14 December 2011

God hath done these things: The Apocrypha to the Rescue!

I've struggled a bit lately with the Book of Esther.

It is filled with preemptive war and genocidal ethnic cleansing, that the author clearly supported and glorified. But since the book makes no mention of God, directly or indirectly, it's difficult to blame God for the killings -- or claim that he inspired them, or even approved of them, for that matter. (Except in the sense that since God inspired the author of the Book of Esther, he approved of whatever the author approved.)

Which is why the apocrypha comes in so handy.

Here are the first words of the additions to the Book of Esther, as taken from the Catholic Douay-Reims version.

Then Mardochai said: God hath done these things.

The folks at DRBO.org add this helpful note to Esther 10:4.

[4] Then Mardochai: Here St. Jerome advertiseth the reader, that what follows is not in the Hebrew, but is found in the septuagint Greek edition, which the seventy-two interpreters translated out of the Hebrew, or added by the inspiration of the Holy Ghost.

So we know that Esther 10:4 was added through the inspiration of the Holy Ghost, and that therefore, God was responsible for the killings in the Book of Esther.
(See also 10:10, 12; 11:12; 13:8, 18, 14:1-2, 15:3, 5; 16:10-18, and 21)

Thank God for the Apocrypha!

For some time now, I have wanted to add the Apocrypha (or what Catholics call the Deutero-canonical books) to the SAB. I've finally started with the book of Esther.

As I go along, I'll add the apocryphal killings to the list of killings in the Catholic Bible. That way, I'll have two lists: one for the Protestants and one for the Catholics.

08 December 2011

Happy Bo Day!

Sorry for not posting lately, but I have a good excuse. I've spent the last couple weeks in Hawaii.

And here's what I have to show for it.

A Bo (or Bodhi) tree, the tree that the Buddha sat under when he achieved enlightenment.

Well, OK, it wasn't this tree that Buddha supposedly sat under on the eighth day of the 12th lunar month (December 8th this year, I guess) in 596 BCE while being tempted by Mara (the Buddhist version of Satan) and his daughters, before driving them all away with an earthquake. But it was a tree of this species: Ficus religiosa.
(The tree in my picture was taken at the Foster Botanical Garden in Honolulu.)

After getting enlightened, the Buddha stood in front of the sacred tree and stared, without blinking, for an entire week.

Me, I just took a picture.

19 November 2011

Christ on a Dog's Ass

Or it might be Muhammad (pb&jbuh). It's hard to tell those two apart.

Via Why Evolution is True

11 November 2011

The Esther Killings: Do they belong on God's list?

Esther is one of the two books in the Bible in which God is not even mentioned (the other is the Song of Solomon).

Maybe that's why some Bible believers, such as Martin Luther, believed that it should be excluded from the Bible. In Luther's case, however, it probably had more to do with his extreme antisemitism. Because the point of the Book of Esther, if it has a point, is this: God loves Jews more than everyone else and anyone who has ever had a bad thought about them should be killed. (And Luther had lots of bad thoughts about Jews.)

There is a whole series of killings in Esther, mostly to avenge antisemitism. But since the Book of Esther does not mention God's name, it's difficult to blame him directly for these killings. Still, since Esther is included in the Bible, the God of the Bible must approve of the killings, insofar as a nonexistent being can approve of anything.

The Book of Esther also has an important message for women: your job in life is to look pretty and to please, honor, and obey men. If that means dancing naked in front of your husband's drunken guests, dance naked. Be an Esther, not a Vashti. (Which is, of course, bad advice. Vashti is the hero of the Book of Esther and she gets my vote for the best person in the Bible.)

So what about the Esther killings? Do they belong on God's list? Let me know what you think in the comments.

Here's the story.

After the Esther wins the dancing-naked-before-the-king contest, she goes on a killing spree.
She begins by telling the king to hang two men that her friend (Mordecai) said wanted to kill the king.
Two of the king's chamberlains ... sought to lay hands on the king Ahasuerus. And the thing was known to Mordecai, who told it unto Esther the queen; and Esther certified the king ... And when inquisition was made of the matter, it was found out; therefore they were both hanged on a tree. Esther 2:21-23
Then, for some strange reason, the king told everyone in the kingdom to bow and show reverence to a guy named Haman.
All the king's servants ... bowed, and reverenced Haman: for the king had so commanded. Esther 3:2a
But Esther's Jewish friend Mordecai refused.
But Mordecai bowed not, nor did him reverence. Esther 3:2b
So Haman, did what any proper Bible villain would do: he tried to kill every Jew in the kingdom.
When Haman saw that Mordecai bowed not, nor did him reverence, then was Haman full of wrath ... Wherefore Haman sought to destroy all the Jews that were throughout the whole kingdom. Esther 3:5-6
Haman offered to give the king 10,000 talents (~300,000 kg) of silver if he would kill all the Jews. And the king said, "OK, that sounds like a good idea. Let's kill all the Jews."
Haman said unto king Ahasuerus ... let it be written that they may be destroyed: and I will pay ten thousand talents of silver.
And the king took his ring from his hand, and gave it unto Haman ... the Jews' enemy.
And the king said unto Haman, The silver is given to thee, the people also, to do with them as it seemeth good to thee. Esther 3:8-10
The king sent out a decree to all the provinces declaring a kingdom-wide Kill-the-Jews Day. It was to take place on the 13th day of the 12th month. "All Jews, both young and old, little children and women" were to be killed on that day.
Letters were sent by posts into all the king's provinces, to destroy, to kill, and to cause to perish, all Jews, both young and old, little children and women, in one day, even upon the thirteenth day of the twelfth month. Esther 3:13
Haman, at his wife and friends' suggestion, decides to begin by building a 25 meter tall gallows to hang Mordecai on.
Then said Zeresh his wife and all his friends unto him, Let a gallows be made of fifty cubits high, and to morrow speak thou unto the king that Mordecai may be hanged thereon ... And the thing pleased Haman; and he caused the gallows to be made. Esther 5:14
Meanwhile, at one of the king's drunken parties, the king told Esther that he'd give her whatever she wanted, up to half the kingdom.
So the king and Haman came to banquet with Esther the queen. And the king said again unto Esther on the second day at the banquet of wine ... what is thy request? and it shall be performed, even to the half of the kingdom. Esther 7:1-3
Esther asks the king not to murder all the Jews. And the king says, "Huh? Who is trying to kill the Jews?" (The king had completely forgotten that he had ordered the genocide of the Jews back in chapter 3.)
The king ... said unto Esther ... Who is he, and where is he, that durst presume in his heart to do so? And Esther said, The adversary and enemy is this wicked Haman. Esther 7:5-6
So the king hangs Haman high.
So they hanged Haman on the gallows that he had prepared for Mordecai. Then was the king's wrath pacified. Esther 7:10
After hanging Haman at Esther's request, the king gave Esther (and her buddy Mordecai) Haman's ring and house.
The king took off his ring, which he had taken from Haman, and gave it unto Mordecai. And Esther set Mordecai over the house of Haman.
I have given Esther the house of Haman, and him they have hanged upon the gallows, because he laid his hand upon the Jews. Esther 8:1-7
Then, at Esther's request, the king ordered a preemptive strike on all 127 provinces from India to Ethiopia. Everyone who planned to kill Jews will be killed by Jews, along with their wives and children. And all this killing is to take place on a single day -- the day after the first decree ordered all the Jews to be killed. (How are the Jews to figure out who planned to kill them and who didn't? Were they supposed to just kill everyone and let God sort it out? And why did they need to kill the women and children?)
"Mordecai commanded ... the deputies and rulers of the provinces which are from India unto Ethiopia, an hundred twenty and seven provinces ... to destroy, to slay and to cause to perish, all the power of the people and province that would assault them, both little ones and women.
Upon one day in all the provinces ... the Jews should be ready against that day to avenge themselves on their enemies. Esther 8:9-13
On the day when all Jew-haters (and their families) were killed by Jews, "the Jews had light, and gladness, and joy, and honour ... a feast and a good day." (Esther 8:16-17a)

