Of Mercy and Justice

Those good friends who have been reading this blog must have Caroline a while back. We meet with her here again on a pet subject of mine. As part of the larger series of response to christian apologists, we will have fun doing this, one to show where they are wrong and also to see how we can move forward in eliminating superstition and myth from the minds of the people. It is the only way I think society can move forward as one.

As a small change in my response to the apologists, I would first want them to define god coherently and show that a god so defined can exist and also that the god so defined need our worship. Barring this, I am convinced that apologists and theologians have chosen to willfully delude themselves and the general public. I also contend that they have to show the god they defined is the christian god or whatever religion they ascribe to.

Now that we are done with the basics, let us deal with the question at heart here. Our friend is talking about justice and punishment. I don’t think there is any justice, there is only revenge. We call it justice because we are ashamed of the word revenge while most times that is what people are seeking, in that respect I can’t support any fight for justice. Unless here we refer to cases like where one has grabbed a piece of your land and all you want is that piece to be returned and nothing more, in such an instance I would give a little neck room but not beyond.

I’ve been wrestling with atheists recently, philosophically, not physically. And as we’ve gone back and forth, the charge of God’s apparent capriciousness and/or callousness has been proposed as reason to question his goodness. A case in point is the biblical record of God “hardening “ Pharaoh’s heart. This is the Egyptian king who was ruthlessly oppressing the enslaved Israelites. And when God called Moses to be his instrument of redemption, he did say to him, “When you go back to Egypt, see that you do before Pharaoh all the miracles that I have put in your power. But I will harden his heart, so that he will not let the people go.” (Exodus 4:21)

Here before we discuss whether Pharaoh was ruthless, the first question that must be dealt with here is, were the Israelites spoils of war or were they led to Egypt by their supposed god? If it is the first, we need to examine the records to see whether there is any truth in it. And if as I believe, they were led to Egypt by their supposed god, he must be responsible fully for what happens to them while there. Blame can’t be transferred unless the theist also accepts that Pharaoh was god’s agent and is to that extent not guilty. In many posts, I have said what I think about miracles and I will repeat here that truth doesn’t require miracles. As long as a miracle is needed, I insist there is no truth involved.

Many ask, how then can God be just in bringing all the plagues on Pharaoh and the Egyptians if he so decreed that his heart would be set firmly against freeing the Israelites? It is a reasonable question, but I believe some investigating will disclose a satisfactory answer.

Let us look at the answer she proposes

Before I go on, I’d like to emphasize its reasonableness and say to my atheist friends [………..] that these difficult passages disquiet and trouble Christians as well. It is a sign of our sense of justice and concern for our fellow-man that you and we are disturbed by them. And that’s a good thing. The difference, as I see it, is that you stop there and write God off as either nonexistent or not worthy of worship, but we give him the benefit of the doubt, if you will, and pursue a greater understanding. Not because we don’t want to face the facts, but because we must, and the facts of his justice, mercy, love, and grace don’t jive with evil and cruelty.

Why for instance give god a benefit of doubt you are not ready to grant your fellow-man who you can see, who has feelings, he pleads for mercy? Is it a case where one wants to truly believe that the god she believes in is good despite evidence to the contrary? No we don’t stop there, we continue to examine whether the stories so told are credible and whether the god described can be called merciful and we find he falls short. We lack a belief in gods because we find no evidence to suppose one or many could exist. By saying your god is not what it is described to be, we are not saying it exists, no, we are showing that as described he can only be a fiend, capricious and an enemy of men.

In the same way, because I am convinced of God’s goodness, based on how he reveals himself in both the Old and New Testaments, the witness of Jesus Christ who is the “image of the invisible God” (Colossians 1:15), the fact that we his creatures are capable of great love, compassion, sacrifice, kindness, etc…I, at the very least, trust that there is a good explanation for the apparent dichotomy. And my faith can be strong without knowledge of that explanation. But because I believe God provides a greater understanding when we pursue it…I pursue it.

Friends, please help me here. Well maybe I read a wrong bible translation but how can someone defend that the god of the OT is good. He punishes his first mistake, sends them out of their residence, curses the earth they are supposed to plow, curses child-birth, drowns almost everything, shows favoritism, allows or commands the killing of several number of peeps for no reason other than that they worship a bigger god than him. This god tolerates slavery, promises to punish great-grandchildren for the sins of their fathers, punishes everyone except the persons responsible[take case of David, kills the baby instead of David]. Please someone help me here. In the NT we are sent this god sent himself to die for our sins, he tells us he was innocent. Which good god sets such an example? While on the story of this Jeebus, how long was his mission here?

Why do you need faith? Why must one continue to suspend reason. If something is true, we don’t need faith. Faith is only required to believe the impossible and credulous and as for me, I don’t want faith. I want to live, as Camus says, with what I know and only with that.

Let us listen to the dichotomy

So I’ve sought understanding of God’s hardening of Pharaoh’s heart, and though God’s ways are so much higher than ours and men have written long treatises on this issue because it is deep and complex, still I think I can confidently speak on one reality that addresses it and that should be helpful. And it is demonstrated in the convicted murderer scenario I opened with: A just punishment is still just even if there is a potential for mercy that is denied.

I have talked about punishment already. To say god’s ways are higher than ours, what does she mean? And then how is this important to us? If it is higher than ours it only follows that there is no point it becomes relevant to us. It can always remain high up there and as such can’t be used as a standard to measure things here, it will always be higher. There is nothing like just punishment, that statement qualifies to be called an oxymoron!

Pharaoh was an evil ruler who denied mercy to the Israelites and abused them as his slaves. He and all of Egypt worshiped false gods and the Pharaoh willingly received adulation from the Egyptians as having godlike status. They were deserving of God’s wrath. What’s more, God foreknew that Pharaoh would stubbornly refuse to release the Israelites “unless compelled by a mighty hand” (Exodus 3:19). His hardening of Pharaoh’s heart was part of God’s method of compulsion. It was retribution for his evil deeds borne of an evil heart, and the means of redemption for God’s people.

Please tell me, dear reader, where is it said Pharaoh was evil? Two where in the bible is the god of Abe described as the god for everyone? I want someone to show me where god revealed himself to Pharaoh saying he is his god and pharaoh dismissed him. The charge that pharaoh worshiped false god can’t be sustained and must be withdrawn. And you have no right to call someone’s god false. It is only false according to you and since no one has shown the one true god, all gods can equally be false, that is even if you could prove that yours exists. How can anyone say pharaoh and the whole of Egypt was deserving of this god’s wrath, a god they had no knowledge of? Is this not the height of cruelty and capriciousness!  It’s like a king asking for the arrest of a fellow he met and who didn’t know him then asking this guy be hanged! Tell me where the difference is between Caroline’s god and this king, and remember am patient 😀

Please tell me, is it remotely possible that, allowing this god to be both omnipotent and omniscient, he would resort to hardening pharaoh’s heart, perform some mundane tricks to get his people to go? But even before we get there, is it possible that he didn’t know by taking them to Egypt they would become slaves and thus send them elsewhere? People let us get serious! I know some of you want this god story to be true, but please just for a few moments everyday, apply reason!

So, God did not compel Pharaoh to resist him in opposition to what Pharaoh was inclined to do. In multiple passages in Exodus Pharaoh is said to have hardened his own heart. He simply executed righteous judgment on him and the Egyptians by ensuring his continued resistance resulting in the ten plagues.

So if pharaoh acted according to his own nature as Caroline implies here, why has god to punish him. It is like saying a blind man should be punished for using a white stick to find his way! My next question was everyone in Egypt a pharaoh? If the problem was between god and pharaoh, why involve everyone else? Could god not seek an address with pharaoh, why even send Moses? This sounds like the queen of England has a problem with Mr. Hollande, then she sends some ignorant farmer to go meet with the president, please friends, is this sensible?

One might object that obviously God knew Pharaoh would have relented a lot sooner or he wouldn’t have needed to harden his heart, and that would have spared Egypt a number of plagues…and that’s not fair. But I refer you again to our convicted Murderer B. Would we think it just, particularly if his victim was a loved one of ours, if upon his expressed remorse and resolve never to murder again as he stood ready to be sentenced, the judge let him go scot-free?

I have said enough about punishment already. The rest of this statement is ridiculous. Here we have a god behaving like Caroline would, why then call him god? He has the same attitudes just like we do?

But whence goeth justice in the case of Murderer A? He received mercy, which is the antithesis of justice, and every judge has the authority to dispense it. But though we are all entitled to justice, no one is entitled to mercy.

Do I need to say here I again that there is no justice and that we are all entitled to mercy. We can’t act against our nature, so all of us must be treated with mercy whether a god exists or not. Anyone who objects to this position please show me why!

But if God is so wonderful and loving, why doesn’t he have mercy on everyone? I think there are a lot of good answers to that, but there’s one that becomes obvious if we ask ourselves this: Why doesn’t any judge sentence every convicted criminal that stands before him to probation?

I think the obvious answer to this question is at the beginning of the post. There are no gods and in as much as we would want things to be different, they are just as they are.

How to make god ?change his mind

Another opportunity has presented itself for us to have fun in this series where I bring to light the kind of spurious arguments apologists use to defend their god, make him look both good and rational but which all fall flat face. As I have said before, I grant the brother right of reply.

