Monthly Archives: August 2021

Should people try to keep their lives?

Yes.

Moses presented his people with a choice between obedience, blessings, and life, or disobedience, curses, and death. And he told them to choose life.

Should you be reckless with your life because you have faith that God will protect you? No, that’s a twisted, satanic idea. Jesus says you shouldn’t put God to the test like that.

When God decided Jesus had to die, Jesus tried to get out of it. Jesus always did what pleased God, and never sinned. So trying to stay alive must be the right thing to do, even if God wants you dead.

Peter encouraged Christians to actively do everything they could to try to make sure they would make it into the kingdom of heaven and gain everlasting life. So you should try to stay alive even after you die.

No.

But Jesus said if you try to keep your life, you’ll lose it. That can’t be good, can it? You wouldn’t really be choosing life, would you?

So the right choice must be to be indifferent to death, or even to try to die, like Samson did. When he asked God to give him his super-strength back for the purpose of a suicide attack, God cooperated and helped him die. God must not have wanted him to try to keep his life.

God sent Jesus on a suicide mission too, and didn’t let him quit. He didn’t want Jesus to try to keep his life.

Jesus expects his followers to put themselves in life-threatening situations just to prove that God is with them and will protect them. (Exactly like Satan challenged him to do!)

Continue reading Should people try to keep their lives?
Share this post:

Slavery in the Bible

Suppose you had a book written by the ultimate authority on morality, a book that was said to provide all the moral instruction anyone needs. One thing you would definitely expect to find in that book would be a clear, explicit, absolute condemnation of slavery. You won’t find that in the Bible, though. You might find a few vague passages that you could interpret as denouncing slavery if that’s what you really want it to say. Or you might find some passages that disapprove of slavery in specific cases. But mostly what you’ll find is that the Bible is very pro-slavery.

The Bible says “righteous” Noah made his own grandson into a slave (to punish someone else).

It says Abraham always did just what God wanted him to do, which included owning slaves.

Joseph threatened to make one of his brothers a slave, and he actually did enslave the entire nation of Egypt. Joseph is never portrayed as a bad guy at all, but as a hero doing God’s will.

Moses told the Israelites that God wanted them to attack random nations that weren’t even anywhere near the land they were trying to take over, and that they should subject the inhabitants of those nations to forced labor (if they didn’t just kill them all).

God approved of everything David did, which included enslaving whole cities. His son Solomon made tens of thousands of his own people, as well as the native Canaanites, into forced laborers1 in order to build his palace, the temple, the wall of Jerusalem, etc. And God was pleased with him. When the Bible lists some of these kings’ officials, it casually mentions that one of them was “in charge of forced labor“.

Esther said if all the Jews were sold into slavery, that would be no big deal. She thought it wouldn’t be worth the bother to ask her husband the king to do anything to stop it.

When the exiled Jews returned from Babylon, it casually mentions that they brought thousands of slaves with them.

There are passages in Ezekiel and Revelation that mention humans being sold, not as a bad thing or a reason for punishment, but just as one of many things that used to be sold in the glory days of the marketplaces of Tyre and Babylon.

The Roman soldiers seized a random guy who was just passing by and forced him to carry Jesus’s cross. Jesus didn’t object.

When Paul thought people were doing wrong, he wasn’t averse to telling them to change their ways, even if it meant they had to break the law. But when he encountered a fortune-telling slave girl, he didn’t tell her owners they should set her free, because slavery was perfectly normal to him, because he wasn’t any more morally enlightened than anyone else in his time. He thought slavery was fine as long as the owners provided for their slaves.2 Instead of helping the slave girl, Paul angered her owners by taking away her useful psychic abilities.

Paul encouraged slaves to always fear and obey their masters, submitting to them as if they were God. He thought slave owners were worthy of full respect, and he insisted that the slaves should agree that their masters were worthy of full respect. He thought this would somehow prevent his teaching from being slandered.3

Continue reading Slavery in the Bible
Share this post:

Who were the twelve apostles?

The gospels of Matthew and Mark each contain a complete list of Jesus’s twelve disciples, or apostles. The two lists have all the same names. One of the disciples is named Thaddaeus, and Judas Iscariot is the only Judas on the list:

  • Simon Peter
  • Andrew
  • James son of Zebedee
  • John
  • Philip
  • Bartholomew
  • Thomas
  • Matthew
  • James son of Alphaeus
  • Thaddaeus
  • Simon the Zealot
  • Judas Iscariot

The gospel of Luke also has a list of the twelve disciples, but this one has two people named Judas, and no one named Thaddaeus:

  • Simon Peter
  • Andrew
  • James
  • John
  • Philip
  • Bartholomew
  • Matthew
  • Thomas
  • James son of Alphaeus
  • Simon the Zealot
  • Judas son of James
  • Judas Iscariot

The book of Acts lists all the same apostles as Luke except Judas Iscariot, since he was dead by that time. The gospel of John doesn’t have a list of all twelve disciples, but it agrees with Luke and Acts that there was a Judas other than Judas Iscariot among them.

But John also says one of the disciples was named Nathanael. He’s not mentioned in any other book.

Continue reading Who were the twelve apostles?
Share this post:

The Story of the Moabite/Midianite Clusterfuck
The Origin of the Priesthood

The women of Moab and Midian, following the advice of God through his prophet Balaam, invited the Israelite men to have sex with them and worship the gods of Moab. This made God angry, so he decided to kill all the Israelites yet again, and he told Moses, the leader of Israel, to kill all the leaders of Israel. So Moses told the judges of Israel to kill all the Israelites who had worshipped a Moabite god.

God had already killed tens of thousands of Israelites himself, when an Israelite leader brought a Midianite woman into his tent. When Aaron’s grandson Phinehas saw this, he followed them into the tent and killed them with a spear. This somehow turned away God’s anger and convinced him not to kill all the Israelites. God was so pleased with Phinehas that he made a covenant of peace with him and said the descendants of Phinehas would always be God’s priests.

Continue reading The Story of the Moabite/Midianite Clusterfuck
The Origin of the Priesthood
Share this post:

Who is the light of the world?

The gospel of John repeatedly refers to Jesus as the light of the world. It says John the Baptist was sent to testify about “the light of all mankind” that was coming into the world. One of the ways it describes God sending his son into the world is by saying that light has come into the world. And most importantly, it has Jesus call himself the light of the world.

Continue reading Who is the light of the world?
Share this post: