Saturday, December 12, 2015

A Year as an Atheist: The Fruit Thereof

Note: I had written most of this in August of this year, but then I became so busy that I had to put off finishing it until now, so I've technically been an atheist now for nearly a year and a half.

Last year, on July 19, I published a post on my old "Growing in Grace and Knowledge" blog where I came out publicly as an apostate from my Christian religion.  I reposted it here on this blog.  It's not written as chronologically well as it could have been, but I wrote it the way it came out.  I may edit it for its inclusion in my book that will detail my journey from childhood to my current state.

When I came out to say that I no longer believed the bible to be the word of god, I initially still believed in a god.  That lasted maybe two weeks before I realized that it didn't make much sense for a god to create all this and not care.  I realized I believed there really wasn't likely a god at all.  I had barely even looked into evolution before my apostasy.  It bore absolutely no weight on why I stopped believing the bible to be true. I soon started studying biological evolution thoroughly, and my beliefs were confirmed substantially more.  Based on what I know now, if there is a god that created everything here, he did a very shoddy job, and he also enjoys bloodbaths and other horrors in having set up the whole predator-prey/parasite-host/disease-host system. Just the way the vas deferens is hooked up in the human male and the way the laryngeal nerve is hooked up in the giraffe, when compared to animals all the way down to a fish, is enough for me to call bullshit on the whole idea of a creator.  I'd never known those things.

I want to lay out in this post how my first year as an atheist has gone.  What fruit has it borne?  Has it been bad fruit or good?  What is my stance a year after leaving religion behind?

Since the good fruit far outweighs any bad, I'll start with the bad and then move on to the good.

Being Shunned (Bad)

Source: Clip Art Panda

There were only two negative effects that came of my apostasy, and both have faded into near oblivion.  The first bad experience was the loss of some friends due to their cultic and unbiblical practice of shunning.  Not all of my friends did this. Some of them followed the biblical approach of no longer partaking in Christian fellowship with me but still conversing with me and carrying on friendships.  This spoke volumes of each of the individuals, depending upon which category into which they fell.

It was very traumatic to be treated in such a way.  I figured one of my best friends would likely react that way at first, due to her volatile personality, but would then get her act together, but so far that has not happened. Maybe some day it will.  My other best friend shocked me and hurt me more than any other.  She's the only one I've cried over multiple times in the past year.  I love her, and I am so disappointed in the way she cut me off; I think about her and her family often.  She said to me that she loved me and my family, but then she saw my post.  It is so hurtful that her love turned out not only to be conditional on my belief in the bible as the word of god, but that my family also lost her love and care.  How can love just be dropped in an instant like that, especially toward children that don't have anything to do with their mother's choice?  I count it as a bad thing.  I really thought we'd be lifelong friends.  Then there was a friend for whom I gradually lost more and more respect over the years, and after my apostasy all respect was lost.  He acted in a most shameful way, totally ignoring biblical teaching and common decency, which drove me to great anger.  I entered battle mode.  You pull that kind of shit, you're asking for it.  He even said he had no choice but to "hand [me] over to Satan."  In those people's minds, Satan is a horrible individual that will cause your life to be living hell.  So, in other words, he was wanting evil to befall me.  But indeed, looking at his history and how he believed in dealing with people he believed to be enemies, he is just a man of revenge, far from how Jesus would have acted.

If it wasn't so depressing, angering, and shameful on their part, it would be humorous that I, as an atheist for a year, am far more Christian (the meaning here being a follower of Jesus' good teachings) than those who shunned me.  Their hypocrisy in failing to act Jesus-like toward me would be amusing if it wasn't so sad.  Not only did they shut off their moral conscience—the wisdom voice inside that makes life easier for those who listen to it—but they clearly flunked out on the passages in the Christian testament that teach how to treat someone who has either strayed and sinned or become an unbeliever.

My brothers, if anyone among you wanders from the truth and someone brings him back, let him know that whoever brings back a sinner from his wandering will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins (James 5:19-20, ESV)

This verse set was the one of two that kept reverberating through my mind as I was assaulted by those I once called friends.  Was I the only one among the bunch who had this verse written on my heart?   I was waiting for one of them to act the proper way, but none of them did.  That is how I tallied their love value for me.  I came away feeling very unloved.  I must not have meant very much to any of them.  There was another friend my two good aforementioned friends (and others) and I shared on a forums community of mine who walked away from the bible and all religion a few years ago (she disappeared at some point from the Internet, and she lives in another state), and to my knowledge I'm the only one who continued to talk to her.  I would give updates to the rest of the group.  She and I would share email conversations.  We stayed on friendly terms until she disappeared.  We had some conversation where I tried helping her sort through things, where I tried bringing her back to belief.  But when she said she simply could not (and she shared with me reasons why), I was compassionate about it and told her I understood and that I didn't fear for her salvation.  I believed that if she was truly confused and tried to do good in her life, then our Father God would have mercy on her and show her the truth at her resurrection.  She had told me that she hoped I was right.  I chose to remain on friendly terms with her and did so until I never heard from her again.

I lived it.  I brought all the love within me to that religion.  I saw love in the bible.  I clung to the loving verses therein.  I did it all the right way and couldn't imagine having done it any other way.  I could not have imagined treating that very sweet-spirited person like crap and shunning her.  When you've got true love in your heart, and you believe that you have a father god who is full of love, then you want nothing more than to share that with the other person and for him or her to not miss out on all the blessings.  If I'd have shunned her, what hope would there have been of her coming back and even wanting to come back, unless another loving person would have kept a relationship with her?

Source: Gospel Clip Art

The other main verses that my mind kept hearing were:

“If you love those who love you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. And if you do good to those who do good to you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners do the same.And if you lend to those from whom you expect to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, to get back the same amount. But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return, and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, for he is kind to the ungrateful and the evil. Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful" (Luke 6:32-36, ESV, also see Matt. 5:46...).
See, I had all these good sayings "written on my heart" (file-saved into my mind), so my brain kept accessing them like an alarm was going off.  I knew what those persons were doing was evil and hypocritical, and so it was very traumatic to me.  All the time wasted...

Some other verses:

Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted (Gal. 6:1).
If anyone does not obey our instruction in this letter, take special note of that person and do not associate with him, so that he will be put to shame. Yet do not regard him as an enemy, but admonish him as a brother (2 Thess. 3:14-15).  
The one in Thessalonians applied to the instructions in that particular letter, and it simply says take note of the person, cut out their church association, but continue to admonish him as a brother, not an enemy.  There is no admonishing going on when you shun someone. Disfellowshipping a person from church and shunning them to where you don't talk to them at all, anymore, are two very different things. 

1 Corinthians 5 also deals with a man who was engaging in sex with his dad's wife.  It doesn't say he wasn't a believer.  He was doing something most of us would think of as very bad.  He was supposed to be expelled from church association, too.  However, it says nothing of conversing or continuing a friendship with that person, if you had it, outside of the church association.  How else would a person expect there to be hope for the person to return? 

2 John 1:10 deals with an individual Christian household that held church.  Instruction was given not to allow a false teacher into the association to teach, nor to give them the Christian greeting common at that time.  It has nothing to do with not talking at all, outside of church gatherings, with a person who differs in teaching, nor giving a common greeting.

“If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother. But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, that every charge may be established by the evidence of two or three witnesses. If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church. And if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector (Matt. 18:15-17).

We all know that Jesus was compassionate and friendly toward those of other nations and that he engaged in friendly conversations with tax collectors.  He cared about them and hoped to turn them to a good way of life.  He obviously would not have associated with them in the synagogue.  There would have been no Godly fellowship.  But there would be normal conversation about other things in everyday life.

Logic and kindness were totally absent from the way I was treated.  It did add a scar to my life's mental wounds.  And even if I had not gone on to totally disbelieve in a god (which isn't the same as emphatically saying there isn't one, because no one knows, and that's the only honest stance), what possibly would have caused me to want to return to a walk in Christian traditions?  Certainly not those individuals!  Such behavior leaves a bad taste in the mouth, a sick feeling in the stomach. 

Fear of Death (Bad)

It wasn't long after I ceased believing in a god that we woke up in the middle of the night to discover it was badly storming. My husband rushed to see whether our router and modem would work so that he could check the weather.  I remember shooting straight up in the bed and whisper-shouting, "Father!  Please protect us."  It was out of habit.  The memory of there not being a god immediately flooded to me, and I was filled with sheer terror.  It was awful.  I felt so terribly helpless.  I got up to pee, and I was just hoping so badly that we didn't get a tornado or that a tree didn't fall on the house.  I had always been relaxed before, fully believing that my Loving Father above would protect us from any evil (but perhaps not others who would be killed by a tornado, and all the while millions of children were starving or being beaten or dying from a malicious disease).  I'm not sure why I always felt protected before.  In truth I'd also suffered from anxiety and fear for years, ever since I'd lost my second-born son.  I'd begged for him to live, but he did not.  But for some reason, I thought my god wouldn't bring such evil upon me again, so I was faithful that we'd be protected.

My Love gently reminded me, when I expressed my fear, that it had always been that way, in reality.  We had never had a god protecting us.  I knew he was right, but it was hard to get used to at first.  Just the false belief gave a certain sense of trust that we'd be ok during storms and vehicle rides.

In time this fear faded to such a point that I'm overall less fearful of bad things happening now than I was when I believed in a god, because there were often fears that I'd be punished whenever I did something I felt was wrong.  It's really opened my eyes to how much the god I'd served was a tyrant whom I fooled myself into believing was a god of love, grace, and longsuffering.

Gratitude (Good)

I had always been a very grateful person.  I always tried to focus on the positive side of things and spent most of my "prayer" time throughout the day thanking my god for how wonderful my life was and grateful for when good befell others.  I found myself grateful for the smallest things.  But since my leaving religion and ceasing to have a belief in god, my gratitude has increased exponentially.  I'm alive, I've made it this far, I'm doing well, I've got wonderful people in my life.  I'm surrounded by beauty and knowledge.  I'm very aware that this life is likely all there is, and I'm grateful that I've had a really good one so far.  I've suffered immensely painful experiences during my life's journey, but overall it's been really good.

I mourn more for those who don't have it so well than I did back when I believed they'd get another life, but I'm more appreciative for what I have got.  I want to make sure I make the most of this life by finding joy and bringing joy to others.  I've always lived with that goal in mind, but my drive is stronger now.  I'm no longer holding out in faith for false promises of a better life to come.  I'm no longer wasting my time preparing myself and others for what will never come.  I'm making the best of what I do.

