The Grand Ellipses

I listen patiently when I am waiting for reality to respond. I act impulsively when I have no idea what's going on . . .

"The Grand Ellipses … “? I love that moment when i’m thinking about something, or listening to something and i have that … moment. It’s that pause before you have your realization of clarity. So, i thought that would be a good name for this, to refer to that grand moment when we let our mind settle, let the questions and turbulence stir a bit and allow free thought to reign.

Refugees, Foreigners, Bible Study, Thanksgiving . . .

Lets not forget, on Thanksgiving, that we are much more than just calling ourselves American. As a people that robbed this land from an already existing people (an still existing people), we have an intellectual and moral responsibility to be honest about our founders tragedies, and do better. Our President-Elect, and his party (and family), have spewed a lot of of hate and division. We are better than that. We are better than him. We should be a nation of love, peace, empathy, science, philosophy, and intellect. Do not let the best of us escape you. Remember, we are the original foreigners of this land. We stormed it violently and won the war. 

So, on this Thanksgiving, lets look inward and give to those that our Founding Fathers took directly from. The issue regarding the Dakota Access Pipeline is a tragedy, and not even our current President is doing a damn thing about it . . . and our President-Elect owns stock in it. Be thankful and GIVE something to this cause. I, like many, can't be there to fight it directly. So then, we should do the best we can; give what you can afford to. 

As is proper from my Atheist loving heart, below are glorious examples of Trump and family displaying hateful regards and todays Thanksgiving Bible Study.

Don't be a dick. 

Hebrews 13:2New International Version (NIV)

2 Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it.
— https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=hebrews+13%3A2&version=NIV
Hebrews 13:16New International Version (NIV)

16 And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.
— https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=hebrews+13%3A16&version=NIV
Luke 10:25-37New International Version (NIV)

The Parable of the Good Samaritan
25 On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?”

26 “What is written in the Law?” he replied. “How do you read it?”

27 He answered, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’[a]; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’[b]”

28 “You have answered correctly,” Jesus replied. “Do this and you will live.”

29 But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”

30 In reply Jesus said: “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he was attacked by robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. 31 A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. 32 So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. 33 But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. 34 He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, brought him to an inn and took care of him. 35 The next day he took out two denarii[c] and gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Look after him,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.’

36 “Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?”

37 The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.”

Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.”
— https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=luke+10%3A25-37&version=NIV
Luke 3:11New International Version (NIV)

11 John answered, “Anyone who has two shirts should share with the one who has none, and anyone who has food should do the same.”
— https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=luke+3%3A11&version=NIV
Matthew 25:35-40New International Version (NIV)

35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’

37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’

40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’
— https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=matthew+25%3A35-40&version=NIV
James 2:14-17New International Version (NIV)

Faith and Deeds
14 What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save them? 15 Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. 16 If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? 17 In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.
— https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=james+2%3A14-17&version=NIV
1 John 3:17New International Version (NIV)

17 If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person?
— https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1+john+3%3A17&version=NIV
Philippians 2:3-4New International Version (NIV)

3 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, 4 not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.
— https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=phillipians+2%3A3-4&version=NIV
Leviticus 19:9-10New International Version (NIV)

9 “‘When you reap the harvest of your land, do not reap to the very edges of your field or gather the gleanings of your harvest. 10 Do not go over your vineyard a second time or pick up the grapes that have fallen. Leave them for the poor and the foreigner. I am the Lord your God.
— https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=leviticus+19%3A9-10&version=NIV
Leviticus 19:33-34New International Version (NIV)

33 “‘When a foreigner resides among you in your land, do not mistreat them. 34 The foreigner residing among you must be treated as your native-born. Love them as yourself, for you were foreigners in Egypt. I am the Lord your God.
— https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=leviticus+19%3A33-34&version=NIV
Exodus 23:9New International Version (NIV)

9 “Do not oppress a foreigner; you yourselves know how it feels to be foreigners, because you were foreigners in Egypt.
— https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=exodus+23%3A9&version=NIV
Job 31:29-34New International Version (NIV)

29 “If I have rejoiced at my enemy’s misfortune
or gloated over the trouble that came to him—
30 I have not allowed my mouth to sin
by invoking a curse against their life—
31 if those of my household have never said,
‘Who has not been filled with Job’s meat?’—
32 but no stranger had to spend the night in the street,
for my door was always open to the traveler—
33 if I have concealed my sin as people do,[a]
by hiding my guilt in my heart
34 because I so feared the crowd
and so dreaded the contempt of the clans
that I kept silent and would not go outside—
— https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Job+31%3A29-34&version=NIV
1 Corinthians 12:12-14New International Version (NIV)

