The New Bible – Genesis 20

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God still doesn’t want to give the land that he promised to Abraham, so Abraham does a bit of travelling, lying, and praying.

1. Abraham traveled south from the now destroyed Sodom, heading towards the land in-between Kadesh and Shur.

2. Like he did with the Egyptians, he told anyone who asked him that his wife was actually his sister, just to make sure they didn’t kill him.

3.  And because of Abraham’s stupid idea the king of Gerar, Abimelech, took Sarah.

4. And God came to Abilmelech in a dream, saying, “Behold, you are but a dead man! Abraham is a liar, but I will ignore that, and Sarah is already married.

5. And Abilmelech said unto the Lord, “How was I supposed to know?”

6. “Good point,” the Lord replied, “I’m going to be good for once and let you live,

7. Abraham will pray for you to live, but unless you pay Abraham a ton of stuff for what you unknowingly did I will kill you.”

8. And when Abilmelech rose in the morning he called his servants and told them these things. And they all completely believed, without a doubt, this man’s crazy dream.

9. And Abilmelech called Abraham, and said, “What is wrong with you!? I might die because of your ridiculous lies!”

10. And Abraham replied, “No, no, I told the truth… a bit. Sarah is the daughter of my father, but not the daughter of my mother. And God fully approves of inbreeding.

11. I said that I was not married to her because nobody fears God, so they might kill me. God already told me that he was a terrible bodyguard.”

12. In order to stay alive Abilmelech gave to Abraham oxen, sheep and plenty of ‘servants’, which is the Bible’s way of saying ‘slaves’.

13. And he said, “My land is before you, I will give you 1000 silver. You can roam the land until God gives you the land he promised you. That pile of paperwork he has to sign must be really big.”

14. And so the Lord spared Abilmelech, and everyone lived happily ever after. Sort of.

15. The End

16. What? It’s not the end? Dammit! I still have about 65 books to go through and a ton more chapters. Oh well, see you in Genesis 21!

The New Bible homepage can be found here.

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STALIN AND JESUS – SHOCKING SIMILARITIES

Stalin and Jesus were very, very similar, and this post shows exactly how.

Atheist Max

stalin-icon-03a Stalin is shown with a halo in a Russian Orthodox Icon. Stalin is worshipped by the church as a demigod.

Murderous regimes of the the 20th century such as the Russian Josef Stalin get a bad reputation. And rightly so. Stalin killed millions of his own citizens for failing to worship their leader.

But is Stalinism the same as Atheism? Was Stalinist Russia so unlike religion?

#1. Stalin and Jesus demanded total control.

Stalin was sole judge over what Russians could read or listen to. Stalin claimed the right to total and absolute control of each Russian from birth to death.

Jesus is the sole judge, “He who is not with me is against me…” – JESUS (Matthew 12:30)
Jesus claims absolute authority over every decision from birth to death – All must be baptized at birth and receive Christian burial – it adds up to total control which continues after death.

#2. Stalin and…

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Arrogance and Closed Mindedness

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The phrases ‘you’re arrogant’ and ‘you’re closed minded’ come up quite a lot all over the place, especially when discussing religion. I have heard a few people say that atheists are closed minded because they don’t believe in a god, or that they are arrogant for pointing out the flaws of Christianity, but is this claim true?

For the most part, no. Of course, everyone is different, and every group has its members or followers that are slightly outspoken and over-the-top about things, but mostly, the phrases are incorrect. Arrogance is usually defined as ‘having or revealing an exaggerated sense of one’s own importance or abilities’, however these days all you have to do is state your opinion to be called arrogant, among other things.

If someone says to me that I am closed minded for not believing in a god, I will point out that they don’t believe in every other god except their own. Furthermore, they actively hold the position that every single one of the thousands of gods that they don’t believe in are false and non-existent, while I admit that any god existing is a possibility, no matter how small that possibility is. Who is more arrogant and closed minded here?

If anything, atheists can be more open minded than theists. Firstly, most of us, if not all of us, are willing to change our minds if actual, convincing evidence for a god’s existence is brought forward. On one hand it is easier to convert an atheist, because we do not stubbornly hold onto our beliefs and make constant rationalizations like some theists, but on the other hand it is much harder, because the evidence necessary to convince us (such as God actually appearing, something that can only be explained by the supernatural, etc.) has never been brought forward. Secondly, many atheists do not make the bold assumption that gods don’t exist. Of course, atheists as a group are extremely diverse, so everyone has a different opinion on the matter, but quite a few atheists do not claim to know that gods don’t exist.

Further reading:

Are atheists closed minded? Debate.org

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Defining omnibenevolence and the problem of evil

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We all know the problem of evil, which is basically the question of why God allows evil if he is all-good and all-loving. The problem of evil makes perfect sense: why are there disasters, evil, death and tragedy if there is an all-loving, all-good god who can prevent these tragedies? And Christian apologetics have come up with a number of answers to this question.

