An Atheist Reads The Bible: A Small God For A Small People

One thing I have noticed while reading the Bible is how small and petty both God and his people are. This is supposed to be the story of the God who created the Universe and everything in it, but in these chapters his powers don’t extend beyond a household. There are only a handful of his followers and this number seems to only increase with reproduction, not through conversion. What was wrong with God, that he could not convince people to worship him? The God of Genesis is not an all-powerful being, but a small household God who can offer blessings, but is not responsible for the ways of the world and has little control over them. Nor is it clear why he has chosen these people who are deceitful, manipulative and dishonest. If God is limited to only one family on the face of the Earth, why is it this family?

It is necessary to explain the difference between the ancient Pagan religions and the monotheist (One God) religions we have today. The Ancient Celts, Greeks, Vikings etc had many Gods with a range of powers and abilities. There was a God for every conceivable situation and some had vast powers while others were so small that they might only be worshipped by a household. While these Gods were believed to be powerful, they were not all powerful like the Christian God. While they could intervene in human affairs, they were just as frequently absent. They were not responsible for everything, no one expected them to stop end disease and war, this was seen as impossible. These Gods were not seen as perfect, in fact they were often similar to humans in their jealousy, lust, hate, love and even stupidity. Another important feature was that Paganism did not impose strict rules on how people lived their lives, altars and sacrifices were usually sufficient.

What is interesting is that the God of the Bible sounds far more like a Pagan God, than a monotheist one during these early parts of Genesis. So far there are no rules or requirements apart from circumcision, so it’s not clear what being a Jew/Israelite meant in these early days. God does not try to be God of the whole world, instead he is merely God of Abraham’s family, which in turn grows into the Israelite people. In fact, he is often referred to as merely the God of Abraham or the God of Isaac, not the God of the whole world. He doesn’t attempt to communicate with people on the far side of the globe like China, America, Australia or Europe, in fact his world is limited to Mesopotamia. He cannot do everything, like stop famine, he can merely nudge the scales of luck in your favour. Being close to God, doesn’t bring major changes to the lives of Abraham’s descendants. They become a bit wealthier from the experience, but no great wisdom is passed onto them no advantage conferred on them that would elevate them above their neighbours and mark them as truly blessed by the Divine Creator.

Today’s story begins when Abraham makes his servant put his hand “under my thigh” (Genesis 24:2) to swear an oath to find a wife for his son Isaac. He insists that the wife cannot be a Canaanite, and Isaac cannot leave to see her before they’re married. The servant goes to the next land and decides that the first woman to offer him some water will be Isaac’s wife (the standards for wife material were a lot lower back then). A beautiful woman Rebekah, offers water for him but also his camels, which settles the matter (Genesis 24:14-20). As an added bonus she’s related to Abraham (Genesis 24:27) (seriously Bible, does anyone sleep with anyone outside their family in this book?). For some reason Rebekah is completely fine with marrying a man she never met and knows nothing about (times were simpler back then).

Isaac and Rebekah have twins, Jacob and Esau (who is born with hair all over his body as if he is wearing a cloak) (Genesis 25:25). Esau was a hunter and when he one day returned home, he asked for stew. His twin brother Jacob said he’d only give him food if he sold his birthright to him (Genesis 25:31). Was there no other food in the house? Could he not make some himself or get one of the servants to do so? The most bizarre part is that Esau is so nonchalant about the request. Instead of being insulted that his brother is extorting him, he casually agrees because he is about to die (Genesis 25:32). Even after he eats, he doesn’t seek revenge or to renegotiate, nor does either parent pass comment on their child’s manipulative behaviour.

Then there was a famine in the land so Isaac went to a new land but pretended that his wife was his sister (Genesis 26). If this sounds familiar it’s because this exact story has already been told twice already. It even has the exact same king as before. It’s like a TV show that has run out of ideas after a couple of series and resorts to just repeating the plot. The story ends the exact same way too, with Isaac becoming incredibly wealthy, partly from reaping “a hundredfold” what he plants (Genesis 26:12). I’m no farmer, but even I know that’s impossible.

