26 October 2006

Punishment for mishandling the Quran

In a previous post, I listed some rules for handling the Quran. But what is the punishment for mishandling it? Well, according to Ynet news, Allah turned a Muslim girl into a dog for for just such a crime.
TAIBEH – Harsh punishment? A Muslim girl from Taibeh was punished by Allah and turned into a dog, according to rumors that have been circulating in the Arab-Israeli town this week, Arab-language newspaper Panorama reported.

According to the rumors, the harsh punishment was meted out after the girl, upset by her mother’s request to bring her the Quran as she was watching television, threw the holy Muslim book at the mother with disdain.

And this wouldn't be the first time Allah enforced such a punishment. The Quran says that Allah turned some Jews into apes for breaking the Sabbath.
And ye know of those of you who broke the Sabbath, how We said unto them: Be ye apes, despised and hated! And We made it an example to their own and to succeeding generations, and an admonition to the God-fearing. -- Quran 2:65-66
So he'd probably be more than willing to turn you into a dog (or worse) for mistreating the Quran!

25 October 2006

Rules for handling the Quran

This is indeed a noble Qur'an ... Which none toucheth save the purified. -- Quran 56:77-79
From this passage, Muslims have developed a set of rules about how to handle the Quran. Here are some of them.
  1. Make formal acts of cleaning yourself (ablutions) before touching the Quran.

  2. Don't touch the Quran when you are unclean (like after touching a dog, going to the bathroom, having sex, or while menstruating).

  3. Don't touch the Quran (in Arabic) unless you are already a Muslim. (It's okay for non-believers to listen to tapes or touch a translation.)

  4. If you do have to touch it for some reason (and you're unclean or a non-Muslim), then wear gloves or use a cloth to keep your filthy fingers off the sacred text.

  5. Never let the Quran touch the floor.

  6. Don't take it into a bathroom.

  7. Don't place anything else on top of it.
These rules are based on the idea that the Quran is the literal word of God, revealed to the angel Gabriel and delivered to the prophet Muhammad — none of which, of course, is true.

19 October 2006

The Spirit of the Lord came upon him

According to the Bible, what happens when the Spirit of the Lord comes upon somebody?

Well, the short answer is this: a Spirit-possessed person usually kills things.

The phrase ("the Spirit of the Lord came upon him") occurs only 8 times (in 7 verses) in the Bible. Let's see what happens in each case.

Othniel

The Spirit of the Lord came upon Othniel and he went to war. (The same thing happened to Bush.)

And the Spirit of the LORD came upon him, and he judged Israel, and went out to war. Judges 3:10

Gideon

When the Spirit of the Lord came upon Gideon, he blew a trumpet. That sounds innocent enough (even if a little crazy). But Gideon (with God's Spirit) used the trumpet to summon soldiers to war. (Bush is looking for a magic trumpet.)

But the Spirit of the LORD came upon Gideon, and he blew a trumpet. Judges 6:34
Jephthah

When the spirit of the Lord came upon Jephthah, he killed his daughter as a burnt offering to pay God back for providing him with "a very great slaughter." (I hope Bush doesn't do this with Jenna or Barbara.)

Then the Spirit of the LORD came upon Jephthah ... And Jephthah vowed a vow unto the LORD, and said, If thou shalt without fail deliver the children of Ammon into mine hands, Then it shall be, that whatsoever cometh forth of the doors of my house to meet me, when I return in peace from the children of Ammon, shall surely be the LORD's, and I will offer it up for a burnt offering. ... and the LORD delivered them into his hands. And he smote them ... And Jephthah came to Mizpeh unto his house, and, behold, his daughter came out to meet him with timbrels and with dances ... And she said unto him, My father, if thou hast opened thy mouth unto the LORD, do to me according to that which hath proceeded out of thy mouth. And ... her father ... did with her according to his vow which he had vowed. Judges 11:29-39
Samson

Samson had God's Spirit on him three times. Each time he kills something: first a lion, then 30 men, and finally 1000 men.

Behold, a young lion roared against him. And the Spirit of the LORD came mightily upon him, and he rent him as he would have rent a kid. Judges 14:5-6
And the Spirit of the LORD came upon him ... and slew thirty men. Judges 14:19
And the Spirit of the LORD came mightily upon him ... And he found a new jawbone of an ass ... and slew a thousand men therewith. Judges 15:14-15
Saul and David

The Spirit of God was on Saul until he refused to kill all the Amalekites as commaded by God in 1 Samuel 15:2-3. For refusing to commit genocide, God took away his Spirit from Saul, sicked "an evil spirit from the Lord" on him, and transfered his Spirit over to David, where it remained forever. (In a previous post I described some of the things a person can do when the Spirit of God comes on him.)

