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About this journal...

I am a christian-turned-atheist who hasn't read the bible. I've been told a few times that the answers to my questions about religion are in the bible, and I would think differently if I have read the bible. So the point of this is to record my thoughts on the bible as I read it, and prove or disprove this theory in a sort of Mythbusters-esque way. I have no academic knowledge of scripture, and all I know prior to this is what I learned at church until I was about 15 years old. I'm taking the bible at face value, and I don't even really consider myself a very good writer, so don't expect this to be some sort of literary masterpiece.
Besides commenting on the bible, I will also comment on other things pertaining to religion or atheism that is unrelated to the bible from time to time as well. This journal is primarily for my friends and family, but anybody is welcome to read it. Discussion and debate is encouraged in the comments section.

This post is going to serve as a sort of FAQ or 'Ask me anything' type thing. If you have any questions you'd like to ask me, leave them in the comments. You can comment anonymously if you'd like. If I feel like your question is a good one, it may become a post of its own. If you'd like to ask me anything privately, you can also send me a message instead of a comment.

I'm going to try to get back on track to doing mostly daily updates again, whether it's of the bible or something else pertaining to god and/or godlessness. I got five books and a new game this passed weekend though, so hopefully they don't become too much of a distraction!

Before we continue, I would like to remind everyone of Lord Raglan's Hero Pattern which I posted in my last bible entry. Just click the link to go back to that entry and refresh your memory if you've forgotten. Try to keep this Hero Pattern in your mind while we go through Moses's story, it will be much easier for you.

Moses objects to the Lord's commands in Chapter 4, saying the people won't trust him. So god teaches Moses a bunch of magic tricks that any seasoned street magician could do, including throwing a staff on the ground that will turn into a snake, picking it up to turn it back into a staff, making his hand turn leprous by putting it under his shirt, turning it back by slipping it under his shirt again, and pouring water from the Nile onto the ground, which turns to blood. Moses continues to object, saying he's not a good speaker because he stutters. God tells Moses he was the one who made the human mouth. He also admits to being behind the cause for deafness, muteness, and blindness for no apparent reason other than just because he can. He says he will be right behind Moses to tell him what to say. Moses still protests against god's decision, so god says that his brother Aaron will do the speaking, but it will be Moses's words. Moses leaves and tells his father-in-law that he is going back to Egypt (trait 11 of the hero pattern) to see if his relatives are still alive. God tells Moses not to worry because all the men who wanted to kill him are dead, so Moses packs up his family and takes his staff and heads off. God warns Moses that the magic tricks he will be doing will be in front of Pharaoh, but god is going to make it a bit more difficult for Moses by making Pharaoh stubborn. So god tells Moses to tell Pharaoh that because Pharaoh isn't freeing his son (Israel), that he will kill his firstborn son. God decides to punish Pharaoh for being stubborn by killing his firstborn son, even though god was the one who made Pharaoh stubborn to begin with. God comes to Moses in the middle of the night and tries to kill him. The Message doesn't really say why, but the SAB says that it's because his son isn't circumcised yet. Even so, this doesn't make sense. Why is god trying to kill Moses now, after he told him to return to Egypt to do all this stuff for him? Luckily, Zipporah circumcised their son with a FLINT KNIFE (for those of you who don't know, it's basically just a SHARP ROCK) and then took the foreskin and touched Moses's member with it and declared him as her bridegroom, so god let him go. DFKJHWLEKJHW WHAT IS THIS I DON'T EVEN. Anyway, Aaron and Moses gathered up all the Israelites and told them what happened, and they trusted them and believed that god had seen what was going on.
In Chapter 5, Moses and Aaron approach Pharaoh, telling him that god told them to tell him to let the people of Israel go so they can hold a festival for him in the forest. Pharaoh said he hasn't heard of such a god, and that he isn't going to let the people of Israel go. Moses asks him to let them go again, because if they don't go worship god, god will get angry and give them diseases or kill them like a just god would. Pharaoh just tells them to go back to work and the people don't deserve time off. He gives orders to the slave-drivers, telling them not to provide straw to the people, but to make them gather their own straw to make the same number of bricks. He wants the slave-drivers to crack down on the Israelites to punish them for their whining. When they couldn't make the same quota as when they were given straw, the slave-drivers and Pharaoh punished them and called them lazy. The Israelites became mad at Moses and Aaron because instead of being freed to worship, they were being punished more. Moses asks god why he is letting this happen.
God answers in chapter 6, telling him to be patient and see what will happen to Pharaoh. God reassures him, telling him that he is the same god that appeared to his ancestors and created a covenant with them. He tells Moses to tell the people that god will rescue them and bring them to the land promised to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. When Moses told the people, they didn't listen because their spirits were beaten down by the harsh slave conditions. God tells Moses to speak to the Pharaoh directly, but Moses tells him that if the Israelites won't even listen to him, then how will Pharaoh? He also reminds god of his stutter. God still commands that they do this. The rest of the chapter is some boring genealogy.


