Posts Tagged ‘Bible’


(For the last few months we’ve been running the best posts from years past, posts that will be new to most of our subscribers. This one is from July 2013. We’ll be posting more blasts from the past for the next several months, and will intersperse them with new material.)

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A FEW QUESTIONS ABOUT THE BIBLE

1. Why do the Ten Commandments forbid worshipping false gods, graven images, and taking the lord’s name in vain, rather than slavery and torture?

2. Why doesn’t the Bible condemn slavery  or torture anywhere in its pages?

3. Why does the Bible command slaves to be obedient to their masters? (1 Timothy 6:1, 1 Peter 2:18, Ephesians 6:5)

4. Why does the Bible instruct slaveholders on how to treat (and mistreat) their slaves? (Exodus 21:20-21, Exodus 21:2-6)

5. Why does the Bible endorse slavery? (Leviticus 25:44-46)

6. Why does the Bible command female subservience? (Ephesians 5:22-23, Colossians 3:18, I Corinthians 11:3, I Corinthians 14:34, I Timothy 2:11-12, Genesis 3:16)

7. Why does the Bible treat women as “unclean” inferior beings? (Job 25:4, Revelation 14:4, Leviticus 12:2-5, Leviticus 15:17-24, 32-33)

8. Why are Christians fixated on the “abomination” of homosexuality, when the Bible also lists remarriage (Deuteronomy 24:4), “lying lips” (Proverbs 22:12), usury (Exodus 18:10-13), sex with an “unclean” woman (Leviticus 18:19, 27), short-weighting (Deuteronomy 25:13-16), and, of course, sacrificing a blemished ox (Deuteronomy 17:1) as abominations?

8. Why is the Bible filled with contradictions, such as “[F]or I am merciful, saith the Lord, and I will not keep anger forever” (Jeremiah 3:12) vs. “Ye have kindled a fire in mine anger, which shall burn forever” (Jeremiah 17:4)?

(See also Ezekiel 18:20 vs. Exodus 20:5; James 1:13 vs. Genesis 22:1; Matthew 6:19 vs. Proverbs 15:6; Exodus 21:23-25 vs. Matthew 5:39; Proverbs 3:13 vs. Ecclesiastes  1:18; Ecclesiastes 1:4 vs. 2 Peter 3:10; Matthew 10:34 vs. Matthew 26:52; John 5:31 vs. John 8:18; John 5:28-29 vs. Job 7:9; John 10:30 vs. John 14:28; and Genesis 32:30 vs. John 1:18 vs. Exodus 33:23).

10. If these blatant contradictions are the result of mistranslation, why should any other part of the Bible be more reliable?

11. Why does the Bible mention only plants and animals found in the region familiar to its authors?

12. Did the same god who created sunsets, hummingbirds, and butterflies also create cockroaches, scabies, Donald Trump, and Bill O’Reilly? (Helpful hint: google O’Reilly falafel.)

13. What happened to all of the water after the great flood? (If all of the ice on Earth melted, it would raise the sea level by less than a hundred meters.)

14. Why does the Bible command “Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live” (Exodus 22:18)? (See also Leviticus 20:27.)

15. Why does the Bible command the murder of EMTs, firemen, nurses, doctors, convenience store clerks, and everyone else who works on the sabbath? (Exodus 35:1-2, Exodus 31:14-15, Numbers 15:32-36)

16. Why does the Bible command the murder of rebellious children? (Deuteronomy 21:18-21, Leviticus 20:9)

17. Why does the Bible command parents to beat their children? (Proverbs 23:13-14)

18. Why does the Bible command mass murder and the taking of juvenile female sex slaves? (Numbers 31:17-18)

19. Why does the Bible command murder (burning alive) of those who have sex with their mothers-in-law? (Leviticus 20:14)

20. Why does the Bible command the killing of innocent beasts that are victims of sexual abuse? (Leviticus 20:15)

21. And while we’re on the topic, doesn’t the death penalty for bestiality seem a bit over the top? (Leviticus 20:15)

22. Why are your morals so much better than those of the god of the Bible?


GOD, n. A three-letter justification for murder; 2) An unsavory character found in many popular works of fiction.