I am just as sad as I was before my apostasy at the thought of losing loved ones or other bad things happening, but for the most part, I do deal with this better now than before.  I believe it's because I try all the more to live in the present and enjoy everything to the fullest.  I let time slow down as I'm cherishing moments with my children, with my husband, with friends, in nature, eating food I enjoy, etc.

Finally, I'm grateful for the fact that I figured this out when I did in my early 30s.  Sure, some people get it figured out in their teens or twenties, but I'm grateful that I didn't waste away my 30s, 40s, or yet more decades before discovering that I've been living by myths.  That way, if I live that long, I can better enjoy more time, knowing this is the only life I'm guaranteed.

Better Marriage and Mother-Child Relationships (Good)

My marriage relationship was already the best that I knew, and so many had marveled at how well we got along and loved each other, even during the years when we didn't share the same beliefs.  My husband had always been so respectful of my beliefs after he stopped believing them.  He more or less kept the Sabbath and holidays with us.  He didn't insist we keep holidays I didn't want to keep.  He didn't eat biblically "unclean" foods.  I also respected him, though, in not wanting to engage in bible reading and such.  We stayed up late every night talking, making love, or watching documentaries or comedy, or whatever.  We were always best friends.  But now it's even better, because we are even more on the same page, once again.

I was almost a perfect mother for my first six years of parenting, and then for a variety of reasons, I went downhill in some ways.  The ideas of rewards and punishments that I derived from the bible poisoned my good parenting.  I adopted some of those ways in parenting my children, though it didn't take long for me to see the error.  However, it was hard to get away from.  I'm now doing so much better again.  I know my kids don't have to be perfect.  They don't need to earn my love.  I was being like god to them, as I understood he was to me. I thought I had understood God so well by reading all about his losing his temper at disobedient people and then repenting later, because I had experienced it.  It bothered me, deep inside, though, that I was supposedly in need of salvation because of my failure to be perfect and lose my temper, and yet God could do the same thing and also feel guilty, and yet he wasn't in need of salvation.  That was something that had been bothering me more and more as time went on.

I don't believe I'm going to reunite with my children in another life, so this is all I've got.  I want, all the more, to make the best of it.  As I mentioned before, I really focus on certain moments, just letting myself enjoy them to the fullest, living in the moment.

Friends (Good)

I still have good Christian friends, and I also have atheist friends.  It's great!  One of my Christian friends from before, who believed as I did, is now an atheist.  That's the best part. 

More Learning and Growth (Good)

 I'd always valued learning and growth before, but this aspect is another in my life that has seen an increase.  I question things even more and dig even deeper.  I have researched and read about more varied topics and have really enjoyed what I've learned.

More Empathy Toward Others and Less Judgemental (Good)

 I couldn't understand how all the Christians couldn't obviously see that they were walking in false religion.  Why weren't they real Christians who rejected pagan holidays, the trinity, and an ever-burning hell, among other doctrines?  (Or why would God truly blind them from seeing the truth?)  Now I can better put myself in their shoes.  I was at least partly guilty, too.  I'm sure I was viewed just as duped by atheists as I viewed mainstream Christians, because I did not study deeply enough or think deeply enough.

I feel even more compassion on those in the world suffering, too.  It's the realization that if there was really a god, then it/he/she is deeply wicked for letting millions of children starve or suffer from cancer or child abuse, yet blessing some with the trivial things for which they prayed.  It has gone on for thousands and thousands of years.  If any of us had the power to end all the suffering, we would do so and think it would be evil not to do so, so why is it that any of us would justify God's not doing anything?

Source: Pinterest-Kerry Souza
More Proactive in Helping Others (Good)

My husband and I have always helped others in whatever way we could.  We've always been popular ones for others to come to for advice.  We've given thousands of dollars each year to people who need financial help.  We've given to charities and to individuals and families.  Nathan has stopped to help numerous people on the side of the road.  I've taken time out to help people figure things out or to offer encouragement.  I've recycled what I can for over twelve years and do other things to help our environment. Most of the Christians I knew before didn't even tithe, but most Christians who do tithe, tithe to their churches, anyway, and give considerably less money to those in need.  We tithed nearly all our money directly to those in need.  Not only do we still help people financially and give advice and help people in other ways, I spend much more time now than before in signing petitions and answering people's questions on question and answer sites, to make a real difference in people's lives.  I sign a few petitions every day.  They range anywhere from helping endangered animals, education for children, to punish abuse, to gain human rights, and so much more.

And More...

There is so much good that has come about in my life since leaving religion behind.  There is one more bad aspect that I didn't talk about, and that is the fact that atheists are looked upon as the most untrustworthy and evil individuals, but there is no evidence whatsoever that atheists deserve this stigma.  There are good people and evil people in every religious group and non-religious group.  There is evidence, though, that religion has caused much more harm to the world than atheism, as a whole.  In upcoming posts, this will be illustrated.

Overall, my life and the lives of others have drastically improved since I've become an atheist.

Friday, July 24, 2015

Cornerstones and Human Sacrifice

Last year I wrote about human sacrifice in the bible and how the Israelite's war god Yahweh (one of many Canaanite gods in the pantheon underneath El) was portrayed as being appeased by said sacrifices. 

Among other examples, I wrote about something called foundation sacrifice, which was practiced in many ancient cultures, including ancient Israel.  Joshua spoke an oath in Yahweh's name that if anyone rebuilt Jericho again, that man must do it at the cost of his firstborn for the foundation and his last born to be laid at the gates. 
Joshua laid an oath on them at that time, saying, “Cursed before the Lord be the man who rises up and rebuilds this city, Jericho.
“At the cost of his firstborn shall he
lay its foundation,
and at the cost of his youngest son
shall he set up its gates" (Josh. 6:26-27).

 The first book of Kings later records that Hiel of Bethel rebuilt Jericho in Jewish King Ahab's day:

In his days Hiel of Bethel built Jericho. He laid its foundation at the cost of Abiram his firstborn, and set up its gates at the cost of his youngest son Segub, according to the word of the Lord, which he spoke by Joshua the son of Nun (1 Kings 16:34)

You can Google "foundation sacrifice" and visit Google Images to see what it is and read Wikipedia.  Ancient tribes and nations would kill a person for a sacrifice to their god and place the person at the foundation of a wall or building.  It was believed that they would receive that god's protection over that building or city beyond the gates and walls and that the sacrifice would ward off enemy spirits.

Today I was revisiting this topic and came to realize that the "cornerstone" so often mentioned in the bible texts, such as Jesus being the cornerstone, is where sacrificed human bodies would be laid.  That makes Jesus' death as the way Paul portrayed it (a human sacrifice) all the more sickening, because he is the supposed cornerstone of a figurative building of which Christians are supposed to be a part.  At least being a "living sacrifice," as is mentioned in the Christian texts is better than being slaughtered and lain down as part of a building. 

I started searching "cornerstone" as it pertains to human sacrifice and found this article about a child's body archaeologists found in Mexico back in 2005.

Archaeologists digging through an Aztec temple say they’ve found a rare child sacrifice to the war god, a deity normally honored with the hearts or skulls of adult warriors.

The child found at Mexico City’s Templo Mayor ruins was apparently killed sometime around 1450, in a sort of grim cornerstone ceremony intended to dedicate a new layer of building, according to archaeologist Ximena Chavez (Source: Child Sacrifice, bold added).

The article goes on to say that it's the first child archaeologists have found that was sacrificed to Huitzilopochtli, the Aztec war god.  Normally captive warriors from opposing tribes were the ones sacrificed to the war god.

We know from the books of the bible, though, that there's at least one more example (at least written as such) of possible child sacrifice to a war god.  We don't know how old Hiel's children were; they could have been adults.  Perhaps the case of the child in Mexico was similar to the case recorded in the book of Joshua.  Perhaps that city had been defeated and was put under a similar curse so that a new builder in the future was expected to offer up their child as the cornerstone to the war god Huitzilopochtli that they believed helped them win their victory of that city.

There were also heave offerings, remember, to Yahweh, that came from war spoils.  Animals and persons were burned in sacrifice to Yahweh.  Yahweh liked burned virgins (young women).  There are ones recorded as having been required for sacrifice to him in Num. 31:25-41.  Could these virgins include those of ages we'd consider as "children?"

It's truly sad when we look back on human history.  We still have a lot of improvement to do, if we do not soon become extinct from doing what we've done to our planet, but we have also come a long way.  We've not rid ourselves of war, yet.  However, I'm glad to see that there aren't huge sacrifices of hundreds of animals and people being burned up in honor of a god.

I'm also happy that the only ceremonial cornerstones we use today are stones with engravings of dates of construction and the architect, builder, and/or other important persons (Source: Wikipedia, s.v. "cornerstone"). 

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Does the Christian Testament Teach Breeding Quiverfull?

It has exasperated me for many years that the "Quiverfull"-minded folks claim that Christians are either expected to actively breed and produce as many children as they can before the woman hits menopause or that they should more passively allow themselves to produce as many children with which the women find themselves pregnant, with absolutely no prevention or contraception at all, ever.

Not only is this irresponsible ideal not in the books of the Christian testament, the truth is very much the opposite.  The writers of the books and letters that came to be known as the Christian testament highly discouraged marrying, if you weren't already married, much less encouraging a large or super large family.  In addition, a Christian who didn't provide for his family was considered more worthless than an unbeliever (as if someone who refuses to believe in something he's told without evidence is worthless).  

Unlike the command in Genesis to be fruitful and multiply and repopulate the earth, Jesus, who is recorded as saying all authority in heaven was given to him, commanded Christians to teach all nations and baptize them in order to conceive the god spirit/seed/sperm into them.

"Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”  (Matt. 28:19-20 ESV)

A Christian was supposed to reproduce spiritual children.  It wasn't supposed to matter whether each Christian baptized others, just so long as they did their part so that people who were taught by them were eventually baptized and were conceived as a new creature with the god sperm that came out of the baptizer's fingertips and infused into the skin of the baptizee.  (See I Cor. 3:6-9)

The disciples said to him, “If such is the case of a man with his wife, it is better not to marry.” But he said to them, “Not everyone can receive this saying, but only those to whom it is given. For there are eunuchs who have been so from birth, and there are eunuchs who have been made eunuchs by men, and there are eunuchs who have made themselves eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. Let the one who is able to receive this receive it (Matt. 19:10-12 ESV).