Firstly, we must agree on the definition of ‘omnibenevolent’. This word means ‘all’ (omni) ‘good’ (benevolent), and something that is all-good would not commit evil, and would definitely not stand for it in any case. Omnibenevolence is defined by the Oxford English Dictionary as “unlimited or infinite benevolence”, therefor an all-powerful, all-good being would not allow evil, under any circumstances, for any period of time.

#1  “God only allows evil for now. It is all part of his plan, and sooner or later God will (finally) defeat Satan and there will be no more evil.” This is actually one of the arguments proposed in the Christian propaganda film ‘God’s not dead’. But this argument redefines the meaning of the word ‘omnibenevolent’. An all-loving, all-good and all-powerful god would not allow evil to exist in the first place. He would have defeated Satan by now – either that or evil would not exist in the first place. This is like saying “God isn’t omnibenevolent yet, but he will be later. We’ll just have to put up with evil for now.’

#2  “God allows evil to ‘glorify’ himself.” Basically, God lets everyone suffer and die so he can act all great and merciful by giving people eternal life – as long as they believe in him. Firstly, does God need to be glorified? No, because he’s ‘perfect’. But does he want to be glorified? If so, then this seems to me like pride, and Bible does not approve of it. Jeremiah 9:23-24 says this:

“Let not the wise boast of their wisdom
or the strong boast of their strength
or the rich boast of their riches,
but let the one who boasts boast about this:
that they have the understanding to know me,
that I am the Lord, who exercises kindness,
justice and righteousness on earth,
for in these I delight,”
declares the Lord.

And why would God need to let everyone suffer just so he can offer eternal life? It’s his fault sin and evil exists in the first place. And this answer still redefines the word ‘omnibenevolent’.

#3 “God allows evil because of free-will.” This answer has a few problems, firstly, why didn’t God make a better system? He could have made free-will without the possibility of doing evil. If you believe a literal interpretation of the Bible, God is the one who made the tree of knowledge, so he definitely started the problem. Secondly, God knows what is going to happen in the future, and therefor automatically knows what we are going to do, so he could have only created the ‘good’ people, instead of letting bad people exist too. Third, this is STILL redefining the word ‘omnibenevolent’; God would not allow people to do evil, or evil to happen, if he was omnibenevolent. And I just thought of something: this answer doesn’t explain why God allows disasters, both natural and man-made. It also doesn’t explain why he allows death and disease to exist. None of these things come from free-will.

Every other argument I have seen regarding the problem of evil violates the definition of omnibenevolence one way or another. And thus, the problem of evil persists.

Further reading:

Omnibenevolence defined

God vs Satan

All sins are equal?

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The New Bible – Genesis 19

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God destroys Sodom and Gomorrah because somehow there are no good people there – except for Lot of course.

1. God couldn’t be bothered to check Sodom for righteous people, ad he couldn’t even be bothered to use his omniscience, so he sent two angels down to do it for him.

2. They met a man named Lot and came to stay with him. It seems as though angels are freeloaders too.

3. Lot gave them a room and a feast,

4. but shortly after nightfall every single male resident of Sodom had crowded around the house. Word sure gets around fast there – knew guys show up and within a few hours everybody knows.

5. And they called unto Lot, saying “where are those guys that showed up?”

6. Lot came out of his house, shutting the door behind him,

7. And he said, “none of your goddamn business!

8. You won’t do anything to those men, take my daughters instead!”

9. But apparently the people of Sodom were’t interested, they said, “no deal, ow get out of the way.”

10. And the angels of the Lord smote the men by the door with blindness, so that they could not find it.

11. And the angels said, “Get your family Lot,

12. “God’s gonna really smash up this horrible city and its inhabitants.”

13. And when the morning arose the angels said “Get up, quickly, God’s about to play with fire and sulfur.”

14. So they left the city and fled to the mountain.

15. And the Lord said, “Do not look back at the city, and don’t stay in the plains either, I gave that land to Abraham. Go to the mountains.”

16. “What? So we can freeze to death?” Lot asked, and the Lord replied, “No you idiot, there’s a city there called Zoar.

17. It is a good place, and I shall not destroy it.”

18. And so as Lot and his family left the Lord rained fire and brimstone down on Sodom, and destroyed the cities of the land.

19. But Lot’s wife looked back, and the Lord turned her into a pillar of salt for no good reason. Go God! #1 at creative Biblical deaths!

20. When Abraham woke up the next day he looked over the plains,

21. and he saw all of the cities burning, their smoke going up like a giant furnace.

22. ‘what a loving god’ he thought to himself as God floated about, throwing brimstone at people and screaming ‘Smite! Smite! Smite!’ at the top of his voice.

