Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Psalms 18-22

The Facts (Chapter number: Verse)

Psalms 18 - No mention of any women.

Psalms 19 - No mention of any women.

Psalms 20 - No mention of any women.

Psalms 21 - No mention of any women.

22:9-10 - "Yet it was you who took me from the womb; you kept me safe on my mother's breast. On you I was cast from my birth and since my mother bore me you have been my God."
22:22 - "I will tell of your name to my brothers and sisters, in the midst of the congregation I will praise you."

My Comments

Seriously, the Psalms are painfully dull. Just a bunch of poems about how awesome God is. Funny thing is, most of them seem to be coming from or originating around King David. Guess it's really is to talk about how awesome a god is when that god is constantly giving you everything you want. Don't see any Psalms coming from any of the common folk or any of the people God has pissed on.

Just saying.

Friday: More Psalms

Monday, December 27, 2010

Psalms 9-17

The Facts (Chapter number: Verse)

9:14 - "so that I may recount all your praises, and, in the gates of daughter Zion, rejoice in your deliverance."

Psalms 10 - No mention of any women.

Psalms 11 - No mention of any women.

Psalms 12 - No mention of any women.

Psalms 13 - No mention of any women.

Psalms 14 - No mention of any women.

Psalms 15 - No mention of any women.

Psalms 16 - No mention of any women.

Psalms 17 - No mention of any women.

My Comments

I have to get some things off my chest. This last week has been a bit trying emotionally for me, and with very few people to really confide in (and I'm also fairly bad at talking about my feelings, so forgive me if this ends up being disjointed and a bit nonsensical) I don't have many outlets for this. So this post will have nothing to do with the Psalms I read, which is fine because the Psalms have nothing interesting in them. Just more people going "Holy crap, God, you're so awesome and worthy of praise even if you shit on us some of the times! Because we somehow know your shitting on us is just some sort of character building and you'll totally help us out later! Or, you know, you MIGHT help us out later if you're feeling up to it... no pressure, we will sing your praises either way!"

My grandmother died last weekend. This is the first major relative of mine to die, so all of this is new for me. She is the only grandparent of mine I have had any relationship with since both of my grandfather's died when I was very young and my mom's mom is one of the most horrible people I've ever met (funny how relatives you liked when you were a kid turn unlikeable once you learn about the horrible shit they did to your parents). My grandmother's death wasn't out of the blue. She hasn't been herself for the last few years since she fell and hit her head and internal bleeding basically caused dementia. My grandmother was post polio, unable to walk, and unable to hold a normal conversation. As much as I loved her she hasn't really been the grandmother I knew and grew up with for the past couple of years. I know it sounds cold, and I hate thinking it, but to me we were taking care of a body, my grandmother had long since died. And it was so hard to visit when she couldn't even recognize me and didn't even acknowledge I was there.

So this all wasn't a big surprise and most of the family is just happy she isn't suffering anymore. Still, I am uncertain with how to deal with my feelings. I am having a hard time sorting through it on my own with no one to talk to, and over the last week I've felt like I can't say a word. I start thinking about saying something or asking something and suddenly someone will say, "I bet she's having so much fun in heaven seeing Clarence and her family again. Wonder how long she'll be celebrating?" and that tends to shut me up very quick. Suddenly I feel I can't ask a question because now if I do it'll be the atheist asking a question. Of course the atheist has questions after her death because the atheist has no answers for death. Only the christians know what's going on, what happened to happen, how to feel and what to say. Since I no longer have my faith (not that I ever did) this is why I suddenly have no clue what's going on. I fear I'll start being pressured to come back to the faith, I'll feel obligated to because that's the only place I can feel happy. Only God can help me through this time, right, because only God has the answers? I know my parents don't have the answers anymore than I do, and pretending my grandmother is somewhere skipping and jumping will not help me because I know it's not true. Covering up reality with a shiny fluffy bandaid doesn't make reality go away, it just covers it up so I'll just have to deal with it later.

Maybe is this is why I've had nightmares for the last seven days. I'm prone to nightmares anyway, but they don't tend to be this frequent or alarming. So of course on top of all this I'm feeling sleep deprived. I can't seem to get any of my emotions out in a productive manner so maybe my brain is just trying to deal with it at night and really just making it worse in the end. I managed to get through Christmas okay, and we actually all had a great time despite having a pretty weird and awkward Christmas Eve. So I probably should have left it there and spent my Sunday just being lazy and enjoying my gifts.

