Friday, May 31, 2013

Genesis 43: Return to Egypt

Today's podcast

Joseph's Brothers Return to Egypt (v. 1-34)

They ran out of the food that they brought back, and Jacob told his sons to go back and get more food, but he still didn't want to send Benjamin. The brothers refuse to go without Benjamin and Jacob complains that they revealed Benjamin's existence at all. They say that had simply answered questions honestly and couldn't have known it would lead to a demand that Benjamin be brought to Egypt. Judah says he will be personally responsible for Benjamin's safety and Jacob finally says okay.

Now Jacob is just whiny. At least he finally came around, although I suppose it took the threat of starvation.

In response to Judah taking responsibility for Benjamin, Guzik says
Judah put his own life on the line as a surety for Benjamin. This is the first good thing we see Judah doing. Previously, he was the one who had proposed the sale of Joseph. He was the one who wronged his daughter-in-law Tamar and had sex with her as a harlot.
Previously, Satan may have directed his attack against Joseph because he believed he was the one who would ultimately bring the Messiah. To this point, God had not revealed which of the 12 it would be.
Satan not only hated the children of Jacob for what they were, but also for what God would make of them. He directs the same kind of hatred against believers today, as Satan considers the destiny God has for His people.

I find the inclusion of Satan here pretty interesting. It is a good demonstration of the mindset at work here, anything good that happens is because of God, anything bad is either man or Satan.

Jacob decides that they should bring double the money required for the grain they want in addition to the money that was mistakenly (as far as they know) put back into their bags the last time. He also had them put together a nice care package as a gift.

This seems prudent at least.

v15 "So the men took this present, and they took double the money with them, and Benjamin."

I just wanted to highlight this verse, as it stuck out to me. Benjamin didn't go with them, they took him, along with the money. He's not part of the party going down to make this transaction, he's part of their baggage. Apparently he's not useful, it seems he won't pull his weight, he's just one more thing the useful guys have to keep track of. This actually makes some sense, as Joseph was pretty worthless when he was Jacob's favorite, Benjamin has apparently taken his place. (or potentially I'm reading to much in to this)

Joseph saw them coming and told his servant to bring them into the house and they could share a meal. His brothers were afraid and talked to the servant and explained what happened to the money. He said they would be fine and got them washed up and ready for the meal. Joseph came out and they bowed, he asked about their father and they said he was fine. When he saw Benjamin he was overcome and had to leave so he could weep and not be seen. He's still not ready to reveal his identity.

They then sat everyone to eat. Joseph at by himself, the Egyptians ate together, and the brothers ate together. Egyptians were not allowed to eat with Hebrews. The brothers were amazed because Benjamin's portions were 5 times what the others got.

I guess the fact that Joseph ate by himself was a hint that he wasn't an Egyptian, although that is something they could only realize in retrospect, he could just as easily have been eccentric or something. 

for the verses of note post

--Prudence--

Genesis 43:11-12 Jacob sends a gift to the person they think they accidentally stole from

"Then their father Israel said to them, 'If it must be so, then do this: take some of the choice fruits of the land in your bags, and carry a present down to the man, a little balm and a little honey, gum, myrrh, pistachio nuts, and almonds.Take double the money with you. Carry back with you the money that was returned in the mouth of your sacks. Perhaps it was an oversight."

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Joseph is like Jesus?

I'm repeatedly amused at how hard the Christian commenters try to shoehorn Jesus into the old testament. Most recently I was reading Genesis 41 and at the end of Guzik's commentary he has a 34 point list of how Joseph and Jesus are similar (it's at the very bottom). I found the list funny, but didn't get into details at the time because it was long and I figured it deserved a post of its own. So here we go. (oh hey, let's keep score. Actual good comparision out of attempts)
1. Was a shepherd
Was Jesus a shepherd? I thought he was a carpenter, or perhaps a "fisher of men". Although Joseph wasn't really a shepherd either, he worked for a family of shepherds but he was given a robe of many colors indicating that he is something of an aristocrat rather than a grunt worker. (0/1)
2. Loved by his father
 Is it really so significant that someone is loved by their father? It's not everyone, some dads are horrible people, but it's not terribly rare either. Also, this is a different use of father, Joseph's actual biological father versus God as Jesus' father. (0/2)
3. Sent unto his brethren
Joseph was sold into slavery. Does this phrase mean something other than what I think it means? (0/3)
4. Hated by his brothers
Joseph was hated by his actual brothers. I suppose Jesus was hated by the people who had him crucified, are those his brothers? Seems like a different use of the word brother doesn't it? (0/4)
5. Prophesied his coming glory
I feel like prophesies were a dime a dozen back then, but whatever, they both made prophesies. (1/5)
6. Rejected by his brothers
This is a repeat of point 4, and again, different use of "brother". (1/6)
7. Endured unjust punishment from his brothers
Unjust punishment seems pretty common in these stories (Noah's ark anyone?) but sure, they both received unjust punishment.  (2/7)
8. Sentenced to the pit
"The pit" for Jesus is hell, "the pit" for Joseph is a well he was thrown in for a few hours? Hell no you aren't getting that point (2/8)
9. Delivered to the pit, though a leader knew he should go free
Who is the leader for Joseph? Is it his brother Reuben? I went back and looked at the text and he really doesn't seem to be a leader at all, they just seem to be a bunch of brothers. You could make an equally good argument that Judah is the leader. (2/9)
 10. Sold for pieces of silver
Is this really impressive? They were both sold for the currency of the day. If I was trying to argue that two financial transactions happened in the united states, I wouldn't think I would gain my sway by saying "they were both purchased with dollars". (2/10)
 11. Handed over to the Gentiles
Weren't there Jews as well in the crowd that wanted to crucify Jesus? (2/11)
12. Regarded as dead, but raised out of the pit
But this is only similar because of peculiar wording. Jesus actually died and came back to life. Joseph was thrown in the pit, then brought out of the pit and sold into slavery, THEN it was told to his father he was dead. The order of events isn't even right. (2/12)
13. Went to Egypt
Jesus went to a ton of places. But fine, they both went to Egypt (3/13)
14. Made a servant
Jesus wasn't forced into slavery. He offered himself up to serve, but it's totally different. (3/14)
15. Tempted severely, but did not sin
Jesus broke the old laws, isn't that sinning? Except he is God, so by definition he didn't sin. Also, Joseph lied to his brothers. How do they have to define sin so this works? (3/15)
 16. Falsely accused
Fair enough (4/16)
17. Made no defense
Jesus refused to give a defense, Joseph had no opportunity. That's not the same (4/17)
18. Cast into prison, and numbered with sinners and criminals
First of all, you can just say prison. Second, was Jesus in prison? I suppose it's possible that he spent a few minutes in prison before he was crucified, but as I remember the story he got captured and went right to the crucifixion. At any rate, Joseph was in prison for years, it's barely comparable (4/18)
19. Endured unjust punishment from Gentiles 
I'm not giving you points for this and falsely accused. Besides, Jesus was punished by the Jews as well (4/19)
20. Associated with two other criminals; one is pardoned and one is not
Except with Jesus, he was one of the prisoners, with Joseph, we are talking about 2 other people. This is ridiculous! (4/20) Also, this point has a sub-entry
20a. Some associate the butler, with his wine, and the baker with the elements of communion. Along the same lines, some associate the three-day period before their case is resolved with the three days before the resurrection of Jesus. 
Are you fucking kidding me? First of all, make your holy symbols basic food and drink and they will come up everywhere. Secondly, butler=wine? I feel like I should deduct points for this.
21. Showed compassion
Most people do this at some point. But fine. (5/21)
22. Brought a message of deliverance in prison
Does this mean they were eventually let out of prison? If so, the prison for Jesus must be hell, in which case the comparison is quite a stretch. (5/22)
23. Wanted to be remembered
Yeah, so does everyone else who ever existed. Might as well say they both breathed air (5/23)
24. Shown to have divine wisdom
Joseph was a prophet, he relayed messages from God about people's dreams. Does this translate into divine wisdom? He seemed like an idiot with his family. The only thing I can see with Joseph that we could count as wisdom is storing the grain from the time of plenty, but that is the obvious move given the information. Is this the measure of wisdom now? (5/24)
 25. Recognized as having the Spirit of God
This is based off a comment in chapter 41, I pointed out then why it was a silly conclusion to make. (5/25)
 26. Betrayed by friends
Joseph was betrayed by his brothers. This overlaps again with 4 and 6. (5/26)
27. Glorified after his humility
This is true of anyone in power, or who was martyred, but fine (6/27)
28. Honored among Gentiles while still despised or forgotten by his brethren
Let's think about how this applies to Jesus. There were Jews, some of them rejected Jesus and stayed Jews, others accepted Jesus and became Christians. So all it really says is that some people like him and some don't. Not so impressive put that way is it? (6/28)
29. Given a Gentile bride
What the hell? Jesus wasn't married, in fact he told his disciples to abandon their families. This must be some metaphor nonsense (6/29)
30. Was 30 years old when he began his life’s work
Didn't Jesus talk to some church elders as a child? Maybe that's not actually in the bible, I can't remember. Regardless, we simply don't know what he was doing before 30, perhaps we was growing a following (6/30)
31. Blessed the world with bread
Refer to my point on 20a (6/31)
32. Became the only source of bread for the world
Again with the fucking bread! First off, there was a shortage and Joseph had a healthy supply, doesn't mean it was all of the bread in the world. Secondly, the "bread of Jesus" is a fundamentally different thing. (6/32)
33. The world was instructed to go to him and do whatever he said to do.
Also true of every king, pope, and mob boss. What's your point? And people don't go to Jesus in the same way they went to Joseph. One is a spiritual thing and one is real. We are comparing apples and oranges here. (6/33)
34. Was given the name “God Speaks and He Lives.”
I don't even understand what this means. And I'm tired of this stupid list.

Well, that's it. I thought it would be more fun, but it's so bad I just wound up getting kinda irritated. Let's gather the items which I gave him points for
5. Prophesied his coming glory
7. Endured unjust punishment from his brothers
13. Went to Egypt
16. Falsely accused
21. Showed compassion
27. Glorified after his humility
Oh I stand correct. Clearly they are EXACTLY the same! Seriously though, it makes me wonder if these lists are even meant to be read. It's terrible. But perhaps it's just there so people can say "oh yeah, Jesus and Joseph were very similar, I saw a 34 point list about their similarities" and the other person would go "neat" and then repeat it to someone else without ever seeing the list.

In closing, I'm going to make an equally impressive list comparing Joseph and Jesus

  1. Both were born
  2. Both breathed air
  3. Both ate food
  4. Both used words for communication

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Genesis 42: Jacob Has a New Favorite Son

Today's podcast

Joseph's Brothers Go to Egypt (v. 1-38)

Jacob had heard that there was grain for sale in Egypt and he told his sons to go there to get some. He sent 10 of them, but kept Benjamin behind because he was afraid he might get hurt.

What about the other 10 that he sent? Apparently with Joseph gone Jacob picked a new favorite. He seems to just be a terrible father.

From Guzik
Famine is not a good thing, but God used it. God can and does use material need and lack in our life to get us to do things we normally would never do. Normally, the brothers would never go to Egypt. But need drove them to Egypt.
We saw this in the reading from last time, that God is the cause of this famine. It appears that he did it to get this particular story to play out in this family. It might seem okay to use need to get people to act a certain way, but what happens when you consider the broader implications of this action? Think about all of the other people who are hurt by this. Certainly many died as well, collateral damage doesn't seem like it is really considered here.


This is how I picture Joseph (pic source)
As we saw last time, Joseph is in charge of selling the grain and he was the person that his brothers had to deal with to buy grain from Egypt. He recognized them, but they didn't recognize him. He basically harassed them, he called them spies and put them in jail for a few days. They explained their situation, and he said he would believe them if they went back home and brought their last brother here.

It's not completely clear to me if he is messing with them or if he is truly pissed at them and punishing them. I think it is really both, which of course makes it hard to disentangle. He loves his brothers, but they also tried to kill him and sold him into slavery. Mixed emotions I'm sure.

This is interesting, from Guzik
"One is no more": This was a lie, and the brothers knew it. They had every reason to believe Joseph was not dead, but living a horrible life of slavery. Perhaps they had repeated the lie to themselves so often they came to believe it.
He points out that they lied and said that Joseph is dead when really the sold him in to slavery. Perhaps this was part of why Joseph was so pissed, they claimed he was dead.

They didn't realize that Joseph could understand them (there was an interpreter between them) and they said that they really were guilty for what they did to Joseph and they are getting what they deserve. He turned so they couldn't see him an cried.

This is what I mean when I say he seems to really care for them. He is very moved that they still think about him and are ashamed of what they did to him.

Then he said that all of them except one (Simeon) should go home with the grain they came for. When they bring back the last brother they will get Simeon back. He also arranged for their money to be put back in their grain pouches.

I'm not sure I understand this, is he giving them the money so he can accuse them of being thieves later?

When they were travelling back one of the brother found the money in the pouch as they were feeding their donkeys. They freaked out and said "What is this that God has done to us?"

I have 2 comments here, first, why blame this on God? They know they aren't thieves, so there was apparently some kind of mix up. Are they saying that God magicked the money into their bags? Perhaps this was just a figure of speech or something. Like a way to say "this was so unlucky" or something.
Second, why not sent one of the brothers back to give the money back? What a perfect way to prove they aren't spies, "We found this money that should be yours, there was a mix up and we wanted to give it back as soon as discovered the error"

They get home and tell Jacob the whole story, and they discover not just the one bundle of money in one pouch, but all 9 have money in their sack's of grain. Jacob is distraught that another of his sons is dead. He doesn't want to let Benjamin go because he will be forfeiting yet another son.

