Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Ezekiel 6-10

The Facts (Chapter number: Verse)

Ezekiel 6 - No mention of any women.

Ezekiel 7 - No mention of any women.

8:14 - "Then he brought me to the entrance of the north gate of the house of the LORD; women were sitting there weeping for Tammuz."

9:6 - "'Cut down old men, young men and young women, little children and women, but touch no one who has the mark [those who sigh and groan at the sight of the abominations being committed]. And begin at my sanctuary.' So they began with the elders who were in front of the house."

Ezekiel 10 - No mention of any women.

My Comments

I think I would give anything, right about now, for the Bible to STOP going on and on and on and ON about how God just HAS to punish all his people because they just HAD to commit to HORRIBLE abomination (of which there are no greater abominations, apparently) or *gasp!* WORSHIPING DEITIES THAT AREN'T GOD! I mean holy shit, this is, what, the fourth book now that has to completely bash us over the heads with this nonsense? Not just imply, like other books have, but completely and totally show us just what a jealous asshole God is.

I completely agree with others that reading the Bible is probably the easiest way to get people to stop believing in this douchebag deity. I think if I had still been a believer when I started this project I would definitely not be one now. And I'm supposedly to believe that THIS God right here, old testament, jealous as shit god, is supposedly to suddenly turn into daisies and sunshine when Jesus is born?


And I hate that I still sound like a broken record after all these books but it's really all the Bible is giving me to work with, here. Also, oddly enough, it CONTINUES to surprise me. Is that weird? I know I should be expecting this crap by now, but every other chapter or so I find myself just face palming and thinking what the fuck? Why do people still believe in this shit? What the fuck am I reading? I just don't get it...

Friday: More Ezekiel

Monday, June 27, 2011

Ezekiel 1-5

The Facts (Chapter number: Verse)

Ezekiel 1 - No mention of any women.

Ezekiel 2 - No mention of any women.

Ezekiel 3 - No mention of any women.

Ezekiel 4 - No mention of any women.

Ezekiel 5 - No mention of any women.

My Comments

And we kick off a brand new book with a whole lot of nothing.

Wednesday: More Ezekiel

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Lamentations 3-5

The Facts (Chapter number: Verse)

Lamentations 3 - No mention of any women.

4:7 - "[Sodom's] princes were purer than snow, whiter than milk; their bodies were more ruddy then coral, their hair like sapphire."
4:10 - "The hands of compassionate women have boiled their own children; they become their food in the destruction of my people."
4:13 - "It was for the sins of [Jerusalem's] prophets and the iniquities of her priests, who shed the blood of the righteous in the midst of her."
4:21-22 - "Rejoice and be glad, O daughter Edom, you that live in the land of Uz; but to you also the cup shall pass; you shall become drunk and strip yourself bare. The punishment of your iniquity, O daughter Zion, is accomplished, he will keep you in exile longer; but your iniquity, O daughter Edom, he will punish, he will uncover your sins."

5:3 - "We have become orphans, fatherless; our mothers are like widows."
5:11 - "Women are raped in Zion, virgins in the town of Judah."

My Comments

Cannibalism again. Once again, it's only the mother's ACTUALLY eating their children, no father's in sight. Father's are okay to mention ALONG WITH mothers only when cannibalism is being mentioned as a possible punishment or outcome of some horrible famine. But father's are never seen when the actual act is being committed. Fancy that.

Does the Bible just have a thing about women eating basically anything it is understood they shouldn't? First the apple and now our own children? I'm not sure but it's just getting to the point of ridiculousness.

Here's hoping Ezekiel will bring us something different for a change. I'm tired of reading about God's punishment on people for the crime of not loving him enough.

Friday: Ezekiel

Friday, June 17, 2011

Lamentations 2

The Facts (Chapter number: Verse)

Lamentations 2: God's Warning Fulfilled

How the Lord in his anger has humiliated daughter Zion! He has thrown down from heaven to earth the splendor of Israel; he has not remembered his footstool in the day of his anger.

The Lord has destroyed without mercy all the dwellings of Jacob; in his wrath he has broken down the strongholds of daughter Judah; he has brought down to the ground in dishonor the kingdom and its rulers.

He has cut down in fierce anger all the might of Israel; he has withdrawn his right hand from them in the face of the enemy; he has burned like a flaming fire in Jacob, consuming all around.

He has bent his bow like an enemy, with his right hand set like a foe; he has killed all in whom we took pride in the tent of daughter Zion; he has poured out his fury like fire.

The Lord has become like an enemy; he has destroyed Israel; He has destroyed all its palaces, laid in ruins its strongholds, and multiplied in daughter Judah mourning and lamentation.

He has broken down his booth like a garden, he has destroyed his tabernacle; the LORD has abolished in Zion festival and sabbath, and in his fierce indignation has spurned king and priest.

The Lord has scorned his altar, disowned his sanctuary; he has delivered into the hand of the enemy the walls of her palaces; a clamor was raised in the house of the LORD as on a day of festival.

The LORD determined to lay in ruins the wall of daughter Zion; he stretched the line; he did not withhold his hand from destroying; he caused rampart and wall to lament; they languish together.

Her gates have sunk into the ground; he has ruined and broken her bars; her king and princes are among the nations; guidance is no more, and her prophets obtain no vision from the LORD.

