at all the science that my book of bullshit predicts.”

This is kind of a dubious tactic in my mind, since all but eight words of the bible are contradicted by science, but nevertheless, he’s trying to say that the creation account in Genesis is in keeping with our current beliefs about how the planet formed.

Now, I’ll give him the credit of saying that he does get there, but he asks for a few huge favors when it comes to interpretation, including but not limited to:

–          When the bible talks about 6 days they just mean “6 unequal periods of indeterminate time”

–          When the bible says “Let there be light” what they clearly meant was “Let the sun transition from a protostar to a main sequence star.”

–          When it talks about god making the sun 4 days after making day and night, they meant that he made the sun visible through the cloud of pre-solar system planetary fragments.

 

  • He keeps talking about how these things “correspond exactly” to the Genesis account.

Stephen Hawking Solves Bible Creation Mystery Proving the Bible Accurate (I shit you not, that’s what the headline says): http://www.christiannewswire.com/news/2911771800.html

And finally tonight, The Foundation Beyond Belief has announced is 2nd quarter beneficiaries.  For those of you who aren’t familiar with the Foundation Beyond Belief, it is a most excellent secular charity that gathers donations in the name of atheism and then distributes them to a number of deserving charities.

Basically, they do all the hard work of confirming that none of your charitable dollars are going to support one of these half-charity/half-proselytizing funds.  Which is helpful if you’ve ever wondered exactly how much of the money you gave to the Salvation Army was spent opposing gay rights.

The five charities selected for this quarter are:

  • The One Acre Fund
  • The Innocence Project of Texas
  • T’ruah
  • Bernie’s Book Bank
  • And Trees, Water & People

To learn more about these charities and all the news items discussed on this episode, be sure to check out the shownotes at Scathing Atheist (dot) com.

Foundation Beyond Belief Announces its 2nd quarter beneficiaries. http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/2013/04/03/foundation-beyond-belief-announces-q2-2013-slate-of-charities/

That does it for headlines tonight.  Heath, appreciate your help as always.

And Heath, please stick around.  When we come back, Lucinda Lugeons will join Heath and me for a little Bible study.

Skit:

Writer:  Hey chief – Did you get a chance to look at the draft I sent you of “The Bible”?

Editor:  Oh yeah the fictional allegory book . . . I looked it over . . . Why don’t you have a seat.

W:  Sure, how did you like it?

E:  (Sigh) I didn’t love it. I’m just a little worried people might take some of it literally.

W:  Come on, seriously? The stories are absurd. How could someone take them literally?

E:  Well… whenever the scripture department releases something, readers tend to get a little too carried away.  Remember the shit show after we printed the Torah? Which actually brings me to my next concern . . . and if I’m way off base here, I’m sorry . . . But it seems like you pretty much plagiarized the entire Hebrew Bible for this first half. Is that what you did?

W:  Listen, the Jews are not a very litigious people, so it’s not look they’re gonna sue us. But maybe I’ll add a few footnotes to properly cite the direct quotes.

E:  Don’t get me wrong, that thing’s way overdue for a sequel, but do we really have to reprint the whole first book with it?  That’s gonna cost a pretty shekel.

W: I’ll be honest, I had a little bit of writer’s block, and I couldn’t seem to get the ball rolling.  I added some stuff though.  Judith, Wisdom… um… Maccabees…

E:  Yeah, we might have to trim that part.

W: Are you sure?

E:  Not really no.  Look, I understand borrowing from it, that’s not a huge problem.   It’s not like a religious text is just going to pop into your head, divinely inspired, ready to print.

W: Right, I’m not just gonna find a bunch of golden plates with the words of god etched into them.  So I did some research, and the Torah had a lot of stuff very similar to what I was looking to write myself. One god, omnipotent vengeance scenarios, get really mad at any future religion that also likes the Middle East. It just made sense as a jumping off point.

E:  Okay let’s circle back to that. Open up your copy to the Leviticus section.

W:  I’ve gotta stop you right there. I know what you’re gonna say. That was a really weird time for me. I had to stone my 4th concubine AND 3 slaves to death that month. Lots of mixed emotions. And my normal guy was out of town, so I had to call this delivery service I never used before, and I’m pretty sure they laced the frankincense with something crazy.

E:  Listen, it’s understandable. I’m thinking maybe just a little disclaimer at the beginning. Novelty purposes only, or something.

W:  I really think you’re underestimating the intelligence of our readership. It’s not like a giant population the world over is going to get swept up in some sort of crusade to make sure everyone agrees – word for word – with my little book here.

E:  I guess you’re right. I’m probably being paranoid. I just had one other concern . . . Why all the hate against gays?

W:  What?

E:  All the anti-homosexual passages.

W:  Where are there any anti-homosexual passages?