The Mosaic law has an un-Christian ordinance of prohibiting a eunuch or any male who had a genital injury to enter into God's assembly (though eunuchs were accepted later by Isaiah with the evolution of morality--Isa. 56:3).

“No one whose testicles are crushed or whose male organ is cut off shall enter the assembly of the LORD" (Deut. 23:1 ESV).

Jesus didn't really dig the command in Deuteronomy. Jesus explained the different ways a man could be a eunuch, whether by being born a hermaphrodite or otherwise deformed or effeminate from birth or having one's testicles cut off or by simply making oneself not desire sex.  Those who chose castration (or otherwise masturbation) so that they could focus on building God's kingdom rather than a marital relationship were seen as a doing a worthy thing by Jesus.

Now concerning the matters about which you wrote: “It is good for a man not to have sexual relations with a woman.” But because of the temptation to sexual immorality, each man should have his own wife and each woman her own husband. The husband should give to his wife her conjugal rights, and likewise the wife to her husband. For the wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does. Likewise the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does. Do not deprive one another, except perhaps by agreement for a limited time, that you may devote yourselves to prayer; but then come together again, so that Satan may not tempt you because of your lack of self-control (I Cor. 7:1-5 ESV)

Paul referred to our natural biological urges to engage in sex as "temptation to sexual immorality," and so he preferred for a man or woman to marry if they desired sex.  Periodic abstinence was encouraged so that time could be used for working toward God's kingdom (which, if timed well, could also prevent conceiving children who would take more time away from work on building God's kingdom), but it was warned that the couple should not abstain too long, or the biological urges (or Satan's temptations, in Paul's eyes) would be so much that they might find themselves giving into casual sex with others.   In verse 6, Paul stated that he wished all would be like he was in not marrying, but:

...if they cannot exercise self-control, they should marry. For it is better to marry than to burn with passion (vs. 9).

It should be clear by now that the preferred state of a Christian that is serious about building God's kingdom, by spending their time they would otherwise be investing in marital and child-rearing duties, is not to marry and to not reproduce more human beings who will also have to be given the kingdom message in hopes that they will accept it and join as adults.  It takes many years, though, and a lot of time, to bring children up to adults, and there's a very good chance those grown children won't jump on the bandwagon.

All these verses speak of marriage for reasons of engaging in sex to sate the natural sexual desire in a Christian-approved manner.  None of the verses have absolutely anything to do with reproduction.  Many early Christians did adopt orphaned children, but there is nothing in the Christian testament to encourage reproducing new persons.  The only reproduction of new persons that was promoted was to recruit persons who were already in existence to believe Paul's message and to receive conception from the sperm of God, transferred via the fingers of an already-begotten son of god into the bodies of the recruited persons.

There are absolutely no instructions to compete in a Breed-a-Thon in the Christian testament!  Sex for pleasure to sate sexual desire is the only reason Christian marriage was promoted.  Period.

Now, if there were already children born to the couples when they converted to Paul's religion, or if the couple decided they wanted children (because the desire to produce children is another natural desire), there were instructions to follow in order to best bring up their children.  Parents were instructed to gently teach their children and not provoke them to anger and were expected to teach their children how to conduct themselves as decent citizens.  Just as there was no prohibition to marry, there was no prohibition to produce children.

But if anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for members of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever (I Tim. 5:8 ESV).

Though the context was that of taking care of widows, one's children are a Christian's relatives and usually members of his or her household.  With the exception of famous or otherwise somewhat well-known Quiverfull families, most children in Quiverfull/Patriarchal households suffer from poverty.  They often do not eat well, are often undereducated, and often fail to receive needed medical care.  They also are usually not provided with adequate personal attention and affection.

This is where Quiverfull enthusiasts and fanatics will point to verses in the Jewish bible ("old testament") to back up their case.  Let's have a look, starting with the verses they base their whole movement name upon.

Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord,
the fruit of the womb a reward.
Like arrows in the hand of a warrior
are the children of one’s youth.
Blessed is the man
who fills his quiver with them!
He shall not be put to shame
when he speaks with his enemies in the gate (Psalm 127:3-5 ESV).

Blessed or happy is the man, according to this psalm, who stocks up on kids like a warrior does arrows (or ammunition in this day and age).  What else do the psalms say about what makes a man happy or blessed?

Blessed shall he be who takes your little ones
and dashes them against the rock (Psalm 137:9 ESV)!

The context is that of the Jews in Babylonian captivity, and the infants or little children who shall make a man blessed (or "happy," if you use the KJV) if he bashes them against rocks until they die are the little Babylonian children.  Does anyone imagine that the Jews wanted to take German babies and bust their heads open on stones after the second world war?  Are we to think that Christians today want to take Muslim babies and hurl them with great force upon rocks, causing their deaths due to blunt trauma?

If we are to be consistent with the biblical psalms and agree that all the words are God-inspired, holy, just, and good, then how come I don't hear any of the Christians today making every effort to kill infants and young children of their enemies (real or imagined) by dashing them upon stones?  Do they feel that maybe the 137th psalm is a lie, that they wouldn't truly feel happy or blessed to carry that out?  What makes them so intent on believing the 127th psalm?  Based on many months of carefully researching and reading stories from numerous Quiverfull escapees (both women and grown children), reading psychological literature, hearing firsthand from an escapee whose mother I knew and clearly suffered from several problems, the Quiverfull families' "blessings" and "happiness" isn't what it's all cracked up to be.

With that being said, I'm sure it's closer to a blessing than beating children upon rocks until they die.  The point is that one should never, ever base a whole belief system upon one verse or set of verses.

Another verse is Genesis 1:28, the command for Adam and Eve (who are fictional characters, in truth) to "be fruitful and multiply and repopulate the earth."  I'd say we're more than re-populated now.  We meet all the conditions of overpopulation of a species.  To apply a command meant for two people on an empty earth to today's overpopulated conditions is folly to the hundredth power.

Then there's the supposed opposition of God against contraception, since he struck down Onan (Gen. 38:8-10) for pulling out and spilling his seed on the ground.  Even though the account in the book of Jasher records God killing Er before his brother Onan for the same deed, it clearly states in Genesis that Onan's motivation for not impregnating Tamar was that he knew the child would not be considered his, but Er's, because they believed in that day that a man should take his dead brother's wife to raise children up for him. It had nothing to do with the choice not to have children at all.  There is no statute in the Torah that states one must agree to produce children.  It was seen as a blessing that a man have at least one son to carry on his name.  Clearly, though, there were infertile couples.  What is the difference in infertile couples who wish they could have children and fertile couples who wish not to have children?  If God is in charge, what kind of game is that?  Why not make infertile the ones who don't want any children?

It is a choice for people to reproduce children, but that choice carries with it responsibility.  There is no command for Christians to breed without limit.  Christians, if they are to be good representatives of what they supposedly represent, ought to practice responsibility, love, compassion, and fairness.  These things are sadly absent from most who identify with "quiverfull."

There are very few women in the bible who had numerous children.  Mary, the mother of Jesus, either had seven or so or just one (if the other children were the elderly Joseph's from a previous marriage).  Job's wife had either ten or twenty, supposing Job gained his second set of ten children with the same wife.  There were maybe a couple more mentioned that had more than seven.  Leah had seven.  The bible doesn't state how many Eve birthed.  Most of the women mentioned in the bible did not have more than five to seven children, many having fewer or none.  Men typically had more children than women did, because they took more than one wife, if they could afford it.  We now live in a society where birthing numerous children doesn't make good sense. One to five seems to be plenty.

I was looked down upon by certain fellow Christians because I didn't subscribe to the Quiverfull mindset.  But who is the one following principles more in-line with the Christian testament, allowing parents to spend quality time with each child, financially support each child well, and be able to work toward the Christian goal of God's Kingdom? (Note: The last point is something I no longer do.)

The whole basis of their movement is with the mindset of out-breeding their enemies.  Maybe it won't be long before they take the next step in killing the children of their enemies by breaking their bodies on boulders.  Will that make them doubly happy and blessed?

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Is Josh Duggar the Biggest to Blame in Sexual Molestation of Young Girls?

Most people have now heard about Josh Duggar from TLC's reality tv show, 19 Kids and Counting.  It came out that he was guilty as a teen of molesting at least five young girls, some of whom were his sisters.  Though he was indeed guilty and should not have been engaging in that behavior, I think people are focusing too much on Josh and not enough on his parents and their lifestyle, which they share with many other extreme "fundamentalist" and evangelical Christians.  It's called the Quiverfull movement or sometimes, Christian Patriarchy.

Sibling sexual abuse is so much more common in the large Quiverfull/Patriarchal families, as is physical and emotional abuse.  I've read many stories by individuals that have escaped that life.  I also have a personal friend who escaped such a home.  I was friends with her mother in previous years and had noticed several red flags over those same years.  It was clear to me that having so many children, because she thought that was what she was supposed to do, was ruining her health and finances, but every time I tried gently warning her against continuing on, she brushed me off.  Now that her oldest daughter is free—she's also a fellow atheist—many more revelations have come to light, including sexual abuse.  Though I had not suspected the sexual abuse, I did suspect a lot of other things but did not have ample evidence.

Children who grow up in such over-sized families usually must raise their younger siblings, if they are all homeschooled, and there is no way the mother can properly educate that many children of that many different ages, keep a house clean, and adequately keep an eye on all of her children.  When you add in the fact that those in such families are not given any sort of sex education, and perfectly normal things like masturbation are condemned, it's no wonder sibling sexual abuse has occurred often in those environments.  Sometimes the father sexually abuses a child.  Other times young women are simply sexually harassed or fondled by male authority figures in the various "ministries" the Quiverfull families follow (like Bill Gothard).

My friend wasn't even allowed to access the Internet when she was underage!  My oldest son got his first iPod (and has since gotten an iPad mini and then a laptop computer) when he was nine and has used the Internet a lot for research and gaming.  There is a porn blocker and a tracker so that I can check anything that was flagged, but other than that he's got freedom, and he's a very avid reader and researcher and enjoys educational Youtube videos as well.  As for sex education, I started my oldest at the age of two with a children's book called Where Willy Went, which is a cute story of a sperm winning a swimming race and a baby girl being born.  It even shows an illustrated picture of the parents underneath bed covers.  I've always been open with my kids about sex and have answered their questions in age-appropriate ways (which isn't the same viewpoint of "age appropriate" among fundamentalist and evangelical Christians). 

