22 December 2006

Absalom's hair was heavy upon him

But in all Israel there was none to be so much praised as Absalom for his beauty: from the sole of his foot even to the crown of his head there was no blemish in him. And when he polled his head [cut his hair], (for it was at every year's end that he polled it: because the hair was heavy on him, therefore he polled it:) he weighed the hair of his head at two hundred shekels after the king's weight. 2 Samuel 14:25-26

Absalom was the best looking guy in all of Israel -- with one hell of a head of hair. He'd let it grow all year and then cut it, which he had to do each year because it got so darned heavy. One year's growth weighed 200 skekels.

And how heavy is 200 shekels? Well, one shekel weighed about 11 grams. So Absalom's haircut trimmings weighed in at 2.2 kilograms.

How does this compare with normal human hair?

An average head hair has a diameter of about 0.007 cm (70 micrometers) and grows 15 cm per year. And an average head has about 100,000 hair follicles on it. Since human hair has a density of 1.32 g/cm3, we can estimate the weight of an average person's yearly hair production.

weight = pi * (.0035 cm)2 * 15 cm * 100,000 hairs * 1.32 g/cm3 = 76 g

So an average person produces about 0.076 kilogram of hair annually -- about than 1/30th that of Absalom.

Of course Absalom wasn't an average person. He was, after all, the best looking guy in Israel. So maybe his hair was 30 times as thick or 20 times as dense as normal human hair. Or maybe the Bible was just making stuff up.

Source for human hair values: Robbins, C.R., Chemical and Physical Behavior of Human Hair, Fourth Edition, Springer (2002)

19 December 2006

I deny the existence of the Holy Spirit

The blasphemy against the Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven. Matthew 12:31

He that shall blaspheme against the Holy Ghost hath never forgiveness, but is in danger of eternal damnation. Mark 3:29

Unto him that blasphemeth against the Holy Ghost it shall not be forgiven. Luke 12:10

Take the Blasphemy Challenge; deny the existence of the Holy Spirit. It's time for us all to stop believing (or pretending to believe) out of fear or politeness.

42: It's not God's favorite number

(Although it is The Answer to The Ultimate Question Of Life, the Universe and Everything.)

One of my favorite Bible stories for children is the Story of Elisha and the bears.

He [Elisha] went up from there to Bethel; and while he was going up on the way, some small boys came out of the city and jeered at him, saying, "Go up, you baldhead! Go up, you baldhead!" And he turned around, and when he saw them, he cursed them in the name of the LORD. And two she-bears came out of the woods and tore forty-two of the boys. (New Revised Version) 2 Kings 2:23-24

So much action packed into two short verses!

But what's really important here is the moral of the story. What is God trying to teach us here?

Well some things are obvious.

  1. Don't make fun of religious leaders (or God might kill you in a particularly gruesome way).

  2. Children shouldn't make fun of bald men.

  3. God doesn't much like the number 42.

Okay, maybe the third one isn't so obvious. But doesn't it seem strange to have 42 little boys running out of the city screaming "Go up, you baldhead! Go up, you baldhead!" all at once? And then to have all 42 of them ripped apart by bears? Two or three, even a half dozen maybe, but not 42.

So maybe the number of boys was inflated a bit. But, still, why make it 42?

Because, you see, God really likes seven (that's why he has seven spirits) and he hates six (666 and all that). So since 7 is perfect and six is evil, 7 times 6 is perfectly evil.

So when the story of Elisha and the bears was made up (well, you didn't really believe it, did you?), 42 was selected for the number of boys. It showed how bad those boys must have been and how much they deserved being torn up by bears.

For other demonstrations of God's hatred of 42 see Judges 12:5-6; 2 Kings 10:14; Revelation 11:2, and 13:5.

18 December 2006

Where does evil come from?

Behold, this evil is of the Lord. 2 Kings 6:33

As I pointed out in my last post, evil spirits (according to the Bible, anyway) usually come from God (not Satan).

But what about evil itself? Where does it come from?

Here is the Bible's answer.

I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things. Isaiah 45:7

The Bible tells us that God is the proud creator of everything evil. So whenever and wherever you find evil, you can be sure that God is its source.

Shall there be evil in a city, and the LORD hath not done it? Amos 3:6

05 December 2006

Where do evil spirits come from?

Seems like silly question, doesn't it? At least it would to most Bible believers. Evil spirits come from Satan. But that's not what the Bible says.

The phrase "evil spirit(s)" occurs 14 times (in 13 verses) in the Bible, in 8 of which the evil spirits were sent directly and explicitly by God.

The first evil spirit was sent by God to kill people in war.

Then God sent an evil spirit between Abimelech and the men of Shechem; and the men of Shechem dealt treacherously with Abimelech. Judges 9:23

God sent the next evil spirit to cause Saul to have a mental breakdown. (But luckily, David plays his harp and makes Saul's "evil spirit from the Lord" go away.)

But the Spirit of the LORD departed from Saul, and an evil spirit from the LORD troubled him. And Saul's servants said unto him, Behold now, an evil spirit from God troubleth thee. Let our lord now command thy servants, which are before thee, to seek out a man, who is a cunning player on an harp: and it shall come to pass, when the evil spirit from God is upon thee, that he shall play with his hand, and thou shalt be well. 1 Samuel 16:14-16

And it came to pass, when the evil spirit from God was upon Saul, that David took an harp, and played with his hand: so Saul was refreshed, and was well, and the evil spirit departed from him. 1 Samuel 16:23

Then God sent an evil spirit to cause Saul to prophesy and sit with a javelin in his hand.

And it came to pass on the morrow, that the evil spirit from God came upon Saul, and he prophesied in the midst of the house: and David played with his hand, as at other times: and there was a javelin in Saul's hand. 1 Samuel 18:10

And the evil spirit from the LORD was upon Saul, as he sat in his house with his javelin in his hand: and David played with his hand. 1 Samuel 19:9

The other 6 "evil spirit" occurrences are in the New Testament. The Bible doesn't say where the evil spirits came from, but they are usually associated with some type of illness (Which come from God, right?).