The Spirit of the LORD came upon David from that day forward. But the Spirit of the LORD departed from Saul, and an evil spirit from the LORD troubled him. 1 Samuel 16:13-14

16 October 2006

And for the disbelievers, Allah has prepared a painful doom

For those of you who've never read the Quran, let me summarize it for you: And for the disbelievers, Allah has prepared a painful doom.

This idea is so important that Allah (or his prophet) repeats more than 200 times in the Quran. Here are just a few variants.

For disbelievers is a painful doom. 2:104

Those who disbelieve the revelations of Allah ... promise them a painful doom. 3:21

Give tidings (O Muhammad) of a painful doom to those who disbelieve. 9:3

Those who vex the messenger of Allah, for them there is a painful doom. 9:61

Theirs will be a boiling drink and painful doom because they disbelieved. 10:4

And that's just a sample of the 60 verses in the Quran that describe the "painful doom" that unbelevers will endure. There are also 25 "awful doom" verses, 10 "shameful dooms", 4 "dreadful dooms", 4 "dooms of fire", and another 40 or so differently named dooms. Plus 65 verses that mention just a plain old "doom" -- and a couple hundred or so that describe Hell, the Fire, etc.

But my favorite doom verse is this one (If you don't believe in hell, guess where you'll be going):

Those who believe not in the Hereafter, for them We have prepared a painful doom. 17:10

The Heroes of Faith

Tor the time would fail me to tell of Gideon, and of Barak, and of Samson, and of Jephthah; of David also, and Samuel. -- Hebrews 11:32

The author of Hebrews provides a list of heroes of faith, which includes Gideon, Samson, Jephthah, David, and Samuel. These are those that all good Christians should emulate.

To help them with that, I thought I'd provide a list of their heroic actions, so they can go and do likewise.

Gideon

Gave God some really weird tests. Judges 6:36-40

Selected for his army the men who lapped water like a dog. (This test was proposed by God.) Judges 7:4-7

Tortured prisoners of war and civilians with thorns and briers. Judges 8:7, 16-17

Ordered his young son to kill prisoners of war, and then did it himself when his son refused. Judges 8:20-22

Made an ephod that "all of Israel ... went whoring after." Judges 8:27

Had many wives and concubines.Judges 8:30

Jephthah

Sacrificed his daughter to God as a burnt offering. Judges 11:30-39

Samson

Killed things whenever "the Spirit of the Lord" came upon him. Judges 14:5-6, 19, 15:14-15

Caught 300 foxes, tied their tails together, and set them on fire. Judges 15:4-5

Saw a harlot and "went in unto her." Judges 16:1

Collapsed a building and killed 3000 people. Judges 16:27-30

David

Bought his first wife with 200 Philistine foreskins. 1 Samuel 18:25-27

Killed all Amalekite men and women. 1 Samuel 27:8-11

Had many wives and concubines. 2 Samuel 3:2-5, 5:13, 1 Chronicles 14:3

Commanded his young men to kill Saul's sons, cut off their hands and feet, and hang their bodies up over a pool in Hebron. 2 Samuel 4:6-12

Danced naked, or nearly naked, in front of God and everyone. 2 Samuel 6:14, 20-23

Committed adultery with Bathsheba and then had her husband killed in battle. (To punish David for this, God killed the Bathsheba's baby boy.) 2 Samuel 11:2-27, 12:13-18

Tortured the Ammonites with fire, saws, and axes. 2 Samuel 12:31, 1 Chronicles 20:3

Samuel

Told Saul that God commanded him to kill all of the Amalekites: men, women, infants, sucklings, ox, sheep, camels, and asses. 1 Samuel 15:2-3

Told Saul that he was rejected by God as King of Israel for failing to commit genocide. 1 Samuel 15:22-23

To please God, Samuel hacks Agag in pieces "before the Lord." 1 Samuel 15:32-33

14 October 2006

Richard Dawkins' Bible Study

Richard Dawkins's new book The God Delusion is simply fantastic. It gets my vote for the best book of the year.
Since the book has received many reviews (See, for example, A Devil's Catechism by PZ Myers), I'll not discuss it here.
But something caught my eye on page 341-3. Dawkins presents a long list of phrases from the Bible that have become a part of our literary culture, and that therefore should be familiar to us all. So I thought, what the heck, I'd list the phrases and provide links to the verses in the Bible in which they occur.

