Tag Archives: Fairy Tales

Questions About Answers in Genesis: Part 2-“Kind”

How Noah could have fit two or fourteen of every animal that has ever lived onto a boat with the floor space of about one and a half American football fields, has always been a major problem with accepting Biblical mythology as reality.  In recent years, creationists have tried to answer this problem by creatively interpreting the word ‘kind’.  Answers in Genesis and it’s founder Ken Ham rely heavily on this weak argument, to keep funding for their various money pits.

Two Bengal Tigers Breed, and I Get This

Two Siberian Tigers Breed, and I Get This

According to this wildly erroneous theory, the word kind as used in the King James Bible, generally means what real scientists would call “family” and that all animals belonging to a specific family were represented on the Ark by a single pair of animals from that family which later bred all of the various species from that family that we see today. For instance: a Siberian Tiger (Panthera tigris altaicia) which is a species of the, Genus: Panthera tigris, which is a group from the Sub-family: Panthernae,  of the Family: Felidae would have hybridized through breeding from the same pair of animals as the domestic cat.  In fact, according to this idea, all 55 living species of felids, from the 480 pound Bengal Tiger to the 3 pound Rusty-Spotted Cat, spread across five continents are hybridized naturally from two cats who walked into the Ark around 4,500 years ago. Although this sounds like an infantile representation of evolution, creationists flatly deny any similarity.

Occasionally, this classification causes problems, so creationists will change it to sub-family, order, or whatever other classification suits their needs.  In such cases, the apparent contradiction of this with other statements they make is completely glossed over, or just simply ignored.  By playing with the word ‘kind‘ these pseudo-scientists are able to claim a significantly smaller group of animals on Noah’s Ark than is stated by their own mythology.

For the sake of this post I won’t go into how this ‘theory’ still ignores an overwhelming amount of actual scientific findings; how it still doesn’t give enough room on the boat for the animals; how it doesn’t account for sea life; or how it only works for translations of the Bible which have been selectively edited into Shakespearean English.  Instead, I will just use their own fairy-tale book to show that they are starting from a flawed foundation, which consistently contradicts itself and reality.

What Does Genesis Say About “Kinds”:

The particular passages where “kind” is used in reference to the animals on the Ark are as follows:

Genesis 6:20–Of fowls after their kind, and of cattle after their kind, of every creeping thing of the earth after his kind, two of every sort shall come unto thee, to keep them alive.

Genesis 7:14–They [Noah and his family], and every beast after his kind, and all the cattle after their kind, and every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth after his kind, and every fowl after his kind, every bird of every sort.

Genesis 8:19 Every beast, every creeping thing, and every fowl, and whatsoever creepeth upon the earth, after their kinds, went forth out of the ark.

That’s right, of the 14 passages which talk about the animals on the Ark, three use the word kind.  So, what do the other 11 passages have to say about what animals were on the Ark?

Well first up we have Genesis 6:19:

And of every living thing of all flesh, two of every sort shalt thou bring into the ark, to keep them alive with thee; they shall be male and female.

This is the first passage which tells which animals and how many of each are to go onto the Ark.  It is also the passage which is the most damaging to the whole “kind” theory.  The key phrase in this passage is “…of every living thing, of all flesh,…” This passage clearly says that there are to be two of every sort of living thing of all flesh brought into the Ark.  Not two representatives of each family of animals, but two of every animal.

My assumption would be that the argument here would be that the following passage (shown above) clarifies this problem by saying “their” and “his” “kind” of animal.  If we are to take this literally, then we get male and female kinds of birds, male and female kinds of domesticated animals, and only male kinds of other land animals which means that there were females of every other land animal.  But, his could be used as a generic form of their, so we will overlook that, and focus instead on the word ‘sort’. 

If we are to accept that kind means ‘family’, then sort also means the same thing, since in Genesis 6:20 and 7:14 (see above) kind and sort are both used to describe the amount of animal representatives on the Ark.  This would do a good job of explaining away my passage if no problem could be found with the idea.

So, if sort means family in the biological classification sense, and the Bible is consistent and not contradictory in its word usage, then, what is meant by 2 Kings 24:14 which speaks of sorts of poor people?  A sensible reading of this passage, and the surrounding chapter would show that sort is being used just as we use it today, to break things down into specifics.  Just as a sensible reading of the passages above would show that sort or kind in the Genesis flood myth means every type, or what we now call species, of animal i.e. if the Bible is true, then tigers, lions, ocelots, and all the other sorts of cats were represented by a pair of tigers, pair of lions, pair of ocelots, etc. and not just by a single pair of cats.  The same would apply to all other animals, and we are back to having way too many animals to fit on such a relatively small boat.

How Many Species of Humans Do You See?

How Many Species of Humans Do You See?

But, we’re not talking sensible here, we’re talking fundamentalism.  So, according to the creationist kind theory, 2 Kings is telling us that princes and blacksmiths belong to different sub-families of hominid, which means that there are more than one species of humans, only one of which was represented on the Ark which would violate God’s command, and leave the question:  where did all of these other different kinds of humans come from, and where are they now?

The next passage to pose a problem for the kind theory is Genesis 7:2

Of every clean beast thou shalt take to thee by sevens, the male and his female: and of beasts that are not clean by two, the male and his female.

This passage not only contradicts the number given in Genesis 6:20 above, but says “every” “beast”, with no division by kind.  But, with the theory of kind “every…beast” cannot mean every beast. So, if every beast does not mean every beast then ‘beast’ also has to mean kind or family.  So, you would need only 14 bovids total, and not 14 cows, and 14 sheep,  and 14 musk oxen, etc.  But if beast and kind mean the same thing, then what is meant by ‘kinds of beasts’ in Genesis 7:14 and 8:19 above.  To conform to the theory, it would mean that there are families of families, or kinds of kinds which completely changes the meaning of kind back to the original meaning of individual types of beasts, or, as we call it today, species.  This, in turn, destroys the whole kind theory espoused by these quack-scientists.

The division of animals in the passage above into clean and unclean, brings us to another place in the Bible where kind is used for animal classification: Leviticus 11.