Unity and Diversity in the Body
12 Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ. 13 For we were all baptized by[a] one Spirit so as to form one body—whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink. 14 Even so the body is not made up of one part but of many.
— https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1+corinthians+12%3A12-14&version=NIV
Galatians 5:14New International Version (NIV)

14 For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”
— https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=galatians+5%3A14&version=NIV
Luke 10:29-37New International Version (NIV)

29 But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”

30 In reply Jesus said: “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he was attacked by robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. 31 A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. 32 So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. 33 But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. 34 He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, brought him to an inn and took care of him. 35 The next day he took out two denarii[a] and gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Look after him,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.’

36 “Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?”

37 The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.”

Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.”
— https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=luke+10%3A29-37&version=NIV
Fuck you!!!!!

Fuck you!!!!!

Stop talking about the Old Testament . . .

Just a quick one to pass on when people tell you to stop bringing up slavery in the bible, as though it were only supported in the old testament.

All who are under the yoke of slavery should consider their masters worthy of full respect, so that God’s name and our teaching may not be slandered. 2 Those who have believing masters should not show them disrespect just because they are fellow believers. Instead, they should serve them even better because their masters are dear to them as fellow believers and are devoted to the welfare[a] of their slaves.
— 1 Timothy 6:1-2

NOAH . . .

My wife and I went to see NOAH on friday. I've heard complaints from both the christian side and the atheist side about this movie. Christians seem to be complaining that it is biblically accurate enough. Atheists seem to think that this movie is pointless, or that it shouldn't be made by such a reputable director? I'm not really sure of the atheist complaints I hear on the internets. I get the christians being upset. A writer/director has taken a prize allegory and made it much more "mythological" than it appears in the book of Genesis. 

I've been reading through interviews (probably not enough) and I can't figure out what Aronofsky's religious or non-religious affiliation is . . . as an official matter. More importantly, it doesn't matter. Aronofsky is one of my favorite film makers. He is always challenging and never shies away from tough-to-tackle material. So, I don't even care what his motivation for making the film was. What I care about is how the public sees it and talks about it.

He and Ari Handel co-wrote a much more challenging tale than what is told in Genesis. First of all, Noah speaks. That's right; he talks. In Genesis he doesn't say a single word. He just obeys. He and his sons' and his wife have actual struggles . . . outside of god telling them what to do. Noah cannot abide with a "direct order from god" in the end. A "fallen" brigade of angels are on earth. The dead skin from the deceptive serpent is a generational magical arm wrap? There is a lot going on in this and it is fun and it is absurd and it is worth talking about.

We know that a global flood never existed. We know that a man living to be 950 years old is just stupid. After the movie I was telling my wife that, at the time of the flood, Noah was 600 years old. She said, "What? That doesn't make sense". Indeed, that does not make sense. As a matter of fact, it is a stupid thing to believe. I really hate to be offensive to people when I say that, but to believe that these ancient people lived to these absurd ages . . . it's nonsense. Just like the idea of all the earths "kinds", in pairs, making its way to a relatively small ship is nonsense. Just like the idea that any salt water sea life (or vice-versa) could have survived the mixture of salt water and fresh water is nonsense. You may think that it is too harsh a call to say that these things are stupid. You may say that we need to be more sensitive to religious belief. You may say that people need faith to survive.

Anyways, I enjoyed the film. I went in to it, viewing it as mythology. I came out the same. When our civilization began to show intellectual communication, we knew nothing about the world or the cosmos. We looked at the skies and we saw a divine creator and we had to make up things that we thought we reality. We looked at our miserable lives and assumed that we can't be suffering for nothing.

We are not suffering for nothing. Everything positive that we do helps us and those around us. If we stop seeking better answers, then we are telling the world that it's ok to give up and that this is enough.

This is not enough. Our world is not near done.

In Genesis, Noah got drunk and sent his son, Ham, away for seeing his drunk ass naked. This has been a very long argument in the favor of slavery. If you think that a 950 year old man sailed on a boat with his family and "some" of the earths animals, then this is the end of the discussion.



Same Love . . .

