Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Genesis 8

Sorry for the delay in posting. I wrote the first half of this last week, but then had a few 12 hour work days in a row and my husband got hurt so I had to take care of him all weekend. Not that I mind, but it kept me from blogging!

It's almost discouraging to realize that we're only on the 8th chapter, but I have no time limit and taking it in these small chunks is making it a lot easier to keep up with posting. So we'll continue on, one step at a time, and I'll try not to feel too overwhelmed. I only have to think about one chapter for now! And that's the wrapping up of the flood in Genesis 8.

But God finally remembers Noah and all the animals (Did he forget about them? It usually seems like the implication of "remembering" something is that it was forgotten at some point!) and sends a wind to blow away the waters. Wait, what? If the waters are covering the whole earth, where is the wind blowing the water to? This makes sense from a flat earth perspective, but for a globe it's illogical. However he did it, though, the waters start to recede. Eventually the ark comes to rest on Mt. Ararat.

Given that the there is a specific location given for the resting place of the ark, and given that it wasn't more than a few thousand years ago according to the Biblical timeline, surely we could find evidence of the ark's remains on Ararat? Indeed, various expeditions have attempted this before. None of them have found anything! Well, that's not true. None of them have found anything that didn't turn out later to be a hoax. To be fair, the bible only says that it came to rest on "the mountains of Ararat," which may refer to a nearby peak to the actual Mt. Ararat. Still, nothing has been found on any of them either.

I find it interesting that the ark rests on its mountain on the 17th day of the 7th month, but "the tops of the mountains appeared" only when the water had been receding for 10 months. At that rate, it would take a lot longer to clear the water. Maybe God was tired, or just really laughing to himself about how cranky the Noahs were getting.

Noah sends out birds to see if they can find places to roost or find anything of note. The third bird he sends out, a dove, brings back a fresh olive leaf. This happens about 2 months after the tops of the mountains appear from the water. I don't know a ton about olive trees, but a quick Wikipedia check tells me they flourish in coastal areas and the like. Coastal areas tend to be about sea level. So in 2 months, the water completely disappeared and the olive tree had time to grow and bloom? Or is this an olive tree that survived being underwater for a year? And if it did, how does that fit with God wanting to kill every living thing on earth? (For that matter, what about the fishies? Were they on God's good list? And if so, why didn't he just temporarily give a couple animals gills until the flood had passed? Or just protect them in a bubble? The ark just seems SO unnecessary for am omnipotent god!)

One year and two months and some days after the start of the flood, God finally okays the ark to be emptied. Maybe it's just me, but there's no way I would sit in a dank, smelly, cramped ark for months while I waited for the ground to dry. Nope, I'd sneak out a window and run around in the mud and breathe the fresh air in great big gulps (I know, I'm such a bitter, cheerless atheist). This is probably why I would've been drowned! Noah and his family are so obedient. I can just picture God saying "Good boy! Good boy! C'mon out! Who's a good boy? You are! Oh yes you are!"

So after the ark empties out, Noah builds an altar and...wait for it...sacrifices some of all the clean animals to God. Wait. This is the same God who just killed millions of animals in the entire world, and now he is pleased by Noah killing some of the ones God went through all the trouble to save? I mean, wow, you'd think even God would've been sick of the blood by now. But anyway, apparently these last few animals dying did the trick, and God says that he will "never again curse the ground because of humankind, for the inclination of the human heart is evil from youth." That's okay, then, because humankind is pretty capable of cursing the ground ourselves, I think. It's the second part that gets me. God, listen, you made them. And if they're evil-leaning from the very start, that means you made them evil-leaning! How are you complaining about this? I was gonna write an analogy about script writers not liking the ending of their own movies, but that doesn't even begin to compare. God is omniscient and omnipotent. Which means he had to have known what was going to happen, he had to have been able to make something else happen, and so what the hell is so pouty about? It doesn't add up.