Instead I spent my Sunday morning going to church with my parents because I told them I'd go to a Christmas service with them. My original terms were I would go to a Christmas Eve service with them as long as it was not at their current church (the preacher is a complete asshole and I just do not feel comfortable in all white churches). So since that was apparently the ONLY Christmas Eve service they wanted to go to I said I'd go with them to their friend's church on Sunday.

Note to self: Never ever go to a church where your parents are very good friends with the preacher. The preacher has probably heard all of your family's dirty secrets, including every story about yourself, and most definitely knows that you are "questioning your faith." (a term my parents use because they refuse to believe that I have completely given up on their faith)

I really should not have gone. I think I just assumed because it was Christmas the service would just be a fluff piece with some singing and that'd be it. Instead it was a real service in a VERY small church with a preacher who knew I wasn't a Christian and had a great opportunity to pressure me into rejoining the faith. The best part was the hug after the service and then the very intense stare and smile, "We are so glad you came. I hope you make this a habit." Yeah, sure, what I needed on top of everything was feeling bad for being an outcast in a group of believers. Or a preacher who, in his sermon, made a point of saying that anyone who doesn't have Jesus can't be a good person. That people without Jesus are angry and confused and have no direction or ability to improve themselves or their lives. Yes, that was EXACTLY what I need to hear right now.

No, what I need right now is a group of people I can talk to without feeling like I'm going to be judged by my lack of beliefs. I don't want to feel like whatever I say concerning my feelings towards my grandmother's death is suddenly how all atheists feel about death, and since I'm an atheist and not a Christian pretty much everything I say will be "wrong." I don't want to feel like someone will try to get me to believe in God with the promise I'll feel better. I know me, and in my emotional and stressed state I can be easily manipulated, which means I will be very on guard with anyone talking to me. I don't want to feel like I have to say something different than how I feel or censor how I feel. I want to be able to ask questions openly and have whomever I'm talking to be okay with just being silent or being honest and saying "I don't know." Lies do not make me feel better, whether they are well meaning lies or not. I don't want to feel like I'm being pitied because poor atheists they just don't have any comfort in their lives.

They don't seem to understand that I'm lacking comfort because I'm tired of feeling like I have to be something else in order to escape their judgment. I'm stressed and sad not because I don't have some unseen holy power maybe or maybe not helping me out but because I don't feel like I have someone supporting me fully. Yeah, sure, they are there physically. When I need it I can get a hug or a reassuring pat on the back. But comfort isn't all physical. And comfort cannot be had when you feel like you're being judged for your feelings.

While we were at the service on Sunday, another family had had someone die on Christmas. The two women who had come to the service couldn't stop crying. During the group prayer, some people went to the front, including these women. As the preacher prayed for God to protect us and comfort us and help us through these tough times, the people up front gathered around the two women and hugged them and held them.

I couldn't stop wondering, if God was really a comfort and a guide during these tough times, why did everyone feel like these women needed imperfect physical comfort? If God was all that was needed to get over a loss of a loved one, or if anyone truly believed in a heaven, why not give the women space so God could comfort them with his perfect and blessed presence? If God was all you needed why couldn't these women stop crying? Why did they need someone to hold on to?

And why couldn't anyone there see that it wasn't God helping these women through this time, but the people who cared enough to be there for them? Why would they give the credit to an invisible sky daddy when it was plain to me that He does not deserve any of the credit whatsoever?

I just don't understand.

Wednesday: More Psalms

Monday, December 20, 2010

Psalm 1-8

The Facts (Chapter number: Verse)

Psalms 1 - No mention of any women.

Psalms 2 - No mention of any women.

Psalms 3 - No mention of any women.

Psalms 4 - No mention of any women.

Psalms 5 - No mention of any women.

Psalms 6 - No mention of any women.

Psalms 7 - No mention of any women.

Psalms 8 - No mention of any women.

My Comments

I still despise poetry. -_-

I have a lot more to do to get ready for the holiday weekend and there has been a recent death in the family so I apologize in advance for any posts that may be missed this week and next week.

(Possibly) Wednesday: More Psalms

Friday, December 17, 2010

Job 37-42

The Facts (Chapter number: Verse)

Job 37 - No mention of any women.