So, the song "Same Love" by Mackelmore and Ryan Lewis was released on July 18th, 2012. The song is a very simple message about support for marriage equality, and its a great rap song. It challenges the idea of preconceived notions and it challenges hate and it challenges justifications used from an ancient text. Give it listen here:

Now, you can imagine what people opposed to gay marriage think of this. Well, you don't really have to image it, just read through the comments section . . . it's always entertaining. It's all the same old conversations. Someone mentions Genesis, Leviticus, Deuteronomy, Judges, Romans . . . whatever other book that mentions man sex as an abomination. Side note: only in the book of Romans does it mention women homosexuality:

For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet.
— http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=romans+1%3A26-27&version=NIV

People mention all of these, but the second you mention another law that they themselves clearly ignore then, all of a sudden, that law is antiquated and jesus abolished the old law. It's the same conversation over and over because then people like me have to be the biblical scholar of the conversation and remind them that jesus did not come to abolish the law and that he did not come to bring peace. Another time I will do a blog about the contradictions of jesus alone, but that's too much to get in to right now. 

The reason I am writing this entry is because a christian rapper Bizzle has taken Mackelmore and Lewis' music to Same Love and has done a counter rap. It is extraordinarily offensive. I'll post Jaclyn Glenn's youtube response, but the one thing I want to speak about is how he is offended that people sometimes refer to the gay civil rights movement as the "new black". I understand how this can be perceived, but we have to understand what it means. We know through modern science that a person does not choose their sexuality; asking someone when they chose to be gay is as silly as asking someone when they chose to be straight. Sexuality is not something we can fight against, it is only something that can be repressed. Therefore, a persons sexuality is completely natural . . . either way. And yet, in our country, it is illegal for gays to marry in most states. There are states with laws prohibiting homosexuality. There are states with laws protecting an attacker if the victim is gay. We have senators appealing to openly discriminate against gays specifically. Throughout the world homosexuals are being stoned and murdered for their abomination. Is there a massive slave trade of gays, no . . . and that's not the point. When they say it's the "new black", it's about the civil rights movement beyond slavery. Black history as a whole and homosexual history as a whole are not a direct comparison, through both have endured and entire social history of hatred against them. 

If god were as righteous and loving as he is made out to be, then should really have been only one commandment:

LOVE EVERYONE AND NEVER TAKE OWNERSHIP OF ONE ANOTHER. IF THERE IS CONFLICT BETWEEN YOU, THEN RESOLVE IT WITH REASON AND CLEAR WORDS. 

I think that would spell it out pretty clearly. Don't you?


Homosexuality . . . Again!!!!!!!! (Warning: video content)

First, lets look at what the bible has to say:

‘If a man has sexual relations with a man as one does with a woman, both of them have done what is detestable. They are to be put to death; their blood will be on their own heads.
— http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Leviticus+20:13

While we have the earlier story of Sodom and Gommorah, the above verse is the most direct of the earlier statements against homosexuality. Before I continue, for fair balance, lets look at a New Testament one:

26 Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural sexual relations for unnatural ones. 27 In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed shameful acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their error.

28 Furthermore, just as they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, so God gave them over to a depraved mind, so that they do what ought not to be done. 29 They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, 30 slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; 31 they have no understanding, no fidelity, no love, no mercy. 32 Although they know God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them.
— http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Romans%201&version=NIV

Now, WHY am I talking about this again?! WHY do I care so much as to REPEATEDLY talk about equality and peace . . . and love? WHY do I give a fuck? Watch this video before I continue:

Outside of what the Family Research Council would like people to believe, Gay Marriage is not socially or scientifically harmful in anyway. All one needs to do, is do the research.

My point in this is that the bible is predominantly immoral. From beginning to end, it is full of subjugation via "power of authority" (i.e. god). The 2 passages I mention above are very direct in what they mean . . . death to the party they are speaking against. If you can skate your way around these then you are as apologetic as the islamist who protests the "misdirection" of the radical terrorist based on their respective religious doctrine. 

The above video is in direct relation to the "anti-gay laws" in russia that are authoritative of Putin. While he is a nutbag . . . there is no way around what the bible says. It advocates violence and hatred, and not just the Old Testament. It is thorough in its hate and lust of blood and asks you to follow through with what it condemns. If you look at the above video and are not disgusted, then . . . it is because you have been taught to hate on that deep of a level, or you just simply hate on that deep of a level based on misdirection or non-direction. 