Wow, Jacob is a really shitty person. He's willing to just give up on Simeon to keep from risking Benjamin. He says if Benjamin dies he won't have any left, I'm guessing that's sons from one particular wife. What about his other sons that are all right in front of him?

Guzik seems to agree with me
Apparently, Jacob didn’t think too much of Simeon. It didn’t matter to him that Simeon spent the rest of his life in an Egyptian jail.
Reuben offers up his 2 sons for Jacob to kill if he fails to bring back Benjamin safe, but Jacob says no because he doesn't want to risk Benjamin's life.

What the hell kind of offer is that? If your son dies feel free to kill your grandson? The fact that he would even offer this to Jacob means he thought it might work, and that Jacob is a horrible person. Also, Jacob didn't say how terrible of a thing it was, he just didn't want to risk Benjamin even with this...insurance? I don't know, this whole thing is screwed up.

Also, how would Reuben's sons feel about having their lives offered up as collateral? I guess we can only hope they were not privy to this particular conversation. [thanks Ahab for pointing this out] 

for the verses of note post

--Family--

Genesis 42:4,38 Jacob is still playing favorites among his children

"But Jacob did not send Benjamin, Joseph's brother, with his brothers, for he feared that harm might happen to him...But he said, "My son shall not go down with you, for his brother is dead, and he is the only one left. If harm should happen to him on the journey that you are to make, you would bring down my gray hairs with sorrow to Sheol."

Genesis 42:37 Reuben offered his sons lives up for collateral

"Then Reuben said to his father, 'Kill my two sons if I do not bring him back to you. Put him in my hands, and I will bring him back to you.'"

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Why Do We Keep Repeating Ourselves?

Saying 'what kind of idiot doesn't know about the Yellowstone supervolcano' is so much more boring that telling someone about the Yellowstone supervolcano for the first time
XKCD
Most importantly was the hover-over text
Saying 'what kind of idiot doesn't know about the Yellowstone supervolcano' is so much more boring that telling someone about the Yellowstone supervolcano for the first time
I've only been blogging about religion for a little over a year, and I already feel like I've seen everything. I've seen every apologetic and argued for why they fail, I've looked into why many religious people don't believe in evolution, I've posted about direct arguments against religion and answered the religious people's criticism of these arguments, and I've talked about a whole host of related things. Any atheist blogger who has been blogging for any reasonable period of time will be in the same position. It's easy to get into the mindset of "I've said this all before, everyone should know this, why am I repeating myself?" But I think this is a bad state of mind to get stuck in. You never know if someone reading your post on the Euthyphro dilemma is seeing it for the first time.

I do believe that most of my readers are other atheists, but you never know who is reading. I like to try to imagine I am writing to myself when I was a Christian. This could be either when I was fully buying into everything, or when I was asking questions and looking for answers. If the internet had been as pervasive as it is now when I was going through this process, I could totally imagine myself looking for answers on the internet. I see search terms hitting my blog all the time that could easily be people in this position. Whenever I have trouble with motivation, I focus on writing to them.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Genesis 41: Let a Slave Run the Country

Today's podcast

Joseph Interprets Pharaoh's Dreams (v. 1-36)

The Pharaoh has a few dreams and nobody is able to interpret them for him.

The very fact that no one is able to interpret these dreams is pretty suspect alone. Even if you buy into everything else, that God is talking to Joseph and everything, I find it pretty hard to believe there isn't one scam artist seer who will make up some stuff to tell the Pharaoh.

His cupbearer remembers his time in prison and suggests that Pharaoh have Joseph interpret his dream. Joseph says the dreams mean there will be 7 years of plenty followed by 7 years of famine. He suggests that the government should collect a portion of everyone's grain during the good 7 years so no one will starve during the 7 bad years.

That's a pretty good suggestion! Setting aside resources in times of plenty for upcoming times of scarcity. In fact, this would be a smart thing to do even if they didn't know that famine was coming.

Guzik points out that Joseph here gives credit to God. He could have very easily taken credit for the reading, and yet he says that God is the source of the reading. At first I wasn't sure if this should count as humility as he was setting himself up as a prophet, but a subsequent reading makes me lean toward agreeing with Guzik. Pharaoh was already seeing value in Joseph's ability, so the appeal to God wasn't necessary to make him an asset. I think it does come off as humble.

Something noticed when reading for the podcast, verse 32 says "And the doubling of Pharaoh's dream means that the thing is fixed by God, and God will shortly bring it about." It doesn't say why God does this, just that he does. The pain and suffering caused by the famine are completely on God here. It makes me think of the problem of evil.

Joseph Rises to Power (v. 37-57)

The Pharaoh was pleased with Joseph and put him in power, he was second only to Pharaoh in Egypt.

What? He was a slave in prison, then he interprets a dream and becomes the second most powerful man in the country? Seriously?


Tried some coloring, I think it went well. (Comic Archive)
v.38 "And Pharaoh said to his servants, "Can we find a man like this, in whom is the Spirit of God?""
Guzik says "This is the first mention in the Bible of the Holy Spirit coming upon a man. Pharoah saw that Joseph was fileld with the Spirit of God."
This seems like a pretty dishonest reading to me, it seems like he's just zeroing in on that word and projecting the trinity on it whenever he can. We've seen him do it with Jesus, now he's doing it with the holy spirit. Plus, I thought the whole in in Acts 10 was the first time the holy spirit was given to people. Wasn't that supposed to be some big changeover?

Pharaoh put Joseph in charge of storing up grains, so he went all around Egypt and collected grains for storage during the time of plenty. When the famine came people complained to Pharaoh that they were hungry and he sent them to Joseph. Not only those in Egypt, but even people outside of Egypt came to Joseph to buy grain.

They had to buy the grain? If he collected the grain from them in the bad time, shouldn't he give it back in the good times? Did he buy it from them in the first place? It doesn't seem to indicate this at all. 

Guzik ends his commentary with a 34 point list comparing Joseph and Jesus. It's pretty ridiculous, but also pretty long, perhaps I'll look into them more closely and make it a post of its own.

for the verses of note post

--Greed--

Genesis 41:56 Joseph sells the people's grain back to them

"So when the famine had spread over all the land, Joseph opened all the storehouses and sold to the Egyptians, for the famine was severe in the land of Egypt."

--Humility--

Genesis 41:15-16 Joseph gives credit to God, rather than taking the credit himself

"And Pharaoh said to Joseph, 'I have had a dream, and there is no one who can interpret it. I have heard it said of you that when you hear a dream you can interpret it.' Joseph answered Pharaoh, 'It is not in me; God will give Pharaoh a favorable answer.'"

--Prudence--

Genesis 41:35-36 Joseph suggests saving in the good times to survive the bad times

"And let them gather all the food of these good years that are coming and store up grain under the authority of Pharaoh for food in the cities, and let them keep it. 36 That food shall be a reserve for the land against the seven years of famine that are to occur in the land of Egypt, so that the land may not perish through the famine."

