Monthly Archives: July 2014

Games Workshop, or how to run your monopoly into the ground.

When I was 11, I was introduced to the Grim Darkness of the 41st millennium by a friends, and, for the next 8 years, I’d be hooked playing when ever I could. I’d be building the models I could afford, and painting them when I built up the motivation.

For those of you unaware of miniature war games, the basic idea is this: you have a number of miniatures and these models you buy unassembled and unpainted. After assembling and painting an army you then pick up your rule book and equip your army before heading into battle. These games, Warhammer, Warhammer 40,000, War Machine, the Reaper miniature lines, and the new Lords of War and War Path to name just a few, are both a form of entertainment and a proper hobby. They can open the worlds of painting, sculpting and complex miniature building, as well as offer the chance to learn about complex strategy.

I really loved the game Warhammer 40K, created and owned by Game Workshop (GW), and still love the lore. There really isn’t so expansive of a sci fi universe, except maybe Star Wars or Star Trek. Though I haven’t played for several years, and before that had been slowing down and limiting purchases. Why? Sadly, it isn’t because I found greener hobby pastures or because I had run out of steam. It’s because, in the short 8 years I played, the prices of the models and the associated media increased as much as 120%.

Now lets be clear this wasn’t do to the recession, or any such business trouble. No, hobbies like 40K are recession resistance, since gamers, who tend to be affluent, will keep sales going. And GW had a market share well over 60% allowing it to behave like a monopoly. You know what monopolies can do though? They can raise prices by 10-15% per year (some times more) while reducing services and silencing opposition.

Shorty after beginning to build and play 40K the price increases came about once year. This wasn’t noticeable to me as a young boy, but soon I was a teenager and the discussion of the hobby had gone online. GW had become an openly traded company. Big changes were coming to the game: the rule were significantly changed and newer, bigger, and, indeed, better miniatures were being produced. GW does make some of the very best plastic miniatures available, though, when you start selling what were 20 miniatures per box for twice the amount then drop the number per box to 10 but keep the new exorbitant price and do nothing to change the decade old models, failing to add even a little value to the product as compensation, then you are not only raising the assumed value of your product, you are also taking advantage of your consumer base. As a company, you cannot simply keep raising the prices of your product and hope that your customers won’t notice. You will anger a lot of people, and your sales will go down.  

The final straw for me, and many other people, was when GW created a new line of resin models to replace the pewter models they had been selling since the companies conceptions. There’s nothing wrong with resin, and I have no affinity for metal. In fact, I was happy to hear about the up coming change to resin. GW’s statement made it clear that the move was a cost one, given the high prices of pewter, and would save a great deal of money. Heck, they said they had really worked hard on the resin recipe so it would be light weight and durable. Awesome, right? This new line of resin miniature called finecast would be great.

So finecast came out and many hobbyists, myself included, began calling it fine cost. First and foremost, the product was crap out of the gate. GW prides itself of quality, but I personally saw walls of blister packs filled with resin models riddled with air holes that were horribly warped or broken. Sure, maybe half the models were more or less intact, but a company that prides itself on quality released a whole line of models that showed almost no quality control. And it turned out they would even melt in the sun!

Oh, now how could I forget to mention, they released the line with a 15% price increase compared to the pewter models, and they didn’t even bother to make new molds. This just a few months after the yearly hike in prices. Really passing those saving onto the costumers! Sure, boost the costs by about 20%, we won’t mind! That is, we won’t mind finding a new use for all that money we’re saving not buying GW.

As you might imagine, the player base of GW games has really shrunk. And, after nearly a solid decade of sales loses in a game that can only survive on it’s player base, you’d think the company would understand that such a move would be unsustainable.

Well, it’s been a couple of years since I even cared to think about GW, and it looks like they might be making some changes for the better. But they’ve still been raising prices every chance they’ve had. It isn’t hard to imagine why they’re not the monopolizing force they use to be, as other friendlier and much leaner companies undercut them at every turn.

Funny, you can’t force your monopoly on people when you’re not offering a necessity.

