Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Isaiah 51-55

The Facts (Chapter number: Verse)

51:2-3 - "Look to Abraham your father and to Sarah who bore you; for he was but one when I called him, but I blessed him and made him many. For the Lord will comfort Zion; he will comfort all her waste places, and will make her wilderness like Eden, her desert like the garden of the Lord; joy and gladness will be found in her, thanksgiving and the voice of song."
51:18 - "There is no one to guide [Jerusalem] among all the children she has borne; there is no one to take her by the hand among all the children she has brought up."

52:2 - "Shake yourself from the dust, rise up, O captive Jerusalem. loose the bonds from your neck, O captive daughter Zion!"

Isaiah 53 - No mention of any women.

Isaiah 54 - "Sing, O barren one who did not bear; burst into song and shout, you who have not been in labor! For the children of the desolate woman will be more than the children of her that is married, says the LORD. Enlarge the site of your tent, and let the curtains of your habitations be stretched out; do not hold back; lengthen your cords and strengthen your stakes. For you will spread out to the right and to the left, and your descendants will possess the nations and will settle the desolate towns.

"Do not fear, for you will not be ashamed; do not be discouraged, for you will not suffer disgrace; for you will forget the shame of your youth, and the disgrace of your widowhood you will remember no more. For your Maker is your husband, the LORD of hosts is his name; the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer, the God of the whole earth he is called. For the LORD has called you like a wife forsaken and grieved in spirit, like the wife of a man's youth when she is cast off, says your God. For a brief moment I abandoned you, but with great compassion I will gather you. In overflowing wrath for a moment I hid my face from you, but with everlasting love I will have compassion on you, says the LORD, your Redeemer.

"This is like the days of Noah to me: Just as I swore that the waters of Noah would never again go over the earth, so I have sworn that I will not be angry with you and will not rebuke you. For the mountains may depart and the hills be removed, but my steadfast love shall not depart from you, and my covenant of peace shall not be removed, says the LORD, who has compassion on you.

"O afflicted one, storm-tossed, and not comforted, I am about to set your stones in antimony, and lay your foundations with sapphires. I will make your pinnacles of rubies, your gates of jewels, and all your wall of precious stones. All your children shall be taught by the LORD, and great shall be the prosperity of your children. In righteousness you shall be established; you shall be far from oppression, for you shall not fear; and from terror, for it shall not come near you. If anyone stirs up strife, it is not from me; whoever stirs up strife with you shall fall because of you. See it is I who have created the smith who blows the fire of coals, and produces a weapon fit for its purpose; I have also created the ravager to destroy. No weapon that is fashioned against you shall prosper, and you shall confute every tongue that rises against you in judgment. This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD and their vindication from me, says the LORD."

Isaiah 55 - No mention of any women.

My Comments

I am proud to present to you God's abusive husband speech! Right there in black and white! "I'm so sorry I hurt you. I promise I won't ever do it again. I mean, not like you didn't kind of deserve it, but it wasn't a nice thing to do to you and I really won't do it again. See, I brought you some rainbows. Will you worship me again?"

God sure does give you some pretty words but, if experience can be trusted, he's just as likely to strike you down with lightning or pestilence again as he is to make you prosper and healthy. Without any warning or real reason, either. Just one day BAM! you're trying to explain to your friend why God killed all your children and struck you down with the plague, while your wife sees the abuse for what it is and your friend is busy trying to explain that your brought this on yourself somehow. God has given over his chosen people to their enemies so many times now I've lost count. And when God decides to punish the enemies it seems so arbitrary, like God just gets tired of torturing his own people and decides to punish their enemies as a change of pace.

So yeah, I don't trust this speech for a minute. God, when he's not busy being a vengeful God, is busy being a mercurial jackass who kills and plagues people when he's bored. Like a kid with an ant farm. I mean, he basically says it right here: "For a brief moment I abandoned you, but with great compassion I will gather you." He's GOD, all powerful, all knowing, ever present and omniscient! How does he just abandon someone for a brief moment? Is that even possible? For that to be true he either isn't omnipresent and all knowing or he actually CHOSE to ignore your suffering. Who said that quote about if Godis omniscient and doesn't help you then he's evil or if he isn't omniscient and can't prevent evil then is he a god worth worshiping? I can't find it for the life of me... I know it has something to do with the problem of evil, but all I seem to be getting on google is similar arguments but not the exact quote I want.