Friday, May 24, 2013

Genesis 40: Joseph Interprets Some Dreams

Today's podcast

Joseph Interprets Two Prisoners' Dreams (v. 1-23)

2 servants of the king of Egypt (a cupbearer and a baker) were thrown in the same jail as Joseph. They both had dreams and were distraught that there was no one there to interpret them, and Joseph said "Do not interpretations belong to God? Please tell them to me."

I found this statement hilarious, "Do not interpretations belong to God" sounds like he is saying that no person can interpret dreams as it is God's domain, but then he immediately says he will interpret them. So I guess the statement is that he has a direct line to God, or that talking to him is as good as talking to God. Such arrogance! (although I suppose it is justified as God seems to be making sure everything he touches turns to gold)
This is somebody's job?


Anyway, Joseph listens to the cupbearer's dream first and tells him that it means in 3 days the Pharaoh will come get him out of jail and he will get his job back. The baker hears the good interpretation and tell Joseph his dream as well. Joseph tells him that he will be killed in 3 days. Both of these interpretations come true, but the cupbearer forgets about Joseph when he gets back to his job.

Why would the cupbearer forget about Joseph so fast? If he was so desperate to get his dreams interpreted, and then Joseph interpreted it perfectly, you would think it would leave an impression.

From Guzik
Here Joseph is wronged again. He thought that butler’s kindness might mean his release from prison, but it was not to be. God had another purpose.
I find this very interesting. By saying God had another purpose, is Guzik saying that God caused the cupbearer to forget? How does this mesh with the whole free will thing?

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Five Reasons Christian Parents “Lose” Their Children

While reading reddit recently, I stumbled upon an article about parents who are afraid their children will leave their faith. It gives 5 mistakes parents commonly make in this regard, let's take a look at the list
source
1) Falling into the temptation of using religion to control their children through guilt and shame.
How do you even have Christianity without guilt and shame? It's a religion built around "you are all so evil you deserve to be tortured for eternity, but God killed his son to give you a loophole out of that fate." It's all about making you feel guilty for the things you've done and shaming you into acting they way they want. The article talks about parents who use God to win conflicts with their children "God wouldn't want you to do that" and "Jesus is watching", I heard these types of things from church. From talking with many Christians, this doesn't seem to be out of the ordinary. Telling parents not to use these same methods seems a bit disingenuous.
2) The parents seem to be afraid of the world, instead of empowered to live in it.
Many Christians talk about the world as if it is an evil, malevolent, dangerous place and should be avoided as much as possible. Again, I personally got this type of attitude from my parents, but equally as much from my church. They were always talking about how bad the outside world was. Granted, I think it was a mistake for my parents to have that perspective, but it came directly from the church. Something I found interesting is why this is supposedly bad, the article says:
"If a parent lives in fear of the world, the children will pick up on that and will naturally seek alternative beliefs."
I think that is the wrong reason this is a problem. What happened for me is my family was always terrified of the things out in the world, therefore I was scared of them as well. When I was forced to go out into the world I realized just how wrong they were, it made me question everything else they had told me.
3) The children do not see the parents drawing any joy from their faith.
My parents tried pretty hard on this count, but church sucks. I hated going, and even though they tried putting a good face forward, I could tell that most of the time they dreaded church as much as I did. It's not their fault that church sucks.
4) The children are discouraged from finding answers to their questions.
 Not only discouraged, but yelled at for asking sensitive questions. I learned very early on to keep my questions to myself. One thing I found really funny here was this line
No one needs to have all the answers. Children will not only respect a “I don’t know, let’s find out together,” they will remember such journey’s for the rest of their lives.
 I love this attitude, but it seems to be the opposite attitude I see in most Christians. They don't look for answers, they have all of the answers already. If you challenge any of their answers they will simply cite faith.
5) The children believe they have nothing to offer the Christian community.
This last item is saying that parents should lead by example and be involved in the church so their children will want to as well. My parents at least did this one right, they were involved in their church, and so was I. I was never worried about not contributing to the church, my question was always "what does the church offer me?"

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Genesis 39: Give the Slaves Control

Today's podcast

Joseph and Potiphar's Wife (v. 1-23)

Recall that in chapter 37 Joseph was sold into slavery. He was taken to Egypt and bought by Potiphar who was captain of the guard under Pharaoh. God was with Joseph and made him successful, even Potiphar recognized God's hand in helping out Joseph. So Potiphar put him in charge of everything in the house, he wasn't concerned about anything going on in he house. The blessing of the lord was on the house for Joseph's sake

I know I've asked this question a bunch of times at this point, but why is God acting this way? Why does he favor Joseph so much, why is he making him successful in everything he does like this? We've seen before that God seems to have poor judgement in the people he favors, and all we know of Joseph is that he is an arrogant jerk with no appreciation for how those around him will react to things. Perhaps God sees greatness in him and it will come out eventually...we will see.

Interesting point from Guzik, Joseph getting put in charge of the house took 11 years. This is apparently made clear in an upcoming chapter

Joseph was attractive, and Potiphar's wife wanted him to have sex with her, but he refused saying that Potiphar had been good to him and doing so would also disrespect God.

This is good, finally Joseph is showing some good judgement.

One day, Joseph came into the house and everyone was gone except Potiphar's wife. She grabbed his clothes and insisted he be with her, so he ran, leaving his clothes with her in the process. So she told everyone that he had tried to force himself on her, but he ran when she screamed. Potiphar believed her and threw Joseph in jail.

What a ridiculous story. If he tried to rape her, wouldn't she be the one who winds up naked? I guess the husband really had no choice but to believe her story, why trust a slave above your wife? But still,  her explanation is terrible.
My comic archive

God gave Joseph favor in the eyes of the jailer, and he was put in charge of all the prisoners. The warden paid no attention to anything that Joseph was doing, or what was going on under his watch.

What the hell? Was it common practice at for prisoners to be in charge of other prisoners? This is just stupid?

From Guzik
As it was in the house of Potiphar, Joseph rose to the top, becoming the chief administrator of the prison. Through his experience in both places, God sharpened the administrative skills Joseph needed to one day save his family and save the whole world.
He's giving him administrative duties so he can use them to save his family, and the world, later? How the hell is that going to play out?

for the verses of note post

--Marriage--

Genesis 39:7-8 Potiphar's wife wants Joseph to sleep with her, but he refuses

"And after a time his master's wife cast her eyes on Joseph and said, "Lie with me." But he refused..."

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Apologists Attempt to Answer the Euthyphro Dilemma

Jesus and Mo
I've written about the Euthyphro dilemma in the past and I assume most of my readers are familiar with it, but let's do a quick reminder anyway. Christians say that God is the source of our morality, God says that X is moral and therefore it is. The Euthyphro dilemma asks what really makes X moral and claims there are only 2 possibilities

  1. X is moral because God said so
  2. God said X is moral because there X is inherently moral independent of God
Both of these options pose problems for Christians. If 1 is true then anything could potentially be moral if God had said so. If 2 is true then we don't need God for our morality, we can bypass him and use whatever source he is using, God becomes and unimportant middleman. 