38:8 - "Or who shut in the sea with doors when it burst out from the womb?"

39:1-3 - "Do you know when the mountain goats give birth? Do you observe the calving of the deer? Can you number the months that they fulfill, and do you know the time when they give birth, when they crouch to give birth to their offspring, and are delivered of their young?"

Job 40 - No mention of any women.

Job 41 - No mention of any women.

42:11 - "Then there came to him all his brothers and sisters and all who had known him before, and they ate bread with him in his house; they showed him sympathy and comforted him for all the evil that the Lord had brought upon him; and each of them gave him a piece of money and a gold ring."
42:13 - "He also had seven sons and three daughters."
42:15 - "In all the land there were no women so beautiful as Job's daughters; and their father gave them an inheritance along with their brothers."

My Comments

Yeah, God, you're really awesome. You made all of this shit: the Earth, the plants, animals, stars, planets, rain, lightning, wind, etc. You've done a whole lot.

Does this mean I should worship you and give thanks? Even when you actively allow my family to be destroyed, all of my property taken from me and my body plagued with disease?

Fuck. No.

I think Felicia Days the second coming but if she came by and shot my dog you can bet I would kill a bitch no matter how awesome she might be. (And if Felicia Day ever does see this, seriously, I love you so much. The Guild is one of my all time favorite shows ever. Ever.)

So God sits around and basically beats his chest for about 4 chapters and so what? Honestly, so fucking what? What god acts that way? It's like a child. "I may have ruined everything but I also made everything so WORSHIP ME DAMMIT!!!" It's embarrassing.

I'm fairly certain it was physics and natural laws and the stars exploding that created everything I see around me, and yet I am not worshiping those. Hell, the stars died for me and they don't even expect me to worship them back. The stars get my respect (not worship) because they are truly awe inspiring, not because they are awe inspiring and then threaten me with eternal torture because I didn't happen to love them back.

On top of this Job's wife never returns. Job is rewarded twofold and his wife isn't there? He doesn't even get a new wife? And he's given seven more sons and three more daughters but how did they get there? Did they appear fully formed? Were they born? And if they were born, who bore them? For heaven's sake it makes no sense!

I have decided that Job's wife went off and killed herself halfway through the book just so she wouldn't have to listen to Job bitch anymore. I can't say I blame her, I thought about it myself a couple of times, but I also have the advantage of being able to just close the Bible and not have to listen to it anymore. Poor women didn't even get that luxury. She lost all her children and any property she had vicariously through her husband and on top of that she had to listen to him whine 24/7. I'm sure she's happier in Sheol.

Also: Take note, I believe this sentence is the most important in the entire book of Job.

"...they showed him sympathy and comforted him for all the evil that the Lord had brought upon him..."

People, not God, showed Job sympathy and gave him comfort when God only provided him with evil.

Damn straight.

Monday: Psalms

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Job 33-36

The Facts (Chapter number: Verse)

Job 33 - No mention of any women.

Job 34 - No mention of any women.

Job 35 - No mention of any women.

Job 36 - No mention of any women.

My Comments

At least Job is almost finished. We shall get to see the amazing finale of Job on Friday. Will he finally get a brand new family and house that will replace the old ones he had? Will replacing his old family with a new one actually make him happy? Will his wife ever have a say in all the crap she's had to go through as well, since presumably she is still alive and has lost everything (with the added benefit of having a husband who apparently regards her has less valuable than mud)? Will Job ever acknowledge the fact that he does still have a wife which means he has not lost everything?

I'm sure the answers are going to be pretty easy to figure out before I even read it, but still! Stay tuned for the exciting (hopefully less whiny) conclusion of Job!

Friday: End of Job

Monday, December 13, 2010

Job 28-32

The Facts (Chapter number: Verse)

Job 28 - No mention of any women.

Job 29 - No mention of any women.

Job 30 - No mention of any women.

31:1 - "I have made a covenant with my eyes; how then could I look upon a virgin?"
31:9-12 - "If my heart has been enticed by a woman, and I have lain in wait at my neighbor's door; then let my wife grind for another, and let other men kneel over her. For that would be a heinous crime; that would be a criminal offense; for that would be a fire consuming down to Abaddon, and it would burn to the root all my harvest."
31:13-15 - "If I have rejected the cause of my male or female slaves, when they brought a complaint against me; what then shall I do when God rises up? When he makes inquiry, what shall I answer him? Did not he who made me in the womb make them? And did not one fashion us in the womb?"
31:16 - "If I have withheld anything that the poor desired, or caused the eyes of the widow to fall,"
31:18 - "for from my youth I reared the orphan like a father, and from my mother's womb I guided the widow"

Job 32 - No mention of any women.