And in that same hour he cured many of their infirmities and plagues, and of evil spirits; and unto many that were blind he gave sight. Luke 7:21

And certain women, which had been healed of evil spirits and infirmities, Mary called Magdalene, out of whom went seven devils, Luke 8:2

So that from his body were brought unto the sick handkerchiefs or aprons, and the diseases departed from them, and the evil spirits went out of them. Then certain of the vagabond Jews, exorcists, took upon them to call over them which had evil spirits the name of the Lord Jesus, saying, We adjure you by Jesus whom Paul preacheth. ... And the evil spirit answered and said, Jesus I know, and Paul I know; but who are ye? And the man in whom the evil spirit was leaped on them, and overcame them, and prevailed against them, so that they fled out of that house naked and wounded. Acts 19:12-16

So the Bible is fairly clear on evil spirits: they are either sent directly by God or their origin is unknown. The Bible never attributes evil spirits to Satan.

(Thanks to Sternwallow at the Raving Atheists Forum for this one.)

03 December 2006

Swear not at all: Christians and the oath of office

A Christian who believes in the Bible shouldn't swear on one.

The Bible, of course, is worse than useless when it comes to consistent advice on morality. But the New Testament (to avoid confusion, ignore the Old Testament on this one) is pretty clear about one thing: Christians shouldn't swear. Not to God and not on the Bible or on anything else.

Here's what Jesus (supposedly) said about it:

But I say unto you, swear not at all; neither by heaven for it is God's throne; Nor by the earth; for it is his footstool: neither by Jerusalem; for it is the city of the great King. Neither shalt thou swear by thy head, because thou canst not make one hair white or black. But let your communication be, Yea, yea; Nay, nay: for whatsoever is more than these cometh of evil. Matthew 5:34-37

And the Book of James condemns swearing "above all things." I guess that'd make it the worst possible sin.

But above all things, my brethren, swear not, neither by heaven, neither by the earth, neither by any other oath: but let your yea be yea; and your nay, nay; lest ye fall into condemnation. James 5:12

But what about Muslims? Is there anything in the Quran that forbids them from swearing on it? Well, not that I know of, but let me know if there is and I'll note it in the SAQ.

Of course this shouldn't be an issue. The swearing-in ceremony doesn't require the use of the Bible, Quran, or any other religious book. So Representative Elect Keith Ellison shouldn't have a problem getting sworn-in, although he should leave his Quran at home.

But what about Christian representatives? Since the Bible forbids them ("above all else") to take any type of oath, they can't take the oath of office without renouncing their faith.

Oh well, that shouldn't be a problem for them. Most are just pretending to believe for political purposes, and the rest are mostly just hypocrites.

30 November 2006

New Brick Testament Stories

If you haven't seen the Brick Testament before, you should.

It's just the Bible, plain and simple, illustrated with Legos. One of the latest additions is also one of my favorites. Here's a link.

God Commands Amalekite Genocide

And be sure to see the follow-up story.

Saul Rejected for Incomplete Genocide

These Bible stories are a great opportunity for Pope Benedict and the Vatican, who encourage all "faiths to say 'no' to violence in the name of God."

Why not begin by removing 1 Samuel 15 from the Bible? Since that chapter claims that God ordered the genocide of the Amalekites, it couldn't have been inspired by God, right? Get it the hell out of the Bible, I say.

Just say no to violence in the name of God (and thereby reject the violence in the Bible, Quran, and Book of Mormon).

28 November 2006

Jesus will search your kidneys

I [Jesus] am he which searcheth the reins [kidneys] and hearts. Revelation 2:23

Yes, it's true. Jesus is going to search through your kidneys. And if he doesn't like what he finds there, he's going to send you to hell.

You see, according to the Bible, your conscience is in your kidneys (called "reins" in the King James Version). So by inspecting them, Jesus can tell if you've been naughty or nice.

Here are some other verses that give a God's eye view of kidneys.

Oh let the wickedness of the wicked come to an end; but establish the just: for the righteous God trieth the hearts and reins. Psalm 7:9
I will bless the LORD, who hath given me counsel: my reins also instruct me in the night seasons. Pslam 16:7
Examine me, O LORD, and prove me; try my reins and my heart. Psalm 26:2
Thus my heart was grieved, and I was pricked in my reins. Psalm 73:21
Yea, my reins shall rejoice, when thy lips speak right things. Proverbs 23:16
But, O LORD of hosts, that judgest righteously, that triest the reins and the heart. Jeremiah 11:20
I the LORD search the heart, I try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings. Jeremiah 17:10
But, O LORD of hosts, that triest the righteous, and seest the reins and the heart. Jeremiah 20:12

27 November 2006

The seven spirits of God (including the Holy Spirit?)

I beheld ... a Lamb as it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God. Revelation 5:6

The book of Revelation is obsessed with the number seven. God's magic number is used 52 times in 30 verses, with 19 things grouped into sevens.

But the most interesting grouping is the number of God's spirits. Who knew that he had seven of them?

Here's the whole crazy list, with links to the verses so you can read them in context (like that would help or something).

1churches of asia 1:4, 1:11, 1:20(2)
2spirits before God's throne 1:4
3golden candlesticks 1:12, 1:13, 1:20(2), 2:1
4stars in the Jesus' right hand 1:16, 1:20, 2:1, 3:1
5angels 8:2, 8:6, 15:1, 15:6, 15:7, 15:8, 16:1, 17:1, 21:9
6spirits of God 3:1, 4:5, 5:6
7lamps 4:5
8seals 5:1
10eyes 5:6
11trumpets 8:2, 8:6
12thunders 10:3, 10:4(2)
13thousand people killed in an earthquake 11:13
14heads 12:3, 13:1, 17:3, 17:7, 17:9
15crowns 12:3
16plagues 15:1, 15:6, 15:8, 21:9
17golden vials filled with the wrath of God 15:7, 16:1, 17:1, 21:9
18mountains 17:9
19kings 17:10

26 November 2006

Carlton Pearson: No Hell below us

Carlton Pearson is an Evangelical preacher from Tulsa, Oklahoma. He had a large church and a huge following until a few years ago when he publicly renounced his belief in Hell.

The story of his changing views on Hell is the topic of an excellent episode of This American Life. Here's what Bishop Pearson had to say about Hell.

