Tag Archives: Judaism

I’m At a Loss

I’ve been finding it difficult to come up with ideas for blog posts, which is why this blog hasn’t been very active lately. As such, I’d like to leave it up to the readers: what would you like us to write about? Would you like to know something specific about our atheism? Do you have an argument that you’d like us to address? Would you like us to discuss a particular book? Do you have any questions about Philosophy, Biology, or History? Would you like to know our stance on a particular feminist issue? Is there something else you’d like us to write on? Let us know in the comment section.

Why I Can’t Agree With the Bible: 2 Kings: Part 1

2 Kings brings us to the end of Elijah’s life. In the beginning of the book, Ahaziah is dying. He sends men to find out if he will die. The men are confronted by Elijah, who says he will die because he turned to Baal and not Yahweh. Since Ahaziah was already dying, how can it be said that he wouldn’t die had he turned to Yahweh? Why would Yahweh save him if he had done so much evil?

Ahaziah then sends men to capture Elijah. Elijah refuses to go with them. God sent fire to consume the king’s men because they came to bring Elijah to the king. Doesn’t that seem a bit harsh? The men were just doing their job. Did they really deserve to die? Couldn’t God have picked a more peaceful way to stop the men from getting to Elijah? Elijah ends up going with the third set of men. Ahaziah dies.

Joram became king after Ahaziah died.

God tells Elijah that he is going to bring Elijah up to heaven. Elijah is sent to Jericho to die. The Jews don’t have the same theology about heaven and hell as the Christians do, so what is the significance of this bit? Why is Elijah brought up to heaven? What does this say about Elijah? And what does it say about the changes taking place in the Israelite religion at the time? Elijah was brought up to heaven in a whirlwind after a chariot of fire came down. What is the importance of this passage? What is the significance of the chariot and the manner in which Elijah is brought up into heaven?

Elisha inherited Elijah’s spirit because he watched Elijah get taken. He then crosses the Jordan to rejoin the other Israelites. Before he reaches them, them proclaim that he has inherited Elijah’s spirit. How did the people know that Elisha had inherited Elijah’s spirit? He hadn’t told them yet, so could they see it? What did it look like? They couldn’t have been told by God because God would have refused to talk to them, so what other options are there other than that it was visible? And if Elisha had Elijah’s spirit, what was up in heaven? Could Elijah be in heaven without his spirit? Or is Elisha having Elijah’s spirit some sort of symbolism? If so, what does it mean and why is it important?

Elisha then goes on to do some interesting things. It kind of seems like he’s testing out his powers. At one point, he cursed a group of boys for mocking his baldness. 42 of them were mauled by bears. This is odd. What were over 42 boys doing wandering around together? Our societies today are far larger than any that existed at that time, and when was the last time anyone saw more than 42 boys roaming around together? And why was Elisha so concerned with them mocking him about being bald? They don’t appear to be threatening, just annoying. So why curse them at all, let alone sick bears on them? And how did two bears manage to maul 42 boys? Even if the punishment fit the crime (though I’m pretty sure no crime is deserving of death by mauling), there is no way the bears would be able to catch all 42 boys to maul them, nor would they likely try.

Joram apparently did evil, though it wasn’t idolatry, so what were these sins? We’re told he tore down the Baal idol, but he apparently still committed the sins of Jeroboam. However, we never learned what sins Jeroboam committed other than adultery. How can anyone hope to avoid sinning if they aren’t told what sins there are?

The Israelites slaughtered the Moabites. What was the point of this? It didn’t seem to be given much attention. And why did the Israelites kill them? Why is God so happy to help them slaughter people?

Elisha granted a son to an older Moabite woman who helped him. He died as a young boy. Elisha brought him back to life. This is the second example of someone being brought back to life.Why is this becoming common? Why didn’t it happen before?

At one point, God fed many with a small amount of food. What is the significance of this bit? What is it meant to say about God?

A man with leprosy is cured by Elisha by bathing in the Jordan 7 times. He proclaims that Elisha’s God is the only god. Why did he need to bathe in the Jordan 7 times? Couldn’t God have just healed him then and there? Why did being healed convince the man that there was only one God? We can also see a move towards monotheism here. Before they would have said Yahweh  was greater than any other god, but now it’s said that he is the only god.

Gehazi, one of Elisha’s men, tricked the healed man into giving him gifts. Elisha had denied any gifts earlier. Gehazi is given the healed man’s leprosy as a result. How does this punishment fit? Why not make him return to things?

