Monday, February 28, 2011

Deuteronomy 22-24 Cross Dressing, Stoned Wives and Sharing

I was posting a lot this weekend but completely spaced out on posting todays reading!

Deuteronomy 22-24

Deuteronomy 22-24

We get some good advice on helping out thy neighbor and building safe roofs.
We then get the do's and don'ts on raping women.

More rules for husbands and wives.
God encourages the harboring of slaves and won't allow the penis-less into church.
Don't hire a hooker or charge your neighbor interest.

Share the fruits of your field with the less fortunate.
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Wrapping up the Pentateuch

We're four days away from finishing up our fifth book!

Monday 22-24
Tuesday 25-27
Wednesday 28-30
Thursday 31-34

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Deuteronomy 19-21

Deuteronomy 19-21

Deuteronomy 19-21 Skeptics Annotated Bible

We get a repeat on the Cities of Refuge and a very specific example on who can flee to a city.
"Um, yeah, we were chopping wood in the forest.  I draged his body back to my kitchen later to try and help him."

We also get good advice on trusting witnesses.  The penalty for perjury was a little harsher back in those days (Death).

God tells us in Chapter 20 that there are ways to get out of going to war.  New house?  New farm? New virgin wife?  No problem.  See you when you're done.   Cowards are also exempt.

God is easing up on the mass extermination rule by allowing women and children to survive as slaves.  They are now the spoils of war.  But this only applies to the cities they'll conquer in the promised land.

We still see that God is hateful of people who have different beliefs at 20:17

Destroy everything but save the trees that bear fruit.  Sounds reasonable.
We come back to laws and justice in 21 (again, who did the editing?!?!) but what a bizarre collection!

1. If you find a murdered man in the field, cut off a cows head and have the priests wash their hands over it.  This ritual is basically the priests saying "we didn't do it."
2. If you win a battle and find a beautiful woman, you may take her as a wife but first she must shave her head, cut her nails, get naked and mourn her parents (who you killed) for a month.  Only then can you have sex with her.  If you find out you don't really like her, you can let her go free.
3. If a man has two wives and hates one, but she gave him his firstborn son.....zzzzzz, boring.
4. Parents can have their children stoned for not behaving!
5. When you hang a man, you can't keep his body hanging over night.

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Saturday, February 26, 2011

Authors Wanted

After much thought, I've decided to ask for contributions to this blog from my frequent commenters.
If interested, please contact me at bcritelli at gmail dot com.

The rules:
1. I will set up Author accounts for my most frequent commenters.  You'll probably have to have an account with Google's Blogspot.
2. I will ask for contributions from said authors.
3. I will review and approve submissions before they are published
4. You are free to submit unsolicited posts but I will be very frugal on what gets to the blog.
5. You will be VERY respectful of others.  We have been amazingly civil here, teetering on the brink only a few times and I want to keep it that way.

Remember.  I am the dictator here!  ;-)  What I say, goes.

I also encourage you to start your own blog.  It's a great way to get your thoughts organized.
Abbie has a great one at betterthanesdras.  It's way over my head but still interesting.
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Labels for Posts

I'm going thru all my old posts and adding searchable labels.  I found out by accident that Google Chrome does this auto-magically when I reopen the post in that browser (I've used Safari)!

It also offers related links and a media gallery, which I may use sparingly.

I wish it would do this for the comments section because that's where the meat and potatoes of this blog resides.

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A Little More About Me

The first part of this thread can be found here.

When we last saw young Bruce, he was becoming enlightened regarding the psuedo-scientific world of UFOs, Big Foot, ESP and ghosts.  His mom was happy, for  a while anyhow.

She had taught our hero that, as Carl Sagan said (actually attributed toMarcello Truzzi), "extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence."

The only problem was I started questioning religion.
As I said earlier when I was in Catholic grade school, I was an alter boy.  Before then I would sit in the pew during mass and recite the mass to myself.  I knew it word for word.  When I got to stand at the alter for the first time, my excitement turn quickly to confusion.  I saw that the entire mass was written out on cards under glass.  While serving mass, I would fixate on the priest and watch as he read the mass from the cards, rarely looking up.  I noticed other priests did the same thing.