But many of the Jew-haters became Jews rather than be killed for wanting to kill Jews.
Many of the people of the land became Jews; for the fear of the Jews fell upon them. Esther 8:17b
So the Jews kill everyone who ever had a bad thought toward them, along with their Jew-hating families.
The Jews had rule over them that hated them. The Jews gathered themselves together in their cities throughout all the provinces ... to lay hand on such as sought their hurt: and no man could withstand them; for the fear of them fell upon all people.
The Jews smote all their enemies with the stroke of the sword, and slaughter, and destruction, and did what they would unto those that hated them. Esther 9:1-5
They killed 500 men in Shushan.
In Shushan the palace the Jews slew and destroyed five hundred men. Esther 9:6
They killed the ten sons of Haman.
The ten sons of Haman the son of Hammedatha, the enemy of the Jews, slew they. Esther 9:10
Esther asks the king to kill all those who planned to kill the Jews and hang the already dead bodies of Haman's ten sons on trees.
The king said unto Esther the queen, The Jews have slain and destroyed five hundred men in Shushan the palace, and the ten sons of Haman ... what is thy request further? ... Then said Esther ... let it be granted to the Jews which are in Shushan to do to morrow also according unto this day's decree, and let Haman's ten sons be hanged.
And they hanged Haman's ten sons. Esther 9:12-13
Then the Jews killed another 300 men at Shushan,
The Jews ... slew three hundred men at Shushan. Esther 9:15
And 75,000 other Jew-haters.
The other Jews ... slew of their foes seventy and five thousand. Esther 9:16
The day after killing all the Jew-haters and their families, the Jews took a day off to party. (This is the origin of the Jewish holiday of Purim.)
On the fourteenth day of the same rested they, and made it a day of feasting and gladness. Esther 9:17
And then, at Esther's request, the king hung Haman and his ten sons (again).
When Esther came before the king, he commanded ... that he [Haman] and his sons should be hanged on the gallows. Esther 9:25
After the killings, "Modecai the Jew was ... great among the Jews ... seeking the wealth of" the Jews. And so ends the Book of Esther.

Here is a list of the Esther killings:

People killed Number Esther verse
The two treasonous chamberlains 2 2:21-23
Haman 1 7:10
Men in Sushan 500 9:6
Haman's sons 10 9:12-13
More men in Sushan 300 9:15
People who planned to kill Jews on Kill-the-Jews Day 75,000 9:16
Total 75,813

December 14 note: See God hath done these things: The Apocrypha to the Rescue! for the happy resolution to this problem.

God's next killing: Job’s children and slaves

03 November 2011

It's definitely Muhammad (peanut butter and jelly be upon him)
Who else would hang out in a testicular tumor?

Science & Religion: Are They Compatible?
The Jerry Coyne / John Haught Debate

You simply must watch this debate. No excuses.

Okay, Okay. I know it's kind of long, and you're a busy person. So go ahead and skip the first 28 and half minutes. You won't miss much.

2011 Bale Boone Symposium - Science & Religion: Are They Compatible? from UK Gaines Center on Vimeo.

For more on the debate controversy, see Jerry Coyne's blog.

28 October 2011

Saving the Seed of Cain from the Flood of Noah

In my last post I described how Mormon Scripture explains the origin of black people. (They are the seed of Cain.)

Which is all very interesting. But if you are foolish enough to accept that racist explanation, you still have a problem. How did the seed of Cain survive Noah's flood?

Well, lucky for you, my racist friend, Mormon Scripture has the answer!

You've probably seen the pictures of Noah's family. They look a lot like this.

A nice, happy, white family. But if they were all white, where'd all the black people come from?

And that's where the Book of Abraham comes in.

Unless you're a Mormon, you've probably never heard of the Book of Abraham. It's not in that little blue book that the Mormon missionaries gave you (and that you've never looked at since). And Mormons don't like to talk about it much because it's horribly embarrassing to them. But it's in the Pearl of Great Price and is, therefore, a part of Mormon Scripture.

In it we learn that Pharaoh was descended from the testicles of Ham.

Pharaoh ... was a descendant from the loins of Ham, and was ... of the blood of the Canaanites by birth ... thus the blood of the Canaanites was preserved in the land. Abraham 1:20-22

(Ham was the guy who saw his father, Noah, drunk and naked in Genesis 9:20-25. For this crime, God cursed the descendants of Canaan, Ham's son, with slavery.)

Abe also tells us that Egypt was discovered (while it was still under water from the flood) by one of Ham's daughters, Egyptus. (She was named after her mother, Ham's wife, who was also named Egyptus, and who was, apparently, a black woman.)

The land of Egypt being first discovered by a woman, who was the daughter of Ham, and the daughter of Egyptus which in the Chaldean signifies Egypt, which signifies that which is forbidden. When this woman discovered the land it was under water, who afterward settled her sons in it; and thus, from Ham, sprang that race which preserved the curse in the land. Abraham 1:23-24

So Pharaoh was the son of Egyptus, who was the daughter of Ham and his wife Egyptyus, from "that race which preserved the curse in the land."

According to Mormon Scripture, then, black people are doubly cursed: they are the seed of Cain and the seed of Ham. Cursed by God for Cain's murder of Abel and cursed again because Ham saw his father (Noah) drunk and naked.

God darkened their skin and made them slaves, but that wasn't the worst of it. He also excluded them from the Mormon priesthood.

Pharaoh, the eldest son of Egyptus, the daughter of Ham ... Noah ... cursed him as pertaining to the Priesthood ... Pharaoh being of that lineage by which he could not have the right of Priesthood. Abraham 1:26-27

Until he changed his mind in 1978.

26 October 2011

The mark of (Herman) Cain: What Mitt Romney believes about black people

It starts with the book of Genesis.

Remember the story about Adam and Eve, and Cain and Abel? (Genesis 4:1-17)

Adam and Eve have sex, Eve gets pregnant, and Cain ("a man from the Lord") is born.

And Adam knew Eve his wife; and she conceived, and bare Cain, and said, I have gotten a man from the LORD. Genesis 4:1

In the next verse, another son (Abel) is born.

And she again bare his brother Abel. Genesis 4:2a

Cain becomes a farmer, Abel tends sheep, and each offers a sacrifice to God. Cain gave God the fruit of his crops; Abel killed some firstborn sheep and gave God all the fat. God liked the fat more than the fruit. (How could they tell? Did God eat the fat while they watched?)

Abel was a keeper of sheep, but Cain was a tiller of the ground. Cain brought of the fruit of the ground an offering unto the LORD ... Abel ... the firstlings of his flock and of the fat thereof. And the LORD had respect unto Abel and to his offering: But unto Cain and to his offering he had not respect. Genesis 4:2b-5a

That made Cain mad and sad. So he talked things over with his little brother, Abel.