My Comments

You know who I just realized is very absent from this entire book so far?

Job's wife.

Job waxes poetic for 30 chapters now, and not once have we heard from his wife nor has he really mentioned his wife (at least not in any meaningful way). He claims to have lost everything in his life, and yet we haven't read about his wife dying or leaving him. Is his wife not important? I would think she would be if as nothing more than someone who can bear him more sons. So either Job's wife is dead and she is just so insignificant that her death didn't even need to be mentioned or she is so insignificant that she doesn't count as anything of worth in his life. While lamenting his losses he doesn't mention that he still has her.

So, to sum up: Job's wife means nothing to Job. She means so little that she might as well not exist.

How sweet, right?

And I think Job 31:9-12 is basically saying that if Job lusts after another man's wife that his own wife may as well belong to another. I think. Which is interesting because it acknowledges that if he lusts after another woman he is willfully neglecting his very own wife. So if he is neglecting her she may as well be someone else's wife.

Which has little or no impact when you realize that he has been neglecting her and treating her as nothing THIS ENTIRE BOOK.

Just... just... ugh!

The last verse of Job 31 reads, "The words of Job are ended." My first thought upon reading that was, "Thank God, now we won't have to listen to him bitch any longer."

Wednesday: More Job

Friday, December 10, 2010

Job 23-27

The Facts (Chapter number Verse)

Job 23 - No mention of any women.

24:21 - The wicked harm the childless woman and do no good for the widow.

25:4 - How then can a mortal be righteous before God? How can one born of woman be pure.

Job 26 - No mention of any women.

Job 27 - No mention of any women.

My Comments

Whine whine whine...

Monday: More Job

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Job 19-22

The Facts (Chapter number: Verse)

19:15 - Job's servant girls count him as a stranger.
19:17 - Job's breath is repulsive to his wife and he is loathsome to his own family.

Job 20 - No mention of any women.

21:10 - Job bemoans how the wicked often go unpunished, "their bull breeds without fail; their cow calves and never miscarries."

22:9 - Eliphaz tells Job that his wickedness is great, for example Job "sent widows away empty handed."

My Comments

I love how according to Eliphaz,, Job is wicked simply because he didn't help everyone he had ever come across that was in any need of help. Oops, passed that hungry man without giving him a slice of bread. Wicked. Oops, you didn't help that blind man cross the street that one time even though you'd helped about 20 blind men just last week. Wicked. Oops, you sent away that widow when you should have given her land and money even though you'd already given away most of your land to the last 32 widows that asked you for help.

Is this seriously the standard for goodness and wickedness? If I don't sacrifice every single bit of my soul and belongings to other people, even to the detriment of myself and my life, then I'm now wicked? It would seem that I could help people my whole life and still be wicked just because I may have passed one or two people up because I'd already given away my last dollar or I was in a rush to save children from a burning orphanage and I just went right by the lady that needed help taking her groceries to the car. I can understand if Job had never done anything for anyone, but I can't imagine God's greatest fan being a complete jackass to everyone in need. We are given no context for this.

So basically this means I'm apparently wicked because I ran out of change to give the hobo on the side of the freeway because I'd already given change out to the last 6 I'd seen on my way to work. I do good things but I'm not going to go bankrupt saving everyone. I wouldn't be able to survive or live if I did that. As nice as it would be one person alone cannot save the world. Especially not one person at a time.

It's just nuts. Why is Job's friend spending this entire time trying to convince Job that he has in fact done something truly heinous to have God treat him this way? What kind of friend is that? Especially when the only reasons he can come up with are just really dumb. Why is this convincing to Job? If I was Job I'd be like "Holy shit that is the dumbest stuff I have ever heard. Get the hell outta my face I'd prefer to moan and wail alone."

So far the moral of this story is: If you don't feel guilty then you're probably a horrible terrible person who just doesn't bother trying to see the horrible terrible things that you've done because everyone is a horrible terrible person no matter what. There is always something to feel guilty about so dammit figure out what it is you did wrong and make sure you say you're really sorry about it!