The God we've been preaching is a monster. He's worse than Saddam; he's worse than Osama ben Laden; he's worse than Hitler. Because Hitler just burned 6 million Jews, but God is going to burn at least 6 billion people. And burn them forever. He has this customized torture chamber called Hell were he's going to torment and torture people, not for a few minutes, hours, days, or weeks, but forever.
Here are two of the verses that he uses to justify his belief (or lack of belief) in Hell. (I've added them to Does Hell exist? at the SAB.)
We trust in the living God, who is the Saviour of all men, specially of those that believe. 1 Timothy 4:10

He is the propitiation for our sins: and not for our's only, but also for the sins of the whole world. 1 John 2:2

25 November 2006

Where the worms never die

Where are immortal worms mentioned in the Bible?
And they shall go forth, and look upon the carcases of the men that have transgressed against me: for their worm shall not die, neither shall their fire be quenched; and they shall be an abhorring unto all flesh. Isaiah 66:24
And if thy hand offend thee, cut it off: it is better for thee to enter into life maimed, than having two hands to go into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched: Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched. Mark 9:43-44
And if thy foot offend thee, cut it off: it is better for thee to enter halt into life, than having two feet to be cast into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched: Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched. Mark 9:45-46
And if thine eye offend thee, pluck it out: it is better for thee to enter into the kingdom of God with one eye, than having two eyes to be cast into hell fire: Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched. Mark 9:47-48
It's not clear (to me at least) what Jesus and Isaiah meant by these verses. Do worms live forever in hell? Is human hell worm heaven? Do nonbelievers suffer and die so that worms may live forever?

22 November 2006

Do moderate Muslims believe in hell?

Christians are divided on hell. Some believe in it, some don't. And those that do aren't sure what it's like or who goes there. That's not surprising since the Bible has no clear, consistent teaching about hell (or anything else).

But the Quran has no such problem. If you believe in the Quran, you believe in hell. You know what it's like and who is going there.

I counted 98 passages in the Quran that mention hell. Here's a summary.

Who is going to hell?

  1. Those who deny the existence of hell

    This is hell which the guilty deny. They go circling round between it and fierce, boiling water. 55:43-44

  2. All non-muslims

    They who disbelieve and deny Our revelations, such are rightful owners of hell. 5:10

    But those who disbelieve and deny Our revelations, they are owners of hell-fire. 5:86

    Those who disbelieve will be gathered unto hell. 8:36

    Lo! hell verily is all around the disbelievers. 9:49

    We have appointed hell a dungeon for the disbelievers. 17:8

    Lo! We have prepared hell as a welcome for the disbelievers. 18:102

    That is their reward: hell, because they disbelieved, and made a jest of Our revelations and Our messengers. 18:106

    Hell verily will encompass the disbelievers 29:54

    But as for those who disbelieve, for them is fire of hell; it taketh not complete effect upon them so that they can die, nor is its torment lightened for them. 35:36

    This is hell which ye were promised (if ye followed him). Burn therein this day for that ye disbelieved. 36:63-64

    Those who disbelieve are driven unto hell in troops. 39:71

    Those who disbelieve and deny Our revelations, they are owners of hell-fire. 57:19

  3. Anyone who kills a Muslim

    Whoso slayeth a believer of set purpose, his reward is hell for ever. 4:93

  4. Muslims that refuse to serve and fight for Allah

    When ye meet those who disbelieve in battle, turn not your backs to them. Whoso on that day turneth his back to them, unless manoeuvring for battle or intent to join a company, he truly hath incurred wrath from Allah, and his habitation will be hell, a hapless journey's end. 8:15-16

    Those who scorn My service, they will enter hell, disgraced. 40:60

  5. Muslims that oppose or disobey Allah, Muhammad, or the Quran

    Whoso opposeth the messenger after the guidance (of Allah) hath been manifested unto him, and followeth other than the believer's way, We appoint for him that unto which he himself hath turned, and expose him unto hell - a hapless journey's end! 4:115

    Know they not that whoso opposeth Allah and His messenger, his verily is fire of hell, to abide therein? 9:63

    Whoso disobeyeth Allah and His messenger, lo! his is fire of hell, wherein such dwell for ever. 72:23

What's it like in hell?

On the day when it will (all) be heated in the fire of hell, and their foreheads and their flanks and their backs will be branded therewith. 9:35

Hell is before him, and he is made to drink a festering water, Which he sippeth but can hardly swallow, and death cometh unto him from every side while yet he cannot die, and before him is a harsh doom. 14:16-17

Hell, where they will burn, an evil resting-place. Here is a boiling and an ice-cold draught, so let them taste it. 38:56-57

Lo! the guilty are immortal in hell's torment. It is not relaxed for them, and they despair therein. 43:74-75

Take him and drag him to the midst of hell, Then pour upon his head the torment of boiling water. 44:47-48

On the day when they are dragged into the Fire upon their faces (it is said unto them): Feel the touch of hell. 54:48

Then the welcome will be boiling water And roasting at hell-fire. 56:92-94

But maybe I'm wrong. Maybe there are some moderate Muslims (like Cat Stevens?) that don't believe in hell. If so, I'd love to hear about it.

20 November 2006

Muslim feminists to interpret the Quran

Muslim feminists from around the world vowed to create the first women’s council to interpret the holy Quran and overcome two stereotypes about their religion: Muslims are terrorists and Islam oppresses women.
"Two misconceptions about Islam are that it is associated with terrorism and that Islam is an oppressor of women. These are two myths that we seek to demolish."

Well, I wish them luck. The Quran is pretty consistent when it comes to terrorism and women's rights.

How will the Muslim Feminist Council interpret these verses, for example?

Men are in charge of women, because Allah hath made the one of them to excel the other, and because they spend of their property (for the support of women). So good women are the obedient, guarding in secret that which Allah hath guarded. As for those from whom ye fear rebellion, admonish them and banish them to beds apart, and scourge them. 4:34

We shall cast terror into the hearts of those who disbelieve. 3:151

I will throw fear into the hearts of those who disbelieve. Then smite the necks and smite of them each finger. 8:12

Behold them, staring wide (in terror), the eyes of those who disbelieve! 21:97

I suspect the council will treat these verses like liberal Christians treat similar verses in the Bible: either ignore them entirely or claim that they don't really mean what they very clearly say.


11 November 2006

The Goon Bible Project - Book of Job

The Book of Job gets way more respect than it deserves.

It is, after all, Howard Dean's favorite New Testament book. (I don't know whether he just misspoke during the interview, or whether he really didn't know which testament Job is in. But it was probably the latter. If he's like most American politicians, he's never read the Bible, but he has to pretend that it's one of his favorite books.)

The Goon Bible Project gives the Book of Job a fair and balanced treatment.

It is easy for Allah

We shall cast him into Fire, and that is ever easy for Allah. Quran 4:30

In a previous post, I mentioned the more than 200 times that the Quran threatens unbelievers (non-Muslims) with a painful (shameful, dreadful, etc.) doom. But that didn't count the Quran's references to "the Fire". So I thought I'd better look into that.

