Wednesday, November 17, 2010


This won't be like my previous posts, but I've thought about writing this for a while now.

Today is exactly one year since I met my future husband in the chat room on Atheist Nexus! This has been the best year of my life. I have never met anyone who inspires me to be more creative and makes me happier. He's also a damn good rational thinker!

There have been quite a few hurdles to get past, the biggest being that we live on different continents, but our relationship itself has always gone strong since the day we met. We are still putting the pieces in place to be able to live together, but things are moving along at a steady pace. Now we just have to figure out how to not cause a family issue when we remind my dad in a few months that we will not welcome guided prayer at our wedding in July.

My motivation to write this was partially to commemorate the day, but also to thank Atheist Nexus for existing. Thank you to everyone who has made that site possible in any way, being it from discussion contribution, donation, and, of course, Brother Richard. Who knows what weirdo I would have ended up with otherwise.

(If you are not a member, there is a link to Atheist Nexus to the right. Join it!)

Monday, July 5, 2010

God's Success Rate, Bible Say Whaaa?, Genesis, Chapters 4-5

This chapter contains all of the begats, though my version of the Bible does not use that word. This is the boring section of the Bible (because all of the other chapters are absolutely riveting), so I will not write a useless and repetitive rant on how ridiculous the names are, how asinine it is to calculate the age of the earth based on this chapter, or how the hell Eve lived with herself after banging her son (because according to the way in which the story is told, Cain had his children before any daughters of Adam and Eve's are listed). Instead, I am going to calculate god's success rate.

I am going to assume that all of the information in the Bible is accurate and to be taken as literally as is possible, which is the same perspective from which I've been deconstructing the Bible since the beginning. Based on this information, I will calculate just how often god gets something right, and I will be as generous in god's favor as it seems fair to be. Keep in mind that these calculations are just as ridiculous as it is to take this story literally (or figuratively, for that matter).

God's Success Rate:

Second & third generations: The lowest number of children that can be attributed to Adam and Eve is seven (Cain, Abel, Seth, plus sons and daughters). Cain has one named child (Enoch), Abel has zero, and the lowest number that can be attributed to Seth is five (Enosh, s&d). Thus, our average for number of children per child of Adam and Eve is two. That is then seven by two, which is fourteen.

Fourth generation: The lowest number of children that can be attributed to Enoch is one (Irad) and to Enosh is five (Kenan, s&d). Our average is then three. Three by fourteen is 42.

Fifth generation: The lowest number of children that can be attributed to Irad is one (Mehujael) and to Kenan is five (Mahalalel, s&d). Our average is then three. Three by 42 is 126.

Sixth generation: The lowest number of children that can be attributed to Mehujael is one (Methushael) and to Mahalalel is five (Jared, s&d). Our average is then three. Three by 126 is 378.

Seventh generation: The lowest number of children that can be attributed to Methushael is one (Lamech) and to Jared is five (Enoch, s&d). Our average is then three. Three by 378 is 1,134.

Eighth generation: The lowest number of children that can be attributed to Lamech is four (Jabal, Jubal, Tubal-Cain, and Naamah) and to Enoch is five (Methusaleh, s&d). Our average is then 4.5. 4.5 by 1,134 is 5,103.

Ninth generation: The lowest number of children that can be attributed to Jabal is incalculable (he is the father of those who live in tents and raise livestock), but for the sake of being as generous as possible, let's call it one son. The lowest number of children that can be attributed to Jubal is also incalculable (he is the father of all those who play harp and flute), so let's also call this one son. No children are attributed to Tubal-Cain or Naamah. The lowest number of children that can be attributed to Methusaleh is five (Lamech, s&d). Our average is then 1.4. 1.4 by 5,103 is 7,144.2.

Tenth generation: Again, for the sake of generosity, let's attribute one son each the one child attributed each to Jabal and Jubal. The lowest number of children that can be attributed to Lamech is five (Noah, s&d). Our average is then 2.33. 2.33 by 7,144.2 is 16,669.8.