Overview, according to the booklet included:
In this introductory lesson, Dr. Meyer lays out a process to provide reasons for faith by using science and logic to evaluate the great questions of life. In doing so, he is building a case for the existence of God by looking at the evidence all around us.

In the beginning of this lesson, we are introduced to Dr. Stephen Meyer, who mentions he does his research at the Discovery Institute, wrote a book called Signature in the Cell, and was in the movie Expelled. Already I am groaning. I have heard of this book, but haven't read it. What I do know is that it got virtually no reviews from the scientific community, but was avidly accepted by those in favor of intelligent design creationism. This is the exact same thing that can be said about this dvd box set! Interesting! The reviews that did come from the scientific community were all negative, which peeved off the Discovery Institute enough that they wrote a second book containing all these negative reviews and their rebuttals, entitled Signature Of Controversy: Responses to Critics of Signature in the Cell. Talk about turning the other cheek. I shouldn't even have to begin talking about how much the Discovery Institute likes to bend the truth and cherry pick facts. They are really are one of the saddest groups of people I know of. Expelled is another one I shouldn't have to mention. It's anti-science propaganda which made me lose any respect I had for Ben Stein, and tries to create controversy where there is none. There is a whole website about how dishonest this movie is.
Meyer then goes on to explain how he came up with the idea for a class he taught called "Reasons for Faith" that encourages people to look at the "big questions", such as:
  • Does god exist?

  • Who is god?

  • Is the Bible reliable?

He then claims that we will be looking at these questions from the standpoint of:
  • Evidence

  • Logic

  • Reason

He talks about how he used to think about these questions all the time, and later learned that these were the same questions philosophers pondered. He starts quote mining right away:
"Without an infinite reference point, nothing finite has any lasting meaning." -Jean-Paul Sartre

He begins over exaggerate his intelligence at 14, because he figures if he thought the same thing as Jean-Paul Sartre at 14, that must mean he was a philosopher at 14.
He goes on to ask us to "sort out the big issues":
  • Is there a purpose in the universe?

  • Is there a god?

  • Can you know him?

He says that most teachers and professors like to show different view points, but he is going to "do us the dignity of making us an argument."
He wants us to think of some answers to these questions before he attempts to brainwash us:
  • When you think of faith, what is the connotation that you associate with that term?

I think faith means believing in something without factual evidence. I'd be interested in knowing what my readers' answers are. Meyer is nice enough to give us his definitions of faith:
  • Belief in something uncertain

  • He then claims that even scientists have faith. He says that one of the things scientists have faith is that the inferences that they make from evidence are actually true. This is a statement that reflects a straw man argument propagated to attempt to discredit "belief" in science as being no more logically sound than believing in a religion. However, this represents a categorical misunderstanding of science, which is explicitly based on logic, with ideas developed through demonstrable, repeatable experiments or studies. Religion, on the other hand, is based solely on, as inherent to the argument, faith. He also claims that scientists sometimes have to assume some things about the world (call presuppositions). He adds this to his list of his definitions of faith:
    • Belief in presuppositions

    He goes on to claim that one thing all scientists have a presupposition about is that everything has a cause. This is a lie. What he is probably referring to is the First Law of Thermodynamics which only talks about mass and energy. Space-time itself can, as far as we know, pop into existence whenever it wants. He says scientists also assume that nature will be uniform and orderly. The existence of tornadoes and hurricanes can easily debunk that claim. He also says that scientists assume that same laws of physics that apply today are going to apply tomorrow. I don't know where he is pulling this one from. Science isn't constant. That doesn't mean it's wrong. He adds two more points to his list of his definitions of faith:
    • Trust or belief in god's presence and power

    • Belief in a system of thought, a personal philosophy, a worldview

    He then expands into another list, for the definition of "worldview":
    • Personal philosophy

    • Hypothesis about ultimate reality

    • Set of answers to fundamental questions:

      • What is the prime reality? (What is the thing from which everything else comes?)

      • What is the nature of human nature?

      • What is the nature of the world around us?