Homosexuality and Gay marriage are not harmful. When people like the FRC make statements that proclaim otherwise . . . they are misdirected. In reality, homosexuals are just as equal as we are. Until we understand that, then we should stop talking about it.  

If you disagree with me, then contest me; I am open to all discussion. I can only suggest that you read the bible through and through and remain skeptical until you have finished. THEN, reevaluate your opinion.

I am so tired of this argument. Prove to me that homosexualtiy is immoral and biologically incorrect or incompatible. The bible is an idiot looking at society. It doesn't appreciate it or care for its knowledge,

Bill Nye vs Ken Ham . . .

I came across this bit of news yesterday:

‘Bill Nye the Science Guy’ to Debate Evolution at Kentucky’s Creation Museum
— http://gma.yahoo.com/39-bill-nye-science-guy-39-debate-evolution-154509272--abc-news-topstories.html?vp=1

I am super excited about this one for a number of reasons! First, Bill Nye was a childhood hero of mine. I watched his program all the time when I was a kid. Second, Ken Ham and his creation museum are a joke. Third, I have never heard Bill Nye in a debate and I have wanted to for the longest time. Before I continue, this is the video of Bill Nye that is mentioned:

He is awesome!! Creationism is dangerous to teach as a reality because it is completely inconsistent with the proven data and the history of the world. 

Can't wait for this!!

Harold Camping - gone for good

Just like the case of Sylvia Brown's death, I do not celebrate his death for the sake of those that were close to him, but I do for the sake of his past and present followers. Here's the Yahoo article:

Right away I scrolled through the comments. Most people are using the "No True Scotsman" argument, others just glad he is gone . . . and then I see the biblical quotes to "prove" that he was "no true christian". Lets go with the easiest one:

36 “But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son,[f] but only the Father.
— http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Matthew%2024&version=NIV

First of all, some manuscripts do not include the "nor the son" part. With this added in though, it makes an extraordinary conversation about the validity of the Trinity within Christian theology. Second though, lets take a look at what is before that:

26 “So if anyone tells you, ‘There he is, out in the wilderness,’ do not go out; or, ‘Here he is, in the inner rooms,’ do not believe it. 27 For as lightning that comes from the east is visible even in the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. 28 Wherever there is a carcass, there the vultures will gather.

29 “Immediately after the distress of those days

“‘the sun will be darkened,
and the moon will not give its light;
the stars will fall from the sky,
and the heavenly bodies will be shaken.’[b]
30 “Then will appear the sign of the Son of Man in heaven. And then all the peoples of the earth[c] will mourn when they see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven, with power and great glory.[d] 31 And he will send his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other.

32 “Now learn this lesson from the fig tree: As soon as its twigs get tender and its leaves come out, you know that summer is near. 33 Even so, when you see all these things, you know that it[e] is near, right at the door. 34 Truly I tell you, this generation will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened. 35 Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.
— http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Matthew%2024&version=NIV

Now, lets focus in on verse 34:

34 Truly I tell you, this generation will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened.
— http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Matthew%2024&version=NIV

While Christ may not have a date and time, he is prophesying that these things will come within the generation of those that he is speaking to. Since that never happened and still has not happened . . . that makes him a false prophet and a liar. There are other versus to look at, but I think we only need to stick with this chapter. It is obvious that the words written are incorrect in every way. It's weird that people refer to this chapter all the time when referring to the "end times" as if they're coming. As if nation has not been fighting nation, kingdom against kingdom . . . as if famine and earthquake had not already been happening prior to this message. What Christ had to say was a doomsday prophecy of things that already happened, were presently happening and more that had yet to come. So, the problem with this is that it leaves room for every persons interpretation of whatever that means to them. If they want to add up a bunch of nonsensical things from the greek text, that should've been in aramaic in the first place, and formulate an arbitrary date and call it the end times . . . then they can. AND PEOPLE WILL FOLLOW. 

It is an absurd notion that we are limited to the ideas of other people. We all teach each other. Work with it and go with it. 

The betrayal . . .

I remember questioning the below phrase when I was a believer and no one in the church ever answered the discrepancy properly. 

70 Then Jesus replied, “Have I not chosen you, the Twelve? Yet one of you is a devil!” 71 (He meant Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot, who, though one of the Twelve, was later to betray him.)
— http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=John%206&version=NIV

I think this was one of the main theological discrepancies I had that led to me disbelief. I remember, when I was younger, being taught that god gives us free will and that we are to come to him by our own choosing. When you actually read the bible though, it is god who controls the will of man and only comes to him by his will alone. This is a blatantly untrue theological teaching. If you have free will then god has no domain over your life, and if god has no domain over your life, then god is not all-knowing, present or powerful.