Eleventh generation: Let's continue to attribute one son each to the lines of Jabal and Jubal. We can attribute three children to Noah (Shem, Ham, and Japheth). Our average then is 1.67. 1.67 by 16,669.8 is 27,783.

Noah then has children, but as they are only allowed on the ark as part of Noah's contract with god, we cannot conclude whether they are good, only that they are related to Noah. We can, however, conclude that all of the other eleventh generation children are not good, as god did not single any of them out as good. We can also assume that most if not all of the tenth generation have had their children by the time of the flood, as the flood is 600 years after Noah's birth.

This means that out of all of the 27,783 people that we have estimated to be in existence (and estimated with generous numbers, I might add), god realizes that only one is good. This means that god's success rate in creating good is 1/27,783, or .000036%. And he doesn't even realize this until 1,656 years later (as calculated by the number of years listed from creation until flood. I thought about calculating some kind of rate of good over a period of time. I decided against it because I'm not that masochistic.).

Okay, now I know what you must be thinking by now. You must be thinking, "Well, this is all well and good, but god didn't care about whether the women were good or bad. You shouldn't be including them into your calculations." And you know what? You're right. Back in the day, god really didn't seem to care about the ladies' behavior (unless they're particularly bad, like Eve). Let's calculate god's success rate without including the women.

I won't bore you with more calculations. I'll just tell you that I calculated what percentage of people we can "reasonably" assume are women based on what percentage of women were listed in each generation of children. The number of women calculated per each generation is 30%, a laughably low percentage. Of course it is ridiculous to assume that only 30% of people were women, as it is likely that there were many more women that just were not mentioned. I would add in my defense, though, that this entire exercise has been ridiculous, so why not add to it?

If we subtract 30% of the population from 27,783, we get 19,448. If we calculate god's success rate as being 1/19,448, then god is successful in creating something good about .0000514% of the time.

We all know what happens next. God kills everyone but Noah and his family but swears he will never send a flood again. He doesn't, however, seem to correct his abysmally low success rate.

So, let's calculate what percentage of the people on earth today would be viewed as good in this god's eyes. According to the World Population Clock, as of the time I am writing this, it is approximated that there are 7,024,127,900 people living. This time we count the women, because apparently god does care about them now. If god's success rate is still the same, then only 361,040 people living today are good. I guess the Jehovah's Witnesses got it slightly wrong.

But holy crap! Only 361,040 people are good enough to not warrant being wiped out by a flood? That's a scary world we live in, right? Good thing this is all just make believe. If god can't even do better than chance, by admission of the people who believe in him, why is he even worth praising if you do assume that he's real?

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Genesis, Chapter 4 Say Whaaa?

There are absolutely no excuses for this chapter. No matter how many times I think about, I can't imagine how someone could read it and think that it is literally true, and furthermore, think of it as something to cherish and praise.

Chapter 4 tells the story of Cain and Abel. There is nothing in here that I had not read as a Christian, but my perspective has clearly changed dramatically. This seems to be a terrible, nonsensical story, but for some reason, I just lapped it up when I was younger. I bought that this all made sense and was fair and just, as god always is. As always, I'm not going to blame myself too much, as I was young and impressionable and because it is my prerogative to shift blame. However, I think I am warranted. How could any adult buy this?

So first we're not supposed to question that there is something inherently sinful or even less good about offering fruit rather than meat as a sacrifice to a god? I remember not seeing anything wrong with this when I was younger. Well, of course god would prefer lamb to squash, because... well... lamb is... I mean, vegetables are just.... Just shut up and stop asking questions, okay? If god prefers it, then that means it's better.

Now, I'm no vegetarian, but I like to munch on a salad often enough. And hey- what would I do without cauliflower and carrots? I would not be anywhere near the first person to say this, but it seems like the god of the Bible has a serious fetish for meat. My translation specifically refers to the "fat portions" that Abel offered. Maybe this was god's way of saying he prefers his ladies curvy.