Then he killed him.

And Cain was very wroth, and his countenance fell.
Cain talked with Abel his brother ... and slew him. Genesis 4:4b-8

God dropped by and asked Cain where his brother was. Cain said, "I don't know. Am I my brother's keeper?"

And the LORD said unto Cain, Where is Abel thy brother? And he said, I know not: Am I my brother's keeper? Genesis 4:9

God cursed Cain for killing Abel, making him a fugitive and vagabond.

Now art thou cursed ... a fugitive and a vagabond shalt thou be in the earth. Genesis 4:11-12

Cain told God that he was worried about people killing him, so God put a mark on Cain warning people not to kill him or vengeance would be taken on them seven times. (What were God and Cain worried about? There were only two other people alive at the time -- Cain's parents.)

Cain said unto the LORD ... every one that findeth me shall slay me. And the LORD said unto him, Therefore whosoever slayeth Cain, vengeance shall be taken on him sevenfold. And the LORD set a mark upon Cain, lest any finding him should kill him. Genesis 4:13-15

Then Cain went off east of Eden in the land of Nod, got married, raised a family, built a city, and did all the things you'd expect a fugitive and vagabond to do on a planet with a total population of 3.

And Cain went out from the presence of the LORD, and dwelt in the land of Nod, on the east of Eden. And Cain knew his wife; and she conceived, and bare Enoch: and he builded a city, and called the name of the city, after the name of his son, Enoch. Genesis 4:16-17

But what was the mark that God put on Cain? Was it a sign on his forehead saying, "I killed my brother, but don't kill me or God will kill you seven times"? The Bible doesn't say.

Lucky for us and Mitt Romney, Mormon Scripture does! (More or less, anyway.)

There are four books in Mormon Scripture: The Bible, the Book of Mormon, the Doctrine and Covenants, and the Pearl of Great Price. And one of the books in the Pearl of Great Price is the Book of Moses.

Here's what Moses had to say about the seed of Cain.

And Enoch also beheld the residue of the people which were the sons of Adam; and they were a mixture of all the seed of Adam save it was the seed of Cain, for the seed of Cain were black, and had not place among them. Moses 7:22

So Mormon scripture says that the seed of Cain are black and God put a mark on Cain. Someone should ask Mitt Romney if the two things are one and the same.

Maybe it should be (Herman) Cain.

19 October 2011

2 Nephi 10: Wicked Jews, Blessed Gentiles, and a Completely Mormon America (with a Mormon president)

Jacob woke up the next day and started preaching again. He predicted that many Nephite children would "perish in the flesh because of unbelief." But not to worry, God will somehow restore the dead little unbelievers by forcing them to believe -- or something like that.

Many of our children shall perish in the flesh because of unbelief, nevertheless, God will be merciful unto many; and our children shall be restored, that they may come to that which will give them the true knowledge of their Redeemer. 2 Nephi 10:2

And now, for the first time, God reveals the last name of the Redeemer -- Christ.

Christ -- for in the last night the angel spake unto me that this should be his name. 2 Nephi 10:3a

Which is really cool, isn't it? An angel revealed Jesus H. Christ's last name 2600 years before Jesus was born!

(In the 1830 version of the Book of Mormon, Jesus' name is revealed in a bit earlier. 1 Nephi 12:18 read, "...Jesus Christ, which is the Lamb of God, of whom the Holy Ghost beareth record..." The LDS church changed "Jesus Christ" to "Messiah" so the angel wouldn't have to reveal it twice.)

The angel also told Jacob about Jews. They are, he said, the most wicked people on earth. Only Jews would crucify God.

The Jews ... are the more wicked part of the world; and they shall crucify him ... there is none other nation on earth that would crucify their God. For should the mighty miracles be wrought among other nations they would repent, and know that he be their God. 2 Nephi 10:3b-4

And because Jews are so darned evil, God will send them destruction, famines, diseases, and bloodshed. Most will be killed and the rest scattered.

Because of their iniquities, destructions, famines, pestilences, and bloodshed shall come upon them; and they who shall not be destroyed shall be scattered among all nations. 2 Nephi 10:6

But someday the Jews will believe in Jesus and return to Israel. (The prophecy was fulfilled in 1948 when every Jew became Christian and Israel became an independent state.)

When the day cometh that they shall believe in me, that I am Christ ... they shall be restored ... unto the lands of their inheritance. 2 Nephi 10:7

In the meantime, God will make the Gentiles (white, non-Catholic, Christian Americans) great (in the eyes of him, saith he).

The Gentiles shall be great in the eyes of me, saith God. 2 Nephi 10:8

The Gentile kings will be the Nephites' nursing fathers and their queens their nursing mothers. God will bless the Gentiles, while giving the land (America) to the Nephites (Mormons).

The kings of the Gentiles shall be nursing fathers unto them, and their queens shall become nursing mothers ... this land, said God, shall be a land of thine inheritance, and the Gentiles shall be blessed upon the land. 2 Nephi 10:9-10

America will be "a land of liberty" for Gentiles, with no kings allowed. (Not even nursing kings?)

This land shall be a land of liberty unto the Gentiles, and there shall be no kings upon the land. 2 Nephi 10:11

God will fortify this land (America) against all other nations and whoever is against Zion (the Mormon church) is a dead, anti-God, cosmopolitan whore.

I will fortify this land against all other nations. And he that fighteth against Zion shall perish, saith God. 2 Nephi 10:12-13
He that fighteth against Zion, both Jew and Gentile, both bond and free, both male and female, shall perish; for they are they who are the whore of all the earth; for they who are not for me are against me, saith our God. 2 Nephi 10:16

Non-Mormon Americans ("Gentiles") are the new Jews and will be both naughty and nice to Mormons, depending on how God feels at the moment.

I will afflict thy seed by the hand of the Gentiles; nevertheless, I will soften the hearts of the Gentiles, that they shall be like unto a father to them; wherefore, the Gentiles shall be blessed and numbered among the house of Israel. 2 Nephi 10:18

God blessed America and consecrated it to the seed of Nephi (Mormons). The United States is God's favorite country, and someday all Americans will worship him and become Mormons.

I will consecrate this land unto thy seed, and them who shall be numbered among thy seed, forever, for the land of their inheritance; for it is a choice land, saith God unto me, above all other lands, wherefore I will have all men that dwell thereon that they shall worship me, saith God. 2 Nephi 10:19

And make Mitt Romney their president.

14 October 2011

Mitt Romney believes that all non-Mormon sects are an abomination in the sight of God

OK, he didn't actually say that, but that's what he believes -- if he is, as he claims to be, a member of the LDS church.

There can be no doubt about this one. Here's why.

A Mormon believes that all scripture is inspired by God and is, therefore, true. One of the writings in LDS scripture is The Pearl of Great Price, which includes Joseph Smith -- History.

In his "History", Joseph Smith describes a meeting he had when he was 14 years old with God and Jesus. Joseph was confused about the various Christian sects, so he asked God to help him sort it all out. Here's what happened according to Mormon scripture.

Exerting all my powers to call upon God ... I saw a pillar of light exactly over my head, above the brightness of the sun, which descended gradually until it fell upon me. 16

A light, brighter than the sun, fell on Joseph, and two brightly shining men appeared above him in the air. One of them said to him, while pointing at the other shiny guy, "Joseph, this is my beloved son. Hear him!" (Jesus's dad is on the right.)