Oh well, point is this is something that philosophers have tackled before, but it's interesting to see the Bible practically hand us the argument on a plate. God flat out states that he abandoned his people, which either makes him a huge dick or kind of a crappy all powerful invisible man in the sky. Which brings up all sorts of questions. Like, why should I bother pleasing a God who is so plainly immoral and uncaring about my life, which he has claims to have had a hand in since sperm met egg and even before then? Or how can a God judge my actions if he seems to be unable to actually see what I am doing at all times? If it's possible for him to "abandon" me without meaning to, then that implies he can be gone and unaware of what is happening to me or what activities I am engaging in. So why should I worship a God who is the ultimate judge of my eternal soul when, in the end, he wouldn't have all the evidence to judge me anyway. And is that was prayer is for? Is it like a cellphone call to God while he's on the road and away from your general area? Is that why prayers constantly go unanswered, because God just can't be everywhere at once dammit, so cut him some slack?

Or perhaps God just doesn't exist and all of these questions are just moot? Because how are we supposed to tell the difference between an apathetic God or an absent God from a god who just doesn't exist at all?

Hm, yeah, I think I'm gonna stick with my "imaginary man in the sky probably doesn't exist" theory. Just makes more sense. But it is kind of fun to sit there and pull stuff out of my ass to try to make sense of the God that is taught in church and the God that is in the Bible. Apologetics is fun! Like acrobats for your brain! :D

Friday: Isaiah 56-60 (I can't wait to be done with this book...)

Monday, March 28, 2011

Isaiah 46-50

The Facts (Chapter number: Verse)

46:3 - "Listen to me, O house of Jacob, all the remnant of the house of Israel, who have been borne by me from your birth, carried from the womb."

47:1-9 - "Come down and sit in the dust, virgin daughter of Babylon! Sit on the ground without a throne, daughter Chaldea! For you shall no more be called tender and delicate. Take the millstones and grind meal, remove your veil, strip off your robe, uncover your legs, pass through the rivers. Your nakedness shall be uncovered, and your shame shall be seen. I will take vengeance, and I will spare no one, Our Redeemer - the Lord of hosts is his name - is the Holy One of Israel.

"Sit in silence, and go into darkness, daughter Chaldea! For you shall no more be called the mistress of kingdoms. I was angry with my people, I profaned my heritage; I gave them into your hand, you showed them no mercy; on the aged you make your yoke exceedingly heavy. You said, 'I shall be mistress forever,' so that you did not lay these things to heart or remember their end.

"Now therefore hear this, you lover of pleasures, who sit securely, who say in your heart, 'I am, and there is no one besides me; I shall not sit as a widow or know the loss of children' - both these things shall come upon you in a moment, in one day: the loss of children and widowhood shall come upon you in full measure, in spite of your many sorceries and the great power of your enchantments."

Isaiah 48 - No mention of any women.

49:1 - "Listen to me, O coastlands, pay attention, you people from far away! The Lord called me before I was born, while I was in my mother's womb he named me."
49:15 - "Can a woman forget her nursing child, or show no compassion for the child of her womb? Even these may forget, yet I will not forget you."
49:18 - "Lift up your eyes all around and see; they all gather, they come to you. As I live, says the Lord, you shall put all of them on like an ornament, and like a bride you shall bind them on."
49:22-23 - "Thus says the Lord God: I will soon lift up my hand to the nations, and raise my signal to the peoples; and they shall bring your sons in their bosom, and your daughters shall be carried on their shoulders. Kings shall be your foster fathers, and their queens your nursing mothers. With their faces to the ground they shall bow down to you, and lick the dust off your feet. Then you will know that I am the Lord; those who wait for me shall not be put to shame."

50:1 - "Thus says the Lord: Where is your mother's bill of divorce with which I put her away? Or which of my creditors is it to whom I have sold you? No, because of your sins you were sold, and for your transgressions your mother was put away."

My Comments

Okay, I'm kinda coming back from a long weekend of trying to rest and reset my brain, so please chime in if it looks like I've missed anything important here. I'll probably reread it later Monday night and look to see if there's anything I might have missed as well.

God seems to be pretty angry at Babylon and Chaldea. They shall be forced off their place of privilege and forced to labor. They shall not be respected as women but treated as men are, not delicate or tender. They shall be uncovered and stripped of their feminine clothes, and naked they shall be seen by all. God will take vengeance for he is the Lord. God gave his people to Chaldea and put them into her hands. And she abused God's people, showing them no mercy. For this God commands Chaldea go into darkness and silence, not to be remembered or seen as a "mistress."

