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MisterSwig
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My compliments for one of the most amusing threads I have read in a long time. Today was a rough day for me, so your new post on Leviticus was a good way to top it off.

When I was about 13, I decided I wanted to read the whole Bible. Even though I was a Christian at the time, I think I only got about halfway through Genesis. I generally like to undertake one major reading every summer. My last two were Rise and Fall of the Third Reich and Atlas Shrugged. I'm thinking that the Bible and Koran will be a good one for this summer.

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Does it explain why god couldn't cook His own dinner?

It's not explained in the Bible, but I believe that God can't cook his own dinner because he's too busy plotting his next wave of murders.

Or what God wants with dinner to begin with?

God demands the meals as sacrificial offerings to atone for the sins of his chosen people.

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It's not explained in the Bible, but I believe that God can't cook his own dinner because he's too busy plotting his next wave of murders.

Imagine that. An all-powerful being who cannot cook and plot at the same time! No wonder He's such a jealous God, right?

God demands the meals as sacrificial offerings to atone for the sins of his chosen people.

Given some of the other stories on this thread, do you suppose God's weight problem is of Biblical proportions?

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Imagine that. An all-powerful being who cannot cook and plot at the same time! No wonder He's such a jealous God, right?

I always thought that all of these demands of sacrifices, prayers and victuals were not for the YAHWEH's convenience (since he is a working God) but because he is insecure, clingy and demanding when it comes to receiving presents. I suppose any being would be under a lot of pressure if everyone kept on referring to him as omniscient.

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I always thought that all of these demands of sacrifices, prayers and victuals were not for the YAHWEH's convenience (since he is a working God) but because he is insecure, clingy and demanding when it comes to receiving presents.

Yes! I've often wonder how insecure God is that he needs to have billions praising him. I'll say, though, that a regular second-hander like, say, Peter Keating, does pale into insignificance in comparison.

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If you look at the history of Christianity, particularly the earliest writings, it seems like Paul is attempting to make sense of the outdated crap in the Old Testament. He infuses new meaning into the absurd by reinterpreting the sacrificial system as pointing forward to the ultimate sacrifice, the "Lamb of God." He was unwilling to abandon his Jewish heritage and accept that the whole religion was a sham and start over with a blank slate. Instead he creates a way of thinking about it that allows him to keep the "holiness" of the sacred Jewish texts while at the same time being free to ignore them in favor of his new theology. What it boils down to is that Christianity was a reinvention of Judaism for the more modern Greek and Roman world where the Pentateuch just didn't make sense anymore. Now we write off these pages and pages of explicit instructions for all kinds of barbaric animal mutilation in the OT as "just a way to point the Israelites toward Jesus and His sacrifice."

It makes me wonder if one day someone will come along and, like Paul did for Judaism, reinvent Christianity for modern times, creating a new major religion. My guess would be no, since the NT is far more flexible than the OT. Every generation of Christians reinvents Christianity without having to abandon that ancient text. It took less than a thousand years from the writing of the OT before it had to be replaced. Meanwhile the NT is going on two thousand years.

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It makes me wonder if one day someone will come along and, like Paul did for Judaism, reinvent Christianity for modern times, creating a new major religion. My guess would be no, since the NT is far more flexible than the OT. Every generation of Christians reinvents Christianity without having to abandon that ancient text. It took less than a thousand years from the writing of the OT before it had to be replaced. Meanwhile the NT is going on two thousand years.

In the early days of the church, there were many, many sects and cults attempting to reinvent Christianity in various ways. Once the church gained political power, anyone who took a non-canonical view of Christianity was considered a heretic, and often executed.

In modern times, now that there is religious freedom, there are once again many sects attempting to reinvent Christianity. Mormonism and Rastafarianism spring to mind.

The New Testament was never intended to replace the Old Testament, only, supposedly, to supplement it (much like the Book of Mormon was supposed to do to the New Testament). Christians claim not to have abandoned the Old Testament--Jesus said, in Matthew 5:17-18, "Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets; I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill. For verily, I say unto you, till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law till all be fulfilled." ("The law, or the prophets" refers approximately to the OT).

