Month: July 2012

The Old Testament: Still In The Beginning But A Bit Further On

After the fall of Adam and Eve, their offspring went on to take wives and multiply fruitfully.  This was, of course, a grand gesture since Adam and Eve were the first humans and the book never says where the wives came from.  I will not spend time on this topic since it’s been covered and creationists already have excuses for this.

After a time, God saw that the world was a wicked place and warranted mass extermination of every living thing on the planet save a handful of humans and two of every animal.  Not long ago, I engaged a friend in conversation about the Old Testament because he has a far better understanding of it than I do.  Midway through, I realized as he was describing the various goings on in Genesis, that he believed it to be literal truth.  This is an intelligent man vast knowledge, but I couldn’t help but to think less of him for accepting a story with less plausibility than a Jason Statham film.  Apart from the Ark being smaller than the Titanic and the glaring geographical issues, we’re still left wondering what the Chinese – a well established civilization(or several) – were doing at this time.  I will not go further in depth with Noah either since so many have covered it far better than I could.  To be honest, I have no illusions that anything I say will be ground breaking at this point, but I’m also lazy and have other things I want to get to.

The one concept that seems to pop into my head in reading the Old Testament is that of free will.  Ask why God allows evil to happen in the world if He is capable of stopping it, and you will invariably get an answer pertaining to God granting us free will.  In my readings, I have yet to come across such a passage.  One might say humankind got free will from the tree of knowledge of good and evil, but if that’s the case, we weren’t granted free will, we took it.  Indeed, without such knowledge, free will is impossible.  The stories of the Old Testament do make more sense if we establish that God did not in fact want us to have free will and the entire collection is His attempt to deprive His creation of it.

In Genesis, the Lord begins a subtle manipulation of events – beginning with Abraham and the appalling demand for a human sacrifice – in order to circumvent free will.  As events unfold, more and more care is taken to deprive His people of the right to choose their own destiny.  Sure, he rescues His people from slavery at the hands of Egypt(an event that has yet to produce the slightest shred of archaeological evidence), but He then proceeds to lay out so many rules that no civilization is capable of following to the letter, and punishes them with more slavery and death.  The Old Testament, from the end of Exodus and well beyond consists of a series of unreasonable demands from God followed by the eventual failure on the part of Israel.  In the meantime, all other peoples of the region are exterminated outright(with the exception of virgins) on orders from God.  Again, any hesitation of the part of the Israelites is cause for extreme punishment.  We must continue to ask, in what way are we granted free will if the options are slavery or death?

As children we are given consequences by our parents directly that we might learn that certain causes lead to undesirable effects.  If we’re fortunate enough to have parents that aren’t psychotic bastards, these consequences will be executed in a reasonable fashion with no permanent damage(parents will understand how difficult this is).  Eventually, our folks let us go into the world to fuck up on our own.  At no point do we expect Dad to slice our heads off or send us to labor camps for getting drunk at college and nailing the new sorority pledge across the way.  No, we make our own choice and get the hangover, venereal disease, black eye from the boyfriend, or possible a new child to deal with on our own.  The worst we can expect from Dad is that dreaded “I’m disappointed in you, son” look; unless Dad happens to be God.  Now imagine that as an adult, your dad orders you to kick down the door of your neighbor Bill, kill him, his wife, and his son, and take his daughter as your wife(provided she hasn’t been dry humped by the football captain).  But you must do so hopping on one foot and using your empty hand to punch yourself in the crotch to the exact rhythm of The Beautiful People.  As you’re about to lay down the killing blow upon Bill, you skip a beat and suddenly pop shows up to tell you that because you didn’t follow his orders, you are now going to be Bill’s slave for a time.  After enough begging you will be released from Bill’s service whereupon you are to continue with the original plan.  Now imagine having to repeat this with every house on your block and you no longer need to read Judges or Joshua.  You’re welcome.