But I digress.  I started asking adults the obvious questions a kid would ask.
"If he existed forever, what was God doing before he created everything?"
"If you have to know God to get into heaven, what happens to the people who never had the opportunity to know God?  Amazon natives and such."
"Can astronauts see Heaven from the Moon?" The Apollo missions were going strong when I was in grade school.

And I started asking the smart ass, critical thinking questions that got angry stares from the nuns at school and annoyed my mom so much.
"If Thor, Odin and Asgard (I read the Thor comics as a kid) aren't real, how do we know Jesus, God and Heaven are real?"
"How could Noah fit all those animals in such a small boat?"
"What is a soul?  How is that different from a ghost?"

The answers I received most often were of course "God works in mysterious ways." "It's not our place to ask those questions." or simply "don't ask such stupid question."

These answers of course never work for inquisitive kids.  They just throw fuel on the fire.

In fifth grade my english teacher Sister Madonna broke a yardstick over my back for poor writing (HA, I just misspelled writing!) while at the blackboard.  That pretty much sealed my disenchantment with the Catholic Church (for the record, all the other nuns and priests that I've known have been very kind, pleasant people.  Sister Mary Ann, my collage film professor is my favorite teacher, ever.)
Between the "lazy" priest serving mass, the non-answers about God and the evil nun, organized religion had no appeal.

But I still believed in God.

To be continued...
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Friday, February 25, 2011

Random stuff about the site (because you didn't ask)

I was looking at this sites stats today.  I'm a data junkie and like digging into the minutia.
And since I can, I going to force them on you.

The site has an average of around 440 visitors a day from over a dozen countries.
There are 86 people following this blog.
The U.S. accounts for the most visitors.
Saudi Arabia is the most surprising location.
Firefox, Safari and Chrome are the top browsers.
Windows, OS X and iOS are the top three operating systems.

The site as made over $14 dollars from google ads.  I don't think you get a payout until you hit $100 so I don't expect to ever see a check.

The website did a story on this site back in January and that's resulted in the most traffic to this site.  I never heard of until they did the story.  It was done in an interview style with out interviewing me.  I find it surreal when I read about myself.

The Friendly Atheist and google search are responsible for most of the other traffic.

Deuteronomy 16-18

Deuteronomy 16-18

Deuteronomy 16-18 Skeptics Annotated Bible

Chapter 16 is more rehashing
Chapter 17 tells us that a king will be installed once the Israelites settle in the promised land.
Chapter 18 reminds us to kill witches and others associated with occult like things.

Most interestingly, we also learn that God will raise a prophet up from these people.  Am I wrong or is this is the first solid reference/predication of Jesus (to the believers that is)?
Us Atheists like to call that retro-fitting.  ;-)

Edit: I meant to say force-fitting, not retro-fitting Jesus into the story.
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Thursday, February 24, 2011

Deuteronomy 13-15

Deuteronomy 13-15

Deuteronomy 13-15 Skeptics Annotated Bible

We start off (again) with God commanding that any one that follows another god should be put to death.
A sharp contrast from the teachings of Jesus wouldn't you say?
On some level I can understand why God is being so tough on his chosen people.  The forty years in the desert have been like a bootcamp to toughen them up.  But I can't for the life of me reconcile the homicidal jealousy that keeps coming through.  Every time I read this I visualize a violent husband beating and then consoling his battered wife.  Sick stuff.

I maybe getting ahead of the reading, but I wonder if Jesus "went rogue" and was actually working against the God of Abraham.  Perhaps he was the rebellious son of God and started teaching Peace, Love and Understanding to piss off his dad.  ;-)

Chapter 14 gives us a rehash of the Levitican laws but goes into much greater detail.  Evidently Rabbits are unclean because they chew cud.  And bats are birds (I think we can cut God some slack for thinking a bat is a bird, right?).

I found 14:26 interesting in that it allows lusting after things and intoxicating beverages.
 And thou shalt bestow that money for whatsoever thy soul lusteth after, for oxen, or for sheep, or for wine, or for strong drink, or for whatsoever thy soul desireth.