23. For some reason Lot feared to dwell in Zoar, so he and his daughters hid in a cave.

24. And then came the thing the Bible is famous for: Inbreeding!

25. So Lot’s daughters had children to carry on his line,

26. The first born bare a son, and called his name Moab: the same is the father of the Moabites unto this day.

27. And the younger, she also bare a son, and called his name Benammi: the same is the father of the children of Ammon unto this day.

The New Bible homepage can be found here.

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Belief – something you can just ‘do’?

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Sometimes I find that the religious think you can just ‘believe’ in something, especially when you are presented with something they call evidence, such as a personal experience or a self-fulfilling prophecy. But I don’t think it is as easy as just ‘believing’.

Take for instance Pascal’s wager, the old claim that if the religious are right, atheists will lose, but if atheists are right, nobody loses. Ignoring the fact that the wager leaves out the possibility of other religions, therefor committing the false dichotomy fallacy, only believing ‘just in case the religion is right’ is, in my opinion, worse than not believing at all.

I have problems with believing in general too. To me, believing in God because of some sort of weak logical argument, like the cosmological one for instance, wouldn’t work. I could say that I believe in God, but I would never be able to genuinely do it, because it would be like believing in Santa Claus – I could make up all the excuses and rationalizations I want, but I could not’trick’ myself into believing.

It is possible to trick yourself into believing something; repeat something over and over again long enough and you will begin to think it is true. But I don’t think that I would be able to do something like that. The mind is capable of self-deception, and if a lie is told long enough people will begin to believe it. This is what all religions are based on.

Furthermore, it is easy to believe that something is true if you want it to be true. People want their God to be real, they want eternal life, so they are much, much more likely to believe in it.

It is probably near impossible for me to trick myself into believing for a few reasons, firstly, because I have seen so many atheist arguments, and barely any decent religious rebuttals. I’m not saying that I haven’t looked, it’s just that everything I have seen looks more like a excuse than an answer. Secondly, because I already have the position that God is extremely unlikely to exist. This means that the evidence must be even more convincing. Third, I need more evidence than most people, especially regarding a god like the Christian god, Muslim god, Hindu gods, or any other god that looks so man-made. It seems more likely that if a god were to exist, it would be one that nobody has even thought about yet.

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The Ouija board

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I will be doing something a little different in this blog, I will be talking about the Ouija board. Many people believe that these boards allow them to talk to the dead, and they do look very mysterious, mostly for the fact that they seem to work.

But are these boards really magical? Firstly, they can be made out of a bit of cardboard! It is not as though they have to be made by shamans from mystical, sacred material. No, home-made ones work fine. This definitely seems to reduce the magic and mystery surrounding the board.

So if spirits aren’t moving the board, who is? Humans are. Even though the people participating are absolutely 100% sure that they are not moving the marker/glass on the board, they are. It’s called Ideomotor movement, and it is a psychological phenomenon where our muscles move without us knowing, we make movements unconsciously.

A good way to test this is to use a Ouija board blindfolded. If the spirits moved the marker, this should not be a problem, but it is. A TV show called Brain Games did a test like this, and when the participants were blindfolded, they couldn’t get an answer to their questions, all they got was J, (blank), K, (blank), (blank). This shows that when you can’t see where your hand are, the ideomotor movement can’t work properly and you get random, useless answers.

To test this movement, hold your hands out in front of you and link your fingers together, hold your hands at eye level about a foot away from you. Next, lift both of your index fingers and hold them a few centimeters apart, focus on them both and wait for a few seconds. If you are doing it correctly, both of your index fingers should move towards each other without you consciously doing anything.

Another experiment you can do involves using a small glass cup as a marker, you can place a small piece of cardboard on top of the glass, when you use the Ouija board, if spirits were moving the glass, the cardboard should slide away from the direction of movement, but what happens is the cardboard moves towards the direction of movement – an indicator that you are the one moving it.

The reason that seemingly random dead spirits know every little detail about you is because those dead spirits are actually just you and your psychological ideomotor movement. As for predictions that have come true that the Ouija board has prophesied; they are just lucky guesses and random probability.

Further reading:

Ideomotor movement – wikipedia

Image courtesy of Dave Winer at Flickr.com

The New Bible – Genesis 18

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Genesis 18 shows us that God is a freeloader.

1. And the Lord appeared to Abraham in the plains of Mamre, and Abraham sat in the tent door in the heat of the day.

2. When he lifted his head, he saw God standing there. He ran to meet him, and bowed. He was careful not to fall on his face again.

3. And Abraham said, “Hi God, how ya doin’?” Have I got your favor now?”

4. “You’re just in time for lunch. Even an all powerful God needs to eat!”