The elders of daughter Zion sit on the ground in silence; they have thrown dust on their heads and put on sackcloth; the young girls of Jerusalem have bowed their heads to the ground.

My eyes are spent with weeping; my stomach churns; my bile is poured out on the ground because of the destruction of my people, because infants and babes faint in the streets of the city.

They cry to their mothers, "Where is bread and wine?" as they faint like the wounded in the streets of the city, as their life is poured out on their mothers' bosom.

What can I say for you, to what compare you, O daughter Jerusalem? To what can I liken you, that I may comfort you, O virgin daughter Zion? For vast as the sea is your ruin; who can heal you?

Your prophets have seen for you false and deceptive visions; they have not exposed your iniquity to restore your fortunes, but have seen oracles for you that are false and misleading.

All who pass along the way clap their hands at you; they hiss and wag their heads at daughter Jerusalem; "Is this the city that was called the perfection of beauty, the joy of all the earth?"

All your enemies open their mouths against you; they hiss, they gnash their teeth, they cry: "We have devoured her! Ah, this is the day we longed for; at last we have seen it!"

The LORD has done what he purposed, he has carried out his threat; as he ordained long ago, he has demolished without pity; he has made the enemy rejoice over you, and exalted the might of your foes.

Cry aloud to the Lord! O wall of daughter Zion! Let tears stream down like a torrent day and night! Give yourself no rest, your eyes no respite!

Arise, cry out in the night, at the beginning of the watches! Pour out your heart like water before the presence of the Lord! Lift your hands to him for the lives of your children, who faint for hunger at the head of every street.

Look, O LORD, and consider! To whom have you done this? Should women eat their offspring, the children they have borne? Should priest and prophet be killed in the sanctuary of the Lord?

The young and the old are lying on the ground in the streets; my young women and my young men have fallen by the sword; in the day of your anger you have killed them, slaughtering without mercy.

You invited my enemies from all around as if for a day of festival; and on the day of the anger of the LORD no one escaped or survived; those whom I bore and reared my enemy has destroyed.

My Comments

Seriously, why does God delight so in the threat of making parents eat their children? You would think cannibalism would be one of those things God is completely against. And yet, when it comes down to it, God is actually okay with putting people in situations where eating their children would be necessary (or just outright forcing them to eat their children, as it sometimes comes across) nor does God seem upset when it actually happens because of famine. In 2 kings, the only one really upset by the child cannibalism is the king himself. God says nothing on this subject. Again, God spends BOOKS on how bad it is to not be faithful to him and exactly how God will punish those who dare to turn to other gods before him, yet he is okay with forcing parents to eat their children as punishment and is completely silent when mothers are so hungry they actually turn to eating their children.

And why are only mothers mentioned in this particular cannibalism verse? Before, when cannibalism is being threatened as a punishment, it is implied that both parents may be forced to eat their offspring. Yet, here, the focus is placed specifically on the mothers. Also, to note, the only people in the Bible to actually commit cannibalism (thus far, anyway) have been women. What exactly that says, I don't know. Is it just women are really the only ones truly weak enough to eat their children without God pushing them to do it? Like, fathers would eat their children but only if God was pressing it upon them as a punishment and wouldn't do so otherwise. But those women, you gotta keep an eye on them. They start feeling a bit peckish and bam! You're down one kid. Is this just the Bible once again pointing to the inferior and weak nature of women/mothers?

Don't get me wrong, the Bible does show cannibalism in a bad light, it's not that just because God doesn't make it a commandment that that means the Bible thinks it's okay. When cannibalism is mentioned you can see that it's a bad thing that really shouldn't happen. That is not my beef. My beef is that, like human sacrifice, the Bible will SAY it's a wrong, evil, bad thing and yet God is still okay with using it. God SAYS he's very anti-human sacrifice and yet look what happened to Jephtha's daughter. Or even Jesus, for that matter, the bestest of all human sacrifices. It's the same with cannibalism. It's written in a non-positive light, and yet that has never stopped God from using it to punish or threaten his people, and it apparently doesn't even warrant an appearance or any ACTUAL punishment when it really happens. God only has time to punish those who cheat on him, okay? He SO doesn't have time to deal with mother's eating their children.

All I want is just a little actual morals to live by, here. I'm not asking for much. But so far the only real message that's coming across loud and clear is DON'T YOU FUCKING DARE EVEN LOOK AT ANOTHER GOD BESIDES YAHWEH OR HE WILL FUCK YOUR SHIT UP! If the Bible can't even get the pretty simple ideas of "don't sacrifice people" and "don't eat other people" across as well as it does the whole God adultery thing, then really I don't see how this even remotely comes close to being a codes of ethics and morals...

Monday: More Lamentations

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Lamentations 1

The Facts (Chapter number: Verse)

1:1-11 - The Deserted City

"How lonely sits the city that once was full of people! How like a widow she has become, she that was great among the nations! She that was a princess among the provinces has become a vassal.

"She weeps bitterly in the night, with tears on her cheeks; among all her lovers she has no one to comfort her; all her friends have dealt treacherously with her, they have become her enemies.

"Judah has gone into exile with suffering and hard servitude; she lives not among the nations, and finds no resting place; her pursuers have all overtaken her in the midst of her distress.

"The roads to Zion mourn, for no one comes to the festivals; all her gates are desolate, her priests groan; her young girls grieve, and her lot is bitter.