Elisha asked God to strike an army blind. What’s the point of this? It seems as though 2 Kings is nothing more that a show of God’s apparent powers. But if God is capable of doing all this, why don’t we see such things happening today?

Elijah tells the Israelites there will be a famine. Food costs spike significantly. This is as a result of the Israelites position outside of the Aramean camp. The king of Israel tore his clothes at being told that a woman ate her son with another woman at the other woman’s urging, then the other woman hid her son so that he wouldn’t be eaten next. He blamed Elisha for the suffering of the people. How bad would things have to have gotten for people to start eating their children? Why was this allowed to continue? And what is the significance of this bit? Why is it important? I also can’t help but wonder how old the boy was. It doesn’t sound like he was very old. Doesn’t this seem ironic when atheists are accused of being baby-eaters?

As a result of the famine, three men with leprosy snuck into the Aramean camp and took things. The camp was empty when they arrived, so they told the other Israelites. What is the importance of the theme of leprosy in 2 Kings? What did leprosy mean to the author? The Israelites plundered the Aramean camp, and the king was trampled to death. The famine worsened. Why was God so concerned about the Israelites entering the camp? Why did God not want the people to plunder it? The famine lasted 7 years.

Elisha reveals knowledge of the future by saying that he knows of the things the future king will do. This is the first time that we have evidence of a prophet having future knowledge. What does this say about the changing religion? What does this say about Yahweh?


Why I Can’t Agree With the Bible: 1 Kings: Part 2

Now let’s try this again. Remember: this is my reading the Bible as a layperson, not as a scholar. I am reading it as a lay-Christian would, but without the assumption that it is correct. I am asking the questions that come to me. This is basically a visual of why I can’t accept the Bible as accurate. If you believe the Bible to be true, this is not an attack on you. And this is not an attack on the God you believe in. I do not believe in your God, so I do not believe that I can attack it. This is about the Bible and the Bible alone. Please keep this in mind while reading this post. I do not want to read about how I’m reading the Bible wrong. I do not want to read about all the other books that I need to read in order to understand the Bible. If the Bible can’t stand on it’s own, what good is it? I do not want to read about how I just want to sin, or I’m rebelling against God, or any similar nonsense. Take my post at face value, because that’s how I mean it, and respond accordingly.

Where I left off last time, Jeroboam was setting up two golden calves for the people to worship. This is said to be a sin. Since it was a sin in the past, this makes sense. Though I still don’t understand why God is so threatened by golden calves. Were they representatives of another god in competition with Yahweh? Were they gods themselves (did they have powers)? Or were they simply gold statues? If they were just statues, what threat were they to God?

The Bible says that Jeroboam’s hand shrivels up when he tells people to seize a man of God. What is the significants of this? Is it important? How do we know the man is a man of God? What does it mean to be a man of God? Who is he?

Later on, an older prophet tells the man of God that an angel told him to bring the man of God back and feed him. This is a lie. Why would a prophet lie to another prophet? Why did God go to the lying prophet and not the honest one? Why did God punish the man when he was tricked? Where is the justice in that? Why didn’t the old prophet get punished?

Jeroboam keeps sinning according to the Bible. Why does God allow the sinning to continue? What sins were committed? So far we’ve only heard about idolatry. Is that all that has occurred? Or are there other unmentioned sins?

God says that Jeroboam is the most evil man to have ever lived. He says he will cut off Jeroboam’s family. How is Jeroboam the most evil man to have lived? What did he do that is so much worse than what others have done? Why does God punish his family and not Jeroboam himself? Where is the justice here?

God says that he will give Israel up. When is this supposed to happen? If the problem is the king, why punish Israel? Why not just replace the king?

Jeroboam was king for 22 years.

Under Johaboam, the Israelites did everything detestable that the earlier people had done. What are these things that were done? We’ve never been told what these detestable things are, other than worshiping other gods of course.

Rehoboam and Jeroboam were constantly at war.

David is praised again. What was so great about David? Why is he held up as such a great king when he was so problematic?

Asa did what was right in the lord. He got rid of all the idols and was committed to God. Why didn’t God give Israel to him? Is it better to have bad kings to keep his word than it is to ensure good kings? Aren’t Asa and his descendants more worthy?

Nadat ruled Israel. He did evil. Why is he allowed to do evil? Why isn’t he stopped? And what is this evil?

The Bible then goes through a list of kings who rule for a few years each. What’s the point of talking about all these kings who don’t live very long? How are they important? If they aren’t important, why not just ignore them? What sins do they commit other than idolatry?