Chapter 15 gives us a review of the seventh year forgiveness plan.
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Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Deuteronomy 10-12

Deuteronomy 10-12

Deuteronomy 10-12 Skeptic Annotated Bible

We get more recapping of past events and more orders from God for the Israelites to kill everyone they come in contact with.
God also repeats the need to fear and obey him, or else.  And stay away from those other, inferior gods.
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Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Deuteronomy 7-9 Mo' Frontin' Than a East Coast Rappa

Deuteronomy 7-9

Deuteronomy 7-9 Skeptics Annotated Bible

We see that God is still homicidally insecure at 7:4
For they will turn away thy son from following me, that they may serve other gods: so will the anger of the LORD be kindled against you, and destroy thee suddenly.

God brags thru most of chapter 7, talking smack about how powerful he is and how he'll destroy anyone who gets in his way.

At 9:5 we see that God hasn't forgotten the whiny, cowardly Israelites from Mount Sinai.
Not for thy righteousness, or for the uprightness of thine heart, dost thou go to possess their land: but for the wickedness of these nations the LORD thy God doth drive them out from before thee, and that he may perform the word which the LORD sware unto thy fathers, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

I agree with God on one point.  He's basically saying that he's doing this for Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and not for the current Israelites.  The people of Exodus, Leviticus and Numbers certainly haven't earned their good fortune with the way they've followed the LORD's commands.  I hope they appreciate this!
Then again, I'd hesitate to follow a god that feds me only manna and then kills my family for complaining.

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Monday, February 21, 2011

Deuteronomy 4-6

Deuteronomy 4-6

Deuteronomy 4-6 Skeptics Annotated Bible

I'm probably wrong but 4:36 says;
"Out of heaven he made thee to hear his voice, that he might instruct thee: and upon earth he shewed thee his great fire; and thou heardest his words out of the midst of the fire."
seems to be the first instance of God being in Heaven.  I'm sure someone can set me the straight on this.

This seems to be a rewriting of history.  5:5 says;
I stood between the LORD and you at that time, to shew you the word of the LORD: for ye were afraid by reason of the fire, and went not up into the mount
But weren't the Israelites warned that if they got near the mountain, they would be consumed in fire?

Lucky us!  We get another rewording of the ten commandments at 5:11

God endorses graffiti at 6:9;
And thou shalt write them upon the posts of thy house, and on thy gates.

We end with another command to OBEY and FEAR the LORD.  Why is fear still necessary?

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Sunday, February 20, 2011

Deuteronomy 1-3 Oh, The Good Old Days

Deuteronomy 1-3
I'm going to also link to the Skeptics Annotated Bible for this book.  Just for yucks.
Deuteronomy 1-3

As the Israelites get closer to the promised land, Moses reminisces about the past forty years on the road.

I imagine him as a grandfather with his grand kids sitting on the floor around his La-Z-Boy.

"Did I ever tell you kids about the war?  Back in my day we didn't just conquer a nation.  We would kill every man, woman and child, burn the homes and crops and then have our way with the cattle!  Ah, the good old days."
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Saturday, February 19, 2011

Numbers 31-36

Numbers 31-36

I guess "Thou shalt not kill." doesn't apply when God tells you to do the killing and raping of a country.

The Israelites kill thousands of Midianite men but Moses isn't happy until they go back and kill thousands more women and children.  God tells them how to divide up the remaining women for slaves.
The Israelites don't lose one soldier in the battle so they donate their gold, silver and jewels to God.
God also gets 32 people as a tribute.  What does that mean?  Were they sacrificed?  Slaves to the tabernacle?

I was disappointed that Balaam was killed.  I thought he would survive after siding with the LORD.  That would also help explain how the writers of Numbers would have known what was going on in Canaan.

The cattle barons decide that the land they just conquered is good enough for them and they successfully bargain for it.

Chapter 33 gives us a great guide of the long journey from Egypt.

Here is one of the better maps showing a possible path.  If anyone has a better visual aid please post.
How could the Israelites possibly have wandered for forty years in such a small space?
Could it just be a mis-translation for them being nomadic before settling?

We then get the nitty gritty on the boundaries of the promised land and how it will be divided up.
Map of territories

Chapter 35 gives us the Cities of Refuge and with them, some rules of law.

We end Numbers with the daughters of Zelophehad being forced to marry within their own tribe so the land of their father won't be inherited away from them.

Once again, as in Exodus, I was expecting a little more WOW when the book wrapped up.  How about you?