Does this strike anyone as odd since it is even stated in these very verses that it was God who delivered his people in the hands of Chaldea? What did he expect the conquerors to do to those they conquered? Hell, God didn't let his people who much mercy to those he told them to conquer, so why the hell would he expect another tribe/city to do any different? At least the Chaldeans didn't seem to slaughter all of God's people en mass, a mercy God rarely bestowed upon the poor people he commanded the Israelites to take over. I guess God is punishing Chaldea for doing exactly as he does, because only he is allowed to be the supreme asshole god in the land. It's different when God does it because he writes his own moral code which he never follows himself. Basically it's a "Do as I say and not as I do" moral code.

And the greatest suffering shall befall those who sit in pleasure (and presumably not in constant fear)! They shall be like women who have lost their children and husband! Because, again, a woman is nothing without a man to own her and children to take care of.

"Listen to me, O coastlands, pay attention, you people from far away! The Lord called me before I was born, while I was in my mother's womb he named me. Can a woman forget her nursing child, or show no compassion for the child of her womb? Even these may forget, yet I will not forget you." God is better than your mother, so screw her and care only about him. A concept which he will repeat, since Jesus was said to command his disciples to leave their wives, children, and entire family behind so that they may follow him and learn from him. God is the bestest parent ever, don't you know? And notice how it doesn't mention the flesh and blood father here. Does this imply that, like the holy father, a mortal father won't forget or cast out his children as quickly as a mortal mother? Or is this here to emphasize God's capacity for compassion and love, since of course a mother wouldn't forget about or cast away the child whom she nursed and raised? Is it a compliment/insult, where he praises mothers for being better than fathers but then right after that bashes mothers for not being as awesome as he is?

I guess it could go either way.

And that last verse is weird to me. Was it common for the mothers to be involved in a child's punishment? Or is God just amazingly special because he seems to think it's okay to punish the mother the transgressions of the son? I mean, the Bible has mentioned children paying for the sins of the father (a concept which I also think is incredibly flawed) but this is the first I've seen a mother paying for the sins of a son. Just... kinda weird and out of the blue. I do feel an important part to this verse is, "Where is your mother's bill of divorce with which I put her away?" but I am not exactly sure what this is supposed to mean, or what exactly it has to do with the transgressions of her son and her being punished for them.


Wednesday: Isaiah 51-55

Friday, March 25, 2011

Isaiah 41-45

The Facts (Chapter number: Verse)

Isaiah 41 - No mention of any women.

42:14 - "For a long time I have held my peace, I have kept still and restrained myself; now I will cry out like a woman in labor, I will gasp and pant."

Isaiah 43 - No mention of any women.

44:2 - "Thus says the Lord who made you, who formed you in the womb and will help you; Do not fear, O Jacob my Servant, Jeshurun whom I have chosen."
44:24 - "Thus says the Lord your God, your Redeemer, who formed you in the womb; I am the Lord who made all things, who alone stretched out the heavens, who by myself spread out the world."

45:10 - "Woe to anyone who says to a father, 'What are you begetting?' or to a woman, 'With what are you in labor?'"

My Comments

A woman's reality is pain. But we know this is apparently nothing unnatural since God decreed that we shall basically live in pain our whole lives for the horrendous sin of eating an apple. So when a woman's reality is pain, why should we make a big fuss about the suffering women face in the world?

I was originally gonna leave the verses about the womb out, because it doesn't mention women anywhere in the passages. But then I realized, the fact that the woman ISN'T mentioned is really a big freakin' deal here. This is simply more erasure of women in the process of childbirth. God has made that baby in the womb and brings it forth, the woman is completely detached from the process. The womb is separated from the woman, and only a man is left as the responsible party for the creation of the fetus. It's insulting, since childbirth is incredibly dangerous for women even today, so thanks for erasing women's sacrifice to continue the human race, jackasses. No, gotta make sure the sex that has no risk in procreation gets a mention all the time, whether mortal and fallible or immortal and all powerful. Because men are actually important, you know?

Oh wait, but despite women having really NOTHING to do with the creation of a fetus, it is still women who have to bear all the pain when it comes to actually birthing the child. Really? Really? So men (or God) get all the credit for making the baby and the woman is the one expected to actually pay the price for that creation?

Yeah, thanks for that. I feel all warm and fuzzy already.

Monday: Isaiah 46-50

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Isaiah 36-40

The Facts (Chapter number: Verse)

Isaiah 36 - No mention of any women.

