The New Bible – Exodus 10

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God’s not finished showing off his power to the Pharaoh, so the saga of freeing the Israelites continues!

  1. God came to Moses and said to him, “I’ve hardened the heart of the Pharaoh again, so go to him and complain once more, and I shall show off how awesome I am.”

2. Moses did as he was told, and once again the Pharaoh refused to free his people. “You want everyone to go and worship the Lord? No, just take the men like you said the first time” the Pharaoh exclaimed.

3. “Not good enough” Moses said, clearly not knowing how to compromise. So the Pharaoh drove him from his presence.

4. “Okay, you asked for this,” Moses said, “I know you don’t really have any plants left from the hail, and I know that after flies and gnats this might be a little repetitive, but here comes the plague of locusts!”

5. Moses raised his hand, and at once a giant swarm of locusts came down upon the land, covering the ground and eating what little the Egyptians had left.

6. So after several Egyptian plant species were driven to extinction, the Pharaoh agreed to let Moses go.

7. “Finally!” Moses exclaimed, “Now you’d better not change your mind again.”

8. But the Pharaoh changed his mind again.

9. So Moses had a temper tantrum and plagued Egypt again, this time with a plague of darkness. Somehow God managed to stop earth from turning or something, because for three days straight the land was covered in darkness.

10. Of course, if the earth suddenly stopped moving, everything on it would continue moving – it would be perhaps the single best way to destroy all life on earth. But I guess God works in mysterious ways!

11. Anyhow, Egypt was covered in darkness, but the plague was somewhat tame compared to all the stuff the Egyptians had been through before.

12. Even so, the Pharaoh knew the routine by this point, and once again let Moses and his people go. As usual, God hardened his heart again and the Pharaoh chased Moses and Aaron out of his palace, threatening to kill them if they ever showed up again.

13. “Hmm… kill them” God said to himself, having a sudden idea.

The New Bible homepage can be found here.

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‘Protagonists’ in the Bible – Noah

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The righteous man who was chosen by God to save the world’s animals was a fairly interesting character. As God practiced the unnecessary complexity of his murder plans, Noah set about building an impossibly huge ship with the help of only a few sons.

Noah and his family were somehow the only good people in a world filled with violence and corruption, so God decided to save him. Now, instead of just clicking his fingers and making everybody who was evil just drop down dead, he decided to flood the entire planet – because why not?

But first he had to make sure Noah survived. Now, fallout shelters hadn’t been invented yet, so he couldn’t make Noah build a giant waterproof house or something. God finally decided to make Noah build a giant boat, and gave him only a handful of measurements to work with.

Noah, who must’ve been an experienced carpenter with an infinite wood storage somewhere, set about building a giant ship with the help of only his three sons. Somehow they managed to build a ship of giant proportions with no machinery or armies of workers, despite the fact that later on, other nations needed huge groups of people to build their warships.

And of course, nobody else in the entire world owned a boat.

Noah then collected every single animal species on the planet. He also collected every single plant species on the planet. And of course, he must have gathered enough food to last them all a year.

So God flooded the planet somehow, and Moses played zookeeper for 18 million species. And let’s not forget he was about 600 years old when all of this happened.

Noah then made several animal species go extinct by sacrificing them to God, and God repaid him by inventing the rainbow.

But even Noah, the righteous man, got into some trouble. One day, when celebrating, he got a bit drunk and ran around his garden, cursing anybody who looked at him.

So what do we know about Noah? He was a very good carpenter with a drinking problem.

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Christian flood vs Epic of Gilgamesh

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The Bible is well known for copying things from other religions, and one of the most obvious cases of plagiarism comes from the Epic of Gilgamesh. Let’s look at the similarities:

  • Both God/s decide to destroy the earth with a flood

In both accounts mankind is corrupt and must be destroyed.

  • Both Gods select a righteous man

In both accounts a righteous man is chosen to save all of the animals.

  • Both men are ordered to build a giant boat with many decks

Noah’s was rectangular, and Utnapishtim’s was square – I’d love to see those boats try to sail.

  • Both boats are to only have one window

The structure and design of the boats were very similar.

  • In both accounts, it rained heavily and flooded the planet

It rained for 40 days and 40 nights in the Biblical account, with water coming out of the ground, but it only rained for six days in the Gilgamesh account, making it even more scientifically impossible!

  • Both boats come to rest on a mountain

Noah’s boat lands atop mount Ararat, and Utnapishtim’s boat lands 300 miles away atop mount Nisir.

  • Both men release a bird to see if the land is dry

Noah released a raven and three doves, and Utnapishtim released a dove, a swallow and a raven.