The thing that is confusing about Judas is that the church teaches that he is the ultimate betrayer. So, if he is possessed by the devil, then how could he possibly be doing gods will? The answer is rather easy . . . according to scripture, god willed for judas to betray christ in order to fulfill the prophecy. So, if this is reasonably so, then how could anyone (within the faith) look at judas as someone possessed by something other than god. It is not logical that we should look at him in an "ungodly" fashion. Judas, according to scripture, performed the will of god to put jesus where he needed to be to save mankind. Isn't he then more important than any of the other 12? Is he not holy for having done the will of god so that the prophecy might be fulfilled? 

The bible is all over the place when it comes to the argument over free will or predestination, so we have to be smarter than the bible (as is in most cases) to determine reality. Fact of the matter is that, according to the bible, judas was predestined to betray jesus. Therefore, judas (as a character) should hold no fault for the death of christ. The fault should lay with god him(it)self. 

There are many other verses and theological disputes within this topic that can be pointed out, but for the sake of the character himself (judas), he is not at fault, within the storyline for the death of christ. Christ's father alone is at fault for the death of his son. He caused a faulty world, of his own creation, that needed to be saved from itself for the short comings of itself. If it were granted that judas had free will, then this would be a different conversation. However, according to the almighty bible, judas was chosen by god to betray his son / himself. In the end, as a believer, if you are to love the trinity, the mother, the wise men, the disciples otherwise . . . . you must also be thankful and grateful for judas. Without him, jesus would've kept on a preachin' til some other predestined bloke came along by way of god.

I haven't even discussed how the other gospels handle this issue.

Ridiculous!

judas-kiss-660.jpg

Black People

Since I haven't had time to do an entry in a while, I thought i'd come back at it with what is sometimes call the 3rd Testament of the Bible. That's right . . . The Book of Mormon! The other week I finally saw the musical and it was one of the most wonderful theater experiences i've had; that says a lot given how big a musical theater nerd I am. I had read the book a few years back when a couple of mormons showed at my doorstep. I told them to leave the book with me and that, in a months time, I will read it and will be ready to discuss it with them. So, I read it. Without getting in to it too much and so as not to lump the whole thing in to a short piece, there was something that stuck out to me that I hadn't thought of until I first listened to the musical (this is the song I'm mostly referring to: http://youtu.be/PHEqCXY2B-w). It's the verse that had them condemning black people all the way to 1978 when their ban from priesthood and taking part in ceremony had been lifted. Anyways, the goes:

2 Nephi 5:21 And he had caused the cursing to come upon them, yea, even a sore cursing, because of their iniquity. For behold, they had hardened their hearts against him, that they had become like unto a flint; wherefore, as they were white, and exceedingly fair and delightsome, that they might not be enticing unto my people the Lord God did cause a skin of blackness to come upon them.

This above verse is a direct invocation for blatant racism, just like all the rape quotes rape and people ownership quotes of the Old Testament are invocations for misogyny and slavery. So, the rules changed in 1978. However, the mind-blowing thing is that there were many black members already, a small crowd prior to 1978, but one that existed nonetheless. It is the same kind of cognitive dissonance involved here that allows people to excuse genocide in the Old and slavery in the New Testaments. It's like still celebrating Columbus Day when his atrocities are very well documented.

There is only one way to look at that verse. God condemns black people, and later, the mormon people thought better of it. It's offensive to think that black people were given their skin color because god thought they were evil dicks. That is the proper way to view it . . . offensive and absurd! God is a dick. There, i've said it. My statement is not a true thing though. I do not believe in a real god that could commit such monstrosities. The above verse was written by a man that hated black skinned people and needed a way to teach people to also hate them as equally as he. When you invoke gods name in that, it makes it a righteous thing. And we have been fighting against all of these things since we, simply, thought better of it.


Transient

Verse of the day . . .

2 Timothy 1:13-14 What you heard from me, keep as the pattern of sound teaching, with faith and love in Christ Jesus. Guard the good deposit that was entrusted to you—guard it with the help of the Holy Spirit who lives in us.

