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? 

Elisha a False Prophet and Yahweh a Lover of Human Sacrifice

I was putting together what I'm finding in the bible that the Israelite-Canaanite-Phoenician god Yahweh loves human sacrifice, so long as it's to him, when I came across the fact that not only is that suitable, but Elisha was a false prophet.

I'll write more about human sacrifice tomorrow, but real quickly here:

2 Kings 3:18 says that Elisha said that the Moabites would be delivered into the hands of Israel and Edom.

Okay, read through, keep reading.  They are killing the Moabites, and then...

And interestingly enough these next two verses I have high-lighted in the color I used for my family studies for a section in the book I've been planning.  Ironic how I didn't see the bigger picture before.  Isn't that interesting how at certain times we just don't see things that we see at later times?  We may have our eyes open to some things, but then we remain blinded to others. 

Vs. 26-27 state that when the battle looked grim to the king of Moab, he grabbed his eldest son, his heir, and he offered him for a burnt offering upon the wall.  How absolutely awful.

Now the god of Moab was Chemosh, but it doesn't say there whether the king offered his son to Chemosh or to Yahweh.  Either way...

There was great wrath against Israel, so Israel fled.  Yep!  So Moab wasn't delivered into Israel's hands, as Elisha prophesied.  Israel ended up fleeing before they finished the job, and it was this "wrath" against Israel after the Moabite king sacrificed his firstborn.  Whether it was supposedly Chemosh's wrath or Yahweh's wrath, depending unto whom the Moabite king sacrificed, two things are evident:

1. Elisha is a false prophet.
2. Yahweh is either wicked for accepting Moab's sacrifice to him, or he allowed Chemosh to beat him.

End of story.

But more really horrific things tomorrow, as I'm sorting through the verses in my bible.  Just wait to see what it's in store.

Make sure if you are reading this and you want the truth yourself, check those scriptures and read it thoroughly for yourself. 

The Tree Story is Impossible: Part 2

Oh yes, that's right.  When using the brain with which I was supplied, I thought of two more reasons why the tree story is ridiculous, after I posted part one.

First:  Is death good or evil?  Adam and Eve obviously knew what it meant.  Notice when they were told by El/Elohim that they would surely die in the day the day they knew what good and evil was, they're not recorded as to having asked what "die" means.  But Eve repeated it to the serpent, saying Elohim said that they would die.  It all seems to imply she knew what dying meant.  So, clearly they already knew some evil before eating the fruit.

The simple revealing of what it means to die is some knowledge of good and evil.  I think Adam and Eve would likely think of their lives as good and that dying would be evil.

Second:  There was also the tree of life.  Why didn't they just eat from that tree first?  And what would that mean?  That they'd get spirit bodies to live forever?  Then they couldn't reproduce more flesh-bodied people so that their offspring could make their own choices whether to "know good and evil."

Did it mean they'd just stay alive as long as they continually ate from it?  But that wouldn't make sense, because it sounds as if they were going to live indefinitely in physical bodies, anyway, so long as they didn't eat from the Knowledge tree.  There was nothing saying, "You'll die eventually, anyway, so long as you don't eat from that tree."  From the post-eating words from the Elohim, it sounds as if they decided to guard the tree of life to prevent Adam and Eve from living forever.

So what if Adam and Eve had eaten from the tree of life first and so would have lived forever?  Then what if they'd eaten from the knowledge tree afterward?  Or would that tree then be blocked off if they'd eaten from the tree of life first?   We already know that the Elohim said, after the garden couple had eaten from the knowledge tree, that they then were like the Elohim in that they knew good from evil.  So having the same knowledge of what is good and bad like the Elohim can't be tolerated, but living forever like the Elohim would have been tolerated, had they eaten from the tree of life first?

But if they'd have lived forever, then they'd eventually know good and evil, regardless of whether they'd eat from the knowledge tree, as I explained in my part one post.