When the light rested upon me I saw two Personages, whose brightness and glory defy all description, standing above me in the air. One of them spake unto me, calling me by name and said, pointing to the other—This is My Beloved Son. Hear Him! 17

Which was really fortunate, since Joseph wanted to find out which of the Christian sects was right. Now that God and his son (Jesus, I'm thinking) had showed up, Joseph could just ask them directly. If anyone would know, they would.

My object in going to inquire of the Lord was to know which of all the sects was right, that I might know which to join. ... Therefore ... I asked the Personages who stood above me in the light, which of all the sects was right (for at this time it had never entered into my heart that all were wrong)—and which I should join. 18

The more talkative one (Jesus' dad?) told Joseph that he should "join none of them, for they were all wrong" and that "all their creeds were an abomination in his sight."

I was answered that I must join none of them, for they were all wrong; and the Personage who addressed me said that all their creeds were an abomination in his sight. 19

So if Mitt Romney is a Mormon, he believes that all non-Mormon Christian beliefs are wrong and an abomination in God's sight.

Either that or he believes that Joseph Smith was just making stuff up when he wrote Mormon scripture.

Someone should ask him which it is.

11 October 2011

Injustice and the Bible: An analysis by book

Here's a plot of the verses that I've highlighted at the SAB that seem unjust (to me, anyway).

Matthew, Revelation, Luke, and Romans have the most injustices in the New Testament; and Jeremiah and Deuteronomy have the most in the Old.

Here's the Injustice Index plot, with the usual definition (highlighted passages / 100 verses).

Some of the smallest books have the largest Injustice Index, since although they only have a few unjust passages, they also have only a few dozen verses. Thus, 2 John, Jude, Titus, 2 Thessalonians, and 2 Peter compete with Revelation for the highest Injustice Index in the New Testament; and Amos, Zephaniah, Malachi, Obadiah, and Micah edge out Deuteronomy for the prize in the Old.

And the log-log plot with the more unjust books identified.

21 September 2011

Women and the Bible: An analysis by book

Just one more analysis before I take a break for a few days.

I should mention, in case you haven't already noticed, that when I say "Women," I mean "Insults to women, misogyny, etc." The Bible doesn't have much nice to say about women, but when it does, I put it in the "Good Stuff." The same is true for the other categories, except for "Interpretation" and "Sex."

Here is the overall plot.

First Corinthians has the most insults to women in the New Testament, while Genesis, Leviticus, and Ezekiel have the most in the Old.

The Women Index is defined in the usual way -- Insults per 100 verses.

First Timothy, Titus, and First Peter have the highest WI in the New Testament, and Hosea is highest in the Old.

Here is the log-log plot for Women.

I'll finish the analyses next week when I get back.

Biblical Sex: An analysis by book

I know, I said injustice was next, but the Family Values analysis got me thinking about sex. So that's what I'm doing now.

As you can see, there's not much sex in the New Testament. We've got the whore of Babylon in Revelation, Paul saying there's no time for sex because Jesus is coming in 1 Corinthians, and Jesus telling us to cut off whatever body part causes us to commit adultery in our hearts in Matthew. But that's about it.

No, for sex, stick with the Old Testament. The Song of Solomon, Genesis, Leviticus, and Ezekiel will keep you busy for a lifetime.

The Sex Index is defined in the usual way (Sexual encounters per 100 verses).

I think we have a winner here. Nothing beats the Song of Solomon for sex.

Biblical Family Values: An analysis by book

Here are the family values plots.

Matthew and Luke have the most Family Values in the New Testament and Genesis does in the Old.

And here's how it looks when size is accounted for. (Family Values Index is the number of Family Values per 100 verses.)

First Peter takes the FVI prize in the New Testament and Hosea, Esther, and Ruth win the Old Testament's gold, silver, and bronze Family Values medals.

And here is the log-log plot (minus the books with no family values).

Next: Injustice.

Cruelty in the Bible: An analysis by book

Here are the plots for Cruelty.

Revelation and Leviticus have the most cruelties in the New and Old Testaments, respectively. But notice that there are a few cruelty-free books in each. These won't show up in the log-log plot, since it is bad luck to take the log of zero.

Here is a plot of the Cruelty Index, which is defined in the usual way (Cruelties / 100 verses).

Revelation and Leviticus stay in first place even after adjusting for their relatively large sizes. These two are blood-red with cruelty.

And here's the log-log plot (without the cruelty-free books).

Next up: Family Values.

Contradictions in the Bible: An analysis by book

I promised in my last post that I would create and analyze a Boring Index for the books of the Bible, and I'll to get to that. But first, I thought I'd go through the categories in the SAB and do unto them as I did to the absurdities. So here it is for the contradictions.
(Thanks for the suggestions in the comments on the plots.)

First I'll plot the number of contradictions in each book by testament.

Notice that the gospels have the most contradictions in the New Testament, as does Genesis in the Old. No big surprise there. But they are also rather big books. What happens if we take size into account?

We can do that with the Contradiction Index, which is just the number of contradictions per 100 verses. Here's what that looks like.

There are some surprises here. James is the most contradictory book of the New Testament, with Malachi taking the gold in the Old.

And here's a log-log plot of the number of contradictions versus the number of verses.

And now on to cruelty!

20 September 2011

One Last Look at the Absurdities

In the comments, Adam suggested that I do a log-log plot of the absurdity data, which was an excellent idea. It separates the mass of points involving the small books of the Bible and tames down the big ones.

Here's the result with some of the more interesting books identified.
(Red = New Testament, Black = Old Testament)

Thanks Adam!

Another Look at the Absurdities in the Bible

Some of you were probably bothered by my last post on absurdities. Regression analysis is lots of fun, but what you really wanted was a Cleveland dot chart that would show at a glance the total number of absurdities in each book of the Bible. So I decided to make one for you.

So it turns out that Luke has the most absurdities in the New Testament, with Revelation a close second. Luke didn't show up as an outlier in the regression analysis since it also has the most verses in the New Testament.

What we need is an Absurdity Index that will take into account the number of absurdities and the number of verses.

And here's what I came up with.

Absurdity Index = 100 * Number of Absurdities / Number of Verses

Which is the number of absurdities per 100 verses.

Here's the Absurdity Index dot chart.

Now we see that Revelation is the clear winner for the New Testament, but Leviticus only gets the Old Testament's bronze medal for Absurdity. The little books of Jonah and Haggai are the most absurd, as measured by the Absurdity Index.

And what about the book of Psalms? It looked like a low outlier in the regression analysis, but now it's buried near the bottom with a bunch little books. Ezra and Nehemiah have the lowest AIs, but that's not because they're good; it's because they are so damned boring.

Which will be the topic of my next Biblical Statistics post: The Boring Index.

19 September 2011

Helping Believers Resolve Contradictions: A Biblically Correct Approach

Up to now I've mostly ignored contradictions. Oh, I list them, alright, but I don't focus on them, because they seem to me to be the least of the Bible's problems. Deuteronomy 13:6-10 is disgusting to everyone that reads it. And believers know better than to try to defend it or any of the thousands of other similarly unjustifiable passages. They focus on the contradictions instead.