So Cain kills Abel, god gets mad, he gets all parent stylie again. By this point, it really seems that god needs a lesson on how to punish. He bans Cain from where he is currently living, sure. Then he places a mark on Cain's head so that no one who meets Cain outside of Eden will kill him, else they "suffer vengeance seven times over."

Two issues here:
1. What the fuck? Cain commits fratricide and then the worst thing that happens to him is that he has to leave his parents' land?

2. Who could Cain possibly meet other than his parents? This is actually a huge, glaring error that renders the Genesis account entirely unreliable as a literal story. I know that. I think you probably know that. HOW THE HELL DO THESE LITERAL BIBLE BELIEVERS NOT KNOW THAT? Sorry for being reduced to all caps for a second, but seriously? It's not a very talked about issue, but whenever it came up, the Christians I was surrounded with just assumed that Adam and Eve must have had an unnamed daughter or that one of the sons impregnated Eve. Gross, I know, but that's what these literalists have to believe. But even if that is the case, there is still no one outside of Cain's own family in existence. Unless a significant chunk of time has gone by that god never inspired anyone to write about, any offspring that could have come from the original man and woman would be close enough in age to Cain? He would know and recognize them, right? You have to do a serious backward bend of apologetics to make anything here fit.

Given this information, it seems barely worth mentioning that one of Cain's great great great grandkids, Lamech, claims that because Cain had a protective mark on him, he too will have a protective mark. You see, he's also killed someone. But just like great great great grandpa, anyone who retaliates will suffer, this time sevenfold. Great precedent you set there, god.

This project is making my head spin and it has barely begun.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Genesis, Chapter 3 Say Whaaa?

Genesis, Chapter 3 Say Whaaa?

Where to start?

Okay, the Lord commands them not to eat the fruit of the tree (singular) that is in the middle of the garden, according to the woman. But in the previous chapter, there are two special trees (Plural. See? All we need is a basic understanding of grammar to spot inconsistencies. Unless god cared just enough about one of the trees to inspire its mention, but not enough to proscribe against partaking of it. Right.).

Okay, so the serpent tricks her, blah, she gives it to her husband and thereby subjects most future generations of women to lives as second class citizens, blah blah, and then they realize they've been walking around naked this entire time and sew fashionable fig leaf panties. Figs were totally in that season. And then Heidi Klum walked by and said, "This is so poorly constructed that I could have sewn it! Oh, and Eve- your girly bits are showing." God (who has to call to them to find them- what's that about?) was also mad about their new clothes because everyone knows that God hates figs. But I want to know how they learned to sew. Is this just a priori knowledge? Oh and- eep! A man sewing in the Bible. All I have to say is FIERCE.

So god gets a bit holier-than-thou and doles out punishments. For my response to god's punishment of the serpent and the woman (who, by the way, still does not have a name), I refer you to Ricky Gervais, as he says it better than I could. But his punishment for the man raises some questions, I think. Verses 17 and 18 read:

"To Adam he said, 'Because you listened to your wife and ate from the tree about which I commanded you, "You must not eat of it," cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil you will eat of it all the days of your life. It will produce thorns and thistles for you, and you will eat the plants of the field.'"

Okay. I am a bit confused as to how to approach this. Since I am coming at this from the perspective of once having taken it literally (though I was young and indoctrinated, so I don't necessarily feel guilty about it), I am trying to deconstruct it from that angle. If I was taking the Bible literally, then I might be confused that god is just now getting around to creating plants with thorns and thistles. I am going to try to wrap my head around what sort of apologies one might give for this bit. Bear with me.

1. The thorns and thistles are already there, but Adam's punishment is to work with these plants, whereas before he was only going to be working with nice, non-prickly plants. This begs the question- what were these plants? Is he still tilling them in addition to the nasty, pointy plants?