And besides, later on in the bible the knowing what is good from evil is hailed as a good thing and that we should seek knowledge and choose the good and reject the evil.

It's making a lot of sense now why it's said a person needs to become like a little child in order to believe in all this nonsense.  A poor innocent child will usually just believe what their authority figures tell them, without question.

Of course, this is just the beginning of the breakdown of the absolute folly of the book people call the bible.  I am one of the many who bought into it all and now have gone into it fresh and unblinded, putting aside pre-indoctrination and can see it for what it is.

The Tree Story is Impossible

So, I was just thinking to myself a bit ago about my own creation story, how I would have done things if I was a creator of a world and people.

I was thinking about helping people learn as they go in life, which is pretty much what we do for our own children now, no different; correcting gently as things go along, and then it hit me:

There is no way the tree of the knowledge of good and evil story can be true.

1. If no one had eaten from it, then life would go along, but eventually something would come up where there would be a conflict of some sort.  Maybe it would be a disagreement on property ownership or one man lusting after another's wife and causing jealousy, or whatever.  This is where people would know good and evil.  No tree necessary.

2. If they were inherently perfect, where nobody would ever possibly enter a conflict of any sort, then they were never really created with free will, as free moral agents.  And in that case, why would they have been created in flesh in the first place, if being spirit-bodied is supposedly the state of perfection?

Also, how would it be sin to realize—to "know"— there are bad consequences for some actions, which is what happens when we learn something is bad, as it's learned normally through our experience or observation of someone else's?  It's called learning.

It's only foolish or wrong if, after learning, the behavior is repeatedly practiced.  Again, it can't be a transgression to come to the knowledge of good and evil, because if it is:

1. Then the god of the bible (which is no creator of mine, I know now) is the ultimate transgressor, since he knows good and evil.

2. It was inevitable.  We know how we come to know good and evil.  It's when we learn from experience or from the experiences of others.  If someone eats a fruit off a certain plant, and it kills him or her, we know not to eat that fruit!  In other cases, if we've seen lots of people eat that fruit with no ill consequences, but then someone comes along, and he dies afterward, we know it was only evil for him and similar others (he was allergic).  So we were forced into "sin," anyway, since it was inevitable to learn what good and evil is without the tree!

3. El, the Canaanite bible god, supposedly told Adam and Eve to not eat the fruit from that tree, but why put the damned tree there in the first place, if they're inevitably going to learn what's good and evil on their own, anyway?!  And then he tempted them with it by telling them not to do it but leaving the serpent in the garden with them.  Whatever that serpent was, whether a snake with legs or the Satan or whatever, it obviously knew things and talked, and it didn't even lie as people claim, because exactly what he said would happen did indeed happen.  Their eyes were opened so that the knew good and evil like El.  They also didn't die.  As a matter of fact, they supposedly lived nearly a millennium!  We don't live that long today.  If it was the supposed "second death" that was referred to, then damn, that's sick.  I love my babies waaaaay too much, and they've done a whole lot worse than simply eating something I told them not to (they've done that, too), and it's not in my heart to bring them back from the dead only to kill them again in flames.  I'm too loving for that.  And too just for that.  Feel like I should throw that one in, too.

As a matter of fact, even though I wish they (and myself) were perfect, I would rather live eternally with my kids just the way they are (the good outweighs the bad by far) than to burn them to death.

So how's that?  I challenge anyone to answer me on this.

Perhaps someone out there can show just how evil he or she is and show the true nature of his or her heart by trying to argue this, but I don't know who would want to do so.

My eyes are indeed open to knowing good and evil, and there's a lot more evil in the "old testament" books than good.  So for my choosing the good, who wants me to burn?

Knowledge of Good and Evil: Good or Bad?

Is eating from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil good or bad?  I personally love eating from that tree.  I like to grow in knowledge so that I can become wise and discerning, so that I can make moral decisions that benefit me and others.

