Really Terrible Bible Stories vol. 2: Exodus Excerpt – Chapter 16!

XIX

The Infamous Golden Calf Episode

(Exodus 32)

Meanwhile, back at the camp…

The people get sick and tired of waiting for Moses to come back down that bloody mountain. He left them over a month ago without even a guesstimate as to when he’d return. God’s been so busy waxing enthusiastic over his preferences in furniture, curtains, clothes, barbecue, and petty reasons to murder people that he’s completely neglected them. They’ve been left homeless in the wilderness with no one to lead them to safety. They’re at their wit’s end, fearful and alone. So they ask Aaron to make them some more helpful gods who’ll actually give a shit about them. (Ex. 32:1)

Bear in mind: these are people who’ve been enslaved for generations. They just experienced this bully of a god swanning in with a dude wanted for murder, and proceeding to terrorize the shit out of the countryside, along with pretty much everything in it. This god even hardened their captor’s heart every time he was about to release them, just as an excuse to commit more terrorist acts. They were forced to flee into the desert with inadequate food and water, and when they cried out in their suffering, this god who claims to care about them killed a bunch of them for asking to have their basic survival needs met. Now they’ve been abandoned in the desert, surrounded by hostile tribes, for five weeks. Of course they’re going to start looking elsewhere for comfort and protection. [Read more…]

Really Terrible Bible Stories vol. 2: Exodus Excerpt – Chapter 15, Part Two!

XV

God’s Extensive, Expensive Interior Décor Requirements for Homeless Refugees

(Exodus 25-27)

 

First half of Chapter 15 is here.

 

Having gotten the furniture out of the way, God starts in on curtains. He wants ten of ’em, done up in the finest linen with the most costly blue, purple, and scarlet dyes – remember, kids, those colors were hella expensive to achieve back then. He wants each curtain to have cherubim embroidered on it. And he doesn’t want a few simple drapes, no. He’s asking for enormous, heavy panels that are 28 cubits (about 42 feet) long and 4 cubits (about 6 feet) wide. Then the curtains must be joined in two sets of 5, and 50 blue loops put on the edge of each outer curtain; God’s really particular about that. Then you’ve gotta have 50 solid-gold clasps to put through the loops. (Ex. 26:1-6)

If you want to get an idea of how fun this stuff was to shlep around the desert, go to a fabric store, find the biggest bolt of upholstery fabric you can, and carry it around the store for eight hours. Then, as you lay dying, ponder the fact that you had the benefit of air conditioning, and the folks wandering the Sinai did not. [Read more…]

Really Terrible Bible Stories vol. 2: Exodus Excerpt – Chapter 15, Part One!

XV

God’s Extensive, Expensive Interior Décor Requirements for Homeless Refugees

(Exodus 25-27)

 

 

The next time someone who considers Exodus to be holy writ snarks at me about gay guys being into interior decorating, I shall have to request they turn to chapters 25 thru 27 in their Holy Bible. God has put some really serious thought into how he wants his living space set up and decorated. I mean, it’s verging on the pathological. It’s not the sort of thing you’d expect the creator of the universe to get hung up on. You’d expect him to DIY if he’s that bloody picky. And even if he chooses to delegate, you’d hope he’d hire an established firm, rather than a ragtag band of freed slaves lost in the desert. But no. He’s got some particularly detailed requirements, and he expects the Israelites to fulfill them.

He starts by demanding people bring him stuff. See, the all-powerful, all-knowing creator of the universe doesn’t know if you really really truly love him enough unless you give him lots of expensive gifts. But, y’know, only if you want to. Not like he’d withhold his favor from you if you didn’t, or anything like that.

Oh, wait. Yes he would.

Anyway, God wants stuff for the tabernacle he’s been dreaming of. Sure, he could create it himself. Don’t be ridiculous! Of course he could! He’s absolutely not imaginary at all, and he totally did make the earth, heavens, and everything else in existence in six days. This tabernacle project would take him maybe a few minutes in the morning, tops. But then it wouldn’t be special. (Ex. 25:1-2)

So he tells Moses to ask the people for their (completely voluntary!) offerings of: [Read more…]

Really Terrible Bible Stories vol. 2: Exodus Excerpt – Chapter 13, Part Two!

XIII

How to Buy Slaves (and Other Tips for Godly Living)

(Exodus 21)

(In our last edition, God gave the rules for owning slaves. In the conclusion of this chapter, we will learn how to beat them – among other things.)

But first, God would like to discuss penalties for violence.