One might ask me why I spend so much time bashing God if I don’t actually believe in Him.  I didn’t actually intend to attack God when I started writing an analysis of the Old Testament that I’ve read so far, it’s just where my fingers lead me.  Idle hands perhaps.  He is the main character in the story, and He is loved by so many despite His many sins.  For a very long time I have wondered how anyone could accept the Bible as literal truth, and reading it now begs the question of why anyone would want it to be true.  I will gladly accept the concept of selfish, greedy and sadistic humans over a God whose word is absolute law for all of time with no room for dissension.  What sort of Heaven would that be for so many of us?  And why, if we have “free will” do we only have the two choices?  Wouldn’t a third choice of non-existence be more reasonable?  Who would actually want their eternity to consist of constant subservience?  What if in Heaven, we had to wipe back to front?  Sure, it’s Heaven so poop is actually made of sunshine and kittens.  But what if I don’t want sunshine and kittens on my balls?  I want my pouch to be dark and feline neutral.  Have I just committed blasphemy of the t’aint?  My scenario is, admittedly, stupid, but no less arbitrary than cutting off my foreskin.

Ultimately, if you choose to believe in the God of the Bible, you should take time to at least consider His atrocities and even ask if He should atone for them.  Perhaps the Son died not only for our sins, but for the sins of the father as well.

-Scott

Of Atheism and the act of cooling.

The other day a family member asked me if I really believed that Atheism thing or if I was just trying to be one because it is the “cool” thing these days.  My family is very religious, always has been but for me it didn’t stick.  I went to church and tried to fit in but was never without a question that any preacher with even the highest level of godly knowledge could answer. I was even struck a few times in my life for asking too many difficult questions. At eleven years of age I remarked that if we were not meant to question Gods word, why would he give us the ability to ask those questions. What I received was the most ridiculous answer, an answer so insipid and uninspired that it absolutely destroyed my belief that I was just not getting it and made me realize that these people were just too stupid or scared to try and answer it. The answer was “Well Joe, the lord works in mysterious ways, he is impossible to know. Your question reminds me of another one I heard; could God make a rock so heavy that he could not lift it? “.  Then he gave me a look like he had just blown my mind, which he in no way had.  My mind has been blown only thrice in my life and it did not burst, it inflated. Two of the three involved mind altering substances of course and the third involved the Rocky Mountains but those stories are too involved for now. What I want to talk about is cool Atheists and dumb religious folk and how these people have killed my faith in everything.

I have not always been spiteful, jaded and argumentative, I became so after the age of twelve. It was the age when I could finally see the stupidity that was being forced into all the young people around me as well as myself. The odd thing about other kids of the same age was they were eating all the spoon fed, pseudo philosophical tripe like it was the finest creamed smarts in a caramel sauce with a dollop of angel brain. I recall endless conversations about God’s ability to make items he couldn’t pick up and being ostracized for the mere mention that, if one god could exist in an infinite and expanding universe; Wouldn’t it be feasible that many gods could exist as well? At least as many gods as intelligent species in the cosmos. Or that on a more awe inspiring basis, the cosmos rolled dice and all sides came up evolution of the human race?  All I would ever get in return were things like; Could God create a 1973 Buick Centurion with such a complicated internal combustion engine that he couldn’t get it to turn over? I have nothing against people trying to think outside of their own universe and for many of my childhood friends, thinking higher than the lowest branch on the climbing tree was a bit much for them. Not to say I am the brightest lightening bolt on Thurseblot but I am always trying to learn more than I knew the day before and never leave an authority unquestioned.

Questioning authority is of the utmost importance in our lives if we ever want to be a free minded society. When I think of an authority figure, be it religious, political, what have you, I always think about the bosses I have had to work for in my life. Seriously dumb cunts to a man.  The problem is, some other dumb cunt gave them the position they were in. I use cunt because it is the most derogatory word I can use to show my disdain for these people in a way that doesn’t take five hundred words and some blood.  These people are power mad and any small amount of said power gives them a hard on for more.  They tend toward stupid, barely articulate and proudly obese, yet act as though they are birthed from the rays of Father Sol himself.  If you have ever had a menial labor job in your life then you know their type.  These are the same people that are in areas of authority in our world.  We have very few true Literati and boat loads of inept, enraged, engorged pud trickles that would be long dead in a world of man versus nature but survive quite well in our ass versus couch society.  I learned many years ago that a job is just a job but pissing off the area manager of a retail video game outlet by quitting and making him work a store in the slummy side of town the day after Thanksgiving is worth every day of Ramen noodles and no cable.   Many of the authority figures I have met hate being questioned and thrive on other peoples fear and weakness and when someone questions their opinion or intelligence they puff up like a blow fish demon from an anime.  So please, please always question authority. Those with any decent amount of knowledge in a given field will usually share it quite happily but people that are full of crap and afraid you will discover it, they just get angry when questioned, it’s a classic tell of a bull shitter.