37:22 - "This is the word that the Lord has spoken concerning [the king of Assyria]: She despises you, she scorns you - virgin daughter of Zion, she tosses her head - behind your back, daughter Jerusalem."

Isaiah 38 - No mention of any women.

Isaiah 39 - No mention of any women.

40:2 - "Speak tenderly to Jerusalem, and cry to her that she served her term, that her penalty is paid, that she has received from the Lord's hand double for all her sins."
40:11 - "He will feed his flock like a shepherd; he will gather the lambs in his arms, and carry them in his bosom, and gently lead the mother sheep."

My Comments

Why does Jerusalem have to deal with double the punishment for her sins? Why is God being such a dick to this city which I thought was some sort of holy place for him? Yes, please rush to comfort poor Jerusalem for suffering at the hands of her God and be sure to treat her like the damaged, delicate flower that she is.

Nothing much else here that I haven't ranted about ad nauseam already.

Friday: Isaiah 41-45

Monday, March 21, 2011

Isaiah 31-35

The Facts (Chapter number: Verse)

Isaiah 31 - No mention of any women.

32:9-15 - Complacent Women Warned of Disaster

"Rise up you women who are at ease, hear my voice; you complacent daughters, listen to my speech. In little more than a year you will shudder, you complacent ones; for the vintage will fail, and the fruit harvest will not come. Tremble, you women who are at ease; shudder, you complacent ones; strip, and make yourself bare, and put sackcloth on your loins. Beat your breasts for the pleasant fields, for the fruitful vine, for the soil of my people growing up in thorns and briers; yes, for all the joyous houses in the jubilant city. For the palace will be forsaken, and the populous city deserted; the hill and watchtower will become dens forever, the joy of wild asses, a pasture of flocks; until a spirit from on high is poured out on us, and the wilderness becomes a fruitful field, and the fruitful field is deemed a forest."

Isaiah 33 - No mention of any women.

34:9 - "And the streams of Edom shall be turned into pitch, and her soul into sulfur; her land shall become burning pitch."
34:14 - "Wildcats shall meet with hyenas, goat-demons shall call to each other; there too Lilith shall repose, and find a place to rest."

Isaiah 35 - No mention of any women.

My Comments

Here's a wiki page (as always, take wiki pages with a grain of salt) for Lilith, since she isn't a commonly known character. The only reason I know about her at all and her mythology is from Neon Genesis Evangelion then they explain the body NERV has been hiding was really Lilith and not Adam... it's a really complicated anime, so it's a bit hard to explain. Anyway, I watched the show and was like, "Lilith? Who's that?" All I knew was it was probably someone from a religious text in that show is REALLY heavy handed with the religious symbolism. In doing research, I found that she was supposed to be Adam's first "wife", which really confused me because I had always been told that Eve was the first woman. An interesting mythology which really complicates the creation story, to say the least. She has also been viewed as a demon, which I guess makes a little more sense in the context presented here.

A female demon being the downfall of man? Totally didn't see that one coming, right?

Anyway, just thought people would be interested in a little information on Lilith since I think it's a really interesting bit of Biblical mythology and I know she's not very well known.

So, again, we have a warning that is specifically written for (complacent) women. Women who, it seems, have no clue what is going on around them because women are just so oblivious. So far we have had passage after passage of violent prophecy about the downfall of cities and God's people and kings and princes. Yet, God does not stop and directly address the king. Or the prince. Or the complacent men. Or the complacent children. It seems God and his prophecy only has enough time to take a step back and direct address the women who are unaware of the coming downfall. Which is odd since the entire book of Isaiah is just a big destruction fest and seems to be addressed to everyone, so why take a moment to break away from talking to everyone to just speak to the women? You may think, how nice of him, right? See how much he cares for the women over anyone else, right?

As I mentioned in the previous post on Isaiah 26-30, this shows more of a mistrust and lack of confidence in women's strength and faith rather than any actual care for these women. Which I don't find to be all that comforting at all. In fact, it's really rather insulting. Like that teacher that takes you aside from the rest of the class to patronizingly give you an extra talk about manners when you didn't start the sandbox fight in the first place. Or that guy talking about the latest video game who stops the conversation mid way and feels the need to explain what video games are to you when you've actually beaten that game a week ago (okay, sorry, Gamestop flash backs).

