An Atheist Reads the Bible

A godless heathen’s religious experience

Posts Tagged ‘slavery’

Genesis 15

Posted by Urbane Spaceman on January 31, 2008

God’s Covenant With Abram

1 After this, the word of the LORD came to Abram in a vision: Do not be afraid, Abram. I am your shield, your very great reward.

Not god, but “the word of god” came to Abram in a vision. What is that? The Metatron, which isn’t actually mentioned in any hoy text anywhere and yet seems to be part of the whole mythology (and is not to be confused with Megatron, who was a robot in disguise).

And Abram said unto the voice of the lord, “thanks very much, but a disembodied voice is rather insubstantial. Do you think I could have some kevlar body armour instead? And I’ll be happy with a small heap of gold as a reward.”

2 But Abram said, O Sovereign LORD, what can you give me since I remain childless and the one who will inherit my estate is Eliezer of Damascus?
3 And Abram said, You have given me no children; so a servant in my household will be my heir.

It sounds like Abram’s more concerned about passing on the family business. What is that, by the way? The most lucrative branches so far seem to be stealing land and dispossessing entire peoples in the name of god and pimping out family members to royalty.

4 Then the word of the LORD came to him: This man will not be your heir, but a son coming from your own body will be your heir.

If I was taking this literally that would sound really painful!

5 He took him outside and said, Look up at the heavens and count the stars— if indeed you can count them. Then he said to him, So shall your offspring be.
6 Abram believed the LORD, and he credited it to him as righteousness.

And then god said unto him, “did you know they’ve taken the word gullible out of the dictionary?”

7 He also said to him, I am the LORD, who brought you out of Ur of the Chaldeans to give you this land to take possession of it.

Who gave it to god to give away in the first place?

8 But Abram said, O Sovereign LORD, how can I know that I shall gain possession of it?
9 So the LORD said to him, Bring me a heifer, a goat and a ram, each three years old, along with a dove and a young pigeon.
10 Abram brought all these to him, cut them in two and arranged the halves opposite each other; the birds, however, he did not cut in half.

Of course, kill a few animals in a ritualistic manner and the land’s yours. What does god get out of these sacrifices anyway? I know the good folk who like to think they’ll get caught up in the rapture any day now have interesting discussions on whether dogs will get caught up in the rapture but I’ve never seen mention of cows and goats. Especially cows and goats that have just been cut in half. Sounds more like a Damien Hirst exhibition at the Tate than anything else. Perhaps Abram was up for the Turner prize.

So why do the birds get away with it?

11 Then birds of prey came down on the carcasses, but Abram drove them away.
12 As the sun was setting, Abram fell into a deep sleep, and a thick and dreadful darkness came over him.
13 Then the LORD said to him, Know for certain that your descendants will be strangers in a country not their own, and they will be enslaved and ill-treated four hundred years.

Sounds more like what goes around comes around to me.

14 But I will punish the nation they serve as slaves, and afterwards they will come out with great possessions.

Put up with a load of crap I’m going to heap on you (and blame it on Egypt, but as an omnipotent god I could obviously prevent it any time I felt like it. It’s a good job I’m ineffable, hey?)

15 You, however, will go to your fathers in peace and be buried at a good old age.

Always good to know.

16 In the fourth generation your descendants will come back here, for the sin of the Amorites has not yet reached its full measure.
17 When the sun had set and darkness had fallen, a smoking brazier with a blazing torch appeared and passed between the pieces.
18 On that day the LORD made a covenant with Abram and said, To your descendants I give this land, from the river of Egypt to the great river, the Euphrates—
19 the land of the Kenites, Kenizzites, Kadmonites,
20 Hittites, Perizzites, Rephaites,
21 Amorites, Canaanites, Girgashites and Jebusites.

That’s a whole lot more disposessed peoples. I guess we’ve worked out the main arm of that family business anyway.

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Genesis 9

Posted by Urbane Spaceman on January 9, 2008

God’s Covenant With Noah

1 Then God blessed Noah and his sons, saying to them, Be fruitful and increase in number and fill the earth.

A policy echoed by, of course, the catholic church. The more sprogs popped out by his worshippers, the more worshippers there will be, and it will grow exponentially generation by generation. Just as long as the indoctrination process can keep up with the birth rate. Still, I’m sure a few judicious smitings will see to it that the young’uns don’t stray from the path of righteousness.

