Wednesday, 30 March 2016

Reading the Bible - Genesis 21

Before we continue our weekly Bible study I feel it necessary to make a confession. I am thoroughly enjoying reading the Bible again, as I am realizing even more how ludicrous this God character is. Every time I read how God is meant to be doing something good, I get to see what is actually going on and its very dubious. So to any Christians reading this thinking that my Bible study will convert me.......you are going to be severely disappointed.

The first 8 verses of chapter 21 deal with Sarah finally getting pregnant by Abraham who is now only 100 years young. As such we can be sure that God has fulfilled his promise given in Genesis 17:21
"However, I will establish my covenant with Isaac, whom Sarah will bear to you at this appointed time next year.”"
with it been dutifully fulfilled in Genesis 21 verse 2
"So Sarah became pregnant and then bore a son to Abraham in his old age at the appointed time God had promised him."
I bring this prophecy fulfillment up as it is meant to lend credibility to future prophecies, after all it shows us that the Biblical prophecies are fulfilled. Yes, I am well aware that it is self fulfillment, but I believe it does give an understanding as to why believers are so adamant that prophecies of the end of times will come true.

Naturally this birth and pregnancy story is completely logical as Sarah was only 90 years old. Just kidding its not logical as it would make her the oldest mother ever to have lived. I have heard however that one way to get around this (i.e. apologetics) is to realize that people lived longer in those days as such we should not be surprised that Sarah was giving birth at such an old age. this line of reasoning then does away with claims of miracles and makes the Bible apparently more rational. The problem with this line of reasoning is that it contradicts the Bible as even Abraham and Sarah thought it was absurd that he and she would be parents at such an old age.
"Then Sarah said: “God has brought me laughter; everybody hearing of it will laugh with me.” And she added: “Who would have said to Abraham, ‘Sarah will certainly nurse children’? Yet, I have given birth to a son for him in his old age.”"

So we are left with the dubious claim that Abraham and Sarah lived to and fathered a child at ages that are beyond anything expected of that time never mind this day and age.


Now if you may remember from Genesis 16 that Sarah was a despicable person when it came to her treatment of the pregnant Hagar. Well her rage is back again and now it is worse as the older brother Ishmael was teasing the younger precious mommy's boy Isaac. It was for this reason that she approaches Abraham and asks him to banish Hagar and Ishmael for Ishmael acting like a normal big brother.
"So she said to Abraham: “Drive out this slave girl and her son, for the son of this slave girl is not going to be an heir along with my son, with Isaac!”"
Remarkably this time Abraham is not on board with his wife's psychotic behavior as he feels Ishmael, but not Hagar, deserves to stay,
"But what she said about his son was very displeasing to Abraham."
However, in this fight Sarah has another morally bankrupt person on her side who decides that Hagar and Ishmael should go.
"Then God said to Abraham: “Do not be displeased by what Sarah is saying to you about the boy and about your slave girl. Listen to her,for what will be called your offspring will be through Isaac."
For lack of a better expression "Jesus Christ!". This is meant to be a good benevolent God who is always on Abraham's side even when his side is very dubious. As such we have to wonder about this God character and think long and hard about his personality and if this is someone who deserves praise.

So Abraham listens to God and sends Hagar in Ishmael of into the wild with a bottle of water and some bread.
"So Abraham got up early in the morning and took bread and a skin bottle of water and gave it to Haʹgar. He set these on her shoulder and then sent her away along with the boy. So she departed and wandered about in the wilderness of Beʹer-sheʹba."
Now from above we see Abraham disagreeing with Sarah about sending these two away, so surely we would expect him to at least care for them when he sends them away. You know perhaps give them a few cattle, slaves, a tent etc. after all Ishmael is his son. But that is not old psycho Abraham's style who trusts God so perfectly. Needless to say after a near death experience Hagar and Ishmael are rescued by God and everything turns out well for them.
"....“I do not want to watch the boy die.” So she sat down at a distance and began to cry aloud and to weep. At that God heard the voice of the boy, ........Get up, lift the boy a......for I will make him a great nation.” Then God opened her eyes and she saw a well of water, and she went and filled the skin bottle with water and gave the boy a drink."
Granted I am not sure why God needed to hear the voice of a dying child to intervene but I am glad he did after all it is his bleeding fault that Ishmael almost died in the first place. The one thing I do not understand is that there are many dying and crying children in the world today and God honestly could not care less.