Omri ruled for 12 years, and he did more evil that earlier kings. Why is he allowed to do evil? And what is this evil? How can anybody accept that somebody did evil if we’re never told what this evil is? Ahab sinned worse, he worshiped Baal, and he ruled for 22 years. Why did he get to rule for so long if he did so much wrong? What about worshiping Baal makes his actions worse than his predecessors? What is the point in mentioning these two kings? How were they significant?

The prophet Elijah is brought into the story now. He ordered a poor woman to make bread for him. He promised that God wouldn’t let the flour and oil dry up during the drought that he has caused. She made him the bread. What’s the point of this story? Is it about generosity? Or is it merely an example of the miracles God is said to do? Later on, Elijah brought the woman’s son back from the dead, this proves to the woman that he is truthful. This is the first time someone is brought back from the dead. Why did God bring the boy back? Was it to win loyalty? Was it a mere show of power? Did he just do it because Elijah asked?

Ahab then met Elijah. Elijah demanded that Ahab bring the people of Israel to him. Elijah tells them to follow God. He proposes a challenge: Elijah vs. the Baal prophets, whoever’s god answers by lighting a fire…wins? Elijah wins. This story is kind of funny. Elijah demands proof that Baal was worthy of worship, or powerful, or something. He mocks the Baal priests as they fail to light a fire. Then he provides evidence of his God’s power by completing the challenge successfully himself. He’s practicing skepticism here. If this had actually happened, this would be great evidence to suggest Yahweh exists. Unfortunately, it can’t be verified outside of the Bible that this actually happened. However, if a Christian could reproduce this, this would be a great way to convince atheists’ of the supernatural. Of course, if I saw this,I’d immediately assume trickery until it was shown that trickery was not in play. Elijah the had the prophets of Baal killed. God finally sent rain. Where is the justice in that? Why did the people deserve to be punished with starvation? Why did Baal’s prophet’s deserve to be slaughtered?

Elijah hid in the wilderness after being threatened by the king. An angel came to him to feed him. How is it known that an angel came to him? Could it have been a man? What is the significance of Elijah’s running away? He then traveled to Horeb to speak to God. Elijah thinks he is the only one loyal to God left. Is this true? How could it be? God tells Elijah that he’s about to pass by. God comes in the form of a whisper. After a strong wind, an earthquake, and a fire comes. What’s the significance of this? What is it meant to show? Is this just a display of power? Or does it have a purpose? If it has a purpose, what is it? If not, why do this?

God said that he will punish Ahab’s son for what Ahab did because Ahab humbled himself. Where is the justice when God punishes innocent children for the sins of their parents? Even if the person deserves punishment, shouldn’t they be punished for their own actions and not for the actions of others?

Asa and his descendants seem to have been forgotten, only Jeroboam’s descendants are mentioned in the later parts of 1 Kings. Why is this?

Aram, Ahab’s son, is killed in battle. Dogs lick up his blood when his men clean his chariot, which is as God commanded. What is the significance of this? What is it meant to achieve?

Asa’s descendants are remembered. Jehoshaphat is Asa’s son, he’s mentioned briefly. What’s the point of mentioning him?

I have now completed 1 Kings. I’ll likely only be able to post these once a week until I finish.