5. So Abraham went into the tent and said, “Get to work making bread and cupcakes everyone! God is here!”

6. And he went over to the herders to go and kill a calf. “Here, cook this thing” He said as he handed it to one of the herders.

7.  And he gave the meal to God, who sat under a tree and ate. You see, God is a freeloader; He shows up whenever he wants, eats your food, uses your possessions, and judges your life.

8. God said unto Abraham, “Where is Sarah, your wife?”

9. And Abraham replied, “I thought you were omniscient?” The Lord God replied, “just bring her here. And stop asking questions! I killed the last guy who asked too many questions.”

10. “As I have said before, Sarah will have a child.” The Lord said.

11. And Sarah heard it in the tent door, which was behind him.

12. Now Abraham and Sarah were old and well stricken in age, so it is no surprise that they thought God’s idea was ridiculous.

13. And the Lord said, “Is anything to hard for the Lord? Perhaps preventing evil, remembering stuff, and not getting lost on my way to the shops, but not this!”

14. The Lord stood up and looked towards Sodom,

15. And he said, “I shall surely hide from Abraham the thing I am going to do”, and Abraham replied, “uh, God, I’m still here.” Then the Lord God said to him, “then get lost. I have important things to say to myself.

16. Abraham will surely become a great and mighty nation,

17. I know him, and he will keep my covenant, however Sodom and Gomorrah must be destroyed.

18. The cities are full of sin, and I must put everyone to death, because that’s the sort of sick, twisted sense of morality I have.”

19. And the Lord called out to Abraham, “get over here! Yes, I know I just told you to go away, but I have to tell you that the people of Sodom and Gomorrah must die!”

20. And Abraham replied, “Will you destroy the righteous with the wicked?

21. How about you spare the hundreds of people if there are 50 righteous ones there?

22. Because we all know that killing the wicked and sparing the righteous is a stupid idea, better to kill them all or kill none.”

23. The Lord said, “Good idea, I will go and spy on everyone, if I don’t find 50 good people I will kill them all.

24. But on second thoughts, I will spare them if I find forty five,

25. I will also spare them if I find forty righteous people.

26. And because I’m in a good mood, I’ll even spare it if there are only ten good people in the city.

27. But I have a hunch that there is not one good person in that city, as ridiculous as the idea is.”

The New Bible homepage can be found here.

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God – the biggest sinner of them all

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There are many, many things that the God of the Bible declares as a sin. From the obvious like murder, theft and lying, to Leviticus sins like being tattooed and cutting your hair. But besides the fact that God allows evil, he is actually a sinner. Bible verses have been added to prove that these things are sins, but seeing as you don’t always get a neat list ordering out sins, some are more evidence than others. But a lot of the things God does the Bible doesn’t approve of.

  • God punishes people if they worship other Gods, this is called both envy and jealousy, and  they are sins according to Galatians 5:19-21.
  • God lets disasters and tragedies happen when he could have stopped them, this is called sloth and is a sin according to Proverbs 20:4.
  • God expects his followers to devote their lives to him, this is called pride and is a sin according to Psalms 59:12.
  • God insists that followers pay him in one way or another, be it with money, offerings or submission, this is called greed and is a sin according to 1 Corinthians 6:9-10.
  • God is a murderer, which violates most bible verses about morality and law.
  • God intends of being part of every marriage, this is called lust and is a sin according to  Exodus 20:14.
  • Jesus lies about prayer, and Jesus is God, so God lies about prayer, this is called bearing false witness and is a sin according to Exodus 20:16. (Article about Jesus lying can be found here)

So, God has committed his fair share of sins and crimes, including murdering 2 million people in the Bible, being selfish, insecure, and short-tempered. Who is God to call us sinners when he is the biggest sinner of them all – he even invented sin! Proof that God invented evil, and therefor sin, can be found in Isaiah 45:7.

Further reading:

Bible verse of the day #32 (references Isaiah 45:7)

Wikipedia – sin

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Good Bible verses

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I have done a lot of criticizing the Bible and religion in general, even though I try to be as unbiased as possible. (it is easier in some cases than others) So today I will list some good Bible verses.

“The heart of the prudent getteth knowledge; and the ear of the wise seeketh knowledge.”
– Proverbs 18:15

“Wise men lay up knowledge: but the mouth of the foolish is near destruction.”
– Proverbs 10:14

“Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, whither thou goest.”
– Ecclesiastes 9:10

“When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.”
– 1 Corinthians 13.11

“Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.”
– I Thessalonians 5:21

“Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.”
– Philippians 4:8

“A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger.”
– Proverbs 15:1

“Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good.”
– Romans 12:9

Sorry that there isn’t more, but it’s hard to find good verse without ‘God this…’ or ‘Jesus that…’ or faith and Heaven involved.

Further reading:

A better Bible

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