And as for your little ones, who you said would become a prey, and your children, who today have no knowledge of good or evil, they shall go in there. And to them I will give it, and they shall possess it (Deut. 1:39)

We have on one hand the teaching that we are conceived in sin (Psa. 51:5 ) and that sin has fallen on all mankind due to Adam's and Eve's so-called "sin" (Rom. 5:12 ).  But here we see the teaching that little children do not possess knowledge of good and evil.  If the "sin" of Adam was that he ate from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, and this is the sin that has been passed on, why is it that little children do not in fact know good from evil?  And of course we know this is true.  Modern psychology has come a long way, and it's known that until around the age of seven, give or take a year, a child does not possess his own concept of good and evil and can only rely on what authority figures tell him until that point in development.  This goes back to what I demonstrated in a previous post, namely that once you reach a certain age and a certain circumstance, you will "know good and evil."  And knowing good and evil is a good thing, because then it allows you to make a moral decision, to choose either good or evil. 

For my people are foolish, they know me not; they are sottish children, and they have no understanding; they are wise to do evil, but to do good they have no knowledge (Jer. 4:22).

This speaks on the bible god's behalf that his people are foolish and don't know to do good, because they have no understanding and no knowledge, that they're only wise to do evil.  First of all, since when is it wise to do evil?  Knowledge is the first step.  A person needs knowledge.  Then the person can make a moral and wise decision or a foolish and evil decision.  From these learning experiences and observations of others' experiences, persons obtain understanding.  Secondly it seems apparent that the so-called "sin" of Adam didn't befall these people.  They were "wise to do evil," because they did not possess the knowledge and understanding of the difference between good and evil.  There is entirely too much nonsensical double speak in the bible.

And moreover, because the preacher was wise, he still taught the people knowledge; yes, he gave good heed, and sought out, and set in order many proverbs (Ecc. 12:9)

This teaches that someone is wise if he teaches a person knowledge.  I agree with this.  I believe it's wise to teach knowledge to people.  Knowledge greatly benefits mankind and enables them to make moral decisions and obtain wisdom and understanding.  This statement in Ecclesiastes is completely contradictory to the notion that it was bad to eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.  It basically teaches that the bible god is not wise, because he refused to teach Adam and Eve knowledge.  It teaches that the serpent was wise.

Who is a wise man and endued with knowledge among you? let him show out of a good conversation his works with meekness of wisdom (Jam. 3:13).

This statement exalts the man who is wise and knowledgeable.  It teaches that people should pay attention to those who are knowledgeable and have shown by his works that he is wise.  Here we see one more instance that the bible god is shown to be unwise and wicked for wanting to keep people in the dark and to punish them for finding out something.  Today there are millions of "Christians" and "Muslims" and "Jews" who beat faith into people, commanding fellows to not dare question what their holy texts say, to never read other texts, to never listen to science, to never question anything.  They beat fear into people, teaching that they will burn forever in hell if they stray.  They do not want them to grow in knowledge and become wise and full of understanding.  They go to strong measures for their fellows to "just believe" and "keep the faith."  If you do dare to question anything and choose knowledge, they often will shun you, reject you, condemn you, and hate you.

Source: Uncertain, perhaps

Butter and honey shall he eat, when he knoweth to refuse the evil, and choose the good. For before the child shall know to refuse the evil, and choose the good, the land whose two kings thou abhorrest shall be forsaken (Isa. 7:15)

Here again we see that there is a time before a child is old enough to know good from evil and know to refuse the evil.  Children of a certain age, if they are doing evil, it's because they do not know it.  They can walk out in front of a moving car (evil/bad) and not know the horrible result.  They can take another person's possession and not understand that they are transgressing the other person's property rights.  This once again makes it clear that eating from a tree has absolutely nothing to do with knowing good and evil and that knowing good and evil is actually a good thing so that one can "know to refuse the evil." 

And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and all discernment; so that ye may approve the things that are excellent (Phil. 1:9-10).