TLC has cancelled the 19 Kids and Counting television show, but there was talk beforehand of just firing Josh.  That really bothered me, because even though he should have known not to commit sexual acts against his sisters at the age of 14, I really believe the Duggar patriarch and his wife should be closely examined.  There's way more to this than their teen son molesting his sisters and another young girl.

One great example of this is their following of the sick book, To Train Up a Child by Michael and Debi Pearl.  It's basically a child abuse instruction guide and is popular among the Quiverfull/Patriarchy families.  I was either pregnant with my firstborn, or he was an infant, when I stumbled upon the book in a free online format, or maybe it was a preview of a limited number of pages.  Either way, I only read a few pages and stopped, because I was so appalled people could teach others to treat children that way.  What is more appalling, of course, is that thousands of parents who read that sadistic book actually do not recoil in horror but think it's a good idea, and so they follow its instructions!  There are actually those out there who believe that it's ok to deliberately entice an infant to touch an item you don't want touched, and then hit them when they do, and to deliberately touch your child's hand to a hot stove to teach the child it's not a good idea to touch a hot stove, and to push your child into a pond to teach the child you shouldn't play near a pond, and that you should beat a child for acting unhappy and also for crying after a beating.  The implement they recommend parents use for hitting their children is a flexible plumbing line. My friend and her younger siblings were all beat with such an implement, because she followed the Pearls' teaching.

Debi Pearl even says you should yank your infant's hair when he or she bites during breastfeeding at around four months.  Is she ignorant?  Does she honestly think the child has evil intentions?  When teeth are growing through a person's gums, it hurts to suck.  Biting down temporarily relieves the pain.  Perhaps a little compassion should be shown.  How about reacting normally, like we would in any other circumstance when something hurts us, by crying out and removing the offender (in this case, unlatching the baby from the breast for a few moments)?  How about kissing the baby's head and relatching him or her?  If the baby is biting too much, he or she may need to chew on a frozen washcloth or other frozen or cold item or even have some numbing agent applied to his or her gums.  This is what a loving and compassionate mother does for a four-month-old baby who is biting during a nursing session.  Maybe Debi Pearl and all the other ignorant women out there who subscribe to her ignorant and evil teachings would do well to take a child development class and/or thoroughly read a good pediatrics book. 

Obviously this kind of behavior toward one's children has nothing to do with a Christian upbringing, if one is aiming to bring up a child in "new covenant" theology, the underlying point of which is to plant seeds in a child's mind that will grow into an inner desire to do what is good and beneficial for him- herself and other beings, because of that very fact alone, namely that they want to do what is good and beneficial, because they see that it brings forth good fruit and helps everyone be healthy and happy.  The sadistic Pearl method does the exact opposite by training children to do things authority figures teach them to do out of fear of punishment.  If a child is not strong-willed, then he or she will eventually always be compliant, but it won't be because the child has been taught and shown that good actions help everyone.  It will be because the child lives under tyranny and is fearful.  That is not the kind of human being I want to bring up to adulthood.  That does not produce adults who will take the time to meditate on important decisions and develop moral and ethical judgments.  It produces adults who will not question authority and will obey, regardless of whether it is moral or immoral to do so.

Such children do not learn anything about gray areas in life, either.  Everything is taught to them as strictly black and white.  They are taught extreme right-wing biases, the results often of which break the spirit of the law of love and goodness in order to keep some flawed letter of the law.   Such people ought to read the first thirteen verses of the 23rd chapter of The Gospel According to Matthew, as well as Romans 7:6 and all the verses even in the law of Moses that warned against not going to either the right or to the left to do what is wrong.  Extreme right-wingers are guilty of exactly that; they go in the extreme to the right to do evil, trying to get everyone to strictly follow their religious beliefs according to the letter they believe.

There are many witnesses that claim the Duggars used to promote the Pearls' sadistic child abuse manual on their website but took it down after their show gained popularity, even though they are said to still promote the other Pearl books.  I did see screenshot evidence of the Pearls promoting a book by the Duggars on their Facebook page, referring to the Duggars as their "good friends."  I also have read women claiming to remember that Michelle Duggar was on a mothering board with them on which she recommended a specific kind of flexible ruler to use for hitting infants that tried crawling off their blankets.  One woman said she got the screenshot before it was quickly removed after the show's airing, but she didn't want to post it, because it would expose others who had posted who might have since changed their actions (though I'm not sure why she doesn't just use a program to black out the names). 

The "blanket training," as it's called, is another teaching followed among these circles.  You are to use a spoon or other instrument to hit your infant's hand if he or she tries crawling off his or her blanket.  This is to train the child to be still for a certain length of time in order for the mother to get things done.  We live in a time of playpens, so there is no excuse for this evil.  I've had elderly friends say that back in their time, before playpens, it was common for a mother to dress the baby in an adult shirt and place a big rock on the shirttail to keep the baby from wandering, if someone was not holding the child or carrying him or her in a sling.  Hitting an infant is inexcusable in all circumstances.  It's cruel and also kills normal development in a child who is naturally curious. 

Links to the above-mentioned screenshots and other evidence will be posted at the end, along with a link to the police report that was taken when police were finally notified of Josh's molesting young girls.  It recorded one of the sister victim's saying that they were all "spanked" with a "rod" when they were in trouble. 

When I was a Christian, the last decade of it—nearly my entire adult life until I went apostate—was spent as a Sabbath-and-biblical-holidays-keeping Christian, and I despised all the mainstream beliefs and practices and strongly hated "fundamentalist" teachings.  For only the shortest time in my early adulthood did I listen to things such as AFR (radio station of the American Family Association).  I quickly tired of not only the many annoying musicians and songs (though some were good) but also all the focus going into support of war (which I believe is very unchristrian), anti-abortion (which they called being "pro-life" all the while being so pro-war), and homosexuals and the banning or preventing of homosexual marriage.  They always took a short semi-break during the month of December to push the ignorant "put Christ back into Christmas" nonsense and wanting tax dollars to pay for nativity scenes.  There was one thing I was suckered into temporarily. For a short time, I must admit that by listening to Ken Ham's Answers in Genesis creationist program that aired and by buying and reading some of the books pushed by that organization, I bought into the young earth teaching that includes the dinosaurs living with Adam and Eve, etc.  That lasted about three years.
I really came to hate American Family Association and its radio stations and thought the president and his son were hateful and ignorant individuals.  Fox News was something we watched for a little over a year when we subscribed to satellite television, and I grew tired of Bill O'Reilly's yelling and interrupting his guests and Sean Hannity's obnoxious attitude.  I lost what little respect I had left for Sean Hannity when I heard him say that he supported torture during interrogations of suspected terrorists. 

Those are the types of programs thousands, if not millions, of "Christians" listen to and support.  It's sickening.  However, the people in the Quiverfull movement go much further.  Most Christians out there don't hit infants, deliberately set their kids up for failure in order to punish them, hit them for outwardly expressing a lack of joy, birth so many children that they cannot properly afford to care for them, and get their oldest child(ren) to rear the younger ones and do most of the housework.  This is the kind of life the Duggars and other Quiverfull families live out.  They desire to take over their "enemies" by outbreeding them.  It scares me to imagine these fruitcakes taking over the government and establishing their religion, which is something which the Constitution specifically stated the government should not be allowed to do but that the "Christian" religious extremists in this nation want very much to do.

Even when I was a Christian I was mightily opposed to the extreme earth-hating, war-loving, hateful right-wing "Christians" taking over and forcing their brand of Christianity upon everyone.  That's exactly what happened to bring in the Dark Ages in Europe.  They shut down the schools of higher education, mandated adherence to Roman Catholicism, and conducted religious services in a "sacred language" that the laymen could not understand, as well as printed bibles in the "sacred" Latin language so that the common people could not read it themselves (and usually could not afford a bible, anyway). 

Is this really the kind of lifestyle we want to support?  Are these things truly "family-friendly values?"  What you see on television isn't the full story.  Remember, it's a television show.  It's all for show.  For an example of what really happens behind-the-scenes, read this article about Duggar fakery that went down just recently, about a thirty-five or forty-minute drive from my home.

I am hoping to soon write up a post that totally sinks the foolish idea that the bible teaches Christians they should breed like rabbits.  The people who subscribe to that belief are dead wrong. 

In the meantime, be sure to check all the links.

Quiverfull of Shit: a Guide to the Duggars' Scary Brand of Christianity

Are the Duggars Guilty of Child Abuse?  

Duggars Believe in Pearls' Teachings and Promote Bill Gothard

Duggars Support Pearls (Find the ad)

The Police Report on Josh Duggar (inserted within article)

Blogs of Quiverfull Daughter Survivors 

Permission to Live

Love, Joy, Feminism

Friday, May 29, 2015

A Liar and Murderer From the Beginning (Plus Some Bonus)

Jesus supposedly said:

You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies (John 8:44).

Whoever this "devil" is was said to be both a murderer from the beginning and a liar.  Let's go back to the beginning to identify who murdered from the beginning and is a liar and father of lies.

It is generally thought by most that the serpent in the Garden of Eden story in Genesis is the devil and/or Satan.  It is thought that he deceived Eve into eating the fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil:

Then the Lord God said to the woman, “What is this that you have done?” The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate" (Gen. 3:13).

But let's investigate to see how it all really went down.  The Elohim supposedly created the garden, mankind, and all the trees and such, and then what happened?

And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, “You may surely eat of every tree of the garden, but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die" (Gen. 2:16-17).

Now enter the serpent.  Let's see what he said:

[The serpent] said to the woman, “Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?” And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden, but God said, ‘You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the midst of the garden, neither shall you touch it, lest you die.’” But the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil (Gen. 3:1b-5).

Okay, so we've got the Elohim saying if the two humans eat from that tree, they'll die in the day they eat it.  Then we've got the serpent saying they won't die but rather they'll be as gods, knowing good and evil.

So now we need to see what really happened to see which was telling the truth and which was lying:

They ate of the tree, they didn't die, and:

Then the Lord God said, “Behold, the man has become like one of us in knowing good and evil. Now, lest he reach out his hand and take also of the tree of life and eat, and live forever (Gen. 3:22).