I might write some more on this issue, as a case example of the problems caused by monopolies, but, moral of the story, if you run into a Games Workshop, or a GW, game, spend your money elsewhere.

What Does it Mean to Be a Bigot?

I keep noticing posts where the author has used bigoted languages. When someone points out the bigotry the author often cries “you’re being to PC.” I hate to break it to those authors, but crying PC doesn’t make you less of a bigot.

So what does it mean to be a bigot? It means being discriminatory towards a given group. It means using bigoted language. Calling someone a “tranny” is bigoted, because “tranny” is a derogative slur. You can defend that language all you want, but if you call someone a “tranny,” you’re a bigot. Other slurs are the same. Whether they’re sexist, racist, or discriminatory towards LGBTQ people, or any other group. Using these slurs makes you a bigot.

What does it mean to be too PC? Political correctness is not in and of itself a bad thing. We live in societies with many different people with different backgrounds. We are all equal, we all have the same rights, and we all have to interact with one another. No, we can’t say whatever we want whenever we want. Is this a bad thing? Of course not. Over time we are becoming more tolerant and accepting of differences. We get along with others a lot better. There will always be bigots, but there are less today than there were. Being a bigot is becoming less acceptable. And the number of hate crimes are shrinking. There are still too many bigots for my taste, but that number is shrinking.

So is there such a thing as being too PC? Of course. Schools that try to hide their students from religion are being too PC. But calling someone out for bigotry is not being too PC. If you think it is, then you need to step back and take a look at your own beliefs. If you’re being called a bigot, it’s probably because you’re being a bigot. If you’re being called a bigot repeatedly, guess what, it’s not them, it’s you. So lets try to act like adults here and treat everybody with respect.

Growing Up

Today was my cousin’s 8th birthday. It’s hard to believe how old he is: I was a teenager when he was born, now I’m an adult and he’s going into 3rd grade. It’s been awhile since I was last here for his birthday. I live 9 hours away by car, so it’s hard to get down here.

The party was nerf themed. We ran around shooting each other with nerf guns for hours. And of course my cousin got many a nerf guns as presents. It reminded me of when I was a kid. I wasn’t allowed to play with weapons, and I was always jealous of those who were. My cousin also played COD while I was here, which I definitely wouldn’t have been allowed to play. I couldn’t help but wonder about children and violence. I don’t think that children should be sheltered from violence, but their parents should definitely talk about violence with them. Children should be told what is acceptable and what isn’t. I think nerf guns are fine for children. The violence isn’t realistic and neither is the way the guns operate. But I will not be allowing my 8 year olds to play COD. 14-16 year olds, fine, but not 8. That’s because I don’t want my children to become desensitized towards real violence.

This led me to think about different beliefs among parents. The different ways that people raise their children. When I have kids, I want to raise them to be secular critical thinkers. They will not be raised in a religion, but they will also not be hidden from religion. I intend to teach my children about different religions before they go to school. I want them to know that their classmates will have different beliefs from their own, and they should respect those differences and try to get to know their classmates as individuals. I will be allowing my children to attend different worship services that they are invited to, but only after I have researched where they will be going. And my partner and I will be telling our children what we believe and why. We will also tell our children that it is their job to decide what they believe, but not until they are old enough. We will also be teaching our children to appreciate science, history, and philosophy from a young age. We want our children to know how to think before they learn what to think. That way they will understand what they are told and they will be able to decide whether or not what they are told should be believed. These are the most important aspects of child-rearing to my partner and I (well, that and the health and happiness of our children).

What do you consider the most important aspects of child-rearing? What do you want to teach your children? Why?

What is Oppression?

How often do people claim to be oppressed when they clearly aren’t? It’s quite annoying when someone with more power than me in some way or another tries to tell me that they are oppressed. I can’t imagine how those with less privilege than myself  feel about it. Actually, I can. They’d likely share my feelings, but to a more extreme degree.

For those of you who like to cry “oppression,” I have some questions for you to ask yourselves. First, does the group you are claiming oppression from have more political power than you do? Second, are they trying to implement laws that harm you at some level? And, if so, are they successful? And third, is it socially acceptable to publicly insult the group that you are a part of? If you answered no to any of these questions, how exactly are you being discriminated against? Are you sure your not just seeing something that’s not there?