It seems like a big problem to me, I'm always interested in how Christians will answer this challenge. I have recently seen this come up on two separate apologetics blogs (The Christian Apologetic Alliance and Tough Questions Answered), and their solutions were pretty much the same. On the CAA blog, he says
There is, however, a third option available to us. We could take the position that God’s moral commandments flow from his nature. For example, God is loving (Psalm 86.15) and as such he orders us to love others (Luke 10.27), lying is wrong because God does not lie (Titus 1:2) and so on. This means that God’s perfect nature is the standard for value.
And on TQA he says
in some important sense we wish to argue that God just is the ultimate Good.
As I read it, this is just option 1 in the Euthyphro dilemma. I brought this up and it was said that it's not like God is just randomly deciding X is bad, instead it is part of his nature. Of course then I would ask what would it be like if God's nature had been the opposite. What if God's nature said rape was moral? They say it couldn't be that way (option 2 of the dilemma).

They tried to get out of this by saying God is perfect goodness, but also say that God is the source of goodness. Putting these 2 statements together says literally nothing. If God's nature is the definition of good, then by that very same definition God is the ultimate goodness. Literally regardless of what is in God's nature. Of course the word "good" comes with a lot of baggage so it isn't completely obvious how circular this is. To demonstrate this I made up a word without such baggage and made the parallel argument about myself:

Hausdorffness is all of the things that are in my personal nature to do. While all of you reading this probably have some level of Hausdorffness, I am the unique person who attains perfect Hausdorffness. This is meaningless, as is the way he tried to define goodness. Perhaps it's because of how silly this sounds, but I did not get an answer.

I also asked what would happen if the devil goes an creates his own universe, would his nature then be good for those people? He said no, it is not just because God is the creator, it's because he is the perfection of goodness. But again, he's using a circular definition, and trying to sidestep this whole dilemma. Another person commenting (Andrew) picked up on this thread and managed to get TQA to say that
According to Christian metaphysics, God must exist in all possible worlds, just as rape is wrong in all possible worlds. So when you say that we should consider a world where God does not exist, that simply makes no sense.
What a completely dishonest answer. Starting with "According to Christian metaphysics" shows just how dishonest the apologist is being here. He's admitting that he is starting with the conclusion he wants and going from there. It's ludicrous to say you are seeking truth and then having your first step be assuming the conclusion you want. (of course, this is what apologists do all the time, it's just usually not so obvious). Andrew then pointed out that if he is assuming the Christian God exists in all possible worlds he is abusing the term "all possible worlds" a bit. He pointed out that Muslim could claim the same thing about Allah, of course no response was given.

I came into those conversations in good faith. I couldn't see how they could get out of the dilemma, but I was interested to see what they could come up with. I thought their answers were poor, but I didn't just run off and say they had no answer, I asked further questions and allowed them to fix any potential misunderstandings I had or fix any points that they thought weren't getting through to me. They were completely unable to do this. They have no answer to the Euthyphro dilemma. If there is a Christian out there who thinks I've missed something, please speak up. I would love to see how you solve this dilemma, but every answer I have ever seen reformulates things and then falls right back into one of the two options.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Everybody Draw Mohammad day

More of my comics
Today is everybody draw Mohammed day. Apparently this started because a south park episode had a depiction of Mohammad on it, and it got pulled because some people say that depictions of Muhammad are sacred and therefore they were offended. Death threats were thrown around, and someone made the declaration that if everyone drew Mohammad they couldn't kill all of us. (At least that seems to be the picture I get from reading a few wikipedia articles, it is pretty damn likely that I have some details wrong)

What is the point?

As I said above, it is somewhat of a protest against censorship. People got offended and then complained and some art (well south park, let's say "art") got censored. That is bullshit. You don't have the right to not be offended, in fact free speech is sort of the opposite idea. People have the right to say whatever they want, the only speech that needs to be protected is speech that will offend someone.

Why draw these pictures?

Some people are offended by there simply being a drawing of Mohammad, this seems a bit silly to me but I can't tell someone to not be offended. If they want to boycott South Park then more power to them, if they don't want to be offended and they avoid things that are likely to offend them I think they are acting in a prudent fashion. But once they restrict other people's actions based on their being offended we have a problem. That is really what is at issue here, they are trying to control other people's action based on them being offended (the fact that they use death threats doesn't help either)

What should we put in these drawing?

I suppose this is a question that each person participating needs to answer for themselves. There's no right answer, but of course I have my thoughts on it. By simply drawing Mohammad, even if he is doing nothing but standing and waving is going to be offensive. Does that mean it is game on? If they are offended anyway then why not go full speed ahead and simply draw the most offensive thing you can think of? Many people go this route and we see drawings of Mohammad fucking Jesus in the ass and stuff like that. I'm personally not a huge fan of this direction, it seems childish and very dickish to me.

Am I really in a position to get all high and mighty though? My comic has Mohammad talking about having sex with a 9 year old! Well, the difference is that this really happened in scripture (at least if wikipedia is to be believed). The same is true for the rest of my comics, it might say some snarky thing, or have a bible in the trash or something, but it's all based on ridiculous stuff I have actually read in the scripture. I hope it is funny, but I always want it to be based on things that are actually in the holy books. If someone wants to draw a picture of Mohammad eating a pile of cocks that's fine, it just seems like a missed opportunity to me, why not make it funny, offensive AND somewhat accurate?

Friday, May 17, 2013

Genesis 38: Bang Your Brother's Widow

Today's Podcast

Judah and Tamar (v. 1-30)

Judah (one of Jacob's sons) found a Canaanite wife and had 3 sons with her (Er, Onan, and Shelah).

We don't actually learn the wife's name, we learn her father's name though.

From Guzik
Through an ungodly and unwise marriage to a Canaanite woman Judah fathered three sons: Er, Onan, and Shelah. 
It isn’t hard to see the sons of Israel rapidly being corrupted by their Canaanite neighbors, and what the future will bring if they continued in that land. God had a plan to bring them out.
I hadn't really thought much of this, but Guzik has said things along these lines quite a few times. We should remember that god put them in this situation, it is because of him that they have settled here, and if he's omniscient he knew that all of this would happen. 

He gets a wife for Er named Tamar, but God didn't like Er and killed him. So Judah told Onan to bang Er's wife and raise the kids as Er's. Onan didn't like that the kids would not count as his, so he pulled out and didn't make any babies, so God killed Onan too.

Funny thing here, verse 9 is the one where the brother was "spilling his seed", and it is the verse than many have used to say masturbation is a sin. But that isn't what this story is about, it very clear that it is a very different situation. 

verification from Guzik :)
Many Christians have used this passage as a proof-text against masturbation. Indeed, masturbation has been called “onanism.” However, this does not seem to be the case here. Whatever Onan did, he was not masturbating. This was not a sin of masturbation, but a sin of refusing to care for his brother’s widow by giving her offspring, and of a selfish use of sex.
I have another thought here though, God killed Er for being Wicked, and yet he killed Onan for not helping Er produce posthumous children. That doesn't make a hell of a lot of sense! Onan is essentially being punished for not doing a favor for Er, whom God hated.