Rather frequently, I go to BibleGateway (either the app, or .com) and check out the verse of the day. It's really interesting to go to on a regular basis. First of all, whether Christian or otherwise, it gives you your daily fill of biblical mess. Second of all, it gives you a very selective view of biblical mess. You always get these bland, feel good verses that really have nothing to do with anything. Of Paul's letter to Timothy . . . pick a teaching; pick a sound one.

What if this were your daily bit?

Genesis 5:3-5 When Adam had lived 130 years, he had a son in his own likeness, in his own image; and he named him Seth. After Seth was born, Adam lived 800 years and had other sons and daughters. Altogether, Adam lived a total of 930 years, and then he died.

If we are to read that, to really read that, we have understand that it is mythology. WE MUST! Adam lived 930 years according to biblical text. The apologist or theologian or divinity scholar may say that it must be taken in historical context or known as allegory or . . . whatever. Who in history ever lived to be 930 years old? Adam? Well, according to Genesis, Methuselah lived to be 969 . . . and then he died. These stories are so wonderfully written! I think that is what I will have on my gravestone. "Stickney lived to be 274 years, and then he died." Simple, to the point. If I write an elaborately constructed story about a past life or so, no one can argue that math!

You know what . . . screw this age business. What if this were the "verse of the day"?

Exodus 17:16 He said, “Because hands were lifted up against the throne of the Lord, the Lord will be at war against the Amalekites from generation to generation.”

No Christian site will EVER show those, or a thousand worse ones, as the "verse of the day" . . . .

The picture on this is a condom in the alley outside my home, just because it is more pleasant than much of the bible.

Transient

Smooth talk and flattery . . .

Romans 16:17-20 I urge you, brothers and sisters, to watch out for those who cause divisions and put obstacles in your way that are contrary to the teaching you have learned. Keep away from them. For such people are not serving our Lord Christ, but their own appetites. By smooth talk and flattery they deceive the minds of naive people. Everyone has heard about your obedience, so I rejoice because of you; but I want you to be wise about what is good, and innocent about what is evil. The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet.The grace of our Lord Jesus be with you.

So, back when I was about 22 or so, I moved back to Wisconsin for a year to try going back to school and actually finish a degree in something . . . the desired accomplishment never happened. That is, I simply wasn't interested in finishing a particular study. Anyways, I'm back in Wisconsin for this story. At this point, what I was studying was Epic poetry within ancient languages. My faith had already begun to flitter with one of my biggest issues being "translation of a translation". So, I was meeting with my mother's pastor, at what is now their old church, to have a weekly discussion about this very issue. One day we were discussing this over bagels and tea (i'm still trying to remember the particulars of this days conversation) and, for some reason, I mention the German Theologian Paul Tillich. Oh, we were talking about the importance of new birth in christian theology, so I mention him. The pastor had never heard of him. I WAS DUMBFOUNDED! I'm not now . . . at the time I figured that anyone who claimed themselves to be a leader of a believing congregation had known about Tillich. I mean, I had and I was just a young dude learning shit.

Now, the reason why he'd never heard of Tillich? The above verse. What really floored me was the reason outside of this verse. He claimed that reading anything by a non christian publisher was acquiescent, in form, with believing the very thing being read. Paul Tillich, as far as I am concerned, is one of the best and most lovely Christian Theologians. It's been a while since I sat down and gave him an honest read, but i'm sure that still stands. My pastor friend though had not heard of such a brilliant mind, that was inline with his own, because it was not published by Willowcreek-fucking-enterprise-Christianity-orsomethingtothefuckingsort. It blows my mind that people are so afraid of being challenged that they refuse to learn of their opposition. This is the principal example of the argument from ignorance.

When you ignore the information you need to properly understand the very things you believe that save mankind, you have willfully damned the people that you wish to save . . . not that this even fucking matters, because only 144,000 of our population will make it anyways. So, by this, I mean to say that hell is a fucking perverse thing that the majority of us are going to end up in . . . by biblical standards.

Transient

The cherubim, that's where it was . . .