Straight people complain that they are being discriminated against because there is no straight pride parade. But what danger do straight people put themselves in by revealing their sexuality? White people complain that we are being oppressed because there is no white pride month. How many white people are attacked and killed for being white? Christians complain that they are being oppressed because they aren’t allowed to discriminate against others using their religion as an excuse. But aren’t all people expected to abide by the same laws? Last time I checked, it wasn’t the Christians who were considered as trust worthy as rapists, or were thought to all be terrorists. It’s not the Christians who have to worry about laws being past that discriminate against them based on their religion.

So please, stop telling me you are oppressed when you aren’t. If you’re going to cry discrimination, you better be able to tell me, and others, how you are being discriminated against. Because if you’re just mad that you’re not allowed to discriminate against others, or do what you want without consequence, then you have to legs to stand on. You’re just throwing a temper tantrum. Please think before you call yourself oppressed. Be happy that you have whatever privilege you do have, but don’t deny it to others.

A Look at My Epistemology.

I recently heard the claim that atheists are forced to establish themselves as the authority for their own arguments. Now, this can be fairly easily cast aside, since some people, including atheists, can take the position that you cannot have any real authority for knowledge whatsoever. You can then childishly call them their own authority still, but they are simply saying you cannot have “true” knowledge. That there is no way to be objective so, in fact, they are claiming they can never be authorities.

This form of philosophic skepticism, not to be confused with modern skepticism, which I will describe as “the method of suspended judgment, systematic doubt, or criticism characteristic of skeptics.” This is a valid position to take logically, though not one I take myself, since, while valid, it is entirely useless since it makes all knowledge completely unattainable and all opinions about knowledge relative to one another. This is something I personally cannot believe for more than a moment. Now I’ll be going through my own views on how we have attained, and have, knowledge. For those who do not know this branch of philosophy is known as epistemology.

First I do not hold a belief in an objective source of knowledge. I do not rule it out, but I have no reason to think one exists. This means I have a subjective epistemology as opposed to an objective one. Though this is not the end: I don’t just need to say “well, now I’m the ultimate holder of knowledge” because that claim is in fact an objective epistemology in disguise. No, I don’t need to claim I am the ultimate authority of my argument. I only need to say that my argument ultimately rests on some number of assumptions, of which I may be able to support, but which I cannot prove unless we find that objective source, or way, to knowledge.

In fact, I would argue that, to be honest, every epistemology needs to be comfortable making the claim that they rest on some number of assumptions. Objective epistemologies may then claim that they have already found the ultimate source of knowledge (though they do not have to make that claim).

I think it is very important to able to outline what your base assumptions are. If you can’t, then how will you know if your arguments actually make sense? If your arguments even match your assumptions? Or perhaps are just circularly defined by them? What’s more, if you don’t outline them well enough, then you may just end up changing them from one argument to the next without realizing it.

I define my basic assumptions as follows

  1. Reality exists

  2. Reality is self-consistent

  3. I have some senses, while imperfect, which allow me to learn things about the reality I find myself in.

None of these things are a given, as we can’t be sure that we do exist in a sense that is meaningful to us, but, by granting them, we allow ourselves to do everything we need to to draw useful conclusions.

From these assumptions, I can come to the conclusion that, since reality is real and consistent, if I test my perceptions enough times against reality, I will be able to determine which arguments are consistent, and, therefore, which are likely to match reality and which ones fail to be consistent.

You can also determine that, since your perceptions indicate you are human, and other humans exist, the same rules of imperfect senses apply to them and you can work together to determine the limitations of each others senses. From there, you can determine other “laws” and theories about the nature of reality. Doing so becomes trivial so long as you can show that it is consistent with the perceptions that you trust.

This epistemology also contains all it needs to disprove it’s second assumption. If reality isn’t consistent, then you’ll quickly find that no test you do gives those consistent results you need to test your perceptions. This is a strength opposed to a weakness, since we’ll know if it doesn’t work, but fortunately for this epistemology we sure seem to live in a consistent reality.