In order to exercise good discernment and to approve the things that are excellent, one must abound "yet more and more" in knowledge.  You're not going to be able to be endued with knowledge and discernment in order to approve good things if you do not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil (symbolically speaking)! 

Hate the evil, and love the good, and establish justice in the gate (Amos 5:15a).

It's impossible to hate evil and love good if one does not possess the knowledge of good and evil.

My Exodus in Genesis: The Beginning of a Dogma-Free Life

Note: This was first posted on my "Growing in Grace and Knowledge" blog on July 19, 2014 as my public coming-out that I was an apostate and no longer believed the bible to be the word of God.  For a very short time, I still believed there probably was a god, but I am now a practicing atheist, who like most atheists, claims to be agnostic as to whether there is a god or not but figures there is probably not.

All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident. ~Arthur Schopenhauer~

I'm learning and realizing so much that it's hard to know where to begin in my writing, but I think a good place to start is with the mention of something quoted in a sermon given by a friend of mine, over a year and a half ago, entitled, "What is Truth?" 

He quoted someone, though I forget whom, saying something like, "Do we value truth above all? Above Christianity, above the bible?"  Of course, my immediate in-though response was, "Absolutely!"  Because that's true.  I do desire truth above all things, even love (which comes second), because there can be "love" in the absence of truth. 

At that time, however, I still believed the bible was true.  I knew it had some contradictions and some translational errors, but whereas I use my reason and logic pretty well in most areas of my life, I was letting some sort of attachment squash reason in regards to many things within the bible.  I do think that there are good lessons and some wise sayings in the bible, but I think the stories therein and of "Jesus" being the saving son of God, etc. are a big lie.  There are lots of other books with some good teachings, too, also with some lies.  I've read other books, though, that are overall much better than the bible when it comes to teaching morals.

There are so many places I can start with this continuance, which will begin to explain how I arrived at this, but I will start with an an incident that occurred just a few weeks prior to this writing. 

One to three nights prior to the day, my Love and I were once again discussing things with one another, when he questioned what it says in the book of Matthew about Jesus being named so and then claiming it was because it was prophesied he was to be named Immanuel.  I replied that I'd always thought it was just another name for him, like a middle name.  He kept objecting, saying that the text said he was to be called Jesus based on the prophecy that said he was to be called Immanuel.

Now to the day soon following that night:  The kids and I went outside, while my Love was away at a job.  I had the whole Jesus-Immanuel thing on my mind, so I grabbed a bible on my way out and proceeded to read the part in Matthew, then flipped back to Isaiah 7 to read.  I frowned.  Not only are the names Jesus and Immanuel different, with different meanings, but Isaiah was talking about someone entirely different!  He wasn't prophesying about any future-coming Messiah at all!  (And how did that escape my notice before?? Blindness…)

I thought maybe if I ran back inside and grabbed the book a friend of mine wrote on the prophets, I'd come to an understanding.  So I did just that.  I got back to my chair outside and flipped through the pages until I got to the commentary on Isaiah 7.  He said verse 14, the "Immanuel" verse was prophesying the Messiah.  Then I read on, and he started talking about about a prophetess' son.    What?!

So I read the whole thing before that, in my bible, and after it again, on into Isaiah 8.  The whole thing is talking about a sign to Ahaz concerning Syria, Ephraim, and Samaria and what would happen within an allotted time.  The sign was the maiden conceiving and bearing a son, and all that Isaiah said would happen would do so before the child was old enough to know good from evil.  So it has nothing to do with an anointed one to come hundreds of years afterward.  Not a very good sign to Ahaz that would be.  (Oh, and by the way, that child's name turned out not to be Immanuel, either.)  How in the world can a person take a snippet of a verse out of context and apply it to be a foretelling of a son of a god?  It's the same way that some people, after the twin towers of the World Trade Center came down in 2001, took a snippet from Nostradamus' prophecy about twins being destroyed in York.  And that's how all such "prophecy" works.  People make things to happen, just as it says in the gospels even, "So that this may be fulfilled…," and people take snippets of whatever to make them fit. 