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–from the revised and expanded edition of The American Heretic’s Dictionary, the best modern successor to Ambrose Bierce’s Devil’s Dictionary

American Heretic's Dictionary revised and expanded by Chaz Bufe, front cover


Max Norday

“How could men who lived free and equal . . . ever have found in their experience the idea of a mighty God whose frequent anger had to be propitiated by currish fawning, supplication, flattery, and sacrifice . . . ? — an idea quite natural to a pack of slaves, who imagined their God in the image of the despotic ruler who cracked the whip above their heads.”

–Max Nordau, The Interpretation of History


by Chaz Bufe, publisher See Sharp Press

Know-nothingism has become fashionable on the religious right. Many right-wing fundamentalists insist that assertions contained in an ancient mish-mash of a book are every bit as valid as carefully arrived-at, repeatedly tested scientific theories and conclusions.

In a striking bit of irony, some go even further and (unconsciously) mimic academic postmodernists, insisting that all “opinions” (including scientific conclusions) are equal. Thus willful ignorance among the least educated mirrors willful ignorance among the most educated.

Given all this, it’s good to remind ourselves of why facts matter, and why science is superior to religious faith.

Failure to take facts into account has real-world consequences. To cite a trivial example, if you believe you’re invulnerable because you believe you are, test your hypothesis by stepping in front of a truck. To cite a sadder, all-too-real example, science has established that the similarities between human beings vastly outweigh the differences, and that there’s no basis for assertions that any race is superior to any other. So, are the opinions of racists just as valid as  the scientific conclusion that the differences between racial groups are trivial?

To cite still another example of why facts matter, in the Middle Ages in Europe, with science at a standstill, many believed that disease and bad weather were caused by witchcraft. End result? Tens, perhaps hundreds, of thousands of “witches” were brutally murdered for “causing” storms and disease.

There are innumerable other examples demonstrating why facts matter. And, yes, you can’t absolutely prove anything, but probabilities are so high in so many cases that it’s reasonable to act as if the probablity is 100%.

So, facts do matter. But why does science trump religion?

1. The scientific method is the only reliable way to arrive at the most probably correct explanation of almost anything. Scientists reach conclusions by formulating hypotheses, checking those hypotheses against observed phenomena, devising experiments to test the hypotheses, checking them for internal consistency, and checking to see if the hypotheses can generate accurate predictions. Then doing all this over and over again, with different scientists repeatedly testing the hypotheses (“theories” if they consistently pass all these tests over a prolonged period of time) through experiment, observation, and analysis.

This is a bit different than pointing to a hoary book written by iron-age slaveholders and asserting, “This is a fact! It says so here!”

2. Science is self-correcting. Religion isn’t. Science continually tests and refines hypotheses and theories to arrive at more accurate explanations. Religion doesn’t.

A good example of this is provided by scientific exploration of racial differences between humans. In the 19th century, some scientists asserted that whites were superior to other races. By the middle of the 20th century, other scientists had definitively debunked those assertions through observation, experiment, and analysis. (Yes, there are still a few racist scientists, but their assertions are knocked down almost as soon as they make them, and the vast majority of scientists now accept, in line with scientific research, that assertions of racial superiority or inferiority are baseless.)

The overt racism of the Book of Mormon slightly predates the racist assertions of some 19th-century scientists, with the Book of Mormon itself referring to caucasians as “white and exceedingly fair and delightsome” (2 Nephi 5:20-21); and as late as 1935, Mormon Prophet Joseph Fielding Smith asserted that “because of [Cain’s] wickedness he became the father of an inferior race.” (The Way to Perfection, p. 101)

Finally, in 1978, in response to widespread social condemnation (and undoubtedly a desire to increase the number of potential converts), then-prophet Spencer W. Kimball announced a new “revelation” that the church should abandon its racial restrictions on the priesthood (but not the “revealed” racist passage in 2 Nephi, nor the racist statements of previous “prophets”). That’s a bit different than the way science handled the matter, eh?