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

In this post, I’ll be dealing with Solomon’s reign.
In the beginning of 1 Kings, David’s servants brought him a young virgin to keep him warm in his bed because he could no longer keep himself warm. Does this come across as creepy old man lies to anyone else? Seriously, the only way they could keep him warm at night was by finding him a young virgin? What about his wives? Surely enough of them were still alive to keep him plenty warm. He never sleeps with the girl. I wonder why…
Adonijah, David’s son, takes the kingship without alerting David. But Solomon is already supposed to be the next king. David swears to Solomon’s mother that Solomon will be king. This sounds very Game of Thrones-ish to me. David sets up a plot to make it clear that Solomon is the new king. Adonijah fears Solomon, so he bows down to Solomon.
David tells Solomon to act like a man. What exactly did that entail at the time?
Abner was apparently killed in peace time according to David. But didn’t we learn earlier that he died while the Israelites were fighting each other? That doesn’t sound very peaceful. The man who God apparently told to curse David is now to be put to death. How is it okay to punish a man decades after the incident happened? And why is he suddenly guilty now?
Abiathar is removed from the priesthood and Joab is put to death because of the deaths they caused years ago. Again, how is this okay? Laws have a statute of limitations for a reason. And we know that punishments aren’t very effective unless they happen immediately after the incident. So what’s the point?
David was apparently righteous and up right. But, if this is the case, how can anyone argue that he was sinful? Wasn’t God mad at him for not doing as he was told? Is he a good person or a bad one in God’s eyes?
Solomon asks God for the ability to rule better, God gives him a “wise and discerning heart.” He’s also given wealth and a long life. Solomon proves his wisdom to his people when he orders a baby be cut in half to determine who the true mother is. Solomon is said to have been wiser than anyone else. He apparently spoke 3000 proverbs.
Solomon began work on the temple for God. It took 7 years to build the temple. Solomon took 13 years to build his palace after that. Why do all the details matter? Even if the details of the temple were thought to be important for later generations, why did the details about the palace matter? And why did he need to build a palace? Didn’t the earlier kings have a palace?
The ark is put into the temple, so God filled his temple in the shape of a dark cloud. God apparently has a mouth. Solomon lies about what God says to David about his building the temple (God never said that he had done well). Solomon also claims that God promised that a temple would be built as soon as their was peace, but there was peace well before David died. God actually said that David wasn’t worthy to build his temple and it was his son who’d do it.
There are many heavens, and God doesn’t fit in any of them. How big is God? Why does he need a temple if he’s too big for even heaven?
Drought is apparently caused by sinning against God. Because there can be no natural causes for natural events.
God apparently knows every human heart. This is the first sign we get that God is omniscient. Is God changing? Or did he just forget to use these powers earlier?
Everyone, even foreigners, is to fear God. Why is God so obsessed with being feared?
Everyone apparently sins. What does this actually mean? There’s no context so it’s kind of a useless claim.
God promises that David will never fail to have a descendant on the throne. Again. I’ve been told that this is in reference to Jesus who will come back and take the throne. Who’s in the throne in the mean time? And who was in the throne before Jesus? Because if the answer to either of those is no one, then God lied. There was in fact a time where no descendant of David was on the throne. And how do the Jews explain this discrepancy?
The non-Israelites that couldn’t be killed were used as slave labour. Kind of like the Israelites were apparently used in Egypt? Why was it wrong for them to be slaves, but it’s okay for them to enslave others?
The Queen of Sheba was convinced of Solomon’s wisdom.
Solomon received 666 talents yearly. If that’s the “devil’s number,” why was he allowed to make that much? People refuse to pay or receive any monetary version of 666 today, so why was it okay for Solomon?
Solomon had 700 wives and 300 concubines. Why was God okay with him having so many wives, but not David? Why wasn’t he punished for it? He began to follow other gods. This is considered doing evil. What’s evil about it? If he was so wise, why didn’t he realize that this was a bad idea? Why did he do it anyway? God says he’ll take the kingdom away from Solomon’s son as punishment for Solomon’s actions. By which he means the worship of other gods. Why does he keep punishing people for sins committed by others? How is this moral? David’s descendants would only be left with one kingdom. But before he said they’d be left with none. So he lied about taking away all of the kingdoms, then he lied about David always having a descendant on the throne. Can he please start being consistent?
Jeroboam is told that he will be given 10 tribes.
Solomon dies, Rehoboam becomes king.