I think anyone who in this day and age believes in the doctrines of John Calvin, to the extent that he[Calvin] supported the killing and burning at the stake of Dr. Severtus, this person is not a friend of man and further that this person could willingly participate in the Inquisition if one were to be held today believing if god was to damn a non-believer eternally there would be no problem causing the same person untold pain and suffering down here. This is the making of a fiend. I have no doubt that the brother is a kind person trying his best to make sense of the world, I believe he is better than his creed. I can’t respect his creed, I can’t support his creed that says man is born depraved and that the greatest percentage of men are to be damned for no fault of their own. No man should be made to believe that he doesn’t have evidence for. Let reason reign, let men be free to soar the skies like eagles, let every man be his priest and king. And most of all, let us stop believing in superstition.

Let all men work to remove the doctrine of hell from the pulpit, let us convert churches to libraries and theatres. Let the pastors, ministers, bishops and priests become teachers of things natural. There are no ghosts, holy or otherwise, concerned with how we live our lives. Let make this life the best. If we live a good life here, should there be another life elsewhere, we will just make it as good as what we had here. Besides my late mother has not come to tell me stories of another life or even my grandmother who loved me and as such I entertain no such hope of resurrection.

You’ve  probably come across those passages in the Bible where God changes His mind after a prophet intercedes for the Israelites. Maybe you’ve even been part of discussions about how to reconcile such passages with those other passages that explicitly say God does not repent, or change His mind. Two common solutions have been proposed. Most liberals and open theists have settled for a smaller God, a God whose will conforms to ours. They have settled for a God who reacts to new information. A God whose actions are determined by our “free will”An Arminian God, if you like. But others have sought to preserve God’s sovereignty in the face of this apparent contradiction. And the most common solution to the puzzle can be summarized in these words by R. C. Sproul:

I have come across many of such verses like where Abe tries to talk god out of destroying Soddom and Gomorah, where Moses tells god to stop acting stupid and so on and I have no problem reconciling these apparent contradictions. I know the bible is work of different men, writing at different times and there was never and can never be any room for supernatural inspiration. Try reading the bible just like you would have no need for any solution. And please don’t bring free will into the discussion! I must add too that this problem exists to the theist since he/she has not been able to coherently define what they mean by the word god. Any other attempts at explaining contradictions in scripture or between religious beliefs result from this core problem.

“I think that what we have here is the mystery of providence whereby God ordains not only the ends of things that come to pass but also the means. God sets forth principles in the Bible where he gives threats of judgment to motivate his people to repentance. Sometimes he spells out specifically, “But if you repent, I will not carry out the threat.” He doesn’t always add that qualifier, but it’s there. I think this is one of those instances. It was tacitly understood that God threatens judgment upon these people, but if somebody pleads for them in a priestly way, he will give grace rather than justice. I think that’s at the heart of that mystery.”

What this makes of such a god is that he does poorly at persuasion. Any time you have to resort to threats or intimidation then your position is weak. I also think the priests were taking advantage of the ignorant masses just the same way as ignorant masses take this statement as a solution to a contradiction.

I noticed that ALL the passages in which God repents have to do with God’s wrath and God’s punishment of sin. He is always repenting from punishing the Israelites for their sins, upon intercession or mediation. For instance:

“Thus the Lord God showed me, and behold, the Lord God was calling to contend with them by fire, and it consumed the great deep and began to consume the farm land. Then I said, “Lord God, please stop! How can Jacob stand, for he is small?” The Lord changed His mind about this. “This too shall not be,” said the Lord God,” [Amos 7:4-6]

and

“Then the LORD relented and did not bring on His people the disaster He had threatened.” [Exodus 32:14]

another one,

“Now therefore mend your ways and your deeds, and obey the voice of the Lord your God, and the Lord will relent of the disaster that he has pronounced against you.” [Jeremiah 26:13]

Am I missing something here. If I repent for doing harm, it only can mean one thing, I was wrong in the first instance. If my brother is willing to accept that god can be mistaken, we can remove the omniscience attribute from god[he never claimed it for himself anyway]. The verses presented here by the good brother cannot be used to qualify the attribute of all loving and all merciful even if he doesn’t carry out the threat. He intends to if something is not and such change can only be possible when we consider a sentient being not an infinite, timeless, formless and unchangeable god. So as I said in the beginning paragraphs, the theist must first define what he or she means by god before we deal with the matter of existence and then what god so defined can or can’t do!

On the other hand, I noticed that ALL the passages that speak of God never repenting or never-changing His mind have to do with God’s blessings, or God’s mercy and grace. For instance:

“God is not a man, that He should lie, Nor a son of man, that He should repent. Has He said, and will He not do it? Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good? Behold, I have received a command to bless; He has blessed, and I cannot reverse it. [Numbers 23:19-20]

and this one,

“And also the Strength of Israel will not lie nor relent. For He is not a man, that He should relent” [1 Samuel 15:29]

or this one,

“I the LORD do not change. So you, O descendants of Jacob, are not destroyed.” [Malachi 3:6]

and in the New Testament,

“Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.” [James 1:17]

Anyone please tell if you have ever met a man who repents for being merciful! Am waiting….. and am a patient guy 😀

Why this imbalance? Why is it that God only changes (or seems to change) His mind when it comes to punishing our sins but never seems to do so when it comes to blessing us? If Moses and other prophets like Amos could reason with God and convince Him to relent from punishing the Israelites, why couldn’t the sins of the Israelites and their disobedience cause the same change of heart concerning God’s promise of blessing? It is obvious  from the look of things that, people sin, God promises wrath, someone interceded, people repent, then God relents. But when God promises blessing, even when the people stray, His promises still stand. If it is indeed possible to change God’s mind, why can we only change His mind towards not cursing us and we seem not able to change His mind towards not blessing us?