3. Science improves daily life. Religion doesn’t. One clear example of this is in the field of medicine. Scientists discovered the microbial nature of disease. That discovery led to use of antiseptics and the later development of antibiotics, which have saved the lives of untold millions.

In contrast, religion has led to no developments that improve daily life. (And please don’t start talking about the power of prayer and the peace it supposedly brings–we’re speaking here of demonstrable physical improvement.)

4. Science leads. Religion lags. A good example of this is our understanding of the universe beyond the Earth. Early scientists (Copernicus, Galileo, et al.) led the way to accurate description of the physical universe.

At the same time, the church was insisting that the sun revolves around the Earth, and hauling scientists who dared to state the opposite before the Inquisition.

Another example is the scientific versus religious attitude toward women. Science has established that while there are obvious and not-so-obvious differences between men and women, their intellectual abilities are almost identical (with a few end-of-the-bell-curve differences in a few specific areas).

In contrast, religion has insisted on the inferiority and consequent subordination of women from antiquity. To cite but two of a great many Bible verses denigrating women, “How then can man be justified with God? or how can he be clean that is born of a woman?” (Job 25:4) and “These [redeemed] are they which were not defiled with women.” (Revelation 14:4)

Today, some religions have acknowledged reality and accept the equality of men and women. Others have dug in their heels and still insist upon female subordination, though most are now wary of openly stating that women are inferior. And it’s safe to say that the more conservative the religion–that is, the more literally its members take their scriptures–the more likely they are to insist upon the inferiority and subjugation of women.

5. Finally, as Neil deGrasse Tyson famously remarked, science opens doors and religion closes them. Science not only leads to improvement in daily life, but to broader intellectual horizons; it encourages people to think for themselves, to question everything; it leads to one question after another.

Religion insists that all the answers are contained in ancient holy books, and that it’s wrong, dangerous to question those answers–that you have an intellect, but you shouldn’t use it.

It’s hard to conceive of anything more stultifying.


Sinai, Egypt (API) — Authorities announced today that they had freed Jehovah (aka “Yahweh,” “God,” “The Creator of the Universe,” “The Maker of All Things”) from a cramped cell in a terrorist training camp where He had been held incommunicado for ten thousand years.

At his first press conference after his release, a gaunt, disheveled Jehovah told reporters that He was aghast at damn near everything that had been done in His name since His abduction at gunpoint at the dawn of agriculture.

Growing visibly more angry as He denounced abuse after abuse, the Deity paused in the midst of His diatribe to thunder, “Here! This says it all! Witch burnings and the Inquisition were bad enough, and boy they were bad!, but check out drawing and quartering!”

The enraged Creator paused and lowered His voice. “Doesn’t sound too bad, ‘drawing and quartering,’ does it?” His voice steadily rising, He explained, “What it means is they took some poor slob, some ‘heretic,’  hung him without snapping his neck until he almost asphyxiated, then cut off his dick and balls, and then disemboweled him —while he was still alive! They did this in My name!!”

Hanging his head in fury and in shame that He had been unable to prevent this, Jehovah looked up and growled, “And let’s  not even get started on all of the shoddy fantasy and horror fiction they attribute to Me!” The Deity shuddered, and then with a malicious half-smile said, “Actually, let’s!

“The tough part is knowing where to start. The Torah, Bible, Quran, Book of Mormon? You tell Me!

“Let’s take something all of ’em take as Scripture, the Ten Commandments. Do you know where those things came from? Do you? They were a rough draft I knocked out on the third day of a five-day bender just to fuck with people, just to see if they’d be dumb enough go for ’em. I threw in a few good things to confuse the issue, but yeah, I wrote them to fuck with people.