1Be fruitful and multiplyGenesis 1:28, 9:1, 9:7
2East of EdenGenesis 4:16
3Adam's ribGenesis 2:22
4Am I my brother's keeperGenesis 4:9
5The mark of CainGenesis 4:16
6As old as MethuselahGenesis 5:27
7A mess of potageGenesis 25:34
8Sold his birthrightGenesis 25:34
9Jacob's ladderGenesis 28:12
10Coat of many colorsGenesis 37:3
11Amid the alien corn(The phrase occurs in John Keats's "Ode to a Nightingale", but is not found in the KJV. Thanks Matthew for the correction.)
12Eyeless in GazaJudges 16:21
13The fat of the landGenesis 45:18
14The fatted calfLuke 15:23, 27, 30
15Stranger in a strange landExodus 2:22
16Burning bushExodus 3:2
17A land flowing with milk and honeyExodus 3:8, 17, 13:5, 33:3; Jeremiah 11:5, 32:22; Ezekiel 20:6
18Let my people goExodus 5:1, 7:16, 8:1, 20, 21, 9:1, 13, 10:3, 4
19Flesh potsExodus 16:3
20An eye for an eye and a tooth for a toothExodus 21:24, Leviticus 24:20, Deuteronomy 19:21, Matthew 5:38
21Be sure your sin will find you outNumbers 32:23
22The apple of his eyeDeuteronomy 32:10, Zechariah 2:8
23The stars in their coursesJudges 5:20
24Butter in a lordly dishJudges 5:25
25The host of MidianJudges 7:8, 13, 15
26ShibbolethJudges 12:6
27Out of the strong came forth sweetnessJudges 14:14
28He smote them hip and thighJudges 15:8
29Philistine1 Samuel 17:8-57, 18:6, 19:5, 21:9, 22:10, 2 Samuel 21:17
30A man after his own heart1 Samuel 13:14
31Like David and Jonathan1 Samuel 18:1
32Passing the love of women2 Samuel 1:26
33How are the mighty fallen2 Samuel 1:19, 25, 27
34Ewe lambLeviticus 14:10, Numbers 6:14, 2 Samuel 12:3
35Man of Belial1 Samuel 24:25, 2 Samuel 16:7, 20:1
36Jezebel1 Kings 16:31, 18:4,13, 19:1-2, 25:1-25, 2 Kings 9:7-37, Revelation 2:20
37Queen of Sheba1 Kings 10:4, 10, 13, 2 Chronicles 9:1,3,9,12
38Wisdom of Solomon1 Kings 4:34, 2 Chronicles 9:3, Matthew 12:42, Luke 11:31
39The half was not told me1 Kings 10:7
40Girded up his loins1 Kings 18:46
41Drew a bow at a venture1 Kings 22:34, 2 Chronicles 18:33
42Job's comfortersJob 16:2
43The patience of JobJames 5:11
44I am escaped with the skin of my teethJob 19:20
45The price of wisdom is above rubiesJob 28:18
46LeviathanJob 41:1, Psalm 74:14, 104:26, Isaiah 27:1
47Go to the ant thou sluggard; consider her ways, and be wiseProverbs 6:6
48Spare the rod and spoil the childProverbs 13:24
49A word in seasonIsaiah 50:4
50Vanity of vanitiesEcclesiastes 1:2, 12:8
51To everything there is a season, and a time to every purposeEcclesiastes 3:1
52The race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strongEcclesiastes 9:11
53Of making many books there is no endEcclesiastes 12:12
54I am the Rose of SharonSong of Songs 2:1
55A garden inclosedSong of Songs 4:12
56The little foxesSong of Songs 2:15
57Many waters cannot quench loveSong of Songs 8:7
58Beat their swords into plowsharesIsaiah 2:4, Micah 4:3
59Grind the faces on the poorIsaiah 3:15
60The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kidIsaiah 11:6
61Let us eat and drink; for tomorrow we dieIsaiah 22:13, 1 Corinthians 15:32
62Set thine house in order2 Kings 20:1, Isaiah 38:1
63A voice crying in the wildernessMatthew 3:3, Mark 1:3, Luke 3:4, John 1:23