The imbalance is easy to explain. The concept of god exist in your mind and you can adjust it to reflect your present circumstances. You can explain away anything always giving god a free pass while at the same time always seeing humanity as the ones ultimately responsible. Something else worth of note here is that to the Israelites, they thought that whenever they disobeyed god, bad things happened to them and that if only they could follow the commandments then god will bless them. Well, they tried this and sometimes they suffered more when they followed this commandments and it is this problem that the prophets writing later why trying to deal with in the apocryphal writings. They could no longer explain why things were the way they were and an explanation was needed. As I have told you in different posts before, the people writing these passages never said they were inspired by god, no they never made that claim, they wrote as they saw things happen. The passages were written after the event and not before.

The prophets[poets] could have been honest in their beliefs that they were the messengers of god, but they were mistaken. They were as deluded as today’s priests, pastors and ministers who claim to speak for a god they can’t define and there adherents who believe this same god speaks to them, hears they crazy blubbers and wishes them well.

It is in this mysterious dichotomy that I found an amazing truth. And this truth lies in the conditions necessary for God to “change His mind.” If we look at the Old Testament, there were always five events that transpired in the cycle of God changing His mind. First, the people sinned. Secondly, God intended to punish their sin. Thirdly, a prophet interceded. Fourth, the people repented. Fifth, God relented. Does this cycle look familiar? Yes, it is the whole redemptive cycle that is at the heart of the biblical narrative. And this cycle in the old testament was only foreshadowing the ultimate cycle fulfilled in the New Testament: We are sinners, God intends to punish sin, Jesus intercedes, we believe and repent, God relents. The Gospel!

There is no truth here. You have just expounded a falsehood. If man sins, god[if we grant it existence] is ultimately responsible. He [for the purpose of this argument lets grant him existence] could have created a universe devoid of sin and made man without the ability to do sin. If he creates man defective, the problem must be laid where it rightfully belongs. If the theist is going to blame man for bad and give god a free pass, he worse than a hypocrite! God must be such an ineffective designer of anything, if he has to always correct his mistakes. It appears to me then that first programme he made was so full of bugs that there were not enough fixes to deal with all the security glitches that he resorted to using death as a means to an end. You can always bury your mistakes, ask doctors if you don’t believe me.

Do you want to change God’s mind? Then preach the Gospel.

Why would anyone rational being want to change the mind of that which does not exist? Is this not the height or credulity?

You see, we cannot look at sinners and then say that they are “almost” saved or on their way to salvation. The paradox of the grace is that we can tell unbelievers “you are headed to hell” without fearing that they could be among the elect; and when they get converted, we can talk to them as if they were always on their way to heaven.

There is no paradox here. It is credulity and ignorance at its highest. To even for a moment entertain the thought that someone is going to hell for not believing in a god when he no evidence to do so only goes so far as to show how one takes pride in seeing others suffer. As I have said before, if not all men are to be saved, then I prefer annihilation to hell. And if heaven can’t exist without hell, then there should be no heaven and I want it remembered that I defended against cruelty. No loving parent having the foreknowledge that their children would disobey them, creates them and then damns them. It is the work of a fiend, a cruel bastard, a monster! If the theists accept their god created hell many years in advance for the sole reason to damn me eternally, they must accept they are worshiping a fiend, an enemy of man and an irresponsible bastard!

This is the paradox of God changing His mind. At the cross, the passages about a God who changes His mind meet the passages about a God who never changes His mind. At the cross, God’s wrath against sin is expressed fully, with no repentance. At the cross, God’s mercy is expressed fully, with no repentance. At the Cross, God’s wrath and God’s mercy kiss.

I have said before this is wishful thinking. If the story of Adam and Eve is metaphor, the fall of man a metaphor it follows the cross is a metaphor and that Jesus if he existed died for a metaphor basically he was a fool.

And the most amazing thing happens. Sin is punished, sinners are forgiven, and God is glorified.

If gods do not exist, there can be no sin that is if sin is defined as an offense against god. We can’t sin against what doesn’t exist. There is no possible way such an eventuality can occur and this I say belongs to wishful thinking.

It may look like God’s mind has been changed, but it’s really our hearts which have been changed.

No such thing has happened. You have just convinced yourself of the impossible and the credulous!