“When I sobered up, I stuck them in a drawer somewhere and forgot about them. God knows how they found ’em.

“While I was sitting in that cell for all those years, I had plenty of time to think. I realized that I’m better than those ‘Commandments’ –again, sorry I wrote ’em!–and I came up with a new version that reflects what I actually think. I even wrote two extras!

“Frankly, these are all so obvious that I shouldn’t even have to mention them, but obviously I do; so, here they are, in pseudo-16th-century English, as people seem to like that”:

  1. Thou shalt not torture;
  2. Thou shalt not enslave;
  3. Thou shalt not engage in cruelty of any kind;
  4. Thou shalt not use violence or the threat of violence to coerce others;
  5. Thou shalt not put other people in cages;
  6. Thou shalt not murder anyone, not just My chosen people;
  7. Thou shalt not subjugate women;
  8. Thou shalt not breed like the hares of the earth;
  9. Thou shalt not scapegoat and persecute minorities;
  10. Thou shalt not despoil Mother Earth;
  11. Thou shalt be honest, thou shalt use thine reason to determine thine conclusions, not engage in wishful thinking;
  12. Thou shalt always treat others as thou wishes to be treated.

With that, the Creator of the Universe, rose and thundered, “Enough said! Is there anything about this you don’t understand?!” He glared at the assembled reporters and then  stepped away from the podium and strode toward the exit, pausing only to shout over his shoulder, “But hey! Remember! The last one doesn’t apply to masochists!”

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(with apologies to whoever came up with the golden oldie about masochists and the golden rule)

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If you enjoyed this piece, you’ll probably also enjoy The American Heretic’s Dictionary (revised & expanded). Here’s a large free sample in pdf form.

American Heretic's Dictionary revised and expanded by Chaz Bufe, front cover


Bible Tales for Ages 18 and Up, by G. Richard Bozarth, front cover

In 1947, Dr. Sebaceous Piafraus discovered the Terminally Ill Sea Scrolls in the same month the Dead Sea Scrolls were found. The Dead Sea Scrolls became internationally famous, but the Terminally Ill Sea Scrolls were consigned to obscurity, along with their discoverer. Dr. Piafraus, who endured decades of ego-bruising neglect, provides translations of well known Old Testament stories, which he insists are the most authentic versions of the stories because the Jewish end-times cult that created the Scrolls claimed that they were. These stories are more fully developed than in the Old Testament and are humorous, though some parts are appalling, because Bible stories often are appalling.

For a large pdf sample, click here.

Quote of the Day 11-11-15

Posted: November 10, 2015 in Christianity, Religion
Tags: ,

Max Norday“Historical investigations have revealed to us the origin and growth of the Bible. We know that by this name we designate a collection of writings as radically unlike in origin, character and contents, as if the Nibelungen Lied, Mirabeau’s speeches, Heine’s love poems and a manual of zoology had been printed and mixed promiscuously, and then bound into one volume.

“We find collected in this book the superstitious beliefs of the ancient inhabitants of Palestine, with indistinct echoes of Indian and Persian fables, mistaken imitations of Egyptian theories and customs, historical chronicles as dry as they are unreliable, and miscellaneous poems, amatory, human and Jewish-national, which are rarely distinguished by beauties of the highest order, but frequently by superfluity of expression, coarseness, bad taste, and genuine Oriental sensuality.

“As a literary monument the Bible is of much later origin than the Vedas; as a work of literary value it is surpassed by everything written in the last two thousand years by authors even of the second rank, and to compare it seriously with the productions of Homer, Sophocles, Dante, Shakespeare or Goethe would require a fanaticized mind that had entirely lost its power of judgment. Its conception of the universe is childish, and its morality revolting.”

–Max Nordau, Conventional Lies of Our Civilization