The Quran mentions "the Fire" 140 times. Here is just a sampling from the short list.

Lo! Those who disbelieve Our revelations, We shall expose them to the Fire. As often as their skins are consumed We shall exchange them for fresh skins that they may taste the torment. 4:56

And the dwellers of the Fire cry out unto the dwellers of the Garden: Pour on us some water or some wherewith Allah hath provided you. They say: Lo! Allah hath forbidden both to disbelievers (in His guidance). 7:50

We have prepared for disbelievers Fire. Its tent encloseth them. If they ask for showers, they will be showered with water like to molten lead which burneth the faces. 18:29

If those who disbelieved but knew the time when they will not be able to drive off the fire from their faces and from their backs, and they will not be helped! 21:39

But as for those who disbelieve, garments of fire will be cut out for them; boiling fluid will be poured down on their heads. 22:19

The fire burneth their faces, and they are glum therein. 23:104

Their retreat is the Fire. Whenever they desire to issue forth from thence, they are brought back thither. Unto them it is said: Taste the torment of the Fire which ye used to deny. 32:20

But as for those who disbelieve, for them is fire of hell; it taketh not complete effect upon them so that they can die, nor is its torment lightened for them. 35:36

Those who are immortal in the Fire and are given boiling water to drink so that it teareth their bowels. 47:15

04 November 2006

Ted Haggard: It's written in the Bible

Pastor Ted had this to say in the Jesus Camp movie:
We've decided the Bible is the Word of God. We don't have to have a general assembly about what we believe. It's written in the Bible. So we don't have to debate about what we should think about homosexual activity. It's written in the Bible.

And he's right about that, too. It is written in the Bible. It not only condemns homosexual activity, but it defines the punishment for it.

If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them. Leviticus 20:13

Since it is so clearly written in the Bible, Bible believers have only three choices: kill Pastor Ted (assuming he had sex with a male prostitute), remove Leviticus 20:13 from the Bible, or reject the Bible entirely.

I recommend the third option.

01 November 2006

Test your faith: Is it as great as Abraham's?

And he said, Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest, and ... offer him there for a burnt offering.... And Abraham stretched forth his hand, and took the knife to slay his son. Genesis 22:2, 10

Kill the Afterlife has a great test for believers of the Abrahamic faiths (Jews, Muslims, Christians -- heck, I suppose that'd even include Mormons). What would Abraham do? Would you, could you, should you do likewise?
Are you a Christian? Muslim? Jew? Good, because I want to ask you a question.
Remember the old story about Abraham being commanded by God to kill his son in the land of Moriah? Remember how Abraham was about to faithfully commit infanticide on his own offspring in the name of God, but then at the last second God stopped him?
This is a thought/faith experiment. First, we acknowledge that you are an Abrahamic theist (Christian, Muslim, or Jew). Second we assume that you have a child (if you don't have one in real life, let's pretend that you do for the sake of argument). Third, let's imagine that God came to you and told you to sacrifice your child on the peak of the nearest mountain, a la Abraham at Moriah.
Of course, in the story, God stopped Abraham at the last minute and allowed Abraham to kill a ram instead. But Abraham didn't know that God would stop him. And more importantly, Abraham was about to carry out the infanticidal act with total faith and conviction.
So the question to you, dear theist, is: Would you do it?
Seriously! Don't dodge the question. According to your faith, God did it before, so put yourself in Abraham's shoes. This is a test of your faith and conviction. This is a test to see if you put God first in your life!
If God asked you to kill your child, would you do it with total faith and conviction? Would you pass the test as Abraham did?

26 October 2006

Punishment for mishandling the Quran

In a previous post, I listed some rules for handling the Quran. But what is the punishment for mishandling it? Well, according to Ynet news, Allah turned a Muslim girl into a dog for for just such a crime.
TAIBEH – Harsh punishment? A Muslim girl from Taibeh was punished by Allah and turned into a dog, according to rumors that have been circulating in the Arab-Israeli town this week, Arab-language newspaper Panorama reported.

According to the rumors, the harsh punishment was meted out after the girl, upset by her mother’s request to bring her the Quran as she was watching television, threw the holy Muslim book at the mother with disdain.

And this wouldn't be the first time Allah enforced such a punishment. The Quran says that Allah turned some Jews into apes for breaking the Sabbath.
And ye know of those of you who broke the Sabbath, how We said unto them: Be ye apes, despised and hated! And We made it an example to their own and to succeeding generations, and an admonition to the God-fearing. -- Quran 2:65-66
So he'd probably be more than willing to turn you into a dog (or worse) for mistreating the Quran!

25 October 2006

Rules for handling the Quran

This is indeed a noble Qur'an ... Which none toucheth save the purified. -- Quran 56:77-79
From this passage, Muslims have developed a set of rules about how to handle the Quran. Here are some of them.
  1. Make formal acts of cleaning yourself (ablutions) before touching the Quran.

  2. Don't touch the Quran when you are unclean (like after touching a dog, going to the bathroom, having sex, or while menstruating).

  3. Don't touch the Quran (in Arabic) unless you are already a Muslim. (It's okay for non-believers to listen to tapes or touch a translation.)

  4. If you do have to touch it for some reason (and you're unclean or a non-Muslim), then wear gloves or use a cloth to keep your filthy fingers off the sacred text.

  5. Never let the Quran touch the floor.

  6. Don't take it into a bathroom.

  7. Don't place anything else on top of it.
These rules are based on the idea that the Quran is the literal word of God, revealed to the angel Gabriel and delivered to the prophet Muhammad — none of which, of course, is true.

19 October 2006

The Spirit of the Lord came upon him

According to the Bible, what happens when the Spirit of the Lord comes upon somebody?

Well, the short answer is this: a Spirit-possessed person usually kills things.

The phrase ("the Spirit of the Lord came upon him") occurs only 8 times (in 7 verses) in the Bible. Let's see what happens in each case.


The Spirit of the Lord came upon Othniel and he went to war. (The same thing happened to Bush.)

