I recently found on Tumblr a more-or-less comprehensive list of things banned in the Leviticus book of the bible, entitled “76 Things Banned in Leviticus”. I’ve seen this sort of list before, as has another Tumblr user, nonplussedbyreligion, who breaks it down like this:
It constantly amazes me how little Christians know about their holy book. Whether it’s faithful ignorance, wilful ignorance, or they simply choose to put on a brave face in the midst of adversity, you will never hear a fundamentalist Christian say that the Bible is anything less than the word of God.
Any honest, thinking person reading through the bible cannot ignore the blatant misogyny and barbarity towards women, but most Christians are bible illiterates – they only hear the palatable verses from the pulpit and blindly accept that the bible emanates goodness.
The simple fact is, it doesn’t. Certainly, when you go to church, all you will hear is the message of love. And sure, those verses are in the Bible, but so are a litany of examples of intolerance – sexism, racism, homophobia and cruelty – that reflect the Hebrew society of that time.
Which begs the question, why take your moral code from only parts of the Bible? If you don’t agree that wives should submit to their husbands, women should be silent and dress modestly, or that the pain of childbirth is punishment for Eve’s original sin, (let alone, all of the sexual abuse) why hold the Bible in such high esteem. Surely, there are more modern works that better reflect your own moral code? Or perhaps, just perhaps, you already know what’s right and wrong, and don’t need a book to tell you that at all…
Put your pre-conceived notions aside for a moment, and read through the following list. Whether there is a god or not, is the Bible really a book you want to take literally?
2:22 Eve created from Adam’s rib.
3:16 Eve cursed with painful childbirth and domination by husband.
4:19 Man marries two wives.
12:13-19 Abraham prostitutes wife.
19:1-8 Rape virgin daughters instead of male angels.
19:26 Lot’s wife turned into pillar of salt for disobeying god.
19:30-38 Lot impregnates his two daughters while drunk.
20:2-12 Abraham prostitutes wife – again.
25:1-6 Keeping many concubines is OK.
20:17 Wife as property.
21:4 Wife and children belong to master.
21:7-11 OK to sell daughters. Female slaves can be used for sex. Polygamy permitted. Unwanted female slaves can be set “free” without payment of money.
22:18 Kill witches.
12:1-8 Childbirth unclean, Women need to make atonement after childbirth.
15:19-32 Menstruating women are unclean.
20:10-16 Death penalty for homosexuality and various sexual transgressions.
21:7 Priests must not marry prostitutes or divorcees.
21:9 Burn daughters.
21:13-14 Priest must marry virgin, not “used” woman.
1:2 Census lists only men – women do not count.
5:11-31 Fidelity test for women only.
30:1-16 Woman’s vow invalid unless approved by her father or husband.
31:17-18 Kill all except virgins. Keep virgins for yourselves.
12 Miriam punished for rebuking Moses.
20:14 Take women, livestock as plunder.
22:13-21 Stone non-virgin bride.
22:23-24 Stone rapist and rape victim.
22:28 Rape victim must marry rapist; rape victim’s father compensated for depreciation of his property.
25:11-12 Cut woman’s hand for touching foe’s penis.
24:1-5 Man can “send” wife from HIS house. Man must not marry “used” woman.
28:18 The FRUIT of your womb will be cursed – eclectic “pro-life” verse!
5:30 Women are spoils of war.
14:20 Samson gives wife to another man.
16:1 Samson visits prostitute.
CH 19 Concubine pack-raped and butchered.
21:10-12 Slaughtered all inc. women and children. Saved virgins for wives.
21:21 Abducted girls for wives.
15:2-3 Attack Amalekites, kill men, women, children and livestock.
22:19 Kill all inc. infants and livestock.
21:4-5 Men avoid defilement with women.
5:13 David took many wives and concubines.
CH 13 Ammon rapes his own sister.
16:21-22 Absalom sleeps with his father’s concubines.
6:20-23 Mischal punished with bareness.
11:3 Solomon had 700 wives and 300 concubines.
9:30-37 Brutal murder of Jezebel.
15:13 Put to death unbelievers.
11:21 Hoards of wives and concubines.
CH 1-2 Queen Vashti dethroned for disobedience; setting “bad” example to all other women.
51:5 Sinful since conception.
127:3 Sons are heritage from god.
137:9 Seizes infants and dashes them against rocks.
CH 5 Beware of wicked women!
CH 7 More of the above.
6:24 As above.
31:3 Do not waste strength on women.
3:16-26 Lord punishes haughty women.
4:4 Filthy women.
13:16 Ravish wives, dash infants.
19:16 Will be like women! (insult to Egyptians)
9:6-7 Slaughter all including children.
CH 16 Prostitutes, stoning, promiscuity…
CH 23 Tale of two adulterous sisters – reads like the script of a pornographic film. I bet you weren’t told this story at Sunday school!
13:16 Rip pregnant women, dash little ones. (Another “pro-life” verse!)
3:4… wanton lust of a harlot… prostitution… witchcraft.
3:5 I will lift your skirts over your face!
3:13… Your troops are all women. (insult to Nineveh)
5:32 Husband can divorce wife for adultery. Can wife divorce husband for the same?