It's insulting. Special treatment is not always a good thing and is not always wanted. Most of the time special treatment just makes you look like more of an outcast to others, and people notice that you are being treated as a weaker person who is in need of extra help. This generally makes everyone else see you as weaker and that you require this special treatment (when you may have never asked for it in the first place). An example would be like how able bodied people often treat any person with a handicap as an invalid, such as when a server at a restaurant speaks loudly and slowly to someone just because they have a cane. Or how men will explain any concept that is above a high school education level in detail to a woman who has 4 years of college under her belt and never even asked for an explanation on the subject in the first place... sorry, more flash backs. The type of "special treatment" where those in power feel they have to bring themselves down to our level in order to really communicate. Usually this type of "special treatment" is general hand holding and infanitlization, not constructive. Treating someone like a child never pulls them to your level, it only serves to reinforce their "lesser" status.

Basically, I'm saying that specifically addressing women in this way shows that the Bible and God believe that women are weak and lacking strong faith because it feels it has to hand hold and give "special treatment". Even though these women never asked for this special treatment nor did they seem to require it. And when the Bible continues to provide this special treatment over and over and over again to women and female subjects, it is just reinforcing the idea that women need hand holding and special explanations while men do not. Thus, it reinforces the idea that men are stronger than women and inherently superior. (I really hope that's how that all came across...)

I mean, if women weren't inherently weaker and stupider then God wouldn't need to take a time out to take those women aside and give them a personal talking to while he left the men out there to fend for themselves, right?

Wednesday: Isaiah 36-40

Friday, March 18, 2011

Isaiah 26-30

The Facts (Chapter number: Verse)

26:17 - "Like a woman with child, who writhes and cries out in her pangs when she is near her time, so were we because of you, O Lord."

Isaiah 27 - No mention of any women.

Isaiah 28 - No mention of any women.

29:7 - "And the multitude of all the nations that fight against Ariel, all that fight against her and her stronghold, and who distress her, shall be like a dream, a vision of the night."

Isaiah 30 - No mention of any women.

My Comments

Another female city being conquered.

Notice how God keeps telling these cities that they're gonna suffer now, but as long as they endure and believe they will be rewarded in the end. Live through the beating now, it's okay, God will bring you roses tomorrow, right?

Do the stories of Ariel and Tyre remind anyone else of the story of Hagar?

Yeah, I know, women aren't the only ones to get this. Job had to suffer to get God's grace in the end, too. But I think the main difference between these cities and Hagar is that God actually commands these women/cities to suffer and tells them of their reward. Job wasn't commanded to endure and then he'd be rewarded. Job was left in the dark and constantly cried out to God for an explanation for his suffering. So why do these women/cities get the benefit of God letting them know that they're suffering will be temporary? Does God not think that these women/cities will endure and keep faith in him like Job will? Does he think that if these women/cities are left to suffer that they'll just leave him? I mean, evidence suggests that the women will since Job's wife couldn't keep her faith under pressure. She was ready to curse God after her children were killed, she didn't even need to go through the rest of Job's tribulations.

So does God speak to these women/cities because they are instrumental in his bigger picture? Not because the women/cities themselves are important but because they will bear a crucial son or because they will be used to expand his kingdom? As a demonstration of God's power? I mean, if God allowed Ariel and Tyre to be conquered and the cities turned away from God before he could lift them up how would that benefit him? If he lifted them up after they turned to a different God he wouldn't get the credit, and if he didn't lift them up he wouldn't get any praise at all. No, the only way the city's downfall would work in his favor is if they kept their faith and in doing so were rewarded.

But since women are weak in faith unless (so it would seem, anyway) God seems more willing to explain what he is doing to them. That their suffer is only temporary and he will be there to save them. Honestly, that pretty much guarantees they will keep the faith because if they didn't the implication is that God will not make everything better again. So it's not really a choice, in the end.

At least, that is what this is all kind of looking like to me. Anyone have any different ideas?

Monday: Isaiah 31-35

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Isaiah 20-25

The Facts (Chapter number: Verse)

Isaiah 20 - No mention of any women.

21:2-3 - "A stern vision is told to me; the betrayer betrays, and the destroyer destroys. Go up, Elam, lay siege, O Media; all the sighing she has caused I bring to an end. Therefore my loins are filled with anguish; pangs have seized me, like the pangs of a woman in labor."
21:9 - "Then he responded, 'Fallen, fallen in Babylon; and all the images of her gods lie shattered on the ground."

Isaiah 22 - No mention of any women.