Finally, as for Atheism being cool. Is it?  I know I have heard trendy little hipsters talking about their Atheist ideals at bars but they also talk about shitty music a lot and equally shitty movies or books that nobody but hipsters read.  I just consider a lot of these people to just be kids doing dumb things at the point in their lives that they do things that are dumb. It is part of life, to grab on to an idea and discuss it at a bar with your friends while you drink some green and blue thing that cost too damn much. So maybe, at this moment in the hipster universe it is cool to be an Atheist but one of these days those chic little guys and gals will have to experience mortality in an other than cinematic form and then we will see. It’s easy to be an Atheist when you’re still hanging on the umbilical cord but it is a different story all together when the old specter of death is draped over your shoulder telling you he would like to get to know you better and you should stop by soon.   One good scare on the Vespa and you will have a trendy prayer circle in no time flat.

Just more rage, thanks for giving it your time.

– Joe-

Old Testament Study Part 1: In the Beginning

The serpent, being significantly more cunning that man, chose wisely in whom to approach for the great temptation.  While Adam was given dominion over every living creature, Eve was given very little in the way of how to conduct herself in the Garden.  In fact, Eve was created after all the rules were handed down to Adam, so any transgressions she committed were done so with relative ignorance.  I would hate to equate the Word of God to the arbitrary and unfounded laws of say, Michael Bloomberg; but if the shoe fits.  Perhaps the more religious citizens of that utopian nightmare that is Bloomberg’s New York might appreciate the inanity of his laws and keep voting for him because of that.

Eve, having no real idea of why she should obey the word of the Lord, as passed down from a man she barely knows, initiates the fall of humanity with a crime of ignorance.  If anyone should be punished, it should have been Adam, but even still, without any understanding of why he shouldn’t eat of the fruit of the tree, he is easily persuaded.  The serpent, being far less subtle than is described in the text, convinces Eve to partake of the fruit and as it turns out, he is not lying.  He actually disproves God’s word since neither humans die from the fruit.  Granted, the idea of death was not of immediacy but of eventuality, a concept neither would have understood.  But it does come to pass that they would have to know death because of their sin.

Right at the beginning of the text, Man is created in the image of God.  So any curiosity ingrained within him surely came from God.  To punish Adam and Eve because they acted upon their curious nature is akin to beating your child for breathing after telling him not to.  Alas, no such conversation takes place in scripture because the Tree Of Knowledge of Good and Evil does not appear to contain the secondary attribute of command over language.  Indeed, had Adam and Eve been given the gift of argument, perhaps we would have all been spared the toil and pain of human existence.  And what a hateful state of being we would continue to experience then.

Adam and Eve are ultimately convicted of the sin of curiosity.  They could not have been guilty of anything more, since any idea that what they did was wrong could not have occurred until after they took a bite; knowledge of good and evil being still subjective since an important part of the population is incapable of understanding the concept. The first humans are punished undeservedly for a crime they were unable to know was a crime.  In fact, they are still too stupid to ask the Lord why they didn’t surely die, why they would have suddenly been ashamed to be naked, or why they were forbidden from eating of the fruit in the first place.  God said they would surely die, but instead gives them unfair and seemingly random punishments.  Woman shall have pain during childbirth, and man shall toil the fields all his days.  Less harsh than death, I guess, but certainly more excessive than what the crime calls for.  Not only have Adam and Eve been sentenced, but the whole of humankind thereafter is subjected to the same penance.  This concept is hard to imagine in a society that doesn’t allow the children to be punished for the sins of their fathers(in fact one might be tempted to bring this up to anyone who claims our laws are based on scripture), but we’re still in Old Testament days that somehow require no explanation.