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Here's the first installment of a series of posts listing my favorite stories from the Bible. I will go book by book, starting with Genesis. I won't repeat the whole story, but merely give you an indication of what I like about it. If you want to know the details, you'll need to read the stories yourself.

My Ten Favorite Stories From Genesis

1. Genesis 1 - God creates daylight on the first day of creation; but, he doesn't create the sun until the fourth day. Oops! There are several hilarious problems with the creation myth. I encourage you to waste many hours of your life trying to discover them.

2. Genesis 7 - God drowns every man, woman, and child on earth, except for Noah's family. Lucky bastard.

3. Genesis 19 - God kills everyone in Sodom and Gomorrah (for being gay or generally not likeable), and then he murders the wife of his chosen servant Lot.

4. Genesis 19 - Lot gets drunk and unknowingly has sex with his two virgin daughters in a cave.

5. Genesis 20 - To avoid being killed for his hot wife, Abraham keeps telling people that she is his sister, and then it turns out to be true. Ew!

6. Genesis 22 - God orders Abraham to kill his son. When Abraham is about to do it, God suddenly stops him. It turns out that God was only testing Abraham's willingness to commit infanticide for the Lord.

7. Genesis 27 - Jacob tricks his dying father, Isaac, into thinking that he is really Esau, Isaac's other son, cheating Esau out of his father's blessing. What a prick!

8. Genesis 29 - Wife-hunting Jacob agrees to serve Laban for seven years in exchange for his sexy daughter Rachel. After seven years of service, Jacob at last demands Rachel as his reward, but the trickster Laban gives Jacob his other daughter, Leah, instead. Somehow, Jacob fails to notice that it's the wrong daughter, and he proceeds to have sexual intercourse with her before realizing that Leah is not Rachel. Doh!

9. Genesis 34 - Jacob's daughter Dinah is raped by Prince Shechem. After the fact, Shechem asks Jacob to give him Dinah as a wife, and Jacob agrees on one condition: that Shechem and all the other males in his city get circumcised. Shechem naturally agrees. The townsmen get snipped, and Dinah is handed over to her rapist. But who knew that Jacob's sons, Simeon and Levi, were actually upset that their sister was sexually violated, and that, as a matter of justice, they would decide to execute every man in town and enslave the women and children? Ah, biblical justice. It's such a wonderful thing to behold.

10. Genesis 38 - God kills Onan for ejaculating on the ground instead of inside the wife of his dead brother, whom God murdered for some unknown reason. Seriously, I'm not making this up. God killed him because he pulled out.

Do you want to read these stories for yourself but don't own a Bible? Good news! You can read them online here.

Its not supposed to be takn literally.Most people do and therein lies the problem.Its all symbolism and very interesting if one is able to read it as such. Otherwise forget it .Too many contradictions.

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Its not supposed to be takn literally.Most people do and therein lies the problem.Its all symbolism and very interesting if one is able to read it as such. Otherwise forget it .Too many contradictions.

Even as symbolism, the stories of the Bible are horrific and evil.

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My Twelve Favorite Stories From Numbers

1. Numbers 1 - Unwilling (or perhaps unable) to count his chosen people himself, the Lord orders Moses to take a census of male Israelites who are twenty or more years old. God, you see, is planning a massive war against a bunch of people he doesn't like, and, rather than reusing the "plague 'em 'til they die" strategy that worked so well on the Egyptians, he has decided this time to rely on good, old-fashioned manpower. In the end, Moses counts 603,550 useable men--which, to put that number in perspective, is about the same amount of 20+ year-old males you would find in a modern city the size of San Diego or Philadelphia.

2. Numbers 5 - The Lord's ingenious test for unfaithful wives: If a husband becomes jealous of his wife and suspects her of sleeping with another man, he is to make her drink filthy water that contains dirt from the ground. If she has been unfaithful to him, then the dirty water will cause her belly to swell and her thighs to rot.

3. Numbers 11 - God tells the children of Israel to leave Mount Sinai. They travel for three days and then begin to complain about a lack of food. In response, the Lord decides to teach his ungrateful people a lesson and promptly sends a great fire to incinerate some of them. This naturally upsets the Israelites, who start whining to Moses about how they are being mistreated by the Lord. So, Moses prays to God and convinces the Almighty One to stop barbecuing his own people.