23:4 - "Be shamed, O Sidon, for the sea has spoken, the fortress of the seas, saying, 'I have neither labored nor given birth, I have neither reared young men nor brought up young women.'"
23:7 - "Is this your exultant city whose origin is from days of old, whose feet carried her to settle far away?"
23:12 - "He said: You will exult no longer, O oppressed virgin daughter Sidon; rise, cross over to Cyprus - even there you will have no rest."
23:15-18 - "From that day Tyre will be forgotten for seventy years, the lifetime of one king. At the end of seventy years, it will happen to Tyre as in the song about the prostitute:

Take a harp, go about the city, you forgotten prostitute! Make sweet melody, sing many songs, that you may be remembered.

At the end of seventy years, the Lord will visit Tyre, and she will return to her trade, and will prostitute herself with all the kingdoms of the world on the face of the earth. Her merchandise and her wages will be dedicated to the Lord; her profits will not be stored of hoarded, but her merchandise will supply abundant food and fine clothing for those who live in the presence of the Lord."

24:2 - "And it shall be, as with the people, so with the priest; as with the slave, so with the master; as with the maid, so with her mistress; as with the buyer, so with the seller; as with the lender, so with the borrower; as with the creditor, so with the debtor."

Isaiah 25 - No mention of any women.

My Comments

More violence against cities that are considered female. Are they female because they are being conquered and destroyed? I would bet yes.

If you are female you should feel shame for not bearing any children at all. Even if you are a city.

And I don't think I'm quite getting the part about Tyre. Is this one instance where being a prostitute is considered a good thing? It's never been considered a good thing so far, so why does it suddenly seem to be put into a good light? Is prostitution only good when you're doing it for the Lord, but how does that make it any different? Does God really not care what you do if you just happen to dedicate your life to him and give all of your profits and business to those who serve him? And why is a city's normal trade and business considered prostitution, anyway? Is a woman/female city conducting business considered prostitution no matter what that business may be? Or is she a prostitute because there is, of course, no other business a woman could actually conduct?

I just... I don't know here. There is just so much here. Women are inherently weak and made to suffer great pain and violence, whether by men or by natural causes like child birth. Women are nothing without children and should feel great shame if they live their life without producing any. Prostitution is the only business a woman could possibly conduct and the only way to be praised for prostitution is to do it for God and give up all your earnings. If a woman goes into prostitution with the goal of keeping herself alive with what little money she may get from her business then she is a bad prostitute because only women who give all of themselves will be praised.

I'm just amazed that even the cities cannot escape this horrible sexism.

I found this blog this other day, My Teen Mania Experience, and it's really shocking stuff. I know this is the more extreme fundamentalism type thing, but my heart breaks seeing how out of hand religion can get and how damaging it is to people. A lot of these stories are based around this Christian camp that is set up like Navy Seals hell week. The participants ("interns") are basically beaten, sleep deprived, tortured and ridiculed throughout the entire experience, and they claim to do this for God and in the name of God. Really, it makes me sick.

One of the videos in particular stuck out to me. Here a man is being humiliated by having to yell out that he is not a man. Apparently making men dress up in dresses and act like women is something that happens often at places like ESOAL. Listen for the part at the end where he explains why he is not a man.

Really made me think of these passages here. Women are weak. Women are conquered. Women are made victims.

To be a man is to be none of those things. To be a woman is so bad that just saying you are a woman or having to dress like one is considered humiliating and degrading.

I highly recommend reading through some of the back posts of that blog, if you can stomach it. Just a warning it is pretty intense stuff, and some of the videos are hard to watch.

Friday: Isaiah 25-30

Just as an FYI, I now have a Tumblr mostly because I was super bored at work and figured why not, it would give me something to do. Pretty much just random posts of interesting stuff I find online, not all of it feminist/atheist related but all of it awesome. :)

Monday, March 14, 2011

Isaiah 14-19

The Facts (Chapter number: Verse)

14:2 - "And the nations will take them and bring them to their place, and the house of Israel will possess the nations as male and female slaves in the Lord's land; they will take captive those who were their captors, and rule over those who oppressed them."

Isaiah 15 - No mention of any women.

16:2 - "Like fluttering birds, like scattered nestlings, so are the daughters of Moab at the fords of the Arnon."

17:1-2 - "And oracle concerning Damascus. See, Damascus will cease to be a city, and will become a heap of ruins. Her towns will be deserted forever, they will be places for flocks, which will lie down, and no one will make them afraid."

Isaiah 18 - No mention of any women.

19:16 - "On that day the Egyptians will be like women, and tremble with fear before the hand that the Lord of hosts raises against them."