Is science and religion compatible

If there was ever such a debate, science won before religion could lift its ass from the seat. In my forays at WEIT [a site I highly recommend], I get the feeling that there are those, especially some physicists in the US of A, who think there is some room that should be allowed religion. They argue for accommodation saying there are aspects of human experience science can’t explain or examine which in itself is not based on fact and even if this were the case, theology or religion can’t provide us with answers. For the duration when the church had power, there was no development in human knowledge. All we had was inquisition and stifling of science, free thought and they invented blasphemy. I read also about scientists and theologians who say they occupy different magestria and so it can’t be said they are in conflict. I hold no such views and to the extent that theology occupies itself with the study of the absurd where no conclusions or predictions can be made, they will forever be in conflict.

The theist is wont to say that great men have been christians or religious does not make religion true. It only goes so far to show that a good scientist can make a bad theologian. We don’t remember Newton for his discourses on the nature of god but for his mathematics. No theologian quotes the works of Newton in church except when they want to appeal to his intellect. They can call on these great men to support their cause, but this will not make religion any true nor will it prove that a god exists.

I don’t remember much of what was taught in my biology class a few years back but am positive, my teacher[a good teacher he was even though I didn’t like biology much] did not say it was directed by god. I think the reason it didn’t make much impact in my life at that time had to do with the time allocated for the biology class which was less than an hour in most cases and this I think ought to be addressed. Now that his, among other things interest me, I will look at our science books to see what is taught in our schools and if I should find it substandard to write to the relevant bodies to have something done about it.

I have featured Col. Robert Green Ingersoll on this blog and today I also include one of his responses to the question of compatibility between science and religion.

Evolution and christianity may be compatible, provided you take the ground that christianity is only one of the links in the chain, one of the phases of civilization  But if you mean by christianity what is generally understood, of course that and evolution are completely incompatible. Christianity pretends to be not only the truth, but, so far as religion is concerned, the whole truth. Christianity pretends to give a history of religion and a prophecy of destiny. As a philosophy. it is an absolute failure. As a history, it is false. There is no possible way by which Darwin and Moses can be harmonized  There is an inexpressible conflict between christianity and science, and both cannot long inhabit the same brain. You cannot harmonize evolution and the atonement. The survival of the fittest does away with original sin.

I think the physicists in America who ask for the accommodation of religion are being dishonest. If they do they this to safeguard their jobs, then they are still not free and we have to fight for freedom of the mind so each person can say what he truly believes without fear of losing his job and the capacity to take care of those he/ she loves.

Jean Meslier

I share with Nietzsche a liking for the French intellect of old [ I hope they still are] and it is in this respect that I introduce to you Fr. Jean Meslier a Roman Catholic priest who after a pastoral service of thirty[30] years at Etrepigny in Champagne, France, wholly abjured religious dogmas abd left as his last will and testament, to his parishioners and to the world, to be published after his death, a work entitled Common Sense. I don’t intend to do a review of the book as I have done to other books, so the different passages will be construed to form part of the review. The book is wonderfully written in beautiful prose. Those who have a lot of time in their hands as does your truly can add it to their reading list and I can vouch for the book being a worthy contender in any library!

After dispelling with introductions, I intend in the next few days to lift passages from his book to show you, dear readers, who still doubt the conclusion of Atheism as the rational one to be wholly misguided and has continued to abuse the little, no pun intended, common sense that you have. I don’t mean to make my agnostic friends look bad, especially those leaning towards Atheism, I just want you to consider the few pages I will quote here from time to time and tell me if agnosticism is really a warranted position unless you also admit to be an Atheist.

If you allow me, our first quote is

WHAT IS THEOLOGY?

There is a science which has for its object only incomprehensible things. Unlike all others, it occupies itself but with things unseen. Hobbes calls it “the kingdom of darkness.” In this land all obey laws opposed to those which men acknowledge in the world they inhabit. In this marvelous region light is but darkness, evidence becomes doubtful or false, the impossible becomes credible, reason is an unfaithful guide, and common sense changed into delirium. This science is named Theology, and this Theology is a continual insult to human reason.

Who wrote the bible

by Richard Elliot Friedman

I had written a post in the past where I said Moses didn’t write the first five books of the OT and I referred you good friends to my friend’s website where he has covered this matter in detail than I would do in the space of this blog.

In this book that I just finished reading, the author tells the same story but much better than I plan to do here. The thing that I found most interesting from this book is not who wrote the bible, I already had an idea of the J, E, P and D authors, but the creativity with which they combined the different narratives to form a coherent book.

Friedman shows, the bible was the first attempt to write history. He says, and I find it persuasive, that these authors writing at their own times concerning the particular events did not for a moment imagine their works would have such a tremendous effect generations later. One is able, after reading this book, to better appreciate the political and religious climate the different authors wrote their histories.