Back to that original claim I took issue with: I do not need to be the ultimate source of authority. My authority comes from the cyclical nature of testing and re-testing to gain the knowledge that is closest to the truth. That truth is to be discovered from reality itself. Reality is my ultimate authority, since it is what I test my hypothesis and perceptions against, and what I form my future opinions against. Sure, I can get it wrong, but if I keep testing my perceptions and my theories I’ll find out, and then adjust to that fact.

For those interested my epistemology, it is a kind of Bayesian epistemology. I’d suggest looking into that if you want to learn more about this sort of epistemology.


Why I Can’t Agree With the Bible: Deuteronomy: Part 3

I found the last few chapters quite boring, so I don’t have a whole lot to say about them.
We have the first example of people saying “amen” in Deuteronomy. I found this more interesting than anything.
God threatens to punish men who do not serve God graciously and gladly by having the women they are pledged to marry taken and raped. WTF? Oh, and their children will be enslaved. Lovely. The suffering will be so bad that…people will eat their own children. What is wrong with Yahweh?
God claims that his words are in the mouths and hearts of the Israelites. So does this mean that we can go up to anybody of Israelite descent and they’ll be able to tell us all of God’s laws? Or did this wear off after a certain number of years?
“Their children, who do not know your God.” So know Israelites do not naturally know God? They have to be taught first?
Moses lives to be 120 years old.
God predicts that the Israelites will turn against God. I’ve heard this used as an excuse for past antisemitism and harm done to the Jews, but this seems like a self-fulfilling prophecy to me. Or like people looking for ways to explain past hardship. The Jewish people seem to have a history of following their religion closely. Why is there no history of people intermittently going against their religious doctrine and following it closely?
God keeps telling the Israelites that they are rebellious. I have yet to see any evidence of this rebellion.
I’ll be going out of town for a bit more than a week. I’ll try to post regularly, but Joshua will likely have to wait until I get back (I doubt my 4 and 8 year old cousins will allow me to spend hours reading the Bible).