"Her foes have become the masters, her enemies prosper, because the Lord has made her suffer for the multitude of her transgressions; her children have gone away, captives before the foe.

"From daughter Zion has departed all her majesty. Her princes have become like stags that find no pasture; they fled without strength before the pursuer.

"Jerusalem remembers, in the days of her affliction and wandering, all the precious things that were hers in the days of old. When her people fell into the hands of the foe, and there was no one to help her, the foe looked on mocking over her downfall.

"Jerusalem sinned grievously, so she has become a mockery; all who honored her despise her, for they have seen her nakedness; she herself groans, and turns her face away.

"Her uncleanness was in her skirts; she took no thought of her future; her downfall was appalling, with no one to comfort her. 'Oh Lord, look at my affliction, for the enemy has triumphed!'

"Enemies have stretched out their hands over all her precious things; she has even seen the nations invade her sanctuary, those whom you forbade to enter your congregation.

"All her people groan as they search for bread; they trade their treasures for food to revive their strength. Look, O Lord, and see how worthless I have become."

1:15 - "The Lord has rejected all my warriors in the midst of me; he proclaimed a time against me to crush my young men; the Lord has trodden as in a wine press the virgin daughter Judah."

1:17-19 - "Zion stretched out her hands, but there is no one to comfort her; the Lord has commanded against Jacob that his neighbors should become his foes; Jerusalem has become a filthy thing among them.

"The Lord is in the right, for I have rebelled against his word; but Hear, all you peoples, and behold my suffering; my young women and young men have gone into captivity.

"I called to my lovers but they deceived me; my priests and elders perished in the city while seeking food to revive their strength."

My Comments

*sigh* I think I spoke too soon. -_-

How long can they harp on this? Yes, God's people cheated on God. Yes, God got super angry (even though it hurt him more than it did them) and punished his people. Yes, it really sucked for his people.

Can we move on, now?!

What is the point of dragging this on for so long? What does this add to anything? Is it supposed to add to our moral code? Is it supposed to add to our sympathy for God's people? Is it supposed to add to our awe of God and his power? Is it supposed to make us love God more? Fear God more? Understand God more? Is it supposed to explain why bad things exist (because if God will do this shit to his most loved children imagine what he's make normal people suffer through)? Is it just filler to make the Bible longer? Why did the few skilled people in the world at this time waste so much precious paper to records something that was basically just a waste of space?

My main beef here is, why are we supposed to be siding with now? During Jeremiah, it was fairly obvious that Jeremiah was the character we were supposed to side with and sympathize with (not that it means I DID relate to and sympathize with him). Jeremiah was God's man in the street, trying to turn people back to God and away from their "sins." He was laughed at and treated as an outcast for this, even while Israel and Jerusalem and others began to feel God's punishment and anger. Jeremiah, who whined incessantly about how no one would listen to him and how persecuted he was because he only believed in God, was our lead in that book. Even if you didn't identify with him or feel for him, which I sure as hell didn't, it was obvious that was the point.

But here, in Lamentations, we are no longer getting these accounts from Jeremiah (or whoever actually wrote the book). This is no longer prophecy and warnings spouted by a lone believer, cautioning God's people to turn back to him lest God destroy them in his righteous anger. This book is told from the point of view of some man (not identified as of yet) who is quite obviously caught up in these great punishments. Now we get the view of those people whom were beaten and destroyed, left to fend for themselves while they tried to survive God's angry onslaught. Am I now supposed to identify and sympathize with Jerusalem and Israel and all the people who were cruelly and needlessly tormented for a crime as petty and small as worshiping gods other than Yahweh? I'm going to think no, that I am not supposed to sympathize with them at all because it would honestly make no sense for such a huge shift to take place from one book to the next. I imagine the real purpose of this is for those who would dare turn their back on God to see just exactly what the punishment is for such a "crime."

1:18 - "The Lord is in the right, for I have rebelled against his word; but Hear, all you peoples, and behold my suffering; my young women and young men have gone into captivity."

We are supposed to feel the pain of the people of Israel, not to empathize with them but instead to learn from it and, for those few truly faithful, possibly even to look down upon those poor, suffering souls with a look of "I told you so" because you stayed faithful and loyal to God unlike those weak and faithless fools. Really, the Bible LOVES to talk about those who are without faith as being fools, so why would this be any different? The person talking in Lamentations (and the city of Jerusalem) completely DESERVED what happened to them. Their cries, their pain, their rape and suffering. Whatever pity the true believer may feel for them is simply that.

Lamentations (so far, anyway) to me shows just how cruel God has been to these people and to these cities. He has left Jerusalem and Zion and Babylon and others raped and lain open, their shame open for all to see. They are left alone and unclean, without God to help them or comfort them even when their crimes were not great.

The narrator of this book may look upon this suffering and say it is just even while he is in pain and sees the desolation and ruin around him.

I look upon this and wonder for the thousandth time how anyone can say they love such a God who is willing to destroy the ones he claims to love the most.