It is a few hundred pages and one can read it one sitting.

YHWH’s photocopy business

I don’t remember Moses going to meet with god, so we must assume god is giving Moses this instructions in his tent. While at it, who made the first stone tablets?

34 Now the Lord said to Moses, “Cut out for yourself two stone tablets like the former ones, and I will write on the tablets the words that were on the former tablets which you shattered.

What is so special in Mt. Sinai that god resides there, I thought he was omnipresent? Just asking, is it possible to have this tete a tete with him on the mount, I would go there some day. Seriously, flocks not to look at the mountain? What will Moses tell the cows? Or they will have a mask on their heads.

So be ready by morning, and come up in the morning to Mount Sinai, and present yourself there to Me on the top of the mountain. No man is to come up with you, nor let any man be seen anywhere on the mountain; even the flocks and the herds may not graze in front of that mountain.”

So the lord has legs or how did he stand?

The Lord descended in the cloud and stood there with him as he called upon the name of the Lord.

Does anyone see the contradiction in this statement? And who punishes a child for the sins of the grandfather? Seriously, why does anyone worship this this god?

Then the Lord passed by in front of him and proclaimed, “The Lord, the Lord God, compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in loving kindness and truth; who keeps loving kindness for thousands, who forgives iniquity, transgression and sin; yet He will by no means leave the guilty unpunished, visiting the iniquity of fathers on the children and on the grandchildren to the third and fourth generations.”

I don’t know why he has to bow, if they are going to have a face to face conversation

Moses made haste to bow low toward the earth and worship. He said, “If now I have found favor in Your sight, O Lord, I pray, let the Lord go along in our midst, even though the people are so obstinate, and pardon our iniquity and our sin, and take us as Your own possession.”

Someone tell me why god would need to perform miracles? And what is the point in scaring people while at it?

10 Then God said, “Behold, I am going to make a covenant. Before all your people I will perform miracles which have not been produced in all the earth nor among any of the nations; and all the people among whom you live will see the working of the Lord, for it is a fearful thing that I am going to perform with you.

Please tell me why a loving and kind god would do some people unless he isn’t there is god?

11 “Be sure to observe what I am commanding you this day: behold, I am going to drive out the Amorite before you, and the Canaanite, the Hittite, the Perizzite, the Hivite and the Jebusite.12 Watch yourself that you make no covenant with the inhabitants of the land into which you are going, or it will become a snare in your midst. 13 But rather, you are to tear down their altars and smash their sacred pillars and cut down their Asherim 14 —for you shall not worship any other god, for the Lord, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God— 15 otherwise you might make a covenant with the inhabitants of the land and they would play the harlot with their gods and sacrifice to their gods, and someone might invite you to eat of his sacrifice, 16 and you might take some of his daughters for your sons, and his daughters might play the harlot with their gods and cause your sons also to play the harlot with their gods.

Oh, god had to up date his laws to take care of Aaron and the people who I think they already have had killed.

17 You shall make for yourself no molten gods.

What does god have against donkeys and women?

19 “The first offspring from every womb belongs to Me, and all your male livestock, the first offspring from cattle and sheep. 20 You shall redeem with a lamb the first offspring from a donkey; and if you do not redeem it, then you shall break its neck. You shall redeem all the firstborn of your sons. None shall appear before Me empty-handed.

Why are women excluded from this appearance? Are they lesser beings?

23 Three times a year all your males are to appear before the Lord God, the God of Israel. 24 For I will drive out nations before you and enlarge your borders, and no man shall covet your land when you go up three times a year to appear before the Lord your God.

Seriously god, you couldn’t think of something better?

“You shall not boil a young goat in its mother’s milk.”

Jesus wasn’t the first to fast 40 days and 40 nights, Moses beat it to it and I would say the gospel writers just copied this one and didn’t edit it at any point. We will build the legend Jesus by the time we are finished with the OT, we will have a cool picture.

27 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Write down these words, for in accordance with these words I have made a covenant with you and with Israel.” 28 So he was there with the Lord forty days and forty nights; he did not eat bread or drink water. And he wrote on the tablets the words of the covenant, the Ten Commandments.

And Jesus doesn’t have a monopoly on transfiguration, Moses beat it to it. Is it that Jesus was transfigured when he came from the mountain or the creators of the Jesus story used the Moses legend and added doves to it.

29 It came about when Moses was coming down from Mount Sinai (and the two tablets of the testimony were in Moses’ hand as he was coming down from the mountain), that Moses did not know that the skin of his face shone because of his speaking with Him. 30 So when Aaron and all the sons of Israel saw Moses, behold, the skin of his face shone, and they were afraid to come near him.

This is quite interesting. Moses wears a veil to talk to the people and removes it to talk to god.