The versus 22 - 34 of Genesis 21 deal with Abraham and the Philistine king and the argument they have over the proprietorship of a well. This story which seems like a filler is actually very interesting as it starts with the Philistine king asking Abraham to promise by his God that any interactions they have will be fair and honest. Also, it implies that the Philistines (at least of that time) were a God fearing people just like Abraham and his group, after all why would you ask someone to swear by a God if you did not have similar beliefs.
"“God is with you in everything you are doing. So now swear to me here by God that you will not deal falsely with me and with my offspring and with my descendants, and that you will deal with me and with the land where you have been residing with the same loyal love that I have shown you.” So Abraham said: “I swear to this.”"
Now here is the kicker, Abraham then complains that the Philistines have illegally taken a well from him.
"However, Abraham complained to A·bimʹe·lech about the well of water that the servants of A·bimʹe·lech had violently seized."
As aside note the Bible does not say whose well it is, but we can trust that it is Abraham's well after all he would never lie as he has just made a promise to deal fairly and justly with the Philistines. Remember this is the same Abraham that has lied twice about his wife not being his, so I think his word would not mean anything after all he actually lied to the Philistines that Sarah was not his wife.Genesis 20:2 "Abraham repeated concerning his wife Sarah: “She is my sister.” So A·bimʹe·lech king of Geʹrar sent for Sarah and took her."

So from this we can ascertain that either 1) the Philistines are as dumb as two short planks, 2) that Abraham is lying about the well, 3) or the Bible is making shit up. Now we all know 3) is true, but I think in fact Abraham is lying. I base this on the fact that why would he deem it necessary to give the Philistines a gift if he was not trying to smooth something over?
"A·bimʹe·lech said to Abraham: “Why have you set these seven female lambs here by themselves?” Then he said: “You are to accept the seven female lambs from my hand as a witness that I dug this well.”"
All in all, this to me proves that God has favorites as he could just as well told these two God fearing people to share the well.

Genesis 21 what a trip, see you next time

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All verses come from the New World Translation Of The Holy Scriptures.
Online version available at the Jehovah's Witnesses official website

Monday, 28 March 2016

Cradle of Humankind - Maropeng Visitors Centre

"Finally!", that was the emotion traveling around my cranium as we approached the  Maropeng Visitors Centre. After living in South Africa for 28 years, and then coming back to visit multiple times I had either a) never had the time or b) the muster to visit this place of such scientific importance. This trip however I decided to make a special effort and I can honestly say that it was well worth it.


After paying the entrance fee and having a quick coffee (I need coffee to function on any level, and it was early so don't judge) we were off to the Tumulus building and museum. For those that plan to visit, take the time to read some of the plaques along the way up to the Tumulus which tell you about our marvelous universe and some of the wonderful fossil discoveries found in the Cradle of Humankind UNESCO area. Once inside the Tumulus, the entrance to the museum is a meander downwards along a curved corridor which has the origins of Earth stenciled onto its walls. It is interesting for example to see that we domesticated cattle before the world existed according to the Bible. Or in INTERNET slang, top kek.



To enter the museum proper you get to go on what is termed a underground boat ride, which is in fact disappointingly an amusement park style ride. To be fair I think the museum is meant to cater more for kids more than the adult kids like me. Nonetheless, the ride was pretty enjoyable and they had me freaked out trying to protect my camera as we approached falling water only for it to be stopped seconds before. What I did enjoy however was the last amusement style part of the museum where you walk over this walkway which is inside a spinning tube, talk about vertigo!

The museum (although a bit shabby and not maintained when I was there in March 2016) is very interesting as it lays out human evolution from the common ancestor that we shared with the other apes until modern Homo Sapiens. In fact you also get to see fossils casts of the more interesting fossils like the famous Lucy, as well as Mrs Ples and Taung Child. At the time of viewing, the museum had not been updated to include our newest ancestor Homo Naledi. To people reading this is in the year 3000 I know Naledi is no longer the most recent ancestral find.

This is the Lucy replica.

As with all fossils, you will get creationists saying there are no intermediate species. So here I post a set of skulls of human ancestors, and if you still believe that evolution is not real after looking at the skulls then you need to wipe the dogma out of your eyes.


Maropeng Visitors Centere was fantastic, however that was not the end of my trip as I then got to see Sterkfontein Caves as well. These are the same caves where Mrs Ples and Littlefoot among other fossils were found. In closing, if you really cant accept the evidence for evolution, then at least go for the view.

Sunday, 27 March 2016

Scary face of Islam rising in Scotland

With the recent terror attacks in Brussels by the Goat Fuckers, there has been the focus on what actually drives these Goat Fuckers to do what they do. Some views, probably correct in some ways, says that its just people that want to kill looking for an excuse. Where as there are also the other obvious facts that Islam is anything but the religion of peace. It is with this in mind that that perhaps it would be insightful to look at recent events in Scotland to see that moderate Islam is not winning the internal Islamic war.