Well, it's pretty clear-cut as to who told the truth and who lied.  The serpent told the truth.  God had simply lied to them, told them they'd die in hopes that it would make them afraid to eat from the tree.  He really knew that they'd become like gods like the Elohim and know good and evil.

The Elohim is like those lying parents out there who say some monster is going to get them if they don't stay in bed or say other lying threats, because they're not mature enough to tell their kids the truth and deal with having to explain why they really want them in the bed.

The serpent is like another adult, who upon asking whether the kid's parents really told her that monsters would get her if she got out of bed, informed the child of the truth, that really the child's parents didn't want the child to be up knowing what adults like to talk about or do after the children are in bed.

The Elohim is the furious parent(s) who curses the other adult for daring to tell his/their children the truth because they weren't good enough parents to tell the truth themselves.  They weren't mature and honest enough to simply say, "You are a child and need to get some sleep.  We like to spend time alone as adults for awhile, because that is our right.  We love you and will see you in the morning for another wonderful day together."  It's sad that there are parents out there who frighten their poor children by making up stories of monsters that could get them.  It's even more sad—sick actually— that a parent would tell a child if he finds out something, he or she will die for it.

If it wasn't a good time for Adam and Eve to know certain things (like what their sexual organs are for and that they should be covered, as Adam and Eve certainly seemed to immediately know upon eating the knowledge fruit), then the Elohim should have simply told the truth and said that he would lovingly teach them things when the right times came.

Of course the whole nakedness thing and what their sexual organs are for and that they might ought to cover them in front of the Elohim (lest he get a hard-on for Eve like he did for Mary) is nonsense, anyway, because he/they had already told them to be fruitful and multiply.  Duh... Surely they knew how to do it, and if they didn't, I'm sure they'd clue in real quickly by seeing the animals do it.  It doesn't take eating fruit from a tree.  All of my children have gathered the knowledge on sex and reproduction from early ages.  My firstborn was five and laughing about our rooster "making sex" with the hens and calling beetles that were seen everywhere "sex beetles," because they were seen everywhere mating.  He'd seen things like that for years.  He'd seen baby animals.  He'd had baby brothers and had listened to me read a children's book on how babies are made.   When my children ask questions, they get honest answers.  The answers at the age of three are different than that of seven or those of ten or eleven, but they get honest answers.

If the story in Genesis is true, then the Elohim are pathetic parental figures.  There are plenty of human beings who soar high above their competence levels. 

Eve must have been frightened standing in front of the god.  The tone of voice from the god must have been horrible and frightening for Eve to have responded the way she did, that the serpent deceived her, because the fact bears out that he wasn't the one who deceived anyone.

It's stupid on the Elohim's part for Adam and Eve to not know they were naked, if he/they expected them to reproduce as he'd commanded.  What an incompetent idiot!

Who put this story together, anyway???  It's really sad that we're brainwashed from childhood to believe one way so that we don't see what's really written there.  If we toss away the lies that we're told we must believe, it becomes clear when we read the bible that there is a lot wrong. 

There are some apologists out there who say the death curse the god(s) warned of didn't really mean they'd drop dead that day but rather that they'd eventually die, but of course that argument really falls apart for two reasons:

1. By the sweat of your face
you shall eat bread,
till you return to the ground,
for out of it you were taken;
for you are dust,
and to dust you shall return
(Gen. 3:19).

They were made with flesh bodies from the beginning, so from the beginning it was planned that they would eventually die.  

2. The only way to live "forever" was to eat from the tree of life:

Now, lest he reach out his hand and take also of the tree of life and eat, and live forever (Gen. 3:22b).

If by eating from the knowledge tree they'd lost eternal life, then what was the point of the life tree, if they were designed to live forever in the first place?  And also if they lost the chance for eternal life simply by eating the knowledge tree, then why should Elohim also not die, since the Elohim know good and evil?  If that's a sin, who are they to say it's not a sin for them but is for us?  Parents are to set examples for their children.  It would also be very unjust since many other people who have lived have deliberately chosen evil, which is actually something bad, whereas learning what is good from evil is not and are supposedly given a choice to live eternally.  Why would that be withheld from Adam and Eve?

It's all very asinine.

It doesn't get any better as you go through the bible.  There are big problems throughout.

I will continue to write all about these topics.

For a fun bonus, I will leave you with a couple other things:

And Satan stood up against Israel, and provoked David to number Israel (1 Chron. 1:21).

And again the anger of Yahweh was kindled against Israel, and he moved David against them to say, Go, number Israel and Judah (2 Sam. 24:1).

Was it Satan, or was it Yahweh?  Or is Satan and Yahweh one and the same?  Or do they work together?  No matter how you slice it, there is a problem.  Then citizens of Israel were killed as a punishment by Yahweh for David taking a census.  This is like what Yahweh did to Pharoah.  He  worked on the pharoah's mind so that he'd refuse to let Israel go, but then Yahweh punished the citizens of Egypt for what he himself forced pharoah to do. 

There went up a smoke out of [God's] nostrils, and fire out of his mouth devoured: coals were kindled by it (2 Sam. 22:9).

Out of [leviathan's] nostrils goes smoke, as out of a seething pot or caldron. His breath kindles coals, and a flame goes out of his mouth (Job 41:20-21).  (See Isa. 27:1 to see the leviathan described as a serpent).

Whatever the bible god is and whatever the leviathan serpent dragon thing is, they sound the same.  They both have smoke coming out of their nostrils, fire coming out of their mouths, their breaths kindling coals.

The Power of Fear

Note: This was a post I wrote originally on my biblical "Growing in Grace and Knowledge" blog, written shortly after my open apostasy and rejection of the bible as God's word.

Fear.  It's the tactic of any good dictator.  The belief is that people cannot rule themselves, they're inherently bad, and so it's the duty of some individual to wield authority over the masses in a monarchical arrangement.  But who is so much better than any of the rest of us to think he is fit to rule?

I've always been of a republic mindset myself.  I believe in a free society.  I believe that when people work together using reason, there is freedom and happiness.  The helpless are helped, the unrelenting wicked are punished, and the people use the better part of their time to enjoy life with their fellow earthlings and work creatively to make the planet a better place.

And it really does work.  When people are free to search truth and to live their lives unrestricted, so long as they're not harming other persons or their properties, people live together in relative harmony.   It is in an environment like this that things like slavery are abolished.

But there are, unfortunately, people out there who think they need to rule.  They've got to come up with a plan to deceive people to follow them, though.  Oftentimes they bring God or gods into the equation or claim to be a god themselves.

Currently I think there likely is a God. (Note: I believe now there is likely no god, but I did when I first wrote this post on my old biblical blog.) But wow, there are all sorts of ways we, as people, have boxed him up and labeled him.  And then we're all deluded as children, just as those before us were deluded as children, to believe in him this way or that way, whatever way your particular culture teaches it, and then, if that wasn't enough, it's got to be paired up with a teaching that it's heresy to prove it out for yourself, to your own satisfaction.  That means Muslims are forbidden to read the bible, Christians are forbidden to read the Qu'ran, and so on.  And all such peoples think they are right.  They know they're right.  How?  Why, because their holy book says so, that's why!  And how can it be wrong?  So then there's never and peace, because rather than using our Truth and Love Guide (and I don't mean some book that you've got to place blind faith in, since it was written by those who say they saw it and heard it) that resides in us, we rather listen to the little fear leech that tags along.

I've heard from two dear friends today, and fear was brought up in both conversations.

One friend is doing the noble thing by "proving all things," seeing whether what I've said holds any weight.  She, like I, has had questions that she's pushed back in her mind throughout the years, good questions that any sane and rational person ought to have.  She confided in me that she is not ready to say anything to anyone, yet, and she's still searching.  Well, that's wise.  I certainly didn't make my decision overnight.  No, I had to give my kids a lot of game time and such so that I could read, read, read, and meditate, investigate.  Day after day, and week after week.  And then add that to all the wise questions that I've had filed away in my mind over the years.  She may not ever tell some people, she said, because of judgement.  I can't say I blame her at all.   She also said, "I am realizing more and more about the fear religion puts into us.  It's mind boggling."

Yep.  I still have the fear leech saying, "What if you're wrong?"  It's because I've been programmed for soooo long.  But fear should never dominate over truth.

That brings me to the conversation I had with my other friend.  It seemed to me that she may have been ignoring me, rejecting me, over a couple things she disagreed with me about.  I didn't like how she said something, though now as I type this, perhaps even that was not taken exactly the right way, because you can't get an accurate emotional read with something written, which this was.  I did reason that maybe she was just busy (there was evidence available to me there that she was).  I voiced it several times to my Love.  I really was concerned.  I kept telling myself maybe she just didn't have time, and I should just wait longer.  But the fear leech within me said it was because she was pissed at me, and so what I should have done, I didn't do.  What I should have done is asked her directly (I did ask her something in an email about busyness with something, but it was vague) whether she was ignoring me, whether she was mad at me, or whether she was just busy.

The reason I did not directly ask her which it was is because I failed to work up the nerve to do so.  I was afraid of the answer I'd get!  I was afraid of what the truth might be! 

So what do I do, amidst my hurt yesterday, when out of the blue I'm getting all this messaging from her on my iPhone, basically saying she was upset (understandable) and that she couldn't be my friend until I repented?  I lashed out!  In the blog post I made up.  No, I didn't name who it was.  I haven't named anyone regarding anything.  But I nevertheless did what I told myself I would not do, which is accuse her of the assumption I had that was rooted in fear.  Of course, I apologized.  She then told me that I've always been good to be patient, that she's forgotten things before or didn't have time to talk for awhile, and she told me that I've never hated her for it. That's all true.  I've got a good track record of being very understanding when I don't get a fast response.  I'm plenty guilty of the same, and I don't expect anything greater out of others.  But this time, as weeks turned into months, which is quite a long time, and judging by the last things she'd said to me, I let the fear outweigh reason.

How many persons, I wonder, who reacted to me the way they did, truly read my entire blog post before reacting?  I'm personally struggling with how some could react the way they did if they truly read it all.  I think there's a good chance some did not read it all.  I know how the human mind works.  Sometimes when we start reading something that starts upsetting us, we stop reading. We then assume that we know the whole story, we reach our own conclusions quite quickly, and then go on the attack.  Yeah.  That's right.  You know how I know?  Because I've been guilty of it before.  Because I know for a fact that others have done so before.  So that's why I think there's a good chance some didn't read it all thoroughly before reacting.  It's also important not to react right away after reading something, but rather to go spend time meditating on it.  These are things that I've learned in my life, and I'm only 31.