Then--maybe because he thinks it's funny--God buries his hungry congregation waist-high in quails. It takes two days for the Israelites to clean up the mess and collect all the birds. After the cleanup, they begin munching on the bird meat, but God's temper suddenly flares up again, and he treats his special children to yet another "very great plague."

4. Numbers 12 - Moses marries an Ethiopian woman. This disturbs his brother Aaron and his sister Miriam, who both criticize him for taking a wife from Ethiopia. God learns that Aaron and Miriam are badmouthing Moses, and he grows angry again. He stands in the doorway of his tabernacle and confronts Aaron and Miriam. He reads these two the riot act and then changes Miriam into a leper. Aaron, the man, somehow escapes punishment, despite the fact that he also spoke against Moses.

5. Numbers 13 - Camped now in the Wilderness of Paran, Moses is instructed by God to send spies into Canaan--in preparation for an invasion. The spies return, after forty days, and report their findings. Most importantly, they confirm that God is no liar: the promised land really does "flow with milk and honey." But the spies also report, to the congregation's dismay, that the land is occupied by real "giants." We of course know today that this story is true, because of all the bones of giants that are on display in our museums.

6. Numbers 15 - Some doofus decides to gather sticks on the Sabbath day, and he gets himself stoned to death. When God says no work on Sunday, he means it!

7. Numbers 16 - Korah and his men rebel against Moses and his dictatorial rule. So God buries Korah alive and consumes his men with fire. The situation gets really ugly the following day, when the entire congregation complains to Moses about his ill-treatment of the children of Israel. This kind of wholesale insubordination makes God super-pissed, and he sends yet another plague among the Israelites. This time he executes an additional 14,700 of his own chosen people, who, by now, are openly longing to return to their enslavement in Egypt.

Leave it to God and Moses to make life so difficult that people actually dream of the good old days of being a slave.

8. Numbers 20 - The Lord has finally had enough of Aaron's constant rebelling and decides to punish him. He orders Moses to take his brother up to the top of Mount Hor, strip him of clothing, and watch him die--probably from starvation or exposure, since no explicit cause of death is given here, and Aaron was obviously healthy enough to climb a mountain.

At last, in killing off Aaron, God does something I can agree with. Now, if only he would stab Moses in the testicles, I could go to sleep happy.

9. Numbers 21 - With the Lord's blessing, the Israelites invade and annihilate the Canaanites. Then, on the road to their next divine genocide, these circumcised marauders again begin to starve--and again they rebel against God and Moses. As expected, the Lord renews his wrath, and it pleases him to send poisonous, flaming snakes to kill many of his unruly dependents. After the "fiery serpents" incident, Moses collects his remaining army and takes them to slaughter the next tribe on the list, which happens to be the Amorites.

Two tribes down, four to go.

10. Numbers 22 and 23 - God orders Balaam, the diviner, to follow some princes of Moab, who are taking Balaam to see the king. Balaam obeys, yet his obedience somehow angers the Lord. Displeased even with obedience, God dispatches an Angel who, without revealing himself to Balaam, threatens the diviner's donkey with a sword. The donkey flees from the Angel, and Balaam hits his donkey in an attempt to control the beast. At this point in the story--when one thinks it can't get any more confusing or ridiculous--the donkey, being inspired by God, starts speaking to Balaam and inquires why his master has hit him with a staff. Balaam, not at all surprised by the donkey's ability to talk man-language, proceeds to engage his animal in a brief debate--an argument which Balaam loses, by the way.

After all of that, the Angel then reveals himself to Balaam, who quickly apologizes for not knowing the absurd, flip-flopping will of God. Balaam offers to return home immediately, but instead the Angel tells him to continue following the princes of Moab--which is precisely what he was doing in the first place. Good grief!

11. Numbers 25 - Sex-starved Israelites hook up with the enemy's women, particularly Midianite whores, and start worshipping their god Baal. This, of course, further infuriates the Lord, and he orders his priests to kill these sinners. To get the party started, Phinehas grabs his javelin and, with one thrust, impales both an Israelite and his foreign harlot together on the same spear. During the ensuing bloodbath, 24,000 people are butchered for the sin of sleeping with non-Israelite women and worshipping a false god.