Really, what are we to think of Islam as a self proclaimed peaceful religion when the head of the largest mosque in Scotland praises a now rightfully executed terrorist? Granted Imam Maulana Habib Ur Rehman is a massive tosser, but he is a massive tosser that a lot of people listen too. After all do you want people to listen to someone who said of the murderer of the Pakistani Politician Salmaan Taseer that,  
"I cannot hide my pain today. A true Muslim was punished for doing which [sic] the collective will of the nation failed to carry out."

Naturally one could be forgiven for thinking that this is just one retarded Iman that has these screwed up views that murderers are good people. But he is not alone as in Pakistan when the murderer Mumtaz Qadri was placed in the ground, there was a massive turnout of 30 000 people to mourn his death.

But staying in Scotland, a Muslim shopkeeper Asad Shah was recently murdered in what police are calling a religiously prejudiced attack. The people arrested for his murder are Muslims, and according to the BBC the murder could be related to Mr Shah's well wishes to his Christian customers for their Easter celebrations. So basically we have  moderate Muslim getting murdered for being moderate, again a story showing that moderate Islam is losing the internal war.

Islam is on the rise and its worrying. Lets hope that the British government takes their fingers out their ass and actually does something before they get attacked again.

Monday, 21 March 2016

Friday, 18 March 2016

Reading the Koran - Sura 2 Verse 197 - 210

Verses 197 to 210 detail the Pilgrimage and some rules surrounding it, additionally just as last week these verses contain a glaring contradiction within them.

The first thing to realize is that during the hajj there are certain things that you are not allowed to do, such as have sex? Granted the other parts make sense for any normal person like don't be a dick, but then again why do you need be told that?
"so whoever decides on ḥajj therein, there is to be no sexual contact, vicious talk, or disputing during the ḥajj"
Interestingly after all the talk about fasting during Ramadan, fasting is not mentioned as one of the key aspects of the hajj.

Probably the more interesting part for me is that one is to self prepare for the hajj as one cannot expect Allah-the-all-powerful to take care of you.
"And take provision, for indeed the best provision is Godwariness. So be wary of Me, O you who possess intellects!"
And heaven forbid those who actually use logic, its very clear that Allah does not like your intellect. Perhaps this is the reason that ISIS has not been establishing any schools, well except for those schools where they teach people how to kill and blow themselves up.

Now for some contradictions, which start at the end of verse 200 and carry through to 202. So apparently Allah does not think that a person should have too much in this life, and they should not ask for it. If a Muslim does however ask for this, then in heaven there will be no riches.
"Among the people there are those who say, ‘Our Lord, give us in this world,’ but for such there is no share in the Hereafter."
This verse is good when it stands alone as it teaches people to not be greedy. However, in the next verse it says you can ask Allah for things in this world. In fact verse 201 is considered to be a prayer for devout Muslims.
"And among them there are those who say, ‘Our Lord, give us good in this world and good in the Hereafter, and save us from the punishment of the Fire.’"
Maybe I am just dumb, but that certainly seems to me like saying the exact opposite thing that was said in the previous verse! But then not to make things even more obscure it says in the next verse that you will only get what you earn.
"Such shall partake of what they have earned, and Allah is swift at reckoning."
So essentially there is no point in asking?!? But never mind Allah will get you anyway as he is just and quick to deliver his justice.

Interestingly, after being told how important the hajj is, we also get told that if you leave early its not an issue as Allah does not mind.
"Remember Allah in the appointed days. Then whoever hastens off in a couple of days, there is no sin upon him, and whoever delays, there is no sin upon him"
So my question is, "what the hell is the point of the hajj if you can leave early?"

Now for some good stuff in the Koran, and likely one that Islamic terrorists are not paying much attention to. Then again this multiple choice book can be used for anything so I guess I should not be surprised at the ineptitude of morons to follow some verses. Basically, the verses 204 and 206 explain what will happen to those people that do not serve Allah in the correct way. As is typical with monotheistic religions the outcome of not obeying is the whole hell escapade.
"204 Among the people is he whose talk about worldly life impresses you, and he holds Allah witness to what is in his heart, though he is the staunchest of enemies.
205 And if he were to wield authority, he would try to cause corruption in the land, and to ruin the crop and the stock, and Allah does not like corruption.
206 And when he is told, ‘Be wary of Allah,’ conceit seizes him sinfully; so let hell suffice him, and it is surely an evil resting place!"
I wonder if the politicians in Saudi Arabia read these verse when they stated making the hajj a cash cow? Or I wonder if the ISIS leaders realize that ruining the land makes them go to hell. Basically I could go on with examples, but it just shows what a load of todge the Koran really is.

So what can a Muslim learn from these verses? Well the answer is not much, but basically do not be a dick.

See you again next week.

