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The Guest
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Code to Zero
Ken Follett

(actually I haven't really started it.  But it's in my purse the next time I have a minute to read!)


60 Minutes

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That's it for today!

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31 December 2001

I guess the last day of the new year is as good a time as any to invite the wrath of the Lord to rain down upon my head (along with the storm that is already raging outside).

As I've mentioned several times in this journal, I was raised Catholic and Catholics, at least when I was growing up, never were taught to study the Bible. We got our bits and pieces of scripture from the priest at Mass on Sunday, if we could stay awake while he droned on. Rarely was there any teaching attached to the scripture readings.

Hanging around Steve and others of his ilk (folks raised with the tradition of Bible-reading inbred in them) has been an interesting revelation to me. Steve set up a discussion board several months ago. Part of it is for chit-chat, and part of it is for religious discussion. Frequently, especially in the early months, there was a lot of bible spouting.

I also have had run-ins with Bible-spouters on other discussion forums, and with a former roommate who was born-again several years ago and who is always telling me what is wrong with my life or my friend based on quotes that she sends me from the Bible.

What is amazing to me is how people pick through the Bible and find just exactly what they need to support their point, totally ignoring anything else that might state the opposite, or that might present their beliefs in a less than positive light.

Now, I'm not even going to pretend to know what I'm talking about when I discuss the Bible. Like so many, I still get my information in bits and pieces. But some of the bits and pieces I've seen this afternoon have really made me kind of smile when I think of the arguments I've read over the years.

Naturally, the argument I encounter most often has to do with homosexuality. There's good ol' Leviticus 18 (I even know that one without looking it up) which states that a man should not lie with a man as he does with a woman. This rather ambiguous (to me) sentence has been quoted ad nauseam to prove that God condemns homosexuality (of course, it doesn't mention women with women, so I guess lesbians are OK).

Let's just toss aside the fact that Leviticus is a whole long list of rules for the Israelites to live by, many of which are no longer applicable in today's world. Somehow even though it's now OK to eat pork and menstruating women can be allowed to mingle with polite company (tampons aren't mentioned in the Bible, to the best of my knowledge), and you can wear fabric of mixed fibers (though perhaps they may want to rethink polyester--a true abomination!), the Bible quoters just intuitively "know" that God still intends for that one rule to hold true. It's like Leviticus was written with big asterisks around verse 18 so that everyone would understand that you can toss out everything else, but 18 must remain sacrosanct, 'cause it's the Word of God. (However, people seem to also ignore the rule, just four lines before, which says "Do not approach a woman to have sexual relations during the uncleanness of her monthly period.")

Well, what about that word of God thing? Today I was drawn to read over Deuteronomy. Ever read Deuteronomy? Interesting little example of "the word of God."

Show no pity: life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot.

When you march up to attack a city, make its people an offer of peace. If they accept and open their gates, all the people in it shall be subject to forced labor and shall work for you. If they refuse to make peace and they engage you in battle, lay siege to that city. When the LORD your God delivers it into your hand, put to the sword all the men in it. As for the women, the children, the livestock and everything else in the city, you may take these as plunder for yourselves. And you may use the plunder the LORD your God gives you from your enemies.

I'm sure our troops in Afghanistan will be happy to know that they have the Lord's blessing to kill anybody who resists them.

Completely destroy them--the Hittites, Amorites, Canaanites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites--as the LORD your God has commanded you.

The Lord your God has commanded you. Ain't that something. The same Lord that presumably has condemned homosexuality, also wants you to go out and kill all these people in his name. I'm sure I'll hear from Bible spouters who can tell me why it's OK to ignore this one, but that homosexuality is still an abomination.

When you lay siege to a city for a long time, fighting against it to capture it, do not destroy its trees by putting an ax to them, because you can eat their fruit. Do not cut them down.

God obviously cares more for trees than he does for Hittites, Amorites, Canaanites, etc.

When you go to war against your enemies and the LORD your God delivers them into your hands and you take captives, if you notice among the captives a beautiful woman and are attracted to her, you may take her as your wife. Bring her into your home and have her shave her head, trim her nails and put aside the clothes she was wearing when captured. After she has lived in your house and mourned her father and mother for a full month, then you may go to her and be her husband and she shall be your wife.

Now here's another fun thing that God says is OK. Didn't we just send around a big e-mail petition, over and over and over again trying to get equal rights for women who suffered enforced slavery under the Taliban? Why did we bother? It's in the Bible. It must be OK.

If a man has a stubborn and rebellious son who does not obey his father and mother and will not listen to them when they discipline him, his father and mother shall take hold of him and bring him to the elders at the gate of his town. They shall say to the elders, "This son of ours is stubborn and rebellious. He will not obey us. He is a profligate and a drunkard." Then all the men of his town shall stone him to death.

Why do we have all those guys protesting the death penalty? It's in the Bible. It must be OK with God. To say nothing of the anti-abortionists. If God thinks it's OK to stone your child to death for misbehavior, why is abortion any different?

The Bible even tells us how to know whom to believe. The Jerry Falwells and Pat Robertsons of the world would do well to take notice...

You may say to yourselves, "How can we know when a message has not been spoken by the LORD?" If what a prophet proclaims in the name of the LORD does not take place or come true, that is a message the LORD has not spoken. That prophet has spoken presumptuously. Do not be afraid of him.

One Year Ago:
The New Millennium

My tip of the week:
Go NOW to Pictures to EXE Presentations
and download some of the fantastic
slide shows which have been
uploaded.  You wont be sorry!

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