On the mountain, or wherever
Moses climbed up Mount Sinai to meet God, who told him that his people needed to keep his covenant. Moses went back down and told the Israelites, and they said they would keep it. So Moses went back up the mountain and told God what they said. Then God said he was going to come and talk to Moses. Then Moses told God what the people had said, again.
God told Moses how the people should prepare for God to talk to Moses, and how Moses should keep the people away from the holy mountain while God was there. Then Moses went down and told the people what God had said. He also told them not to have sex during the visit from God, which God had not said anything about.
Moses stood at the foot of the mountain with the people and talked with God. Then Moses went up to the top of the mountain so God could talk to him. God told Moses to go and warn the people not to get too close to the mountain. Moses reminded the all-knowing God that they had already put limits around the mountain to keep people away, because God had told them to.
Then God told Moses to go down and get his brother Aaron. So he went down and told the people to stay away from the mountain, again. While Moses was down there with the people, God told them the Ten Commandments. But God was too scary, so the Israelites told Moses not to let God speak to them directly. So Moses went back up the mountain, and God gave him some more laws for Israel, so they would have more opportunities to sin. God thought that would help save people’s lives, but somehow it didn’t work.
Then God told Moses to come up the mountain with Aaron and some others. So Moses went down the mountain and told the people about all those laws. The people said they would obey them. Moses wrote down the laws, and then he came up the mountain with Aaron and some others. Then God told Moses to come up the mountain so he could give him the law. So Moses went up the mountain with his assistant, Joshua, leaving Aaron with the people. A week later, God started talking to Moses and giving him more instructions.
Continue reading The Story of the Golden Calf—
Moses Receives the Commandments
Going after wine is a foolish thing to do. It will only betray you, cloud your judgment, and cause all kinds of suffering. Wine makes you stupid, unhealthy, and defiled. Only wicked and indecent people get drunk on wine, and only godless people and detestable pagans drink wine all day. Anyone who doesn’t belong to the dark side must remain sober. So if anyone offers you wine, follow Jesus’s example and refuse it. God will not forgive people who enjoy wine, until the day they die.
That won’t be too long though, since the Bible says people who are accused of being drunkards must be executed. But people who get drunk, or even associate with drunkards, won’t be forgiven after they die, either. They won’t be allowed in the kingdom of God. People who are good at drinking wine will fall apart like they’re being consumed by fire. God will destroy those who shamefully get others drunk on wine, as they deserve.
Paul advises people to drink wine to improve their health. Solomon also wisely advises people to enjoy wine, with God’s approval. Wisdom herself invites people to drink wine, so it can’t be a foolish thing to do. And drinking wine and getting drunk can’t be a bad thing to do if God makes people do it, right? Would God force people to sin?
God created grapes so people could make wine to gladden their hearts and make them thrive. Jacob, the father of God’s chosen people, was given an abundance of wine as a blessing. God gave his people wine as a blessing and a reward for following his laws and honoring him. Not getting to drink wine is a curse and a punishment for failing to do what God wants. For instance, God takes away people’s wine when they fail to recognize that wine is a gift from God.
God told Aaron and his priestly family they could have all the finest wine of the land. He tells people to invite others to drink wine. He said when you free your slaves, you should generously supply them with wine, as he generously supplies all people with wine. God clearly doesn’t see wine as a bad thing.
Noah was righteous and blameless, and he made wine and drank it till he passed out. Even Jesus drank wine and provided others with wine, and he never sinned. So drinking wine is not a sin. In fact, it’s a requirement. Some of the religious rituals that God and Jesus commanded people to engage in involved drinking wine.
Continue reading Should people drink wine?
In this post, we’ll look at passages in the Bible that express disapproval of different religious views. Not that there’s anything inherently wrong with that; religions are beliefs, and beliefs can be wrong, and having wrong beliefs is a bad thing. Pointing out people’s false beliefs and trying to correct them is a good thing.
But sometimes people go about combatting wrong beliefs in very wrong ways, such as trying to force people to change their beliefs or be punished. It’s also bad if your disagreement is actually based on false beliefs of your own. There is good religious intolerance and bad religious intolerance. Guess which kind the Bible is full of.
First, let’s look at the non-discriminatory things the Bible has to say about people of different religions. It says Jesus welcomes Jews and Gentiles alike. It says if a Christian and a non-Christian are married, that’s no problem, and they should stay together. (The Bible states that that part is not the word of God, though.) And it says that God shows mercy to people who act in unbelief, and that people should show mercy to those who doubt.
Well, that was quick. Now let’s look at the actual discriminatory passages…
Continue reading Religious discrimination in the Bible
The book of Exodus tells about God giving Moses the Ten Commandments. Moses also recounts this event later on in Deuteronomy, listing the same Ten Commandments. He says God gave him those laws, wrote them on two stone tablets, and added nothing more. He says after he broke those tablets and had to get new ones, the same list of laws was written on the new tablets. And he refers to the laws that were written on the tablets as the Ten Commandments. The list of laws goes something like this:
- Don’t worship other gods.
- Don’t make images.
- Don’t misuse God’s name.
- Don’t work on the Sabbath.
- Honor your parents.
- Don’t murder.
- Don’t commit adultery.
- Don’t steal.
- Don’t give false testimony.
- Don’t covet.
But in Exodus, when God gives Moses the laws to write on the new set of tablets, they’re not the same laws that were on the first ones, despite what Moses claims. God gives him an almost completely different set of laws, and these too are referred to as the Ten Commandments. The new list of laws goes something like this:
Continue reading What are the Ten Commandments?