My face must have been contorted in confusion and disgust.  I thought, "How do you get that from this???"  I slammed the book closed, closed the bible, and leaned back in my chair with a sigh, staring across the yard into nothing.  I'd had quite a bit of that for one day.  Some day, I thought, I'd like to finally look up all the supposed prophecies to compare them all…

Before fast-forwarding a few weeks, I'd like to go back up in the past a bit.  My Love, who, for those wondering, had been heavily researching on his own, especially video debates (so that he can hear different sides for things) for the last year.  Over a decade ago, when we were active in the Southern Baptist churches, he kept telling me there was more to just believing in Jesus to be saved.  I kept telling him it was that simple, we weren't saved by works (even though I personally had prayed the so-called "sinner's prayer" numerous times throughout my childhood, because it just didn't seem to work any magic for me).  He kept saying there had to be more to it.  It was during his persistence of that period when we both started getting serious about reading the bible.  I did so at home, while he did so in hotel rooms, as he worked out of state during the week.  Separately reading, we both came simultaneously to the same conclusions, that what we were reading was vastly different than what we'd been taught in the Protestant churches.  Then, long story short, we arrived at what I've lived out (and somewhat off and on so for my husband) for the last decade, rejecting the pagan Christianity doctrines of the trinity, ever-burning hell, heaven upon death, Christmas, Easter, Sunday, etc.  Now we both look back and wonder why we foolishly thought that since people didn't follow the book exactly, that still made the book the word of God.  But we both agree that it was still a stepping stone in our life's journey of learning, and I'm just so thankful I'm still young and have mostly young children.  I haven't invested my entire life in a lie as some have.  I always try to look on the positive side of things, so I am mostly feeling thankful, rather than feeling enraged at myself.

Now back to recently, fast-forwarding a few weeks from my little Jesus-Immanuel examination.  It was our rest day, and my Love texted me a link to an essay written by Thomas Paine (one of America's "Founding Fathers") on the prophecies of Jesus Christ (which I know now is actually part 3 of his Age of Reason). 

So outside I went, with him following to sit beside me to read his own thing, while our beloved children jumped in a water sprinkler that our eleven-year old son constructed himself.

Thomas Paine had gone through all the places in the gospels where there were claimed fulfilled prophecies that were to be fulfilled during Jesus' life, and he went back to where the supposed prophecies were, and he crushed each and every one in succession (I've since flipped through them all on my own, too), beginning with the one I'd seen on my own just weeks ago to be a farce.

I immediately fell in love with Paine's writing style and thought process, which reminded me of my own.  I kept laughing aloud, and my Love said he was surprised to hear me laughing, that he hadn't expected that response (though he had hoped that that would be the thing that opened my eyes).  Ah, but what he did not know was that had been exactly what I had been wanting to see myself, and here someone else had done this already, and it just so happened that my Love had sent it to me.

It was a job well done, with perfectly appropriate comments throughout, proper for exposing such deception and expressing anger at such folly (and since then, I've started going through other books of the "new testament" and writing down how insane and dishonest other claims of fulfilled prophecy are).

I've since read a lot more of Thomas Paine's writings and other things written by a Deist point-of-view, which fits me so well, as nature has always spoken the loudest to me, over the bible or anything else.  It is the natural religion, opposed to "revealed religion," all coming from various men that we must trust rather than our Creator (if there is one) directly.

I've read many things over the years, including New Age and Greek myths in my teens, the book of Jasher (mentioned twice as a reference in the bible), some of Enoch, and many others.  Over the past two years I've read the Holy Vedas, the Buddhist Dhammapada, as well as others.  I still am reading a volume of collected "Buddhist Scriptures" (which I am mostly disliking quite a bit, though I liked the Dhammapada).