And the Spirit of the LORD came upon him, and he judged Israel, and went out to war. Judges 3:10


When the Spirit of the Lord came upon Gideon, he blew a trumpet. That sounds innocent enough (even if a little crazy). But Gideon (with God's Spirit) used the trumpet to summon soldiers to war. (For details about the war see Gideon's story: The Lord set every man's sword against his neighbor)

But the Spirit of the LORD came upon Gideon, and he blew a trumpet. Judges 6:34

When the spirit of the Lord came upon Jephthah, he killed his daughter as a burnt offering to pay God back for providing him with "a very great slaughter."

Then the Spirit of the LORD came upon Jephthah ... And Jephthah vowed a vow unto the LORD, and said, If thou shalt without fail deliver the children of Ammon into mine hands, Then it shall be, that whatsoever cometh forth of the doors of my house to meet me, when I return in peace from the children of Ammon, shall surely be the LORD's, and I will offer it up for a burnt offering. ... and the LORD delivered them into his hands. And he smote them ... And Jephthah came to Mizpeh unto his house, and, behold, his daughter came out to meet him with timbrels and with dances ... And she said unto him, My father, if thou hast opened thy mouth unto the LORD, do to me according to that which hath proceeded out of thy mouth. And ... her father ... did with her according to his vow which he had vowed. Judges 11:29-39

Samson had God's Spirit on him three times. Each time he kills something: first a lion, then 30 men, and finally 1000 men.

Behold, a young lion roared against him. And the Spirit of the LORD came mightily upon him, and he rent him as he would have rent a kid. Judges 14:5-6
And the Spirit of the LORD came upon him ... and slew thirty men. Judges 14:19
And the Spirit of the LORD came mightily upon him ... And he found a new jawbone of an ass ... and slew a thousand men therewith. Judges 15:14-15
Saul and David

The Spirit of God was on Saul until he refused to kill all the Amalekites as commaded by God in 1 Samuel 15:2-3. For refusing to commit genocide, God took away his Spirit from Saul, sicked "an evil spirit from the Lord" on him, and transfered his Spirit over to David, where it remained forever. (In a previous post I described some of the things a person can do when the Spirit of God comes on him.)

The Spirit of the LORD came upon David from that day forward. But the Spirit of the LORD departed from Saul, and an evil spirit from the LORD troubled him. 1 Samuel 16:13-14

16 October 2006

And for the disbelievers, Allah has prepared a painful doom

For those of you who've never read the Quran, let me summarize it for you: And for the disbelievers, Allah has prepared a painful doom.

This idea is so important that Allah (or his prophet) repeats more than 200 times in the Quran. Here are just a few variants.

For disbelievers is a painful doom. 2:104

Those who disbelieve the revelations of Allah ... promise them a painful doom. 3:21

Give tidings (O Muhammad) of a painful doom to those who disbelieve. 9:3

Those who vex the messenger of Allah, for them there is a painful doom. 9:61

Theirs will be a boiling drink and painful doom because they disbelieved. 10:4

And that's just a sample of the 60 verses in the Quran that describe the "painful doom" that unbelevers will endure. There are also 25 "awful doom" verses, 10 "shameful dooms", 4 "dreadful dooms", 4 "dooms of fire", and another 40 or so differently named dooms. Plus 65 verses that mention just a plain old "doom" -- and a couple hundred or so that describe Hell, the Fire, etc.

But my favorite doom verse is this one (If you don't believe in hell, guess where you'll be going):

Those who believe not in the Hereafter, for them We have prepared a painful doom. 17:10

The Heroes of Faith

Tor the time would fail me to tell of Gideon, and of Barak, and of Samson, and of Jephthah; of David also, and Samuel. -- Hebrews 11:32

The author of Hebrews provides a list of heroes of faith, which includes Gideon, Samson, Jephthah, David, and Samuel. These are those that all good Christians should emulate.

To help them with that, I thought I'd provide a list of their heroic actions, so they can go and do likewise.


Gave God some really weird tests. Judges 6:36-40

Selected for his army the men who lapped water like a dog. (This test was proposed by God.) Judges 7:4-7

Tortured prisoners of war and civilians with thorns and briers. Judges 8:7, 16-17

Ordered his young son to kill prisoners of war, and then did it himself when his son refused. Judges 8:20-22

Made an ephod that "all of Israel ... went whoring after." Judges 8:27

Had many wives and concubines.Judges 8:30


Sacrificed his daughter to God as a burnt offering. Judges 11:30-39


Killed things whenever "the Spirit of the Lord" came upon him. Judges 14:5-6, 19, 15:14-15

Caught 300 foxes, tied their tails together, and set them on fire. Judges 15:4-5

Saw a harlot and "went in unto her." Judges 16:1

Collapsed a building and killed 3000 people. Judges 16:27-30


Bought his first wife with 200 Philistine foreskins. 1 Samuel 18:25-27

Killed all Amalekite men and women. 1 Samuel 27:8-11

Had many wives and concubines. 2 Samuel 3:2-5, 5:13, 1 Chronicles 14:3

Commanded his young men to kill Saul's sons, cut off their hands and feet, and hang their bodies up over a pool in Hebron. 2 Samuel 4:6-12

Danced naked, or nearly naked, in front of God and everyone. 2 Samuel 6:14, 20-23

Committed adultery with Bathsheba and then had her husband killed in battle. (To punish David for this, God killed the Bathsheba's baby boy.) 2 Samuel 11:2-27, 12:13-18

Tortured the Ammonites with fire, saws, and axes. 2 Samuel 12:31, 1 Chronicles 20:3


Told Saul that God commanded him to kill all of the Amalekites: men, women, infants, sucklings, ox, sheep, camels, and asses. 1 Samuel 15:2-3

Told Saul that he was rejected by God as King of Israel for failing to commit genocide. 1 Samuel 15:22-23

To please God, Samuel hacks Agag in pieces "before the Lord." 1 Samuel 15:32-33

14 October 2006

Richard Dawkins' Bible Study

Richard Dawkins's new book The God Delusion is simply fantastic. It gets my vote for the best book of the year.
Since the book has received many reviews (See, for example, A Devil's Catechism by PZ Myers), I'll not discuss it here.
But something caught my eye on page 341-3. Dawkins presents a long list of phrases from the Bible that have become a part of our literary culture, and that therefore should be familiar to us all. So I thought, what the heck, I'd list the phrases and provide links to the verses in the Bible in which they occur.