2. This is a non-punishment, and again, see the Ricky Gervais style response.

3. The thorny plants had the potential to grow, and because god is mad, he's setting them on turbo.

4. The thorns and thistles might not have bothered Adam before.

5. God didn't actually create the everything in six days. He left these for a couple of weeks later.

I don't think I have to go into how ridiculous any of these arguments are. Furthermore, it is entirely possible that anyone reading this could come up with more inane (or maybe less inane, if that's even possible) apologetics, so feel free to share.

So finally, Eve gets her name. From Adam. Thank goodness for Adam, for what would we women do without these men around to name us? And then God stitched up some clothing made from animal skin for them, because he really, truly, and utterly despises figs.

Monday, June 28, 2010

I Am Here!

I will be continuing this blog. Absolutely. I am just currently swamped with the responsibilities of being a bride who is moving 4,000 miles away.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Genesis, Chapter 2 Say Whaaa?

Genesis, Chapter 2

Verses 2-3: I've just realized how funny the account of the seventh day in the Creation Story is. If you don't believe it's inspired by a god, as is my perspective, then maybe you imagine what I do: This poor guy has been tilling his fields all week. He's working for his dick of a brother-in-law. The only respite in his week is when he gets to work on his book! I mean, seriously, barely anyone can read these days, but this one is going to be a bestseller, he knows it. Granted, the royalties won't really compile until thousands of years later, sure. But his great-great-great-grandchildren are set, right? (Maybe I will have to flesh this out more. Right now I'm envisioning a class action lawsuit filed against god for plagiarism.)

Anyway, it's Friday night and ol' Mahalalel has been work this poor SOB like a dog. He's got blisters, callouses, funky feet, the whole nine yards. He kneels and gets ready to put a few pages down on papyrus before hitting the hay. He thinks, "Hmm, let's see, where did I leave off? Oh yes, God created the heavens and the earth and blah, blah, blah, it was pretty good. What did I have in my notes for the seventh day? Oh yes, next God needs to create the place for all the sinners to end up in. Let's see, what was my working title for this place? Oh yeah, 'Satan's Six Flags Over Tigris and Trade Show Emporium'? Nah, fuck it, let's leave that for another chapter. Ol' Mahalalel thinks he can push me around and make me work Saturdays, huh? Well not for long, buddy." He writes, " '...And God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested....' And then I'll stick something in later on that refers back to this! That might fit in with that thing I'm planning by the mountain...."

Now, what if you do believe this is inspired by god and to be taken literally? Do literalists really believe that god couldn't handle a seventh day of work? I guess God is omnipotent, but he sure is a lazy fucker too, isn't he? He couldn't have come up with one more thing? One more cool little thing, right? Like maybe some automatic glitch repairs that would have covered plate shifting and plagues?

Verses 4-25: Ah, and here's the random and ridiculous retelling of the Creation Story which somehow made it past the editors. Somehow, during all of my time as a literalist Christian, I never knew that there were two creation stories told within the first breath of the Bible. I wonder how this is explained away?

Then we have what I always imagined to be the scene in which Adam stands in the middle of a humongous horde of animals and names them. When I was younger, I imagined lions, elephants, ants, dogs. I assumed that they all must have been temporarily infused with god's peace so that Adam could graciously bestow names like platypus and wombat upon them. Now that I have a better understanding of the vast array of species on the planet (and let's all keep in mind that this scene is pre-flood, okay?), I guess I should have imagined that somehow all of the underwater animals swam up the rivers just to meet Adam, every insect swarmed around him, and one of each "kind" of bird flew by to say hello.

Then, after Adam has named each and every animal ever to be in existence because evolution from "kind" to "kind" is impossible, god realizes that Adam still doesn't have a suitable partner. Oh really, god? You thought a fucking armadillo might have been helpful? Did you imagine we might have wanted to mate with the three-toed sloth? I mean, sure, it's not all that different from a couple of my ex-boyfriends, but really? Three toes? That's gross.