    Asking "What is the thing from which everything else comes?" is assuming there is something from which everything else comes. Why should anyone assume that? Why should anyone assume that the logical answer to this is god? He says that people who don't believe in god think that the matter from "way back there" is the thing from which everything else comes. He says that "materialists" say:
    Matter and energy are the thing from which everything else came.

    Meyer introduces us to 4 different worldviews (which he calls "the big worldviews"):
    • Materialism: Matter is the prime reality.

    • Theism: A personal god is the prime reality

    • Deism: A personal but remote god is the prime reality

    • Pantheism: An impersonal god is the prime reality

    Calling these "the big worldviews" betrays a startling lack of imagination on Meyer's part. This list just contains four specific worldviews, but I could come up with ten more right now which are just as likely. He claims we are now going to be using "reasoning" to answer the question, "Does god exist?" and gives us types of reason:
    • Deduction: general rule, to a particular case, to get a certain outcome

    • Induction: generalization from observation

    • Abduction: effects back to causes

    • Inference to the best explanation

    So what make an explanation best? Meyer claims that the best explanation is one that provides the most adequate causal explanation. He says that "What's the thing from which everything else came?" is a question about cause. This, again, implies that there is something from which everything else came. This is one of the reasons this lesson falls short of being trustworthy. Another reason is that Meyer assumes he is using a scientific process, but he is doing it backwards. Scientists use evidence to draw conclusions. Meyer already has his conclusion, and is trying to use evidence to back it up. We'll see if this method holds strong for him throughout the next 9 lessons.

I mentioned in a previous post that my mom had challenged me to watch a dvd box set she has which has "irrefutable evidence" and to disprove it. I accepted her challenge, but keep in mind I am not a scientist, just a science enthusiast, so I am writing my reviews at the same level of intelligence as a normal person, with access to the same amount of information as a normal person. I could only imagine what someone who has studied science for years would have to say about these dvds.

Before I started watching the DVDs, I decided to do a little research. For something that contains "irrefutable evidence" of god's existence, it was a little bit tricky to find online. I googled "Does God Exist dvds", "Does God Exist dvd boxset", "Steven Meyer Does God Exist", and finally found a link when I googled "Steven Meyer Does God Exist dvd". That led to the discovery that it was actually called "True U: Does God Exist?: Building the Scientific Case", so I looked for it on Amazon, hoping to find some incite in the reviews before I endeavored on my quest. It only had 9 reviews. It seems as though this box set is only familiar to a few people who saw it advertised in Focus on the Family. This doesn't really speak wonders for the box set, as you would think it would be a little more well-known for something that contains "irrefutable evidence". I later discovered that there was a link to the official website on the back of the box, so that was my next destination. The "About" section had this to say:

TrueU is a DVD-based apologetics curriculum. Dr. Del Tackett, architect and voice of Focus on the Family’s The Truth Project®, describes this endeavor this way:
“Produced by Focus on the Family in conjunction with Coldwater Media, TrueU is an apologetics training series primarily geared to help prepare high school students for the rigorous challenges and attacks that will confront them on the university campus. My guess is that it will end up benefiting a whole lot more folks than just high school seniors.”
It is important to clarify that TrueU is not “The Truth Project for teens.” As envisioned by Dr. Tackett and our staff, TrueU will be, in essence, a series of “prequels” (or lead-in studies) to The Truth Project. (See the FAQ below, about TrueU’s format, for some important information regarding the lessons’ complexity).
TrueU is designed primarily to help students solidify their Christian faith with foundational apologetics training. This will equip young people to stand strong in the university environment, and also serve as a precursor to the in-depth study presented in The Truth Project of how to live out a Christian worldview in everyday life.
We would encourage those who complete TrueU to immediately join a Truth Project small group, if possible, and continue exploring the practical day-to-day application of a biblical worldview.

The back of the box says this:
"Do you really believe that what you believe is really real?"
Does God Exist?
Can we prove the existence of God, or are we left to grapple in the dark and take blind leaps of faith about what we believe?
Everyone asks these questions, and maybe you think you have the answers. But can you defend your beliefs when peers and professors are challenging your worldview?
In TrueU: Does God Exist?, Dr. Stephen Meyer plays a “philosophical survival game” pitting four worldviews against one another in the quest to decide which one gives the best answer. Dr. Meyer helps you examine the evidence and provides the tools needed to defend your faith and make it your own."

This box set contains a 64-page full-color booklet with discussion questions, which I will be using as a tool throughout.
The dvd is split into ten 30-minute lessons, which will have their own post, the first of which I will type up immediately after this forward:

  • Lesson 1: Faith and Reason

  • Lesson 2: The Big Bang Cosmology: "The Finite Universe"

  • Lesson 3: The Big Bang Cosmology, Part 2: "In the Beginning"

  • Lesson 4: The Big Bang Cosmology, Part 3: "A finely Tuned Universe"

  • Lesson 5: DNA by Design

  • Lesson 6: DNA by Design, Part 2: "Doing the Math"

  • Lesson 7: DNA by Design, Part 3: "Information and Intelligence"

  • Lesson 8: The Return of the God Hypothesis

  • Lesson 9: The Moral Necessity of Theism

  • Lesson 10: The Moral Necessity of Theism, Part 2: "We Need God"

  • Bonus Extra: The Toughest Test in College

I hope this is worth my while.

Just a Quick Update

I'm still reading the bible, but I think my goal is a bit unrealistic at this point. I've missed far too many days. I might work towards revising my reading schedule as I don't want to spend over a year reading the bible, but don't expect an entry every day. To put it in perspective, my journal entries can take anywhere from 20 minutes to a couple hours to complete. I'm very thorough in my process. And now that I've started a full time job and I've just moved back home to where my amazing boyfriend is (who I want to spend time with), doing a daily entry just isn't feasible. I'll try to get as many done as I can, but for the moment, maybe expect a few a week instead of daily. I'll update as often as I can. I'm not doing a bible entry today by the way.
Another exciting thing you can expect on this journal:
I'm sure you've all heard of Stephen Hawking's upcoming book that declares there is no reason to believe god created the universe anymore, but if not, click here. I posted it to my facebook this morning, and my mom commented, saying, "Bri, this doesn't prove anything. All he is saying is that numerous theories would prove that the universe was not created by a god. He doesn't support that with evidence. No matter how many times he says it he can only offer theories. I challenge you to watch the DVDs by Steven Meyer and then refute them with evidence. I believe I have an irrefutable argument and you have yet to arise with a rebuttal."
My mom has mentioned these dvd's before, and I think these are something I should watch just so gets off my case. I also think this journal would be an adequate place to write down what I think about these dvds, so you can look forward to that. In the meantime, I'd like to again apologize for the break between posts lately. Life is just getting in the way for the most part.
Have a good day!

Exodus 1-3; The Miraculous Myth of Moses

I'd like to apologize for the disappearance there. I've just been so busy!! I hope I can make it up to you with a lengthy post with lots to read and think about!

Before we begin Exodus, I'd like to make sure everybody is aware of Lord Raglan's Hero Pattern. In Lord Raglan's book The Hero, A Study in Tradition, Myth and Drama, the central thesis is that hero figures of mythology had their origin in ritual drama, not historical fact, and he outlines 22 common traits of god-heroes. Throughout the story of Moses, I will be pointing out how Moses's story fits 20 out of 22 of these traits. These common traits are:
1. The hero's mother is a royal virgin;
2. His father is a king, and
3. Often a near relative of his mother, but
4. The circumstances of his conception are unusual, and
5. He is also reputed to be the son of a god.
6. At birth an attempt is made, usually by his father or his maternal grandfather, to kill him, but
7. He is spirited away, and
8. Reared by foster parents in a far country.
9. We are told nothing of his childhood, but
10. On reaching manhood he returns to go to his future kingdom.
11. After a victory over the king, and/or a giant, dragon, or wild beast,
12. He marries a princess, often the daughter of his predecessor, and
13. Becomes king.
14. For a time he reigns uneventfully, and
15. Prescribes laws, but
16. Later loses favor with the gods and/or his subjects, and
17. Is driven from the throne and city, after which
18. He meets a mysterious death,
19. Often at the top of a hill.
20. His children, if any, do not succeed him.
21. His body is not buried, but nevertheless
22. He has one or more holy sepulchers.

The beginning of Exodus sort of starts out as a recap of the last bit of Genesis. After Joseph and his brothers died, the Israelites reproduced like crazy. A new king came along and was not at all comfortable with all these Jews running around, so he comes up with a plan to contain them so they don't join the enemy if there is a war, or just walk off and leave them. They put the Jews in to workgangs and made them do a lot of hard labour, but the harder they worked, they more they reproduced. So the Egyptians treated them terribly, crushing them under all of the work. The king then told the Hebrew midwives to kill any newborn baby boy, but let the girls live, but the midwives let the babies live and told the king that the Hebrew women already had the babies by the time they got there. So god rewards the midwives for lying to the king. I don't want to ever hear anybody say to me again that god does not condone lying. After this, the king issues a general order to everyone to drown every baby boy in the Nile River, but let the girls live. This part fits into the sixth trait of our hero pattern.
At the beginning of chapter 2, a man from the family of Levi marries a Levite woman (traits 1, 2, and 3). The woman gets pregnant and has a son, and seeing something special in him, she hides him. When she could no longer hide him, she made a little boat for him and set him down the Nile (trait 7). The baby's sister watched as the Pharaoh's daughter found the baby in the basket, so she asked the Pharaoh's daughter if she wanted her to get a Hebrew woman to nurse the baby for her. The Pharaoh's daughter said yes, so the baby's sister gets her mother. The Pharaoh's daughter named the baby Moses and adopted him as her son (trait 5 and 8). The birth of Moses sounds outrageously similar to the birth of Sargon of Akkad, an Akkadian emperor famous for his conquest of the Sumerian city-states in the 23rd and 22nd centuries BC. A Neo-Assyrian text from the 7th century BC purporting to be Sargon's autobiography asserts that the great king was the illegitimate son of a priestess. In the Neo-Assyrian account Sargon's birth and his early childhood are described thus:
"My mother was a high priestess, my father I knew not. The brothers of my father loved the hills. My city is Azupiranu, which is situated on the banks of the Euphrates. My high priestess mother conceived me, in secret she bore me. She set me in a basket of rushes, with bitumen she sealed my lid. She cast me into the river which rose over me. The river bore me up and carried me to Akki, the drawer of water. Akki, the drawer of water, took me as his son and reared me. Akki, the drawer of water, appointed me as his gardener. While I was a gardener, Ishtar granted me her love, and for four and ... years I exercised kingship."

We skip past Moses's childhood (trait 9) and continue his story as a full grown man. He sees an Egyptian treating a Hebrew poorly, so he kills the Egyptian for being mean to one of his own (trait 11). The next day he sees two Hebrew's fighting, and asks them to stop. They ask him if he is going to kill them like he did the Egyptian, so he panicked because word had gotten out. The Pharaoh tries to kill him, but he flees to the land of Midian (trait 10). He sat by a well and met the priest's seven daughters who were watering their sheep. When some shepherds chased them off, Moses came to the rescue and helped them water their sheep. He is invited to have dinner with them, and eventually marries one of the daughters (trait 12) and has a son with her. Many years later, the king of Egypt died, and the Israelites cried out to god for relief from their slavery.
As Moses is tending to the flocks in chapter 3, he leads them to the mountain of god, where god, disguised as a burning bush, has a long heart-to-heart talk with Moses. inb4 a "Moses must have been smoking some burning bush" joke. That's been sooo overdone. God tells Moses of his plan to lead the Israelites to a land of milk and honey, and he tells Moses to go back and free his people from the Pharaoh. He says to prove that he sent Moses, to bring them back to that very spot to pray once they are free. Moses asks who he should say sent him, and god says to tell them I-AM sent him. He assures Moses that they will listen to him, then him and the leaders of Israel will ask the Pharaoh to let them leave on a three day journey to worship their god. He says he knows they won't let them leave, so he will savagely attack them, and all of the Hebrew's women will steal from the Egyptians. Oh, that kooky crazy backwards deity.


After reading about the burning bush, a story which I have been familiar with for most of my life, I couldn't help myself from thinking, "why do people actually believe this happened??" I recalled an article I had read on cracked recently called 5 Mind Blowing Ways Your Memory Plays Tricks On You. The fifth point in this article discusses the "Illusion of Truth" effect. Cracked put it better than I can, so I will just copy and paste for the convenience:
"We judge things to be true based on how often we hear them. We like familiarity, and repeating a lie often enough makes it familiar to us, the repetition making it fall right in with all of the things our memory tells us are true about the world. Every advertiser or propagandist knows this. Humans are social animals, and there is a primal part of us that still says, "If other members of the tribe who I feel close to believe this, there must be something to it.""

This brings me back to when I was first starting to see the world through an atheist's eyes, and realized that the songs sang in church sound very much like hypnotic brain-washing chants. If you repeat something enough times (god is good god is good), people are bound to believe it. But why do people still believe, even with all of the conflicting evidence in the way?
"And no, simply showing us the correct information doesn't fix it. Quite the opposite: research shows that once we've seized on an incorrect piece of information, exposure to the facts either doesn't change what we think, or makes us even more likely to hold onto the false information. You can guess why this is: our self-image triumphs over all. It's more important that we continue to think of ourselves as infallible than admit we're wrong. This is how people continue to believe admitted hoaxes after they have been proven to be fake."