1Be fruitful and multiplyGenesis 1:28, 9:1, 9:7
2East of EdenGenesis 4:16
3Adam's ribGenesis 2:22
4Am I my brother's keeperGenesis 4:9
5The mark of CainGenesis 4:16
6As old as MethuselahGenesis 5:27
7A mess of potageGenesis 25:34
8Sold his birthrightGenesis 25:34
9Jacob's ladderGenesis 28:12
10Coat of many colorsGenesis 37:3
11Amid the alien corn(The phrase occurs in John Keats's "Ode to a Nightingale", but is not found in the KJV. Thanks Matthew for the correction.)
12Eyeless in GazaJudges 16:21
13The fat of the landGenesis 45:18
14The fatted calfLuke 15:23, 27, 30
15Stranger in a strange landExodus 2:22
16Burning bushExodus 3:2
17A land flowing with milk and honeyExodus 3:8, 17, 13:5, 33:3; Jeremiah 11:5, 32:22; Ezekiel 20:6
18Let my people goExodus 5:1, 7:16, 8:1, 20, 21, 9:1, 13, 10:3, 4
19Flesh potsExodus 16:3
20An eye for an eye and a tooth for a toothExodus 21:24, Leviticus 24:20, Deuteronomy 19:21, Matthew 5:38
21Be sure your sin will find you outNumbers 32:23
22The apple of his eyeDeuteronomy 32:10, Zechariah 2:8
23The stars in their coursesJudges 5:20
24Butter in a lordly dishJudges 5:25
25The host of MidianJudges 7:8, 13, 15
26ShibbolethJudges 12:6
27Out of the strong came forth sweetnessJudges 14:14
28He smote them hip and thighJudges 15:8
29Philistine1 Samuel 17:8-57, 18:6, 19:5, 21:9, 22:10, 2 Samuel 21:17
30A man after his own heart1 Samuel 13:14
31Like David and Jonathan1 Samuel 18:1
32Passing the love of women2 Samuel 1:26
33How are the mighty fallen2 Samuel 1:19, 25, 27
34Ewe lambLeviticus 14:10, Numbers 6:14, 2 Samuel 12:3
35Man of Belial1 Samuel 24:25, 2 Samuel 16:7, 20:1
36Jezebel1 Kings 16:31, 18:4,13, 19:1-2, 25:1-25, 2 Kings 9:7-37, Revelation 2:20
37Queen of Sheba1 Kings 10:4, 10, 13, 2 Chronicles 9:1,3,9,12
38Wisdom of Solomon1 Kings 4:34, 2 Chronicles 9:3, Matthew 12:42, Luke 11:31
39The half was not told me1 Kings 10:7
40Girded up his loins1 Kings 18:46
41Drew a bow at a venture1 Kings 22:34, 2 Chronicles 18:33
42Job's comfortersJob 16:2
43The patience of JobJames 5:11
44I am escaped with the skin of my teethJob 19:20
45The price of wisdom is above rubiesJob 28:18
46LeviathanJob 41:1, Psalm 74:14, 104:26, Isaiah 27:1
47Go to the ant thou sluggard; consider her ways, and be wiseProverbs 6:6
48Spare the rod and spoil the childProverbs 13:24
49A word in seasonIsaiah 50:4
50Vanity of vanitiesEcclesiastes 1:2, 12:8
51To everything there is a season, and a time to every purposeEcclesiastes 3:1
52The race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strongEcclesiastes 9:11
53Of making many books there is no endEcclesiastes 12:12
54I am the Rose of SharonSong of Songs 2:1
55A garden inclosedSong of Songs 4:12
56The little foxesSong of Songs 2:15
57Many waters cannot quench loveSong of Songs 8:7
58Beat their swords into plowsharesIsaiah 2:4, Micah 4:3
59Grind the faces on the poorIsaiah 3:15
60The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kidIsaiah 11:6
61Let us eat and drink; for tomorrow we dieIsaiah 22:13, 1 Corinthians 15:32
62Set thine house in order2 Kings 20:1, Isaiah 38:1
63A voice crying in the wildernessMatthew 3:3, Mark 1:3, Luke 3:4, John 1:23
64No peace for the wickedIsaiah 48:22, Isaiah 57:21
65See eye to eyeIsaiah 52:8
66Cut off out of the land of the livingIsaiah 53:8
67Balm in GileadJeremiah 8:2
68Can the leopard change his spots?Jeremiah 13:12
69The parting of the waysEzekiel 21:21
70A Daniel in the lions' denDaniel 6:16
71They have sown the wind, and they shall reap the whirlwindHosea 8:7
72Sodom and GomorrahGenesis 13:10, 14:10-11, 18:20, 19:28, Isaiah 13:19, Jeremiah 49:18, Amos 4:11, Matthew 10:15, Mark 6:11, 2 Peter 2:6, Jude 7
73Man shall not live by bread aloneMatthew 4:4, Luke 4:4
74Get thee behind me SatanMatthew 16:23, Mark 8:33, Luke 4:8
75The salt of the earthMatthew 5:13
76Hide your light under a bushelMatthew 5:15, Mark 4:21, Luke 11:33
77Turn the other cheekMatthew 5:39
78Go the extra mileMatthew 5:41
79Moth and rust doth corruptMatthew 6:19
80Cast your pearls before swineMatthew 7:6
81Wolf in sheep's clothingMatthew 7:15
82Weeping and gnashing of teethMatthew 8:12, 22:13, 24:51, 25:30, Luke 13:28
83Gadarene swineMark 5:1-13, Luke 8:26-33
84New wine in old bottlesMark 9:17, Luke 5:37
85Shake off the dust of your feetMatthew 10:14, Mark 6:11, Luke 9:5
86He that is not with me is against meMatthew 12:30, Luke 11:23
87Fell upon stony groundMark 4:5, 16
88A prophet is not without honour, save in his own countryMatthew 13:57, Mark 6:4
89The crumbs from the tableMatthew 15:27, Mark 7:28, Luke 16:21
90Signs of the timesMatthew 16:3
91Den of thievesMatthew 21:13, Mark 11:17, Luke 19:46
92PhariseeMatthew 23:6, Luke 7:39, 11:37-38, 18:10-11, Acts 5:34, 23:6, 26:5, Philippians 3:5
93Whited sepulchreMatthew 23:37
94Wars and rumours of warsMathew 24:6, Mark 13:7
95Good and faithful servantMatthew 25:21,23
96Separate the sheep from the goatsMatthew 25:32
97I wash my hands of itMatthew 27:24
98the sabbath was made for man, and not man for the sabbathMark 2:27
99Suffer the little childrenMatthew 19:14, Mark 10:14, Luke 18:16
100The widow's miteMark 12:42, Luke 21:2
101Physician heal thyselfLuke 4:23
102Good SamaritanLuke 10:30-37
103Passed by on the other sideLuke 10:31-32
104Grapes of wrathRevelation 14:18-19
105Lost sheepPsalm 119:176, Jeremiah 50:6, Matthew 10:6, 15:24
106Prodigal sonLuke 15:11-32
107A great gulf fixedLuke 16:26
108Whose shoe latchet I am not worthy to unlooseMark 1:7, Luke 3:16, John 1:27
109Cast the first stoneJohn 8:7
110Jesus weptJohn 11:35
111Greater love hath no man than thisJohn 15:13
112Doubting ThomasJohn 20:25
113Road to DamascusActs 9:3-8
114Through a glass darkly1 Corinthians 13:12
115Death where is thy sting?1 Corinthians 15:55
116A thorn in the flesh2 Corinthians 12:7
117Fallen from graceGalatians 5:4
118Filthy lucre1 Timothy 3:3,8, Titus 1:7, 1 Peter 5:2
119The root of all evil1 Timothy 6:10
120Fight the good fight1 Timothy 6:12
121All flesh is as grassIsaiah 40:6, 1 Peter 1:24
122The weaker vessel1 Peter 3:7
123I am the Alpha and the OmegaRevelation 1:8,11, 21:6, 22:13
124ArmageddonRevelation 16:16
125De profundis (Out of the depths)Psalm 130:1
126Quo vadis (Whither goest thou)John 16:5
127Rain on the just and the unjustMatthew 5:45

