While the first half of the 1st Book of Samuel was about the rise of Samuel and how Saul became king, the second half is about Saul’s decline and fall, and the rise of David. However, this doesn’t happen in a straight forward way, instead the way is littered with massacres, murder and betrayal. The main characters act more like mafia dons than divinely blessed heroes. Continue reading “An Atheist Reads The 1st Book Of Samuel: The Fall Of Saul And The Rise Of David”
So the Book of Samuel begins with the origin story of Samuel (of course, he can’t be just an ordinary guy, no, even his birth must be something of a miracle). There was a man with two wives (an issue that God is completely silent on and presumably has no problem with) and he deeply loves one despite the fact that “the Lord had closed her womb”. This is revealing for two reasons, firstly that the Bible thinks that loving your wife despite the fact she can’t have children is unusual enough to merit mention. Evidently, the role of a woman was to have children and if they couldn’t this was seen as a failure. Continue reading “An Atheist Reads The 1st Book Of Samuel: How Do You Make A King?”
The Book of Ruth is an unusual book and completely unlike the rest of the Bible. For a start its named after a woman, which is incredible considering as most other women in the Bible aren’t even given names. Two of the three main characters are women and it also has the first scene where two women are talking to each other. By the abysmally low standards of the Bible, this is practically feminism. It is also the first book in which God is not a character and plays no role at all. Finally, unlike the rest of the Bible it is mercifully short and to the point. Continue reading “An Atheist Reads The Book Of Ruth: The Least Biblical Book In The Bible”
If you think about it, Judges is a misleading title for this book as none of the characters are judges or do any judging. Instead they are warriors and rebels, who spend their time fighting other nations, but the Bible is silent on how (if) they governed or how Israelite society was at the time. That would have been more interesting than endless repetition of the same story. Instead of judgement, with get constant war, the massacre of innocents and brutal rape. The chaos of the book was probably exaggerated to provide legitimacy for the later kings and it contains some of the most horrible stories of the Bible, especially towards women. Continue reading “An Atheist Reads The Book Of Judges: Rape, Massacre & Chaos”
The best way to imagine the Book of Judges is to compare it to some bad movie sequels, where the writers have run out of ideas and so just keep repeating themselves. Because that’s essentially what the Book of Judges is, the same story told again and again. Every single story begins with the Israelites abandoning God, God sending a foreign oppressor as punishment, the Israelites beg forgiveness and so God rescues them. Every good thing that happens is due to God and every bad thing is the Israelites fault, which makes me doubt the objectivity of the author. Continue reading “An Atheist Reads The Book Of Judges: God’s Glory If You Win, Your Sins If You Lose”
The Book of Joshua deals with the wars the Israelites fought to conquer the promised land. To make it more realistic, it should be named the Book of Genocide, as the Israelites exterminate one nation after another and steal their land. No justification is given, greed is simply enough. In a book that is supposed to be a moral code for all humans, instead we get one of the first recordings of genocide in history. Continue reading “An Atheist Reads The Bible: The Final Solution”
Hello and welcome to another instalment of An Atheist Reads The Bible. Chances are that by now you all know how this works and don’t need any introduction, so let’s jump right into the second half of Deuteronomy which is a particularly violent section, obsessed with purging the evil from society. Continue reading “An Atheist Reads The Bible: Purge The Evil”
If there is one strong theme so far in the Book of Deuteronomy (or the Bible in general) it is that you must fear God. God doesn’t want to be loved or praised or have a personal relationship with you, he wants you to fear him. Plenty of times the Bible explicitly says that God is to be feared by all. When the Israelites sin and beg forgiveness, God ignores their cries. He is not a God of mercy, moreover, he gives plenty of reasons for you to fear him. Continue reading “An Atheist Reads The Bible: The Fear Of God”
In my last post I skipped over one of the most bizarre stories in the Bible (though I’m saying this so often it’s starting to lose meaning). Considering the last post dealt with genocide, I didn’t want to confuse the theme and I ran out of space. But I felt this story is too good to ignore (the title alone is worth it) so I figure I might as well write a post about it.
So the story begins in chapter 22 of the Book of Numbers when Continue reading “An Atheist Reads The Bible: Talking Out Its Ass”
As anyone who watches Game of Thrones can tell you, life long ago was very brutal. People didn’t live long, and while they lived things were too great. The politics of the time were especially rough. One person (or at best a small handful of people) had all the power and any threat to this power was swiftly destroyed. This power was obtained and maintained by killing people so the best thing ordinary people could do was to stay out of their way and under no circumstances question or challenge them. These leaders didn’t care about the ordinary people and used their power to enrich themselves and their cronies. Everyone else was simply “the masses”, the hordes of commoners who got in the way, a nuisance that could be troublesome if it didn’t have enough bread.
You would think that a polity ruled by God would be different. Surely it would be a model of peace and understanding where all people prospered together as one? A place where all are free and equal citizens? The strange thing is that even in the Bible (which is written by the Israelites and therefore puts them in the best light) the Israelites seem the exact same as every other tribe of the time. Being directly lead in all they do by God doesn’t seem to make a society in any way better than how they would have acted without God. Moses and God act like petty despots rather than models of virtue that we should all follow. Continue reading “An Atheist Reads The Bible: Resistance Is Futile”