Judah told Tamar to go live with her father as a widow until Shelah was grown up.

Presumably so he could have kids for his older brother. 

Guzik seems to suggest that Judah simply was afraid his last son would die and that is why he sent Tamar away. This is supported by what happens later in the chapter. Perhaps what was said about him being too young was not true?

In the meantime, Judah's wife dies and he took a trip to Timnah. Tamar saw that Shelah was old enough and she wasn't married to him, which means Judah is dragging his heals. When she heard of his trip she changed out of her widow clothes and covered up her face and also went to Timnah. Judah saw her and thought she was a prostitute and negotiated a business transaction. He said he'd give her a young goat for her services, and she took his signet, cord, and staff as collateral. Of course, later when he tried to find her again to give her the goat and get his stuff back she was gone.

source
Three months later when everyone realized she was pregnant outside of marriage, Judah wanted to burn her at the stake. But she produced the collateral and he realized what had happened. He said that she was more righteous than him since he didn't give her to Shelah.

I guess he thinks that his inaction drove her to doing what she did, and that is why he feels more guilty than her. What would be nice is if this episode demonstrated that burning at the stake is not an appropriate punishment for sex outside of marriage, but that doesn't seem to be the lesson.

From Guzik
When Tamar conceived, it certainly was not intended by Judah, but it was definitely planned by both Tamar and God.
Wait, this was God's plan? Based on what? The fact that he didn't kill everyone? I certainly didn't see any indication that God had consulted with her on this plan.

Tamar was pregnant with twins, and when she was giving birth one baby put out it's arm and the midwife tied a ribbon around it, but it went back inside. Then the other was actually born first. Perez was the one who was actually born first, Zerah was the one with the thread.

I imagine this will cause some problems as pertains to birthrights. The one with the ribbon got declared as older while the other was actually older. Hilarity ensues?

for the verses of note post

--Family--

Genesis 38:8 If your older brother dies before having children, you need to bang his wife

"Then Judah said to Onan, 'Go in to your brother's wife and perform the duty of a brother-in-law to her, and raise up offspring for your brother.'"

--Sexuality and Women--

Genesis 38:24 Death penalty for adultery (for women)

"About three months later Judah was told, 'Tamar your daughter-in-law has been immoral. Moreover, she is pregnant by immorality.' And Judah said, 'Bring her out, and let her be burned.'"

--Violence--

Genesis 38:7-10 God kills people for "being wicked" and for pulling out of his dead brother's wife

Thursday, May 16, 2013

The Danger of Leverage

My nighttime reading is typically sci-fi, but after a recent interview on econtalk I decided to buy a book about the current banking crisis. I'm only about 20% of the way through it so far, and I'm really enjoying it so far. They described leverage in a way that I thought was really clear, and I thought it would be worthwhile to share it here. I've heard a lot about how banks are very leveraged in the past, and it always seemed bad, but something about the way it was described here really resonated with me.
pic source

First let's think about a mortgage, suppose you buy a house that costs $300,000 and you put $30,000 down. If we think about your house as an investment, you paid 10% of the cost of the investment. Assuming the true value of the house is $300,000, you have $30,000 equity and you owe the bank $270,000. You made an investment of $300,000 with just $30,000 of your own money, this is leverage.

The good side of leverage is when the value goes up just a little, your investment goes up a lot. Suppose the value of your house goes up by 10%, it is now worth $330,000, but your loan from the bank doesn't change, you still only owe $270,000, meaning your equity is $60,000. With a 10% increase in real estate prices your piece of the pie doubled. Of course the downside is when there is a decrease in value, the same magnification happens. A mere 5% drop in the value of the house cuts your equity in half. A 10% drop wipes you out, and more than that puts you underwater. If you needed to move, selling your house wouldn't cover your mortgage. Bad times.

Banks work in a similar way, they make investments, and the more leveraged they are, the higher their upside return will be, but it also comes with downside risk. The appropriate thing to do is try to balance this as much as possible, lots of leverage for the good times, but not so much that the bad times wipe you out. Unfortunately, with our history of bailouts, the banks don't seem to care much about downside risk, they get the benefit in the good times, and the taxpayers get the downside when things to poorly. The result is that they try to get as much leverage as possible without much regard for how dangerous the whole thing is. There are regulations about how much leverage they can have, but they manipulate their figured and hide debt to skirt that as much as possible (She mentioned this in the book, but hasn't yet gone into detail about it).

So, let's say for the sake of argument, you want to have 20% equity in your investments. So out of a $100 investment, $20 is your own money (you owe someone $80). Now, the value of that investment goes down by $1, so you have $19 of a $99 investment. If you want to keep that 20% equity, you can sell $4 of the investment and pay some of that loan back and you will then have $19 out of $95. Really not that much of a big deal.

What if instead the bank only has 2% equity in investments, they have $2 out of the $100. Now if the value drops to $99, they only have $1 out of $99. To get back to their 2% equity they have to sell down to $50, so they need to sell off $49 of the total investment, almost half. This is obviously a much less stable situation.

Furthermore, imagine that there are a ton of banks with similar investments to this last example. The price of their assets drop by 1%, pushing them to sell half of those assets. But if a bunch of banks all sell half their assets at the same time, it will cause the value to drop further. This will force more selling, pushing the price down more and so on. You can imagine this would spiral out of control quite quickly. I wish the 2% equity was just an extreme example to illustrate the point, but it seems that many of the big banks have pushed it this far.

Obviously there was much more going on that made the crisis so huge, but Anat Admati writes that this was a huge cause. As I said, I've only read about 20% of the book so far, but she seems to be arguing that if this was fixed, if banks were forced to keep their leverage much lower then a lot of the other problems would fix themselves. Makes sense to me.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Genesis 37: Your Family Annoying? Sell Them!

Today's podcast

Joseph's Dream (v. 1-11)

Joseph was the favorite son of Jacob, he was given a "robe of many colors". His brothers hated him because of the favoritism.

One lesson here seems to be to not have a favorite child, or at least to not make it so obvious to them. You honestly can't blame them for having a serious emotional reaction to their father favoring a sibling. "Why does dad love Joseph so much? What's wrong with me?"

Guzik highlights this fact as well. He doesn't go so far as to say that Jacob shouldn't have done this, but does acknowledge that it was the source of much family conflict. 

He also points out that the robe is not a working man's robe, and that it signifies that he will get the birthright. Perhaps in a society where one son gets the birthright and the other's don't, it is impossible not to show favoritism.

Joseph had a symbolic dream that he would someday rule over his brothers and they would bow down to him. He told them about the dream and they hated him even more.