In recognition of Phinehas' obedient, bloodthirsty leadership, God awards him with a special "covenant of peace" prize.

12. Numbers 31 - The Lord commands his followers to destroy the Midianites. So, led by Phinehas, the Israelite army kills all of the Midianite men and enslaves all of their women and children. But when Moses discovers how leniently his army treated the enemy, he becomes very mad. After all, it was the Midianite harlots in the land of Moab who previously corrupted the horny sons of Israel and brought God's wrath upon the whole congregation. So, to make things right, Moses instructs his soldiers to execute all of the Midianite boys, as well as all of the enemy's deflowered women. But, take note, the 32,000 virgin girls, who are now parentless, are to be kept alive for the rapists and slavemasters of Israel.

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Though it's in the Book of Jubilees and so not technically a Bible story, the Tower of Babel remains my favorite because this story shows God for what he is: a mean, oppressive jerk that gets mad the minute we start dreaming of greatness. Jubilees was supposedly revealed to Moses secretely while he was spending those forty days and nights on Mount Sinai so I think it has a place here.

______

There comes a time in every man's life when he wants to meet his creator (or tormentor as, judging from the other stories told so far, many probably saw him) face to face. In an astounding feat of global cooperation the whole of mankind gets together and undertakes to build a tower so great and tall that it will reach heaven itself and allow them to finally meet their beloved Lord. Talk about ambition!

Maybe God didn't want people bothering him at home. Maybe he was afraid we'd climb up there and catch him without his pants on. Maybe he was just a big fat jerk. Whatever the reason, he thought this whole tower-building thing was no good and so like a petulant child smashing his younger sister's sand castle he knocked the tower over. Then, to really set his mind at ease he decided to scatter everyone to the four corners of the Earth and to make their speech incomprehensible to one another so they'd never try anything like that again. After all, what good is universal peace and cooperation if it's just gonna be used to build phenomenal structures and other such undreamed-of marvels? All this construction takes precious time away from worship!

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Even as symbolism, the stories of the Bible are horrific and evil.

How true. I actually enjoyed a number of the Greek myths when I read them as a child. In contrast, the Bible stories are not just mind-bogglingly evil, but also insipid.

Mr. Swig, do you have any sermons to preach us from the New Testament??

Your humble acolyte,

GB

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Maybe God didn't want people bothering him at home. Maybe he was afraid we'd climb up there and catch him without his pants on. Maybe he was just a big fat jerk. Whatever the reason, he thought this whole tower-building thing was no good and so like a petulant child smashing his younger sister's sand castle he knocked the tower over.

Since the creationists insist every word in the Bible is true, then we can suppose God knocked the tower over to prevent man from finding out there is no heaven? We know there are the various layers of the atmosphere, then space. No heaven, though. So that's what God was hiding.

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Though it's in the Book of Jubilees and so not technically a Bible story

Um, I've never heard of the Book of Jubilees, but Genesis 11 has the following story (n.b. this is the official Shea Levy translation, not the King James):

And it was that all the land had one language, and one set of words [literally ones words, דברים אחדים, using the plural of the word for word and the plural of the word for one]. And they were in the process of travelling from the East, and they came upon a valley in the land of Shinar and settled there. And each man said to the other [lit "a man said to his friend"]: "Come, let us make bricks and fire them." And they used bricks for stone and clay as mortar. And they said "Come, let us build for ourselves a city, and a tower with it's head in the sky, and we will make for ourselves a name, lest we be spread about the face of the land." And god came down to see the city and the tower that the children of man had built. And god said "Here is one nation with one toungue and the dream that they had, now we cannot stop them from whatever they want to do. Let us go down, and there we will confuse [hebrew is לבלל, which doesn't have a solid meaning] their language, so that man cannot hear the language of his fellow man." And god spread them from there about the face of the land, and scattered the bricks of the city. And now we call that place Babel, because there god confused (balal) the language of all the land, and there god spread [the people] across the whole land.