CH 25 Sexist tale of ten virgins.
2:22 Mary must be purified after birth of Jesus.
2:49 Jesus rebukes his mother.
11:2-10… Woman created for man.
14:34 Women must be silent in churches.
5:22-24 Wives must submit to husbands in everything.
3:18 Wives submit to husbands.
3:22 Slaves must obey masters in everything.
2:11-15 Woman must not have authority – she must be silent. Women can be saved with childbearing.
5:9-10 Widows should be faithful to husband and must wash saints’ feet.
2:18 Slaves submit to masters, even masters who are harsh.
3:1 Wives submit.
3:5-6 Sarah calls husband master.
CH 17 Destroy great prostitute.
14:4…they did not DEFILE themselves with women but kept themselves pure.
@guerillamonk Atheism shouldn’t be about insulting believers. It should be about empowering people to get off their knees and recognize their own potential
@thesimonevans Poached eggs, toasted English muffin, Hollandaise sauce, concealment of paedophiles, ham. #EggsBenedict
@CynicalAtheist If god is so perfect, then how would you explain Nickelback?
@RickWarren Bookburning is cowardly act by those afraid their beliefs aren’t strong enough to attract if people are allowed a choice.
@SkepticSheep “Wherever they burn books they will also, in the end, burn human beings.” ~ Heinrich Heine, Almansor, 1823
@Monicks Religion is fundamentally opposed to everything I revere – courage, clear thinking, honesty, fairness and love of the truth. #atheism
@rationalists Moham-Meds®. It’s viagra for Muslims.
@GodlessAtheist I’m not convinced that faith can move mountains, but I’ve seen what it can do to skyscrapers. #atheism
@mattchu Stephen Hawking says the universe wasn’t necessarily created by God. In other news, grass is green.
My Most Controversial Tweet: “Pope Vows To Get Church Pedophilia Down To Acceptable Levels” http://onion.com/ci3c3g
Favourite quote: “Religion. It’s given people hope in a world torn apart by religion.” ~ Charlie Chaplin
Not everyone is happy in their religion. Not every believer is at ease in the mosque or in the church or even in their dreams. They pretend to believe more than they do, for various reasons, but this is not the same as not beleiving at all. They doubt, but with that doubt comes fear, for in Islam and Christianity, doubt alone is enough for God to roast you on a spit forever, without a single coffee break. My aim has always been to persuade such people that these is nothing to fear; to convince them that their doubt is not to be the cause of their damnation but the key to their salvation from a life tainted, and occasionally ruined, but irrational fear.
I’ve found myself reading up on research into the origins of the bible, and I’ve made some pretty startling discoveries; discoveries that modern day churches either don’t want to tell their congregation, or they simply don’t know (or don’t want to know).
Genesis 1:26 is usually translated as ‘In the beginning God made heaven and earth’, but in fact any biblical scholar will admit, even if only when pressed on the subject, that the word ‘Elohim’ here translated as ‘God’ is plural. The passage properly reads:
‘In the beginning the gods made heaven and earth’.
It is not until later in Genesis that ‘Jehovah’ is used, meaning the singular ‘God’.
This is a rather puzzling anomaly that clergymen faithfully turn a blind eye to. However, it is well-known that the creation story is based on even earlier, pagan religions.
What is actually being referred to here are astronomical deities.
Much of the old testament is actually based on stories about astronomical deities: the Sun (God), Saturn (Satan), Venus (Lucifer) – that’s right, in the original bible, Satan and Lucifer are actually two different entities as well!
Today’s church preaches an extreme and radical monotheism. This is perhaps partly because of the dominance of science. In science-friendly Christianity, God has been reduced to an undifferentiated and undetectable immanence in the universe, and spirituality is nothing more than a vague and fuzzy feeling of “at-one-ness” with this immanence.
If you are a believer, don’t bury your head in the sand – you should know the origins of your faith.
Here is a good place to start:
Once again, I found myself in a Science vs Religion argument with my unenlightened ex. We’d watched a recent BBC Horizon documentary entitled Is Everything We Know About The Universe Wrong. Science shows isn’t usually his preferred viewing, especially any kind of doco about how the universe was actually made, but for some (obvious) reason, she couldn’t wait to check this one out.
Quoting the scientists from the documentary: “Well, we’re just not sure what Dark Matter is, but we know it’s there” or “We had to invent Dark Energy to correct Cosmology’s standard model”. This started her rant on how scientists just make stuff up all the time.
I had an up-hill battle trying to explain that a scientific theory is not just a theory invented with no basis – it is created to reflect the many observations scientists have already made. In this case, Dark Energy or Dark Matter (or now, Dark Flow) is just an x in an equation that explains how everything else works. Atoms, for example, which we take for granted today, still cannot be seen with a microscope – they were explained by science over time until we get today’s theory which fits every instance.
Anyways, during an argument about the origin of the universe, I was asked “If the universe started with the Big Bang, what was there before that? Something had to cause the Big Bang!”
Correct, something had to cause the “Big Bang”. One possible theory being looking into at the moment is two colliding string-theory membranes.