In this chapter of Leviticus we are told what animals we can eat, and what we can’t.  Ignoring the Biblical classification of a jack rabbit as a ruminant (Lev 11:6), and the Biblical classification of a bat as a bird, we see that vultures, kites, owls, hawks, night hawks, and cormorants are all different “kinds” of birds. Since actual scientists put hawks, owls, and vultures into the same family then kind can’t be family.  In this part of the Bible kind is shown to be a classification closer to species.  This is again shown clearly in Leviticus 11:22 which separates locusts of two different types and grasshoppers by the word “kind.”  Since locusts are specific species of grasshoppers, then clearly, kind would either mean species, or it would simply mean type as is “a type of grasshopper”, which brings us back to the huge number of animals again, and once again, destroys the whole kind theory.

There are other instances of kind clearly meaning species, such as Genesis 1-3 wherein fruit trees are separated from other fruit bearing trees, but I think it’s clear by now just how stupid and illogical the kind-theory truly is.

The Overall Problem With This Theory

Simply put, the overall problem with this theory is that it relies on a belief that the Bible is a literal representation of reality.  If we are to believe that the Bible is anything more than a collection of mythological stories, then we have to take everything as correct, and there can be no contradictions with itself or easily observable reality.

The passages used to back up the whole kind stupidity not only contradict each other as to what a kind is, but they even contradict each other on other things, such as how many cows were on the Ark: 2 according to Genesis 6:20, and 14 according to Genesis 7:2.  And, the whole thing flies in the face of common sense, since kind, as it’s used here, clearly means what we would call today: species, despite what creationists would want it to mean.

Yep, They're Real, Because the Bible Tells Me So

Yep, They’re Real, Because the Bible Tells Me So

If creationists really want any sensible person to believe that the Bible is a scientifically accurate depiction of history and the natural World, then they have to stand by their belief and scientifically prove that rabbits chew their cud and have multiple stomachs like other ruminants, that bats are birds not mammals, and that there are distinctively different species of humans, which can be biologically classified according to social status and occupation.  When they can do this I will give them some credibility, and I will also believe that fire-breathing dragons, unicorns, and satyrs are real instead of merely mythological creatures like other Bible story participants such as:  Adam, Eve, Noah, a talking donkey, and God.

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God the Confused Creator: Part I

Hello brothers and sisters, Brother Ron here.  Atheist Ron has mistakenly given me permission to take over on a series of posts about the lessons of Genesis on his blog.  I say mistakenly because, as you shall see, these posts will clearly and without doubt present the Word of God as irrefutable and mistake free, something which atheistron does not believe.  I am able to prove these things largely due to my application of the strict fundamentalist policy of not accepting one shred of the mountains of logical, scholarly, observational, common sense, or scientific evidence which proves otherwise.

Artist's Rendition of the Author

Artist’s Rendition of the Author

I have the authority to do these posts and therefore tell you how to think because I, like many other fundamentalist carriers of truth have many credentials. I have a Ph.D. in Linguistics, two Ph.D.s in Physics applied and theoretical, a Ph.D in Geology, a PhD. in Chemistry, three Ph.D.s in Biology, a Masters in Divinity and History, a Bachelors in Women’s Studies and Literature, an Associate degree in Criminology, a certificate of Cosmetology, and I once read some of a book about archaeology, and watched 15 mins of an episode of Cosmos.  All of my degrees are from highly respected universities that you have no business knowing the names of, and the book about archaeology was sitting on a table in the library at one of them.  If you insist on seeing the universities you may click on the link here, just know, however, that Satan will often remove or distort the link trying to make me look like a fraud.

These lessons are based on a strict literal reading of Genesis.  I will not allow silly “context” arguments that don’t fit with what I say, because they, like all arguments which contradict me, and may appear to be valid, come from ignorance or possibly Satanic intervention.  If a particular context is important I will give it, all others are, as I said, from Satan.  It is my policy to only accept facts which are in accordance with what I already know to be true, because to do otherwise would be to fall into Satan’s trap.

342px-Moses041It will, however, be accepted that the sole author of Genesis was Moses as dictated (but not read) by God, in accordance with the Bible which tells us that Moses wrote it.  And I will of course give you the relevant Biblical passages when they support what I’m saying.  If I leave out a reference, trust that I am doing so because you would not have the capacity to understand it.  Just trust that in such cases I have read and understood it and am faithfully interpreting it for you.

So on to the first lesson:  God the Confused Creator (I warn you ahead of time–this is a bit of a read)

In the Beginning…

With one of the more famous opening lines in western literature (not Middle Eastern literature as some Satanists try to say) the Bible begins with:

In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.

And thus begins the seven days of creation which goes as follows:

Day One:  Starting with a shapeless empty dark planet covered by water God goes on to creates light, divides light from darkness, and calls the light “day” and the darkness “night.” (1:1-5)

Day Two:  God creates the sky which divides the waters above it from the waters below it. (1:6-8)

Day Three:  God creates dryland, and plants. And we are told that there was a morning and an evening. (1:9-13)

Day Four:  God creates the Sun, the Moon and all of the stars, and sets these things in the firmament.  These lights create days, seasons, signs, and years. (1:14-19)

Day Five:  God creates all of the animals in the water, and all of the birds that fly. (1:20-23)

Day Six:  God creates all of the land animals then they create man in their image both male and female.  God then gives man “dominion” over all the animals, and makes everything, man and animal, vegetarian. (1:24-31)

Day Seven:  God rests from his work, and sanctifies the Sabbath. (2:1-3)

Starting in Genesis 2:4, God, by way of Moses, retells the creation story using different language, writing style, and a different name for God.  This story goes as such:

The earth has no plants because there is not yet any rain, or anyone to till the soil. So, Lord God causes a mist to come over the earth and water the land.

Then Lord God creates a man out of the dust and breathes life into him. Lord God plants a garden in Eden and puts the man there.

Then Lord God causes all of the trees to grow from the ground including pretty trees, trees with fruit, the Tree of Life, and the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil.  He creates four rivers, gold and other minerals, and puts the man back into the garden to care for the trees, and tells him that he can eat from any tree in the garden except for the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, and warns him that the day he eats from that tree he will die.