My Comments

I tried to do more chapters than normal to make up for the irregular posting last week. Postings may continue to be irregular since we are once against experiencing problems with our internet's reliability. -_- A suggestion for anyone looking, if you are thinking about going with Clear check around your area to see if you get reliable service, because apparently the tower near us just loves to take time off every month or so.

Anyway, even though I read a bit more than normal there isn't much here. Though we do get an interesting insight into the dynamics between a woman's relationship between her and God/husband/men.

19:16 - "On that day the Egyptians will be like women, and tremble with fear before the hand that the Lord of hosts raises against them."

It's right there in black and white. Women tremble at the violence men raise against them. The Egyptians aren't becoming like servants or slaves or children. They are becoming like WOMEN, which entails fearing violence against those who are above you. Taking that further that basically also says that those above women (ie. men) are supposed to hold physical harm and violence over women's heads. Women cannot be expected to naturally act this way if violence against them wasn't a normal part of life. And this verse makes it fairly clear that it is natural for a woman to feel fear under a man/God's hand.

Seriously, why not children or slaves or servants or cattle or sheep or any other myriad examples of groupings that are both male and female?

Because apparently this metaphor would only work with women, which definitely cannot be ignored.

In other news: Here is a video of people sharing their feelings about a Baptist couple's retreat. 10 points to you if you see what is so fucking ridiculous about it.

In other other news: I had the "pleasure" of going to church this weekend, mostly because my dad has started playing bass for a praise band and has been wanting me to go watch him perform. The music was good enough for generic Christian pop-rock fare, but that wasn't the real highlight of the morning.

I have to say, I have never heard a sermon that was as amazing as the one I heard that morning. It was so amazing even my mother was angry about it afterward, and THAT takes talent. This is the woman who wasn't even upset at the mother's day service we went to, wherein the minister actually bitched about his mother during the sermon. I shit you not, he gave a shitty sermon that mostly had nothing to do with mothers, and the only time he did mention mothers was when he decided to just go on a rant about how much he hates his. I wanted to destroy that entire church after that service. Since then I have settled for making it perfectly clear that I will never step foot in that church ever again. So to upset my mom (or give her a headache, as was the case) takes quite a bit of effort.

This sermon was about what would Jesus do. But not what the fluffy, lovey-dovery populace thinks Jesus would do but what the REAL Jesus would really do. The short answer: Jesus would take care of himself and not devote every single hour and every single penny to helping those in need. Jesus would also run over squirrels and never feel bad about it. No, really, I am not fucking kidding. This guy went on for about 30 minutes about how we can't be expected to help EVERY homeless person out there, so don't feel bad about not helping them out with a little change. I mean, really, God knows you got stuff to do and lattes to spend you're money on. You can't help everyone. And if the person in need gets angry with you then screw 'em, they're the dick, not you.

Then there was some bit where he talked about squirrels and running them over. He talked about feeling bad about it and he was really sad about running over squirrels. But THEN he realized what Jesus really meant for him to feel was a complete lack of empathy for nature ('cause, duh, right?) so now he runs over squirrels and doesn't even bat an eye. I mean, come on! If that squirrel was stupid enough to try to run across the road that WE built in front of ITS tree home then that squirrel totally deserves to be flattened in a horrific manner by an unnatural gas powered vehicle, right? The icing on top of that cupcake was the entire rest of the congregation was right there with him and cheering. I kid you not, the entire group of people were basically clapping and yelling, "Yeah! Fuck squirrels! Preach on, brother!"

So this Sunday I learned that Christianity is not about helping others or even spending a small amount of energy feel bad for those who are worse off than you are. Nope, Jesus taught us to help the needy in moderation and to not feel bad if you completely ignore the plight of those less fortunate than us, be it a human being or a squirrel.

You know, because it totally wasn't Jesus who commanded all of his disciples to leave their entire family and ALL of their material goods to follow him and preach his word. Nope, even if that is what Jesus SAID that is so totally not what he MEANT. -_-

I love my mom. After that great sermon when they started passing around the collection plate the guy stopped by her and she started going through her purse and acting like she just couldn't find her wallet or any of her money. Eventually she looked at the guy and was like, "Oops, sorry, I can't find anything. Really, so sorry, go on to the next person. Don't wait for me." She only had a couple of 20s in her purse and she'd be damned if she was gonna give that asshole that kinda money, lol.

I told her it was okay. She already gave to 2 churches this month and she can't be expected to give to EVERY church she visits. Jesus wouldn't want her to give up too much of her money. :P


But don't take my word for it, here is the video of the sermon.