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The version of the Koran I am reading is the John Meadows Rodwell translation. An online version can be found at the al-quran.info website
Additionally, for commentary I am utilizing the commentary of Maulana Muhammad Ali which is available at muslim.org/english-quran/quran.htm

Wednesday, 16 March 2016

Reading the Bible - Genesis 20

This weeks reading of the Bible should have you scratching your head and wondering, where I have seen this before? Well the answer is simple as you have seen this story before, in Genesis 12 to be exact. So once again we will get to see Abraham pretending not to be married to Sarah. The only difference in this story is that we get more interesting details and that we are no longer dealing with a Egyptian Pharaoh, but rather a Gerarian King.
"Abraham repeated concerning his wife Sarah: “She is my sister.” So A·bimʹe·lech king of Geʹrar sent for Sarah and took her."
Naturally, this is the same Abraham that has been saved multiple times by Jehovah, so why he still feels the need to lie is beyond me. Perhaps this is the Bibles way to promote dishonesty as it seems that God really likes to give riches to those who are dishonest.

So then, why did Abraham disown his wife again?
"Abraham said: “It was because I said to myself, ‘Surely there is no fear of God in this place, and they will kill me because of my wife.’"
It seems that he really has zero faith in the God that saved him in Egypt and gave him riches, then saved his brother Lot and gave him more riches, as well as giving him a servant to have sex with. Guess some people are slow learners?

However, here is the kicker. Sarah actually was Abraham's sister, so as in last weeks reading we are back with the incest.
"And besides, she really is my sister, the daughter of my father but not the daughter of my mother, and she became my wife."
It is for this reason that Abraham apparently had no problem with Sarah saying she is my sister, as it was in fact the truth.
"So when God caused me to wander from the house of my father, I said to her: ‘Let this be how you show loyal love to me: Everywhere we go, say of me, “He is my brother.”’”"
Let me just remind you that this is the guy that God has chosen to become father to his chosen people. I mean really, if this does not allow you to wonder about God and his methods then nothing ever will.


Needless to say Abimelech felt, after being deceived, that he needed to give Abraham a lot of stuff to pay penance for something he never did. Let me reiterate that the king did nothing, it was not his fault.
"A·bimʹe·lech then took sheep and cattle and male and female servants and gave them to Abraham, and he returned his wife Sarah to him."
So we have god blessing Abraham, who acted in a way that would simply be called despicable. Interestingly, Christians are always uppity about their correct views on marriage while there Bible teaches so much more.

I suppose it was a blessing that Abimelech did give all these goods to Abraham, as God had cursed his family for the fact that he did nothing wrong. Luckily God is so just?!?
"And Abraham began to make supplication to the true God, and God healed A·bimʹe·lech and his wife and his slave girls, and they began having children; for Jehovah had made all the women of the house of A·bimʹe·lech barren because of Sarah, Abraham’s wife."

What a man what a role model!

What a just god, what a role model!

Disgusting.

xxxxxxxxxxx
All verses come from the New World Translation Of The Holy Scriptures.
Online version available at the Jehovah's Witnesses official website

Monday, 14 March 2016

South African Airport Crime

Recently I was in South Africa visiting my parents and I will write more about my great experience at the Cradle of Humankind in the following weeks. However, today is a rant as I just don't get the way criminal activity is dealt with at South African airports.

If you are a frequent international traveler, you may at times see something like the picture below traveling around a baggage carousel, or you may see the same thing being dragged about by a tired traveler.


So, what is this mystical object of international and domestic South African travel? This is a few private companies solution to baggage theft at South African airports. All it costs you is a few dollars to have your bag wrapped in layers and layers of cellophane and this in essence stops a lot of theft at the airport. The idea behind it is that it takes so much time for the thieves to unwrap the bag that they would rather avoid it all together.



My question is why is the government not trying to actually do something about this instead of allowing a private industry to profit out of crime prevention. Is it not the governments job to make sure that crime decreases? In fact should this bag wrapping service not be offered free due to the ineptness of the government to do their job?

My advice for travelers to and in South Africa, get travel insurance and wrap your luggage. But more importantly, make sure that this information about your experience gets shown around the world and shared around the world. Maybe with shame finally something will be done about crime in a country which has so much to be proud off.

Friday, 11 March 2016

Reading the Koran - Sura 2 Versus 189 -196

Recently, our readings of the Koran has dealt with the Hajj and Ramadan. Well, this week is no different as we learn about the appropriateness of violence. Yes, apparently in the religion of peace it is at times appropriate to be violent. This reading also contains for me four versus that should automatically disqualify the Koran for making any coherent sense. In fact anyone with a semblance of logic will at the end of these four versus be scratching their head and saying WTF!?!