  • And both men offer sacrifices to God when the flood has passed

Both the Christian God and the Gilgamesh gods love animal sacrifice. I wonder what species they had to exterminate.

  • Both God’s promised not to do it again

God and the Gilgamesh gods all promised not to flood the earth again, and God even invented the rainbow. I wonder what they’ll do if the earth becomes corrupt again…

If you ask me, it’s pretty clear that the Bible’s flood story is awfully similar to the much earlier Epic of Gilgamesh. But to give the Bible some credit, it is thought that the Epic of Gilgamesh was copied from even earlier stories such as the Sumerian epic of Ziusudra and the Akkadian epic of Atra-hasis.

Sources, citations and further research:

http://commonsenseatheism.com/?p=8647

http://www.gotquestions.org/Gilgamesh-flood.html

Image courtesy of cuteimage at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

The New Bible – Exodus 9

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The Pharaoh still won’t let Moses’ people go, despite all of the things that have happened to him already. God’s next ‘miracles’ are a bit more destructive.

  1. Moses was pissed off that the Pharaoh had lied to him again, and, completely ignoring the fact that it was God’s fault, went for revenge.

2. “Now Pharaoh,” Moses said, “unless you let my people go, God’s gonna kill all of your animals.”

3. The Pharaoh refused yet again, so God did what he did best – punish others for the sins of the people he doesn’t like.

4. All across Egypt every cow, sheep, goat, camel, ox, and anything else the Egyptians used, suddenly collapsed down dead.

5. “Meh, I’m not impressed, you’ll have to do better than that!” the Pharaoh exclaimed, still refusing to free Moses’ people.

6. So Moses threw some dust into the air, and God struck the Egyptians with boils. The plague was so bad that not even the Pharaoh’s magicians, who seemed to be slacking off, could stand before Moses and Aaron.

7. The Pharaoh didn’t let Moses and his people go, hoping that he could outlast the plagues, so Moses got ready to unleash yet another plague upon them.

8. The Lord said to Moses, “Now, go to the Pharaoh tomorrow and do your usual speech, but make sure to tell him that God is super-powerful and amazing and all, and that he could wipe them from the face of the earth, but he has let them live specifically to show them his power.”

9. So Moses finally discovered why God was hardening the Pharaoh’s heart – he was an insecure being who wanted to show everybody how tough and amazing he was.

10. Moses did as the Lord commanded, and warned them that he would send a great hailstorm to plague them if his demands weren’t met. In fact, the hail would be so bad that it would kill them if they stood out in it long enough.

11. The Egyptians hurried to bring their slaves and livestock inside – yes, the livestock that God had killed not too long ago – and God sent a storm so powerful that it outdid anything Egypt had ever seen before.

12. But luckily the Israelites had umbrellas, so they were fine.

13. When the storm had passed all of the trees were stripped of their leaves, and all of the crops were destroyed. You would have thought that there would be a huge famine with all of the destroyed crops and dead animals, but surprisingly there wasn’t.

14. The Pharaoh summoned Moses and Aaron to his house, and said to them, “Alright, you win. God’s too powerful, your people can set off for the wilderness tomorrow.”

15. “Hmm…you’ve said that twice before and lied, but maybe third time’s the charm!” Moses said, “See you tomorrow!”

16. But the Lord hardened the Pharaoh’s heart again, so he would not let them go. Jesus Christ, Moses must be either very gullible or very stupid. Maybe both.

The New Bible homepage can be found here.

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‘Protagonists’ in the Bible – Abraham

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Abraham was one of the first people God stalked, shortly after he got bored of Noah. Abraham’s life wasn’t quite as adventurous as maybe Moses or Jacob, but nonetheless he got up to some stuff.

One day Abraham was told by God to leave his people and go somewhere else, for he was going to make Abraham a ruler of a great nation – another one of God’s empty promises. God certainly took his time though, because Abraham was already 75 when he set off.

There was a famine in the land, so Abraham traveled down to Egypt, where he made his wife pretend to be his sister, because otherwise the Egyptians would kill him or something. Of all the people in Egypt, Abraham me the Pharaoh (what luck!) who proceeded to marry his wife. God saw what had happened and cursed the Pharaoh, even though he had no idea he was doing anything wrong.

The Pharaoh must have been pissed off at this point, because he kicked Abraham out of Egypt. Abraham traveled north once again and set up base in Bethel, building one of his many altars. Abraham kept building altars all over the place while kings with long names fought several wars.

One day the Lord saw all the altars and decided to make a covenant with Abraham. He made Abraham cut up a bunch of animals and then go to sleep, where he had a dream and God made all sorts of bold promises – promises which he either never fulfilled or finally completed a few hundred years later.