Why I Can’t Agree With the Bible: Deuteronomy: Part 2

In this part I am discussing the Deuteronomic Code.
Deuteronomy discusses the laws that the Israelites are to follow once they have their own land. They can eat meat wherever they want, but they can’t eat the firstborns. Those are to be taken to a specific place and sacrificed. They still can’t drink blood, they’re to pour it out like water. This is said to be because it is the life. What does that actually mean? It’s not scientifically accurate. Is it meant as symbolism? If so, what is its importance?
How is sacrificing good and right?
Don’t ask about other religions. Okay, so, in fear of possible conversion, it is bad to so much as ask about another religions practices. I guess that means it’s best to remain ignorant. But what is god so afraid of? If he’s so powerful and is so much better than those other gods, why would he need to be worried about the Israelites turning against him? What do those other gods have that this one doesn’t?
Don’t listen to any prophet that tries to get you to worship other gods. Again, why is Yahweh so worried about this? What do the other gods have that he doesn’t? Why does God keep testing the Israelites? And why does he keep demanding the Israelites kill people.
Who speaks like this? It sounds like someone commanding a child. Did the Israelites really need to be told what they’d say if they were possibly contemplating worshiping other gods?
Murdering a town full of people because some of them worshiped other gods is good in Yahweh’s eyes. Got it.
The Israelites are Gods treasured possession?
Birds not to eat include the bat. Um…bats are mammals Yahweh. So much for all knowing.
Feed already dead things to foreigners.
At the end of every seven years you must cancel depts. This is something that I wouldn’t mind having implemented today. Also, since this was commanded by God, isn’t it sinful for Christians to not bide by this? It specifies that it’s for Israelites, but so do most of the laws, and I’ve heard Christians claim that other such laws are supposed to be followed (Leviticus 18:22, etc.).
God hates sacred stones.
An Israelite king is not to take many wives. How many wives can they take?
Priests aren’t to inherit. They get food directly from sacrifices.
Prophets are okay, but divination and witchcraft are bad. How are they any different?
If the message of a prophet doesn’t come true, then that person is a false prophet. Then why do people still listen to many of the people who tell us that the end is nigh? They’ve been saying that for 2000 years, but we’re still here.
If God differentiates between intentional and unintentional killing, and different sins are worthy of different punishments, how can anyone think that all sins are equal?
Non-Israelite women are plunder.
Kill the non-Israelites because there is the possibility that you may learn some of their religious practices, which will lead you to sin. Well this is a dangerous slippery slope argument.
Taking and raping non-Israelite women is acceptable if you find them beautiful…so long as you marry them first.
Stoning rebellious sons to death is acceptable.
Don’t ignore lost property. Make sure it gets back to its rightful owner.
Women aren’t to wear men’s clothing and men aren’t to wearing women’s clothing. I’ve heard people argue that this means that transgender people are sinners. However, this says nothing about transitioning. If a transgender woman is wearing women’s clothing, then how is she sinning? The same goes for transgender men. This is just anti-cross-dressing. But we’re not given any reason for why it’s wrong beyond that God doesn’t like it. But why does God care what anyone wears? What harm does it do?
Don’t plant two different seeds in your vineyard.
How do you prove that someone is a virgin? And why is virginity so important? How many women who were virgins were stoned to death simply because there was no proof of their virginity?
If a woman is raped while in town, she’s to be stoned to death because she didn’t scream for help. They did realize that it’s not always possible to scream for help, or to be heard, before being raped, right? How many rape victims were stoned because they were blamed for their own rape?
God sees human excrement as detestable.
Interest is only to be charged to foreigners.
Men can divorce women, women can remarry, but the man can’t marry a woman a second time.
God said he will punish people for their father’s sins, up to 7 generations, earlier, but is now saying that people can’t be punished for their parent’s or children’s sins. Which is it?
If a woman grabs a man’s penis while two men are fighting, because that’s always my first response, her hand will be cut off. Why? What’s the reasoning behind this?

Why I Can’t Agree With the Bible: Deuteronomy: Part 1

Before I begin, I feel I must add something. This project is not an attack on Christians or anyone else (namely Jews and Muslims) who accept the Bible (or Torah). This is my own personal review of the Bible meant to show believers how non-believers read the Bible. Obviously different people will get different things out of it that I have, but I can only show you what catches my eye. I am happy to discuss my readings with those reading this post (otherwise, why make it public?), but please don’t tell me that I just want to sin. This is not about sin. This is not about reaffirming my atheism or making fun of believers. This is about asking questions and thinking critically. If you believe that I am reading something incorrectly, or that I am otherwise wrong about something, please tell me. But don’t tell me that I’m wrong because you say I am. Support your claim with evidence. And do not tell me what I believe. I know what I believe. You, however, do not. Feel free to ask me questions. I am open to having honest discussions. But do not insult me. Do you really think that your going to convince anyone that you’re right by being insulting? If you show me respect, I will show you respect. Again, feel free to discuss things with me, but be respectful. I’m human too.