Friday: More Lamentations

Monday, June 13, 2011

Jeremiah 50-52

The Facts (Chapter number: Verse)

50:2-3 - "Declare among the nations and proclaim, set up a banner and proclaim, do not conceal it, say: Babylon is taken, Bel is put to shame, Merodach is dismayed. Her images are put to shame, her idols are dismayed. For out of the north a nation has come up against her; it shall make her land a desolation, and no one shall live in it; both human beings and animals shall flee away."
50:9-10 - "For I am going to stir up and bring against Babylon a company of great nations from the land of the north; and they shall array themselves against her; from there she shall be taken. Their arrows are like arrows of a skilled warrior who does not return empty-handed. Chaldea shall be plundered; all who plunder her shall be sated, says the Lord."
50:12-16 - "You mother shall be utterly shamed, and she who bore you shall be disgraced. Lo, she shall be the last of the nations, a wilderness, dry land, and a desert. Because of the wrath of the Lord she shall not be inhabited, but shall be an utter desolation; everyone who passes by Babylon shall be appalled and hiss because of all her wounds. Take up your positions around Babylon, all you that bend the bow; shoot at her, spare no arrows, for she has sinned against the Lord. Raise a shout against her from all sides, 'She has surrendered; her bulwarks have fallen, her walls are thrown down.' For this is the vengeance of the Lord; take vengeance on her, do to her as she has done. Cut off from Babylon the sower, and the wielder of the sickle in time of harvest; because of the destroying sword all of them shall return to their own people, and all of them shall flee to their own land."
50:21 - "Go up to the land of Merathaim; go up against her, and attack to inhabitants of Pekod and utterly destroy the last of them, says the Lord; do all that I have commanded you."
50:26-27 - "Come against her [the Chaldeans] from every quarter; open her granaries; pile her up like heaps of grain, and destroy her utterly; let nothing be left of her. Kill all her bulls, let them go down to the slaughter. Alas for them, their day has come, the time of their punishment."
50:29-30 - "Summon archers against Babylon, all who bend the bow. Encamp all around her; let no on escape. Repay her according to her deeds; just as she has done, do to her - for she has arrogantly defiled the Lord, the Holy One of Israel. therefore her young men shall fall in her squares, and all her soldiers shall be destroyed on that day, says the Lord."
50:35-40 - "A sword against the Chaldeans, says the Lord, and against the inhabitants of Babylon, and against her officials and her sages! A sword against the diviners, so that they may become fools! A sword against her warriors, so that they may be destroyed! A sword against her horses and against her chariots, and against all the foreign troops in her midst, so that they may become women! A sword against all her treasures, that they may be plundered! A drought against her waters, that they may be dried up! For it is a land of images , and they go mad over idols.

"Therefore wild animals shall live with hyenas in Babylon, and ostriches shall inhabit her; she shall never again be peopled or inhabited for all generations. As when God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah and their neighbors, says the Lord, so no one shall live there, nor shall anyone settle in her."
50:42-44 - "They wield bow and spear, they are cruel and have no mercy. The sound of them is like the roaring sea; they ride upon horses, set in array as a warrior for battle, against you, O daughter Babylon!

"The king of Babylon heard news of them, and his hands fell helpless; anguish seized him, pain like that of a woman in labor.

"Like a lion coming up from the thickets of the Jordan against a perennial pasture, I will suddenly chase them away from her; and I will appoint over how whomever I choose."
50:46 - "At the sound of the capture of Babylon the earth shall tremble, and her cry shall be heard among the nations."

51:2-4 - "and I will send winnowers in Babylon, and they shall winnow her. They shall empty her land when they come against her from every side on the day of trouble.Let not the archer bend his bow, and let him not array himself in his coat of mail. Do not spare her young men; utterly destroy her entire army. They shall fall down slain in the land of the Chaldeans, and wounded in her street."
51:6-9 - "Flee from the midst of Babylon, save your lives, each of you! Do not perish because of her guilt, for this is the time of the Lord's vengeance; he is repaying her what is due. Babylon was a golden cup in the Lord's hand, making all the earth drunken; the nations drank of her wine, and so the nations went mad. Suddenly Babylon has fallen and is shattered; wail for her! Bring balm for her wound; perhaps she may be healed. We tried to heal Babylon, but she shall not be healed. Forsake her, and let each of us go to our own country; for her judgement has reached up to heaven and has been lifted up even to the skies."
51:22 - "Go up to the land of Merathaim; go up against her, and attack the inhabitants of Pekod and utterly destroyed the last of them, says the Lord, do all that I have commanded you."
51:27-28 - "Raise a standard in the land, blow the trumpet among the nations; prepare the nations for war against her, summon against her the kingdoms, Ararat, Minni, and Ashkenaz; appoint a marshal against her, bring up horses like bristling locusts. Prepare the nations for war against her, the kings of Medes, with their governors and deputies, and every land under their dominion."
51:30 - "The warriors of Babylon have given up fighting, they remain in their strongholds; their strength has failed, they have become women; her buildings are set on fire, her bars are broken."
51:33 - "Daughter of Babylon is like a threshing floor at the time when it is trodden; yet a little while and the time of her harvest will come."
51:36-37 - "Therefore thus says the lord: I am going to defend your cause and take vengeance for you. I will dry up her sea and make her fountain dry; and Babylon shall become a heap of ruins, a den of jackals, an object of horror and of hissing, without inhabitant."
51:43 - "Her cities have become an object of horror, a land of drought and a desert, a land in which no one lives, and through which no mortal passes."
51:45 - "Come out of her, my people! save your lives, each of you, from the fierce anger of the Lord!"
51:47 - "Assuredly, the days are coming when I will punish the images of Babylon; her whole land shall be put to shame, and all her slain shall fall in her midst."
51:52-53 - "Therefore the time is surely coming, says the Lord, when I will punish her idols, and through all her land the wounded shall groan. Though Babylon should mount up to heaven, and though she should fortify her strong height, from me destroyers would come upon her, says the Lord."
51:55-58 - "For the Lord is laying Babylon waste, and stilling her loud clamor. Their waves roar like mighty waters, the sound of their clamor resounds; for a destroyer has come against her, against Babylon; her warriors are taken, their bows are broken; for the Lord is a God of recompense, he will repay in full. I will make her officials and her sages drunk, also her governors, her deputies, and her warriors; they shall sleep a perpetual sleep and never wake, says the King, whose name is the Lord of hosts.