  1. Murder always earns the death penalty – unless the poor murderer was minding his own business when, one fine day, God just up and foisted some random victim on him and was all like, “Oh, here – kill this schmuck.” In cases where God instigated the crime, the poor bastard is just to be exiled to a sanctuary city, where he can live the rest of his days away from his friends and family and familiar places, all because God was feeling like inciting a little manslaughter.
  2. Hey, kids! If you hit your mommy or your daddy, you’re gonna be put to death! Now, there’s no age limit on how old you are – the way this is written, even dear little infant babbies could be executed. No, there’s no, “But it was an accident!” defense. No, there’s no forgiveness for children whose brains haven’t developed fine motor control yet. No, there’s no “self-defense!” defense either. If you hit Mom or Dad at any time, for any reason, it’s execution for you, little tyke.

[Read more…]

Halo or No Halo, That is the Question

So, based on feedback, I’m coming out with a clean version of Really Terrible Bible Stories vol. 1: Genesis. It’ll have all the naughty words replaced with ones suitable for delicate ears, so that it can be safely recommended to anti-cursing fundie types. I’ve whipped up a new cover for it, and would like to get your impressions, my darlings.

What do you think, halo?

Image shows the cover of RTBS vol. 1: Genesis (Clean Version). The background is a pale creme yellow. The painting is Francis Denaby's The Deluge, which shows a lot of people trying to swim and crawl onto a high black rock in a dark blue tumultuous flood. Lettering is in gold and red. There is a halo over the C in Clean Version.

Avec halo

Or no halo?

Image is same as previous, with the halo removed.

Sans halo

Hope you like one or both!

And no, I probably didn’t need to change the cover illustration, but I stumbled across this Francis Denaby painting when I was looking for something else, and fell in love. I had to have it! So I changed everything up.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I gotta go back to watching Steven Universe while I put fig leaves on all the naughty bits in the interior illustrations.

Really Terrible Bible Stories vol. 2: Exodus Excerpt – Chapter 13, Part One!

XIII

How to Buy Slaves (and Other Tips for Godly Living)

(Exodus 21)

 

 

 

Having given Moses the rough draft of the Ten Commandments, God proceeds to lay down the moral law.

Now, Christians tell me a lot about how perfect God is. Even the ones who aren’t Real True Christians™, and believe in hippie socialist Jesus rather than Legalistic Uptight Asshole Jesus, wax lyrical about how good God is. Many Christians tell me that the Bible is God’s timeless Word, which established a perfect moral law, even though some of the bits were just for those uncouth tribal dudes and needn’t trouble us today. None of them seem to agree on which of those laws God tossed, as God never specified in the text (although quite a few seem to just adore those bits of Leviticus that bash gay people, and the verses in Proverbs that encourage them to beat children).

When it’s pointed out that the Good Book contains some really bad laws, Christians get kind of blustery and stammery and insist that those laws were the best God could do at the time. The people were rebellious, they say, and primitive, and prone to sin: they would’ve refused to follow laws that were too advanced1.

To which I call: shenanigans.

If God is as powerful and wise as claimed, he should have had no problem laying down superb, compassionate, and flawless moral laws, and enforcing them. If god was trying to ease people in, he could have said right then (cuz he knows the future), “These are the laws for now. I’ll have better ones once you lot are more civilized.”

I want you to pay close attention to this chapter, dear Christians, and tell me how these laws are perfect, or where in this chapter God said they were temporary and would not be applicable to future generations.

God jumps right into the deep and stinky, starting off with slavery. He’s completely for it. He just wants to establish a few regulations:

  1. You can have a Hebrew as a slave for up to six full years. But you’ve gotta set him loose, debt-free, in the seventh year.
  2. Return your slave to freedom in the same marital condition in which you found him. If he was single, he goes alone. If he had a wife, she goes with him, free of charge.
  3. God, as we know, is all for strong nuclear families2. But not for slaves! No, if you, kind master, gave your slave a wife, and he sexed her up, and they had sweet children together, your male slave gets his ass set free alone in Year 7. Wifey and the children extra slaves they made are yours to keep.
  4. If the slave you just so generously (were ordered to) set free is all like, “But I love my wife and kids! I can’t leave ’em!” then congratulations! You may now take him to your doorpost, drill a hole in his ear, and keep his ass enslaved forever. (Ex. 21:1-6)

There is not one sentence in these verses that says, “But verily I say unto you, slavery is horrible, and you’d better enjoy it while it lasts, cuz I’m gonna abolish and forbid it in a few generations when y’all are more enlightened.” God speaks not one word against the practice.

Image is a woodcut showing an Egyptian overseer menacing a brick-laden Hebrew with a stick. A woman clutches her head in the background. There is a slumped man to the right, a woman carrying a water jar on her head in the middle background, and an Egyptian taking a baby from a woman in the background.

The Egyptians Afflicted the Israelites (illustration from the 1897 Bible Pictures and What They Teach Us by Charles Foster). Public domain image and caption via Wikimedia Commons.