That is also why I think my one friend that I haven't heard from (actually haven't checked my email today, yet) hasn't responded, yet, because she tends to go meditate on things for awhile before deciding how to respond.  I've observed that about her over the years.  And I value it.  She's not quick to get into debates, but I think she sorts wise judgements in her head.  She's a good example in many ways.

Now let's reason together...

It's fearful to think that we might be wrong about something, isn't it?  I can now better understand in a compassionate way how it's difficult for many to turn away from the big Christmas and Easter celebrations and their Sunday churches, etc., because it really is a big thing.  You get judged, some may reject you, you've got emotional attachments to various things, and so on.  People are afraid of the truth.  The fear leech keeps them entangled.

How is it, though, for those who actually did read the blog post, that they can search and find evidence that Christmas and Easter and such originate in terrible pagan customs, yet they won't investigate to see whether I'm telling the truth about the biblical holidays being rooted in bloody and superstitious pagan customs?  How come it's ok that the bible contains holidays accepted from Canaanite and Babylonian religions?  How come it's ok that all the tales are lies, because they're just stories borrowed from older cultures?  We know the Jews also, to this day, have the Babylonian calendar months.  They've got two new year days in a year, just like the Babylonians.  And they've got some of their holy days, as well as some Canaanite ones.

We should ask why so many who are bible scholars have left their faith once they see all the manuscripts.  That's an intelligent and wise question to ask.  Just in the new testament books, there are more inconsistencies and contradictions in all the manuscripts than there are words in the new testament!  And they're not all minor, either.

The oldest gospel manuscripts don't even teach that Jesus as divine.  Some of us have known for years that the last several verses of Mark aren't original and that the words in one of the epistles of John were added to the KJV to "prove" a trinity.  There are, in fact, lots of other big problems.  The story of the woman caught in adultery is not original.  It was added much, much later.   And on and on I could go.  There are major contradictions, not just things that can be reasoned as simple differences in point of view (like how many women were at Jesus' tomb), but much bigger things.  The fact is that there were lots of different "gospels" and such, and people just voted yea or nay at the Nicean Council in the fourth century.  Too bad they didn't pay close attention to the four gospels, because they're terribly contradictory, moreso than I realized before.

It's said that Luke authored Luke and Acts.  The gospel "according to" Luke claims Jesus ascended later the same day he was resurrected.  Read through it carefully.  He met with the disciples, walked with them to Bethany, and then he ascended.  In Acts it was forty days afterward.

Did he truly walk to Emmaus and then meet the disciples later that day in Jerusalem in a room, or did he rather meet them in Galilee?  With the distance in mind, it's impossible both happened.  Which was it?  Did he say they needed to meet him in Jerusalem or Galilee?  If one is true, the other is a lie.

How come history doesn't tell of the mass slaughter of babies by Herod?  Was John the Baptist outside of the region affected (perhaps so, I could argue this myself)?  Rome didn't send people to the towns of their fathers to register in a census, and could you imagine the chaotic mess it would be if that is how it was done?  It wasn't how it was done; you can look it up.  Also, it was a Judean census, so it would not have affected a Galilean.  And finally, the census was taken in 6 CE, when Qurinius was governor of Syria, whereas the other gospel account says it was during Herod the Great's reign, but he died in 4 B.C.  One of them is lying.  I've searched to try to see whether anyone can reconcile it, and no one can satisfactorily do so.

If there is a God, and if there is a judgement, will He judge us justly for using our reason and the evidence we have and by our hearts, by how we react to certain things (like the horrors in the old testament), or for having blind faith?

I know there are some who love using circular arguments, which pretty much states that the bible is true, because it says it's true, but I have never bought into that.  If there is nothing to test the bible's truthhood, then it would be wise to default to not believing it.  I've always made arguments with evidence outside of the bible to try to back the bible, and I've gotten a lot further with people that way than those who use circular reasoning who talked to the same people.  Circular reasoning is not reasoning at all.

No one should be afraid of searching.  If searching brings you fear, what is causing the fear?  It's not healthy.  Fear is not healthy.  We've got scientific evidence that it's not healthy for the mind, nor the body.  Fear is what evil beings use to control people.  Truth and love is what good beings use to free people.  Look around and observe it yourself.  Judge by the fruit you see.  Meditate on it. 

Yahweh Loved Human Sacrifices, My Bible Tells Me So

Okay, let's get started.

No one, however, may dedicate the firstborn of an animal, since the firstborn already belongs to the Lord; whether an ox or a sheep, it is the Lord’s. If it is one of the unclean animals, it may be bought back at its set value, adding a fifth of the value to it. If it is not redeemed, it is to be sold at its set value.  But nothing that a person owns and devotes to the Lord—whether a human being or an animal or family land—may be sold or redeemed; everything so devoted is most holy to the Lord.

No person devoted to destruction may be ransomed; they are to be put to death (Lev. 27:26-29).

Notice that no one could dedicate a firstborn of anything to Yahweh, because he had already made clear back in Exodus that the firstborn of both man and beast were his, and those things were to be redeemed (Ex. 12:13-15).  The Hebrew bible is not new in laws of redemption.  Other pagan cultures often redeemed their sons with animals.  

But here we see obviously that persons could be devoted to Yahweh in sacrifice and could not be redeemed.  And indeed there are plenty of examples of such.  So let's move on.

I'll go back to others, but I want to skip forward to Jephthah for now.  

Then the Spirit of the Lord came on Jephthah. He crossed Gilead and Manasseh, passed through Mizpah of Gilead, and from there he advanced against the Ammonites. And Jephthah made a vow to the Lord: “If you give the Ammonites into my hands, whatever comes out of the door of my house to meet me when I return in triumph from the Ammonites will be the Lord’s, and I will sacrifice it as a burnt offering.
Then Jephthah went over to fight the Ammonites, and the Lord gave them into his hands. He devastated twenty towns from Aroer to the vicinity of Minnith, as far as Abel Keramim. Thus Israel subdued Ammon.

When Jephthah returned to his home in Mizpah, who should come out to meet him but his daughter, dancing to the sound of timbrels! She was an only child. Except for her he had neither son nor daughter. When he saw her, he tore his clothes and cried, “Oh no, my daughter! You have brought me down and I am devastated. I have made a vow to the Lord that I cannot break.

“My father,” she replied, “you have given your word to the Lord. Do to me just as you promised, now that the Lord has avenged you of your enemies, the Ammonites. But grant me this one request,” she said. “Give me two months to roam the hills and weep with my friends, because I will never marry.”

“You may go,” he said. And he let her go for two months. She and her friends went into the hills and wept because she would never marry. After the two months, she returned to her father, and he did to her as he had vowed. And she was a virgin.
From this comes the Israelite tradition that each year the young women of Israel go out for four days to commemorate the daughter of Jephthah the Gileadite (Judges 11:29-40).

The tribal war god of Israel, Yahweh, accepted Jephthah's vow and let him win the victory over the Ammonites.  Jephthah's daughter went to mourn her virginity for a couple months, but when she returned, he "...did to her as he had vowed."  And he had vowed to sacrifice her as a burnt offering.  

Now I read many years in the past some apologetic article claiming that she was not sacrificed but rather had to stay a virgin all her life, but since the passage doesn't say that and is rather very clear about what it does say, I just went on thinking that Jephthah was not approved by God.  But this is far from the truth.

The story continues after the death of Jephthah's daughter, and he was granted even more victorious slaughter.  And then the author of Hebrews wrote in the so-called "faith" chapter:

And what more shall I say? For time would fail me to tell of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, of David and Samuel and the prophets—who through faith...(Heb. 11:32, 33a).

And all these, though commended through their faith, did not receive what was promised, since God had provided something better for us, that apart from us they should not be made perfect (vs. 39-40)

How sick! I don't approve of this!!!  How did I not notice him in Hebrews 11??  But there's more, much more, so let's continue on.  There's so much else I see wrong now, anyway.  I no longer see the people I thought were good as good, like David.  I'm awake now.

Okay, it's easy to see how I've read over this upcoming stuff before, because I lacked some important knowledge before.  I had never heard of foundation sacrifices, so I could not possibly understand what was being said in the book of Joshua.  

Foundation sacrifices were common in ancient cultures.  Modern archaeologists have found many children within walls surrounding cities.  Just Google about foundation sacrifices.  You can even go to Google Images.  

Joshua laid an oath on them at that time, saying, “Cursed before the Lord be the man who rises up and rebuilds this city, Jericho.
“At the cost of his firstborn shall he
lay its foundation,
and at the cost of his youngest son
shall he set up its gates.”

So the Lord was with Joshua, and his fame was in all the land (Josh. 6:26-27).

That wasn't just a threat that a person's child would be killed if he rebuilt a city there (as if that in itself isn't bad enough, what's wrong with building there?), but this is saying that the firstborn and youngest children of the man who decides to build there would be sacrificed for the foundations. 

Fast-forward to the time of the reign of Judah's king Ahab:

In his days Hiel of Bethel built Jericho. He laid its foundation at the cost of Abiram his firstborn, and set up its gates at the cost of his youngest son Segub, according to the word of the Lord, which he spoke by Joshua the son of Nun (1 Kings 16:34).

This is sick!  Yahweh cursed people for rebuilding where Jericho is and commanded foundation sacrifices of the builder's firstborn and youngest sons.  Sick!  Sick!  Sick!  Oh, and I just realized, that's another contradiction (out of hundreds and hundreds in the bible)!  Remember according to Exodus and Leviticus the firstborn son of someone is to be Yahweh's, but is supposed to be redeemed and so cannot be devoted to destruction. Only other people were supposed to be allowed to be devoted as sacrifices or burnt offerings. 

It is believed by Christians that Jesus of Nazareth (even though that town didn't exist in the first century) was the son of Yahweh (though Yahweh is a really a non-entity but one of the many sons of El the head god of the Canaanite pantheon).  If it was truly so important that the town of Jericho never be rebuilt, if it was truly so abominable that someone rebuild in that location and call it by that name, then surely Jesus would have not ever gone to Jericho.  Or if the foundation sacrifices of Hiel's firstborn and youngest sons were abominable to God (though it's clear in Joshua and 1 Kings that it was Yahweh's curse and commandment), then Jesus surely had an opportunity to say something during his visits to Jericho.  See Mark 10:46; Matt. 20:29; Luke 18:35; 19:1

Not too abominable to be in existence again, is it?  Nah...just wanted to make sure the foundations included two sons of the builder, that's all.