No before we get to the violence I thought I would highlight one of those silly laws that only religion can give you.
It is not piety that you come into houses from their rear; rather piety is [personified by] one who is Godwary, and come into houses from their doors
That's right in Islam you are not allowed to use the back door to your house when entering.

Now the insanity of versus 190 -193, well it starts of well in 190 as it says that one should only fight back when assaulted or attacked as this is the only time Allah would fight.
Fight in the way of Allah those who fight you, but do not transgress. Indeed Allah does not like transgressors.
Now while I am not sure why an omnipotent God would need to fight, this makes sense after all one should try protect themselves. But........
And kill them wherever you confront them, and expel them from where they expelled you, for faithlessness is graver than killing.
The first half of verse 191 tells us to fight only those that transgress you as pointed out in 190. However, here transgression can entail belief in another deity or those that have no faith, after all we know that having no faith is exactly the same as murder (all irony intended). Indeed this verse cannot be misinterpreted as not meaning kill the infidel, as later in the Koran it even gets more explicit about the killing of infidels.The last part of verse 191 is a typical get out clause found in religion, as it says you cant do something like kill ever in a place of worship. Well unless you are attacked then it is okay, after all only those infidels would want to kill in the holy place.
But do not fight them near the Holy Mosque unless they fight you therein; but if they fight you, kill them; such is the requital of the faithless.

Verse 192 of the Koran gives non-Islamist's a glimmer of hope when it says
But if they relinquish, then Allah is indeed all-forgiving, all-merciful.
Unfortunately relinquish in this verse means convert to Islam, as is very clearly shown in the verse 193
Fight them until faithlessness is no more, and religion becomes [exclusively] for Allah. Then if they relinquish, there shall be no reprisal except against the wrongdoers. 

So there you have four versus which explicitly show that Muslims should kill non-Muslims, even if it is only during Ramadan. I add the part about only during Ramadan for clarity here, although the Koran does state that this killing is acceptable all the time. It surprises me that Islam can call itself the religion of Peace when it so blatantly calls for killing of others. In fact no matter how I try look at this I cannot see a way past any of the apologetics which attempt to show that in fact these versus only relate to self defense. The truth is that there is no way around this, its clear, and its blatant that Islam is a religion of pure violence.

The last verse I want to address violence is 195, which looks good on the surface as its deals with what could be considered charity
Spend in the way of Allah, and do not cast yourselves with your own hands into destruction; and be virtuous. Indeed Allah loves the virtuous. 
However, this verse in fact deals with the giving of money towards the war effort against the infidels. Perhaps this could explain why the Saudi government so liberally supports Islamic terrorist groups. So what is an infidel like me meant to think about this religion, when it is openly calling for my death?


Remarkably, by posting facts like this people have been called racist (even though Islam is not a race). In response to these claims, I have to wonder if this is Islams way of hiding the truth of what it stands for.

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The version of the Koran I am reading is the John Meadows Rodwell translation. An online version can be found at the al-quran.info website
Additionally, for commentary I am utilizing the commentary of Maulana Muhammad Ali which is available at muslim.org/english-quran/quran.htm

Wednesday, 9 March 2016

Reading the Bible -Genesis 19

Last week we left of with Abraham bargaining with Jehovah over the amount of good people he will need to find before he spares the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah. We should also remember at this time that Jehovah's two angelic companions have set of to investigate the cities to see if the bad things they hear about them are true. It is here that we pick up the story when Lot meets the two angels entering the city of Sodom and he pleads with them to come stay at his house. Needless to say the want to stay in the town center for the night, as how else are they to determine whether there are good people in the cities?
To this they said: “No, we will stay overnight in the public square.”
Needless to say the angels will is rather week for godly beings and the relinquish to Lot and decide to go stay at Lots house. This is rather lucky as they get treated to a second treat for the day when Lot lays out a feast for them. Again we see these angels being revered similar to the god, so polytheism?
But he was so insistent with them that they went with him to his house. Then he made a feast for them, and he baked unleavened bread, and they ate.
And this is where the shit storm begins.

All the men (boys to old men, and clearly babies as well otherwise we may get to the magic number of ten) of Sodom surround Lot's house and call to Lot to release they men to them so they can have some gay sex.
And they kept calling out to Lot and saying to him: “Where are the men who came in to you tonight? Bring them out to us so that we may have sex with them.”
Needless to say Lot acts as a hero and decides that the angels should not be raped and instead decides to bargain with the mob in the most logical way, i.e. offering them to do whatever they want to his two virgin daughters.
Please, here I have two daughters who have never had sexual relations with a man. Please, let me bring them out to you for you to do to them whatever seems good to you. But do not do anything to these men, for they have come under the shelter of my roof.”
This is screwed up, as it shows that the angels are rather weak that they cannot take care of themselves, or that Lot is lacking in faith in Jehovah. But the crowd does not want the daughters instead they say that they will instead rape Lot.
“This lone foreigner came to live here, and yet he dares to judge us! Now we are going to do worse to you than to them.”
It is at this point that the angels finally step in and decide to do something, as they blind the mob thereby making them unable to find Lot.
But they struck the men who were at the entrance of the house with blindness, from the least to the greatest, so that they wore themselves out trying to find the doorway.
Can anyone say misogyny? I mean it is okay to rape two girls, but when the men decide to rape a man then the angels act. Either god really hates gays, or god hates women.

