13 October 2016

"It's just words, folks": Donald Trump's and the Bible's

In the second presidential debate, Donald Trump denied that he sexually assaulted women, as he bragged about habitually doing in the Access Hollywood Bus tape. They were "just words, folks."

Trump's defense reminds me of how believers defend the Bible's words. They admit that it's filled with crude, violent, misogynistic stories, statements, and commands - but it's all "just words" to them. The Bible, like Donald Trump, never says what it means or means what it says.

To illustrate this I thought I'd compare the Donald's "locker room banter" to the Bible's. Here goes.

Foul Language

Donald Trump

Bible

Behold, I will bring evil upon the house of Jeroboam, and will cut off from Jeroboam him that pisseth against the wall. 1 Kings 14:10

Hath he not sent me to the men which sit on the wall, that they may eat their own dung, and drink their own piss with you? 2 Kings 18:27

Behold, I will corrupt your seed, and spread dung upon your faces. Malachi 2:3

Big Penises

Donald Trump

Bible

For she doted upon their paramours, whose flesh is as the flesh of asses, and whose issue is like the issue of horses. Ezekiel 23:20

My little finger shall be thicker than my father's loins. 2 Chronicles 10:3-11 [Rehoboam, bragging that his penis is bigger than his father's (Solomon's) was.]

Sexual Assault

Donald Trump

Bible

Behold now, I [the "just and righteous" Lot (2 Peter 2:7-8)] have two daughters which have not known man; let me, I pray you, bring them out unto you, and do ye to them as is good in your eyes. Genesis 19:8

When thou goest forth to war ... And seest among the captives a beautiful woman, and hast a desire unto her ... Then thou shalt bring her home to thine house ... and ... thou shalt go in unto her. Deuteronomy 21:10-13

Voyeurism

Donald Trump

Bible

David arose ... and from the roof he saw a woman washing herself; and the woman was very beautiful. ... David ... took her; and she came in unto him, and he lay with her; for she was purified from her uncleanness. 2 Samuel 11:2-4

Dating your daughter

Donald Trump

Bible

Lot [the "just and righteous" Lot (2 Peter 2:7-8)] went up out of Zoar, and dwelt in the mountain, and his two daughters with him ... and he dwelt in a cave, he and his two daughters. And the firstborn said unto the younger, Our father is old, and there is not a man in the earth to come in unto us. Let us make our father drink wine, and we will lie with him, that we may preserve seed of our father. And they made their father drink wine that night: and the firstborn went in, and lay with her father ... I lay yesternight with my father: let us make him drink wine this night also; and go thou in, and lie with him ... And they made their father drink wine that night also: and the younger arose, and lay with him ... Thus were both the daughters of Lot with child by their father. Leviticus 19:30-36

Menstruation

Donald Trump

Bible

If a woman have an issue, and her issue in her flesh be blood, she shall be put apart seven days. Leviticus 15:19

Thou shalt cast them away as a menstruous cloth. Isaiah 30:22

Jerusalem is as a menstruous woman. Lamentations 1:17

But if a man be just, and do that which is lawful and right, and hath not ... come near to a menstruous woman.... Ezekiel 18:5-6

War

Donald Trump

The Bible

Thou shalt consume all the people which the LORD thy God shall deliver thee; thine eye shall have no pity upon them. Deuteronomy 7:16

And if it will make no peace with thee, but will make war against thee, then thou shalt besiege it: And when the LORD thy God hath delivered it into thine hands, thou shalt smite every male thereof with the edge of the sword: But the women, and the little ones, and the cattle, and all that is in the city, even all the spoil thereof, shalt thou take unto thyself; and thou shalt eat the spoil of thine enemies, which the LORD thy God hath given thee. Deuteronomy 20:12-14

But of the cities of these people, which the LORD thy God doth give thee for an inheritance, thou shalt save alive nothing that breatheth: But thou shalt utterly destroy them ... as the LORD thy God hath commanded thee. Deuteronomy 20:16-17

Cursed be he that keepeth back his sword from blood. Jeremiah 48:10

Thus saith the LORD my God; Feed the flock of the slaughter. Zechariah 11:4

War Crimes

Donald Trump

Bible

Thus saith the LORD of hosts ... slay both man and woman, infant and suckling, ox and sheep, camel and ass. 1 Samuel 15:2-3

Torture

Donald Trump

Bible

The hand of the LORD was against the city with a very great destruction: and he smote the men of the city, both small and great, and they had emerods in their secret parts. 1 Samuel 5:9

And his lord was wroth, and delivered him to the tormentors. Matthew 18:34

And to them it was given that they should not kill them, but that they should be tormented five months: and their torment was as the torment of a scorpion, when he striketh a man. And in those days shall men seek death, and shall not find it; and shall desire to die, and death shall flee from them. Revelation 9:5-6

The Disabled

Donald Trump

Bible

Whosoever ... hath any blemish, let him not approach to offer the bread of his God. For whatsoever man he be that hath a blemish, he shall not approach: a blind man, or a lame, or he that hath a flat nose, or any thing superfluous, Or a man that is brokenfooted, or brokenhanded, Or crookbackt, or a dwarf, or that hath a blemish in his eye, or be scurvy, or scabbed, or hath his stones broken; No man that hath a blemish ... shall come nigh to offer the offerings of the LORD ... because he hath a blemish. Leviticus 21:17-23

And David said on that day, Whosoever ... smiteth ... the blind that are hated of David's soul, he shall be chief and captain. Wherefore they said, The blind and the lame shall not come into the house. 2 Samuel 5:8

Religious Intolerance

Donald Trump

The Bible

They [people who believe in other gods] shall not dwell in thy land, lest they make thee sin against me: for if thou serve their gods, it will surely be a snare unto thee. Exodus 23:33

If thou shalt hear ... men ... saying, Let us go and serve other gods, which ye have not known ... thou shalt surely smite the inhabitants of that city with the edge of the sword, destroying it utterly, and all that is therein, and the cattle thereof, with the edge of the sword. Deuteronomy 13:12-15

16 June 2016

Which religion is more anti-gay, Christianity or Islam?

Yesterday's post was a bit misleading.

Yes, it's true that the Bible is more anti-gay that the Quran, since the Bible commands believers to kill homosexuals while the Quran does not. And yet a majority of U.S. Christians believe homosexuality is morally acceptable, and very few believe that homosexuals should be punished with death. The same cannot be said about modern Muslims.

So if the Bible is more anti-gay than the Quran, why are Muslims more anti-gay than Christians? The answer to that question is simple. His name is Muhammad (PB&J be upon him).

Muslims believe that Muhammad was the perfect and final messenger of God and that his words, thoughts, and actions (as recorded in the sunnah) should be obeyed, followed, and imitated by everyone. Although there is some disagreement among Muslims about which stories (hadith) about Muhammad are authentic, all describe a Muhammad who was vehemently and violently anti-gay.

Here are some examples from the hadith.

The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: If you find anyone doing as Lot's people did, kill the one who does it, and the one to whom it is done. - Abu Dawud 38:4447

If a man who is not married is seized committing sodomy, he will be stoned to death. - Abu Dawud 38:4448

The Apostle of Allah (peace be upon him) cursed the man who dressed like a woman and the woman who dressed like a man. - Abu Dawud 32:4087

And then there's this from Islam Question and Answer:
The Sahaabah were unanimously agreed on the execution of homosexuals, but they differed as to how they were to be executed. Some of them were of the view that they should be burned with fire, which was the view of ‘Ali (may Allaah be pleased with him) and also of Abu Bakr (may Allaah be pleased with him), as we shall see below. And some of them thought that they should be thrown down from a high place then have stones thrown at them. This was the view of Ibn ‘Abbaas (may Allaah be pleased with him).
You just can't get more anti-gay that that!

And yet there is hope for reform in Islam. Christians and Jews learned long ago to ignore the cruel command in Leviticus 20:13. Muslims could do the same with similar statements in the hadith. But until the vast majority of Muslims do that, Islam will be more anti-gay than Christianity.

15 June 2016

Which is more anti-gay, the Bible or the Quran?

The Bible and the Quran agree on many things. So you might expect them to agree about homosexuality as well. And they do. Both condemn it. But which is more anti-gay?

There are only eight passages in the Quran that deal with homosexuality, and they all refer to the same story: the story of Sodom, in which the men of the city desired to have sex with Lot's male visitors, whereupon Lot (Allah's "righteous slave") offered them his daughters instead.

  1. And Lot! (Remember) when he said unto his folk: Will ye commit abomination such as no creature ever did before you? Lo! ye come with lust unto men instead of women. Nay, but ye are wanton folk. 7:80-81

  2. And when Our messengers came unto Lot, he was distressed and knew not how to protect them. He said: This is a distressful day. And his people came unto him, running towards him - and before then they used to commit abominations - He said: O my people! Here are my daughters! They are purer for you. Beware of Allah, and degrade me not in (the person of) my guests. Is there not among you any upright man? 11:77-78

  3. And when the messengers came unto the family of Lot ... He said: Lo! they are my guests. Affront me not! ... He said: Here are my daughters, if ye must be doing (so). 15:61-71

  4. We rescued him and Lot (and brought them) to the land which We have blessed for (all) peoples. ... Lot we gave judgment and knowledge, and We delivered him from the community that did abominations. Lo! they were folk of evil, lewd. And We brought him in unto Our mercy. Lo! he was of the righteous. 21:71-75

  5. What! Of all creatures do ye come unto the males, And leave the wives your Lord created for you? Nay, but ye are froward folk. 26:165-166

  6. And Lot! when he said unto his folk: Will ye commit abomination knowingly? Must ye needs lust after men instead of women? Nay, but ye are folk who act senselessly. 27:54-55

  7. Lot ... is among the righteous ... (Remember) when he said unto his folk: Lo! ye commit lewdness such as no creature did before you. For come ye not in unto males. 29:26-29

  8. Noah and ... Lot, who were ... two of Our righteous slaves. 66:10

The Bible, of course, includes the same story about Sodom, and it agrees with the Quran about Lot: he was a just and righteous man. (Even though later in the same chapter of Genesis, Lot gets drunk and impregnates his two virgin daughters.)

But the Bible is less clear about the nature of Sodom's sin. Was it homosexuality, inhospitality, pride, wealth, laziness, or ignoring the needs of the poor? The Bible doesn't say.

There are only five passages in the Bible that deal clearly and specifically with homosexuality. Here they are in Biblical order:

  1. Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination. Leviticus 18:22

  2. If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them. Leviticus 20:13

  3. The invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; that they are without excuse. Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools ... Wherefore … God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another. God gave them over to a reprobate mind … Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers, Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, Without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful … they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them. Romans 1:20-32

  4. The unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God …. neither fornicators ... nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind … shall inherit the kingdom of God. 1 Corinthians 6:9-10

  5. Knowing this, that the law is not made for a righteous man, but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and for sinners, for unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers, For whoremongers, for them that defile themselves with mankind, for menstealers, for liars, for perjured persons, and if there be any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine. 1 Timothy 1:9-10

So the Bible agrees with the Quran that homosexuality is an abomination. But it goes much further than that. The Old Testament commands believers to kill homosexuals (at least sexually active gay men) and the New Testament says that all homosexuals are all "worthy of death."

Maybe that's why some Christian terrorists celebrated the Orlando gay nightclub massacre.

08 June 2016

The National Catholic Reporter: Providing convoluted explanations for inexcusable bible passages

In a recent blog post at the National Catholic Reporter, Thomas L. McDonald claims that the Skeptic's Annotated Bible and other internet scoffers "pile ignorant derision" on "the difficult parts of the Bible." He then provides the correct explanations for "five hard Bible passages."

Amputation for Touching a Man’s Genitals (Deuteronomy 25:11-12)

When men strive together one with another, and the wife of the one draweth near for to deliver her husband out of the hand of him that smiteth him, and putteth forth her hand, and taketh him by the secrets: 25:12 Then thou shalt cut off her hand, thine eye shall not pity her. Deuteronomy 25:11-12
This passage seems simple enough: If two men fight and the wife of one grabs the "secrets" of the other, then you must cut off her hand without showing her the slightest pity.

But according to Mr. McDonald it's more complicated that that. It may mean that the woman should be fined whatever her hand is worth; or that her hand should be cut off while she is trying to touch the other man's genitals (not after); or that we should do whatever it takes to stop an attacker (including cut off a hand); or that just one or two fingers should be cut off; or that we should cut off the woman's palm, foot, or hip socket (rather than her hand); or maybe the woman should be cut off from her husband.

What is clear to Mr. McDonald, though, is this: "Certainly, the act of grabbing a man’s genitals in the midst of a fight is immodest." It's just that the Bible got a bit carried away with the punishment.

What Jesus Knows (Mark 13:32)

But of that day and that hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels which are in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father. Mark 13:32
This one is simple as well. Jesus was God, so he knew everything. But he was also a man who didn't know everything. So whenever he didn't know something, he was a man; and whenever he knew everything, he was God. Since he was always both man and God, he always knew and didn't know everything at the same time and always knew what he didn't know. Or something like that.

Lot Offers His Daughters For Rape (Genesis 19:8)

Behold now, I have two daughters which have not known man; let me, I pray you, bring them out unto you, and do ye to them as is good in your eyes: only unto these men do nothing; for therefore came they under the shadow of my roof. Genesis 19:8
Mr. McDonald sums this one up this way: "We don’t have to believe that Lot is in the right to understand the point of the story."

But he's wrong about that, if you believe the Bible anyway.

[God] delivered just Lot, vexed with the filthy conversation of the wicked: (For that righteous man dwelling among them, in seeing and hearing, vexed his righteous soul from day to day with their unlawful deeds.) 2 Peter 2:7-8
Lot was a just and righteous man; the only one in the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah that was righteous enough for God to save.

That is "the point of the story" (if this nasty story has a point).

Children Eaten By Bears (2 Kings 2:23-24)

As he [Elisha] was going up by the way, there came forth little children out of the city, and mocked him, and said unto him, Go up, thou bald head; go up, thou bald head. And he turned back, and looked on them, and cursed them in the name of the LORD. And there came forth two she bears out of the wood, and tare forty and two children of them. 2 Kings 2:25-26

Here are Mr. McDonald's simple explanations (select whichever one works for you): The story was made up to encourage children to respect their elders; the story is true, but the "little children" were young men who tried to stone Elisha (not just make fun of his bald head); 42 is a "symbolic number" that means "a lot."; God sent the bears to kill the 42 children as payment for the sacrifice of Balak; the children weren't making fun of Elisha's bald head, but his shaved head.

Genocide (various)

But of the cities of these people, which the LORD thy God doth give thee for an inheritance, thou shalt save alive nothing that breatheth: But thou shalt utterly destroy them ... as the LORD thy God hath commanded thee. Deuteronomy 20:16-17

And they utterly destroyed all that was in the city, both man and woman, young and old, and ox, and sheep, and ass, with the edge of the sword. Joshua 6:21

Now go and smite Amalek, and utterly destroy all that they have, and spare them not; but slay both man and woman, infant and suckling, ox and sheep, camel and ass. 1 Samuel 15:3

Mr. McDonald explains this one this way: "Jesus speaks with the same voice as Yahweh." It's just that Jesus flipped Yahweh's approach on its head. Yahweh commanded us to commit genocide; Jesus commands us to love everyone. They speak with the same voice; they just say completely different things.

The point of the exercise

"The point of this exercise is not to come up with convoluted explanations for inexcusable passages." It just happened to work out that way.

05 June 2016

It's Ramadan again! Time to sleep all day and party all night.

(At least it is here in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii, where I observed the thin crescent of the new moon on 5 June 2016 at 7:35 pm.)

For those of you who don't know, it's Ramadan -- the month in which Muslims believe the Quran was revealed to Muhammad (pb&jbuh). 

Here's how it's put in the Quran:
The month of Ramadan in which was revealed the Qur'an, a guidance for mankind, and clear proofs of the guidance, and the Criterion (of right and wrong). And whosoever of you is present, let him fast the month.... 2:185
So Muslims fast every day during the month of Ramadan from dawn to dusk. It's one of the five pillars of Islam.

And what does fasting entail? Here's a list of things that invalidate the fast.
1- Intercourse
2- Masturbation
3- Eating and drinking
4- Anything that is regarded as coming under the same heading as eating and drinking
5- Letting blood by means of cupping and the like
6- Vomiting deliberately
7- Menstruation and nifaas
(For a more extensive see here, where such important questions as "Does burping break the fast?" are answered.)

Well, that's clear enough, I guess. No sexual intercourse, masturbating, eating, drinking, bleeding, vomiting, or menstruating. (That's right, ladies, menstruating. Because Allah, like the God of the Bible, is disgusted by menstruating women.)

You have to go without all that stuff all day long. What's a person to do?

There's really only one good answer to that: sleep. Sleep as much as you can as long as you can during the day. Fasting is much easier while you're asleep and sleeping all day doesn't invalidate the fast.

That works great if you're a man (unless you have to work, that is), but not so well if you're a woman. Because a woman must spend all day in the kitchen preparing the huge feast (iftar) that breaks each day's fast, as well as shop for the food, clean up after last night's party, and prepare the morning meal (suhoor) that begins the fast the following day.

(There's a huge a competition among Muslim women to produce the most elaborate and extravagant iftar feast. Much more food is produced each night than can possibly be consumed, with the excess thrown away the next day, since leftovers are discouraged. And this goes on for the entire month of Ramadan.)

But for Muslim men there's only one plan for Ramadan: Sleep all day, party all night.

(I'm not making this Ramadan plan up. It is followed by most Muslim males, in so far as work, school, and other activities permit.)

Here's a song that expresses the idea exactly.