I don't know how I had so much to say about such a short, relatively uneventful chapter, but I guess I did! And now, hopefully, back to daily updates, at least while I'm at class and not on my ship every day.


Sunday, January 24, 2010

Genesis 7

Welcome back! Time for a quick post or two before the football games today, so we're off to see the promised flood!

God gives Noah further instruction about the ark. He tells him now to not only bring a pair of every kind of animal, but seven pairs of all the clean animals! And I thought that ark was gonna be crowded before. It seems like God is trying to skew the animal population post-flood towards the "clean" animals. Seems a bit unnecessary, no? I mean, God is the one who created these animals, and created them unclean (animals didn't sin in Eden!). So he either wants them or he doesn't, and why doesn't he just make them multiply less? I mean, micromanaging and all, but I've certainly been led to believe that God micromanages each and every one of our lives, so surely in his omnipotence he could make the unclean animals less fruitful? Hm.

So Noah (at the ripe old age of 600) goes into the ark with his family and all the animals, and a week later, the flood came. It doesn't say why they went into the ark a week early. I mean, it can't be that much fun in there, and surely God can just start the flood as soon as they're all safe without the week lag...perhaps that was a grace period for the dinosaurs? Heh. Anyway, this isn't an issue if you just read the next few verses. Why? Because they completely restate everything, with a slight twist.

According to verse 12 and 13, the rain fell and "on the very same day" Noah and all the animals entered the ark. If they entered the ark on the same day the rains started to fall, why did verse 10 claim that the waters of the flood didn't come for seven days later? I mean, if the writers were specific enough to know that this happened when Noah was 600 years, 2 months, and 17 days old, it can't be too much of a stretch to know whether or not they waited around in the ark for a week before the flood started. Even if they didn't know, they could at least decide on one version to put here!

As far as the actual flood, that they agree lasted 40 days and 40 nights. During this time "all the fountains of the great deep burst forth" in addition to all the rain. What's that supposed to mean? Geysers? Underground reservoirs coming forth to add to all the rain? What's preventing those empty spaces from now getting filled up with rain water? Hm. Perhaps God was plugging all the holes. However it happened, we know that the waters covered "all the high mountains under the whole heaven." Wow. That's a lot of water.

Given Mt. Everest is 8,848 meters tall, and the average elevation of the continents is 840 meters. So the water made a layer about 8000 meters deep. The radius of the earth is about 6400 kilometers. Doing a quick bit of math, this means there needed to be an additional 3,449,676,768,158,891,767,700 cubic meters of water. That's 3.4E24 cubic meters, aka 3.4 quadrillion. Where did all that water come from? Where did it go? There are all sorts of creationist "scientific" theories regarding this, but not one of them sounds in any way logical. So one must resort to "Well, God did it," which leads me to wonder why God would try to make it look like a natural phenomenon. Why not just strike dead all mankind at once? It's truly bizarre.

The cheerful ending of this chapter tells how every single living thing was "blotted out from the earth." Except for the ark. All those animals must have been the righteous ones. Or else God couldn't care less about animals. I'm thinking it's the latter. Very reassuring for anyone with a pet or a conscience, no? It must have been a lot of fun on that ark, as the waters of the flood stayed around for 150 days. So, a week beforehand, 40 days of flood, and then 150 days of floating...I can only imagine how snippy everyone was getting! Not to mention that everyone and everything they had known was gone. Like I said last time, I wouldn't accept such an offer from God. I'd rather die with everyone else.

The story of the flood is often touted as a children's story, with all the animals and the ark and everything. But I think it's incredibly morbid and gruesome. Luckily, it doesn't seem like it has any basis in truth, but that's only reassuring for those of us that can turn an objective eye towards this myth. Which isn't exactly an original myth (check out this Wikipedia page to see a list), so it's truly mindboggling that one can pick a story that sounds exactly like all the rest and say it is the true one. The more likely conclusion is that none of them are true.