Lord God decides that it isn’t good for the man to be alone, so he creates all of the land animals and birds that fly. Then brings them to the man who is suddenly called Adam. Adam names the animals, but is still lonely.

So, Lord God puts Adam to sleep and removes a rib from him out of which he creates a woman whom he presents to Adam.  Adam names the woman “Woman.”

The author then mentions that Adam and Woman are naked but don’t care.

The Confused Creator

A cursory reading of the first two chapters of Genesis shows us that Moses switched back and forth from at least two different personalities with completely different writing styles, points of view, and names for God. Many, many scholars have said that, what appears to be a personality disorder is actually a result of Genesis’ having been written by at least three different people then edited together into one book.  This is refuted by John 5:45-47 in which Jesus clearly tells us that Moses wrote it and no one else.  So, we must just accept that Moses had mental issues, probably brought about by seeing God so much, and believe every word written by him as flawless despite his disability.

So with that in mind what do these two chapters tell us about creation.  Well the first thing we see is that God told Moses the order of creation twice in two different orders as shown in the table below:

Untitled drawing

Some people will say that this shows two different creation stories.  It is a sin to believe that and the Bible says so.  Other people who, believe that God created everything, but doubt the word of God say things like:  you can’t imply an order of creation from chapter two because Moses says “and” which could mean ‘at the same time’, and not necessarily ‘then.’  Such statements show that the speaker either hasn’t actually read the Bible, or doesn’t actually believe that it is to be taken literally.  There are many proofs within the Bible which show just how wrong such blasphemous statements are.  For the sake of time and space I will just point out two big ones here.

First:  Order is stringently stated in chapter two.  A person who actually reads the book they try to tear down would actually see this in the following verses:

Genesis 2:8  And the Lord God planted a garden eastward in Eden; and there he put the man whom he had formed.

This clearly shows order.  The garden is planted after the man is formed, hence the phrase “had formed”  which is the past perfect form of to form, and clearly indicates a progression through time i.e. order

Genesis 2:16  And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat:

This clearly show order because God is speaking to a man who was physically present before being placed back in the garden in the previous verse.

Genesis 2:18 And the Lord God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him.

This clearly shows order because the man could not have been “alone” if animals or a woman were created at the same time, and also uses the future tense of ‘to make’ which like “had formed” shows a progression through time i.e. order.

Genesis 2:20 And Adam gave names to all cattle, and to the fowl of the air, and to every beast of the field; but for Adam there was not found an help meet for him.

This clearly shows order because Adam has gone from being anonymous to having a name, has seen and named all of the land animals and flying birds, and is still without company. So at this point there are land animals, birds, and a man but no women.  To say otherwise is to doubt the inerrant nature of God’s written word, as found in Genesis 2.

If Genesis 2 isn’t enough to convince the naysayer then I present you with Genesis 5 wherein the word “and” is used at the beginning of every verse from 3-32 and clearly shows the order in which Adam’s descendants were born all the way to Noah.  If and means at the same time like the blasphemer says it does then the entire family line would have to have been born at the same time which is completely ridiculous and thoroughly debunked by the listing of 1,056 years.  This sort of blasphemous statement is just as bad as trying to say that the days of creation need not have been 24 hours long, when it clearly says in Genesis 1:5, 8, 13, & 14 that the days were as we know them now. Besides, I, like all good fundamentalists, don’t have to prove my point to be right, I merely have to try to poke holes in yours.

Putting aside the ignorant, blasphemous statements of the unbeliever, let us move on.

By combining the two different, but correct orders written by two of Moses’ personalities we get the true order of God’s creation as follows:

Day One:  God starts with a dark shapeless mass of water and creates light which is separated from the dark he starts with.

Day Two: God creates the solid sky dome(1), forms the water blob into a disc (2), and creates the rain which is above the sky.

Day Three: God creates dry land, the plants, and then a man whom he puts in charge of taking care of the plants. He also allows it to rain.

Day Four:  God creates the Sun, the Moon, and the Stars and sticks them in the sky dome over the land, but under the rain.

Day Five:  God creates water animals, some of the land animals, and birds

Day Six:  God creates more land animals, another man, and a woman.

Actual selfie taken by God on Day Six

Actual selfie taken by God on Day Six

A few things become evident when we look at the true order of creation, but the only one you need concern yourself with for now is that God was a bit confused about the creation of man. This is apparent in his creating a man on day three to take care of his plants and then creating another man on day six. Moses never tells us what happened to man.2, but it was obviously quickly poofed out of existence because we know that at the end of chapter 2 and through chapter 3 there is only one man. God may have done this because, as we see throughout the rest of Genesis, it is OK for one man to have more than one woman, but it is not OK for one woman to have more than one man, at a time.

An omniscient God would have obviously known that he was going to provide for the populating of the Earth by punishing women with painful childbirth and menses, so would therefore need to create a woman, but when he first starts creating people, he just creates a man, then only later realizes that animals won’t be suitable breeding partners for the man. This does not show a lack of omniscience…in fact, far from it.  To say God made a mistake is a sin.  Instead it shows God’s smarts by showing that he knew how to fix a problem when it presented itself.

Why God created two men could be explained by the divine dementia which he so often shows throughout Genesis, when, as we shall see in future posts, he tells Abraham or a member of his family something and then tells them something completely different, or when he tells them the same thing several times.  Once again, this confusion or Divine Senility cannot be explained away by saying something logical like there was more than one author, because we know that logic, reason, common-sense, science, observation, and facts are not allowed as evidence if they contradict the inerrant word of God.

The other issue of God’s apparent confusion centers on his sense of sexual identity.  But, since this post is getting rather long I will take that up in a second part of this post which I have rather intelligently designed and called “part 2.”  It has been my experience that reading something longer than a Bible tract is a tough sell for most fundamentalists, and I will be the first to advise against doing anything even resembling research on any of my claims, and definitely not on anything scientific, for this is the path to Satan.  (The phrase ignorance is bliss was created for a reason.)  However, I believe the next issue is an important one so I will allow some time for them to rest their brains before delving into it.

