22 August 2013

The Dragons of God

There's a new book out about dragons called Dragons or Dinosaurs? by Derek Isaacs.

It turns out that the dragons that are so often mentioned in the Bible are real after all! Here's what Mr. Isaacs says about them:
The Old Testament scribes wrote that they saw creatures, prowling, hissing, swimming, and even breathing fire. ... I will shine a spotlight for all to see that the Bible speaks of dragons as real. ... Because what is harder to believe, that dragons are real, or that Jesus Christ is the author of life and the Savior of all humanity? 
To help you with your decision about dragons (and Jesus), here's a list of all the verses in the King James Version that mention them. (Dragons, that is.)

But be careful. If you reject God's dragons, you'll probably also reject God's son. Because as Mr. Isaacs rightly points out, one is about as absurd as the other.
  1. Their wine is the poison of dragons. Deuteronomy 32:33
  2. And I went out by night by the gate of the valley, even before the dragon well. Nehemiah 2:13
  3. I am a companion to dragons, and a companion to owls. Job 30:29
  4. Thou hast sore broken us in the place of dragons. Psalm 44:19
  5. Thou breakest the heads of dragons. Psalm 74:13
  6. The dragon shalt thou trample under feet. Psalm 91:13
  7. Praise the Lord from the earth, ye dragons. Psalm 148:7
  8. Satyrs shall dance there ... and dragons in their pleasant palaces. Isaiah 13:22
  9. The LORD with his sore and great and strong sword shall punish leviathan the piercing serpent, even leviathan that crooked serpent; and he shall slay the dragon that is in the sea. Isaiah 27:1
  10. It shall be an habitation of dragons ... and the satyr shall cry to his fellow. Isaiah 34:13-14
  11. In the habitation of dragons, where each lay, shall be grass with reeds and rushes. Isaiah 35:7
  12. The beast of the field shall honour me, the dragons and the owls: because I give waters in the wilderness. Isaiah 43:20
  13. Art thou not it that hath cut Rahab, and wounded the dragon? Isaiah 51:9
  14. I will make Jerusalem heaps, and a den of dragons. Jeremiah 9:11
  15. To make the cities of Judah desolate, and a den of dragons. Jeremiah 10:22
  16. The wild asses ... snuffed up the wind like dragons. Jeremiah 14:6
  17. Hazor shall be a dwelling for dragons. Jeremiah 49:33
  18. Nebuchadrezzar ... hath swallowed me up like a dragon. Jeremiah 51:34
  19. Babylon shall become heaps, a dwellingplace for dragons. Jeremiah 51:37
  20. Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I am against thee, Pharaoh king of Egypt, the great dragon that lieth in the midst of his rivers. Ezekiel 29:3
  21. I will wail and howl, I will go stripped and naked: I will make a wailing like the dragons. Micah 1:8
  22. I hated Esau, and laid his mountains and his heritage waste for the dragons of the wilderness. Malachi 1:3
  23. There appeared another wonder in heaven; and behold a great red dragon, having seven heads and ten horns, and seven crowns upon his heads. Revelation 12:3
  24. The dragon stood before the woman which was ready to be delivered, for to devour her child as soon as it was born. Revelation 12:4
  25. There was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels. Revelation 12:7
  26. And the great dragon was cast out. Revelation 12:9
  27. When the dragon saw that he was cast unto the earth, he persecuted the woman which brought forth the man child. Revelation 12:13
  28. The earth helped the woman, and the earth opened her mouth, and swallowed up the flood which the dragon cast out of his mouth. Revelation 12:16
  29. And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed. Revelation 12:17
  30. The beast which I saw was like unto a leopard, and his feet were as the feet of a bear, and his mouth as the mouth of a lion: and the dragon gave him his power. Revelation 13:2
  31. And they worshipped the dragon which gave power unto the beast: and they worshipped the beast. Revelation 13:4
  32. And I beheld another beast coming up out of the earth; and he had two horns like a lamb, and he spake as a dragon. Revelation 13:11
  33. I saw three unclean spirits like frogs come out of the mouth of the dragon, and out of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophet. Revelation 16:13
  34. And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years. Revelation 20:2

19 August 2013

Herman Cain doubts that anyone will want to relax on their vacation while reading The Skeptics Annotated Bible

I never thought I'd see the day when the SAB was mentioned by Herman Cain. But it happened today.