However, a thought occured to me. “Well, if God created the universe, who created God?” I got some answer about God being an ultimate being, and he always was and always will be. “Well, why doesn’t that explanation hold true for my side of the story? Why does there have to be some supremely complex being who can create whole universes in 24 hours, rather than two fair less complex dimensions floating around in space-time who bump into one another, and the energy of that collision resulted in our universe?”
“Why? Because that’s just stupid!”
Anyways, this morning I find myself watching a Richard Dawkins documentary called The Root of All Evil? and he makes this point:
“Darwin’s great insight is that life evolved steadily and slowly, inching its way gradually over 4 billion years. Natural selection, not a divine designer, was the sculptor of life.
“So evolution, driven by Darwin’s motor of natural selection, gets us to [where we are today]. From primeval simplicity to ultimate complexity. The design hypothesis couldn’t even begin to do that because it raises and even bigger problem then it solves – who made the designer?
“The abundance and variety of life on earth may seem improbable, but it’s self evidently futile to invent an improbable God to explain that very improbability.”
From a purely scientific point of view, atheists argue against the existence of God because there is no evidence to support such a being. It is simply the nature of “belief” – and the reason why religion is still rife in civilized society – that a belief does not require proof.
But Christians argue: “Does the Bible not count as a source of verifying the existence of God?”
First of all, you must note the origins of the Bible. The writings which were eventually gathered together and came to be known as “The Holy Bible” were written over a period of 1500 years by more than 40 different authors living on 3 different continents (Asia, Africa, and Europe). The Old Testament is a collection of books, written primarily in Hebrew, with some books written in Aramaic, between 1400 BCE and 400 BCE.; the New Testament is a collection of books, written in Greek, between 45 A.D. and 95 A.D.
While the text itself was penned by the hands of its various human authors, Christians claim its origin to be divine. In some books, God speaks directly with His people; in others, it is claimed that the written words were inspired by God, without directly intervening.
On top of that, because the printing press was not invented until 1440 A.D., which means every word of the Bible was hand-written by scribes, each copying a previously hand-written document. Archaeologists comparing documents side by side find innumerable errors.
The way I would put it, the Bible (like other such texts) is best described as testimony rather than evidence. It claims a lot, but doesn’t verify a thing.
As a collection of texts ostensibly written as non-fiction, the Bible counts as a set of historical sources. As evidence, however, it is circumstantial at best, and simply not at worst. It’s difficult to impossible to verify the realistic-sounding events, let alone the supernatural ones.
Look at it this way: Christian say outright that God exists because the Bible says what it says. I’ve read the Bible cover to cover, and I ask why? Why, after reading that book, do you believe God exists when I don’t? Most argue that the Bible is true because of what it says in the Bible. Logically, that does not make sense.
Religious belief is just that: a belief. The Bible is certainly a historical document, but it is certainly not evidence to the existence of God.
Most denominations incorrectly believe the fourth commandment refers to Sunday. The Catholic church amazingly acknowledges this fact. Many of their official writings point to the fact that they changed the Christian worship from the biblical Sabbath (Saturday) to Sunday.
Below is what I consider the best argument for lacking belief in any religions or gods. What makes this argument so powerful is that it covers any religion, and best of all, I don’t make the argument, you do. How strong the argument is really depends on how honest you can be with yourself. In fact if you’re a theist, you probably already know this argument, but have various ways to avoid facing it. So if you’re ready, let’s go through the argument as an experiment. The only one you have to answer to is yourself. You’ll know if you’re being honest with yourself or not.
Let’s imagine we’re sitting together having a relaxed, honest and open discussion about religion. On the table is a huge stack of white index cards and on each index card is one of thousands of different religions, gods, belief systems, along with arguments for believing in that particular religion or god. Maybe a card has a current religion, or maybe it has a older religion that no one believes in any more, or is largely forgotten. It doesn’t matter – the point is that they’re all here in this great big stack, except for the ones that you believe in – you religion’s not in this stack.
One at a time, I draw up a card and I read you the religion and god and arguments for why you should believe in it and you respond with the reasons you dismiss the arguments and why you don’t believe the religion or god, and I’ll write the responses down.
So we go through every argument ever made for every other religion, their gods, supposed holy books, witnesses, miracles, profits, saviours, prophecies, testimonies, answered prayers, faith claims, affects for good, archeological support; whatever the argument, we go through it. We note all your counter arguments and dismissals on the back on each card.
It won’t take long before we realize that there is a pattern. Your argument for dismissing one religion will likely be similar to a previous answer. We won’t need to write anything down any more – we can just refer back to a previous argument.
Once we get to the bottom of the stack, I take another card out of my pocket. This card has your religion and god on them, and all the arguments that you think support them. We go through that card and they are refuted referring back to arguments you made before, just as we did with all the previous cards.
The fact is that you’re an atheist in regards to thousands of other religions and gods. You already know everything there is to know about dismissing religious arguments. You’re an expert already. You rationally dismiss thousands of other religions or gods just like any atheist does. The difference is you don’t turn that critical side of your mind to your own beliefs.
This realization is all anyone needs to know to recognize their faith doesn’t stand up any more. It’s just question of how honest you can be with yourself.