"Thus says the Lord of hosts: The broad wall of Babylon shall be leveled to the ground, and her high gates shall be burned with fire. The people's exhaust themselves for nothing,and the nations weary themselves only for fire."
51:63 - "'Thus shall Babylon sink, to rise no more, because of the disasters that I am bringing on her.' Thus far are the words of Jeremiah."

52:1 - "Zedekiah was twenty-one years old when he began to reign; he reigned eleven years in Jerusalem. His mother's name was Hamutal daughter of Jeremiah of Libnah."

My Comments

Finally we come to the end of the madness. I hope everyone has enjoyed this wonderful look into the mind of the One True God (tm). A God who, when shunned or not loved as much as he wishes to be, will utterly destroy and torment his own people. But the Bible is supposed to be the Good Book, a guide on how to live life and be a good person, right? A place to go to to get your morals and to also see the proof of God's wonder and wisdom?

Bah, I've mentioned this ad naseum already, I don't feel like going into the same rant I've done several times already. Long rant short, The Bible as a moral guide book argument is ridiculous because the only moral God is trying to teach you throughout most of it is to never, ever, EVER stop loving him in the exact way in which he demands you love him or else God will make your life a living hell. No real rules on how to treat your fellow man or anything (unless, you know, it's letting you know when the appropriate moments are the STONE or OUTCAST you fellow man) or how to live your life so that you and those around you will be as happy as possible. Nope! It's all about God, God, God, God. And the second it isn't all about God you can expect to get hit with a plague or to have your city captured and ransacked by an enemy tribe. Hell, even God's warnings against adultery with other men's wives is basically just God whining about how women are evil and lead men away FROM GOD. That's not even some halfhearted attempt to promote monogamy or anything. Everything in this book so far (aside from the Ten Commandments, which I don't even really count because most of those are jealous God rules too) is just one long warning on exactly how God will fuck your day up if you dare cheat on him with another God or dare to forget to say thanks to him before you go to bed.

The only new thing we really get here is the addition of God making the men "like women" as a punishment for their "sins." So we've got death and war and whatnot and to top that all off suddenly God/Jeremiah bring out the added insult of making the men like women. And how does he make them like women? By making them weak, helpless, conquerable, passive, and under the complete control of men. So, we can conclude that to be a woman is to naturally be weak, helpless, conquerable, passive, and under the complete control of men. (for further notes on women's inferior status see posts under the topic "Men Rule")

I'm mostly just glad this is finally over. It was like big, long God temper tantrum. Really could have been only half as long and it could have gotten the same ideas across and still have been really obnoxious. Here's hoping the next book brings us something different.


Friday, June 10, 2011

Jeremiah 48-49

The Facts (Chapter number: Verse)

48:2 - "In Heshborn they planned evil against her: 'Come, let us cut her off from being a nation!' You also, O Madmen, shall be brought to silence; the sword shall pursue you."
48:4 - "'Moab is destroyed!' her little ones cried out."
48:9 - "Set aside salt for Moab, for she will surely fall; her towns shall become a desolation, with no inhabitant in them."
48:18-19 - "Come down from glory, and sit on the parched ground, enthroned daughter Dibon! For the destroyer of Moab has come up against you; he has destroyed your strongholds. Stand by the road and watch, you inhabitant of Aroer! Ask the man fleeing and the woman escaping; say, 'What has happened?'"
48:41 - "The hearts of the warriors of Moab, on that day, shall be like the heart of a woman in labor."

49:3-4 - "Wail, O Heshborn, for Ai is laid waste! Cry out, O daughters of Rabbah! Put on sackcloth, lament, and slash yourselves with whips! For Milcom shall go into exile, with his priests and his attendants. Why do you boast in your strength? Your strength is ebbing, O faithless daughters. You trusted in your treasures, saying, 'Who will attack me?'"
49:11 - "Leave your orphans , I will keep them alive; and let your windows trust in me."
49:13-14 - "For by myself I have sworn, says the Lord, that Bozrah shall become an object of horror and ridicule, a waste, and an object of cursing; and all her towns shall be perpetual wastes. I have heard tidings from the Lord, and a messenger has been sent among the nations: ;Gather yourselves together and come against her, and rise up for battle!'"
49:24-26 - "Damascus has become feeble, she turned to flee, and panic seized her; anguish and sorrows have taken hold her, as of a woman in labor. How the famous city is forsaken, the joyful town! Therefore her young men shall fall in her squares, and all her soldiers shall be destroyed in that day, says the Lord of hosts."