And I've never seen a contradiction that a believer can't explain away in one way or another. Rarely, however, is a contradiction actually resolved with a straight answer.

So I've decided to help them out. I'm going to try to find Biblically Correct answers to all of the contradictions that I've listed. (They'll be given at the bottom of each contradiction.)

But first, I'll explain my approach. I begin with the believer's most sacred assumption, as stated in 2 Timothy 3:16: "All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof" etc.

So when scriptures disagree, I'll try to resolve the disagreement by using the scriptures themselves. I'll begin by listing the passages that favor each side of the contradiction. Then I'll count the number on each side and select the Biblically Correct answer by determining which side has the highest number of divinely inspired passages. Let the Holy Ghost vote on it, so to speak.

That should work for most contradictions, but what happens with a tie?

I don't have a simple answer to that, except to say that I will try to find a Biblically Correct way to resolve God's disagreement with himself.

So let's get started. Here is the first contradiction on the list.

How many men did the chief of David's captains kill?
2 Samuel 23:8
These be the names of the mighty men whom David had: The Tachmonite that sat in the seat, chief among the captains; the same was Adino the Eznite: he lift up his spear against eight hundred, whom he slew at one time. (KJV)

These are the names of David's mighty men: Josheb-Basshebeth, a Tahkemonite, was chief of the Three; he raised his spear against eight hundred men, whom he killed in one encounter. (NIV)

These are the names of the mighty men whom David had: Josheb-basshe'beth a Tah-che'monite; he was chief of the three; he wielded his spear against eight hundred whom he slew at one time. (RSV)
1 Chronicles 11:11
And this is the number of the mighty men whom David had; Jashobeam, an Hachmonite, the chief of the captains: he lifted up his spear against three hundred slain by him at one time. (KJV)

this is the list of David's mighty men: Jashobeam, a Hacmonite, was chief of the officers; he raised his spear against three hundred men, whom he killed in one encounter. (NIV)

This is an account of David's mighty men: Jasho'be-am, a Hach'monite, was chief of the three; he wielded his spear against three hundred whom he slew at one time. (RSV)

Note from the Oxford Annotated Bible for 2 Samuel 23:8-11: Josheb-basshebeth a Tachemonite is an error of a copyist; 1 Chr 11.11 has Jashobeam a Hachmonite. It has been proposed that the man's original name was Ishbaal (see 2.8 n. and 11.14-25 n.).

So according to the Oxford Annotated Bible, Jashobeam and Josheb-basshe'beth (and Ishbaal) are different names for the same person.

Darn! Wouldn't you know it? The very first contradiction is a tie. First Chronicles says one thing and Second Samuel another. How will we ever know how many guys old what's-his-name impaled on his spear? This is important stuff, too. God wants us to know the answer. That's why he put it in the Bible -- twice.

Well, luckily when different versions of the same story are told in 1 Chronicles and 2 Samuel, we know which divinely inspired story to believe. First Chronicles was written several centuries after Second Samuel and the Chronicler used 2 Samuel as a source, so any conflict between them is easily resolved. The Biblically Correct answer is from 2 Samuel.

And just like that, the first contradiction is resolved. The answer is 800.

Wasn't that fun?

18 September 2011

Absurdities in the Bible: An analysis by book

Now that I've completed another revision of the SAB, I thought I'd get back to everyone's favorite subject: Bible statistics.

One of the categories in the SAB is absurdities, and the current list has a total of 2165, which is more than any other biblical category. The list changes all the time, though, as I find more fun stuff in the Bible. But if I wait until it's finished to do an analysis, an analysis will never get done.

Now I'm sure you often ask yourself the question, "Which book in the Bible is the most absurd?" We all do. It can make you crazier than a Tea Party presidential candidate if you're not careful.

So let's try to answer it. We can begin by plotting the total number of absurdities in each book of the Bible versus the number of verses in the book. Here's the resulting graph.

The graph tells us a few things right away.

  1. Leviticus has the most absurdities (158).

  2. There are three books that have an unusual number of absurdities for their sizes. Two high (Revelation and Leviticus) and one low (Psalms).

  3. The number of absurdities increases with the number of verses in a more or less linear fashion. (The line on the graph is the zero intercept least squares regression model for the data after removing the three outliers.
    y = 0.0651 x, R2 = 0.9049.)

Since I knew some of you would ask for it, I repeated the analysis for each testament separately. Here's the graph for the Old.
(Model, outliers excluded: y = 0.0617 x, R2 = 0.8934)

And here's the New.
(Model, outlier excluded: y = 0.0770 x, R2 = 0.9622)

The separate models are similar to each other and to the combined model. The same outliers are present and the coefficients are of nearly equal magnitude. So that leaves us with this:

  1. Leviticus is the most absurd book in the Old Testament and Revelation is in the New. And the book of Psalms seems abnormally normal for such a large biblical book.

  2. Generally we can expect to find about 6.5 absurdities in each 100 verses of the Bible.

OK. But which book is the weirdest? Leviticus or Revelation?

Well, here are their numbers.

Absurdities Verses Absurdities per 100 verses
Leviticus 158 859 18.4
Revelation 94 404 23.3

So I guess I'd go with Revelation.

13 September 2011

2 Nephi 7-9: Tomorrow is a Latter Day

Jacob takes a break from his preaching (again) by throwing in a few more chapters from Isaiah so that 2400 years later the true (LDS) church will know the covenants that God has covenanted with the Jews.
And now, my beloved brethren, I have read these things that ye might know concerning the covenants of the Lord that he has covenanted with all the house of Israel. That he has spoken unto the Jews ... until the time comes that they shall be restored to the true church. 2 Nephi 9:1-2
But I'm going to skip all that. Isaiah sucks (the breasts of kings).

After the Isaiah break, Jacob returned to his 19th century, frontier American, Protestant sermon, which he delivered to the Nephites circa 550 BCE, warning them that they'll all burn in hell unless they repent, believe, and be baptized in the name of someone (Jesus H. Christ) who will not exist for another six centuries or so.
If they will not repent and believe in his name, and be baptized in his name ... they must be damned [to] hell ... the lake of fire and brimstone, which is endless torment. 2 Nephi 9:24-26
Then he takes off all his clothes and shakes them in front of his brethren, exposing himself in all of his glorious blood-free brightness to God's all-searching eye.
Behold, I take off my garments, and I shake them before you; I pray ... God ... view me with his all-searching eye ... that I stand with brightness before him, and am rid of your blood. 2 Nephi 9:44
After that Jacob is not only naked, he's also a bit tired, so he'll finish his sermon tomorrow.
And now, my brethren, I would speak unto you more; but on the morrow I will declare unto you the remainder of my words. Amen. 2 Nephi 9:54
Tomorrow is a Latter Day.

Blogging the Book of Mormon
Next Episode: 2 Nephi 10: Wicked Jews, Blessed Gentiles, and a Completely Mormon America (with a Mormon president)

30 August 2011

Michele Bachmann's favorite Bible story: Jonathan and his gay companion slaughter the entire Philistine army

No, not that gay companion, silly. Not David. Jonathan's other gay companion.

Here's Ms. Bachmann's version of the story. (It starts at 4:30.)

And here's what really happened according to the Bible (1 Samuel 14:1-14).
(As always, be sure to read the Brick Testament story.)

One day Jonathan and his armor bearer decided to go find some uncircumcised guys to kill. Who knows? Maybe God would help them.