Until next time!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Genesis 6

I have the most boring post titles, eh? Oh well, my format lends itself well to that, and it would be entirely too taxing to come up with amusing subtitles every time. So these will have to suffice! Plus, it clears up any confusion about what I'm going to write about (hint: it's Genesis 6!).

Wow, this chapter starts off on a great foot. "...daughters were born to them, the sons of God saw that they were fair; and they took wives for themselves of all that they chose." There is no getting around the fact that just sounds flat-out sexist, and I'm not one of those people who is overly sensitive to sexism. Ah, this is when God hands down the mortal lifespan! He says that because we are flesh we cannot live more than 120 years. That's interesting, because all those people delineated in the previous chapter were flesh too, but they got at least 900 years!

Then there come blatant demi-gods. Remember those myths of Zeus having children with mortal women who end up being the greatest insert-noun-here? Clearly legend, of course. But when "the sons of God went in to the daughters of humans, who bore children to them" who go on to become "the heroes that were of old, warriors of renown," then that's just the Biblical truth, and we can't possibly understand nowadays because things were different back then.

So God suddenly realizes that humankind is evil, so he decides to kill not only all the humans but also all the living things of his creation. He is sorry that he ever made them. Yes, let that statement sink in for a minute. The omniscient, omnipotent God who created humankind in his image, later discovers they are evil in their hearts and is sorry he ever got involved. An outcome that he should have known in the entirety from before he ever created them! Anyway, luckily for us modern day humans, Noah wasn't as black-hearted as the rest.

If Noah hadn't found favor with the Lord, would we today be arguing with Christians who believe that we've all been killed, the sensory world is merely a dream created by the devil, and that when we die we will actually "wake up" into the real, heavenly world? Actually, come to think of it, I'm sure there's some religion out there that claims such a thing. I wouldn't be surprised. But here I shall limit myself to merely what is presented before me in this holiest of books, where Noah was saved.

God tells Noah about his plan to flood the earth and gives him exact instructions for an ark. I know there is some debate on the actual length of a cubit (thanks, Google!), but for sake of modern day comprehension, I'll use the "long" cubit of about 20 inches. That makes the ark 2,083,333 cubic feet of volume. For comparison, the Titanic measured in with 4,632,800 cubic feet. So Noah made an ark out of wood and pitch that was half the size of the Titanic. Where did he get so much wood and pitch? That seems implausible.

So God outlines his plan of flooding the entire earth and tells Noah to bring his family (wife, sons, daughters-in-law) onto the ark as well as 2 of every kind of creature as well as every kind of food that exists.

This is almost worse than the creation story! At least then we can assume an omnipotent God who can do illogical things. Here we are asked to swallow the idea that Noah, a mortal man, built an ark half the size of the Titanic, in the middle of the desert (okay, it doesn't say so explicitly here, but this is what I was taught in church and given the Hebrew region seems likely), and then collected every kind of animal and plant onto it. Including animals like the kangaroo or the buffalo, that existed half a world away. Where did they shit? What did they eat? If they ate all the food he brought, how did he refurbish the world?

This makes NO SENSE. There is no brain acrobatic that makes this work. Noah's ark is impossible.

Another question that occurs to me is that God says all of humankind is evil. Then he says, well, Noah, you're okay. So why does Noah get to bring his whole family? It doesn't say that they're righteous. It just says Noah is. Are they getting a free pass from this flood because they're related to the one righteous man? What nepotism! And surely they had friends and neighbors. If Noah was able to influence his family to be righteous, what about them? And how could he do this knowing full well that they were going to be killed? I'd think the moral thing to do here is let God flood the entire earth and be done with it, rather than prolonging this "humankind is evil" crap for nearly six thousand more years.

What an interesting chapter. Demi-gods, impossible boats, and only one righteous man! And if everyone's lineage gets funneled through Noah, how can we go back to the idea that all of Lamech's descendants were musicians? Surely everyone is descended from Noah now, and since Noah descends through Seth and not Cain, no one can be a musician anymore?