My Comments

Edit: Sorry this post didn't come with any comments. We had a vacation in Dallas for A-Kon (anime convention) and I got sidetracked by packing and costumes and craziness. We just got into town so I will see what I can write up tomorrow when I get some down time. :) Although if anyone wants to add their own analysis before then they are more than free to. :P

Monday: The last of Jeremiah

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Jeremiah 44-47

The Facts (Chapter number: Verse)

44:7 - "And now thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: Why are you doing such great harm to yourselves, to cut off man and woman, child and infant, from the midst of Judah, leaving yourself without a remnant?"
44:9 - "Have you forgotten the crimes of your ancestors, of the kings of Judah, of their wives, your own crimes and those of your wives, which they committed in the land of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem?"
44:15-20 - "Then all the men who were aware that their wives had been making offerings to other gods, and all the women who stood by, a great assembly, all the people who lived in Pathros in the land of Egypt, answered Jeremiah: 'As for the word that you have spoken to us in the name of the Lord, we are not going to listen to you. Instead, we will do everything that we have vowed, make offerings to the queen of heaven and pour out libations to her, just as we and our ancestors, our kings and our officials, used to do in the towns of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem. We used to have plenty of food, and prospered, and saw no misfortune. But from the time we stopped making offerings to the queen of heaven and pouring out libations to her, we have lacked everything and have perished by the sword and by famine.' And the women said, 'Indeed we will go on making offerings to the queen of heaven and pouring out libations to her; do you think that we made cakes for her, marked with her image, and poured out libations to her without our husbands' being involved.' Then Jeremiah said to all the people, men and women, all the people who were giving him this answer:"
44:24 - "Jeremiah said to all the people and all the women, 'Hear the word of the Lord, all you Judeans who are in the land of Egypt.'"

Jeremiah 45 - No mention of any women.

46:11-12 - "Go up to Gilead, and take balm, O virgin daughter of Egypt! In vain you have used many medicines; there is no healing for you. The nations have heard of your shame, and the earth is full of your cry; for warrior has stumbled against warrior; both have fallen together."
46:19-21 - "Pack your bags for exile, sheltered daughter Egypt! For Memphis shall become a waste, a ruin, without inhabitant. A beautiful heifer is Egypt - a gadfly from the north lights upon her. Even her mercenaries in her midst are like fatted calves; they too have turned and fled together, they did not stand; for the day of their calamity has come upon them, the time for their punishment.

"She makes a sound like a snake gliding away; for her enemies march in force, and come against her with axes, like those who fell trees. They shall cut down her forest, says the Lord, though it is impenetrable, because they are more numerous than locusts; they are without number. Daughter Egypt shall be put to shame; she shall be handed over to a people from the north."

Jeremiah 47 - No mention of any women.

My Comments

Ah, goddess worship. Truly the most heinous of sins one can commit! I find this particularly amusing because it seems that their goddess was actually taking care of them. She kept them fed, happy, healthy, and prosperous. But once they stopped worshiping her (presumably because they were told to worship "the one, true" god by Jeremiah) all hell has broken loose and they have become unhappy and are under constant attack from enemies. Would seem that God, in all his infinite mercy, decided to show his superior power by overpowering the goddess and inflicting pain and torment upon her worshipers. And even when the goddess had stopped being worshiped God continued to harm the people, just to prove a point. Sorry, I can find no fault with the women who basically said fuck you, Jeremiah, we're going to continue to worship the goddess.

Love how it's always the women who can see through God's bullshit. The women seemed to be the main ring leaders in the goddess worship, their husbands merely being involved in the process. The women are the ones who speak directly to Jeremiah and let him know that they will be going back to worshiping the goddess because the queen of heaven actually seemed to give a shit about their well being. Of course, it's the women speaking out like this because it is always the women who try to steer men away from God. Eve gives Adam the apple, Job's wife tries to tell Job that he should forget about God because God has obviously forgotten about him, copious amounts of women try to lure men to their beds and away from God's path, etc. To me (and I would hope others) the women are the smart ones here, willing to actually go to a god/goddess who will provide and take care of them instead of suffering through the temper tantrums of an immature and jealous god. The men blindly follow, just taking whatever bullshit God throws at them, but the women realize that that is just stupid. Why should they stay and worship a God who is so willing to treat them like crap?

But, this is the Bible, so it's the women who are completely in the wrong here. Abandon logic, all ye who enter.

Then we have Egypt. Oh, virgin Egypt! Oh, sheltered Egypt! Oh, sacrificial heifer Egypt! Oh, snakelike Egypt! Oh, raped Egypt-wait, what?

Oh, Egypt how wonderful you are, it's just too bad I have to have enemies from the north come and ravage you, leaving nothing but ruin and desolation because you have angered me yet again?

Is this because Egypt tried to take his people away? Tempting God's people with the promise of general well being instead of the torture and suffering God is promising them? Luring God's people with the hope of a constant state of affairs instead of the tempest of emotions and anger that is living in a land ruled by God? How dare that temptress, Egypt, try to turn God's people away from him, tempting his people into adultery!

Seriously, Israel, I really think you should start listening to your women more and crazy prophets less.

Friday: More Jeremiah

Monday, June 6, 2011

Jeremiah 39-43

The Facts (Chapter number: Verse)

Jeremiah 39 - No mention of any women.