It was through my reading of the Muslim Qur'an, the Hindu Vedas, and the Buddhist Dhammapada over the past two years that I came to realize that men twist everything and add to everything.  The vast majority of content in those books was all very good and agreeable with the good parts of the bible.  The Qur'an claims it confirms Torah and gospels, though it doesn't fully, so it begs the question why Muslims aren't checking out the Torah and gospels to see what they say.  It also teaches some of the same pagan Christianity beliefs, like an ever-burning hell, except it at least explains how it's possible, namely that the wicked will constantly receive new skins as they burn off. 

I love the Vedas.  There's hardly anything in there that warrants flagging.  It's full of wonderful wisdom and sensible teaching and mostly refers to one Creator.  I realize there are other Hindu books that I haven't yet read in full, but there was nothing, really, in the Vedas that looked like the Hinduism religion.  The same can be said of the Qur'an and Islam.  Men add ideas to people's books and make religions.  Judaism was created with more than the bible's old testament.  Christianity was created with more than just the bible.

Now when I had revealed all this to my Love months ago, it had apparently sealed the deal for him (unbeknownst to me until much more recently).  He recently confided in me that the strength with which I argued things had kept him just unsure enough to keep fighting against his reasoning, which eventually prevailed with the accumulation of information and evidence.

I'd read about an alternative creation story eight years or so ago, which still contained Adam and Eve.  Then my Love and I listened to an audio version of the Epic of Gilgamesh three or four years ago.  Until a few weeks ago those were the only alternative or parallel creation and/or flood accounts I'd explored.  This was before the prophecy incident.  One of the biggest things my Love has talked about the past year is the biblical flood story, and so I just decided to read other accounts several weeks ago.  I guess I thought maybe by doing so I was going to give more credence to the bible story, but the opposite happened, in fact, as I meditated on it all for the days and weeks following my reading of them.  For the last few years I have believed in the not-so-popular belief that the flood was regional, because I am a reasoning, logical, scientific person, and scientifically the regional flood is the only one that even had a chance of passing the possibility test.  After reading the flood accounts, though, and reading the biblical text over and over again, there's no denying that it's meant to be believed as a planet-wide flood that covered all the mountains, which most certainly did not take place.

Among the many flood accounts that have survived there are a few parallel to the bible.  They are obviously about the same main character, because the names are all similar or the same to Noah.  He built a boat, various birds are let loose, and the boat lands on a mountain.  But in the Near East versions the boat lands there, in the Australian version, the boat lands on a mountain in Australia, and in the Hawaii version the boat lands in Hawaii.  Birds differ a bit, and the sacrifices differ.  In Hawaii, for example, "Nua" offered coconuts and such.

There were also a few flood accounts that talked more of a log or bottle or barrel-type vessel that kids were sealed up in, with a sooty plug in a hole.  The one who unplugged it became black from the soot, and so he became the father of the black peoples (yeah, go figure).  Remind you of an alternative story in the bible about Noah's son Ham?  It at least didn't involve soot, but…

I soon thereafter read more creation accounts.  There had been a flood story that interlaced a creation account, because it was clearly an alternative to the two trees story.  It didn't involve trees but rather a fish that wasn't supposed to be eaten.

As I said already, I'd read all those things before the prophecies incident, and I reasoned initially that the numerous tales gave more credit, perhaps, to the bible.

But then even more recently I let my children watch a movie called Tangled (Disney).  It's based on the Rapunzel tale.  A wicked woman stole a princess baby, because the child had magic hair that would glow when she sang.  It kept the wicked woman young and supposedly beautiful, because the hair contained healing properties.  The catch, though, was that if her long golden hair was cut, it would turn brown and lose its power.

Hmmm…that reminded me of the Samson and Delilah story and so inspired me to see whether there were other parallel stories. 