Christianity would be doing so much better if someone had edited this book before publication! So far, I'm not impressed!

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Genesis 5

I guess reading the Bible is providing me solace, as it is giving me something to do while my husband assuages his Cardinals' loss by playing xbox! This time we're hitting "Adam's Descendants to Noah and His Sons" which sounds oh-so-exciting. But skipping over the unpalatable parts is exactly NOT the point, so here I go!

Adam was 130 when Seth was born (Seth being the 3rd son, after Cain and Abel). This is obviously something that cannot happen nowadays or in any previous historical era. I forget if there is an explanation coming later, but as I touched on the other week, it is very illogical to say that human lifespans are dictated by God. Because we can now medically extend lifespans, does that make us more powerful than God, able to override his will? Or can we assume that he likes us more than he like those of the 19th century but much less than he liked Adam? It says right in verse 5 that Adam died when he was 930 (which is a far cry more than a day from when he ate of the tree!).

Outlined here is the following genealogy (with ages):

Adam (930) to
Seth (912) to
Enosh (905) to
Kenan [and the lesser-known sibling Kel...] (910) to
Mahalalel (895) to
Jared (962) to
Enoch (365) to
Methusaleh (969) to
Lamech (777) to

Pretty straight forward genealogy except for the fact that these people are living almost a millennium each. I really just cannot see any way to accept this as anything other than a myth. Oh, back before the Flood, people lived sooo long! Yeah, so did the Númenóreans of Middle Earth. Also of note is Enoch, who is famous for being taken by God rather than dying. It doesn't say here why Enoch was taken or anything, just that he walked with God and was no more. Something that also stood out to me was that Lamech lived to be 777. Seven is a holy number in the Bible (or so I was taught, as evidence by instructions to forgive "seven times seven" and such), so is there any significance to the fact that Lamech lives to such an age? Perhaps because he was Noah's father he was an accorded a special status of some sort. Also, this is obviously a different Lamech than Cain's son, but the first repetition of names so far. Perhaps an oral tradition getting muddled?

The chapter ends by mentioning that Noah, at the age of 500, has 3 sons, Shem, Ham, and Japheth. How many of us can even hope to be fertile at 50?

A boring chapter, overall, but I think it's another chink in the armor of literalness. Not that anyone with half a rational brain takes this stuff literally, but it boggles my mind to read this and think that anyone thinks this is 100% true. My faith in humankind is slowly sinking by the verse.


Hopefully the next chapter will be more entertaining!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Genesis 4

I thought at least ONE person besides myself would have seen this by now...but page views would say otherwise! Oh well. I am having fun doing this, it is something I've been wanting to do, so even if my words are just echoing around an empty internet, it's worth it! Also, interesting tidbit, there are 1189 chapters in the bible (according to Google, I don't have the time to count!), which means at my current rate, I'll be working on this blog for another 3 years and 3 months at least! So I guess I don't have to think up any new ideas! Okay, so, on to the 4th chapter, in which is the ever popular story of Cain and Abel...

It just cracks me up that the Bbible cannot bring itself to say that Adam had sex with his wife, although sex is supposed to be holy in a God-sanctioned marriage. But it's not decorous to speak of it, so we just hear that Adam "knew" Eve and she had a kid. Or maybe that's how it really did work back then! Regardless, she has 2 boys somehow. She says that she has "produced a man" which makes me think of nothing so much as this internet pin:

The story is much as you probably remember it, even if you've never picked up a Bible. Cain is a farmer, and he offers God fruit. Abel is a shepherd, and he offers God fat portions of his sheep. God likes Abel's, but doesn't like Cain's. When Cain gets upset about this, God tells him that if he does well, he will be accepted, and if he does not do well, "sin is lurking at the door." Because apparently God doesn't like farmers. I really have never understood this. Cain gave what he had, and isn't that the theme of countless songs and sermons? And yet God tells him his offering is no good. No wonder Cain is miffed.