The first bit of Deuteronomy that jumped out was this: “The children, who do not yet know good from bad.” But wait, I thought that children were born in sin? If they don’t know good from bad, then aren’t they innocent? Aren’t they like Adam and Eve before they ate the fruit?
The beginning of Deuteronomy summarizes everything that the Israelites went through after leaving Egypt. Throughout the description there are small details that don’t match Exodus and Numbers. It’s almost as Deuteronomy was written by a different person who read the earlier tales of Moses and added their own details/preferences to it.
At one point, Moses says “What god is there in heaven or on earth that can do the deeds you do?” I see the Israelites are still polytheistic. This suggests that there are gods both walking the Earth, or maybe in the form of figures, and in heaven.
Later, Deuteronomy claims that the Israelites didn’t see God, they just heard his voice, but earlier the Bible said that they saw the face of God. It was after that when God got mad at the Israelites and refused to let anyone but Moses see him. This seems to be a major contradiction.
Deuteronomy says that at no point are the people to create an idol. Not of man, woman, or animal. Moses mentions that this includes figures to be worshiped. Does Jesus count as an idol. Not just in the crucifix form the Catholic Church uses, but the very ideal of Jesus? And what about crosses? Are those idols?
Moses then says that God is merciful and will not destroy the Israelites even if they turn away from him. But didn’t God threaten to destroy the Israelites many times up to this point? And not even for turning away from God. He threatened to destroy them because they were tired of eating bread after 40 years of nothing but bread! What changed?
And another contradiction: Moses says “The lord spoke to you face to face above the mountain.” But early you said they didn’t see God face to face! So was Moses just lying before?
The commandments have also changed slightly. First it was don’t kill, now it’s don’t murder. I wonder if that’s because the Israelites have been told to kill many times since the commandments were first introduced. At this point, they’ve done a lot of killing and will be doing more.
Moses then says “Do not follow other gods.” More polytheism. Also, Moses tells the Israelites that if they do they will be destroyed. Seriously? But you just said! This is another major contradiction. Moses said that God won’t kill the Israelites but then he says God will. Is Moses a liar?
Moses said that God would make sure that the Israelite women would never miscarry so long as they were faithful to God. That sounds horribly manipulative. How must women have felt when they miscarried? Miscarriages are quite common, and we’re talking about a time when infant mortality was high. How many women blamed themselves for something they had no control over? How many women pleaded forgiveness when they did nothing wrong?
God claims to have humbled the Israelites by starving them, then he claims to have come to their rescue by feeding them. This is more abusive boyfriend shit. “People do not live on bread alone, but on the word of the lord.” Really? Words can keep me full? I highly doubt that. And how does this make starving people okay? The main argument here seems to be “You can’t do anything without God, so thank him profusely and don’t take credit for your own work. Oh, and don’t forget how terrible you are. You are terrible, terrible people. I am awesome. But you suck. Don’t forget that.” How loving and merciful this God is…
Wait…the Israelites are Gods inheritance? That’s creepy…

Why Is it Okay For You to Act Arrogant, But Not Me?

It’s funny how many fundamentalists feel the need to call me arrogant, and then assert that they know more about everything, including my own field of study, than I do. Is that not an incredibly arrogant assertion? And how is it arrogant of me to ask you to back up you claims with evidence?
But what is most annoying about this is the type of people making the claim. It is not the regular, everyday believer.The type of person that is willing to admit that they aren’t perfect, but they hold a particular belief system. Those are the type of people that I can have an honest discussion with. But the fundamentalist. Those who believe that they have all the answers and no amount of evidence could persuade them otherwise. Those are the people who dare to call me arrogant.
But I’m not arrogant. This isn’t to say that I don’t believe that I’m right, otherwise I wouldn’t hold the beliefs that I do. But I am willing to accept that I don’t know everything, and I am willing to change my beliefs given enough evidence to suggest that I should do so.
So please, if you are going to read my posts and then comment to tell me that I know nothing, just don’t. If you want to question my beliefs, go ahead, but give me a reason why I should accept your claim. Don’t tell me that the Bible says X, therefore X. Don’t tell me that I know that your god exists when obviously I don’t. Don’t tell me that I lack morality when you have no evidence to prove that claim. Don’t tell me that your anecdotal evidence should convince me that you are right. Don’t tell me that I lack intelligence because I have not come to the same conclusion as you. Show me some respect. I am human. My partner, the other member of this blogging duo, is a human. We are here for honest discussion. If you don’t want to offer that, then don’t come here and comment on our blog. We aren’t the arrogant ones. You are. And we don’t care to be insulted by people who lack the ability to maintain an honest discussion.
Again, we are happy to talk to anyone who wants to have an honest discussion. But we are not here for you to emote on. We are not here for you to call arrogant while spewing your own arrogance at us. If you do not agree with us, fine. But if you want to know about our beliefs, ask us. Don’t tell us who you think we are. You do not know us.
We are atheists, we are not punching bags.
Thank you.