40:7 - "When all the leaders of the forces in the open country and their troops heard that the king of Babylon has appointed Gedaliah son of Ahikam governor in the land, and had committed to him men, women, and children those of the poorest of the land who had not been taken in exile to Babylon, they went to Gedaliah at Mizpah.

41:10 - "Then Ishmael took captive all the rest of the people who were in Mizpah, the king's daughters and all the people who were left in Mizpah, whom Nebuzaradan, the captain of the guard, had committed to Gedaliah son of Ahikam, Ishmael son of Nethaniah took them captive and set them out to cross over to the Ammonites.
41:16 - "Then Johanan son of Kareah and all the leaders of the forces with him took all the rest of the people whom Ishmael son of Nethaniah had carried away captive from Mizpah after he had slain Gedaliah son of Ahikam - soldiers, women, children, and eunuchs, whom Johanan brought back from Gibeon."

Jeremiah 42 - No mention of any women.

43:5-6 - "But Johanan son of Kareah and all the commanders of the forces took all the remnant of Jodah who had returned to settle in the land of Judah from all the nations to which they had been driven - the men, the women, the children, the princesses, and everyone whom Nebuzaradan the captain of the guard had left with Gedaliah son of Ahikam son of Shaphan: also the prophet Jeremiah and Baruch son of Neriah."

My Comments

I wish I had something to add here but I don't. Haven't even seen any recent news stories or opinion pieces or anything particularly interesting to mention or that haven't been covered well on other blogs. If the next reading proves to have nothing interesting to talk about I will definitely look a little more actively for something at least slightly interesting and on topic to talk about. But until then, Jeremiah is still boring and God is still a horrible, jealous douche-hat who would forbid his people from settling in Egypt where they would have their needs met and be pretty well off because it's not the land HE told them to live on and so help him if they even dare try to settle in Egypt to have a nice and peaceful life without him for he will strike them down and make sure the rest of their short, pitiful lives are filled with as much misery and pain as possible until they come crawling back to him (even then he'll probably keep them in pain just for good measure).

I mean, Jeremiah makes me angry but not really in any sort of feminist way. It just makes me angry because God is so obviously an asshole in this story. Not even hiding or disguising it. I'm sure some people can do some BS gymnastics on this to try and hide the blatant assholery from those with less wits about them, but really I would hope any reasonably competent person would at least recognize it was bullshit even if they choose to ignore it and go on praising God for being "awesome." Of course I've said this before, the whole book of Jeremiah since the start has basically filled me with anger because I have no clue how anyone could call this God "loving" or "good" which is why I'm kind of tired of writing about it. Again, the Bible is making me feel and sound like a broken record here. So when I say there's nothing to really talk about I don't mean that there isn't some troubling shit in the current reading, it's just that the troubling shit really isn't anything new and I've talked about it in detail within the last couple of posts. I'm sure I'll talk about it again, but at least if it's been a week or two since my last rant I don't feel as weird doing basically the same rant over and over and over.

I'm seriously gonna try to finish off Jeremiah this week, just so I can hopefully get into some new territory, but it's fairly long and pretty boring so it may take me two posts to finish... but it's just not a fun book to read at all. :\

Wednesday: More Jeremiah

Friday, June 3, 2011

Jeremiah 36-38

The Facts (Chapter number: Verse)

Jeremiah 36 - No mention of any women.

Jeremiah 37 - No mention of any women.

38:21-23 - "But if you [Zedekiah king of Judah] are determined not to surrender [to the Chaldeans] this is what the Lord has shown me - a vision of all the women remaining in the house of the king of Judah, being led out to the officials of the king of Babylon and saying, 'Your trusted friends have seduced you and have overcome you; Now that your feet are stuck in the mud, they desert you.' All your wives and your children shall be led out to the Chaldeans, and you yourself shall not escape from their hand, but should be seized by the king of Babylon; an this city shall be burned with fire."

My Comments

Ugh, Jeremiah is 52 chapters long. Someone shoot me now.

Monday: More Jeremiah

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Jeremiah 33-35

The Facts (Chapter number: Verse)

33:11 - "[Once more shall be heard] the voice of mirth and the voice of gladness, the voice of the bridegroom and the voice of the bride, the voices of those who sing, as they bring thank offerings to the house of the Lord."

34:9-11 - "[The word came to Jeremiah from the Lord] that all should set free their Hebrew slaves, male and female, so that no one shall hold another Judean in slavery. And they obeyed, all the officials and all the people who had entered into the covenant that all would set free them slaves, male or female, so that they would not be enslaved again; they obeyed and set them free. But afterward they turned around and took back the male and female slaves they had set free, and brought them back again into subjection as slaves."
34:16 - "but then you turned around and profaned my name when each of you took back your male and female slaves, whom you had set free according to their desire, and you brought them again into subjection to be your slaves."

35:8 - "We have obeyed the charge or our ancestor Jonadab son of Rechab in all that he commanded us, to drink no wine all our days, ourselves, our wives, our sons, or our daughters."

My Comments

God's not against slavery, only against you enslaving his own people and, even then, only when the mood strikes. Never forget the many rules and laws set forth in Deuteronomy concerning owning members of your own tribe. So while God may change his mind on whether or not it's okay to enslave his chosen people, he has never changed his mind about owning slaves in general. It's still totally okay to enslave conquered people and beat them and use them until the day they die.