 33 When Moses had finished speaking with them, he put a veil over his face. 34 But whenever Moses went in before the Lord to speak with Him, he would take off the veil until he came out; and whenever he came out and spoke to the sons of Israel what he had been commanded, 35 the sons of Israel would see the face of Moses, that the skin of Moses’ face shone. So Moses would replace the veil over his face until he went in to speak with Him.

On theology

the study of theology as it stands in Christian churches, is the study of nothing; it is founded on nothing, it rests on no principles, it proceeds by no authorities, it has no data, it can demonstrate nothing and admits of no conclusion. Not any thing can be studied as a science without our being in possession of the principles upon which it is founded and as this is not case with Christian theology, it is therefore the study of nothing

Thomas Paine, The Age of Reason

The journey continues

The Israelites have been on a hiatus on the journey and god feels they need to continue. I don’t know why they stopped in the first place though.

Why would god, an all-powerful, loving and merciful god send some away to create land for a chosen few?

I will send an angel before you and I will drive out the Canaanite, the Amorite, the Hittite, the Perizzite, the Hivite and the Jebusite.

What happened? He couldn’t keep the honey and milk flowing to our days? What a bad ass guy this god was. And he even have threats, the sons of Israel should just have told him to go and hang, we may not have had these problems

Go up to a land flowing with milk and honey; for I will not go up in your midst, because you are an obstinate people, and I might destroy you on the way.”

What has ornaments got to do with anything?

When the people heard this sad word, they went into mourning, and none of them put on his ornaments. For the Lord had said to Moses, “Say to the sons of Israel, ‘You are an obstinate people; should I go up in your midst for one moment, I would destroy you. Now therefore, put off your ornaments from you, that I may know what I shall do with you.’” So the sons of Israel stripped themselves of their ornaments, from Mount Horeb onward.

I know why Catholics still do this. I didn’t realize it started with Moses

And it came about, whenever Moses went out to the tent, that all the people would arise and stand, each at the entrance of his tent, and gaze after Moses until he entered the tent.

Has anyone seen a cloud descend to the ground? Or did Moses meet with god only when it was misty and there was fog?

Whenever Moses entered the tent, the pillar of cloud would descend and stand at the entrance of the tent; and the Lord would speak with Moses.

Just hold it here

11 Thus the Lord used to speak to Moses face to face, just as a man speaks to his friend. When Moses returned to the camp, his servant Joshua, the son of Nun, a young man, would not depart from the tent.

If it was possible to change god’s mind then, why has he refused to listen to the billions of christians praying everyday, answered prayers of muslims and judaists who call to him every single moment?

12 Then Moses said to the Lord, “See, You say to me, ‘Bring up this people!’ But You Yourself have not let me know whom You will send with me. Moreover, You have said, ‘I have known you by name, and you have also found favor in My sight.’ 13 Now therefore, I pray You, if I have found favor in Your sight, let me know Your ways that I may know You, so that I may find favor in Your sight. Consider too, that this nation is Your people.”

And he actually changed his mind.

14 And He said, “My presence shall go with you, and I will give you rest.”

Do I read an ultimatum?

15 Then he said to Him, “If Your presence does not go with us, do not lead us up from here.

Tell me, a few verses ago, verse 11, Moses and god speak face to face, what has changed?

 20 But He said, “You cannot see My face, for no man can see Me and live!” 

By a show of hands, can we agree that this god is not omnipresent.

21 Then the Lord said, “Behold, there is a place by Me, and you shall stand there on the rock; 22 and it will come about, while My glory is passing by, that I will put you in the cleft of the rock and cover you with My hand until I have passed by. 23 Then I will take My hand away and you shall see My back, but My face shall not be seen.”

Of golden calves and angry gods

So that we are in the same page, I will take time just to remind us of where we stopped when we last reviewed this good book as some oft call it. We ended with god inscribing some tablets with his fingers; the jury is still out on the number of fingers he has. 

How many days has Moses been gone for the sons of Israel to be this impatient?

32 Now when the people saw that Moses delayed to come down from the mountain, the people assembled about Aaron and said to him, “Come, make us a god who will go before us; as for this Moses, the man who brought us up from the land of Egypt, we do not know what has become of him.”

To make this god was quite expensive

Aaron said to them, “Tear off the gold rings which are in the ears of your wives, your sons, and your daughters, and bring them to me.”

If Aaron was made a priest by god and has been with Moses all these time, how come he doesn’t dissuade the people from making a new god. He goes along with them and makes the god himself. How could this be so easy for one already anointed by god? Did the power or spirit of god desert him at the moment when he would need it the most?

Then all the people tore off the gold rings which were in their ears and brought them to Aaron. He took this from their hand, and fashioned it with a graving tool and made it into a molten calf; and they said,

And why does he go over and above what the people have asked of him. All they wanted was a god, all these that Aaron does is of his doing

“This is your god, O Israel, who brought you up from the land of Egypt.” Now when Aaron saw this, he built an altar before it; and Aaron made a proclamation and said, “Tomorrow shall be a feast to the Lord.” So the next day they rose early and offered burnt offerings, and brought peace offerings; and the people sat down to eat and to drink, and rose up to play.