Abraham woke from his dream and wanted an heir to inherit all of his stuff, but Sarah couldn’t bear him a child, so Abraham went off and impregnated one of his servants, who bore him a son which God had already assigned a name and a life story.

Of course, the Bible wouldn’t be complete with out a couple of catches in it, and this story is no different. God promised Abraham all sorts of stuff, but then came back later and told him that he had to commit self-mutilation. Classic God!

So Abraham and all of his people circumcised themselves, and when they were done God came over for dinner. He was a complete freeloader, and God tells Abraham of his plan to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah.

Abraham asks God to spare them, but he refuses. God does say that he will spare any righteous people in the cities, but for some reason God could only find one family.

As God was happily smiting cities with fire and brimstone, Abraham built a couple more altars and pretended that his wife was his sister again. Once again, somebody married his wife and invoked the wrath of God. This time it was Abimelek, who became good friends with Abraham and paid him lots of money to make him go away.

Sarah, Abraham’s wife, bore him a son, just as God had said at their dinner party earlier that week, and he was named Isaac. When Isaac was older Abraham thought he heard a voice telling him to sacrifice his son, which he went to do without question. Luckily God stepped in just before Isaac was killed, claiming that it was all a test, and that he didn’t really want human sacrifice – but it all seems a bit suspicious if you ask me.

Abraham had plenty more children, and when Sarah died he bought a cave that was being offered to him for free and buried her there. Abraham found Isaac a wife as his last act, and promptly collapsed down dead – and about time too, he was a hundred and seventy five years old!

So that concludes the life of Abraham, a kind of normal Biblical guy who was obsessed with building altars and pretending that his wife was his sister.

He’s certainly not one of the worst ‘protagonists’ in the Bible, nor is he even morally questionable, but he did nearly murder his child because a voice in his head told him too… so he may have been just a touch insane.

Image Courtesy of Salvatore Vuono at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

The New Bible – Exodus 8

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God is still helping Moses and Aaron plague the Egyptians with all kinds of creatures. Turning the Nile into blood didn’t work, but God’s not out of ideas yet!

  1. Seven days passed, and Moses and Aaron returned to the Pharaoh.

2. “Now Pharaoh, you’d better let our people wander off into the wilderness or God will make millions of frogs come up out of the Nile, they will infest your houses and everything, and the ground will just turn into a sea of frogs!” Aaron said.

3. The Pharaoh refused, so Aaron and Moses stretched their hands out over the Nile, which God must have tuned back into water at some point, and hundreds of frogs started coming up out of the water, just like they had said.

4. God must have been popping frogs into existence or something, and eventually the Pharaoh got so annoyed he went to Moses and said, “Alright, you win. Get rid of these Goddamn frogs and I’ll let your people go.”

5. So Moses made all of the frogs suddenly collapse down dead, and the noise of millions of tiny bodies falling to the ground echoed across Egypt. The Pharaoh told Moses to come back the next day, and even though the land stunk of dead frogs, the Pharaoh was relieved.

6. But next comes some Biblical trickery, because when Moses came back the next day the Pharaoh refused to free his people, for God had hardened his heart again.

7. “You dirty rotten liar!” Moses exclaimed, “I’m gonna plague you so bad!”

8. So Moses summoned a plague of gnats – you know, those annoying little insects. But the Pharaoh wouldn’t listen, so Moses came back the next day and summoned another plague – this time a plague of flies.

9. “Why don’t you  just offer sacrifices here in Egypt?” the Pharaoh asked, trying to see through the cloud of flies. “No, then we can’t escape… I mean, we’re afraid the Egyptians will stone us” Moses replied.

10. “Fine, you can go off into the wilderness tomorrow and sacrifice to your God, just get rid of these insects” the Pharaoh said. Moses left and prayed to the Lord, and all of the flies disappeared, and the Egyptians looked like people again, instead of seething masses of flies.

11. But God hardened the Pharaoh’s heart again, so he would not let them go. Maybe God’s just having some fun. Either way, Moses was probably kicking himself for not seeing it coming.

The New Bible homepage can be found here.

Image courtesy of vectorolie at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

 

‘protagonists’ in the Bible – Jacob

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Jacob was one of the Biblical ‘protagonists’ in Genesis, who was descendant of Isaac, who was a descendant of Abraham. Jacob led an interesting life, filled with some very interesting scenarios.

Before Jacob was even born, a life story had already been made for him. So much for free will! Jacob was the younger of two sons, and God had decided that he would always be weaker than his brother, Esau, who apparently resembled a bigfoot.