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Um, I've never heard of the Book of Jubilees,
ספר היובלים, apparently once part of the midrash and still part of the Ethiopian canon. A cleansing of Genesis and Exodus, it is said. The merit of the Jubilee's account is that it apparently has more detail about the ziggurat at Bab-Ilu. Professionally speaking, though, those guys were so clueless.
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My Twelve Favorite Stories From Deuteronomy

1. Deuteronomy 1 through 3 - Moses, having slaughtered his way to the threshold of the Promised Land, stops on the east bank of the Jordan River and addresses the children of Israel. He begins a series of long, sleep-inducing speeches designed to review everything that has already occurred in Exodus through Numbers. In the third chapter, Moses remembers one of his conversations with God, in which the Lord forbade him from entering the Promised Land on account of his people’s transgressions. Yes, in the end, the Lord rewards his greatest servant--and the “author” of the Pentateuch--by making him drop dead at the ticket counter of earthly paradise. Truly, the Lord is a loving god.

Of course, God refrains from doing us all a favor and killing Moses immediately. No, we must first suffer through thirty chapters of Moses’ nonstop, rambling recollections, which mostly consist of stories we have already heard.

2. Deuteronomy 5 - Moses recalls that one time when he met God on a mountain and received the Ten Commandments. Remember that one?

Moses' memory seems to be failing, though, because in this version of the story, God gives a different reason for creating the Sabbath. Originally, in Exodus 20:11, God made the Sabbath because that was the day he rested after creating the world. But here in Deuteronomy Moses doesn’t mention the Creation. Rather, the Sabbath now celebrates the day God brought his people out of Egypt.

Moses must be down to his last few brain cells here. Otherwise, how could he forget something that is literally written in stone? No wonder God wants him out of the picture. He's starting to make the Lord look bad.

3. Deuteronomy 15 - Mosaic Law: You must lend money to the needy and then forgive their debts every seven years. Of course, it's easy to be this charitable when the money you give away comes not from your own productive work, but from innocent families that you murdered and plundered.

4. Deuteronomy 18 - According to Moses, the Israelites are blameless for committing ritual genocide, because their victims "listened to soothsayers."

Okay, even if that were a valid excuse for genocide, I still can’t figure out how an infant or toddler would consult a soothsayer. Perhaps, back then, a heathen baby could pop out of the womb and immediately say to its daddy, “Stop smiling and get me a friggin’ soothsayer, dumbass!” That would surely be worthy of death.

5. Deuteronomy 20 - Moses says that when his people attack a city that God has promised to them, they are to “let nothing that breathes remain alive,” lest the foreigners teach the Israelites about different gods and tempt them into sinful behavior. Then Moses also says that if, during a siege, a battering ram is required, then it is forbidden to use a fruit tree for this purpose, because fruit trees are needed for food.

Ah! Cutting up women and children: good. Cutting down fruit trees: bad.

6. Deuteronomy 21 - Moses tells his warriors that after they defeat a city that was not specifically promised to them by God, they need to make sure to slaughter all of the men. But if they see a pretty woman that they want to rape and have for a wife, then first they must shave the girl’s head and make her trim her nails. She is then allowed one rape-free month to mourn her parents. But after that she’s fair game.

7. Deuteronomy 22 - Moses sees a need to outlaw cross-dressing. I wonder if this means that the Israelites weren’t content with merely killing and raping women but also felt compelled to wear their victim’s clothing and then perform stage plays that reenact the killing and raping. Why else would they wear women's clothing?

8. Deuteronomy 22 - We learn a few more disturbing laws pertaining to the biblical treatment of women. For example, if a husband accuses his new bride of not being a virgin, then it is up to the woman’s parents to prove that their daughter is actually a virgin. If they cannot provide evidence, such as a bloody sheet from the wedding night, then the husband’s claim will be accepted as true, and the city must stone the alleged harlot to death.

Also, if a betrothed virgin is raped within city limits, then she must be put to death. For, it is assumed that she did not scream for help, otherwise she would have been rescued by someone in the city. If, however, the virgin is raped in the countryside, then she will not be put to death, because nobody could have heard her scream.

I don't understand. Was the Bible written before the invention of "gagging someone?"

Talk about cruel and unusual. Not only must these virgins fear being raped, but they must fear being killed for being raped. (Ugh! I'm at the point now where I want to drop my pants and piss all over the Bible. But then I'd have to buy a new Bible, in order to complete my lists, and I definitely don't want to do that.)