Deuteronomy is next.  I don't want to rush the last book of the Pentateuch so we'll take it over a period of  11-12 days.

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Friday, February 18, 2011

Numbers 26-30 God Makes Moses Train His Replacement

Numbers 26-30

Moses really knows how to kill a storyline doesn't he?  The action starts to heat up to a boiling point with God commanding that the Midianites be smoted (feel free to use that word in Scrabble) and Moses decides that we need to go over who's in what tribe and how many there are.  To be fair, God did kill off a shit load of people during the last few chapters so I guess it doesn't hurt to recount.

Does anyone want to volunteer to compare the counts?  We should be able to see which tribe was naughtiest.

In Chapter 27, God grants women property rights but there are conditions.

The good news in this reading is that God tells Moses to go up the mountain and gaze upon the land that the LORD has given his chosen people.  The bad news, Moses is going to die like Aaron because he displeased God.  Oh well.

Joshua is picked as Moses' replacement (I think) and we're subjected to a rehashing of the burnt and non-burnt offerings.

Chapter 30 finishes up by stating that ultimately women's opinions are subject to male approval.
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Thursday, February 17, 2011

Numbers 20-25

Numbers 20-25

God FINALLY kills Aaron for being a jerk.  Oh, no, wait, God kills Aaron because the Israelites asked for water.

God then kills more Israelites with fiery serpents but then gives Moses the power to cure fiery serpent bites.

The tribe tries passing through several lands but get the metaphorical doors slammed in their faces.  They even gets their butts kicked in a battle.
After promising (again) to stand with the LORD, The Israelites start kicking and taking names.  Moses enacts the scorched earth policy and leaves no living thing in his wake.
Num 21:35So they smote him, and his sons, and all his people, until there was none left him alive: and they possessed his land.
About time.

I'm curious about this part.  God seems to be talking to the enemy of the Israelites.
Num 22:9And God came unto Balaam, and said, What men [are] these with thee?

Num 22:20And God came unto Balaam at night, and said unto him, If the men come to call thee, rise up, [and] go with them; but yet the word which I shall say unto thee, that shalt thou do.

Balaam sees the light and refuses to follow Balek's desire to destroy the Israelites.  My question is how does Moses (the one man who authored these books) know the behind the scenes goings on of his enemies?  I'm guessing we'll be seeing Balaam in the near future.

Chapter 25 shows us that once again, the Israelites can't go one day without screwing up God's commands.  God starts killing thousands (again) before the grandson of Aaron kills a man and woman with his spear.  God likes that "he was zealous for my sake among them".

We end with God commanding Moses to exterminate the Midianites.
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Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Numbers 15-19 Crush, Kill, Destroy and then Wash Up

Numbers 15-19

Chapter 15 shows that God is off his meds again.  Talking about how he likes an offering made by fire, of a sweet savour unto the LORD, then he commands a man to be stoned to death for collecting sticks on the sabbath (was the man even an Israelite?) and then tells his people to put fringe on their garments.

He continues the mass murder in 16 before pulling a rabbit out of his hat to appease the Levites

We finish up with some cleaning instructions.

And I thought God was harsh when he went off on the Egyptians.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Numbers 10-14 On The Road Again

Numbers 10-14

The Israelites get a nice horn as a parting gift as they leave Mount Sinai.
But that doesn't stop some of them from complaining and getting smote by God.  Haven't they learned by now?  Seriously!
Why do the Israelites suddenly have no flesh to eat?  Did they kill off all of their flocks with sacrifices?
When God hears their cries, why does it make him angrier?  He provides flesh, and when they eat it he kills them.  This is a very schizophrenic deity.
We also see the sexism in God's judgements when he gives Miriam leprosy and not Aaron.

I have to take the writer to task on this bit though;

14:18 The LORD is longsuffering, and of great mercy, forgiving iniquity and transgression, and by no means clearing the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation.

After two killing sprees, because the people wanted to eat, the last thing I would call God is merciful and forgiving.

Chapter 14 ends with God killing the scouts and telling Moses that the Israelites will wander the desert for 40 years and that nobody over 20 will see the promised land.