10 October 2006

David Snoke's "A Biblical Case for an Old Earth"

David Snoke is a physics professor at the University of Pittsburgh and an elder in the Presbyterian Church in America. His latest book is A Biblical Case for an Old Earth.

Facing the facts

First of all, I must say that I like the way Dr. Snoke is thinking, when he says:

We must face the facts: if the Bible is wrong, utterly wrong, about the history of our origins, then we should dump it. (p.120)
Of course the Bible is wrong, utterly wrong, about the history of our origins (and just about everything else). But Dr. Snoke is reluctant to dump it. His challenge, then, is to try to find a way, any way, to interpret the Bible so that it does not conflict with science.
In many people's eyes, I have probably lost before I begin, because no matter what I argue from the Bible, they will say, "But you have come up with this just because you want the Bible to agree with science." I freely confess to this charge. (p.9)

Saying as little as possible

Snoke's little book is remarkable for how little it says about the history of life or the age of the earth. You'd think that a book about an old earth would say how old it is. But if the author has an opinion on the subject, he doesn't say so in his book. The closest he comes is this:

In this chapter [Chapter 2: The Scientific Case] I have argued that the world looks as though animals and plants have been living and dying for millions of years. (p.43)
From which, I guess, he (sort of) thinks that life on earth is at least several million years old. It seems that Dr. Snoke, like Ann Coulter, is not particularly interested in the details.

Here are just a few questions that he doesn't address:

  • How long has life existed on earth?
  • How old is the earth?
  • How old is the universe?
  • Is the fossil record reliable and what does it say?
  • How long have humans existed?
  • Were all of the species created in the beginning, or did God intervene periodically by creating a bunch of new species while causing others to go extinct?
Old Earth Creationism

Throughout the book, Dr. Snoke makes it clear that although he accepts an old earth, he rejects evolution.

Many people seem to assume that if the earth is as old as science indicates, and animals have lived and died during that time, then evolution must have occurred. Not so! (p.44)

An old-earth view is not synonymous with evolution. (p.193)

...evolution, which I reject... (p.164)

Lord of the Fleas

Dr. Snoke spends two chapters on the important scientific question of whether animals suffered and died before Adam and Eve sinned. Evangelical Christians are divided on this issue. I discussed his views in a previous post (For thy pleasure they were created), so I’ll skip over them here, except to say that he believes that God purposefully designed animals to prey on one another from the very beginning.

God … is not just the way we would like him to be. We may hate the wrath of God, but we cannot say it is illogical to believe in it. What is illogical is to believe in a God who would never harm a flea when we see lots of harmed fleas around us. (p.96)
Utterly wrong non-negotiables

Dr. Snoke admits that he "wants the Bible to agree with science." But he says there are three biblical "nonnegotiables" which science cannot contradict.

  1. "Adam was one, real, historical man."
    (Adam was specially created by God just like it says in Genesis. And all humans are descended from him.)

  2. "Noah was one, real, historical man."
    (Snoke thinks the flood was local, making biogeography a bit less embarrassing. But he insists "that the flood killed every other person on earth except those on the ark, so that every person today is descended from one of Noah's sons.")

  3. "Life in al its diversity was created by sovereign, miraculous acts of God."
    (Evolution did not occur.)
Dumping the Bible

"If the Bible is wrong, utterly wrong, about the history of our origins, then we should dump it.” His non-negotiables are utterly wrong about the history of our origins. I guess it’s time to dump the Bible.

05 October 2006

The Book of Elvis

Well, this is big news. Elvis Presley had a copy of the Book of Mormon!

It had something to do with Donny and Marie, but for the details you'll just have to wait for the movie (The Tears of a King). Yep, they're going to make a whole damned movie on it, based on the King's copy of the worst book ever written.

Elvis' copy is now owned by the LDS church, and they say he had notes all over it. Like everywhere (there are 89 occurrences) that the word "king" is used, it is underlined.

I don't care what Penn&Teller say, you've got to be on drugs to do something like that.

04 October 2006

A Gay Antichrist?

Remember when Jerry Falwell said that the Antichrist is a Jewish male that is alive today? Well, now we find out that the Antichrist is also gay! And it seems that the both ideas (that AC is Jewish and gay) are taken from the very same verse.
Neither shall he regard the God of his fathers, nor the desire of women, nor regard any god: for he shall magnify himself above all. Daniel 11:37

That's a lot of mileage out of one verse!

But there shouldn't be any doubt about the identity of the antichrist. The word "antichrist" occurs only four times in the Bible, but those four verses tell us all we need to know.

Little children, it is the last time: and as ye have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time. 1 John 2:18

Who is a liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist, that denieth the Father and the Son. 1 John 2:22

And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world. 1 John 4:3

For many deceivers are entered into the world, who confess not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist. 2 John 1:7

Whoever denies that Jesus is the Christ is an antichrist. That would include all Jews, gay or straight, along with about 4 billion others. It certainly includes me.