Of course, no matter how miffed one is, murder is not the answer. Cain taking Abel out to a field and killing him is a terrible thing. It is not Abel's fault that God is capricious and setting a double standard. God asks Cain where Abel is, and while I know I've been harping on God's utter lack of omniscience, this seems more like a rhetorical set-up question, so I'll give it a dubious pass. God is pissed that Cain killed his brother, so he punishes Cain to struggle with farming and to wander about the earth. Cain complains that this sucks, so God says that no one can kill Cain, and that's that. The interesting thing about this, something that has intrigued me since I was young, was that Cain is worried about wandering amongst other people. What other people? Cain seems to be Adam and Eve's firstborn, and Adam and Eve are the only 2 people God created. So even presuming that Cain is 40 or so (he goes on to settle in Nod and raise a family, so he can't be too old), there is no way Eve has pumped out enough kids to populate entire lands of people! This can be somewhat danced around by the claim that apparently people in the ancient Bible lived to hundreds of years old (and then life expectancy took a major turn for the worse once we reach written history, and only in recent years with medical advances has started to extend again, which really gives no credence at all to the idea that human lifespans are established by God...but I digress), but "dancing around" at all indicates that it's probably not a literal account.

The rest of the chapter goes on to describe how Cain populates the earth with his wife. Incidentally, his wife must be his sister, unless it's niece (a niece who results of a brother/sister pairing), and there is no escaping that the Bible has wasted no time in establish incest as a-okay. And yet this slippery slope argument against gay marriage is used today by Christians!

In describing Cain's descendants and the beginnings of civilization, it is stated that Jubal is "the ancestory of all those who play the lyre and pipe" and other such ancestries. I find it highly unlikely that all musicians are musicians solely because they all descended from Jubal. This strikes me as a similar to a polytheistic tradition of establish a "god(dess) of music" but in this case, it is an "ancestor of music." Which leads me, yet again, to the conclusion that someone made this up.

Lamech then tells his wives (yes, plural, that's also totally okay in Biblical marriages, again, how do Christians get away with the slippery slope argument when it comes to marriage?) that he killed a man for hitting him. Apparently murder runs in the family, eh? We don't see God having anything to say about this, though. Lamech just says that if it was bad to kill Cain, it would be even worse to kill Lamech. This makes no sense. Really. None at all. It sounds like he gets off scotfree for this murder.

The chapter ends with the statement "At that time people began to invoke the name of the Lord." Weren't they already doing that? Weren't Adam and Eve chummy with God from the start? Even Cain was having one-on-one conversations with him. So why wouldn't they start to invoke his name until a new generation comes along?

Sense? Where is the sense???

Again, after a logical examination of this story, I must conclude it is nothing more than myth. We're not off to a terribly promising start, seeing as I haven't felt God's presence yet, which is supposed to be a nice side effect of reading this. On the plus side, I'm having loads of fun!


Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Genesis 3

Back for another rousing installment of "Days of Our Eden." Unfortunately, I have the feeling that this chapter will be the finale. How does it all play out for our lucky couple? Previously, on DoOE, when God looked through all the animals to find a helper for Adam, and ended up having to resort to creating a woman out of his rib. And of course admonished them with instant death should they eat of a certain tree...(that should all of course be read with a soothing voiceover tone!)

We are immediately introduced to the infamous serpent. I find it interesting that the serpent is described only as "more crafty" than the other animals. His main crime, it would appear, is being smart. The serpent tries to tempt Eve, but she dutifully lists off what God taught her. The serpent, interestingly enough, seems to know what God told them already, which is more omniscience than we've seen out of God so far. The serpent lets Eve know that the tree won't kill them, it will only let them be able to tell good and evil apart.