2 The fear and dread of you will fall upon all the beasts of the earth and all the birds of the air, upon every creature that moves along the ground, and upon all the fish of the sea; they are given into your hands.
3 Everything that lives and moves will be food for you. Just as I gave you the green plants, I now give you everything.

We’re more important than everything else and it’s all there just for us. I think this must be why we have so many religious fundamentalists in charge in the western world – they get to sell off natural resources to the highest bidder … sorry, lobbyist … with impunity, because god put everything there for precisely that reason.

Now I’m off to drill for oil in Alaska, if that’s OK.

4 But you must not eat meat that has its lifeblood still in it.

Don’t eat living things, OK, I reckon we can live with this one.

5 And for your lifeblood I will surely demand an accounting. I will demand an accounting from every animal. And from each man, too, I will demand an accounting for the life of his fellow man.
6 Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed; for in the image of God has God made man.

And don’t kill other people, unless they’ve already killed someone, in which case it’s fine. Sounds like a recipe for everybody dead to me as soon as you get the first murder. Somebody kills the murderer, so it’s then alright to kill them, etc. etc. Not sure god really thought that one through.

Then of course there is the fact that he’s already put the first murderer under his own protection with the mark of Cain. How does that fit in with company policy?

7 As for you, be fruitful and increase in number; multiply on the earth and increase upon it.

Just in case you missed that the first time – get out there and produce some more worhippers.

8 Then God said to Noah and to his sons with him:
9 I now establish my covenant with you and with your descendants after you
10 and with every living creature that was with you— the birds, the livestock and all the wild animals, all those that came out of the ark with you— every living creature on earth.
11 I establish my covenant with you: Never again will all life be cut off by the waters of a flood; never again will there be a flood to destroy the earth.
12 And God said, This is the sign of the covenant I am making between me and you and every living creature with you, a covenant for all generations to come:
13 I have set my rainbow in the clouds, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and the earth.
14 Whenever I bring clouds over the earth and the rainbow appears in the clouds,
15 I will remember my covenant between me and you and all living creatures of every kind. Never again will the waters become a flood to destroy all life.
16 Whenever the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and all living creatures of every kind on the earth.
17 So God said to Noah, This is the sign of the covenant I have established between me and all life on the earth.

See, he’s a nice god really. He’s promising not to kill everybody in a massive flood again.

Of course he’s not promising not to kill anybody, just that he’ll use a different method next time.

The Sons of Noah

18 The sons of Noah who came out of the ark were Shem, Ham and Japheth. (Ham was the father of Canaan.)
19 These were the three sons of Noah, and from them came the people who were scattered over the earth.
20 Noah, a man of the soil, proceeded to plant a vineyard.
21 When he drank some of its wine, he became drunk and lay uncovered inside his tent.
22 Ham, the father of Canaan, saw his father’s nakedness and told his two brothers outside.
23 But Shem and Japheth took a garment and laid it across their shoulders; then they walked in backwards and covered their father’s nakedness. Their faces were turned the other way so that they would not see their father’s nakedness.
24 When Noah awoke from his wine and found out what his youngest son had done to him,
25 he said, Cursed be Canaan! The lowest of slaves will he be to his brothers.
26 He also said, Blessed be the LORD, the God of Shem! May Canaan be the slave of Shem.
27 May God extend the territory of Japheth, may Japheth live in the tents of Shem, and may Canaan be his slave.

So one of Noah’s first actions was to start the homebrew and get wasted. Then he gets upset because he’s passed out naked and his son has seen him (though no fault of his own it seems). I can only assume that Noah had a really tiny penis and was extremely embarrassed about having been seen with his tackle out. Condemning an entire race of people to slavery for this would seem to be just a small overreaction though.

28 After the flood Noah lived 350 years.
29 Altogether, Noah lived 950 years, and then he died.

And good riddance, from what I’ve read of him.

On the plus side if this is an example of a devout holy person that was basically the only human god considered worthy of saving then it would seem there is hope for most of the rest of us come judgement day.

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