Genesis 48-50; The End of Genesis

Jacob is dying in Chapter 48. He tells Joseph that his two sons will get equal inheritence with his own sons, but any sons after that will be Joseph's. He tells Joseph to bring his sons to him so he can bless them. At first Joseph thought Jacob was making a mistake because he had put his right hand on the youngest son's head, but Jacob knew what he was doing, and knew that the younger would be more prosperous than the older. Jacob blesses them, and then blesses Joseph with safe passage back to the land of his fathers.
Jacob prophesies what will happen to each of his twelve children. He tells Reuben that even thoug he is his firstborn, he will not excel as a firstborn should, because he slept with Jacob's wife. He says that Simeon and Levi like to fight at a drop of a hat, but doesn't want to be a part of it, so he will throw them out with the trash. He says that Judah's brothers will praise him, and that he will be king until the "ultimate ruler" comes. He says Zebulun will settle down on the seashore. Issachar will go to work as a slave. Dan will handle matters of justice for his people, and will do just fine. Gad will be attacked by bandits but will trip them up. Asher will be famous for making good food. Napthali is a "deer running free that gives birth to lovely fawns". Joseph is a donkey, and the "archers" will attack him, but he will be blessed by god to prevail. Benjamin is a ravenous wolf, gorging in the morning, and dividing what is left in the evening. He finishes off by telling his family that he wants to be buried in the field of Ephron the Hittite, alongside Abraham and Sarah, and Isaac and Rachael. Then he dies, in Egypt, even though god promised to bring him safely back from Egypt in Chapter 46.
In Chapter 50 (the final chapter in Genesis, hooray!), Joseph instructs the physicians to embalm his father, which takes 40 days, and the people of Egypt mourn for 70 days. He requests leave to go bury his father, and Pharaoh grants it. It was a huge funeral procession, with high ranking officials, and dignitaries, and everyone in Jacob's family. They stopped at the Atad Threshing Floor just across the Jordan River to mourn for seven days. After burying their father, all the brothers returned to Egypt. Joseph's brothers talked amongst themselves and wondered if Joseph held a grudge for how poorly they treated him in his youth and was planning payback. They ask Joseph if he is going to forgive them like their father had asked him to, and offered to be his slaves. Joseph tells them not to worry because it all worked out for the best anyways. Then Joseph died, in Egypt, even though Jacob prophesied otherwise.

And thus concludes my reading of Genesis, the first book of the bible! Back when I was reading Chapters 22 to 24 and posted the link on facebook, a girl I previously had as a friend on facebook (but deleted me as a result of this journal) had this to say:

"The bible is not something to be made fun of, or something you read to find reasons to bash christianity or God. There is lots of valuable lessons to be learned from reading the bible and perhaps you should make that your focal point. And if christianity is something your(sic) actually interested in then give it a fair chance and take something positive from it. Making a mochery(sic) of the bible is not right."

As someone who had called me a fat piece of crap in the second grade, had casual sex throughout high school, pooped on someone's windshield, and had a baby out of wedlock, I decided this girl is most certainly a shining example of what a christian should be, so maybe I should take her advice. Let's take a look at all of the valuable lessons I have learned from reading Genesis:
  • Lying is ok.

  • If you pray hard enough, your baren wife will be able to produce children...

  • ...which will be male.

  • Incest is ok...

  • ...especially if it means carrying on your lineage...

  • ...even if you have to get your father too drunk to notice what's going on in order to do so.

  • Its okay to curse your child for seeing you naked, even though you were the one drunkenly stumbling around in the nude.

  • Its okay to offer your virgin daughters to a crowd of horny men, as long as it protects your house guests, who happen to be male angels.

  • Abandoning your children is ok, as long as god tells you to do it.

  • Killing your children is ok, as long as god tells you to do it.

  • Doing anything that is usually bad is ok, as long as god tells you to do it.

  • Cutting off the foreskin of your babies is not only ok, but encouraged.

  • Killing almost everything is okay if you're not pleased with how things are turning out...

  • ...or if someone raped your sister.

  • It's better to impregnate a woman, even if you don't want to, than to spill your seed on the ground.

  • Women aren't as important as men...

  • ...and are only good for baby making.

  • The people in the genesis are really gullible, and really stupid.

  • god is angry, and works in mysterious ways -- cruel, inefficient, and mysterious ways. (that really is my favorite quote from Penn Jillette)

I could go on, but I think you get the point.