Now this is very interesting to me. In debating theists, I have often run up against the argument that good and evil are established by God in his omnipotence/omniscience. When examples are offered of some pretty terrible things God has done, the reply is almost invariably "We're just human, we cannot possibly judge actions as good or evil because it's beyond our capacity." But in this chapter, isn't it pretty clear that we actually do have this capacity, because we traded the paradise of Eden to have it?

So Adam and Eve eat the fruit. Yes, they both eat it. I have no idea why the Bible goes out of its way to show that the serpent was talking to Eve, because it says that "her husband...was with her." So basically Adam and Eve were hanging out together, the serpent comes over and talks to them, and it is Eve who stands up for what God told them, but then she and Adam both hear the serpent out and end up eating from the tree. All the "women are more evil because Eve ate the apple first" is pretty clearly sexist bullshit that's hardly even contextually supported. At least not in this chapter.

Also, if Adam and Eve didn't know the difference between good and evil before eating of the tree, how could they know it was evil to eat from the tree? They would know it was disobeying God, but how would they know disobedience is evil? So sin really is about disobeying God and not about doing something evil. Which is sad, I think.

Next we cut to "the Lord God walking in the garden at the time of the evening breeze," which sounds awfully anthropomorphic compared to the usual arguments. God's just a guy out for a stroll in his garden. It's cute. God then proceeds to call out for Adam because he can't find him, then ask him who told him he was naked, and then ask him if he ate from the tree. Going back to the last chapter, there is not a shred of evidence that God is omniscient here. Unless he's staging an elaborate theatrics show, which seems illogical and unnecessary.

God proceeds to issue his punishments. These are not the punishments he originally threatened. He takes the legs off the serpent, gives women childbearing pain, although a little hurt with a baby is no big deal compared to this nugget: "Your desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you." God created sexism as a punishment for eating the tree! Then he tells Adam he has to toil for his crops because he "listened to the voice of [his] wife." So not only does this cement the above sexism (listening to one's wife is bad), it also doesn't make sense with the way the story was told. He was right there too, it wasn't Eve's fault! If anything, he listened to the voice of the serpent.

Which is another interesting thought. Why does the serpent have a voice? The other animals don't seem to be talking, but no one thinks it's odd that the serpent does. And nowhere does it mention the serpent is Satan. The serpent here is just someone too crafty for his own good, stirring up trouble in middle Eden. Very different from how this story is usually portrayed.

Now that God has handed out his eternal punishments, he gives the couple some hide garments. And then he says something interesting. "'See, the man has become like one of us, knowing good and evil; and now, he might reach out his hand and take also from the tree of life, and eat, and live forever.'" It doesn't say who God says this to, but the "one of us" line really stands out, doesn't it? I've vaguely heard ideas that Yahweh began as just one god of many (all ancient religions pretty much are polytheistic), and then later developed into monotheism. That definitely seems to fit with this verse. God doesn't seem to have a monopoly on anything, and he's worried that Adam is going to be godlike. He isn't claiming that Adam needs to be omniscient or omnipotent to be like one of "them," only that he needs to know about good and evil and live forever.

So Adam and Eve get the boot so that God doesn't feel threatened by them. He even leaves a cherubim to guard the entrance so that can't sneak back in. If this were a novel I'd just picked up, I'd be theorizing that God at some point was just a regular Joe who'd gone to Eden, eaten of the two trees, and then become godlike. And he wanted followers without them knowing the secret of what he'd done...so out they must go! It's very interesting, and the God that I feel like I'm coming to know in these first few chapters sounds nothing like the God I've been told about by countless Christians.

Until next time!

Monday, January 11, 2010

Genesis 2

I found last week's chapter of outright creationist myth to be pretty interesting, so I think it's awesome that the bible is offering yet another version of creation! Apparently we didn't get the idea well enough last time. Probably because it didn't go out of its way to demonize women. Okay, so here we go!