I can't say I was really surprised to find that there were.  Hercules/Apollo apparently would lose his power if his hair was cut, and he also killed a lion with his hands (or with a club and finished it with his hands, depending on which version) and ate honey from it.  It predates Samson by at least several decades to a century.  I looked up the dates for both. 

So then I started searching other fanciful tales from bible lore, and sure enough, all of them are found in other nations' mythology, predating the biblical accounts, some by many centuries. 

Cain and Abel, Jonah and the fish, Samson and Delilah, talking animals, killing a giant…it all can be found predating when the bible events supposedly took place.  The Jews copied things from from other cultures and wrote out a fancy-sounding history for themselves. 

None of the bible (saving for Job, perhaps, which is likely the story of a "gentile") was even written until the time of Israelite and Judahite monarchies, and a great deal wasn't made up and written until the Babylonian captivity of the Jews.  Initially I was skeptical of this when my Love and I watched a bible archaeology documentary.   Israel Finkelstein is a Jew himself, and he's one of the ones who worked on the project.  I think the documentary is The Bible Unearthed.  The men were honestly trying to see whether the bible was historically accurate. They explored both archaeological and historical evidence.  Both types of evidence testified against the bible.  When I watched, though, I wasn't very convinced about their claim that Deueteronomy wasn't written until the reign of Josiah and that most things weren't written until during the Jews' Babylonian captivity.  I didn't see how they were coming up with that.  Either it wasn't detailed enough to satisfy me, or I missed something.

A short time later, all this still before being introduced to Thomas Paine's shattering of the Messianic prophecies, I read that the two creation accounts in the opening chapters of Genesis were written by two different authors and at two different times (the latter of the the two during the Babylonian captivity but which appears first in Genesis).  Well, that certainly explains why there are contradictions in the two accounts.

I guess I still wasn't fully convinced.  However, when I more recently read Paine's Age of Reason (it's addressed in part 2), he used only the bible to prove the books weren't written until the captivity, or at the very least, until after there were ruling monarchies in Judah.  He pointed at numerous proofs in the bible itself.  I could no longer ignore the facts at that point.  Outside historical evidence, archaeological evidence, and the bible's own revelations within all prove, without a doubt, that the so-called "books of Moses" weren't written until several hundred years after Moses supposedly lived.

Then there are prophecies that were made and recorded to have failed, and a busting-at-the-seams plethora of contradictions throughout both the "old testament" and "new testament."

Perhaps most importantly there are the numerous evidences that the Israelite tribal god Yahweh is evil when we use our God-given reason and built-in morality, but those of us brought up to believe in the bible push our reason away and instead justify (or ignore as some people do) it all for Yahweh/Jehovah. 

Still, there were two things that I still wanted to check into, namely the biblical feasts/holidays and the validity of the book of Revelation. 

I didn't look into the weekly sabbath, because during my recent search into the origin of the 7-day week—an unrelated search—I found information on the Babylonian lunar sabbath, of which there are four a month, and that also explained to me why there are some Christians who teach the lunar sabbath doctrine (which someone asked me about a few years ago, and I'd said the sabbath was a weekly ordinance, not an ordinance related to the lunar cycle). 

Passover, I figured was easy, because it deals with firstborn human sacrifice and/or animal sacrifice.  I researched it, anyway, and found evidence that such a practice by the polytheistic cultures (Canaanite and Amorite) before the supposed (but likely made-up, at least the way it is written in the bible) biblical exodus from Egypt.  The Zukru festival was very much like Passover and Unleavened Bread.  Instead of brushing a doorpost with blood to protect the inside inhabitants, the lamb sacrifices were done outside, and blood was brushed on everyone's foreheads.  Two kinds of bread were made to eat by the people and the gods, barley bread and mashed bread, and they ate them with wine.

Rosh Hashanah (Trumpets) is rooted in the Babylonian Akitu harvest festival, which like the Jews' holiday, is also a new year's celebration, as the Babylonians also had their year divided into two parts with two new years. 