Why I Can’t Agree With the Bible: Bible Questions 1: Genesis-2 Samuel

This one is a long one, so bear with me. These are the questions that I am most interested in having answered. If you would like to answer these questions, feel free to do so in any method you find most appropriate. I have tried to keep the context with the question, so hopefully they are all clear.
And if Adam and Eve were the first people, and Cain, Abel, and Seth were their only children and all sons, where did their wives come from? Did God create other people but they weren’t allowed inside Eden? Did God create them for Cain and Seth?
Who are the sons of God? Are they angels? Demi-gods? Holy people? If they’re gods, then the Bible isn’t monotheistic, and angels are commonly thought to be creations like humans, not children of God. But if they are holy men, how do you explain the implication that, while Enoch was a man of God, the rest of the people weren’t? And how do you explain the later claim that all people only ever have evil in their hearts? And why would they marry human women?
We go back to the nakedness being evil thing again when Ham, Noah’s son, sees Noah naked. So Noah curses Ham’s son Canaan (oh look, the Hebrew Canaanites) for Ham seeing him naked, and he praises his son Shem for covering him (though both of Ham’s brothers apparently covered him, so why did only one get praised?). How does Noah know what has happened to him since he seemed to immediately wake up and curse Canaan? Why is Ham seeing him naked (by accident) so bad that Noah curses his own grandson as punishment? Why does he curse Canaan instead of Ham?
Was the God of Abraham one god of many? And did the people see the idols (what was stolen) as gods? Or did they merely represent gods but were spoken of as if they were gods? Who were these gods?
Jacob said that he was protected by the God of his father. That suggests that Jacob doesn’t view this god as his. Did Jacob worship other gods? Did he worship any? Or is it merely because his father is assumed to still be alive so he’s still the head of the family? Can children have different gods from their parents?
While waiting for Esau, Jacob wrestles with a man after he sent everybody in his household across the river. It doesn’t say anything about where the man came from or why they began to wrestle. Why did Jacob wrestle with the man all night? Why did he demand to be blessed? Why does the man change Jacob’s name to Israel? Why does Jacob wrestle with someone he doesn’t know? How does Jacob know he wrestled with God? He says he’s “seen God face to face,” but isn’t that supposed to be impossible?
The new Pharaoh feared the Israelites would leave Egypt, so he enslaved them. The story of the enslavement of the Israelites is very silly. There are a lot of questions left unanswered. There were only two midwives to help all the Israelite women who were pregnant despite the fact that the Israelites filled the land? How did the Pharaoh find out that the midwives let the boys live? Why did the Pharaoh want all the boys killed when he wanted to keep the Israelites in Egypt? Why was he fine with the girls living?
How did the daughter of Pharaoh know that Moses was Hebrew? Why did the slave suggest getting a Hebrew woman to nurse him? Why didn’t she suggest tossing him in the Nile? Why did Pharaoh let his daughter keep a Hebrew baby?
Why did God suddenly decide to kill Moses at one point? Why did Zephora’s cutting off her son’s foreskin do anything? Why did her son have a foreskin?
Moses is told beforehand that his request will be denied. God says that he will harden Pharaoh’s heart. Since God hardens Pharaoh’s heart, does that meant that God is responsible for the Israelites being made to work harder and getting beaten?
At one point God says that Moses is like god in Pharaoh’s heart, but that doesn’t seem to be true at all. And why does God want Moses to be viewed as a god? Doesn’t that make him jealous?
The bit about the Passover is also confusing. Why does God care so much about how the Israelites eat the lambs? Why does he care so much about the yeast? These are such minor details. Shouldn’t they be irrelevant?
At one point the Israelites look up and see the glory of the lord. What is “the glory of the lord”?
The length of time that it took the Israelites to get to the Canaanite land makes no sense. Why did it take 40 years to get to the land of Canaan?
How did Jethro hear about what God had done for Moses? Jethro says “Now I know that the Lord is greater than all other gods.” Did Jethro doubt this before?
Why does God need cloth and precious metal?
Why would Aaron die if he weren’t wearing bells?
Why is Aaron so easily convinced to make a new god? Isn’t he supposed to be worthy of the priesthood? Why would the people be so quick turn from the Israelite God when they saw his power?

The part about child birth and periods makes the sexism of the ancient culture obvious. Women are unclean for having periods, but periods are a sign that the woman can have children, which makes it possible for our species to continue. And the woman is unclean for longer if she has a girl than if she’d had a boy. Basically, women are secondary citizens. Why would we want to continue that belief today?