The first couple verses of this chapter just finish up the first account of creation, which makes the placement of the chapter break feel really off. So we get God resting on the 7th day and blessing it. Nothing too crazy.

Then it goes into more detail about the 4th day, saying that there was nothing alive because God hadn't made it rain nor had anyone tilled the fields. This seems really odd. It would feel more in keeping with the rest of the story to say that God hadn't created plants yet, instead of implying that the seeds are just lying dormant waiting for the first rain. More of a hands off approach. And surely even the ancient Israelites knew that things could grow without being tilled? I feel like I'm missing something with that verse. Or maybe it just doesn't make sense.

The garden Eden is created in the east and God puts man there with the two central trees. I think it's interesting that there are 3 verses that then describe the river that flows from Eden and splits into 4 rivers. The fertile crescent was possible because of these rivers, and so it's easy to see why a mythology of perfect source for the rivers works.

"For in the day that you eat of it you shall die." This is what God says to Adam about the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, and although I'm jumping the gun a little bit, I know that's not how the story ends. When the fateful eating goes down, God dooms Adam to death, but Adam doesn't die "in the day" that he eats it. Perhaps that's just nitpicking or semantics, but it's certainly not clear cut. We're only on the second chapter and this is already wide open to interpretation!

I always liked the bit about God bringing all the animals to Adam and letting him name them. I used to picture Adam coming up with crazy names that are long since lost to us. One thought that this raises, however, is what these names really mean. Are these the animals "true" names? It states "whatever the man called every living creature, that was its name." That sounds to me like Adam is gifting these animals with an intrinsic name. But of course we have all different sorts of names for animals, even within just one language. So have we lost some essence of the animals by losing their "true" names?

This whole paragraph here makes it sound like God is searching for a helper for man. The whole idea of an omnipotent and omniscient God goes against the idea that God would create a man, think that it was "not good that man should be alone," and then create all the animals, bring them to the man, and then realize that there was no helper to be found there. And so then he makes woman from the rib. Seems more like an omnipotent but human character.

That's it for Genesis 2. It's just the account of the creation of man. It doesn't explicitly contradict Genesis 1, but it has a very different flavor to it. I get a very different feeling for the God doing this creating. Although, in Genesis 1, God does create something, observe it, and then declare it good. Which, again, doesn't show too much omniscience. So far I do not find God to be as perfect as I hoped. Disappointed! Next time we get to some real juicy stories! (Juicy...haha...see what I did there?)

Until next time!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Genesis 1

I already know this one is going to be a doozy! Creation myths are FUN.

Day 1: So the universe started out as...water? Water and wind and darkness. Where is the wind coming from? Does this watery universe have pressure differentials? Interesting...has god created gravity yet? If not, how is the water staying in the "void"? But, suffice to say, there is water in a windy void, and now there's light. God creates light first, which is the logical move here, but how does he create light exactly? The inference is that he's creating the sun (because he separates the light into "day"), but he hasn't even created the sky yet! So is this just kind of a coming-from-everywhere kind of light that later will meld with the sun? Innnnteresting...

Day 2: The sky is a dome...fair enough. If you assume a flat world, that makes sense. Given our spherical world, however, it's a dubious description. And the sky separates the waters on earth from the waters not on earth. I assume this is basically what's holding the clouds up, which kind of makes sense. But what about beyond the dome? Funny that no mention is made of that. Last I checked, there's a whoooooole lot more universe out there!

Day 3: Okay, so god doesn't actually create land here, he just pushes some of the oceans around to make the dry land visible. Where did the dry land come from? Was it always there, like god and the mysterious water? Apparently.

Day 4: Ah, so now god gets around to creating the lights in the sky to separate day and night, even though he already created light and separated day and night on day 1! Also, the moon is considered a light in its own right, albeit the "lesser" one, but of course the moon is just reflecting sunlight. Science FTW!

Day 5: Fish and birds. Nothing too exciting here. "Be fruitful and multiply" to the birds/fishies.