These billboards are great! What do the surrounding versus have to say though? Lets look at that:

Ezekiel 9:1-6

Then I heard him call out in a loud voice, “Bring near those who are appointed to execute judgment on the city, each with a weapon in his hand.” And I saw six men coming from the direction of the upper gate, which faces north, each with a deadly weapon in his hand. With them was a man clothed in linen who had a writing kit at his side. They came in and stood beside the bronze altar. Now the glory of the God of Israel went up from above the cherubim, where it had been, and moved to the threshold of the temple. Then the Lord called to the man clothed in linen who had the writing kit at his side and said to him, “Go throughout the city of Jerusalem and put a mark on the foreheads of those who grieve and lament over all the detestable things that are done in it.” As I listened, he said to the others, “Follow him through the city and kill, without showing pity or compassion. Slaughter the old men, the young men and women, the mothers and children, but do not touch anyone who has the mark. Begin at my sanctuary.” So they began with the old men who were in front of the temple.

Yeah, it's just god being an asshole again. Even a hitman usually has the decency to follow the "no women, no children" policy. So, what are we to think when people say "but you're taking it out of its literary and historical context"? Bullshit. This deity is not progressive with humanity. Humanity is progressive and we've made our gods follow us.

Transient

Dear Lord, please give me the strength . . .

John 14:13-14
New King James Version (NKJV)
13 And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 If you ask[a] anything in My name, I will do it.
— http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=John+14%3A13-14&version=NKJV

So, because I read so many apologetic and counter-apologetic articles on my computer, the advertisements are often religious based. We've all seen the Christian dating adds and the online religious education programs. The other day I was reading something and saw an ad for this site: 

http://www.christianprayercenter.com/

The site is full of claims such as: 

Today I received a check from the insurance company handling my workers comp claim for reimbursement of mileage for driving to Dr. appts, pharmacy and physical therapy. Came about 3 days early and was more than enough to pay the rent this week.
I wanted to thank you all for all the prayers you have sent up to our savior. My husband was very sick. I took him in to have surgery. Soon afterwards they came back into the room loudly saying we don’t operate on people who have nothing wrong. He was healed, praise God!

You can scroll through the site to find many more. There are also sections where people are asking for your prayers, of course. That's the whole point of the website, is to spread the "power of prayer". When I was a believer I would pray everyday. I would ask of god all the things that most people would ask of an interventionist deity. I thought that god could do in my life what I could not; that would be a common belief that draws us to theism. Just read that passage in John again. Christ tells us that by asking for anything in his name, he will do it. Now, the apologist will say that your prayers have to be within reason . . . this is where I struggled with this idea. What is within reason? My health? My wealth? My prosperity? Most people would say yes to those. So, what am I to think then, when as a believer, if I would pray to Christ about healing a friend, or my self, and nothing happens? What if I pray for more money, and nothing happens? What if a prayer of mine is "answered", but someone on the other side of the world dies horribly and doesn't have an answered prayer? How is it that we can praise a god for blessing our food and bringing us together, when that god doesn't care to answer the calls of a starving village and feed their children? 

People say they know that prayer works because they've seen it. Prayer does not perform a successful surgery. Prayer does not feed the hungry. Prayer does not make your health better. Prayer does not finish the education you need so that you may prosper. Prayer does not cure mental illness. Prayer is not greater than science and it is not greater than our own will and determination to make things better. There was a study done in 2006 that, I feel, is very telling. 

http://www.nytimes.com/2006/03/31/health/31pray.html?pagewanted=all&_r=1&

People will say that god shouldn't be coerced, that's why the study didn't prove it successfully . . . bullshit! Prayer "works" when something we want is successful. When the desired outcome doesn't happen, then we say "god just didn't want the same thing for you that you wanted" or "maybe it's gods way of telling you something". Is he telling you that he doesn't give a shit about you if he doesn't provide you with the basic necessities to eat? Is he telling you that he wants you dead if he doesn't cure the cancer you have? Is he telling you that he wants you to burn in hell if you've been born with a mental deficiency that precludes the possibility of belief? Does god want me to burn in hell because he doesn't answer my mothers prayers to make me believe in him?

The efficacy of prayer should be challenged and god should be coerced.  Songs like the one below may sound pretty and all, and you may even have an overwhelming feeling when you sing that in a group setting. You're spirits may feel lifted. You may feel this shared love with everyone around you. That's the work of music, not god. 

To hear this in person . . .

Mark 13:30-31
New King James Version (NKJV)
30 Assuredly, I say to you, this generation will by no means pass away till all these things take place. 31 Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will by no means pass away.
— http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Mark+13%3A30-31&version=NKJV

This is so deceiving when in the next verse he says: 32 “But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. 

To hear this in person would be very confusing. Where he claims the end times will happen before their generation dies . . . he also says, no one knows. So, like this dude on a bench, we wait . . . 

waiting.jpeg