So now we get to the so supremely misogynistic part of the Creation Story that I'm not going to even comment on it because if I said everything I could and want to say about it, I'd be on this chapter for days. To be brief: Sleep, ribs, naked lady. Not that in that order, but it might as well have been a night at Pumps (I refuse to link to a strip club in my blog. If you want to know where it is, search for yourself, perv).

Random Notes:

1. Still no firmament. Is that not in here? Or maybe it's not in this translation? Hmm.

2. I don't have a second random note but I vaguely remember being taught that there's no point in putting a number one next to something if there's not a number two.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Genesis, Chapter 1 Say Whaaa?

For the time being, I plan to structure this project by creating a post for each chapter of each book. That may come to be incredibly tedious, but for now, this is how I'm rolling. To clarify: I grew up reading and being taught the Bible literally. This is the perspective from which I am coming, so my focus will mostly be on what my understanding of the Fundamentalist Evangelical interpretation of the Bible is. Onward!

Genesis, Chapter 1:

Verses 3-5, 14-19: The first set of verses contains the command, "Let there be light, mofos," [CLIT*]. This is the account of the first day. But! The second set of verses tells the creation of the stars, sun, and moon. This is the fourth day. So where the hell is the light from the first day coming from? Was this some sort of clap on, clap off system (Thank you, Mr. Deity)? Is this supposed to be a metaphor for something else? That can't be right, because when it comes to the creation story, there is one simple rule to follow when you are a Fundamental Evangelical: THERE ARE ABSOLUTELY NO METAPHORS OR SYMBOLIC PASSAGES.

Verse 27: "So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them," [NIV]. Okay... are we talking physical image? Even though Christians love their physical representations of god, I'm pretty sure most of them would say, if asked, "No, I don't believe God has a recognizable physical appearance." So what is this verse interpreted to mean? Is the Bible referring to a psychological or mental image? I can't imagine that's so, as god takes great pains in upcoming chapters to distinguish man from god. Perhaps an emotional image? That's probably not what is interpreted, but humans often seem to display a similar irrationality to what seems very characteristic of this Biblical god. Seems more likely to me that this is the case:

Random Notes:

1. Thus far I see no mention of a firmament. I can't remember, is that a Catholic thing?

2. This is strange, but I seem to be feeling a bit apologetic-y when I read this. I'm not saying I'm feeling in any way inclined to believe it again (I think that is close enough to an impossibility), but that I'm finding myself constantly attempting to assume the best possible interpretations of what I'm reading. I find myself making a lot of excuses, probably because I'm so used to doing so while reading the Bible. This is a little saddening. I thought I was past this. I'm not so much upset over it, though, as I am intrigued. I still feel this irrational pull to defend the Bible, even though I thoroughly disagree with what I know of it. I guess this is how deep the indoctrination can go, right? We'll see how this plays out.

*CLIT- Christy's Lame International Translation

Bible Say Whaaa?

Duh, nuh, nuh, nuuuuhhh! I'm back. I'm so sorry I've been gone so long. I mostly apologize to myself. My life has changed dramatically since I've last posted. I've gotten engaged and I am planning a move to Europe!

I have decided to start a new project and I will be using this blog to assist myself. When I was a Christian, I was assigned various passages of the Bible to read for school (Christian and Catholic), Sunday school classes, sermons, youth groups, etc. I'm sure I attempted to read the Bible for my own spiritual edification many times. However, I am fairly certain I have never read the Bible in its entirety and I know that I have never read it straight through.

I've decided to gain some atheist cred. by reading the Bible straight through, but I want a way to store and compile my responses, thoughts, and notes. That's where the blog comes in. Hopefully actually posting will inspire me to write about other topics again, so here's praying to the FSM that this blog becomes the hotbed of conversation it once was..... yeah.