Lent Week 1 Message 3-13-11 Mike Aus from Theophilus Houston on Vimeo.


And thanks to Lurker for asking about finding it online. I would never have remembered the thing was recorded, otherwise. :)

Wednesday (hopefully): Isaiah 20-25

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Isaiah 10-13

The Facts (Chapter number: Verse)

10:2 - "[You who write oppressive statutes] to turn aside the needy from justice and to rob the poor of my people of their right, that widow may be your spoil, and that you may make the orphans your prey."
10:11 - "... shall I not do to Jerusalem and her idols what I have done to Samaria and her images?"
10:12 - "This very day he shall halt at Nob, he will shake his fist at the mount of daughter Zion, the hill of Jerusalem."

Isaiah 11 - No mention of any women.

Isaiah 12 - No mention of any women.

13:8 - "Pangs and agony will seize them; they will be in anguish like a woman in labor."
13:16 - "Their infants will be dashed to pieces before their eyes; their houses will be plundered and their wives ravished."
13:18 - "Their bows will slaughter the young men; they will have no mercy on the fruit of the womb; their eyes will not pity children."

My Comments

The only mentions of women here are in relation to violence against them or the pain they suffer. They, along with the children and fetuses (God's pro-life, huh?), will be punished for the sins of the men of their community. Oh, wait, right, it's really all the women's fault because they are loose women who tempt men away from God by dressing up nice and shaking their bottoms to lure them into their marriage beds. So OF COURSE women, who are so often considered nothing more than property of men and the inferior sex who should have no real power in the community, should bear the worst of the punishment. Along with the fruit of their loins because nothing clean and pure comes out of a woman. Riiiiiight...

Violence, violence, violence. All in the name of God or perpetrated by God himself.

I can't help but giggle sometimes at all this horrific Biblical violence. Anyone remember after 9/11 how all anyone (at least anyone non-Muslim) could talk about was how violent the Koran was and this was why those terrorists blew the towers up? I know at least in my family my dad read the Koran (or at least claimed to, I never actually saw him reading it) and would tell us how horrible the Koran was, with people going out and slaughtering non believers in the name of Allah. Thank God our good Christian religion wasn't so barbaric! We would wipe our brows and rest easy knowing that our faith truly wasn't like violent Islam.

I really can appreciate the irony of those talks now that I have read first hand just how loving and peaceful the Bible really is.

Friday: Isaiah 14-16

Friday, March 4, 2011

Isaiah 7-9

The Facts (Chapter number: Verse)

7:14 - "Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Look, the young woman is with child and shall bear a son, and shall name him Immanuel."

8:3-4 - "And I went to the prophetess, and she conceived and bore a son. The the Lord said to me, Name him Maher-shalal-hash-baz [Translation: The spoil speeds, the prey hastens]; for before the child knows how to call 'My Father' or 'My mother,' the wealth of Damascus and the spoil of Samaria will be carried away by the king of Assyria."

9:17 - "That is why the Lord did not have pity on their young people, or compassion on their orphans and widows; for everyone was godless and an evildoer, and every mouth spoke folly. For all this his anger has not turned away; his hand is stretched out still."

My Comments

Wow, have I mentioned lately that God is a dick? Most people will at least agree that one should not punish children or kill children during times of war or whatever. And yet God here is totally okay with leaving the children and orphans and widows to their horrid fate. Because everyone was a wrongdoer? How the hell did a child do wrong against God? How the hell can God hold a child accountable for their (or their parents') actions? Most children do not fully understand the consequences of actions simply because their brains are not fully developed (studies on which I have always found horribly interesting), so why is God angry with them? I mean, it only says "young people" so I'm not sure where the age cut off is here. Not that it makes it any less heinous if he's sparing anyone younger than 3 or anyone younger than 12. It's a complete douchebag move.

For a God who is said to love so unconditionally he sure seems to be able to hold a grudge. Actually, I've seen more evidence of grudge holding than forgiveness so far. How messed up is that?


If no one has heard of Tim Minchin, here is an introduction to his awesomeness.

You're welcome. :)

Monday: Isaiah 10-12

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Isaiah 5-6

The Facts (Chapter number: Verse)

5:14 - "Therefore Sheol has enlarged its appetite and opened its mouth beyond measure; the nobility of Jerusalem and her multitude go down, her throng and all who exult in her."

Isaiah 6 - No mention of any women.

My Comments

A break from the craziness.

Friday: Isaiah 7-9