Mr. Cain wrote an article in The Canada Free Press about the Gideon vs. Skeptic's Annotated Bible competition that is now taking place in Georgia's state parks. In it, he explains that Governor Nathan Deal decided to allow atheists to place their literature alongside Gideon Bibles.
Nathan Deal, who said that the state could hardly be seen to be establishing an official religion just because it allowed one group to donate Bibles. Besides, Deal said, if atheists wanted to donate atheist books, no one would stop them either.
But Mr. Cain doubts that many people will want to read the SAB.
The atheists are going to do just that. I’m having a hard time thinking that many people will want to relax on their vacation while reading The Skeptics Annotated Bible, but this is America so the atheists can give it their best shot.
And he's probably right about that.

But I bet the SABs will get more reading time than the Gideon Bibles. Because as anyone who has ever picked up a Gideon Bible knows -- the Bible is boring.

Here's what Mr. Cain's competitor, Mitt Romney, said about it.
I find myself having to read for an hour or so before I can fall asleep. And thanks to the Gideons, I've got good material.
I doubt if the SAB will have the same effect.

18 August 2013

An interactive view of the SAB

OK, this is pretty cool.

It's a website (http://www.bibviz.com/) that displays various categories at the SAB in an interactive form. It's hard to describe and screenshots can't capture the interactive part. You've just got to go there to see for yourself.

The first plot shows the 474 contradictions that are listed at the SAB. When you pass your mouse over the lines on the chart, individual contradictions are highlighted, showing the verses involved. If you click on the highlighted line, it'll take you to the contradiction at the SAB.

[The blue lines at the bottom of the chart represent the chapters in the Bible, with the length scaled by the length of the chapter. (I'm not sure if that's the number of verses, words, or characters.) Clicking on a line will take you to that chapter at the Bible Gateway (not the SAB).]

Here's the cruelty category graph.

 It shows the number of cruel verses in each book of the Bible. The width of the bar is scaled by the length of the book, and the height by the number of cruel verses. It is similar to the my previous analysis, except this plot seems to use the number of verses instead of the number of passages listed at the SAB. (I'm not sure about this, though. If you figure that out, let us know in the comments.)

There are also graphs for the SAB categories of Science, Misogyny, and Homosexuality. Fun stuff.

14 August 2013

Cage Match: The Holy Spirit vs. the Skeptic's Annotated Bible (Live in Georgia)

Here's what a visitor had to say:

"God gave us all free will, to make our own choice. If they leave their material in there, the holy spirit is the stronger spirit than theirs and people will read The Word over their words."

I'm not sure he's right about words and spirits and such, but I like the way he's thinking. Let's see what Governor Deal says. Will he allow the spirits to fight it out in the cage?

Here are the latest news reports:
August 16 - Atheists to include books of choice in Georgia state park cabins
August 19 - Herman Cain: I’m having a hard time thinking that many people will want to relax on their vacation while reading The Skeptics Annotated Bible

Skeptic's Annotated Bibles to be placed in Georgia State Parks today!

We have donated 100 copies of the Skeptic's Annotated Bible to be placed in the cabins in two Georgia State Parks this afternoon.

Ed Buckner (former president of the American Atheists) is placing them in Red Top Mountain State Park and A.H. Stephens State Park. Other books to be donated include Faith Fear Fact Fantasy by the late Dr. John Henderson and Why I am not a Muslim by Ibn Warraq. (These two titles were donated by the American Atheists.)

You can check out The Friendly Atheist's article here.

1:05 pm update: Tyler Morning Telegraph - Atheist texts delivered to Georgia state park

Mr. Deity and the Hat

20 August 13 update: Since some of you may not have completely understood what Mr. Deity was referring to in the begging segment, I'm including his remarks about that below.

09 August 2013

The Spirit of God came upon him and he stripped off all his clothes

Sometimes, to really get God’s attention, a prophet just has to get naked. At least that’s the way it worked for Saul.

The story begins with Saul being plagued by an evil spirit from God.

And the evil spirit from the LORD was upon Saul. 1 Samuel 19:9

Then Saul tries to kill David, but David’s wife, Michal, helped him escape.

So Saul sent messengers to find David, but they found Samuel and a group of prophesying prophets instead.

And Saul sent messengers to take David: and when they saw the company of the prophets prophesying, and Samuel standing as appointed over them. 19:20a

When the messengers saw everyone prophesying, the Spirit of God came upon them and  they started prophesying too.

The Spirit of God was upon the messengers of Saul, and they also prophesied. 19:20b

When Saul found out that his messengers were prophesying, he sent more messengers--and when they got to the prophesying party, they started “prophesying likewise.”

When it was told Saul, he sent other messengers, and they prophesied likewise. 19:21a

And when Saul heard that his second set of messengers were prophesying, he sent a third group of messengers and “they prophesied also.”

And Saul sent messengers again the third time, and they prophesied also.19:21b

After sending the three groups of messengers who all began prophesying, Saul decided to go there himself. As soon as he arrived, the Spirit of God came upon Saul also, and he began prophesying.

And he [Saul] went thither to Naioth in Ramah: and the Spirit of God was upon him also, and he went on, and prophesied. 19:23

And not only did Saul prophesy, but he stripped off all of his clothes “also.” Apparently when the Spirit of the Lord comes upon you and you start prophesying, you’ve got to take off all your clothes. God likes to see what he’s dealing with.

And he stripped off his clothes also. 19:24a

Saul was naked in front of God and everybody all day and all night.

And lay down naked all that day and all that night. 19:24b

That’s why they say, “Is Saul also among the prophets?”

Wherefore they say, Is Saul also among the prophets? 19:20-24c

I know that’s why I always say it.

But how come nobody prophesies naked anymore?

08 August 2013

Today is Eid al-Fitr - Let's Fast!

You probably missed it, but last night, just after sundown, the crescent moon was visible in the western sky, marking the end of Ramadan. So the month of sleeping all day and partying all night is over. Now it's feast time, bitches! If you're Muslim, that is.

In fact, if you are a Muslim you must eat today. It is your religious obligation. It is completely haram to fast today.
The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, forbade fasting on these two days - the day you break your fast (after Ramadan), and the day you eat from your sacrifice (after Hajj) . (Sunan Ibn Majah)
So I'm fasting today. All day. In honor of Muhammad (Peanut Butter and Jelly Be Upon Him).

Okay, I might eat a little pork now and then.

03 August 2013

I am the one who knocks

Or if you prefer the Bible to Breaking Bad, the title of this post could be: "Behold, I stand at the door and knock." Revelation 3:20

But whatever you call it, it was a complete disaster.

Here's what happened.

We packed the car with SABs and headed out to a nice-looking neighborhood, just far enough away that no one would recognize us. There were four of us: my wife, Carole, my son, Philip, one of Philip's friends and me. As we drove to the site we rehearsed our script and developed responses to the reactions that we expected to have. When we arrived, we split up into pairs and went in opposite directions down the street.

The first house that Carole and I came to had a fence and a large dog that came out to greet us. The dog was pleasant enough but the owner was not. He growled, "We're Catholics" and from the look on his face we decided not to show him the wonderful book we were carrying.

The next few houses had cars parked in the driveways and looked occupied. But no one answered the door when we knocked.

We did get a few people to come to the door, but the results were always discouraging. One said, "We go to church every Sunday and have plenty of Bibles. We don't need another." Others just said, "No thanks." No one was interested in whatever it was we trying to give away.

The other pair of door-knockers had similar experiences. All four of us were convinced that we could continue all afternoon and not give away a single SAB.

So the correct answer was zero, and the closest to that was Pecos B who guessed 1%. (If you'd like the prize, Pecos B, send me an email with your address and I'll send you the 2nd edition of DWB.)

It was an interesting experience though. I felt a bit like Walter White and a bit like Jesus -- spoiling people's Saturday afternoon while forcing unwanted views upon them. 

Jesus is standing at the door of your heart just waiting for you to let Him in... Jesus:

I won't be trying that again. 

02 August 2013

Mom and Dad! The atheists are at the door again.

atheist evangelists cartoon by nakedpastor david hayward

A few months ago I announced our intention to go door to door with the Skeptic's Annotated Bible. So I figure it's time to tell you how that went.

The short answer is, unfortunately, not so well.

There's a good reason for that, of course. We (my son Philip and I) chickened out. But we're going to do it tomorrow.

Here's our plan. We'll start with this:

"Hello, my name is Philip and this is Steve, we're here today handing out Bibles for free to anyone who's interested."

Then, depending on the response, we'll go from there. But however people respond, we're going to be polite and non-argumentative. If they are interested, we'll give them an SAB; if not, we'll leave.

I'll let you know how that goes tomorrow.

In the meantime, it might be fun to guess the outcome. What percentage of householders will accept a free SAB? Give your prediction in the comments. Whoever guesses closest gets a free copy of the 2nd Edition of Drunk With Blood. (We're also getting guesses from twitter and facebook. Those will be valid as well.)

Thanks to David Hayward for the reminder.