Okay, now Joseph just seems like an idiot. Granted, he's only 17 years old, but seriously dude, be a little bit more aware of your surroundings. If his brothers already hated him, why tell them about this particular dream. Furthermore, even absent that, don't be such a dick. Nobody is really going to like being told that they will be worshiping you in the future.

Guzik and I are once again on the same page, he points out how stupid Joseph was here, although he says "lack of tact" rather than "stupid"

Joseph had another dream where the sun (his dad), moon, (his mom) and the stars (his brothers) were all bowing down to him. He told his family about it. His father rebuked him for thinking he would rule the rest of them.

Yeah, Joseph just has no judgement here.

And again, me and Guzik have similar comments. If the brothers were upset before, he must really be out of it to tell this second dream. Guzik also points out that this story must be out of sequence from previous stories since Joseph's mother died before. Interesting, I hadn't noticed that.

But me and Guzik don't agree on everything, he says
The idea of the stars, moon, and sun representing the family of Israel is repeated in Revelation 12:1. That passage speaks of Jesus coming from the nation of Israel.
To insert Jesus into this story is completely insane in my opinion. Just because the sun, moon, and stars are used in two stories doesn't mean they have to be directly related. Hell, there aren't even the right number of stars. This story has 11, the revelation story has 12.

Joseph Sold by His Brothers (v. 12-36)

His brothers were out pasturing their flock and Joseph went out to meet them. When they saw him coming, the brothers decided they would kill him. However, Reuben said they should throw him in a pit and not hurt him, intending to come back later and rescue him.

It seems to me that Reuben is the hero of this story so far. 

Interesting, Guzik seems to think Reuben didn't do enough, 
Reuben could have simply rose up and said, “This is wrong! We can’t do this!” He didn’t because he wanted to do right by Joseph without alienating his brothers. His desire to be nice to everyone will fail to prevent a great evil. The good Reuben wanted to do (bring him back to his father) will not happen.
My read was that he was doing as much as he thought he could. If he pushed too hard his brothers would ignore him and kill the brother, he thought this was the best way to keep his brother safe. Honestly, both seem like reasonable interpretations, what do you think makes more sense?

They took Joseph's robe and threw him in a pit, intending to kill him later, but then a caravan of traders came by and they decided to instead sell him into slavery.

I guess this is better than just killing him. 

Guzik points out that the brothers reveled in taking the robe, then he makes an analogy with modern day Christians
Each believer in Jesus Christ is given special assurance of the Father’s favor. Certainly, many spiritual enemies want to rip from the believer the assurance of the Father’s favor.
Oh yeah, us atheists are exactly like Joseph's brothers...

When Reuben saw that Joseph was no longer in the pit he freaked out a bit and went back to the brothers, but then they ripped up the robe, put some animal blood on it, and told their father Joseph was dead. Jacob was inconsolable.

I guess this means Reuben wasn't around when Joseph was sold into slavery.

Still learning gimp, I'm happy with my progress

for the verses of note post

--Awareness--

Genesis 37:5 Joseph tells his brother his dream that was obviously going to piss them off

"Now Joseph had a dream, and when he told it to his brothers they hated him even more."

--Family & Slavery--

Genesis 37:27 Joseph's brothers sold him into slavery

"Come, let us sell him to the Ishmaelites, and let not our hand be upon him, for he is our brother, our own flesh." And his brothers listened to him."

--Favoritism--

Genesis 37:3 Jacob had a favorite son and made this fact obvious

"Now Israel loved Joseph more than any other of his sons, because he was the son of his old age. And he made him a robe of many colors."

--Violence--

Genesis 37:23-24 Joseph's brothers stripped him and threw him in a pit and intended to kill him later

"So when Joseph came to his brothers, they stripped him of his robe, the robe of many colors that he wore. And they took him and threw him into a pit. The pit was empty; there was no water in it."

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

There's No Evidence

Over the weekend I wrote about Richard Dawkins arguing with a creationist. One thing about their discussion that I found interesting was that she kept saying that there is no evidence for evolution. Dawkins kept providing evidence, but it was pretty much just dismissed out of hand. He would give her an example of some evidence for evolution, she would say that evidence is insufficient or invalid. He would then say that there is a ton of evidence out there and she would dismiss that as well.

My first reaction is that this is ludicrous, there is so much evidence out there that it is mind boggling for her to claim there is none. And yet, as I thought about it I realized how similar the things she was saying about evolution are to the things I regularly say about God. I feel like I am constantly saying variations of "I've never seen a shred of decent evidence for God". People will insist there is a ton of evidence out there, and I will say I've seen it and it doesn't hold up. When they give examples I will tell them why it isn't good enough.

To the casual or untrained observer, these two conversations will seem completely analogous. We are both having exactly the same fight over different issues. But the difference is clear when you look at how challenges are handled. If someone provides me with evidence for God, I will actually dig in to what they have to say and explain why I think it is poor. (In the vast majority of cases, the evidence that I am given is the cosmological argument). When Dawkins presented her with evidence she did not address them, she simply denied that the fossils exist and then quickly changed the subject. In fact, at one point in the video he called her on this exact thing and she just did it again. She started talking about something else.


I find it very frustrating, because we both make the claim "there is no evidence for X". In my case, I say this about evidence for God because I have looked for evidence for quite a while, and every time I am given evidence it is garbage. I ask for evidence from Christians whenever it is appropriate and whenever I'm given something I dig into it and try to see what kind of merit it has, there is just never any. In this particular creationist's case, she went as far as to claim there were not fossils of our ancestors in museums! She's either lying or she has only been to really shitty museums.

It honestly makes me wonder if this is done on purpose. Has someone in the creationist camp looked at arguments against them and molded their arguments to mirror them? Perhaps they think that if both sides have similarly structured arguments the average person listening will think they are equally valid. On the other hand, this might just be a natural place that these types of arguments tend to eventually sound.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Genesis 35 & 36: God Saves Jacob From the Consequences of Their Actions

Listen to today's podcast

God Blesses and Renames Jacob (Ch. 35 v. 1-15)

God tells Jacob to return to the place where he had talked to God when he was running from Esau. Jacob told everyone to gather all of the other gods they were all worshiping and he hid them under a tree.

I find this interesting, of all people, Abraham and his descendants should have a firm belief in Yahweh. Why would they be worshiping other gods? Also, why hide them under a tree rather than get rid of them properly?
source

As they were leaving, God sent a great terror to those in the surrounding cities so Jacob and family wouldn't be pursued.

This I find pretty interesting too. Jacob's sons have done something that is very bad in the last chapter, even the Christian commentaries seemed to agree with this. And yet, God still helps them out of the consequences for their actions. Once again I ask, why is this family so favored by God? They repeatedly do terrible things and it seems like they are continually rewarded anyway.

Of course, according to Guzik it would have been fair for God to have left them to the consequences of their actions, but through his grace he saved them. Where was God's grace in yesterday's reading when all of the innocent soldiers of that city were being murdered by Jacob's sons?

God changes Jacob's name to Israel again.

Why did this happen twice?