Day 6: Animals on land, alright! And then us! This is odd...why does god say "Let us make humankind in our image." Is that the royal we? Is god obliquely referring to his bizarre threefold nature? Or perhaps a holdover for more polytheistic traditions? Well, at least he gives us dominion. Serves those animals right.

In this chapter we get a very straightforward and somewhat enlightened view: "in the image of god he created them; male and female he created them." None of this nonsense about women sucking. In fact it echoes of "All men are created equal," but of course that sentiment doesn't last long in the bible!

So that's pretty much it for Genesis 1. It's so mindboggling that people think this is a literal account of history. It doesn't make one damn lick of sense! When I was little I stumbled across this very problem right away. Where were the dinosaurs? What happened to all the time? And as a little girl I came up with the idea that god's days don't have to be the same as our piddly little days. Seeing as he didn't even create the sun until day 4, who's to say that each day was millions of years? Plenty of time for dinosaurs to roam about before man is created. Which just goes to show the kind of mental acrobatics you have to go through to make this make sense...and we're only on the first chapter!

I am trying to read this with an open mind, but this part is just plain silly.

Until next time!


More Info...

A bit more before we get started (I know, I haven't even started and I'm procrastinating!) on the actual study. The only bible I have now is the one I was given for free at school (it's kinda cool, it's leather with an Academy seal on the front), but it's not KJV! So I think I'll be okay using this one. It's the New Revised Standard Edition from the 80's. Of course, you should be able to follow along with any bible, but some wording/phrasing will be different.

Also a disclaimer: I am not a theologian, I am not a bible scholar, I am not professionally involved with any of this. I am merely a thinker, an ex-Christian atheist, who wants to know what we can really find in the bible. I am not doing this to "disprove" the bible, and maybe along the way god's love will descend upon me in a fuzzy little cocoon and I will re-convert. It's possible. But more likely I'll just be poking fun and musing.

A note: Christians are welcome to follow along, read, comment, anything they would like. But I am warning you upfront that I have very little use for being overly polite on my own turf, so any "I'm so offended!" emails will go straight to the trash.

Okay, enough preliminaries! With no further ado, I bring you Genesis 1...

Tuesday, January 5, 2010


Welcome to A Skeptic Bible Study! I'm sure I'm not the first person to undertake such an adventure, and I doubt I'll be the last. But for what it's worth, I'm offering the world my thoughts as I read through the bible as an atheist.

Reading the bible was a favorite pastime of mine when I was a Christian. Straight to the source! Unfortunately, the source was flawed, and it was plainly evident to me. I would say a good knowledge of the bible was one of the biggest factors in my deconversion! So what does the bible look like to me now? If I found so many flaws when I was still trying to be a good Christian, what might I notice now that I've accepted my skepticism? I'm excited to find out, and I hope you are too!

Before we begin, a brief about me. I'm 22 years old, a recent Naval Academy graduate. I majored in physics (specifically astrophysics) and minored in Spanish. I was born in Wisconsin and raised in Iowa, and I now live in San Diego with my wonderful husband. That's about it, really. I'm not terribly exciting!

My plan is to work my way through the entire bible. It's a daunting task, but I'm confident we can make it. After all, there's no deadline on this! I hope to post daily, but of course the demands of my life may not allow that. But as of now my (perhaps optimistic) plan is to do one chapter per post, and possibly several posts a day. This may be tweaked for especially long or short chapters. I will be starting with Genesis. It's part of the bible! Old and New Testament, we won't be cherry picking on this bible study! As far as what translation to use, I haven't quite decided. I think when I moved I threw out my easier-to-read bibles and only kept one that is KJV, not my favorite. So I have to poke around and see if I did keep a different one, or possibly go out and get a new one (although I hate to support this book with my dollar). I'm a fan of NIV, so that's what I'm hoping for. I'll mention for sure on my first post of the study!

Thanks for reading, I hope you stick around!