The Bible also has an annoying habit of naming every village and pile of rocks any character passes and coming up with some story to explain how it got that name. This is common a lot of old myths (the Táin also does this). I can understand why people wanted to know how their village got it’s name so this probably explains the convoluted stories that are created to explain them. A lot of Genesis is spent travelling from land to land with livestock and recording every field they pass and every well they drink from. As nomadic people a good sense of geography is important, but is very dull reading lists of names. There is also the dull and repetitive piles of names of every relation in the family (that is to say, every male relative, the women are never named). This makes Genesis, less a book of religious instruction and more of a general history of the Israelites. Most of it is very dull, so I skip over it and won’t mention it here.

When Isaac was old, blind and dying he wanted to bless his favourite son Esau before he died, but first requested that Esau hunt and cook some game for him (Genesis 27). In one of the weirdest twists in the Bible, Rebekah tells her favourite son Jacob to impersonate Esau and steal his blessing (I’m telling you, the Book of Genesis is really strange. Is the whole Bible as weird as this?). A theme I’m noticing in the Bible is that women are mostly ignored and the few times they are characters, they’re usually the villain. It was Eve who tempted Adam, it was Sarah who mistreated her slave and now it is Rebekah who tells Jacob to fool his father and “let your curse be upon me.” (Genesis 27:13) So Jacob puts furs on his body to impersonate Esau (who was part bear or something) and tricks Jacob into blessing him.

When Esau returns, it is too late, Jacob has already been blessed. Now once Isaac finds out he has been fooled, why not curse Jacob and bless Esau? Contracts enter deceitfully are invalid, why shouldn’t that happen here? Instead Isaac acts as though there is a limit on blessings and used his all up. In traditional Irish culture, anytime anyone entered or left a house, a shower of blessing would be thrown on them, but perhaps in Israel blessing were a rare resource that had to be dug out of mines like gold. The strangest thing is that the blessing is treated as though it is literally true, that whatever Isaac says will happen. This implies that God too was fooled by Jacob or that God does whatever Isaac says, neither of which makes God look good. But if Isaac’s blessing are real, then why not bless his sons with a mountain of gold or make them kings of the world?

But what’s really strange is that the Israelites traced their ancestry from Jacob, not Esau. But why would you claim that your ancestor only got his power through lies and deception? All nations create myths about their founders, why would you create a myth where your founder is a fraud? Why make yourself a villain in your own holy book?

As you can imagine, Esau’s pretty pissed off right now, so Jacob thinks it’s safest to run away. Isaac then blesses Jacob again (why bless a liar who just cheated you?) and forbids him from marrying a Canaanite (Genesis 28). There is some more wandering and dreams and eventually he meets Rachel, his cousin, and falls in love with her (Genesis 29). He tells her father, Laban, he will work unpaid for seven years in exchange for her (because, you know, women are property to be traded by their father). But at the end of the seven years, he receives Rachel’s sister Leah instead. The next morning, he finds out he’s been tricked, but agrees to work another seven years for Rachel. The ancient Israelites were strangely alright with being tricked because I’m really surprised how accepting they are. This guy just cheated me out of a deal I’ve been working on for seven years, but no problem, I’ll just start from scratch again.

When God sees that Jacob loves Rachel but hates Leah, he makes Rachel barren and opens the womb (that’s what it says) of Leah (Genesis 29:31). Why? God seems to intervene randomly just to make things worse or like a narrative device that needlessly puts hurdles in front of the main characters to overcome. Rachel’s infertility causes tension, so she tells Jacob to sleep with her servant. When Leah saw this, she gave her servant to Jacob to have a son (Jacob was having some life with women literally throwing themselves at him, begging to make them pregnant). One day Rachel asks Leah for some mandrakes and offers to let Leah sleep with Jacob in exchange (Genesis 30:15). I’m sorry, but what?!? Why is Rachel prostituting out her husband to someone already married to him and why for all things, for mandrakes? I don’t what the hell mandrakes even are (literally the only mention I’ve ever heard of them was in Harry Potter) and some googling reveals that people used to use them for love or fertility potions.  Even still, it was hardly as if Leah had the only supply in the world or that she even needed Rachel’s blessing to sleep with her own husband. The Bible is a really messed up book and we are still in “None of this makes any sense” territory.

Then in possibly the most bizarre story of the Bible (though there are so many even within the Book of Genesis), a man starts wrestling with Jacob in the middle of the night until dawn. Eventually Jacob pins him down and refuses to release him until the man blesses him. At this point it is revealed that the man is God and says that from now on his name will be Israel (Genesis 32:24-8). Out of all the ridiculous stories in the Bible, this has got to be the most preposterous. Not even the most fundamentalist could honestly argue that God is so powerful that he can create the Universe and literally anything he wants, yet can still be beaten in a wrestling match by a single unarmed man! That is not something that happens to an all-powerful God of everything, instead it sounds more like a petty spirit of a single family.

So there we have it. This is apparently the story of a God so small that only a single family worships him and so weak that a single unarmed man can overpower him. It is the story of the man who founds the Israelite nation, mostly through deceit, lies and betraying close family members. Some praise the Bible as book with great teachings and insight into how we should live our lives, but I’m not seeing any of that. I don’t see the power, glory and might of the God that Christians worship, instead I just see a small God and a small people.

For the rest of the series, see here.


Filed under Religion

29 responses to “An Atheist Reads The Bible: A Small God For A Small People

  1. Pingback: An Atheist Reads The Bible | Robert Nielsen

  2. Marie-Anne jouanique

    bonvolu ne plu sendi al mi tiajn mesaĝojn pri Dio ktp…
    Mesaĝoj pri esperanto bonvenaj!
    M Anne Jouanique.

    Date: Sun, 19 Apr 2015 17:00:24 +0000

  3. If you really study Torah and the oral tradition and think about the culture it developed in, the push is not belief but acts. There is a pressure to believe in one God and not idols, but that was in response to the many Gods and particularly those demanding human sacrifice even of infants. The stories are cautionary tales for most of us and as HIllel summed all of Torah up – treat others as you want to be treated. That was 50 years before Jesus was born. The world might know peace on earth if all abided by the Golden Rule or minimally followed the last five of the Noahide laws. My thought about God is that if God is there, God is either wating for humanity to clean up its act or has turned away.

    I think insisting others believe as you believe is the modern world’s idol worship.

    • Corto

      Firstly, Hillel in contrast to Jesus stated the Golden Rule in the negative form: “don’t do to the other…”, which is a much easier commandment than Jesus’ positive form.

      Secondly, why do you believe what you believe? Convention? Inertia? Why not? Mostly harmless? “It is the religion of our tribe!”

      Or rather, do you REALLY believe what you believe?

      Perhaps you may say: “Still, our Jewish fairy-tales are smarter than those of the Indians, Greeks, Japanese, Germans, etc.”

      And no doubt they are.

  4. I like your point that these stories are very small scale and it shows how primitive of a mind wrote the first books of the Bible. Even while I was still a Christian, I saw God as very childish. Oh, the rules come in Exodus and Leviticus and they are brutal and speak of petty things, such as not touching a menstruating woman.

  5. Corto

    “Professor Richard Dawkins has rejected a charge from the Chief Rabbi that his description of the “Old Testament God” is “profoundly anti-Semitic”.

    The passage in Dawkins’ book, The God Delusion, reflects a centuries-old anti-Jewish attitude, Chief Rabbi Sacks said.

    Prof Dawkins dismissed the allegation as “ridiculous”.

    The exchange took place at the BBC’s RE:Think festival in Salford during a debate about science and religion.

    The dispute began with Prof Dawkins’ claim that a controversial passage from his 2006 book was intended to be “humorous”.

    “The beginning of chapter two, which says the God of the Old Testament is the most unpleasant character in all fiction, that’s a joke,” he said in the early stages of the debate.

    Later Chief Rabbi Lord Sacks said that Dawkins had misunderstood sections of the Hebrew Bible, which are also part of the Christian Old Testament, because he was a “Christian atheist” rather than a “Jewish atheist”.

    It meant that Dawkins read the Old Testament in an “adversarial way,” he said, something that was “Christian” because the faith’s New Testament was believed to have “gone one better”.

    “That’s why I did not read the opening to chapter two in your book as a joke, I read it as a profoundly anti-Semitic passage.”

    The text was read out loud by Lord Sacks at the debate.

    It described “the God of the Old Testament” as a “vindictive, bloodthirsty ethnic cleanser” as well as “misogynist”, “homophobic”, “racist”, “pestilential” and “infanticidal”.

    “How you can call that anti-Semitic, I don’t even begin to understand. It’s anti-God,” said Prof Dawkins”

    LOL! LOL! LOL!

    • Why did you post this link?

      • Corto

        You ask for the answer to quickly… You are a lazy student! Think Robert, think!

        • Please enlighten me. What is your point? That Dawkins quote wasn’t anti-Semetic? Or that it was?

          • Corto

            PART I
            Of course, that neither Dawkins or you are anti-Semites (in your case based only on what I’ve read so far). He is rather an Islamophobe…

            But because rabbi Sacks thought that Dawkin’s judgements on the God of the Old Testament were “anti-Semitic”, considering that your views are so similar to Dawkin’s he would have the same opinion about your text. So according to him you are (unwittingly) producing anti-Semitic garbage too… LOL.

            What is my view on all this. Firstly, he should have made the distinction between “anti-Semitism” and “anti-Judaism”. At most Dakwin’s text and yours are “anti-Judaic”. And of course anti-Judaism (stated in a decent language), like criticism of any religion, should face no restrictions in a secular state and a free society.

            I am of the opinion that even anti-Semitism, defined as a justified reaction to Jewish chauvinism, should be freely allowed in a free society… But that is my kampf, not Dawkin’s.

            And of course, people like Sacks have all the interest in conflating the two terms.

            But are Dakwin’s text and yours anti-Judaic? Yes, of course they are. You want you texts to be anti-Christian, isn’t it? But because the Old Testament is shared by Jews and Christians alike any criticism of it is also a criticism of Judaism.

            Unwittingly, as rabbi Sacks said, you reproduced apologetic arguments (Christian or Islamic) against Judaism.

          • Corto

            PART II

            Here I will be less structured and coherent.

            1. Sacks’ remarks are interesting and typical. I have been following these people for many years. And as the personality of a person changes very little if at all during lifetime, so the personality of nations, because nations have distinct personalities too, change very little in time.

            Sacks’ remarks, IMO, give the game away on the nature of Judaism.
            Judaism is the national religion of the Jews. Their god is a local, national god. In fact even today, Judaism corresponds more to the notion of henotheism rather than universal monotheism.

            Henotheism def.= the worship of one deity (of several) as the special god of one’s family, clan, or tribe

            As Jews never engaged in proselytism it is very difficult to accept that they really believe that their god is the “God of the universe”.
            Jews are an ethno-religion. For instance, there are Catholic and Protestant Irishmen (in an ethnic sense), Catholic and Protestant Germans, etc. There are Christian and Muslim Palestinians/Arabs. But there are no Christian or Muslim Jews (I mean historically, or in significant numbers and recognised as Jews by the mainstream Jews).
            Their religion is fundamental to their distinct identity. Language less so ( as it is the case with most other ethnicities) as they have changed several vernaculars during their existence.

            You may say, that however, there are “atheist” Jews.
            But look what brilliant (and atheist😉 )Schopenhauer had to say about this issue:

            “Originally amalgamated and one with their state, their religion is by no means the main issue here, but rather merely the bond that holds them together, the point de ralliement, and the banner whereby they recognize one another. This is also seen in the fact that even the converted Jew who has been baptized does not by any means bring upon himself the hatred and loathing of all the rest, as do all other apostates. On the contrary, he continues as a rule to be their friend and companion and to regard them as his true countrymen, naturally with a few orthodox exceptions. Even in the case of the regular and solemn Jewish prayer for which ten must be present, a Jew turned Christian, but no other Christian, may be present if one of the ten is missing. The same holds good of all the other religious acts.”

            “Accordingly, it is an extremely superficial and false view to regard the Jews merely as a religious sect. But if, in order to countenance this error, Judaism is described by an expression borrowed from the Christian Church as ‘Jewish Confession’, then this is a fundamentally false expression which is deliberately calculated to mislead and should not be allowed at all. On the contrary, ‘Jewish Nation’ is the correct expression. The Jews have absolutely no confession; monotheism is part of their nationality and political constitution and is with them a matter of course. Indeed it is quite clear that monotheism and Judaism are convertible terms.”
            From Schopenhauer (1851), Parerga and Paralipomena , Ch. 9 On Jurisprudence and Politics.


            “While all other religions endeavor to explain to the people by symbols the metaphysical significance of life, the religion of the Jews is entirely immanent and furnishes nothing but a mere war-cry in the struggle with other nations.[56]”

          • Corto

            PART III

            I would like to finish my idea.

            Dawkins seems to think that religious people are victims of a fallacious reasoning. He wants to tell them that their reasoning is wrong and that way he expects them to become atheists like him. He is the fool.

            In a conversation with Dawkins, Robert Winston tells him that “religion (Judaism in his case) helps him be a better person”. Dawkins swiftly replied: “But that doesn’t mean that God exists”. To which Winston said: “Yes, true, but…”.

            What Winston wanted to say but didn’t dear was that Dawkins beliefs on to the reasons of why people are religious are simplistic.

            You see, being a rabbi, a priest, a pastor is merely a job. It is not true, as Dawkins believes, that people are religious because of the propaganda of the Church, its is rather the other way round, priests exists because people come to the church.

            There are three milestones in life: birth, marriage and death. Most people want them marked with a religious ceremony. That creates a demand for the services of priests. Priests still furnish psychological/spiritual counselling services in keen competition nowadays with clinical psychologists, psychiatrists, psychoanalysts, the Big Farma industry, New Age gurus, life coaches, motivational speakers and all that rubbish. It is a big business, believe me.

            People like Sacks never really asked themselves the questions that you pose on your blog. The only question that was important to Sacks was whether he is a Jewish nationalist (he could have married a non-Jew…) and whether he had what it takes to do the job of a rabbi properly: look, voice, “talk the talk”, the required diplomas, etc. Like in any other job.
            They never came to their religion after a deep soul searching exercise. They are not converts. They are conventional people. That is, they are like most people. Like the people who demand their services.

            Now I would like to digress a little on “boorishness”.

            The Ultra-Orthodox Jews, the strict Muslims, the Born Again Christians, the Catholic monks from the point of view of the majority they behave like boors.

            But so are strict atheists who never participate in the celebration of Christmas, Easter, even for the sake of their children, never baptise their children, never marry in church, when sightseeing abroad decline to see the famous cathedral, in museums pass quickly over Renaissance art with a biblical subject (almost all Western art before the modem times), consider priests and rabbis no more deserving of respect than whores, etc, etc.

            So, Mr Dawkins if he were really to practice what he preaches would be considered by most people a boor. But of course, he doesn’t want that.

            Boors are not invited in talks and literary festivals…

            So, he had to pretend that he respected rabbi Sacks… (who definitely is not a boor! He is a well respected pillar of (the Jewish) society).

            And that is why he backed down when he excused himself saying that “he was joking”… LOL. LOL.

  6. The religious instruction is concentrated mainly in parts of Exodus and Numbers, and especially Leviticus and Deuteronomy. There’s very little in Genesis.
    “Why make yourself a villain in your own holy book?”
    -It’s as if a conservative Christian foundation explained that gay marriage and AIDS came to the U.S. due to the Founding Fathers being homosexual. The explanation that the sins of the nation and the punishments for them were a result of events occurring from the nation’s very birth is a very powerful one.

  7. Did you pick up on the fact that there seems to be two Gods?

  8. Corto

    1. I’ve just learned that you are a Catholic. Don’t you know that the most important part of the Bible for Catholics is the New Testament?
    Christians (Catholics, Orthodoxs and (some) Protestants) believe that the New Testament supplanted the Old one (the Jewish Bible).

    You in effect are criticising more Judaism rather than Christianity. (with the exception of Evangelical Protestantism which puts the same emphasis on the Old and New testaments).

    2. In Europe, or among Europeans (people that I know better), people who “believe” in “God” believe in a personal, idiosyncratic conception of God: a God that helps them in the struggle with “life” and other people, a God for whom they pray to help them pass an exam, get a good job, woo the woman they like, win the lottery, “cheat life” for short.

    You may say that this “conception of (a personal) God” is absurd and self-contradictory. Why would Lord God of Sabaoth take my side in the my petty competition with other people? Why would the Almighty suspend the laws of Nature just for me?

    “Because I pray to Him”.
    “It doesn’t cost me much to (pretend) to believe in this (absurd) God but the rewards are immense” (Pascal’s wager – btw, was Pascal a stupid?)

    Such a belief has nothing to do with Judaism, with Christianity, with the Bible. This belief existed before Christianity and also in Asia.

    3. To conclude, you instead of mocking the eternal stupidity and wishful thinking of this wonderful creature, the wise homo sapiens (you are a “humanists” isn’t it?) you are mocking the most remarkable literary output of the ancient Jews.

    Most “believers” wouldn’t find any offence.

    4. BTW, have you heard of the “German Idealism”? Its philosophers were neither atheists nor Christians (in a orthodox sense at least). So after “destroying” Judaism I hope you will tackle German Idealism too… (It will be more difficult though).

    • “I’ve just learned that you are a Catholic. Don’t you know that the most important part of the Bible for Catholics is the New Testament?”

      Actually, I’m an Atheist. I criticise Christianity generally, not just Catholicism. Obviously the New Testament is the most important part for all Christians, but I thought I’d start on the first page and work my way through. After all, its not just Catholics that read my blog.

      Also how seriously the Old Testament should be taken is not clearly stated in Christianity, but this project might clear this up. After all, the condemnation of homosexuality is only in the Old Testament.

      I’m not sure why you think I’m solely attacking the Jews, the Old Testament is still considered to be part of the holy book of Christianity. Quoting the OT is still considered to be quoting the Bible and therefore God.

      I’ve never heard of German Idealism, nor do I intend to destroy it anymore that I intend to destroy any religion (that is to say, not at all).

      • Robert I thought it was rather obvious you were an atheist. The title of the post is an atheist read the bible for heavens sake!

        How can those Christians who ignore the Old Testament square their belief with the fact that Jesus was sent as the final sacrifice after sacrificing goats and doves failed?

        • Corto

          When I said a Catholic I was referring to it in a cultural way if nothing else.

          Atheists bloggers are also in China, Japan, India, Muslim countries. I don’t think that they also try to find fault with the Old Testament. Rabbi Sacks was right that what is the religious background of the atheist determines their views in a way or another.

          Initially, because he wrote critically only about the Old Testament, I thought that Robert is a Protestant.

          BTW, do you think that one can answer easily whether they “believe” or are “atheists”?

          If you asked me whether I believe in Santa Claus I would answer that I am 100% sure that it doesn’t exist.

          If you asked me whether I believe in Jesus I would answer that I am 95% sure that a person as described in the Gospels never existed. So I am not a true Christian. (I can be a cultural Christian though, celebrating Christmas, Easter).

          But if you asked me whether I believed in God or not would put me in difficulty. My answer would be, “I don’t know what to say”.

          If you asked me instead whether I believed in the theory of the Big Bang I would answer that “I know that the vast majority of contemporary physicists believe in it but as popular theories of physics of the past proved false I don’t have any strong opinion on it.”

          Asking people whether they are “believers” should be akin to asking what they think of the Big Bang theory, don’t you think?

          The philosophers of logical positivism considered theology as meaningless because words like “God” are “cognitively meaningless”.
          Statements like “I believe in God” are meaningless in their opinion. But if that is pertinent so must be statements like “Robert is an atheist”…

          • Hi Corto.

            I agree that our culture would determine to a large extent what we write, think and say as it should. It can’t be any other way. I can write about Buddhism or Hinduism but they are so far removed from my cultural experience that out of every 200 posts, there could only be one on them.

            I think you didn’t read his first post in this series for he explicitly said he was started from the OT through to the NT. Well I think he was brought up Catholic.

            You ask,

            do you think that one can answer easily whether they “believe” or are “atheists”

            Yes. I can

            Our answers to some of the questions you mention would be slightly different.

            I also consider theology as useless and god to be a meaningless word. And in that case calling Robert an atheist is meaningless in that regard.

  9. Peter

    Interestingly scholars increasingly see the Bible as a theological story rather than actual history. The Archaeological evidence seems to paint a different picture to that of the Bible.

    Archaeological research and careful studies of the Biblical text seem to point to Israel only adopting monotheism during the exile in Babylon.

  10. The questions you begin with are quite salient and profound. Why are these people so bizarre … in their own sacred scripture? Why does God favor them … of all peoples? Because they needed the most help?

    Regarding in a comment “Christians (Catholics, Orthodoxs and (some) Protestants) believe that the New Testament supplanted the Old one (the Jewish Bible)” I think it is patently provable that Christians believe in neither the NT or OT. They have made up a new religion cherry-picking some of “Christianity” and the rest from whole cloth. Most of which cannot be even remotely connected to Jesus.

  11. Patrice

    As a Christian or (a person born into Christianity), I grew up within the church and realized a majority of the congregation never read the whole bible or even 50%, including me. So I started this challenge of reading it front to back while taking notes and doing a little research as well. And I’m so relieved that I’m not the only one who is like what the heck is going on ?!

    1. Most of the family’s encounters with GOD seems to be through dreams, prayer or an actual voice. (But can’t any one just makeup something that was said since it was only heard/seen by them ??) I can understand that this is in the beginning of times so there is no library, internet, documentaries, museums, bibles or anywhere to look for answers but within eachother. Why haven’t they realized that in he same way people lie about the dumbest things such as being the firstborn twin that they can also lie about having an encounter with God ?
    If my Dad ever came to me saying his God had said something to him in a dream last night ((or even weirder while he was awake) especially during a time where it seems that he is only fragments of someone’s imagination), I would straight up be like “wtf ?”… Idk maybe that’s just me.

    2. Jacob wrestling with God and seeing him “face to face” was a HUGE shock for me solely because I was always told no one has seen Gods face if so they will surely die. Then it kind of started to tie in with my #1 statement/question. Because I started to wonder did Jacob ACTUALLY wrestle with God, or was he just having a medical/health problem that caused his hip pain ? Could he have had a condition that caused him to pass out and fall, hurting his hip on the way down ? Was anyone else there to witness him wrestling with God, perhaps one of his many wives, kids, servants and etc ? Did he LITERALLY wrestle with God and win or was he just stating ‘Hey, I was about to die out there but I didn’t and felt like that was God telling me its not my time to die and btw my hip hurts a little” (His hip couldn’t have been that messed up if he repeatedly was able to have sex and impregnate his wives afterwards unless there was a safer position back then)

    3. Does any of the handmaids of Leah and Rachel have a say in marrying and having children with Jacob? When I was younger I used to ask questions about the servants all time and the answer was always “they were just slaves, they didn’t have a choice.” But If Jacob only loved Rachel, What was the point in marrying the slaves too if they really didn’t matter ? …If the reasoning was to “be fruitfully and multiply”, Then why didn’t these women have other husbands or is multiple spouses only allowed for men ?

    4. Why did Laban sell both of his daughters to one man ? Who is also their cousin ? Who is also the scammer twin ?

    To rap this up , I got so many questions and What the hell moments already and this is only the the beginning ! I thought maybe my way of logic and thinking is just too complex to understand the vagueness of the bible so far (not in any way saying that believers are simple minded) it’s just such a relief to read someone else’s thoughts that aren’t of the usual Elder of the Church answers of “because it was God’s Plan” “Because God said so” Or my favorite “well we don’t really follow the OT” (I was raised a southern Baptist Christian which focuses mainly on the NT with the exception for homosexuality being a sin and woman being less than men)

    This makes me even more excited to finish readingthough !

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