Day of Atonement/Yom Kippur has its origins in the Babylonian and Assyrian Kuppuru atoning ceremony.  

The Feast of Booths or Feast of Ingathering (Sukkot) came from the Canaanites' autumn harvest festival, during which they'd stay in temporary shelters in the fields until they harvested their crops. 

The final editors of the bible, the priests, while in Babylon, added in the new themes they wanted these feasts to apply to, like staying in booths to remember the wilderness exodus, for example.  It's no different than what the Roman Catholic Church has done with other pagan holidays and the traditions and symbols that go along with them, applying them to Jesus (like saying Christmas is his birthday, that Easter celebrates the resurrection and that the eggs symbolize new life in him, etc.).

El was a Canaanite god, his consort being Asherah, their children including Baal and Anat (Astarte/Ashtoreth).  El was the head of a pantheon of gods and was a creator god with a loving nature.  Yahweh was a god of war and storms and such.  P's manuscripts (the ones written by the priests in Babylon) and J's manuscripts ("Jah," for Yahweh, which refers to another author who only wrote about Yahweh) contradict each other so that it's unclear whether Abraham knew El as Yahweh, too, or not, as it is later said to Moses that his fathers did not know him as Yahweh but only El.  Either way, the gods are blended by the time of the final editing of the books. 

It may be that the book of Revelation was written with ideas borrowed from the Sibylline books (not to be confused with the Sibylline chronicles) which were written BCE by an oracle.  Other books have borrowed from these, too.  We cannot know for sure, because there are no known copies of the Sibylline books now in existence.  The Kalki Purana, which wasn't written until probably the third or fourth century CE, may have been written after Revelation (if Revelation was indeed written in the first century) but probably borrowed from the Sibylline books, since there is evidence so many prophets from various cultures borrowed from those books.  In the Kalki Purana a future avatar of Vishnu, known as Kalki, is prophesied to come on a white horse, flashing his scimitar and to conquer the wicked, before setting up the peaceful paradise Shambala. 

You know, I've walked around for a few years now, feeling guilt about a couple different things I wrote about in my Ten Commandments book, because as a moral person, I felt they were wrong, but I stayed true to the bible teaching and defended Yahweh, justifying for this non-existent war god his horribly wicked commands. 

I also have planned on writing another book, which has been in the works for a few years now, and one of the topics was going to be about the technology of God, man, and animals.  I was going to systematically show how modern-day scientific knowledge and technology proves how all those far-out stories in the bible can be true and scientifically explained.  Now I know that all those stories originated with older cultures, and the Jews just copied and then made themselves out to be better than everyone else, a special race.  I will still write a book, and a lot of the information that I've obtained from sources over the last few years, as well as my exhaustive notes, will still be used.  It was not all for naught.  I just certainly will not be praising the bible as the "word of God."  

There's so much more I'd love to write about and will, in time, but this will suffice for now.

I'm free from the lies.  I no longer have to defend an evil god that doesn't even exist.  I can trust my  reason and stop defending the bible as the word of God when it doesn't deserve it and is a disgrace to the real God, if there is one.  I can all the more easily reject any "revealed religion" that comes from men.  If it's not revealed to me, I shouldn't have to believe it, because to do so isn't trusting God, but rather the man/men who claimed it was revealed to him/them. 

I still haven't come down completely from the outrage that so many, even the UCG that I thought was so mild, cling to Herbert Armstrong.  I just never knew it, because I stayed away from the churches until toward the end, and when I did go, my own beliefs clashed with the beliefs the people collectively held.

But it just goes to show that when we're guilty of not doing our research, we enslave ourselves to men.  That's what those people choose to do when they honor that man (which is unbelievable to those of us who have done our research on him).  But I have been guilty of following the bible, which is following many lying men and men of wicked imaginations.  I now renounce it,  and I encourage you to do your own research and see what conclusions you draw.