64No peace for the wickedIsaiah 48:22, Isaiah 57:21
65See eye to eyeIsaiah 52:8
66Cut off out of the land of the livingIsaiah 53:8
67Balm in GileadJeremiah 8:2
68Can the leopard change his spots?Jeremiah 13:12
69The parting of the waysEzekiel 21:21
70A Daniel in the lions' denDaniel 6:16
71They have sown the wind, and they shall reap the whirlwindHosea 8:7
72Sodom and GomorrahGenesis 13:10, 14:10-11, 18:20, 19:28, Isaiah 13:19, Jeremiah 49:18, Amos 4:11, Matthew 10:15, Mark 6:11, 2 Peter 2:6, Jude 7
73Man shall not live by bread aloneMatthew 4:4, Luke 4:4
74Get thee behind me SatanMatthew 16:23, Mark 8:33, Luke 4:8
75The salt of the earthMatthew 5:13
76Hide your light under a bushelMatthew 5:15, Mark 4:21, Luke 11:33
77Turn the other cheekMatthew 5:39
78Go the extra mileMatthew 5:41
79Moth and rust doth corruptMatthew 6:19
80Cast your pearls before swineMatthew 7:6
81Wolf in sheep's clothingMatthew 7:15
82Weeping and gnashing of teethMatthew 8:12, 22:13, 24:51, 25:30, Luke 13:28
83Gadarene swineMark 5:1-13, Luke 8:26-33
84New wine in old bottlesMark 9:17, Luke 5:37
85Shake off the dust of your feetMatthew 10:14, Mark 6:11, Luke 9:5
86He that is not with me is against meMatthew 12:30, Luke 11:23
87Fell upon stony groundMark 4:5, 16
88A prophet is not without honour, save in his own countryMatthew 13:57, Mark 6:4
89The crumbs from the tableMatthew 15:27, Mark 7:28, Luke 16:21
90Signs of the timesMatthew 16:3
91Den of thievesMatthew 21:13, Mark 11:17, Luke 19:46
92PhariseeMatthew 23:6, Luke 7:39, 11:37-38, 18:10-11, Acts 5:34, 23:6, 26:5, Philippians 3:5
93Whited sepulchreMatthew 23:37
94Wars and rumours of warsMathew 24:6, Mark 13:7
95Good and faithful servantMatthew 25:21,23
96Separate the sheep from the goatsMatthew 25:32
97I wash my hands of itMatthew 27:24
98the sabbath was made for man, and not man for the sabbathMark 2:27
99Suffer the little childrenMatthew 19:14, Mark 10:14, Luke 18:16
100The widow's miteMark 12:42, Luke 21:2
101Physician heal thyselfLuke 4:23
102Good SamaritanLuke 10:30-37
103Passed by on the other sideLuke 10:31-32
104Grapes of wrathRevelation 14:18-19
105Lost sheepPsalm 119:176, Jeremiah 50:6, Matthew 10:6, 15:24
106Prodigal sonLuke 15:11-32
107A great gulf fixedLuke 16:26
108Whose shoe latchet I am not worthy to unlooseMark 1:7, Luke 3:16, John 1:27
109Cast the first stoneJohn 8:7
110Jesus weptJohn 11:35
111Greater love hath no man than thisJohn 15:13
112Doubting ThomasJohn 20:25
113Road to DamascusActs 9:3-8
114Through a glass darkly1 Corinthians 13:12
115Death where is thy sting?1 Corinthians 15:55
116A thorn in the flesh2 Corinthians 12:7
117Fallen from graceGalatians 5:4
118Filthy lucre1 Timothy 3:3,8, Titus 1:7, 1 Peter 5:2
119The root of all evil1 Timothy 6:10
120Fight the good fight1 Timothy 6:12
121All flesh is as grassIsaiah 40:6, 1 Peter 1:24
122The weaker vessel1 Peter 3:7
123I am the Alpha and the OmegaRevelation 1:8,11, 21:6, 22:13
124ArmageddonRevelation 16:16
125De profundis (Out of the depths)Psalm 130:1
126Quo vadis (Whither goest thou)John 16:5
127Rain on the just and the unjustMatthew 5:45