Israel begins his journey to Egypt in Chapter 46, and arrived at Beersheba on the way. He stopped and worshipped god and offered sacrifices. God speaks to him at this point, but still refers to him as Jacob, even though he is referred to as Israel throughout the rest of this chapter, and god was the one who renamed him to Israel. God tells Israel/Jacob to not be afraid of going to Egypt, because god will keep him safe on the way there, and even on the way back. He also tells him that Joseph will be with him when he dies. Everyone, totalling 70, loaded up the wagons that Pharaoh sent and headed off to Egypt. The majority of this chapter is just more boring geneology. It's very interesting how many boys are born in Jacob's family compared to the two girls who are born. Jacob sends Judah off ahead to get directions from Joseph to Goshen. When they got there, Joseph met them, and Jacob wept for a long time when he saw him. He said he was ready to die now that he's seen him. Joseph speaks to his family and tells them to tell Pharaoh that they are shepherds so that he will let them stay in Goshen, because Egyptians look down upon anyone who is a shepherd.
In Chapter 47, Joseph goes with his father and five of his brothers to meet the Pharaoh. They do as Joseph asks and request to settle in Goshen. Pharaoh agrees and also asks that if any of them are especially good at their work, to be put in charge of his own flocks. Joseph took good care of his family when they settled in Goshen. Eventually the famine got so bad that there was no food anywhere. Joseph collected all the money from Egypt and Canaan and banked it in Pharaoh's palace. When they money had run out, the Egyptians came to Joseph and asked if he was just going to sit there and watch them die, because the money had run out. Joseph told them that he would trade food for their livestock, which got them through the next year, until they had no more livestock. The Egyptians offered up their bodies and their land, offering to become slaves just so they could stay alive. Eventually Pharaoh owned all the land and all of the Egyptians became slaves. The only exception were the priests, because they were on a fixed income from the Pharaoh so they didn't need to sell their land. Joseph gave the people seed, and he said that when the crops have grown, that all the people are to give a fifth to the Pharaoh. The people were very grateful. Joseph decreed a land law called "A Fifth to the Pharaoh" that applied to everyone but the priests. Israel settled down in Goshen, and his family flourished. They lived there for 17 years. When it came time for him to die, he called Joseph and made him make a promise by putting his hand under his thigh (which, as we all remember, is a euphamism for holding his testacles in his hand) that he would not be buried in Egypt. Joseph promised.


Genesis 43-45; Joseph reveals himself

The famine gets worse in chapter 43, so Jacob (who is now referred to as Israel in this chapter) asks his sons to go back to Egypt for more food, but Judah tells him that there is no point because Joseph warned them not to come back without Benjamin. He manages to convince his father to let them take Benjamin, and Judah would be personally responsible if anything happens. Israel agrees only if they take a bunch of gifts for Joseph and twice as much money as they got back in case it was a mistake. When they get there, Joseph tells his steward to prepare a nice meal for them and make them at home. Joseph's brothers were afraid that they would be turned into slaves, so they explained to the steward that they didn't take the money on purpose and that they've brought it back plus more. The steward tells them not to worry because no money was missing, so god must be watching out for them, and gave Simeon back to them. When Joseph came back home his brothers showered him with the gifts they brought. He asked how their father was and if he was still alive, and they said he was. When Joseph saw Benjamin, he almost cried, so he excused himself to another room. When dinner was served, Benjamin's plate was piled higher than any of the other brothers'.
Joseph decides to play a little trick on his brothers. He tells his steward to load of their sacks with as much food as they can carry, and put all their money at the top, as well as his chalice in Benjamin's bag, then when they leave, run after them and ask them why they took Joseph's chalice, because Joseph drinks from this chalice, and he also uses it for divination. When the steward does this, they say that they do not have it, and if any of the brothers has it, they will be killed, and the other brothers will be slaves. When the chalice is revealed to be in Benjamin's sack, they all ripped their clothes in despair (a strange way of dealing with grief), and headed back to the city. When they get there they throw themselves on the ground in front of Joseph, saying this is god's way of exposing how bad they are (as a benevolent god would do), and that they are all in this together. Joseph says that he only wants the one who was found with the chalice. Judah begs and pleads, saying he can't go back to his father without Benjamin, because his father would die on the spot from grief.
Joseph can't hold back anymore in Chapter 45, and he reveals himself to his brothers. He tells his brothers not to blame themselves, god sent him to Egypt to save lives (from the famine he caused). He tells them to go back to his father who he is and that he is alive, and to bring him back there where he will be taken care of for the remainder of the famine. Pharaoh heard the news, so he helped Joseph's brothers by giving them wagons and land. When Jacob heard the good news, his spirit was revived.