God will kill anyone who remains unclean in his dwelling. This is silly. Why is God so quick to murder over so little?
When discussing how people should behave once the Israelites have taken over the Canaanite land, God says “The native born and the foreigners must not do any of these things.” I’m sorry God of the Bible, but you’re not my god. How is it okay to go into somebody else’s land and start telling them how to live?
Though many of these new laws contradict what was previously just fine. “Do not lie.” But…but…Abraham got to! “Do not practice divination or seek omens.” Why is that only wrong now? It wasn’t wrong in Exodus. “If a man has sexual relations with his daughter-in-law both will be put to death.” Didn’t that very act make a woman righteous in the previous book?
“Do not turn to mediums or seek out spiritists.” What’s a spiritist?
The Levites became God’s. This doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. Why did God pick out the Levites from the others?
A woman who is accused of cheating is to drink a cursed water. If she has cheated, she’ll miscarry. This seems to be an odd way to determine if someone has cheated. Most pregnancies end in a miscarriage, but this generally happens so early in the pregnancy that the woman doesn’t even know it happened. What if the woman drinks the water and miscarries, but nobody recognizes the miscarriage as a miscarriage? And what if the miscarriage happens months after drinking the water? Is the woman then found guilty, or does it only count if she immediately miscarried? Did the Israelites ever test this out by getting a woman who was well into her pregnancy and had been caught in bed with another man to make sure that it actually worked?
Foreigners must also celebrate the Passover. Again, there is this idea that the Israelites should be allowed to force others to believe what they believe. Why should a foreigner have to celebrate Passover? Simply because God is jealous? What if their religion forbids them from celebrating Passover?
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!”
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?
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?
“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?
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 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?
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?
Prophets are okay, but divination and witchcraft are bad. How are they any different?
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?
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?
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?
At one point it says that all the Israelites were to be circumcised again. It sounds like they’re to be circumcised twice, which makes no sense. But it’s really every bodies first time. Why hadn’t the Israelites born in the desert been circumcised?
At the beginning, a woman had helped the spies escape Jericho. She is told to put a scarf in her window and bring her family into her house. After Jericho is defeated, the woman and her family are found safe by the Israelites. How did God know to spare the woman and her family? Could he see the scarf? Was the scarf actually necessary?
God claims that somebody has stolen from him, then claims that they must destroy the destructible. Destroy whatever is devoted to destruction? That seems somewhat counter-intuitive…And what does that actually mean? Is the stolen thing destructible? Or is the thief destructible? How did God find out about the theft? This God is clearly not all-knowing. Did he see? Then why did he take so long to react? Was he told? Then by who? And how did they know? God decides that the thief and his family should be burned. Why are people being destroyed with fire? This seems like an unnecessarily painful punishment. The thief, it turns out stole a robe and some money. A robe? He stole a robe? Why does God need a robe? Did he want to wear it? Why were the thief’s children stoned and burned? What did they do?
So far there has been a lot of murder in Joshua. Is killing everybody really necessary?
When the land was being divided up, the Levites were called the descendants of Aaron, but earlier they were discussed as if they were a separate tribe from Aaron’s. They were already large enough to be a clan, and seemed to be made priests as penance. Aaron and his sons were made priests earlier and separately from the Levites. So what are the Levites relations to Aaron?
He also claims that Abraham’s ancestors worshiped gods other than Yahweh. But Abraham was a descendant of Noah, and Noah was saved for being loyal to God. Why would Noah’s descendants worship other gods after what Noah had been through?
After it is finished talking about the battles, it mentions that the Canaanites weren’t completely driven out of the land. God promised Moses that he would drive out the Canaanites so that the Israelites could live in their land, but Judges says that the Canaanites weren’t driven out of the land completely. First God says that he’ll drive them out, then it’s said that the Israelites weren’t able to drive them out. Why are the Israelites to blame when God said that he’d do it?
Earlier, with Moses and Joshua, God tried to ensure that the people would not serve other gods, and the Israelites set up their own protections to ensure the continued worship of Yahweh, but it still only took one generation for people to begin worshiping other gods? They began worshiping Baal and others according to Judges. If Yahweh is so powerful, shouldn’t he have been able to prevent this? Or is Baal more powerful?
If Yahweh is so mad at the Israelites, why does he keep sending them help when they ask? Why not just give up on them? After all, he seems to find something wrong with them fairly regularly, and they clearly frustrate him. If they are such a lost cause, why bother?
One of Gideon’s sons killed all but one of his 70 brothers. He was made king by the people. Wine apparently sways gods and men (according to the man’s remaining brother). This statement sounds very Greek/Roman to me. God made the people act against Abimelech (the man) because he killed his brothers. Why didn’t God just stop Abimelech from killing his brothers?
Samson’s father gives his wife to another man. Samson decides to take revenge on the Philistines because his wife was taken. Since the Philistines didn’t take his wife, how does this make sense?
The man’s response to his raped and tortured concubine who has collapsed outside his host’s house: “come on, let’s go.” How are any of his actions okay? Who would cut up a woman and send the pieces around to the Israelites? Is this man crazy?
Ruth claims that she will make Naomi’s god her own because she wants to stay with her. This makes her belief seems false. If she is willing to change her belief so easily, what will keep her from doing so in the future? Does she actually believe?
When Naomi and Ruth get back to Naomi’s people, Naomi tells the people not to call her Naomi because God has cursed her. Why would God make Naomi’s life miserable? What did she do? Isn’t it more likely that her family simply had some bad luck?
God stood beside Samuel, and spoke to him. Samuel didn’t know what was happening because he haden’t “given himself over to the lord,” so Eli had to explain it to him. Why did God wait for Eli to explain it. Why didn’t God say “it’s not Eli, it’s God” the second time? Or, better yet, tell Samuel what was happening the first time?
God rode the ark of the covenant to the battle field. It said he sat on it. So God has a physical form? Does he look human?
Samuel tells the Israelites to stop serving gods other than Yahweh. Once again, they ask for forgiveness for their sins. Seriously, how does this habit make sense? And, if Israelites are so prone to worshiping other gods, why don’t we see this pattern occurring today?
God told Samuel that he would send someone to be king, that person was Saul, despite God believing that asking for a ruler was a slight against him. Why would God pick someone for the Israelites?
Samuel tells Saul that he is to be the ruler of the Israelites. God claims to have changed Saul’s heart. Doesn’t this suggest that God took Saul’s freewill away? If God changed Saul’s heart, then why is he supposed to be so corrupt? Couldn’t God prevent him from becoming corrupt?
God says he looks at the heart, but Saul was chosen for his height. Is God lying? Or did he purposefully pick someone unsuited to be king because he was mad at the Israelites?
God rides on the Ark of the Covenant again. An ox stumbled, so Uzzah caught the ark. God struck down Uzzah for touching the ark. This seems stupid. Is it better to let the ark hit the ground? If it did, who would pick it up? What would happen to them? What about the ox?
It’s considered worse that he (Amnon) didn’t marry her (Tamar) than it is that he raped her. Isn’t is a sin to marry your sibling? And how would that make the rape okay? Who would want to marry and live with their rapist? Tamar is told to not take it to heart. Her brother raped her. Which part shouldn’t she take to heart? How could she avoid taking it to heart?
Absalom has his servants light Joab’s field on fire because Joab ignores a summons. This seems like a terrible action. Isn’t this sinful? Was he punished for this?
Absalom is told to sleep with his father’s concubines, so he did so in front of all of Israel. God’s promise to David came true: his son raped his wives. So these women were publicly raped as a punishment…to David…because he took too many wives. This is terrible. Why wasn’t David punished for his own actions? Why did these women have to suffer for his crime?
A plague is sent on the people, David offers a sacrifice to God to stop the plague because it was caused by his sins. Why does God punish everyone for David’s sin?