It is at this point that the angels tell Lot that they are going to destroy the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah.
For we are going to destroy this place, because the outcry against them has indeed grown great before Jehovah, so that Jehovah sent us to destroy the city.”
Remarkably, the angels have decided this without even looking for the ten good people in the city, never mind the non-existent search of Gomorrah for ten good people. Actually we should also make this number six, as Lot his wife and daughters were also to be spared. In fact the angels forcibly removed Lot and his family when they did not want to get a move on before the destruction started.
When he kept lingering, then because of Jehovah’s compassion for him, the men seized hold of his hand and the hand of his wife and the hands of his two daughters, and they brought him out and stationed him outside the city. As soon as they had brought them to the outskirts, he said: “Escape for your life! Do not look behind you and do not stand still in any part of the district! Escape to the mountainous region so that you may not be swept away!”
This really begs the question, did god actually try check for ten good people? Naturally we can assume that god already knew there were no good people, but then why wait so long to get Lot out? Well it turns out that the only reason Lot was removed is that Jehovah felt he needed to save him for Abraham. So again we see that everything that happens truly is about Abraham, after all Jehovah is not going to be particularly kind to Lot as we will see later.
So when God destroyed the cities of the district, God kept Abraham in mind by sending Lot out from the cities he overthrew, the cities where Lot had been dwelling.

Lot and his family then finally gets a move on and escape to the city of Zoar, when they get there they are spared the destruction that now befalls Sodom and Gomorrah as god rains sulfur and brimstone from the heavens onto them. Interesting fact about Zoar is that it may or may not have existed. At least we can here say that Zoar may have existed, while there is zero evidence for the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah. Unfortunately, for Lot's wife, Zoar was not such a safe place to be as she got turned to salt by Jehovah for looking behind herself at the fires that were reigning down on Sodom and Gomorrah.
23 The sun had risen over the land when Lot arrived at Zoʹar.
26 But Lot’s wife, who was behind him, began to look back, and she became a pillar of salt.

Needless to say Lot was frightened by this whole experience and when the destruction was over, he and his daughters fled from Zoar into the mountains and lived an a cave. This was not such a great idea it turns out, as Lot's daughters decided to get him drunk so that they could have sex with him. So Lot being black out drunk (someone smell bullshit) somehow got off with his daughters to such an extent that they both fell pregnant.
So both daughters of Lot became pregnant by their father.
These pregnancies then lead to the birth of two boys which became the fathers of the Moabites and the Ammonites. This story of the incest pregnancies and Lot's salt wife really shows that God (even though he allowed them to escape destruction) does not care for Lot. We should remember here, that even though the Moabites and Ammonites originated from Jehovah's chosen stock they were not going to be blessed like the Israelite's.

Till next week let the incest, homophobia and misogyny wash over you.

xxxxxxxxxxx
All verses come from the New World Translation Of The Holy Scriptures.
Online version available at the Jehovah's Witnesses official website

Monday, 7 March 2016

Scientific harassment

Scientists get harassed.

Yes, this is a real thing that happens, and there are a number of reasons for this. Some of these reasons are good and some are pure tomfoolery. For example, funding bodies, scientists, general public and the politicians would be greatly appreciative of harassment of a scientist that was involved in dubious or unethical science. This harassment in fact would not qualify as harassment by strict definition of the word, yet I am sure the person on its receiving end would perceive it in this way.

However, this is not a post about justified reasons to criticize science. After all the scientific method exists, in a manner of speaking, for the purpose of criticizing bad science and exposing flaws in accepted science. So, what methods exist that can truly be considered harassment of scientists.

Probably the easiest go-to in this argument is animal rights activists, as they truly do not understand (in my opinion) what scientists are trying to do when they have to do animal studies. Many of these activists believe that scientists are actually trying to hurt the animals when this is very far from the truth. For many scientists, it is rather a stark reality that has to be dealt with when progress is desired. However, when you have a bunch of fundamentalist animal rights activists waving the flag of abusive scientists then public perceptions can be swayed, and this could rightly be considered harassment. This is neglecting the obvious harassment by animal rights activists such as property destruction. On a side note, why do animal activists worry so much about other animals yet are content to allow humans to get rushed about in commuter trains that are way worse conditions than many animals get transported in.