Footnotes to Part 1:

1.  I say “dome” here because it is apparent in the inerrant word of God that the Earth is not a sphere as many Satan-inspired scientists would have you believe.  In  Isaiah 40:21-22  it clearly says that the Earth is like a circle covered by a tent supported by foundations (pillars).  This shows that the sky is in fact a dome, and a dome cannot cover a sphere on all sides, anybody with basic knowledge of middle school math knows this. Also, if the sky weren’t a dome then how could God stick the lights in it and have them remain under the rain?  The line of reasoning that claims otherwise is just silly, and blasphemous.

2.  I say “disc” here because of many of the same reasons as above, but with different passages to back it up.  In Job 38 When God is bragging to Job about how he created the Earth he says: “It is turned as clay to the seal; and they stand as a garment.”  This clearly conforms to the idea presented in Genesis 1 of God’s having taken a blob (clay) and smashed it down into a flat shape or “seal.”

Then there is Matthew 4:8 where Satan takes Jesus up on a mountain and shows him “all” of the kingdoms of Earth.  Being able to see the other side of a sphere from any point above the opposite side is impossible, so this is proof that the Earth is flat.  To say otherwise is to doubt the inerrant nature of God and his son our Lord Jesus Christ, to doubt the two-dimensionality of the Earth is to deny Jesus, and condemn one’s self to Hell…I don’t want to go to Hell…do you?.  A similar instance is seen in Daniel 4:10-11 where there is a tree so tall that you can see all the Earth, once again, Impossible on a sphere.

Questions about Answers in Genesis: Part 1-Genesis 1-11 as Literal History

Part 1 of a Multi-Part Series on articles from answersingenesis.org

This post was prompted by the article from the Answers in Genesis website entitled: Did Bible Authors Believe in a Literal Genesis?

In Did Bible Authors Believe… the author (Terry Mortenson) tries to make the case that since the authors of the various parts of the Bible take the stories found in the first eleven chapters of Genesis as “…straightforward, reliable history…” then this is the only way someone should read it if they want to get the correct message from the Bible as a whole. Mortenson, who has a Ph.D.(?) in the History of Geology which is not about the history of geology from a school that teaches neither history nor geology, takes a rather wandering and illogical route through various ideas and Bible passages to prove his hypothesis, and brings us to his conclusion that:  “We should take Genesis 1–11 as straightforward, accurate, literal history because Jesus, the Apostles, and all the other biblical writers did so.”

Taken as a whole, this article could easily supply me with a half-dozen or so posts about circular logic, presumptive analysis, scriptural cherry-picking, and several other topics, but it was the following footnote which really grabbed my attention as something by which Mortenson completely contradicts, and invalidates his own conclusions:

17 Why Christians have trouble believing Genesis 3 when it speaks of a talking serpent is a mystery to me. We have talking parrots today, which involves no miracles. And if the Christian believes in any miracles of the Bible, then he must believe that Balaam’s donkey was used by God to speak to the false prophet (Numbers 22:28). Since Satan is a supernatural being who can do supernatural things (e.g., 2 Corinthians 11:11–13; Matthew 4:1–11; 2 Thessalonians 2:8–9), it is not difficult at all to understand or believe that he could speak through a serpent to deceive Eve (cf. 2 Corinthians 11:3; Revelation 12:9).1

Eat the Fruit, Aack, Eat the Fruit

Eat the Fruit, Aack, Drink the Kool-Aid Aack

I will bypass the comparison of a bird which mimics sounds around it through a process that can be fully explained by scientific means, with a donkey as a vessel of God’s speech, and instead focus on the idea that in this note, the snake referred to was a vessel for Satan’s speech.

On its face, and separate from the article it is attached to, this statement is reasonable enough in a conversation about Bible stories from a literalist stand, but his referenced passages, when taken in the context of his own article, either contradict his statement, and/or the article or have nothing to do with what he’s saying, while at the same time, do a wonderful job of refuting everything he himself is saying not only in the footnote, but in the article as a whole.

In the second paragraph of his article, Mortenson says: “If we interpret something [in the Bible] literally that the author intended to be understood figuratively, then we will misunderstand the text.”  It is important to remember this statement, as it continually comes up below. He then goes on to give two examples of differing literary styles in the Bible.  In one, he uses an example of an obvious metaphor: “‘I am the door…’ (John 10:9)”, and for the other “‘The Son of Man is about to be betrayed into the hands of men, and they will kill Him, and the third day He will be raised up’ (Matthew 17:22–23)”, he uses as an example of a passage which he says is to be taken literally.  So, let’s look as his cited passages in the footnote above in regards to their being proof of Satan’s supernatural ability to talk through a snake to Eve.

2 Corinthians 11:11-13:

11 Why? Because I do not love you? God knows! 12 But what I do, I will also continue to do, that I may cut off the opportunity from those who desire an opportunity to be regarded just as we are in the things of which they boast.13 For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into apostles of Christ.

This passage, in which Paul is talking about how he is careful to continue preaching to keep false prophets from deceiving people, is supposed to be an example of how Satan can do supernatural things, presumably to speak through animals, as God had done in Numbers 22:28.  I can only assume that Mortenson meant to include the following verse which says:

“And no wonder! For Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light.”

With this verse, or without, this is clearly not an example of Satan’s power to do anything supernatural. Mortenson has made the mistake he warned his readers about early in his article: he took words and phrases which are clearly simile as literal statement.  In these passages, no one is actually transforming themselves into anything, they are merely deceiving people by appearing to be something that they are not.  This is made quite clear in the next passage which compares a false prophet’s deceitful practice of pretending to be a man of God with Satan’s deceitful practice of pretending to be a good guy.

Satan_Baptizing_a_disciple_(582x800)If we are meant to assume that Satan is doing an actual transformation, then, according to these passages, the same must be said for the false prophets.  This idea makes no sense, because if Satan, or the false prophet, transformed himself into the good versions of themselves then why would he transform back, when he would now be of God, and therefore be doing the work of God, by telling the truth and doing good, which would negate his desire to transform back into Satan or a false prophet?  As many preachers will tell you, and have told me, you must be careful lest you be proven a fool by your own ignorance

Well, that passage fails, so what about Matthew 4:1-11?

Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. 2 And when He had fasted forty days and forty nights, afterward He was hungry. 3 Now when the tempter came to Him, he said, “If You are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread.”

4 But He answered and said, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.’”

5 Then the devil took Him up into the holy city, set Him on the pinnacle of the temple, 6 and said to Him, “If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down. For it is written:

‘He shall give His angels charge over you,’and,‘In their hands they shall bear you up, Lest you dash your foot against a stone.’”

7 Jesus said to him, “It is written again, ‘You shall not tempt the Lord your God.’”

8 Again, the devil took Him up on an exceedingly high mountain, and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. 9 And he said to Him, “All these things I will give You if You will fall down and worship me.”

10 Then Jesus said to him, “Away with you, Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only you shall serve.’”

11 Then the devil left Him, and behold, angels came and ministered to Him.

439px-Temptation-of-Christ-in-the-WildernessThis, of course is the famous temptation scene.  And, sure enough, Satan’s transporting Jesus around could easily be said to be supernatural.  But remember, Mortenson states that we either read it as literal or not. So, if we are to take this as a literal example of Satan’s literal ability to do such things, then we are led to a rather perplexing issue.

If Satan is literally transporting Jesus around and literally takes him to the top of a mountain to show him “…all the kingdoms of the world and their glory”  then the Earth is flat.  There is no way that from a point on one side of a sphere, no matter how far above the surface of that sphere that point is, one could see the other side of the sphere, so it would be impossible to see “all the kingdoms”; at best, a person could see half, yet the passage clearly uses the word “all.”

So, by Mortenson’s own words, if we take this passage to be a literal word for word account of Satan’s supernatural abilities being used to try to tempt Christ, then we must also accept that the Earth is a disc and not a sphere.  However, another article  written by Mortenson’s colleague, Donald B. DeYoung, for Answers in Genesis, says that nowhere in the Bible does it say that the Earth is flat and “when the Bible touches on scientific subjects, it is entirely accurate.”  So, is Mortenson interpreting something literally that the author intended to be understood figuratively, and therefore misunderstanding the passages, or is his colleague wrong, and the Earth is flat?  Or are they both wrong, and the Bible cannot be read literally and the Bible is often scientifically inaccurate? (My money is on the answer to the last question being “yes.”)

2 Thessalonians 2:8–9 is just as poor an example of Mortenson’s assertion as the other two:

8 And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord will consume with the breath of His mouth and destroy with the brightness of His coming. 9 The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders,

This passage is clearly referring to another false prophet and his teachings, and when read with the rest of the chapter is meant to reassure the reader that this false prophet is a sign that Christ is on his way.  It refers to the prophet’s being like Satan, but also refers to his being destroyed by God’s breath.  This is clearly a form of parable wherein the false prophet’s teaching will be refuted by the true teachings from God that Paul claims in this letter to be spreading, similar to what I am doing to Mortenson’s teachings here.

All of these references show that Mortenson clearly doesn’t know what he’s talking about, and could also be used to label him as one of his feared ‘false prophets.’ a conclusion which is easily proven by his own treasured source of proof:  the Bible.

Matthew 7:15-19

15 “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. 16 You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles? 17 Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. 18 A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit.19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 Therefore by their fruits you will know them.

This is, of course, the famous ‘know them by their fruits’ lesson from the Sermon on the Mount. Clearly, Jesus is not saying that false prophets are trees.  He is comparing them to trees and saying that they will be easy to recognize by what they teach i.e. if they teach something which is incorrect, then you can be assured that they are not to be believed because “A good tree cannot bear bad fruit.”  In other words, if someone tells you that the Earth is flat:  don’t believe anything else they are saying.  If someone tries to tell you the correct way to interpret the Bible, but then contradicts himself, by interpreting things the wrong way:  they are not to be believed in anything that they say.

And finally, let’s get back to the article and what this footnote is saying.  The article defends, and even demands a literal reading of Genesis 1-11 as required for any validated belief in Jesus. In this footnote, Mortenson is clearly defending the belief that Satan spoke through, or even was, the serpent in the Garden of Eden.  I won’t go into the un-validated belief that this serpent lied to Eve, or somehow deceived her into believing something that wasn’t true, and I won’t go into the un-validated belief that Adam and Eve were thrown out of the garden for eating a piece of fruit; what I will focus on is what/or who a literal reading of the story from Genesis 3 tells us the serpent was.

So here are the parts of the story which concerns us here:

Genesis 3:1-4

Now the serpent was more cunning than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said to the woman, “Has God indeed said, ‘You shall not eat of every tree of the garden’?”

2 And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat the fruit of the trees of the garden;3 but of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God has said, ‘You shall not eat it, nor shall you touch it, lest you die.’”

4 Then the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. 5 For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”

The serpent has no more speaking parts, and later when God is handing out punishments for the whole mess Genesis says:

14 So the Lord God said to the serpent:“Because you have done this, You are cursed more than all cattle, And more than every beast of the field; On your belly you shall go, And you shall eat dust All the days of your life.

15 And I will put enmity Between you and the woman, And between your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise your head, And you shall bruise His heel.” (Gen 3:14-15)

According to Mortenson, these parts of chapter 3, along with everything else from the first word of chapter 1 through chapter 11 are to be taken as “as straightforward, accurate, literal history.”  So, let’s do so.

The first sentence of chapter three, clearly identifies the antagonist as a cunning “beast”, who talks to Eve.  Absolutely nowhere does it say that another being is talking through it, or that it is anything other than a serpent. Now, some might say that it is implied, but I would counter with Numbers 22:28 which is used by Mortenson in which the verse’s author clearly states that that God uses a donkey to speak to someone, combined with the story of Job wherein we see that Satan has no power to turn people away from God without God’s permission (Job 1:11-12).  (Before someone says that this passage shows that God gave this power to Satan, and that it proves that Satan has the power to corrupt people; I would point out that a literal reading would show that Satan is only given the power to corrupt Job and that this episode happens well after the story of the serpent and Eve, which would show that Satan had no such power prior to this point.)

The implication of this, as viewed through Mortenson’s hypothesis is that a) if it were Satan talking through the snake it would have been clearly stated as such, and b) if it were Satan, he couldn’t have done such a thing without permission which would imply that God caused the fall of man.