We're not finished with the story of Joseph. I'd just like to say that the story of Joseph is one of my favorites, but it's just a story. There is no evidence of a seven year famine at the time Joseph was supposed to exist, or any evidence to suggest that Joseph even existed. Plus, I had enjoyed the animated movie based on the story, and the idea of a colorful dreamcoat really appealed to me as a child! Joseph is also one of the most flawless characters I have come across in the bible, and I think this might have to do with the commonly held belief that Jesus' story is a loose retelling of Joseph's story. Essentially, they appear to be very similar people with very similar stories. I will probably touch on this a lot more when we reach the New Testament, because I don't want to give away too much of what happens in the life of Jesus to those who might not be familiar with it before we even reach it. In the meantime, here is a small table to show some of the similarities between Joseph and Jesus.

Joseph Jesus
was a shepherd was commonly referred to as a shepherd
was betrayed by Judah was betrayed by Judas (the greek name for Judah is Judas)
was a servant was a servant
was tempted but did not sin was tempted but did not sin
dispersed bread dispersed bread (fed 5000; used bread to represent his flesh)
became a saviour is considered the saviour


Genesis 41-42; Go Go Go Joseph

I am now officially 12 days behind schedule. I should be well into Exodus by now. Oh boy. Well, I'm only human. It's a good thing I'm not being paid to do this. I'm still trying really hard to catch up when I get the time. The boyfriend is out of town until tomorrow night, though, so maybe this is an opportunity to catch up. I was actually hoping to get this entry done earlier, but a debate about the morality behind masturbation in the previous entry distracted me for the better part of my free time today. Well, on with the show. Lets start it off with a bang.

Chapter 41 takes place two years after Chapter 40. The Pharaoh has two dreams, one where 7 healthy cows come out of a river followed by 7 skinny cows who eat the healthy cows, and one where 7 healthy ears of grain grow up followed by 7 thin, dried out ears which consumed the healthy ears. Pharaoh was upset, and none of the magicians or sages of Egypt could interpret his dreams. The head cupbearer mentions Joseph, who was pretty good at interpreting dreams a couple years ago. They bring Joseph in, and Joseph says that it will be god, not him, who will interpret his dream. Joseph says that each cow and each ear of grain represent years, that is, there will be seven years of plenty followed by seven years of a really really bad famine. There won't be any sign of the plenty that had come before hand. The fact that the Pharaoh had this dream twice shows god determination to do this. Joseph suggest that the Pharaoh appoint a man to gather as much as they can during the years of plenty, so that they may have food to distribute during the famine. The Pharaoh appoints Joseph. He says that no one in Egypt will make a single move without Joseph's stamp of approval. Joseph did just as he was asked, and after seven years of plenty, god brought seven years of horrible famine on the whole earth for no apparent reason. It was so bad, that people all over the world came to buy supplies from Joseph. I'm guessing this includes the Aztecs, the Chinese, and the Indigenous Australians, too.

Jacob hears wind of available food in Egypt in Chapter 42, and sends all of his sons to Egypt, except for Benjamin because he is afraid something will happen to him. When his brothers approached him, Joseph knew who they were, but they didn't recognize him. I don't understand how I am supposed to take this part of the story seriously, but I digress. Joseph, for no other reason but to be vindictive, decides to treat his brothers like crap, and accuses them of being spies. He tells them that one of them have to stay while the others get Benjamin, to prove that they aren't lying. If they do this they won't die. Joseph's brothers somehow make the connection that they are being punished for what they did to Joseph, even though the two situations don't really relate. They didn't know Joseph could understand every word they were saying, and he started to cry. When he sent them all off (except for Simeon), he made sure that they money they gave was back in the top of their pouches of grain. When they stopped at an inn, one of them found their money in their sack. They were puzzled and frightened, not knowing what god was doing to them (which was nothing, it was all Joseph). When they got back to Jacob, they explained the whole story to him, each finding their own money as they emptied their sacks. Reuben gave his two sons as collateral for Benjamin, saying that if they didn't bring him back safely, Jacob could kill them. Yes, Reuben would gladly sacrifice the lives of his two sons if it meant they could safely free Simeon and not be declared spies. But Jacob still refused.


Also, seeing as many people probably died during the famine that god created, I guess it's only fair to bring out the God VS Satan death scoreboard. Since the famine is worldwide, I think a fair number would be about 70, 000. If anyone disagrees with this number, please speak up.

GOD: 20,072,003