I am a proud member of the antichrist community.

28 September 2006

Using the Bible to clarify the Geneva Conventions

President Bush has a problem with the Geneva Conventions. He says Common Article 3 is "just very, very vague" and "open to interpretation" when it says that prisoners must "be treated humanely" without being subjected to "outrages upon personal dignity."

And that's where the Bible comes in. Since the Bible is God's law, it is above any and all human laws, including the Geneva Conventions. So the Bible can be used to clarify the Geneva Conventions. And that's what the legislation passed by the Senate today did: it clarified Common Article 3 using the Bible's guide to torture.

27 September 2006

The Bible's guide to torture

Sometimes you have to beat people for their own good.

The blueness of a wound cleanseth away evil: so do stripes the inward parts of the belly. Proverbs 20:30

Some people should be beaten as a punishment for their crimes.

And it shall be, if the wicked man be worthy to be beaten, that the judge shall cause him to lie down, and to be beaten. Deuteronomy 25:2

It's always a good idea to beat fools. Beat them whenever you find them.

A fool's lips enter into contention, and his mouth calleth for strokes. Proverbs 18:6
Judgments are prepared for scorners, and stripes for the back of fools. Proverbs 19:29
A whip for the horse, a bridle for the ass, and a rod for the fool's back. Proverbs 26:3

And slaves may be beaten, as long they survive for at least a day or two after the beating.

If a man beats his male or female slave with a rod and the slave dies as a direct result, he must be punished, but he is not to be punished if the slave gets up after a day or two, since the slave is his property. Exodus 21:20-21

Beating your children is a sure sign of parental love.

He that spareth his rod hateth his son: but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes. Proverbs 13:24

And don't stop just because they cry.

Chasten thy son while there is hope, and let not thy soul spare for his crying. Proverbs 19:18

It will make them less foolish.

Foolishness is bound in the heart of a child; but the rod of correction shall drive it far from him. Proverbs 22:15
The rod and reproof give wisdom: but a child left to himself bringeth his mother to shame. Proverbs 29:15

So beat them hard and often. Don't worry about hurting them. You may break a few bones and cause some brain damage, but it isn't going to kill them. And even if it does, they'll be better off. They'll thank you in heaven for beating the hell out of them.

Withhold not correction from the child: for if thou beatest him with the rod, he shall not die.Thou shalt beat him with the rod, and shalt deliver his soul from hell. Proverbs 23:13-14

The Old Testament God used a rod to beat those who disobey his commandments.

If they break my statutes, and keep not my commandments; Then will I visit their transgression with the rod, and their iniquity with stripes.Psalm 89:31-2

And he tortured the Philistines by giving them "hemorrhoids in their secret parts."

The hand of the LORD was against the city with a very great destruction: and he smote the men of the city, both small and great, and they had emerods in their secret parts. 1 Samuel 5:9

At times, Jesus seemed to look favorably on torture.

In his parables, for example, Jesus often spoke of torturing his enemies.

And his lord was wroth, and delivered him to the tormentors. Matthew 18:34
And he saith unto him, Friend, how camest thou in hither not having a wedding garment? And he was speechless. Then said the king to the servants, Bind him hand and foot, and take him away, and cast him into outer darkness, there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Matthew 22:12-13
The lord of that servant shall come in a day when he looketh not for him, and in an hour that he is not aware of, And shall cut him asunder, and appoint him his portion with the hypocrites: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Matthew 24:50-51
The lord of that servant will come in a day when he looketh not for him, and at an hour when he is not aware, and will cut him in sunder, and will appoint him his portion with the unbelievers. And that servant, which knew his lord's will, and prepared not himself, neither did according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes. Luke 12:46-48

The devils expected Jesus to torture them. (And Jesus didn't deny that he planned to do so.)

And, behold, they cried out, saying, What have we to do with thee, Jesus, thou Son of God? art thou come hither to torment us before the time? Matthew 8:29
Jesus, thou Son of the most high God? I adjure thee by God, that thou torment me not. Mark 5:7
What have I to do with thee, Jesus, thou Son of God most high? I beseech thee, torment me not. Luke 8:28

At the end of the world, God will torture people until they want to die. But he won't let them die so that he can continue to torture them.

And to them it was given that they should not kill them, but that they should be tormented five months: and their torment was as the torment of a scorpion, when he striketh a man. And in those days shall men seek death, and shall not find it; and shall desire to die, and death shall flee from them. Revelation 9:5-6

But the ultimate torture is hell. If hell is justified, anything is permissible.

The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity; And shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth. Matthew 13:41-42
If thy hand or thy foot offend thee, cut them off, and cast them from thee: it is better for thee to enter into life halt or maimed, rather than having two hands or two feet to be cast into everlasting fire. Matthew 18:8-9
Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels. Matthew 25:41
...hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched. Mark 9:43-48
And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham's bosom: the rich man also died, and was buried; And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom. And he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame. Luke 16:22-24
The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb. And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever. Revelation 14:10-11

24 September 2006

How to stone somebody (according to the Bible)

The Bible doesn't say much about how we're supposed to stone people. What size rocks to use, who can participate, etc.

It does say that you need two or three witnesses (with or without sin) and that the witnesses themselves must throw the first stones.

At the mouth of two witnesses, or three witnesses, shall he that is worthy of death be put to death ... The hands of the witnesses shall be first upon him to put him to death. Deuteronomy 17:6
And if you're stoning your wife, family member, or friend for believing in the wrong god, then you must throw the first stone (and you may not pity her).
If thy brother, the son of thy mother, or thy son, or thy daughter, or the wife of thy bosom, or thy friend, which is as thine own soul, entice thee secretly, saying, Let us go and serve other gods ... Thou shalt not consent unto him, nor hearken unto him; neither shall thine eye pity him, neither shalt thou spare, neither shalt thou conceal him: But thou shalt surely kill him; thine hand shall be first upon him to put him to death. Deuteronomy 13:6-9

But who can participate in the stoning? Is stoning just for men, or can women and children throw some stones too?

Well, as usual, the Bible isn't much use here. Sometimes it says just the men (Deuteronomy 13:9, 22:21) should do the stoning, and sometimes all the people get to do it (Leviticus 24:23, Numbers 15:32, 17:7, 21:21, Joshua 7:25).

But luckily Monty Python clears the whole thing up in the Life of Brian.

Monty Python - The Life Of Brian (The Stoning)