But, OK, there might be a way to weasel and wriggle through that.  Which is where verses 14-15 come in.  In these verses, God is clearly talking to a serpent, and that serpent is being punished by God with the loss of his legs, and enmity between it and humans who will constantly be stomping on its head.  A truly literal reading of this shows the creation of the snakes we know today that crawl around on their belly and are disliked by most people.

But, it could be said that God was punishing, not a snake, but the Satan who was talking through him.  Again, as I showed above, that doesn’t swing with a literal reading of what is supposed to be straightforward, accurate, literal history.  In fact, implying that God was talking to or about something different than what is written is the exact opposite of a literal reading.  Even if it were the case that it was Satan being punished, then by a literal reading, Satan would no longer have legs, and would have to crawl around on his belly.  This is clearly not the case, because we see in Job 1:6 that Satan has the capacity to be “going to and fro on the earth, and…walking back and forth on it.”  This clearly states that Satan was literally walking, so could not have been the entity who was talking in the Garden of Eden, and therefore not the entity who helped bring about the fall of man.

A literal reading of Genesis chapter 3, by Mortenson’s criteria would show that a, now extinct, species of once-legged, talking snakes is responsible for the fall of man, and that Satan has been unfairly accused of this crime for several millennia, something which is refuted by some of the same passages that Mortenson tries to use to back up his statements.

I would love to see Answers in Genesis’ answer to why that happened.

Footnotes:

1.  In contrast to most of my other posts, I am using the New King James version (NKJV) of the Bible instead of the King James (KJV).  I do this because the author of the article in question used this version, and I felt that it was only fair that I use his own preferred version for any passages that I use to refute him.

What Does Christmas Mean to this Atheist?

[note: The idea to do this post grew from a post by BlackAmericanAtheist who wrote a similar one.  I want to make sure he gets his due credit for the idea.]

For this post I thought I would just give my own personal view on what is ultimately a personal issue: the meaning of Christmas for me as an atheist.

To me the phrase “as an atheist” is a bit silly in this context, because my beliefs, or lack thereof, are a part of who I am, so I rarely attach that phrase to anything I’m talking about. However, since Christmas is, historically, a Catholic holy day, and therefore a religion-based holiday, I guess the phrase fits. It also gets tossed at me at least once a year by people trying to lull me into some sort of theological trap when they notice that I am quite fond of participating in many Christmas rituals: e.g. Christmas trees, gifts, Santa hats, Christmas dinner, etc. So, as an atheist, and as just another person, this is what Christmas means to me:

Christmas to me is a time of lots of bad childhood memories, a few good childhood memories, some great adult memories, conflicting emotions, and a good bit of sadness.  Not exactly the Rockwell version of things.

Jesus_4d6ad5_602439Christmas, when I was a child, was a time of constant preaching by my father about the evils of the season.  He was a member of the Worldwide Church of God, a particularly fanatical sect of Christianity* which held that the end was nigh, and that Christmas, along with Easter, Halloween, and even birthday celebrations were evil rituals from that most evil of institutions, the Catholic church, designed to lead good Christians away from the teachings of Christ and into the arms of Satan.  I never remember believing in Santa, or the Easter bunny.  It was OK to beat a child into believing in and being scared to death of Jesus, but not OK to allow him the hope of Santa, or the Easter Bunny.

While most of the kids I went to school with were busy figuring out Christmas lists, and anxiously awaiting Christmas Day, I was being drilled on all of the evils of the Popes***, and punished for any infractions, like watching Rudolph at a friend’s house, or making a construction paper chain during crafts time at school.  For the most part I hated the month of December, because my birthday and Christmas both fall therein, and both of them were reminders of just how miserable my Christian upbringing made things.

The only bright spots during that miserable season were the two weeks out of school, and my grandmother who always used “I am your mother, and you don’t tell me what to do” as a way to circumvent my father and get my brothers, sisters, and me at least one gift.  The Christmas I got a Six Million Dollar Man action figure** from my grandmother is still one of my fondest memories, and I might add, a story that I am sure my children are quite tired of hearing.

ulmI got out from under my father as quickly as I could by enlisting in the Army at seventeen and going to basic within a few months of graduation.  And it was while stationed in Ulm/NeuUlm Germany that I was finally able to free myself from the childish fantasies about God and embrace the concept of Santa.  The “Old World” really knows how to celebrate the holidays, and I eagerly joined in.   Many of the traditions I engage in every year are rooted in my time in Bavaria during the Christmas season.  Though while there, most of the traditions I eagerly engaged in revolved in some way around copious amounts of Hefeweizen.  It was there that I learned that Christmas is a good excuse to enjoy life, friends, and later when I got out of the Army, family.  The religious side of the whole thing was, to me, a quaint little leftover from the middle ages, like the Maypole in spring, or the harvest celebrations in autumn.

After the Army I went to college at a small Catholic University where I met a beautiful Irish Catholic girl who would eventually become my wife.  She, more than anyone shaped my current views on Christmas.  I never hid my views on the existence of God, but I also never fought hers, so it was rarely an issue.  She absolutely loved all the Christian and secular aspects of Christmas, and took it upon herself to make me see what a wonderful time of year it could be.  It was through my wife that I embraced what I call the concept of Santa.  

434px-MerryOldSantaSanta, more than anything else, embodies the ideal of Christmas.  It is Santa, not Jesus, who brings all the happiness and joy to children, because it’s Santa who brings the gifts.  It’s Santa who is the central character in the Christmas stories and television shows that become family traditions, and in the charity which increases during the holidays. When a person focuses on being Santa-like to his or her children, friends, family, and neighbors, they become, if only for a few weeks, a happier and better person, and it is this Santa quality that can make this time of year a season of happiness and joy, even for people for whom the rest of the year is a miserable grind of poverty and the struggle to survive.  It was in no small way, that very quality in my Grandmother which provided a small sparkle in my own miserable, poverty-ridden, mythology infused, childhood.

When I had children of my own, I gleefully engaged in the whole Santa Claus myth, and enjoyed more than most the acting out of Santa on Christmas eve.  I even enjoyed going to midnight mass with my wife.  It was one of two times a year that my wife insisted I attend mass for the sake of family, the other was sunrise mass on Easter, and I never really had a problem with it.

Christmas took a huge downturn when my wife died, since she had been the reason I had begun to celebrate so wholeheartedly to begin with.  But, my children were still toddlers, 14 and 30 months respectively, that first Christmas without her, so I have always made a concerted effort to make Christmas for them every bit as wonderful as their mother had made it for me.

So, Christmas for me, is a time that I can be Santa for my, now adult children; a time when I get the rare opportunity to see the good side of people; and a time of the conflicting emotions of joy and sadness, and the re-living of all the memories, most happy, but some not so happy, of Christmases past that comes when I put up the Christmas tree on Nicholas Day every December 6th.(I always left out Krampas, but did put sweets in my children’s shoes the night before.)

My atheism plays no real part in my celebration of the Christmas season aside from my not engaging in the bitternessdivisiveness, and stupidity that Christianity brings to the table for this holiday.  It is my lack of religious beliefs that allow me to enjoy the holiday for what it is.

Christmas is a time for enjoying the good that my life has given me, accepting the bad, and reveling in the life around me.  That’s what Christmas means to this Atheist.

Notes:

*-Some call the WWCoG a cult, which in principle I would agree with, however all the tens of thousands of various Christian sects, could be called cults, and the original one which became the Catholic and Eastern Orthodox churches was also a cult in the traditional sense of the word.  I plan on a post about my life with this fanaticism, but it’s proving to be pretty painful to write about.

**-I still have the action figure.  It is a traditional Christmas decoration.

***-When I was growing up I was taught that the new pope at the time, John Paul II, was the actual anti-Christ.  Dad had no explanation when John Paul II died.  To his credit, he didn’t bring up his belief about the Pope around my wife.

Discussing the Noah’s Flood Fairy Tale

As I’m sure you know, there’s a big Russell Crowe movie about Noah’s Flood set to hit theaters.  Personally I will probably watch it, because I love a good action fantasy movie.  This movie is no different than the Star Wars movies, or the Lord of the Rings movies, and I enjoyed all of those.  Although, I must say that Star Wars and Lord of the Rings come from better written and more easily believed source material.

However, this movie will no doubt reinvigorate Bible literalists who believe the flood actually happened and the apologists will be out in force.  I have recently finished my covering of this part of the Bible on my other blog, so won’t go into detail about it here, but I will prepare you for the coming statements of ‘proof’ and explanation, by discussing some of the B.S. that has been thrown at me over the years.

So here are a few of my favorites:

“Fossils of sea life have been found on tops of mountains.  This proves a flood happened.”

This is one of my all time favorites.  This actually proves the mechanics of plate tectonics, and since the fossils are still laid down in the order predicted by evolutionary science, it supports evolutionary science as well.

“Genesis 6:20 says that Noah is to take two of every “kind” of animal, so he didn’t have to have two of every animal.”

This one tries to play to ignorance of what the Bible says. You can avoid this altogether by asking why, if it says two of each here, does it say seven of some in 7:2/  Most of the people who throw this haven’t actually read the source material.  But, if you want to pursue it:  6:20 does say “kind” but, 6:19 says: “And of every living thing of all flesh…” which clearly means every animal.  If this isn’t clear enough, Genesis 7:2 says : ”Of every clean beast thou shalt take to thee by sevens, the male and his female: and of beasts that are not clean by two, the male and his female” which clearly says every beast, as well as adding confusion about how many.

“The fossil record shows that the heavier dinosaurs are on the bottom while lighter animals such as saber-toothed cats are above them.  This is how water would sort out animals with heavier ones sinking first, thus proving the flood and disproving evolution.”

Yes I have seriously heard this one.  If it were true, then all of the dinosaurs which were smaller than a Mammoth would be above Mammoths in the record, however there is not one single instance of a Mammoth being lower in the record than any dinosaur.  Then there’s the issue of all of the sea dwelling dinosaurs, which would have been able to swim as well if not better than whales, and the record for them is the same as for Mammoths and Dinosaurs.

There are better examples, such as human ancestors lower that Mastodons, but keeping it simple with chicken-sized dinosaurs and Mammoths generally stops the debate.

“God killed the dinosaurs with the flood because he knew that the post-flood environment wouldn’t support them.”

Combine both of the arguments above, paying special attention to words like “every.”

“God sent baby dinosaurs to the Ark to save room.”

They still don’t fit, and see the previous dinosaur-fossil arguments.

“The fact that other cultures also have flood stories proves that it happened, the other people just got the how and why wrong.”

Actually, when you look at maps of all of these ancient cultures you see one glaring constant. They are all centered around rivers.  Rivers flood.  Ignorance of why rivers flood, combined with superstition clearly explains the abundance of flood stories.

Or, you could point out that many of these were written before the Bible version, which means that their story and Gods might be the “correct” ones.

Then there’s the issue of there being absolutely no evidence of a planet wide flood ever, much less in 2348 BC, when the Egyptians, Sumerians, and others were busy writing stuff down, yet making no mention of 29,000 feet of water above their heads.

“The Devil, Satan, ‘ole Scratch, (whatever his name) put the fossils in the ground to fool us into not believing.”

 Aside from being stupid, this argument has no basis whatsoever simply because according to Job 1:1-12 Satan has to ask God’s permission to do anything like that, and he doesn’t have powers of creation.

So, these are just a few arguments that I have had thrown at me.  If you come across any more I would love to hear them, and help formulate responses.

Be safe, and Watch out for Fanatics,  Ron.

The link below is to an argument which isn’t covered here, but it is a very well done response to a really stupid creationist argument about how animals could have been dispersed after the flood.

Why Do People Laugh at Creationists Part 39

 

God Bless the Evil Men

A short rant which has been building for a few days:

Anyone who has suffered through a good ole’ Biblical upbringing has been inundated with stories about the great God Fearing Patriarchs of the Old Testament.  “Great” men such as Noah, Abraham, Lot and so on are held up as examples of good pious men who worshiped their lord.  But, when you actually read the Bible, you have to ask yourself:  “Who in the Hell are these preachers and Sunday school teachers talking about?”  The men I’ve read about are as bad, if not worse, than many of those people we often hear referred to as evil, scum, or just plain horrible.