Many years later Esau came back from hunting, and Jacob bought his birthright. You know, as you do. So Esau sold his birthright, however that works, in return for some soup. Still not done with his trickery, Jacob, with the help of his mother, stole Esau’s blessing. Jacob dressed up in some goat skin and pretended to be Esau, tricking Isaac into blessing him.

Jacob fled the land before Esau found out, and he went to live with his relative Laban. Crossing the land of Bethel he set up camp, and had a dream whilst using a rock as a pillow. In his dream God came down and gave his usual speech of ‘I’ll give you the Holy land and your descendants will be many, yada yada yada’.

Jacob finally arrived at Laban’s place, in the land of Paddan Aram. He worked seven years for a wife, and ended up with the wrong one, so he had to work ANOTHER seven years to get a second wife, and luckily for him God has no objections to polygamy!

Jacob’s two wives get into a war over who can have the most children, and for once it looks like God’s going to keep one of his promises. While all of this was going on Jacob was getting ready to leave Laban, and was being paid in goats. He used magical selective breeding with tree branches to increase the number of goats he got paid, before taking off with his family.

Laban got suspicious, and chased after him, inventing the cross country race. Laban finally catches up, and after a few long speeches all is forgiven. Laban blesses everybody and Jacob sets off again for his homeland, taking a quick detour to have a wrestling match with God.

God cheats and Jacob loses, and God decides to change Jacob’s name to Israel. He quickly forgets and keeps calling him Jacob though.

When Jacob returns to Isaac, Esau shows up with an army, and just when it looks like things are going to get interesting Esau admits the army was just for show. He must have forgotten the whole stealing birthrights and blessings saga, because all is peaceful again.

Jacob builds a new home as his children go out murdering entire villages because they messed with the wrong family, and Soon enough Isaac keels over dead, and is buried alongside Abraham in a cave somewhere.

A long time passes, and lots of new children are born, before one of Jacob’s children was sold into slavery, and a few years later a great famine hits the land. Jacob’s sons go down to Egypt to discover Joseph, the guy they had sold into slavery. He forgives them and everybody moves down to stay with him in Egypt.

After many years Jacob dies, and he is buried with Abraham and Isaac. If this trend continues that cave will be full of bodies in no time!

So, what have we learnt about Jacob? He is crossed between a thief and a mad scientist – Perfect Bible material!

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Dumbest questions each state Googles

I found this strange article the other day which shows the dumbest and weirdest questions each state googles the most, compared to the other states.

In Hawaii, everybody wants to know what the meaning of life is, but unfortunately some of the other states are not so sensible. In Texas, the most common question is ‘where is the internet?’ and the people of Florida just want to know why nobody likes them. In Minnesota, people are unsure if ‘funner’ is a word, and in Missouri everybody is wondering whether they are a psycho or not.

The full map:

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And be sure to check out this site, which lists all of these questions and more!

The New Bible – Exodus 7

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God, Aaron and Moses begin trying to convince the Pharaoh to free the Israelites, and we finally get to see what all of the incessant planning from the previous chapters was for.

  1. “Now, as we discussed, you and Aaron will speak to the Pharaoh and do as I command you, and I shall make miracles happen. But I will harden the Pharaoh’s heart, and he won’t let you go” God instructed.

2. “But why? What’s the point of hardening his heart?” Moses asked.

3. “Never mind that! I work in mysterious ways, you know” God replied. He doesn’t like it when people question him.

4. Moses and Aaron did as God commanded, and were both eighty year old men by the time they finally got around to putting their plan into action.

5. The Lord commanded them to throw their staffs at the ground, so Moses and Aaron just walked up to the Pharaoh without a word and threw their staffs onto the floor.

6. “What the Hell was that for?” the Pharaoh asked.

7. “Wait for it…” Moses said, “God must be having some technical difficulties.”

8. Just then the staffs turned into snakes, but the Pharaoh wasn’t impressed.

9. “Somehow I also have magicians that can do that!” The Pharaoh gloated as his magicians threw their staffs at the ground, which also turned into snakes.

10. Moses and Aaron came back the next day with God’s next plan. They stretched out their hands across the Nile, and all of the water in Egypt turned to blood. All of the fish died, and although you would have thought this would wipe out several fish species and have a devastating and apocalyptic blow to the people and animals in Egypt, it didn’t.

11. But the Pharaoh’s magicians did it too – somehow. They turned the Nile into blood again, even though it hadn’t yet been changed back into water, and the Pharaoh walked off, unimpressed.

12. But God wasn’t out of ideas yet, his next ones might just work… as long as he doesn’t harden the Pharaoh’s heart again.

The New Bible homepage can be found here.

Image courtesy of vectorolie at FreeDigitalPhotos.net