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

I have now finished 2 Samuel. Before I move on to 1 Kings, I have been asked to post my top three questions from all my posts up to now. I will be posting that tonight.
Where I left off, Joab was worried about convincing David to bring Absalom back. He uses a woman to convince David to bring Absalom back. Why does Joab use this deceit? David was upset by his son’s running off.
It is said that Absalom only cut his hair because it was too heavy to let it grow out. Aren’t men supposed to cut their hair? Isn’t it disgraceful for them not to? Except for Samson I mean.
Absalom has his servants light Joab’s field on fire because Joab ignores a summons. This seems like a terrible action. Isn’t this sinful? Was he punished for this?
Once Absalom was forgiven by David, he began to win the people to his side. David ran away with his people because Absalom convinced the people to follow him. Why was he so afraid? Why was he so convinced that Absalom would kill him? Wasn’t there another way that they could bring about peace? David took the ark out of the city with him, but then sends it back to the city. This seems to be his way of trying to find out if he still has Gods favor. Wasn’t there a better way to determine that? Wasn’t he better off taking the ark with him? And how did he know that Absalom wouldn’t kill the men he sent back?
David says that a Benjamite who curses him was told to by God. Why was he so convinced of this? The man had every reason to hate David without needing God’s help: David killed people he cared about.
Absalom is told to sleep with his father’s concubines, so he did so in front of all of Israel. God’s promise to David came true: his son raped his wives. So these women were publicly raped as a punishment…to David…because he took too many wives. This is terrible. Why wasn’t David punished for his own actions? Why did these women have to suffer for his crime?
Absalom is told to kill his father and let everyone else live. This actually makes him more moral than his father in my eyes: he’d kill one instead of thousands, and he’d kill his actual target rather than everybody around his target.
Joab kills Absalom while he’s stuck in a tree. He was ordered not to kill Absalom. He disobeys this order and is never punished.
David assumes that a good man can only come with good news. This makes no sense. Does this mean that every messenger carrying bad news is a bad person?
David is accused of loving those that hate him and hating those that love him for mourning his son’s death. This seems messed up. Would it be better if he celebrated?
David’s concubines were put in confinement because they were raped. So, if a woman gets raped, she deserves to be locked up and ignored?
God shot arrows.
David says that foreigners cower before him. Why is this a good thing? Why does he want people to fear him?
A plague is sent on the people, David offers a sacrifice to God to stop the plague because it was caused by his sins. Why does God punish everyone for David’s sin?