Why I Can’t Agree With the Bible: Numbers: Part 2

I have managed to finish Numbers. Here is what I have determined. The Israelites followed a cloud. Why would God want the Israelites want to stay in one place for a year? Why did God suddenly decide that trumpets would be a good idea halfway through the journey? That sounds more like humans trying to better organize themselves. Why does it matter who was in charge of each group? None of those people seem to matter. God gets angry very easily. Why does he get so angry with people who have every reason to complain? They have been chased from their homes and have spent 40 years travelling through a desert with little food. “Now the lord has given you meat to eat, and you will eat it. Not just today, but tomorrow and every day for a month. You will eat it until it comes out of your nostrils.” Well that’s a bit of an overreaction. “I’ve eaten nothing but bread for 40 years. I’d really like something else to eat for a change.” “You want something else? Fine! I’ll shove something else down your throat until it makes you sick! Ungrateful bastards! I feed you! You should be happy I do so much for you!” There’s no way this father wouldn’t lose his children in today’s society. Moses comes across as more whinny than all the other Israelites combined. God claims that his arms aren’t too short to feed the Israelites nothing but meat for a month. God sends a plague because the people wanted meat. Why does Miriam get a skin condition for sinning, but Aaron doesn’t? They both sinned equally. And why would a father spitting on a daughter lead to the daughter being viewed as unclean? How can anybody be the son of no one? Why not just identify them by their mother if their father is unknown? The nephilim live in the Canaanite land. The people are so big that the Israelites looked like grasshoppers to them. God threatens to kill the Israelites and promises to give Moses’ descendants a land of their own. Apparently other nations had seen and heard about God’s travelling with the Israelites and them seeing him face to face and his following them as a cloud of fire, but none chose to write these events down. Moses has to remind God that he’s supposed to be slow to anger. God tells the Israelites that they will stay in the desert for 40 years, and everyone over 20 will die, because the people were afraid. The Israelites and the foreigners will be seen as the same to God. The Israelites stoned some random guy to death for collecting wood on the Sabbath. “Anybody who touches the water of cleansing will be unclean until evening.” In that case, I think it’s time to find new water to clean with. The cleansing water sucks. Moses and Aaron are told that they won’t enter the promised land because the Israelites complained…again. They did what they were supposed to, yet somehow they didn’t. If God is so angry at the Israelites, why does he keep helping them defeat their enemies? I can’t say I blame the people who refused to let the Israelites into their territory: they keep capturing territory. Why is it okay for Balaam to do divination? Why is God angry that Balaam went with Balak’s men when God told him to go with them? Balaam repeats Gods message with one line stating “Do I promise and then not fulfill?” I dunno. Do Abraham’s descendants have their own country yet? Phineas killed a man and woman with a spear and is considered righteous. Moses: “now kill all the boys and all the women who have slept with a man. Keep all the women who have never slept with a man for yourselves.” This guy is supposed to be moral? What did the women and boys do? They weren’t in the army. And even if the women did entice the men, this is a time when women had few legal rights. How can they be punished for their actions when a woman can’t even make a vow without male approval? And why is having sex with them fine now that they’re slaves? Based on the number of women “given to the lord” we can assume that Eleazar raped 32 women at least. Why are the Egyptians still burying their firstborn after 40 years? God again threatens the Israelites. “6 of the towns you have given the Levites will be refuges in which a person who has killed someone can flee.” But killing is a sin. Accidentally? Why are you adding that now, God? Why not add it initially? First it was killing that was a sin, now it’s murder. Why the change? So revenge killing is okay? What’s moral about that? A person can only be killed as a murderer if they have more than one witness, but someone who kills accidentally can be revenge killed with no trial. How moral. Overall, it’s really hard to believe something that gives such unbelievable numbers. First we’re supposed to believe that people lived for a ridiculous amount of time. then we’re supposed to believe that a city’s worth of people left Egypt together, then we’re supposed to believe that those people traveled for a ridiculous amount of time, then we’re supposed to believe that they won battles while ridiculously out numbered, and the we’re supposed to believe that they captured ridiculous amounts of booty. Where’s the evidence? Why should I believe such extraordinary claims?

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