#9 His Eye Is on the Pharaoh (Exodus 4:21)



Exodus 4:21
And the Lord said to Moses, “When you go back to Egypt, see that you do before Pharaoh all the miracles that I have put in your power. But I will harden his heart, so that he will not let the people go.
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  I think every atheist who has been in the trenches has heard the "free will" argument from theists.  God seems uninterested in proving anything himself?  Free will!  Not a lot of people accepting your claim?  Free will!  So much trouble and immorality in the world?  Free will!  Here in Exodus we have an example of God flipping the dove to free will!  
  This isn't god "removed his grace" or "gave pharaoh over to his own desires" or such flimsy evasions like that.  God is actively tampering with the will of a human being here.  Sometime in the future I'll share Yahweh's other moments of "what free will?" in other passages and particular aspects of Christianity. (Tower of Babel, King Saul, doctrines holding predestination, "curses" in the Bible, King Ahab, and several other references & superhappyfun religious observances) 
Yahweh- the kind of guy who plays chess against himself (so he can win)

OL: Coming Out to a Pastor's Daughter



  This is my first Out Loud, a thingy I'll do when I just want to vent or muse or blahblahblah.  For my first one I'm gonna talk about my experience revealing my atheism to some friends and a "miracle" one of them brought up that I wish I commented on during the conversation.

  I recently came out to two good friends of mine, Ben and April, concerning my atheism.  I've known April longer than anyone else outside of my family and Ben (her husband) is someone I got to become good friends with a little less than two years ago.  They are both Christians, future-teachers, and are fantastic, loving, genuine people with equally fantastic families.  They're humble folks, and would possibly be hesitant to accept the title, but I'd additionally classify them as missionaries- they feel burdened (in that good, Christian sense of "burden") to take the gospel to Central and South America.  
  The months leading up to me telling them that I was an atheist were filled with dread.  I knew they weren't going to freak out or disavow me or anything like that- as I said, Ben and April are great people.  However, April's dad (Gary), a Church of Christ pastor (I know CoC typically calls them "preachers".. but I grew up with "pastor") and a good friend of mine, is presently, as of the posting of this write-up, unaware of my upgrade out of religion.

Godlessness and Gumballs


Gumballs: anything more complicated would confuse some of you.
  Using gumballs (scroll down to the jar of gumballs to get to the focus of this post), I shall illustrate how atheism is not the claim that a god doesn't exist but is merely the rejection of the claim of the existence of a god (or gods.)  There is a similar example that makes the same point using a courtroom and how "not guilty"  "innocent" (innocence is not what the jury is asserting, only guilt is being addressed.)  However... while the courtroom analogy is more thorough, even someone like Eric Hovind could understand the gumball analogy and it's a much more simple illustration to share.
    Starting off, some of my wording and the fundamental imagery of this write-up are borrowed from former president of the Atheist Community of Austin, Matt Dillahunty.


Matt Dillahunty: eating babies and taking names.
  Former almost-a-Baptist-minister Matt Dillahunty is the host of the cable access show The Atheist Experience, a co-host of the Internet show The Non Prophets, and is the founder of the counter-apologetics wiki Iron Chariots.org.  Matt's style can be a little harsh at times, but overall I'm a huge fan and I recommend the above shows (I ingest them in netcast form) and website.  I do have my personal reservations about some aspects of the show (and several objections to how some people treat the show material) and I'll likely make a post about my beefs in the near future.  

  Before we talk of gumballs, we will first discuss why this illustration is relevant and what problem(s) it aims to address.

Noah's Arky is Total Malarkey


♫ God told Noah to build him an arky, arky 


  If you partook in a childhood similar to mine, you sang about Noah's Ark in Sunday School or as part of a children's program at your parent's church. Hooray, God is saving Noah and his family, what a swell thing for God to do! What a great story of salvation, grace, obedience, and... ... wait... God killed everyone else on the earth? God killed men, women, children, babies, the unborn (and every animal and plant that didn't thumb a ride on the ark) because everyone- other than Noah's family- was wicked and evil?  Apparently babies are wicked, evil beings... good to know.
  Speaking of adorable, drownable babies, Mr. Deity did a great piece (one of his best) called "In Defense of Killing Babies."  