Now that that's out of the way, I want to address a verse I came across in my reading yesterday.

Jeremiah 32:39 - "I will give them one heart and one way, that they may fear me for all time, for their own good and the good of their children after them."

The idea of God fearing is not uncommon. Many people who describe themselves as religious would use the terms "god-fearing" to describe themselves. And it is this notion of fear that is so often spoken about in the Bible and in many churches that has never sat right with me. Why fear? Why is fear considered a positive feeling to have towards one's god?

Fear, to me, is an emotion I attach to something that I would not, in any way, love or expect to love me in return. Fear is not something that I attach to other feelings like respect or worship. Fear is not a good state for humans (or any animal for that matter) to be in. It cripples us, leaves us unable to think, unable to make decisions, makes us timid and passive. Fear is not a good way to raise children, especially if the fear is created through abuse and threats. There is nothing good about fear, and yet here it is, spoken as if this is something we should strive for in our relationship with god.

If you talk to Christians, often times they will conflate fear with respect, basically giving the impression that they are either one in the same or you cannot have one without the other. Respect brings fear and fear brings respect. But I call bullshit on this notion. I'll try to use dogs as an example of what I'm talking about when I say fear and respect are two different things.

If you've ever worked with, interacted with, or even just seen a show about violent and aggressive dogs, there's something to be learned there about fear and respect. Dogs know when an animal is scared or passive which means that the dog has control over it. This is the basic idea on why running is not the best option when an aggressive dog comes at you. To interact with an aggressive dog you cannot fear it, much like if you want a dog to interact and trust you it cannot be afraid of you. Trainers that deal with aggressive dogs know that treating these dogs with respect, not fear, is the best way to train them. You acknowledge the dog's power and you respect that power, but you do not fear it. In the same way, when you are working with a dog you do not want the dog to fear you but to trust and respect you as the leader in the group. You cannot have a dog that both fears and respects you just like you cannot interact with an aggressive dog with both fear and respect. Fear makes you weak and controllable. Respect leaves you a confident individual even while you recognize the potential power someone or thing may have over you.

Fear keeps you from acting and leaves you open to be controlled and affected by the things around you and implies that the object that has power over you is not afraid to use that power to punish you. Respect, on the other hand, provides a mutual trust between parties, where a power difference may be present but both individuals are in a much safer position to act and question. I think that's the main part here, the ability to be able to act of your own will. If you live in fear, any action you do is followed by questions and guilt. Was it okay that I ate that piece of cake? Shoot, they're gonna be so angry when they realize I drank one of their sodas. Oh man, I can't believe I kissed that boy the other day. Was that okay? Should I have waited? What will happen to me if I'm found out? Is it okay if I read this Richard Dawkins book? I'll probably have to hide it under my bed so no one sees it. Fear makes people not think for themselves. Fear of punishment for their actions can leave people constantly questions what they are doing or have done in the past. How is that productive? Why would you want your chosen people/children to live in a constant state of fear of you and what you might do to them? I man hell, God's chosen people have plenty of reason to be shit-their-pants-terrified of God and he knows that is exactly what he did. This was calculated, much like when God hardened Pharaoh's heart in Egypt so that God could continue to rain down destruction and terror on the people so that all may know his wrath and fear him.

God wants nothing to do with your respect or love. All he wants is you fear, because fear is a sure fire way to keep complete control over other people and make sure they do not question his authority.

So why, again, do Christian's cherish fear so much? Many constantly spout that God is love, and yet many in the same turn will say that God is to be feared. God himself doesn't even describe himself as love. He plainly states that he wants all of his followers to fear him lest he have to punish them again and their children after them. God is completely on board with the abuse parent act, happy to dole out punishment completely disproportional to the alleged crime. How is that good? How is that love? How is that even considered a positive?

And no, I don't want to hear any, "But that's the God of the past. The God of the new testament is all about love and patience! Don't you know about Jesus?!" I say that the God's are no different. Both old and new are the same asshole, he's just using a different approach to fear and punishment. Old testament God would strike you down with the plague and let you be slaughtered by you enemies simply because you did not worship/love and fear him. New testament God will send you to hell for ETERNITY simply because you did not worship/love and fear him. Is there any difference there? Other than the punishment has actually gotten WORSE? An eternal punishment for a finite crime?

I cannot love that which I fear and I could never love or respect something that DEMANDS my fear.

Those are just a few, slightly scattered thoughts on the whole idea of "god-fearing." Again, I hope they made sense. This is something I have thought about before but have always had a bit of trouble really putting into words. Any other ideas on this? Ideas on fear v. respect or love? Or ideas on fear in parenting? Or just ideas on how the church uses the concept of fear and how that influences or can influence its followers?

And I only slightly apologize for the maybe poorly done dog analogy. I blame it on the fact that I've been watching too much Dog Town. Aggressive or dominant dogs are just really interesting to me and I've worked to learn how to deal with them and always want to kind of teach others how to handle them, lol. Proper dog handling is important to learn and teach because, really, dogs respond to you so how you approach one is very important. It really bugs me when children (and adults, for that matter) aren't properly taught how to interact with dogs and other animals. It's just a big pet peeve of mine. Can you tell I'm a huge dog person? :P

Friday: More Jeremiah