Friday: More of Job's whining

Monday, December 6, 2010

Job 13-18

The Facts (Chapter number: Verse)

Job 13 - No mention of any women.

14:1-2 - "A mortal born of woman, few of days and full of trouble, comes up like a flower and withers, flees like a shadow and does not last."

15:14 - "What are mortals, that they can be clean? Or those born of woman, that they can be righteous?"

Job 16 - No mention of any women.

17:13-15 - "If I look for Sheol as my house, if I spread my couch in darkness, if I say to the Pit, 'You are my father,' and to the worm, 'My mother,' or 'My sister,' where then is my hope? Who will see my hope?"

Job 18 - No mention of any women.

My Comments

I know many religious people wonder how an atheist can like without believing in a god.

But my question is, if your actions and belief and worship are no guarantee that your God will do anything for you in your darkest times why believe at all? How does that belief get you through the day or benefit you in the slightest? Why does such a God deserve your worship and loyalty?

I would rather believe there is no God than that there is a God that would torment his most loyal subject and do nothing to ease his suffering. What kind of God is that to believe in?

I am still uncertain as to why Job still seems to love God when God is clearly refusing to do anything to help him. Even still Job cries out to know what his sins were that brought this upon him. Job does not realize that he has really done no wrong, and God is only ruining his life for a bet. I wonder if this is ever revealed to Job in the end or if he will forever think that he did something against God to bring this upon him.

Wednesday: More Job

Friday, December 3, 2010

Job 9-12

The Facts (Chapter number: Verse)

Job 9 - No mention of any women.

Job 10 - No mention of any women.

Job 11 - No mention of any women.

Job 12 - No mention of any women.

My Comments

Holy crap how much longer am I gonna have to read Job's endless bitching? Yes, God is mercurial and seems to have no real care for anyone. He messes with the strong and the weak alike. He brings fortune and misfortune on both the wicked and the good. Yadda yadda yadda. We get it. You can stop complaining about it now.

And I like how he just goes on and on about how inconsistent God is when it comes to how he treats his creations yet somehow in all this he hasn't cursed God once? How is that even possible? The entire whine-a-thon is just Job basically saying what an ass God can be and yet this isn't considered to be a curse against God? Does he literally have to say, "I curse you God!" before it's an actual curse? I don't understand.

Maybe that is just more of God being inconsistent.

I can't believe there's 42 chapters in this book. -_-

Monday: More Job

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Job 5-8

The Facts (Chapter number: Verse)

Job 5 - No mention of any women.

Job 6 - No mention of any women.

Job 7 - No mention of any women.

Job 8 - No mention of any women.

My Comments

This entire section is mostly Job bemoaning how crappy his life has become and how much he wishes it to end. But during this time he also asks several times what he has done to God to deserve this. Job does not understand his transgression and only wishes to make it right again. The sad part is that Job has done nothing wrong to deserve this so he can never get an answer and he will never know that he has done nothing wrong.

I could understand and appreciate these chapters if it was some natural disaster that took everything from Job. He bemoans the fact that human life is short and generally full of pain and sadness, which it is. The only guarantees in life is pain and sorrow. Then the meat of the story would be about how God eases human suffering and can bring light where there is darkness.

This is not the case, though. Instead this story is about how God brings sorrow and pain onto humans himself and then (maybe) decides to alleviate it, but only if you do everything correctly and never cross him. If Job had cursed God in this book that would be it. Job would be left to live his sad pathetic life with everything he ever had taken from him. But Job did everything correctly and followed all of God's arbitrary rules so he gets a reward after he's suffered for some time. Job is special, though, and not everyone gets a reward in the end. Even then, could a shiny new house and family make up for the murder of his previous family and all of the suffering he has had to endure? Even if you could replace his things, replacing children is just not something that is easily done. You just can't replace people.

I'm sorry, I could never find comfort in such a fickle God. The best you could do is HOPE God helps you out in the end, and along the way wonder if you happen to be doing everything correctly according to guidelines you will never know about. And there's no guarantee God will help you even after that, since it may not be part of his "plan" or some nonsense.

I think I'll just stick to taking care of myself instead of waiting for help that may or may not come from an invisible being.

Friday: More Job