The Deaths of Rachel and Isaac (Ch 35 v. 16-29)

As they were travelling, Rachel bore Jacob another son but died in labor. When they got to their destination they say Jacob's father Isaac and he died soon after.

From Guzik:
Rachel’s death was in tragic fulfillment of the curse Jacob himself pronounced on the one who stole the idols of Laban
But that was forever ago! She was going to die eventually. If I curse someone and then just wait until they die and claim is was from the curse, does it mean the curse was real?

Esau's Descendants (Ch 36)

We learn that when Jacob comes back into town Esau has to leave because between the two of them, they have too much livestock and stuff for them to share the space. We also get a ton of detail about Esau's family, none of which is interesting.

Guzik points out that apparently Esau getting all bent out of shape about his father's blessing wasn't such a big deal after all.

For the verses of note post:

--Consequences--

Genesis 35:5 God protects Jacob and his family from the consequences of their evil actions

"And as they journeyed, a terror from God fell upon the cities that were around them, so that they did not pursue the sons of Jacob."

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Dawkins Interviews a Creationist

I recently watched a video where Dawkins was interviewed by a Young Earth Creationist, I also asked if anyone was aware of similar videos out there and Christian offered this one where Dawkins interviews the creationist Wendy Wright. It's totally brutal, she keeps claiming that there is no evidence for evolution, and she keeps returning to this idea that evolution leads to terrible societies. Painful to watch, but still 1000 times better than debates. Dialog is much better than two interleaved monologues that are vaguely on the same topic.


I don't know how he kept his cool

As I watched the video, I've kept track of time-stamps of things that I might want to reference later. Who knows, someone else might find them useful as well :)

0:24 RD: Why are you concerned about evolution?

WW: If we believe we have been created with a soul we are more likely to treat each other with respect and dignity.

1:10 WW: the scientific community censors info that goes against evolution. Teach the controversy

2:35 WW: there's no evidence for macro evolution.

wow, 2 minutes in and I already hate this woman. I really don't know how Dawkins keeps his cool so well.

9:30 WW again says that the scientific evidence for evolution is lacking. RD replies that any time you fill a gap creationists say there are now 2 gaps

11:00 RD lays out evolution of man and asks why she doesn't see this as evidence. WW replies that he bears the burden of proof and should provide evidence. Me screaming at my computer "he just did!"

12:11 WW you are still lacking material evidence RD the material evidence is there, go to the museum and look at it!

13:44 RD tries to get her to answer the fact that he has presented evidence. WW says she's not convinced and when RD tries to ask why she accuses him of aggression and censorship.

14:37 RD I am frustrated, not to suppress you, because I've told you about 4-5 fossils and you seem to be ignoring what I'm saying WW claims the fossils aren't there, she's looked. She keeps returning to the idea that the ideologies that come from evolution are destructive

16:30 WW Why are you so aggressive? RD Every time I ask you about these fossils you evade the question

23:00 WW We respect evolutionists, we wish you would respect us as well. RD Don't respect me, just look at the evidence, don't just believe what you have been told, that the evidence doesn't exist

29:43 RD Can you point to any positive evidence for creation?
WW DNA shows we are each individual.
RD We have to be individual for evolution to work
WW I don't think that's the case
RD I'm sorry but it is

30:30 WW Positive mutations can't be built on
RD Do you actually know what Darwin's theory of natural selection is?
WW I think I know enough

33:00 WW handicapped children is evidence against evolution because she has a spirit

39:38 RD you seem to feel persecuted against yet there is overwhelming Christian dominance in the US
WW I was sentenced to 6 months in jail for simply praying across the street from an abortion clinic
RD give me more detail
WW A judge said you can't do certain things within 100ft of the clinic, so 4 of us prayed in that range
RD asks for more detail. WW said that a few of them were quietly praying and got punished, and yet there were hundreds of pro-abortion people screaming with bullhorns and nothing happened to them.
me: this story is bullshit!

46:18 RD says she should look at the facts
WW replies that she think it is demeaning that he is implying that they don't know things
RD I don't want you to believe me, just go look at the facts
WW returns once again to "look at what that philosophy bears out

57:36 RD When I asked you about evidence you said there were no fossil intermediates, and when I told you about fossil intermediates you changed the subject.
WW insists there should be massive evidence from slime to human beings.
RD That sends me close to despair because the evidence is there, he give an example with fish bones becoming the inner ear
WW asks why he doesn't spend his time gathering evidence and making it available
RD I just did that

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Genesis 34: Most of Those Guys Didn't Do Anything Wrong

Listen to today's episode

The Defiling of Dinah (v. 1-31)

Dinah is the daughter of Leah, and she gets raped by Shechem, the prince of the land which the are currently in. He fell in love with her and asked for her to be his wife. He said he would give pay any "bride price" for her. Jacob and his sons weren't really interested in giving Dinah to him since he raped her, but they said that they would give her to him and they would settle in the land if all of the men of the city would become circumcised.

It's always about the cock with these people.

So Hamor (the father of Shechem) figures if he gets all of his people circumcised, Jacob and his people will settle in their land and they can take all of their stuff. But shortly after they were circumcised "when they were sore" two of Jacob's sons killed all of the men in the city and took all of their stuff. Jacob was upset at his sons for what they did because now other people in this region might try to kill them. His sons felt justified because their sister was raped.

Shechem is definitely a piece of shit here, he certainly deserves whatever he gets. His father is also a scheming dirtbag, so fuck him. Still, this seems like quite an overreaction. Kill all the men in the city and steal all of their stuff including their women. Aren't they just committing a worse version of the crime they are all up in arms about? "You had sex with one of our women, we are going to kill all of you and take all of your women"
My comic archive

Wow, I gotta hand it to him, Guzik seems to have a similar take on this chapter as me, a quote
This chapter contains one of the most shameful incidents in Israel’s history.
He goes in to much detail, but basically he talks about how what they did defiled the name of God, defiled the ritual of circumcision, and is a very difficult passage to get much from. If anything it is a story of warning. I'm impressed.

From Jamieson, Fausset & Brown
Hypocrisy and deceit, in all cases vicious, are infinitely more so when accompanied with a show of religion
Agreed!

For the verses of note post

--Deception--

Genesis 34:13-15 Jacob's sons tricked people into getting circumcisions to weaken them

"The sons of Jacob answered Shechem and his father Hamor deceitfully, because he had defiled their sister Dinah. They said to them, "We cannot do this thing, to give our sister to one who is uncircumcised, for that would be a disgrace to us. Only on this condition will we agree with you--that you will become as we are by every male among you being circumcised."

--Greed--

Genesis 34:27-28 Jacob's sons killed everyone in the city to take everything of value

"The sons of Jacob came upon the slain and plundered the city, because they had defiled their sister. They took their flocks and their herds, their donkeys, and whatever was in the city and in the field."

--Violence--

Genesis 34:27 Jacob's sons killed everyone in the city

"The sons of Jacob came upon the slain and plundered the city, because they had defiled their sister."
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