10 October 2006

David Snoke's "A Biblical Case for an Old Earth"

David Snoke is a physics professor at the University of Pittsburgh and an elder in the Presbyterian Church in America. His latest book is A Biblical Case for an Old Earth.

Facing the facts

First of all, I must say that I like the way Dr. Snoke is thinking, when he says:

We must face the facts: if the Bible is wrong, utterly wrong, about the history of our origins, then we should dump it. (p.120)
Of course the Bible is wrong, utterly wrong, about the history of our origins (and just about everything else). But Dr. Snoke is reluctant to dump it. His challenge, then, is to try to find a way, any way, to interpret the Bible so that it does not conflict with science.
In many people's eyes, I have probably lost before I begin, because no matter what I argue from the Bible, they will say, "But you have come up with this just because you want the Bible to agree with science." I freely confess to this charge. (p.9)

Saying as little as possible

Snoke's little book is remarkable for how little it says about the history of life or the age of the earth. You'd think that a book about an old earth would say how old it is. But if the author has an opinion on the subject, he doesn't say so in his book. The closest he comes is this:

In this chapter [Chapter 2: The Scientific Case] I have argued that the world looks as though animals and plants have been living and dying for millions of years. (p.43)
From which, I guess, he (sort of) thinks that life on earth is at least several million years old. It seems that Dr. Snoke, like Ann Coulter, is not particularly interested in the details.

Here are just a few questions that he doesn't address:

  • How long has life existed on earth?
  • How old is the earth?
  • How old is the universe?
  • Is the fossil record reliable and what does it say?
  • How long have humans existed?
  • Were all of the species created in the beginning, or did God intervene periodically by creating a bunch of new species while causing others to go extinct?
Old Earth Creationism

Throughout the book, Dr. Snoke makes it clear that although he accepts an old earth, he rejects evolution.

Many people seem to assume that if the earth is as old as science indicates, and animals have lived and died during that time, then evolution must have occurred. Not so! (p.44)

An old-earth view is not synonymous with evolution. (p.193)

...evolution, which I reject... (p.164)

Lord of the Fleas

Dr. Snoke spends two chapters on the important scientific question of whether animals suffered and died before Adam and Eve sinned. Evangelical Christians are divided on this issue. I discussed his views in a previous post (For thy pleasure they were created), so I’ll skip over them here, except to say that he believes that God purposefully designed animals to prey on one another from the very beginning.

God … is not just the way we would like him to be. We may hate the wrath of God, but we cannot say it is illogical to believe in it. What is illogical is to believe in a God who would never harm a flea when we see lots of harmed fleas around us. (p.96)
Utterly wrong non-negotiables

Dr. Snoke admits that he "wants the Bible to agree with science." But he says there are three biblical "nonnegotiables" which science cannot contradict.

  1. "Adam was one, real, historical man."
    (Adam was specially created by God just like it says in Genesis. And all humans are descended from him.)

  2. "Noah was one, real, historical man."
    (Snoke thinks the flood was local, making biogeography a bit less embarrassing. But he insists "that the flood killed every other person on earth except those on the ark, so that every person today is descended from one of Noah's sons.")

  3. "Life in al its diversity was created by sovereign, miraculous acts of God."
    (Evolution did not occur.)
Dumping the Bible

"If the Bible is wrong, utterly wrong, about the history of our origins, then we should dump it.” His non-negotiables are utterly wrong about the history of our origins. I guess it’s time to dump the Bible.

05 October 2006

The Book of Elvis

Well, this is big news. Elvis Presley had a copy of the Book of Mormon!

It had something to do with Donny and Marie, but for the details you'll just have to wait for the movie (The Tears of a King). Yep, they're going to make a whole damned movie on it, based on the King's copy of the worst book ever written.

Elvis' copy is now owned by the LDS church, and they say he had notes all over it. Like everywhere (there are 89 occurrences) that the word "king" is used, it is underlined.

I don't care what Penn&Teller say, you've got to be on drugs to do something like that.

04 October 2006

A Gay Antichrist?

Remember when Jerry Falwell said that the Antichrist is a Jewish male that is alive today? Well, now we find out that the Antichrist is also gay! And it seems that the both ideas (that AC is Jewish and gay) are taken from the very same verse.
Neither shall he regard the God of his fathers, nor the desire of women, nor regard any god: for he shall magnify himself above all. Daniel 11:37

That's a lot of mileage out of one verse!

But there shouldn't be any doubt about the identity of the antichrist. The word "antichrist" occurs only four times in the Bible, but those four verses tell us all we need to know.

Little children, it is the last time: and as ye have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time. 1 John 2:18

Who is a liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist, that denieth the Father and the Son. 1 John 2:22

And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world. 1 John 4:3

For many deceivers are entered into the world, who confess not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist. 2 John 1:7

Whoever denies that Jesus is the Christ is an antichrist. That would include all Jews, gay or straight, along with about 4 billion others. It certainly includes me.

I am a proud member of the antichrist community.