Another example of extreme harassment is anti GMO-proponents, who do not understand that consuming GMO crops does not translate into  people growing wings or gills overnight. At the same time, these activists use discredited science to promote an agenda which is unscientific and highly dubious. In fact the anti-GMO proponents in many ways are the "scientist" that should be getting harassed as they are the ones promoting junk science. Interestingly, the harassment of scientists by these GMO pseudo-scientists can cost the tax payer more than it would normally cost to run safe and effective trials. In effect they are promoting funding towards GMO tests, irony anyone?

What these GMO and animal testing scientists (as well as other fields) go through on a daily basis truly classifies as harassment. However, many people think it is acceptable as it falls under the scientific method of critique. This would be true if it was only critique and not personal harm, but even then these critiques have been dismissed multiple times already and as such they would classify as harassment.

So what can be done? Sometimes, I really think that a way to get around these types of harassment would be for scientists to let people suffer. That is, just step away from the massive problem solving they are involved in and say deal with it yourself. But........... that would not be ethical.

Friday, 4 March 2016

Reading the Koran - Sura 2 Verse 183 - 188

Ah yes, Ramadan and fasting rules.

As you may be aware many religions actually employ fasting either as a punishment, for health, or a way to get to know "whatever god said person has chosen to adore" better. In Islam the fast is necessary so that one is able to draw closer to Allah.
O you who have faith! Prescribed for you is fasting as it was prescribed for those who were before you, so that you may be Godwary.
Interestingly, not everyone has to fast. When someone is ill or travelling and as such unable to fast for their own health, they are excuse from fasting. This is similar to cases we saw when football payers at the last world cup did not fast, although some did. Anyway, this guidance makes sense, as ideally we do not want people harming themselves. However, the one reason not to fast actually blows my mind. Apparently, you do not have to fast if you feel you can't and you can afford to feed a needy person.
Those who find it straining shall be liable to atonement by feeding a needy person.
This is a conundrum, as surely if you are fasting, the hungry person you are feeding is also meant to be fasting. So, you are not only not fasting, but you are making someone who is meant to be fasting not fast either. Additionally, it does away with the need to fast at all, as you can just claim that its too hard and you would not be lying. After all not eating food is pretty hard......or is that just me?

So why would a Muslim fast? The answer is easy, as doing good things results in good things happening to you, and Allah has deemed fasting a good thing. Hence fasting will make good things happen, because...... magic.
Should anyone do good of his own accord, that is better for him, and to fast is better for you, should you know.

Verse 185 moves onto the important Ramadan fast which is important for so many reason that make you scratch your head. Importantly, during Ramadan you do not have to fast for any of the reasons outlined above, however you have to make it up. Well unless you are giving food to the needy as surely that already is your fast. But now, some interesting facts about Ramadan.
1) Ramadan is based in the hottest time of the year where Islam started! So it is safe to say that Allah is a sadist. In fact the word Ramadan means excessive heat.

2) Ramadan can only start when the new moon in the ninth month is actually visually observed. No time for silly things like lunar calenders, i.e. lets live in the stone ages yay!

(Source)

3) Apparently the month of Ramadan is not really a month in the strictest terms, after all you do get longer days in certain parts of the world. However, Allah did accommodate for this by giving accurate descriptions about this in the Koran as follows.
Allah desires ease for you, and He does not desire hardship for you, and so that you may complete the number, and magnify Allah for guiding you, and that you may give thanks.
Okay I lied, its not accurate, but they did try.....

Interestingly in verse 185 we get to learn why the Koran is the true word of god, and its so darn simple. Basically, it does not just lay down the laws, but it tells you how to obey these laws.
The month of Ramaḍān is one in which the Qurʾān was sent down as guidance to mankind, with manifest proofs of guidance and the Criterion.
Or if I tell you to act like a dog, then act like a dog, or you will suffer. Seems pretty much like any other book I have ever read that details laws.

Verse 186 gives us a testable claim about Islam, as it references that prayers towards Allah will be answered.
I answer the supplicant’s call when he calls Me.
Now I will be the first to admit that scientific studies have been done on Muslim prayers and the gyrations associated with them. However, they do not prove that Allah answers prayer. All they have proven is that prayer is like any other meditation and the gyrations associated with islamic prayer can help erectile dysfunction like most sport does.

Luckily for the men and women Allah does permit sexy time in the evenings when one is allowed to break the fast. This is deemed necessary as Allah recognises that sex is a natural desire.
You are permitted, on the night of the fast, to go into your wives: they are a garment for you, and you are a garment for them.
The sex thing is good, however it does make me wonder how fasting is justified as its not natural to not eat. But don't trust me on this, the Koran even says fasting is not natural.
Allah knew that you used to betray yourselves, so He pardoned you and excused you. So now consort with them, and seek what Allah has ordained for you,
So there you go, natural is good, but not natural is also good. Seems like a bit of a dilemma to me.