Jonathan said to the young man that bare his armour, Come, and let us go over unto the garrison of these uncircumcised: it may be that the LORD will work for us. 1 Samuel 14:6

Jonathan's amorous armor bearer said to him, "Do whatever is in your heart. Whatever is in your heart is in my heart, too." (They had a very close, intimate relationship.)

So Jonathan told him his plan. They will go over to the Philistines and if they say, "Wait there and we'll come over to you," then Jonathan and his armor bearer will stay put. But if the Philistines say, "Come up to us, and we will show you something," then they will attack, knowing that God will help kill them.

Then said Jonathan, Behold, we will pass over unto these men, and we will discover ourselves unto them. If they say thus unto us, Tarry until we come to you; then we will stand still in our place, and will not go up unto them. But if they say thus, Come up unto us; then we will go up: for the LORD hath delivered them into our hand: and this shall be a sign unto us. 1 Samuel 14:8-10

So they did that. And when the Philistines saw them, they said, "Look the Hebrews have crawled out of the holes they were hiding in."

And both of them discovered themselves unto the garrison of the Philistines: and the Philistines said, Behold, the Hebrews come forth out of the holes where they had hid themselves. 1 Samuel 14:11

And then the Philistines said the magic words of doom, "Come on up and we'll show you a thing or two."

And the men of the garrison answered Jonathan and his armourbearer, and said, Come up to us, and we will shew you a thing. 1 Samuel 14:12a

When Jonathan heard that, he told his partner that God would help them kill the Philistines.

And Jonathan said unto his armourbearer, Come up after me: for the LORD hath delivered them into the hand of Israel. 1 Samuel 14:12b

So they crawled out of their hole and began to kill Philistines.

And Jonathan climbed up upon his hands and upon his feet, and his armourbearer after him: and they fell before Jonathan; and his armourbearer slew after him. 1 Samuel 14:12

They killed about 20 of them, all in an area of half an acre or so. Which is not too bad for a very first slaughter.

And that first slaughter, which Jonathan and his armourbearer made, was about twenty men, within as it were an half acre of land, which a yoke of oxen might plow. 1 Samuel 14:14

But it is quite different from Ms. Bachmann's story. In her version, Jonathan and his friend kill the entire Philistine army, not just 20 guys in a half-acre.

Here's what she says (6:30 in the video).

And what was amazing is that Jonathan and his compatriot soldier took the entire army down. ... That's what God is looking for today.

But she was sort of right. After the 1/2 acre slaughter, God sent an earthquake and then he forced the Philistines to kill each other.

And there was trembling ... and the earth quaked: so it was a very great trembling. ... The multitude melted away, and they went on beating down one another ... Every man's sword was against his fellow. 1 Samuel 14:15-20

I guess the point is the same, though. God wants us to kill uncircumcised people (Muslims, Catholics, Democrats, old people, the poor, etc.). He will do it himself if he has to, but he'd like our help. Otherwise he'll have to send earthquakes and hurricanes and then force us all to kill each other. And you wouldn't want that to happen, would you?

18 August 2011

Doug Wilson quotes Ezekiel 23:20 (NSFW)

"Yet she increased her whoring, remembering the days of her youth, when she played the whore in the land of Egypt and lusted after her paramours there, whose members were like those of donkeys, and whose issue was like that of horses. Thus you longed for the lewdness of your youth, when the Egyptians handled your bosom and pressed your young breasts." Ezekiel 23:19-21

Is that pornographic? Did we really need to know how the Assyrians were hung, and how they ejaculated? Well, apparently God thinks so. Every word is profitable, right? Doug Wilson: On Being a Tricky Dancer

Pastor Doug quoted this pornographic passage from Ezekiel to defend a guy named Mark Driscoll, who is the featured speaker at next month's Christ Church conference, right here in Moscow, Idaho.

You see, Mark Driscoll "sees things."

Jesus shows him X-rated movies of people in his congregation having sex.

Here, I'll let MD tell you about it.

But, hey, Doug says, if God can talk about donkey dicks and horse-like splooge in Ezekiel 23:20 (for no apparent reason), then Mark Driscoll can talk about his dirty movies at the Christ Church conference.

You can register for the conference here.

Christian New Wire: Sexpert Pastor Mark Driscoll is Told, 'Enough is Enough'
Pyromaniacs: Pornographic Divination
Pyromaniacs: Let's not dance around the real issue
The Christian World View - Mark Driscoll: Is He Qualified To Lead?

13 August 2011

Those who agree with Michele Bachmann shouldn't vote for her.

Here's why.

It all has to do with the question that Byron York asked Michele Bachmann at the debate last Thursday night.

In 2006, when you were running for Congress, you described a moment in your life when your husband said you should study for a degree in tax law. You said you hated the idea, and then you explained: "But the Lord said, be submissive. Wives, you are to be submissive to your husband." As president, would you be submissive to your husband?

It was a surprisingly fair and balanced question for a debate sponsored by Fox News.

Ms. Bachmann didn't answer the question, of course. Instead she said that she respected her husband and was proud of their 28 kids.

And yet she believes she should be submissive to her husband in everything, as though he were God himself. She believes this because she believes in the Bible and the Bible says exactly that.

Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body. Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing. Ephesians 5:22-24
Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as it is fit in the Lord. Colossians 3:18
Wives, be in subjection to your own husbands. 1 Peter 3:1
Teach the young women to be ... obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed. Titus 2:4-5

So a vote for Michelle Bachmann is not a vote for her; it's a vote for her husband, Marcus.

And that might be OK with Bachmann's supporters. Marcus is, by all accounts, as bat-shit crazy as his wife. He loves Jesus just as much as she does (maybe even more).

But to vote for Marcus you must vote for Michele, which is something the Bible does not permit.

I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence. For Adam was first formed, then Eve. And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression. 1 Timothy 2:12-14

A woman president would have authority over men, and thereby cause the word of God to be blasphemed. (If, as Doug Wilson says, Titus 2:5 means anything.)

So those who agree with Michele Bachmann shouldn't vote for her.
(Neither, of course, should anyone else.)

08 August 2011

What Jesus said about 'Job Creators'

As Jon Stewart points out, we are no longer allowed to say that rich people are rich. "You have to refer to them as 'job creators.' You can't even use the word 'rich'. You have to say, 'This chocolate cake is so moist and job creator.'"

Well then, here's what Jesus said about job creators.

Verily I say unto you, That a rich man job creator shall hardly enter into the kingdom of heaven. And again I say unto you, It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man job creator to enter into the kingdom of God. Matthew 19:23-24, Mark 10:25, Luke 18:25
Woe to you that are rich job creators! for ye have received your consolation. Luke 6:24
There was a certain rich man job creator, which was clothed in purple and fine linen, and fared sumptuously every day:

And there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, which was laid at his gate, full of sores,

And desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man's job creator's table: moreover the dogs came and licked his sores.

And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham's bosom: the rich man job creator also died, and was buried;

And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom.

And he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame.

But Abraham said, Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things: but now he is comforted, and thou art tormented. Luke 16:19-25

Clearly, according to Jesus, job creators are going to hell. Their best hope for salvation is higher taxes. The more we tax them, the greater their chance of making it through the eye of the needle.

So let's save the job creators by taxing the hell out of them.