Then there's the king of Moab who sacrificed his son for a god's favor in battle, since Israel was attacking.  Once his son was burnt as an offering, wrath (from a god, supposedly) came upon Israel, so Israel fled.  Now it's unclear whether the king sacrificed his son to the Moabite god Chemosh or the Israelite god Yahweh, but either way they all thought it worked.  Israel fled.  Either Chemosh came out to be the stronger god in that battle because the sacrifice was to him, or Yahweh was incensed against his own people because the Moabite king sacrificed to him when Israel did not.  This is all found in 2 Kings 3:26-27.  If you go back and read what was leading up to this, the wicked prophet Elisha (same guy who cursed in the name of Yahweh for bears to come out of the forest and maul to death 42 young guys/kids simply for making fun of Elisha for being bald) said that Yahweh promised that the Moabites would be delivered into Israel's hands.  That didn't happen.  All was going all right for Israel until the sacrifice by the king of Moab. 

Have you ever noticed in scriptures like Leviticus 18:21 and Deuteronomy 12:31 and others, that they command not to sacrifice one's children in fire to Molech or other gods?  Those of us who find human sacrifice appalling and have been taught that the bible god is a god of love naturally assume these scriptures mean no child sacrifices or burnt offerings of humans, period.  But when we carefully examine the bible as a whole, two things become clear:

1. The bible contradicts itself a lot.  
2. Yahweh loved burning animals and humans and loved murdering in general. He loved genocide and when his followers killed babies and bashed babies on stones and ripped open pregnant women and made great bloodshed.  But the catch is that he only delighted greatly in these things if they were offered to him.  

You slaughtered my children and sacrificed them to the idols (Ezek. 16:21). 

Do not worship any other god, for Yahweh, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous god (Ex. 34:14).

So I gave them other statutes that were not good and laws through which they could not live; defiled them through their gifts—the sacrifice of every firstborn—that I might fill them with horror so they would know that I am the Lord.’ (What a sicko)“Therefore, son of man, speak to the people of Israel and say to them, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: In this also your ancestors blasphemed me by being unfaithful to me: When I brought them into the land I had sworn to give them and they saw any high hill or any leafy tree, there they offered their sacrifices, made offerings that aroused my anger, presented their fragrant incense and poured out their drink offerings. Then I said to them: What is this high place you go to?’   (Sounds like someone is jealous)” (It is called Bamah to this day.) “Therefore say to the Israelites: ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: Will you defile yourselves the way your ancestors did and lust after their vile images? When you offer your gifts—the sacrifice of your children in the fire—you continue to defile yourselves with all your idols to this day. Am I to let you inquire of me, you Israelites? As surely as I live, declares the Sovereign Lord, I will not let you inquire of me (Ezekiel 20:25-31).

When we allow ourselves to wake up, we see the bible for what it really is.  People say they think the things Stalin, Hitler, Dracula and others did were horrible things, but none of those people did anything as evil on the huge scale that this Yahweh character did.  

It's OKAY to wake up and stand up for what is moral and right.  It's good and respectable to say, "You know, something is WRONG here.  This is not good."

It's OKAY to search through the bible and read it with an open mind, scrubbed free from the programming, and realize, "You know, we've been taught that Satan is the one who lied and murdered from the beginning, but really the stories reveal that El and Yahweh lied from the beginning and murdered.  If anyone is Satan, it's Yahweh."  Count the times Yahweh murdered and then compare to the times Satan is said to have done so.  Count the times Yahweh deceived and then compare to the times Satan is said to have done so.  Count the times Yahweh commands rape and compare to the times Satan commanded it.  Do the same for coveting and stealing and kidnapping and every other abomination.  Search through the bible and see how many times Yahweh commanded for these things to be done, then go through the bible and count the times Satan did those same things.  Then you decide who is evil.

Let's examine this next passage:

Hear the word of the Lord, you kings of Judah and people of Jerusalem. This is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says: Listen! I am going to bring a disaster on this place that will make the ears of everyone who hears of it tingle. For they have forsaken me and made this a place of foreign gods; they have burned incense in it to gods that neither they nor their ancestors nor the kings of Judah ever knew, and they have filled this place with the blood of the innocent. They have built the high places of Baal to burn their children in the fire as offerings to Baal—something I did not command or mention, nor did it enter my mind. So beware, the days are coming, declares the Lord, when people will no longer call this place Topheth or the Valley of Ben Hinnom, but the Valley of Slaughter. ‘In this place I will ruin the plans of Judah and Jerusalem. I will make them fall by the sword before their enemies, at the hands of those who want to kill them, and I will give their carcasses as food to the birds and the wild animals. I will devastate this city and make it an object of horror and scorn; all who pass by will be appalled and will scoff because of all its wounds. I will make them eat the flesh of their sons and daughters, and they will eat one another’s flesh because their enemies will press the siege so hard against them to destroy them (Jeremiah 19:3-7).

He was pissed because the Israelites were burning incense and children to other gods.  He was jealous again.  The fact alone that there were innocent children being murdered is obviously not the problem for him, because he decided that since they wanted to serve other gods he would make them eat the flesh of their sons and daughters when their enemies would come against them.  So much for caring for the innocent children! 

No, of course it didn't enter his mind for the Israelites to burn their children in the fire to Baal.  He had made clear all the children were his (of which the firstborn were not to be killed, but rather he charged a ransom for them, so the parents had to pay up).  But sacrificing and burning children most certainly did enter the mind of this bloodthirsty monster.  He never commanded anything to be done for other gods, as he was a "no gods before me" and "jealous" god, but it "entered his mind" for Isaac to be sacrificed and burnt, but then he provided a ram for Abraham to murder and burn instead.  

On to the next horror story...

As readers may know, it was common in ancient cultures, during times of famine, to offer up human sacrifices to appease the god(s).  We may be horrified by this, but what we ought to be more horrified by is the fact that Israel and their tribal war god Yahweh were no different.  And shame on me, because some of these verses I'm about to share were highlighted in one of my bibles as part of my family studies for an upcoming book.  Now, you'd think I'd have clued in then (like two years ago) when I read over that.  You'd think I would have paused and said "What is this garbage?  This is not only unfair, but this is no different than other pagan cultures did!"  But no, I was still living in blindness.

During the reign of David, there was a famine for three successive years; so David sought the face of the Lord. The Lord said, “It is on account of Saul and his blood-stained house; it is because he put the Gibeonites to death.”
The king summoned the Gibeonites and spoke to them. (Now the Gibeonites were not a part of Israel but were survivors of the Amorites; the Israelites had sworn to spare them, but Saul in his zeal for Israel and Judah had tried to annihilate them.) David asked the Gibeonites, “What shall I do for you? How shall I make atonement so that you will bless the Lord’s inheritance?”

The Gibeonites answered him, “We have no right to demand silver or gold from Saul or his family, nor do we have the right to put anyone in Israel to death.”
“What do you want me to do for you?” David asked.

They answered the king, “As for the man who destroyed us and plotted against us so that we have been decimated and have no place anywhere in Israel, let seven of his male descendants be given to us to be killed and their bodies exposed before the Lord at Gibeah of Saul—the Lord’s chosen one.”
So the king said, “I will give them to you.”

The king spared Mephibosheth son of Jonathan, the son of Saul, because of the oath before the Lord between David and Jonathan son of Saul. But the king took Armoni and Mephibosheth, the two sons of Aiah’s daughter Rizpah, whom she had borne to Saul, together with the five sons of Saul’s daughter Merab, whom she had borne to Adriel son of Barzillai the Meholathite. He handed them over to the Gibeonites, who killed them and exposed their bodies on a hill before the Lord. All seven of them fell together; they were put to death during the first days of the harvest, just as the barley harvest was beginning...

And the bones of Saul and Jonathan his son buried they in the country of Benjamin in Zelah, in the sepulchre of Kish his father: and they performed all that the king commanded. And after that God was intreated for the land. (2 Sam. 1-9, 14).

There was a famine, David prayed and found out from their god Yahweh that it was because he was angered over Saul killing the Gibeonites, David had two sons and five grandsons of Saul's hanged, and then their god was intreated.

Here we see one of the many times Yahweh and his followers punished others for someone else's doing.  Of course, there's the huge contradiction in Ezekiel 18, which happens to be one of my personal most-loved bible chapters, because of its proper righteousness.  It teaches that a father should not pay for the sins of his son, nor a son pay for the sins of his father.  

It's all a lie, though, in Ezekiel 18, talking of how Yahweh says a man should die of his own sin, because he commanded the opposite over and over and over again through the horrible books in the bible.  He was always punishing others for someone's wrongdoing.  David's baby would know all about that.  David and Bathsheba engaged in adulterous sex, made a baby, and Yahweh decided to put the baby to death for David's sin.  

Contradictory and unjust and just downright immoral and sick!

Most of us really would not live our lives the way Yahweh commanded Israel to do.  They were to do right to each other, but everyone outside of Israel who did not serve Yahweh were free game to murder and genocide, to rape, to lands being coveted and stolen, and more. 

And Yahweh spake unto Moses, saying, Take the sum of the prey that was taken, both of man and of beast, thou, and Eleazar the priest, and the heads of the fathers houses of the congregation; and divide the prey into two parts: between the men skilled in war, that went out to battle, and all the congregation. And levy a tribute unto Yahweh of the men of war that went out to battle: one soul of five hundred, both of the persons, and of the oxen, and of the asses, and of the flocks: take it of their half, and give it unto Eleazar the priest, for Yahweh's heave-offering. And of the children of Israel's half, thou shalt take one drawn out of every fifty, of the persons, of the oxen, of the asses, and of the flocks, even of all the cattle, and give them unto the Levites, that keep the charge of the tabernacle of Yahweh. And Moses and Eleazar the priest did as Yahweh commanded Moses.
Now the prey, over and above the booty which the men of war took, was six hundred thousand and seventy thousand and five thousand sheep, and threescore and twelve thousand oxen, and threescore and one thousand asses, and thirty and two thousand persons in all, of the women that had not known man by lying with him. (Virgins)

And the half, which was the portion of them that went out to war, was in number three hundred thousand and thirty thousand and seven thousand and five hundred sheep: and Yahweh's tribute of the sheep was six hundred and threescore and fifteen. And the oxen were thirty and six thousand; of which Yahweh's tribute was threescore and twelve. And the asses were thirty thousand and five hundred; of which Yahweh's tribute was threescore and one. And the persons were sixteen thousand; of whom Yahweh's tribute was thirty and two persons. And Moses gave the tribute, which was Yahweh's heave-offering, unto Eleazar the priest, as Yahweh commanded Moses (Num. 31:25-41).