Why I Can’t Agree With the Bible: 2 Samuel: Part 1

I’ve broken 2 Samuel into 2 parts.
Where we left off, Saul was mercy killed by one of his men. The man returned to David to report what had happened. David had the man who killed Saul killed. Why didn’t God stop him? How did the man deserve to die?
More sexism occurs: David says the love of Jonathon was greater than the love of women while lamenting Jonathon’s death. Why is he even comparing the two?
David decides to move to Hebron, with God’s blessing of course. David is made king of Judah, he was king for 7 years. This claim doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. He’s made king of all of Israel after Ishbosheth’s death, but is king of Judah alone for 7 years. What happened in the missing 5 years? Ishbosheth is made king of Israel. As you may have noticed from my earlier comment, he only reigned for 2 years.
For some reason, some of the Israelites decided it would be fun to have the young Israelites kill each other. This somehow led to a war between David’s and Saul’s people. Though it sounds like it was already going on. Was this the same war as before? What does the young men killing each other have to do with it? Why were they fighting? Did David want the kingship? Why did David have to fight for it if God gave him the kingship? Joab’s family is cursed because Joab killed Abner as a result of the young men fighting.
The head of Ishbosheth is delivered to David. The men who killed him were killed by David’s men. Why was David fighting them if he never intended to kill their leaders? Did he just want a war for the sake of a war?
David is made king of Israel, he ruled for 40 years. David conquers more territory, and takes more wives and concubines. Why?
David and his men for some reason take the Philistines’ idols. Isn’t this a no-no? Isn’t God afraid they’ll decide to worship them? What did they do with them?
God rides on the Ark of the Covenant again. An ox stumbled, so Uzzah caught the ark. God struck down Uzzah for touching the ark. This seems stupid. Is it better to let the ark hit the ground? If it did, who would pick it up? What would happen to them? What about the ox? I’m surprised God didn’t strike it down. David feared the ark as a result (who wouldn’t?), so he left it behind.
David danced for God. Michal hated David for dancing for God. Michal had no children as punishment. This doesn’t seem like much of a punishment. What if she didn’t want kids? And how is jealousy worthy of a punishment? Who wouldn’t be upset if their husband (or wife) kept taking more partners without considering their other partners first?
David decides to build a house for God. God tells him he’s (David) not worthy. He says he’ll build a house for David. God says that David’s son will be his son and he will use men to flog him. Um…what? I would be quite upset if someone told me they were going to beat my children. For any reason. David’s throne will supposedly last forever. Last time I checked, the Jews don’t have a king. Did God lie? David says that God is great for what he has done. But…God hasn’t done anything yet. He just made a promise. David slept with a woman and got her pregnant. Does this count as adultery? Because David never gets punished for it. Joab is told to take a city. David marries the dead leaders wife. How many wives does David have? David is accused of taking from the poor to avoid giving up his own stuff because he took another wife. David is told that all his wives would be taken away. What is it with David and women? And why doesn’t God say “don’t kill men and take their wives” before he has to punish David? David’s sin is taken away, but his son is killed as punishment. His son becomes ill when he hit hit him. This is immoral on 2 fronts. First, how did the son deserve to die because his father sinned? And second, why did David hit his kid? Because he was mad about being reprimanded? Solomon is born to David to replace the one that died…because God loved David. Lovely.
Tamar, the daughter of David, isn’t referred to as the daughter of David, rather, she is referred to as the sister of Absalom son of David. This seems silly and roundabout. Amnon says that he has become obsessed with Tamar, his brother Absalom’s sister…so…his sister? Yup…his sister. Isn’t that a sin? Doesn’t God tell Moses that people aren’t to sleep with their siblings? Tamar is asked to bake bread for Amnon so that he can eat from her hands. That sounds creepy enough on its own. He raped his sister. Then he hates her. It seems odd to hate your sister because you raped her…then again, I’m not a rapist, so raping someone sounds odd to me. It’s considered worse that he didn’t marry her than it is that he raped her. Isn’t is a sin to marry your sibling? And how would that make the rape okay? Who would want to marry and live with their rapist? Tamar is told to not take it to heart. Her brother raped her. Which part shouldn’t she take to heart? How could she avoid taking it to heart?
Absalom hated Amnon for disgracing Tamar. So his sister shouldn’t take it to heart, but it’s okay for him to. Then again, I can imagine it would be hard not to hate someone for raping someone you love. Absalom orders his men to kill Amnon, all of Absalom’s brothers fled, as did Absalom. Absalom goes into hiding.

%d bloggers like this: