Archive for June, 2013
How many Gods are there? The Jews, Christians and Muslims would all three answer – quite assuredly – that there’s only one. In the Christian’s case it’s a tad more complex since they’ve invented a three-in-one god but in the end and schizophrenia aside, they have one god. Yahweh, Allah, HaShem, whatever you want to call the chap in charge (of the Universe…).
I’ll leave the Muslims and Jews out of this one since my Arabic and Hebrew is sketchy at best.
I quite enjoy reading the Bible. Especially the King James version since I enjoy the language. But what I love most of all is what it says at face value. You see – and I clearly remember this from my days of needing to be Christian – Christians do a bunch of convoluted mental gymnastics to not read what the Bible actually says. You – any given Christian – need to do a whole lot of interpreting and inventing context so that the Bible doesn’t come across as the ludicrous collection of fairy tales and horror stories that it actually is.
My favourite bits of the Bible are the flat-out contradictions. I’m especially fond of the ones where the almighty creator of the universe takes it upon himself to personally contradict himself. Read my post “A couple of contradictions in the Bible” for a graphic illustration of just how non-deity-inspired the Bible really is.
So, how many gods are there?
From Isaiah 45:
45:5 I am the LORD, and there is none else, there is no God beside me: I girded thee, though thou hast not known me:
From Deuteronomy 32:
32:39 See now that I, even I, am he, and there is no god with me:
And just to be sure, from Mark 12:
12:29 And Jesus answered him, The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord:
12:32 And the scribe said unto him, Well, Master, thou hast said the truth: for there is one God; and there is none other but he:
Sort of hard to argue that methinks. Old testament, new testament, Jesus said it, God – who is also Jesus – said it. Right? Right.
Now, a particularly important part of being infallible is not failing. Being wrong is failing. Saying and believing that the Bible is both true and infallible and that God is both omnipotent, omniscient, infallible… well… I’m sure you can see where this is going.
I’m going to skip the issues in Genesis since I think the context might be too easily mis-interpreted – read twisted- and move on to the rest of the Bible.
15:11 Who is like unto thee, O LORD, among the gods? who is like thee, glorious in holiness, fearful in praises, doing wonders?
18:11 Now I know that the LORD is greater than all gods: for in the thing wherein they dealt proudly he was above them.
20:3 Thou shalt have no other gods before me.
23:13 And in all things that I have said unto you be circumspect: and make no mention of the name of other gods, neither let it be heard out of thy mouth.
34:14 For thou shalt worship no other god: for the LORD, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God:
34:15 Lest thou make a covenant with the inhabitants of the land, and they go a whoring after their gods, and do sacrifice unto their gods, and one call thee, and thou eat of his sacrifice;
33:4 For the Egyptians buried all their firstborn, which the LORD had smitten among them: upon their gods also the LORD executed judgments.
3:24 O Lord GOD, thou hast begun to shew thy servant thy greatness, and thy mighty hand: for what God is there in heaven or in earth, that can do according to thy works, and according to thy might?
6:14 Ye shall not go after other gods, of the gods of the people which are round about you;
6:15 (For the LORD thy God is a jealous God among you) lest the anger of the LORD thy God be kindled against thee, and destroy thee from off the face of the earth.
10:17 For the LORD your God is God of gods, and Lord of lords, a great God, a mighty, and a terrible, which regardeth not persons, nor taketh reward:
11:24 Wilt not thou possess that which Chemosh thy god giveth thee to possess? So whomsoever the LORD our God shall drive out from before us, them will we possess.
6:5 Wherefore ye shall make images of your emerods, and images of your mice that mar the land; and ye shall give glory unto the God of Israel: peradventure he will lighten his hand from off you, and from off your gods, and from off your land
96:4 For the LORD is great, and greatly to be praised: he is to be feared above all gods.
And on and on…
Why constantly mention other gods if there only ever was one? Why mention that ‘god is a jealous god’? Jealous of what? Not having humanity’s undying affection? If – for example – your partner had to cheat on you with a rock or a shiny piece of metal, would you be jealous or would you be freaked out for a bit followed by a pity while insisting on a strong course of antipsychotic drugs with a dash of therapy?
This is the bit where theologians start the mental gymnastics and the average Bible thumping religionut starts vomiting sophistry. You can’t argue that the words are there – they pretty clearly are – so what you have to do is read something else into the words and the context.
“There is only one God for sure but those barbarians kept on worshiping golden calves and statues and shit so God had to repeatedly say don’t worship those other gods”.
Yea? I have a better explanation (I use the term “I” loosely, clearly I didn’t personally come up with this entire explanation on my own. Just saying).
The Jewish tradition grew out of a polytheistic culture; the Jews settled on worshipping the war-god Yahweh (YHWH), a single god from the Canaanite pantheon. Jewish scholars then went to town to erase the other gods from their literature and culture. It took people a while but eventually the Jews had invented monotheism – with a blood thirsty monster running the universe – which the Christians and the Muslims borrowed.
And… it goes – should go – without saying that in fact there is no god. No god, not ever, not at all. Which really makes the whole thing quite sad when you think of the misery the belief in this fictitious genocidal maniac has caused.
Alternatively, there is a single omniscient, omnipotent, omnibenevolent creator of the universe – Yahweh/Jesus Christ/Holy Ghost-Spirit – who gets jealous of rocks and bits of metal. All of which has always known about – for trillions of years before actually personally creating things. Who feels the need to say in his one infallible book that he is both the only god and the best god of all the gods. Repeatedly.
I was thinking about this quote by Upton Sinclair earlier today:
It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his job depends on not understanding it.
— Upton Sinclair
I realised that one might paraphrase Mr. Sinclair’s saying and apply it to a different domain of life:
It is difficult to get a man to understand something when he believes his salvation depends on not understanding it.
I suppose that could – and perhaps should – be clarified by saying “It’s difficult, if not impossible, to get a man to understand something when he erroneously believes that his salvation and his immortal soul depends on him not understanding it”.
A bit arduous perhaps? Brevity does seem to add to the quote in my opinion.
The point stands and is underscored by every anti-evolution argument, every young earth argument and every anti-science argument raised by every creationists, ever. Arguing with a religious person is challenging if not futile since the religious have a vested interest in not understanding a point, seeing any proof or accepting that an argument against their dearly held beliefs might be correct.
A point well made by another quote:
You can’t reason someone out of a position they didn’t reason themselves into.
“Can’t” might be too strong a word but it does seem pretty unlikely that one would be able to reason a person out of a belief that they were not convinced of through reason, logic and evidence.
The bottom line? Convincing somebody of a fact using logic and reason when that person has a vested interest – not suffering terrible torture for eternity being a really good example of a vested interest – in not understanding that fact it futile. Or at least pretty freaking hard.
Science. It work’s bitches. There is no other way to put it.
Grayson Clamp’s face lights up as he hears his father’s voice for the first time in a video shot by UNC Health Care.
The 3-year-old adopted son of Charlotte residents Len and Nicole Clamp recently became one of the first children in the United States to receive an auditory brainstem implant – a device that restored his sense of sound.
Read more at the Charlotte Observer: Charlotte boy hears for the first time after surgery
Is that another win for science? Why, yes, science wins again.
Carl Sagan is without a doubt one of my favourite people. Ever. He is that to a great many people I guess. In this video a creationist tries to argue that Evolution isn’t correct… for a number of reasons and in classic creatard debating tactic refuses to let the man answer. We all know why he let Carl refuse to answer – it’s never pleasant to have one’s dearly held beliefs destroyed…
Evolution, it’s such a simple thing that so many people refuse to see.
Anyway, here’s Carl. He’s the most awesome.
Quantum Physics made simple… Ok, let me qualify that. It’s a really cool little animation that makes visualising wave-particle duality somewhat easier. Nothing makes quantum physics… simple. As far as I can tell anyway.
Behold! A really awesome animation!
Love the style of animation. Science wins!
It’s just occurred to me that I’ve been neglecting science. I haven’t posted any sciency goodness in a quite a while and I have every intention of rectifying this unacceptable situation.
So, here’s a nice video on the standard model of particle physics. Feel, the, awesome.
I should have done a physics degree. I might still do a physics degree. I love physics.
Be totally awesome.
What could go wrong when you base your life on ancient laws written and re-written by anonymous authors in dead languages who were ignorant, racist, sexist, superstitious, goat herding barbarians and who believed everything they couldn’t explain was magic?