Good stuff!
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Monday, February 14, 2011

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Numbers 1-4 The Counting Begins

Numbers 1-4

We're starting book 4!
I'm going to set an aggressive reading schedule so we can get thru this quickly
Monday - 1-4
Tuesday - 5-9
Wednesday - 10-14
Thursday - 15-19
Friday - 20-25
Saturday - 26-30
Sunday - 31-36

This is were I lost interest last year when I tried to read the Bible on my own.  I'm much more motivated to read on thanks to this blog and the commenters.

God is preparing the Israelites for war.  All the tribes take a census to determine the number of males eligible to serve in the army except for the Levites, who are the priestly cast.
Numbers is very much about numbers!
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Friday, February 11, 2011

Leviticus 24-27 Last Push

Leviticus 24-27

We're finishing up our third book!

A child is stoned to death for taking the lords name in vain.  I found it interesting that it was pointed out that he was a mix of Israelite and Egyptian.

Much of these last chapters deals with the mundane rules of farming, taxation and God's wrath for the weak of faith.

The Jubile confused me a little.
Why fifty years?  This seems an odd number considering the importance of the number seven.
Where slaves to be set free?  Property returned?

Does God change the rules here when he states:

Leviticus 26:7-8  And ye shall chase your enemies, and they shall fall before you by the sword.
And five of you shall chase an hundred, and an hundred of you shall put ten thousand to flight: and your enemies shall fall before you by the sword.

Earlier in Exodus I believe God states that the Israelites will take over lands peacefully by integrating themselves within the existing inhabitants.  
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Leviticus 19-23 Thou Shalt Not Eat Leftovers

Leviticus 19-23

Chapter 19-23  brings us a rehash of some old laws (Leviticus is the best evidence for multiple authors yet) and a mish-mash of new laws dealing with farming, clothing, sex and priestly duties.
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Not Dead Yet

I just wanted to check in to let you know this blog is still moving forward.
I've been traveling for work and, besides being very busy, the hotel had horrible Internet access.
I'll be catching up on posting tonight.
Thank you to the people who have emailed me to check up!

Monday, February 7, 2011

Leviticus 16-18

Leviticus 16-18

"Just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in"

I'm in a new city this week but work is the same old grind.   I hope I'll have some free time tonight or tomorrow to catch up.

In the mean time, read the comments, the commenters are knocking it out of the park.  :-)
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Sunday, February 6, 2011

Leviticus 14-15 Leprosy and Menses

Leviticus 14-15

God tells Aaron and Moses how to deal with lepers (Does he say that priests can cure lepers?)
We also so learn how to deal with unclean women.  Seems unfair to separate her from everyone else.  And why does a woman have to offer a sacrifice for having a active reproductive system?

Again, I'm reading these as basic health care rules.  The washing of the skin and clothes and the washing of everything the sick person has come in contact with as well as the scrapping of the stones of a house seem to be a little ahead of its time as far as cleaning.  Were the early Israelites close to discovering germ theory?
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Saturday, February 5, 2011

The Rite-Discussion Post

I saw The Rite, the new Anthony Hopkins film about Catholic Exorcists.  It's pretty good for a thriller, very atmospheric and creepy at times.  The acting is excellent but I found the writing to be weak at some points.

I would recommend it to everyone who has been following this blog. Also, I picked up on a few things in the movie that would have gone over my head had I not started this project.

Feel free to discuss the movie if you've seen it.  Please indicate if your post contains spoilers.
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Leviticus 11-13 These are the Beasts That You Shall Eat

Leviticus 11-13

Back home for 24 hours.  Doing laundry.

Hopefully I'll be able to post more this weekend.
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Thursday, February 3, 2011

Leviticus 9-10 You're Not Doing It Right

Leviticus 9-10

Maybe I'm over tired but this section confused the hell out of me.

Did Aaron's sons get burned to death by God?
Did Aaron screw up and eat a burnt offering in the wrong place?
Did Moses forgive him?

Time for bed.
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Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Leviticus 4-6 The Devil is in the Details

I have to admit that I have a grudging respect for the insane amount of detail in the laws. 

God/Moses made sure all the T's were crossed, all the i's were dotted and all the throats were slit. 

I'm curious about making substitutions for sacrifices based on an individuals ability to pay (Leviticus 5:7). Yet all had to pay one shekel to the tabernacle, rich and poor.