One more gem from this chapter: Moses informs his people that unbetrothed virgins can be raped for the sum of 50 shekels, which are due to the girl's father upon completion of the act. After being violated, the woman must then become her rapist’s wife and serve him for the rest of his life. (Double ugh!)

9. Deuteronomy 25 - More wonderful Mosaic laws: If a man dies before giving his wife a son, then the deceased’s brother has a duty to sex up the widow and impregnate her with a son. If the brother refuses to sleep with his sister-in-law, then the widow must remove one of her brother-in-law’s sandals and hock a loogie in his face.

And how about this one: If a woman’s husband is being attacked, and she tries to help him by reaching down and squeezing the attacker’s genitals, then she is in the wrong and must have her hand chopped off as punishment for her sinful behavior.

10. Deuteronomy 28 - Once again Moses conveys the horrors that will befall the Israelites if they don’t behave and obey the Lord. The list includes: constant itching, consumption, severe burning fever, inflammation, scorching, mildew, raining ash, war defeats, boils, tumors, scabs, madness, blindness, confusion of the heart, etc. God will also see to it that their sheep are stolen and that their wives are raped and later forced to eat their own newborns--including the placenta--in order to keep from starving to death. As a final insult, the remaining Israelites will be rendered so pathetic that not even the heathen Egyptians will buy them as slaves.

11. Deuteronomy 31 – Having completed his review of the history and laws of his people, Moses recognizes Joshua as the next king of the Israelites and commands him to invade the Promised Land. In front of the entire congregation, Moses tells Joshua that God "will not leave nor forsake" the children of Israel. Yet, only nine lines later, God explains to Moses and Joshua that, in fact, he will forsake them and hide his face from them, because they will, of course, rebel again.

At this point, it should be concluded that Moses has lost his mind. For, what could possibly have given him the idea that God would not forsake the children of Israel? Does he even read his own books? Clearly Moses has gone insane, and I, for one, applaud the Lord for doing the right thing--for removing Moses from command and sending him to die on a mountaintop. Moses has clearly outlived his usefulness.

Now, personally, I would prefer to see Moses repeatedly stabbed in the forehead with a sharpened stick. But, I realize that parents sometimes read the Bible to their children, so we can’t make these stories too bloody.

12. Deuteronomy 34 – At last, Moses climbs Mount Nebo and dies up there. But then, after clearly dying, he somehow writes the last chapter of Deuteronomy, telling us that, after he died, God buried him in a valley of Moab; that the people mourned his death for thirty whole days; and that “since then there has not arisen in Israel a prophet like Moses, whom the Lord knew face to face.”

Some critics of the Bible wonder how Moses could have written about events that occurred after his death. But, c’mon, that’s such an easy one. I mean, isn't it obvious that he was reincarnated as the Book of Deuteronomy itself? He was able to finish the last chapter after he died, because he was the last chapter. Duh!

What I really want to know is: After Moses died, did his face continue to shine in that really strange way that we read about in Exodus 34? Exactly how long was he a total freak?

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In the third chapter, Moses remembers one of his conversations with God, in which the Lord forbade him from entering the Promised Land on account of his people’s transgressions. Yes, in the end, the Lord rewards his greatest servant--and the “author” of the Pentateuch--by making him drop dead at the ticket counter of earthly paradise. Truly, the Lord is a loving god.

Well, you're right. But that story did leave us with a powerful image to use for successful quarterbacks, talented coaches and skilled team owners, who are very good, win a lot of games, reach the playoffs often, even reach the Superbowl, but never win a championship. People like Marv Levy, Dan Marino, Marty Schotenheimer, Peyton Manning (oops! how did that one get in there?) Dan Pastorini, and so on.

Which makes you wonder why Yehova (whoops! really not supposed to know He goes by That name. Oh, well! It didn't affect Mel Brooks at all) has it in for so many NFL players, coaches and owners. Must be beacuse they play on Sundays, and He can't remember the Sabbath really ought to fall on Saturday.

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  • 2 weeks later...
When can we expect your next list, MisterSwig?

If all goes well, I plan to post my list for the Book of Joshua this Sunday. Joshua is a truly exciting book that describes the virtue of wholesale genocide of countless non-chosen peoples. If you like the image of mowing down entire civilizations (man, woman, and child) one right after another, then you won't want to miss this list.

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