Whose fault is it that the people have failed to keep the law of god? I think god is guilty.

Then the Lord spoke to Moses, “Go down at once, for your people, whom you brought up from the land of Egypt, have corrupted themselves.

When I talk of absurdities, this is what I mean. Why would god ask leave of Moses to smite the people? Is Moses more powerful than god?

The Lord said to Moses, “I have seen this people, and behold, they are an obstinate people.10 Now then let Me alone, that My anger may burn against them and that I may destroy them; and I will make of you a great nation.”

And here we see Moses challenging god, telling him to go easy on the people. Tell me, you right thinking citizen, why and how could Moses convince god to change his mind? So is god’s mind changeable and if it is, does he have a material brain like we do. All our thoughts originate from the brain.

11 Then Moses entreated the Lord his God, and said, “O Lord, why does Your anger burn against Your people whom You have brought out from the land of Egypt with great power and with a mighty hand?

He is telling god to be sensible and is actually successful at doing it. A few inferences one can make from this situation; god didn’t think things through, he is a mean bastard, men are more sensible than god.

12 Why should the Egyptians speak, saying, ‘With evil intent He brought them out to kill them in the mountains and to destroy them from the face of the earth’? Turn from Your burning anger and change Your mind about doing harm to Your people. 13 Remember Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, Your servants to whom You swore by Yourself, and said to them, ‘I will multiply your descendants as the stars of the heavens, and all this land of which I have spoken I will give to your descendants, and they shall inherit it forever.’” 14 So the Lord changed His mind about the harm which He said He would do to His people.

Wait a minute, are these the tablets that have the commandments?

15 Then Moses turned and went down from the mountain with the two tablets of the testimony in his hand, tablets which were written on both sides; they were written on one side and the other. 16 The tablets were God’s work, and the writing was God’s writing engraved on the tablets.

There is a parallel here with the story of the prodigal son as narrated in Luke’s gospel. When the eldest son came home, he had songs of joy and when he inquired he became angry and refused to come home. I think, Luke developed his story from these theme. I could be wrong but that is highly unlikely.

17 Now when Joshua heard the sound of the people as they shouted, he said to Moses, “There is a sound of war in the camp.” 18 But he said,

“It is not the sound of the cry of triumph,
Nor is it the sound of the cry of defeat;
But the sound of singing I hear.”

19 It came about, as soon as Moses came near the camp, that he saw the calf and the dancing; and Moses’ anger burned, and he threw the tablets from his hands and shattered them at the foot of the mountain.

What end did Moses want to achieve by making people drinking gold? But before we get there, is gold soluble in water?

20 He took the calf which they had made and burned it with fire, and ground it to powder, and scattered it over the surface of the water and made the sons of Israel drink it.

Is it true that only one family came out to be for the lord? Is it possible in a big population that this distribution is possible? Tell me please

25 Now when Moses saw that the people were out of control—for Aaron had let them get out of control to be a derision among their enemies— 26 then Moses stood in the gate of the camp, and said, “Whoever is for the Lord, come to me!” And all the sons of Levi gathered together to him.

Since god does not override Moses’ command, we can only assume that he is fully in agreement. And if he is in agreement, what does this make of god? Two, is it possible that all the other families couldn’t fight off the sons of Levi? Please tell me, how sensible is this?

27 He said to them, “Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, ‘Every man of you put his sword upon his thigh, and go back and forth from gate to gate in the camp, and kill every man his brother, and every man his friend, and every man his neighbor.’” 28 So the sons of Levi did as Moses instructed, and about three thousand men of the people fell that day.

Seriously, after killing so many thousands of your brothers, sisters, aunts, friends and so on, where do you get the audacity to dedicate yourselves to the lord?

29 Then Moses said, “Dedicate yourselves today to the Lord—for every man has been against his son and against his brother—in order that He may bestow a blessing upon you today.”

Who is Moses addressing? The sons of Levi or the corpses?

30 On the next day Moses said to the people, “You yourselves have committed a great sin; and now I am going up to the Lord, perhaps I can make atonement for your sin.”

Can we agree this god is not omnipresent? Moses has already punished the people, who is he asking god to forgive? What book is this that god keeps? What is it made of?

31 Then Moses returned to the Lord, and said, “Alas, this people has committed a great sin, and they have made a god of gold for themselves. 32 But now, if You will, forgive their sin—and if not, please blot me out from Your book which You have written!” 33 The Lord said to Moses, “Whoever has sinned against Me, I will blot him out of My book. 34 But go now, lead the people where I told you. Behold, My angel shall go before you; nevertheless in the day when I punish, I will punish them for their sin.” 35 Then the Lord smote the people, because of what they did with the calf which Aaron had made.