If I were to get on the television and talk about how ‘John Doe’ had condemned his grandson to be the slave of the boy’s uncles because of something the boy’s father did, and his uncles took advantage of the offer, the child would be taken into protective custody and the men involved would be imprisoned.  But, what if I told you that John Doe was actually Noah of Noah’s Ark fame. (Genesis 9:21-27)  Would it all be Ok then? For believers the answer is : Yes.

What if I told you that ‘John Doe’ had married his half-sister and had a son with her, and pimped her out twice; had sex with the maid, got her pregnant, told his wife to beat her, and then threw her and her child out into the desert; extorted money from political figures in a protection racket, mutilated all of his servants, tried to kill his son, actively promoted slavery and the beating of slaves, and had his son marry his brother’s granddaughter.  People would be screaming for this man’s head on a pike, unless of course the man’s real name was Abraham–which it is. (Genesis 9-24)

Then we have Lot, whose sister married his uncle, Abraham’s brother.  Lot, we’re told, was such a righteous and pious man that God spared him from a fiery holocaust which killed an untold number of children and infants.  The same Lot who after losing his wife, got drunk and impregnated his two virginal daughters. (Genesis 19:30-38)

And, this is just the first few chapters of the first book of the Bible.  I haven’t even scratched the surface.  Consider David who gets a man killed so he can have his wife, among many other godly actions. Or, Sampson who killed a temple full of people because they didn’t like his god.

Then we have the master of chaos, the God-Father.  This guy lies to his kids, then throws them out of their home when they find out he was lying.   He routinely kills, or hurts children when he gets mad, in fact one of his favorite past times is genocide.  He manipulates people to do things he doesn’t like then, kills, or tortures them for it.  He tortures a man who truly respects him to prove a point.  Allows his followers to be slaves for hundreds of years at a time.  Let’s his admirers be raped, tortured, killed and ridiculed to teach them lessons.  Has his son killed.  Destroys an entire planet.  And then expects everyone to believes that he is so wonderful and loving.  Then there’s the issue that there isn’t one single piece of verifiable evidence that the guy even exists, yet mountains of evidence that his Holy Book is a collection of contradictory, plagiarized, mistake riddled Bronze and Iron Age fairy tales.

If I were to tell someone who had never heard of this god about him they wouldn’t believe for a second that people were stupid enough to still believe in him, much less worship him.  Nor, would that person believe that the men above were held up as role models for young children.

But, unfortunately, that person would be wrong on both accounts.   Praise be to God.

 

All Children Love Fairy Tales

Many years ago there was a peaceful village on the edge of a great forest, that was plagued by a terrible creature.  This beast would sneak into the village at night and randomly pick a person sleeping quietly, and take this person off into the forest where he would kill the person then drink his or her blood.

The village’s eldest hunter and trapper devised a plan to rid his people of the beast by digging a large pit trap.  The village teamed up to dig and hide the trap then they waited.  After a few nights the village was awakened by a terrible roar, and discovered that they had caught the beast.  Everyone in the village then gathered all the dry wood they could find and threw it into the pit with the beast and then set flame to it.

The fire grew so great that it could be seen from the horizon, and soon many thousands of embers began to float up from the fire and scatter to the winds.  The villagers felt good about what they had done until they discovered that each of the embers had transformed into tiny versions of the blood hungry beast.

And, this is how mosquitoes were created.

The story above is an old Native American story that I read somewhere many years ago, and have paraphrased.  It was one of my children’s favorite campfire stories when they were little, and they still ask for the “mosquito story” whenever we are near a campfire.  They never actually believed it was true.  Who would these days.

Here is another paraphrased story from about 4,000 years ago in Sumeria:

After returning home from yet another failed quest to find immortality our hero Gilgamesh is told about a plant growing in a wonderful garden whose leaves, when prepared properly, can provide an elixir that will restore one’s youth, thereby making them immortal.

Gilgamesh goes in search of this plant and eventually finds the last one.  However, while on his return trip Gilgamesh spies an inviting pool and stops to bathe in it.  He leaves the plant on top of his clothes on the bank of the pool, and when he isn’t looking a serpent sneaks up and swallows the plant.  The serpent then sheds his old skin and reveals a young smooth skin, thereby stealing the immortality of renewable youth for himself.

This is why snakes shed their skin and are continually reborn, while man must grow old and die.

So, who could believe such fairy tales about why things are as they are?  Well, primitive people exhibiting those wonderfully human traits of wonder, and desire to know, which eventually led us to all of our wonderous scientific discoveries and knowledge used their imagination and what knowledge they had at the time to develop these stories, and many others, as a way to explain the universe around them. As time went on and the reality of where mosquitoes come from, and why snakes shed their skin were learned such stories fell into the realm of children’s stories and fairy tales…for the most part.

Gilgamesh

Gilgamesh

The Epic of Gilgamesh, from which the story above is drawn, is a collection of stories about a legendary Sumerian king from the third millenia BC and are the oldest known works of literature.  These stories, which are based on older stories, were written at least 1,500 years before the early texts which would become the Bible, and were quite well-known throughout Mesopotamia.

There are many correlations between the stories of Gilgamesh and the later biblical stories such as: the creation of sky and earth from one being (Genesis 1); a man created from clay who is tempted by a woman, accepts food from her, covers his nakedness, and then is forced to leave and never return to his place of residence (Genesis 2-3);  the loss of immortality due to a serpent (Genesis 3); a great flood which kills everyone except for a select few (Genesis 6-8), at the end of which there is a sweet-smelling burnt offering which pleases the gods (Genesis 8); and many more.

When these stories, whether in their original Sumerian version, or later plagiarized Israelite versions, are read today by any modern, educated, adult, that person would clearly see that they are fairy tales from ancient times, used by men ignorant of modern scientific discoveries as a way to explain the World around them and add legitimacy to their chosen god or gods.

We all know that only children believe fairy tales…Right?

(note:  This post was edited after publishing for grammar and continuity on 12-07-2013)