02 August 2011

Jesus Christ: The Former Mighty Warrior of the United States Air Force

The US Air Force has discontinued its Christian-based training class for nuclear missile officers after a report by Truthout. I guess the Air Force no longer points to Jesus as a model for its mighty warriors.

Here is a slide that was used in the program's Power Point presentation.

And here is the full description of Jesus "Mighty Warrior" Christ from Revelation 19 (verses 11-17).

And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war.

His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself.

And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God.

And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean.

And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God.

And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.

And I saw an angel standing in the sun; and he cried with a loud voice, saying to all the fowls that fly in the midst of heaven, Come and gather yourselves together unto the supper of the great God; hat ye may eat the flesh of kings, and the flesh of captains, and the flesh of mighty men, and the flesh of horses, and of them that sit on them, and the flesh of all men.

Yep, that's Just War Jesus for you.

He makes war, has eyes of fire, with many crowns on his head, a name that nobody knows but himself, has clothes dripping with blood, has another name called "the Word of God," leads an army of heavenly soldiers with a sharp sword sticking out of his mouth and an iron rod in his hand with a third set of names ("King of Kings and Lord of Lords") tattooed on his thigh (or scrotum), smiting nations and feeding the flesh of all the resulting dead human bodies to the birds.

Now that's a guy who'd enjoy launching a nuclear-armed Intercontinental Ballistic Missile!

01 August 2011

The Exodus 30:15 debt limit "compromise"

The rich shall not give more, and the poor shall not give less than half a shekel. Exodus 30:15

OK, it might take more than half a shekel (~ $10) from each US taxpayer, but you get the idea. Each of us pays the same, whether rich or poor.

Take the military, for example. Each of the 100.6 million full-time employees chips in $6810 this year and we've got the wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Libya paid for. No sweat.

Then to pay off the debt (caused by unfunded wars and tax cuts for the wealthy), we each throw in another $142,000 or so. A piece of cake.

It might be a bit rough for for the average worker making $39,000 a year, but Oh well. We must protect our "Job Creators" (wealthy people).

The Bible tells us so.

23 July 2011

Gobsmacked by the nasty bits of the Bible

The Reverend Geraint ap lorwert, rector of the St Peter ad Vincula Church in Pennal, Wales, began re-reading the Bible in Lent and was "gobsmacked" by the cruelty that he found within. So he cut out the "nasty bits" and displayed them on what he calls "the wall of shame."

He also included whatever good bits he could find, burning the remaining scraps as a testament to the "cruel and vile God" of the Bible, saying "the King James Bible should be praised for its language but not for the God it represents."

The result is sort of a condensed, artistic version of the SAB.

20 July 2011

God has renamed Campus Crusade for Christ

It's now Cru.

“We believe wholeheartedly that God has given us this new name,” said Steve Sellers, vice president for the U.S. for Campus Crusade for Christ.

God gave the original name (Campus Crusade for Christ) to Bill Bright back in 1951, but God figures it's time to rename it now. Having the word "campus" or "crusade" or "Christ" in it just doesn't sound right to the big guy anymore.

So on Tuesday, God chose a new name from over 1600 suggested, using the same method that he used to replace Judas after Judas hung himself and/or splattered his guts on the ground: he put all the names in a hat and picked the winner.

And God picked "Cru."

God knows what "cru" means, but he's not telling. It isn't short for "Crusade," though, if that's what you're thinking. "Crusade is a 1970s kind of word," as Robert Stewart, the executive director of the Christian Service Center for Central Florida, explained. It's outdated and God doesn't like it anymore.

So now it's just "cru."
(Or maybe "Cru for you-know-who")

13 July 2011

The Bible's solution to the debt crisis: First Timothy 5 - 6

Republicans and Democrats just can't seem to find a solution to the debt crisis. That's because they are ignoring what the Bible has to say about it. Because the perfect compromise can be found in 1 Timothy 5 and 6.

Chapter 5 should please the Republicans.

The author (I'll call him "Paul" since that's who he claimed to be, though he probably wasn't) explains precisely who should, and who should not, be helped. His focus was on widows, but the same principles could be applied to all.

The first thing Paul does is distinguish between "widows indeed" and other types of widows. Widows indeed (true widows) should be honored (given public assistance).

Honour widows that are widows indeed. 1 Timothy 5:3

But which widows are "widows indeed?"

Paul has a list of ten requirements. A widow is a widow indeed if she:

  1. Has no living children or nephews. (If the widow has any living children or nephews, it is their responsibility to take care of her.)
    But if any widow have children or nephews, let them learn first to shew piety at home, and to requite their parents. 1 Timothy 5:4
  2. Is desolate, trusts in God, and prays all the time.
    Now she that is a widow indeed, and desolate, trusteth in God, and continueth in supplications and prayers night and day. 1 Timothy 5:5
  3. Is not living in pleasure.
    (A widow living in pleasure is the living dead.)
    But she that liveth in pleasure is dead while she liveth. 1 Timothy 5:6
  4. Is over 60 years old.
    Let not a widow be taken into the number under threescore years old. 1 Timothy 5:9a
  5. Had only one husband.
    (A woman who has buried two husbands wouldn't qualify.)
    Having been the wife of one man. 1 Timothy 5:9b
  6. Has raised children.
    (No barren or selfish, childless women need apply.)
    If she have brought up children. 1 Timothy 5:10
  7. Has lodged strangers.
    If she have lodged strangers. 1 Timothy 5:10
  8. Has washed the saints' feet.
    If she have washed the saints' feet. 1 Timothy 5:10
  9. Has relieved the afflicted.
    If she have relieved the afflicted. 1 Timothy 5:10
  10. Has diligently followed every good work.
    If she have diligently followed every good work. 1 Timothy 5:10

Applying Paul's rules for widows would greatly reduce the number of widows that would qualify for public assistance. The same approach when extended to all seniors would result in the 1 Timothy 5 plan for Medicare -- which is the Paul Ryan plan. (No medicare at all.)

The money that is saved from the 1 Timothy 5/Paul (the Apostle) Ryan Medicare Plan could be applied to reducing the deficit -- or (more likely) giving tax cuts to wealthy individuals and corporations ("the job creators"). The "public assistance for job creators" plan should easily pass the House. I think it already has.

And now for the Democratic Plan.

It can stated in just two verses from 1 Timothy 6.

Charge them that are rich ... that they be ... ready to distribute. 1 Timothy 6:17-18

OK, never mind. Screw the compromise. Let's just go with 1 Timothy 6 plan. (If we can stay away from the first two verses, that is.)

03 July 2011

What the Bible says about the Republican Primary

It should be easy for Republicans to select a candidate for president.

Just let God do it for them.

The only problem with that is this: God has already endorsed several, if not all, of the candidates.

Fortunately, the Bible has a foolproof procedure guaranteed to work even when God can't make up his own mind. It's called a lottery.

That's how God selected the first king of Israel. Here's how it worked.

God told the people to present themselves to him by tribe and clan ("thousands").

Samuel called the people together unto the LORD ... And said unto the children of Israel, Thus saith the LORD ... present yourselves before the LORD by your tribes, and by your thousands. 1 Samuel 10:17-19

Then a tribe was selected by lot. (Benjamin had the lucky number.)

And when Samuel had caused all the tribes of Israel to come near, the tribe of Benjamin was taken. 1 Samuel 10:20

Next, a clan was selected. (Matri)

When he had caused the tribe of Benjamin to come near by their families, the family of Matri was taken. 1 Samuel 10:21a

And the king was selected from the clan. (Saul)

And Saul the son of Kish was taken. 1 Samuel 10:21b

But Shucks! When they looked, they couldn't find him.

When they sought him, he could not be found. 1 Samuel 10:21c

So they asked God what to do and God said that Saul was hiding in the stuff.

Therefore they enquired of the LORD further, if the man should yet come thither. And the LORD answered, Behold he hath hid himself among the stuff. 1 Samuel 10:22

And sure enough, they found Saul hiding in the stuff. He was hard to miss since he stood head and shoulders above everyone in Israel. (He was also the best-looking.)

And they ran and fetched him thence: and when he stood among the people, he was higher than any of the people from his shoulders and upward. 1 Samuel 10:23

It all worked out great in the end. God chose the best (tallest, best-looking) candidate and all the people shouted, "God save the king."

And Samuel said to all the people, See ye him whom the LORD hath chosen, that there is none like him among all the people? And all the people shouted, and said, God save the king. 1 Samuel 10:24

Well, except for a few "children of Belial" (RINOs) who complained about it a bit.

But the children of Belial said, How shall this man save us? And they despised him. 1 Samuel 10:27

So there you have it. No need for expensive campaigns, debates, caucuses, straw polls, primaries, or nominating conventions. God's party should select its candidate God's way: by lottery. (Either that or just choose the tallest, best looking candidate. It should work out the same.)

(By the way, this isn't the only time a lottery was used in the Bible to select an important candidate. Matthias was selected by lottery to replace Judas, who died by spilling his guts out and hanging himself.)

29 June 2011

What the Bible says about Liberals (and why Todd Akin should become one)

Congressmen Todd Akin (R-MO) recently said this about liberals:

At the heart of liberalism really is a hatred for God.

So I thought I'd check to see what the Bible says about them. Here's what I found.

  1. God makes liberals fat.
    The liberal soul shall be made fat. -- Proverbs 11:25

  2. And since being fat is is sure sign of righteousness in the eyes of God, liberals are righteous people.
    The righteous shall flourish like the palm tree ... they shall be fat and flourishing. -- Psalm 92:12-14

  3. Liberals are not lying, churlish, vile, villainous hypocrites that steal from the poor and hungry. (Guess who that would be.)
    The vile person shall be no more called liberal ... For the vile person will speak villany, and his heart will work iniquity, to practise hypocrisy ... to make empty the soul of the hungry, and he will cause the drink of the thirsty to fail. The instruments also of the churl are evil: he deviseth wicked devices to destroy the poor with lying words. -- Isaiah 32:5-7

  4. Liberals distribute wealth from the rich to the poor.
    For your liberal distribution ... unto all men ... Thanks be unto God. -- 2 Corinthians 9:13-15

  5. And lastly, liberals devise and stand for liberal things.
    The liberal deviseth liberal things; and by liberal things shall he stand. -- Isaiah 32:8

God loves liberals. Todd Akin should become one. Then God would love him, too.

28 June 2011

A Mormon just believes.

Have you noticed the Mormon reaction to the Tony-winning Broadway musical The Book of Mormon? Probably not. There wasn't much of one.

Mormons haven't tried to defend themselves by claiming that it got things wrong. And that is because it didn't. Mormons believe what The Book of Mormon claims they do.

Take the song, I Believe, for example. Here are some of the lyrics.

  1. I believe that ancient Jews built boats and sailed to America.

    That is a fair summary of entire Book of Mormon. Ancient Jews sailed to America and separated into two groups: one "fair and delightsome" to God, the other evil and dark-skinned. (God darkened their skin to punish them for their disbelief and to discourage intermarriage with the white folk.) The dark-skinned Jews killed off all their white relatives and thereby became the ancestors of today's Native Americans.

  2. I believe that in 1978 God changed his mind about black people.

    Here is what God said in 1949 through the First Presidency under George Albert Smith:

    The attitude of the Church with reference to the Negroes remains as it has always stood. It is not a matter of the declaration of a policy but of direct commandment from the Lord, on which is founded the doctrine of the Church from the days of its organization, to the effect that Negroes may become members of the Church but that they are not entitled to the Priesthood at the present time. The prophets of the Lord have made several statements as to the operation of the principle. President Brigham Young said: "Why are so many of the inhabitants of the earth cursed with a skin of blackness? It comes in consequence of their fathers rejecting the power of the holy priesthood, and the law of God. They will go down to death. And when all the rest of the children have received their blessings in the holy priesthood, then that curse will be removed from the seed of Cain, and they will then come up and possess the priesthood, and receive all the blessings which we now are entitled to."

    And here is what God said after changing his mind in 1978:

    He has heard our prayers, and by revelation has confirmed that the long-promised day has come when every faithful, worthy man in the church may receive the Holy Priesthood, with power to exercise its divine authority, and enjoy with his loved ones every blessing that follows there from, including the blessings of the temple. Accordingly, all worthy male members of the church may be ordained to the priesthood without regard for race or color. Priesthood leaders are instructed to follow the policy of carefully interviewing all candidates for ordination to either the Aaronic or the Melchizedek Priesthood to insure that they meet the established standards for worthiness.

  3. I believe that God lives on a planet called Kolob.

    You can read all about it in chapter 3 of the Book of Abraham.

  4. And I believe that the garden of Eden was in Jackson County, Missouri.

    This one is less clear to me, but there's no doubt about it among Mormons.

    Here is the secret code left by Joseph Smith identifying Independence, Missouri in Jackson County as the original Garden of Eden. (Mormons believe "the center place" to be the Garden of Eden. You'll just have to trust them on that.)

    Hearken, O ye elders of my church, sayeth the Lord your God, who have assembled yourselves together, according to my commandments, in this land, which is the land of Missouri, which is the land which I have appointed and consecrated for the gathering of saints.

    Wherefore, this is the land of promise, and the place for the city of Zion.

    Thus saith the Lord your God, if you will receive wisdom here is wisdom. Behold, the place which is now called Independence is the center place; a a spot for the temple is lying westward, upon a lot which is not far from the court-house. -- Doctrine and Covenants 57:1-3

Richard Bushman, the Howard W. Hunter Visiting Professor of Mormon Studies at Claremont Graduate University in California, claims that "The Book of Mormon is like looking into a fun-house mirror; the reflection is hilarious but not really you."

But it is you, Dr. Bushman. It is you, and all Mormons like you, that believe the things you believe. You may not recognize yourself, since you've never looked at your beliefs in a flat mirror before. But your beliefs are bat-shit crazy, as anyone viewing them from the outside knows immediately.

And you seem to understand it, too, when you say this about The Book of Mormon:

I suppose it seems obvious to many people that a moment’s reflection about personal planets, Kolob, and the Garden of Eden in Missouri will plant doubts. Any rational person in the modern world who thinks about such outlandish ideas for one second will see they are preposterous. Mormons can’t think about their faith; they must “just believe.”

I agree with you here. It is obvious to any rational person after a moment's reflection that Mormon beliefs about personal planets, Kolob, the Missouri Garden of Eden are preposterous. Mormons can't think rationally about their faith; they must just believe.

And as long as they just believe, we will just laugh at them.

If Mormons don't like people laughing at them for believing stupid things, they should stop believing stupid things.