Maybe he’ll get to it whilst he’s giving instructions to Moses regarding women and slavery:

  1. If a man sells his daughter, she gets to remain a slave indefinitely – unlike the male slaves, she doesn’t get freed.
  2. But if the dude she’s sold to doesn’t like her, he’s not allowed to sell her to any durned foreigners. He has to allow her daddy to buy her back.
  3. If he bought her for his son to sex up, he has to treat her as a daughter.
  4. If he takes her as his wife for his own self, and later takes an additional wife, he’s got to keep providing his first wife the same level of food, clothing, and sexy fun times as before.
  5. If he can’t do those things for her, then he’s gotta set her free, without debt. (Ex. 21:7-11)

Nowhere does God ever say: “Dads – don’t sell your daughters as sex slaves. That’s disgusting.” He doesn’t say, “Dudes, don’t buy women as sex slaves – that’s an asshole thing to do, and also really skeevy.” In not one single place does God say, “You know what, guys? Don’t buy and sell women at all. Just don’t. I’m gonna call that an abomination unto me right there.” Don’t get so starry-eyed over God giving a few paltry rights to these poor girls people are selling. Don’t get so over-awed by the fact it’s God talking that you forget these girls were lifelong slaves whose destiny was to be repeatedly raped. God is regulating the sex slave trade. That is in no way moral.

And if you’ve ever condemned sex trafficking, you’ve got to face the fact that your God was completely down with it.

If you think those laws were horrible, just wait ’til we get to the rules on how to beat your slaves!

 

 

1Some Christians, horrifyingly, insist God is perfect and those horrific laws are still right and just today, but they’re a definite minority.
2Exceptions apply.

 

Image is the cover for Really Terrible Bible Stories vol. 2: Exodus. The painting is Charles Sprague Pearce's Lamentations over the Death of the First-Born of Egypt, showing an Egyptian man and woman weeping over the coffin of their infant.

Really Terrible Bible Stories vol. 2: Exodus is now available worldwide at Amazon:

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“Demolished by Sadness” – Escape Chapter 10: Cathleen and Tammy Marry Merril

It’s December, and Carolyn is back at Merril’s house after completing her fall semester at college. Merril, Barbara, and Ruth took off for Salt Lake City shortly after she arrived, leaving her virtually alone with the 14 kids still at home. Faunita, the only other adult, doesn’t leave her room very often. So Carolyn is free to do chores on her own. There are so many clothes to wash that, although they have to be rinsed by hand and hung to dry, it’s faster to do laundry in the old industrial-sized washer than try to use the more modern automatic washer and dryer. I can’t even bloody imagine the drudgery.

The FLDS has a new prophet, Rulon Jeffs, who took over after Uncle Roy died a few weeks before. While Carolyn cleans and looks forward to cooking for her gaggle of stepkids, Jeffs is busy arranging a wedding for Merril, who’s marrying Cathleen, a young widow of the former prophet. Merril lies to Carolyn and tells her Jeffs had just sprung this match on him with no warning. [Read more…]

One of the Most Important Articles on Abortion You’ll Ever Read

Here are stories from abortion doctors who have been doing abortions since before they were legal. They’ve seen what society is like with and without access to safe, legal abortion. They’ve seen how bad things were, how good they got, and how we’re backsliding toward a time when desperate women were willing to risk death to terminate their pregnancies. These are stories all of us need to listen to. Especially those who are uncomfortable with or opposed to abortion. Make sure you send this to every friend, acquaintance, and relation who is anti-abortion or who thinks that abortion is a necessary evil rather than a medical right. Send it to everyone who thinks abortion should be legal, but tightly restricted. Force them to confront this reality.

Make them deal with statistics like this: [Read more…]

Really Terrible Bible Stories vol. 2: Exodus Excerpt – Chapter 10!

X

A Singsong to Appease the Narcissistic Tyrant

(Exodus 15)

 

The Israelites, as you may well imagine, are a bit giddy after having walked through a sea while it drowned the army behind them. And they seem to know that if they want to survive, they’re going to have to reassure their narcissistic tyrant of a god that he’s really, really glorious, and they definitely know he’s the LORD.

So Moses leads them in a little singsong. [Read more…]

Adventures in Christianist Earth Science Education XIX: Wherein We Learn Christianists Make Lousy Sci-Fi Writers

Buckle in, kiddos. Earth Science 4th Edition’s unit on geology is roughly the size of the entirety of Science of the Physical Creation. And you know it’s going to be a rough ride, because it starts with a blurb from Andrew Snelling. Yes, Dr. Andrew “I’m Happy to do Conventional Geology with Billions of Years and No Goddidit so I Can Get Published in Legitimate Journals, Then Use Those Creds to Shit All Over Geology” Snelling. Yes, Dr. Andrew “Lying About Radiometric Dating for Jesus” Snelling. When you quote a lying fraud right up front as a legit scientist, I tend to suspect that the rest of what you’ve got may not, in fact, be legitimate science.

Let’s find out.

[Read more…]