I'm taking it that these virgins weren't given the opportunity to "bewail their virginity" as Jephthah's daughter did.  Jephthah's daughter agreed with the sacrifice.  These poor captive virgins probably screamed and struggled against the horrible heathen (Israelite) captors that murdered them and burnt them to Yahweh, as Yahweh had commanded.  

This is sick!  This is evil!  I do not approve of this.

And Saul said to Samuel, “I have obeyed the voice of the Lord. I have gone on the mission on which the Lord sent me. I have brought Agag the king of Amalek, and I have devoted the Amalekites to destruction. But the people took of the spoil, sheep and oxen, the best of the things devoted to destruction, to sacrifice to the Lord your God in Gilgal.” And Samuel said,
“Has the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices,
as in obeying the voice of the Lord?
Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice,
and to listen than the fat of rams.
For rebellion is as the sin of divination,
and presumption is as iniquity and idolatry.
Because you have rejected the word of the Lord,
he has also rejected you from being king.” (1 Kings 15:20-23).

Then Samuel said, “Bring here to me Agag the king of the Amalekites.” And Agag came to him cheerfully. Agag said, “Surely the bitterness of death is past.” And Samuel said, “As your sword has made women childless, so shall your mother be childless among women.” And Samuel hacked Agag to pieces before the Lord in Gilgal (vs. 32-33).

Note the "devoted to destruction."  Remember Leviticus 27:26-29, where any person who is devoted to destruction must be murdered and burned.  

Odd how I never noted that Samuel did his little speech on being better to obey than to sacrifice, but he turned around and sacrificed.  It's really good if you read the entire bit, as I did not include the whole length of the chapter.  The whole thing that was disobeyed in the first place was not sacrificing things.  So why say something so stupid as that?  And really, I've always looked at the "obey" part as obeying the law of love.  You know, love your neighbor as yourself.  But so much of what Yahweh commanded were things of wickedness.  It was hate your neighbor by wiping them out, including slaughtering babies, then saving the virgins to rape, stealing their neighbors' lands, burning things.  Then it was burn hundreds of thousands of animals and burn people.  

And there we have it once again, punishing people for something someone else did.  Yahweh wanted a genocide of the Amalekites (including babies and other children), because their ancestors from several hundred years before did not let Israel through their land when they supposedly came out of Egypt.  Well, first of all, who could blame the Amalekites for not wanting the Israelites on their land?  They were a warring group of people bent on destroying others.  Secondly, what do the Amalekites several hundred years later have to do with it?

Apparently Yahweh didn't care about anyone else who were slaves to the Egyptians, because in the slaughter of the firstborns of Egypt, it included the firstborn of the maidservants! (Ex. 11:5) If they were slaves, then what did they have to do with the slavery of the Israelites?  Furthermore Yahweh hardened the pharoah's heart, anyway, after every plague, and what do the people have to do with what pharoah said, especially when pharoah was being mind-controlled, anyway? And of course every time Yahweh mind-controlled anyone or deceived anyone, the bible proclaims that it was so he could show his power and might.  What an evil tyrant!  You make a person do evil, and then you punish the person for doing it.  That's might loving, holy, and righteous.  Too bad we don't see parents the whole world over doing more of this with their kids.  What a fantastic world it would be.  Really, you can start when they're really young.  Just take the arm of one of your children, make the child hit a sibling, and then punish the child for it.  Then you can say, "See how powerful I am?  Don't mess with me.  I'm in charge, and if you don't obey, I'll stone you or burn you to death."  Wouldn't that be swell? 

Long after I'd answered a lot of childhood questions from having grown up Protestant and had changed my beliefs after doing my research, to be a "commandment-keeping Christian," I still have had questions lurking in my mind. But without any doubt in my mind, the single biggest question I've had over the past several years is:

We think the modern parents who murder their children and claim God was testing their faith to see how much they loved him are psychotic, and some even say that it was really Satan who told those parents to do it, but yet why didn't Abraham think that when he nearly murdered Isaac?  Why didn't he think that it was a demonic spirit?
If we credit all the things we know in our hearts that are good to God and all the things we know in our hearts that are bad to Satan, then how can the Abraham story be explained? 
All it takes is for you to do your research.  What Abraham and companions did was not any different than what others did in the surrounding cultures.  That family was henotheistic.  The Israelites chose Yahweh as their single god to worship, rather than worship any of the other gods, because they loved to kill, steal, and rape.  Yahweh was the god of war in the Canaanite pantheon of Gods (headed by El).  If you look today in Israel, you'll see nothing has changed.  They still love to murder others, steal people's land, and so on, and they claim they have the right to do it all in the name of Yahweh, because they are his chosen people.  

Abraham didn't mind cutting off foreskins, either.  Hey look, the majority of people in the United States still let their boys be circumcised without questioning it, but I've had three boys, and we had none of them cut on.  I'm anti-genital mutilation.  I watched a video (actually I could not watch the entire thing, it was too violent and heartbreaking) of an infant circumcision, and I decided right then I would not let any child of mine undergo that procedure.  I was able to use "new testament" scripture, of course, to stay in line with my being a Christian.  But if I didn't have that, I would have just been disobedient to Yahweh's law.  

If I'm not even willing to unnecessarily let someone violently shed blood from my sons' penises, what makes you think I'd prove my "faith" by murdering a son for a god?  Well, I wouldn't. Plain and simple.  

Since I would never do this, I do not know why Abraham would have shown his faith by doing such a horrible thing.  Since I'm unblinded and free from this horrible bible cult, I will boldly say I do not respect the person of Abraham whatsoever.  

Nor do I respect the person of Yahweh (who really doesn't exist but was one of many made-up sons of El and brother of Baal and others).  He showed over and over and over again through the bible that he loved the most atrocious murders, violent and bloody deaths against innocent babies and pregnant mothers and rapes of virgins who had seen their families murdered.  Absolutely no mercy against those people because they did not serve him.   He showed himself to be very unjust by repeatedly punishing innocent people for things other people did.  The bible repeatedly tells of him deceiving people or forcing them to do things against their will so that he could then punish them.  He demanded constant human and animal slaughtering on a large scale and the burning of their bodies so that he could smell it.  

Is it any surprise that someone would want to come along and change up things to make things better?  Doesn't it make sense that someone would want to start a new cult in hopes that the Jews wouldn't be so murder-crazy and rebellious?  Even if it meant taking things here and there from the bible to insert into his story to make it appear that a messiah had come and fulfilled prophecy, I can understand why they wanted to do it. 

Should we be surprised, though, that it's portrayed that Yahweh gave up his own son to have him murdered because of something someone else did?  We should expect nothing else, since that's all he ever did throughout the bible.  He was always murdering people for things other people had done.  That's just his way.  He delights in murdering innocent blood for something someone else did.  The only thing worse is that there was no burning hell in the bible, but in the gospels there is a horrible punishment for those after death who do not believe and obey the gospel of Christ, who do not accept that Yahweh had his son murdered for mankind.  

You know, I've never had trouble understanding that people who walk in goodness deserve forgiveness and people who walk in wickedness without remorse deserve punishment.  But I never deeply questioned the Christ sacrifice story, having it so ingrained within me all my life...until one day I heard two persons discussing it, and the one person said, "Why not just forgive?"  

Wow.  That really hit me.  The following day I wandered around outside meditating on that.  "Why not just forgive?"  

Well, yeah.  Why not?  That's a good question.  I mean, after all, that's what I do with my beloved children.  I guide them in goodness, and when they mess up, I talk to them, and I forgive.  When I mess up, they forgive me.  Parents aren't without wrongdoings, either.  

God is the rule-maker.  So why is our morality better than his?  I speak of this Yahweh that people assume is god.  Of course he's not.  He's a bronze-age mythical god, one of many gods.  But people have it programmed into their minds that he's full of righteousness.

Well, not according to my rulebook.  And why should I respect him when he's far worse than any cruel man dictator that has ever ruled on this planet?  That's not what I practice.  And who does?  Does anyone think we should practice the immorality of Yahweh and his followers, as explained in the bible?  

Will you be blind and say, "Who am I to say what's righteous?"  Well, you've got choices.  You can submit to Yahweh and agree that he's perfect and righteous.  Or you could stop beating yourself up over your little mistakes that pale in comparison to the wickedness of that tyrant.  I don't know any human being who is more immoral than the likes of Yahweh.  

If he's a parent, he needs to ask for our forgiveness for being such a horrible monster, a horrible example.  Just think of all the horrible wars just between Jews, Muslims, and Christians?  Think of all the horrible things done in history in the name of that monster.  

If there really was a Yahweh and a Satan, it should be clear who is really the good one and who is the bad one.  All you've got to do is read your bible!  Tally up all the evil done by Yahweh (and it even says several times that he does evil, and sometimes he even repents of the evil and feels bad, but it's never long-lasting, as he's always quickly back to unleashing the worst wrath on people) and that done by Satan, then you judge.  

If there really was a Yahweh and a Satan, then who is really deceived?  If there really was a Satan, then I'd say Yahweh is the Satan, and he's done a damn good job of deceiving everyone into worshiping his monstrous being.  

I firmly believe there are two types of people in the world:  good people and bad people.  It doesn't matter whether the person is Christian, Muslim, Hindu, atheist, or else.  There are bad people and good people under all those labels.  

And I like good people and being around good people.  

As for me and my household, we will serve goodness.   Ol' Joshua and his household liked to serve Yahweh, but I won't serve someone whose morals are so beneath mine.  A parent should guide a child in goodness and lovingly guide.  That Yahweh character stays hidden and pits everyone against each other in the most horrible acts.  He's a cowardly and evil person.   If I had created the earth and everyone, I'd be present and be a loving guide, just as I am in real life to my children.  

What about you?  Do you love Yahweh the war god of the Israelites?