E:  Right here in Leviticus. “Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is an abomination.” Then later in Romans and again in Jude.  It seems like you’re at least tacitly allowing the lesbian stuff, but still…

W:  I thought it was clear that this section was tongue in cheek. I guess I really didn’t sell the sarcasm. And I wasn’t even talking about the sex part, just the lying in bed after. Nobody wants to see 2 men cuddling. That’s just faggoty.

E:  And what’s with all the Yoda talk, and the weird numbering. You really think people are going to refer back to this one book, line by line, and need reference numbers? Normal page numbers, like every other book, should be just fine.

W:  That was a software issue. I wrote the thing in Aramaic, and when the word processor translated the characters over to Times Old Roman Latin, a bunch of random numbers showed up by accident.

E: Okay, let’s skip ahead to this “New Testament” part.  I get what you’re going for here and I like the idea of god having a kid in the sequel, but that whole part seemed way off to me.  The first four chapters just seem to be telling the same story over and over and none of them agree on the details.  It’s just weird.

W:  Yeah, I started off with a “choose your own adventure” concept in mind but eventually I just slapped everything together in that opening chunk.

E: (Big Sigh) Look, I’m gonna be perfectly honest with you.  Religious texts are hot right now and the epic poetry division hasn’t had a best seller in centuries.  There’s a lot of problems here, but we’re probably gonna roll with it anyway.

W: Good to hear.

E:  Do you have anything in mind for the sequel?

W:  I’m thinking illiterate, child raping warlord on a flying horse.

E:  Not bad.

Calendar:

It’s time for the atheist calendar portion of the show where we set aside a few minutes to talk up some of the great atheist and secular meet-ups going on around the country and around the world.

We’ll start off with a Skepticamp event in Essex County, Massachusetts on April 13th.  Runs from 9:30 to 4, has some really interesting topics lined up and ends out with a Skeptical Trivia event that should be a lot of fun.

http://skepticamp.capeannskeptics.com/?page_id=45

On April 20th we have the South Dakota Conference of Reason in Sioux Falls.  And I know that people who live in and around South Dakota have a lot of choices when it comes to atheist conferences, but this one should be worth the drive.

Facebook Page for conference: https://www.facebook.com/events/214700748667522/?fref=ts

On the 27th of April there’ll be another Skepticamp event in Denver with an equally impressive slate of topics including a pretty promising talk on pseudo-astronomy, woo in women’s health and teen atheist outreach.

http://skepticamp.org/wiki/Skepticamp_Denver_2013

And finally in Atlanta we’ve got a three day skepticamp conference starting on the 3rd of May and running through the weekend.

http://www.atlantaskeptics.com/skepticamp/

And how could I not mention the fact that the Brisbane Atheists are hosting a Pirate Party for their monthly meet up on April 30th.  I’d love to go just to find out what pirate-speak sounds like with an Australian accent.  And incidentally, if any of my Australian listeners want to settle that mystery for me, feel free to send an audio clip.

http://www.somewheretothink.com.au/events/pirate-party-australia-brisbane-monthly-meetup-2013-04-30/

That’ll do it for the calendar this week, but I want to remind everybody listening that if you’re involved with an atheist, skeptical or secular event that could use some publicity, let me know.  Also if you’re aware of any good online resources for such events, let me know about those as well.  You’ll find all the contact info on the contact page at ScathingAtheist (dot) com.  And remember, we’re weekly now so I need all the help I can get filling this segment.

Outro:

I had a couple of quick announcements before we close out the show.  We’ve been putting a few segments of the show on You-Tube so if you want to share one part of the show with somebody who might not be able to make it through the whole show, check out our You-Tube channel for some bite-sized pieces of The Scathing Atheist.

We’ve also added a donation button to the website so if you were anxious to give us money, you could do that.  Those donations are tax-deductible, but unfortunately that’s only for residents of Tatooine, Mordor and the magical land of Hyrule.  The rest of you still have to pay your taxes.

We’ll have the long version of the Holy Babble segment up on the extras page on the website soon so be sure to check that out.  Wanted to thank everyone who’s made their way over to iTunes to leave us a five star review.  Gotta thank Lucinda and Heath for helping out tonight.

And I want to give a big thanks to George Hrab for both providing the Farnsworth quote to start us out and for entertaining the shit out of my wife and I last Friday night.  The guys an incredible musician so if you’re a fan of the music, find an opportunity to watch him live.  It’s an incredible experience and I’ll have links to all his upcoming events on the shownotes for the page.  He also has a really fun podcast that I’ll link to as well.

http://about.me/georgehrab

http://www.geologicpodcast.com/

That does it for tonight, but if you want more be sure to check out our erratically published blog, follow us on Twitter @Noah (underscore) Lugeons, like us on Facebook, subscribe to us on You-Tube, listen to us on Stitcher and give us money.

If you want to learn more about the news items and events discussed on this program, check out the shownotes for this episode.  If you have any comments, questions 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 program was written and performed by yours truly and yes, I did have my permission.