It has been said that anyone should be able to understand the message of the Bible.  Anyone who says such things is, of course, insane.  There is very little that’s clear in the book, but perhaps we are lacking because we don’t understand the original Hebrew.  Entire fields of academia are devoted to understanding the Bible.  Basically, the single most important warning label in our possession requires a PHD to understand.  The laws of God are ever changing from impossible to follow to immoral to follow.  Once again, we could blame the devil for our follies, but in the Old Testament, they had no knowledge of him.  In fact, the Devil as God’s enemy isn’t mentioned until Job.  Some say the serpent is the first appearance of Satan, but it’s not made clear.  The way Genesis reads, the serpent did what he did just for a bit of cheeky fun.  However, it all seems irrelevant since the very concept of the most powerful being imaginable having an enemy is fucking bonkers.

Pondering over how Satan would be allowed to exist, we can come to the conclusion that God needs an opposite.  Perhaps a simpler explanation would be that He is just like us, in that without adversity, He is stagnant.  An eternal being would at some point become extremely bored and His only option would have been to create an enemy just to give him something to do.  Even without the serpent, in time Adam and Eve might have eaten from the tree just to break the crippling monotony of perfection.

-Scott

Independence Day Fervor

Tomorrow, July 4th 2012, CERN is set to release info on the Higgs boson. Though I am hoping they found it and our world will soon be flush with many new and wonderful NOVA documentaries as Brian Greene, Michio Kaku and Neil Degrasse Tyson thoroughly break down what the discovery means for the world, both science and regular. If there is one major lesson life and Public Enemy have taught me it is ‘Don’t believe the hype’ and Higgs boson has way too much hype surrounding it. Okay maybe it is a slow news week, having so many twenty four hour news channels and online news magazines, you need something to fill time. I just suspect that CERN had some news they wanted to release and the media caught wind of it and blew it up, damn dirty apes. The fact is that CERN had set up a gathering to release current findings directed at the Higgs boson which they do all the time by the way. That is what researchers involved in costly, heavily funded experiments have to do all the time, update people on findings to prove that they aren’t spending all the cash trying to find the whore gene or the cocaine atom. I can guarantee you, that US media outlets grabbed hold of this story  because it was set for the 4th of July, our independence day, media organizations love angles like that. Media organizations seem to forget that our independence day is different from other countries equivalent day of skyward explosions. The large hadron collider  runs from Switzerland that celebrates Swiss National Day on August 1st, into France, which celebrates Bastille Day on July 14th. The fact that the rest of the world doesn’t match its calendar to ours has never stopped the US news confederacy from acting like it should though.

The worst part about it all is that, with all the hype surrounding the search for Higgs boson and the annoying name “the God Particle” is the offence fundementalist religious organizations have been taking to it. The god particle phrase was taken from a book and pumped up by the media. It’s a phrase that makes hard core religious nuts even nuttier because they think it is going to be used as an anti-god argument. Scientists argeed that it should be nicknamed the ‘Champagne particle’  I like the ‘Duct tape particle’ because it can impart mass and holds the universe together. Maybe scientists should call it midi-chlorians so we can hate them for bastardizing a beloved childhood memory. The fervor surrounding tomorrow’s conference seems too over blown though. Sure, if they find Higgs boson, it will be a huge step for physics. If they just come out and say they have narrowed it down and the believe they are getting close, after all the hype, the crazed, anti-science fundamentalists will score it loudly as a win for religion against science and probably make a silly banner or two so we know just how smart they is.

I hope the found it, I really want to know how it all works and why it all works that way. I couldn’t be happy living in the world I was born into, where people just didn’t question things they were told they didn’t need to understand by people that had no ability to grasp those things anyway. Either way it goes tomorrow, whether they make a blockbuster discovery or they have no complete info to show, I can live knowing one thing, Phantom Menace was so terrible that it still haunts me even though I only watched it the one time.

Thanks- Joe