Oh, and for some reason, the following lines of sunrise I really found beautiful.
eat and drink until the white streak becomes manifest to you from the dark streak at the crack of dawn
And no that does not mean Allah is real.

In closing this reading we get given the same reason to fast yet again , i.e. doing good things will make good things happen to you. Now if only this was how things really worked.

See you next time.

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The version of the Koran I am reading is the John Meadows Rodwell translation. An online version can be found at the al-quran.info website
Additionally, for commentary I am utilizing the commentary of Maulana Muhammad Ali which is available at muslim.org/english-quran/quran.htm

Wednesday, 2 March 2016

Reading the Bible - Genesis 18

After the mass circumcisions of Genesis 17, once again Jehovah comes to visit Abraham. What is different about this visit by god is that Jehovah is not alone.
He looked up and saw three men standing some distance from him. When he saw them, he ran from the entrance of the tent to meet them, and he bowed down to the ground.
This meeting of these three angels (or three godly beings) can be interpreted in many ways. Firstly, this could be a way to get around the fact that no one has ever seen Jehovah. Using this reasoning, we can assert that all meetings between Jehovah and Abraham or any other biblical character can be seen as a visions or the meeting of an angel an said person. Amazingly, angels are also spiritual beings, so why they can enter Earth and be seen by people and god cannot still does not really help this explanation. Secondly, the fact that Jehovah here appears as three people could lend credence to the trinity idea. This idea is more appealing, as in reality the part about people never seeing Jehovah is absurd when it gets bandied about in the Bible so much.

Remarkably, even after all the circumcisions and vast promises by Jehovah we see that Abraham does still not get that he is the most blessed one.
Then he said: “Jehovah, if I have found favor in your eyes, please do not pass by your servant. Please, let a little water be brought and have your feet washed; then recline under the tree.
Abraham then goes off to get Sarah prepare a massive meal. And when I say massive I mean it, as it includes 22 litres of flour to make bread, a young bull, milk and butter. This meal is almost worship of these three people. So we have to come to one of two conclusions 1) Jehovah is part of a trinity, or 2) Christianity is a polytheistic religion.

At the conclusion of the meal, once again Jehovah makes it known that he intends to allow Sarah to get pregnant. As we learned before Abraham was amused by this, and this time Sarah overhearing this also laughed at the promise.
So Sarah began to laugh to herself, saying: “After I am worn out and my lord is old, will I really have this pleasure?” 
Jehovah then asks Sarah why she laughs, as she should know god can do anything.
Then Jehovah said to Abraham: “Why did Sarah laugh and say, ‘Am I really going to give birth even though I am old?’ Is anything too extraordinary for Jehovah? I will return to you next year at this appointed time, and Sarah will have a son.”
Amazingly, Sarah denies this and yet Jehovah does not get angry or reprimand her. Again Jehovah is showing what kinds of people he chooses to be his special people.
But Sarah denied it, saying, “I did not laugh!” for she was afraid. At this he said: “Yes! You did laugh.”

The last part of this chapter focuses on Jehovah telling Abraham what he plans to do to Sodom and Gomorrah. The actual tale of Sodom and Gomorrah will be in next weeks reading,  but sufficient to say for now Jehovah is going to fuck shit up.
Jehovah said: “Am I keeping hidden from Abraham what I am going to do?

However, for some reason god is unable to really know what is going on in Sodom and Gomorrah, and this is why he happened to be strolling past Abraham's camp. He was on Earth so that he could walk around a bit and see if the cities truly are that evil.
Then Jehovah said: “The outcry against Sodʹom and Go·morʹrah is indeed great, and their sin is very heavy. I will go down to see whether they are acting according to the outcry that has reached me. And if not, I can get to know it.” Then the men left from there and went toward Sodʹom, but Jehovah remained with Abraham.

Abraham tries to be a good person now, as he and god start to bargain as to how the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah can be saved. Basically, God says he will save the cities if he can find 50 good people. However, our hero Abraham gets god to decrease this number to 10 good people. This means that if there are only ten good people in the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah combined then god will not fuck shit up. This whole bargaining is actually annoying as it takes 10 verses in the Bible which could be more effectively used in showing actual evidence for God or some other relevant stuff like the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah.

At this point lets leave the Bible study for the week, and remember that all we need to save two cities is ten good people. Maybe something simple like ten babies?

See you next week.

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All verses come from the New World Translation Of The Holy Scriptures.
Online version available at the Jehovah's Witnesses official website