  The fantastic humor and bite of Mr. Deity shines through in this video as he goes through the spin many Christians put on the terrible tale of Noah and his genocidal loving god.  
  ~To any Christians reading this: leave the "it's not murder/wrong if God does it!" divine command theory hogwash at home.  Special pleading isn't a color that looks good on anybody.

  My Sunday School teachers didn't hide the fact that the flood "destroyed" everyone on earth when the floodwaters came. "Destroyed" is a good, child-friendly word instead of "genocidally-murdered."  Upon placing the flannelgraph (I do miss flannelgraph) scene of Noah looking down upon the water from the deck of the ark, the teacher would tell us the story of Noah's ark in a brief, important-details-omitted fashion. Noah's ark is presented to children in churches in a dishonest manner because the facts are.. well.. nonexistent. When a teacher is afraid of small children calling out the curriculum's bullhonkey, that should give them reason to reevaluate their material. 

#8 Spooge on the Ground, Love in the Air (Genesis 38:6-26)



Another big chunk of scripture again!  This tale is more like several small tales in one bundle, so feel free to read the entire passage or just skip below to my summary.  Oh, and I hope you brought some tissue.
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Genesis 38:6-26
And Judah took a wife for Er his firstborn, and her name was Tamar.  But Er, Judah's firstborn, was wicked in the sight of the Lord, and the Lord put him to death.  Then Judah said to Onan, “Go in to your brother's wife and perform the duty of a brother-in-law to her, and raise up offspring for your brother.”   But Onan knew that the offspring would not be his. So whenever he went in to his brother's wife he would waste the semen on the ground, so as not to give offspring to his brother.  And what he did was wicked in the sight of the Lord, and he put him to death also.  Then Judah said to Tamar his daughter-in-law, “Remain a widow in your father's house, till Shelah my son grows up”—for he feared that he would die, like his brothers. So Tamar went and remained in her father's house.
In the course of time the wife of Judah, Shua's daughter, died. When Judah was comforted, he went up to Timnah to his sheepshearers, he and his friend Hirah the Adullamite.  And when Tamar was told, “Your father-in-law is going up to Timnah to shear his sheep,” she took off her widow's garments and covered herself with a veil, wrapping herself up, and sat at the entrance to Enaim, which is on the road to Timnah. For she saw that Shelah was grown up, and she had not been given to him in marriage.  When Judah saw her, he thought she was a prostitute, for she had covered her face.  He turned to her at the roadside and said, “Come, let me come in to you,” for he did not know that she was his daughter-in-law. She said, “What will you give me, that you may come in to me?”   He answered, “I will send you a young goat from the flock.”  And she said, “If you give me a pledge, until you send it—”   He said, “What pledge shall I give you?” She replied, “Your signet and your cord and your staff that is in your hand.” So he gave them to her and went in to her, and she conceived by him.  Then she arose and went away, and taking off her veil she put on the garments of her widowhood.
When Judah sent the young goat by his friend the Adullamite to take back the pledge from the woman's hand, he did not find her.  And he asked the men of the place, “Where is the cult prostitute who was at Enaim at the roadside?” And they said, “No cult prostitute has been here.”   So he returned to Judah and said, “I have not found her. Also, the men of the place said, ‘No cult prostitute has been here.’”   And Judah replied, “Let her keep the things as her own, or we shall be laughed at. You see, I sent this young goat, and you did not find her.”  About three months later Judah was told, “Tamar your daughter-in-law has been immoral.  Moreover, she is pregnant by immorality.”  And Judah said, “Bring her out, and let her be burned.”   As she was being brought out, she sent word to her father-in-law, “By the man to whom these belong, I am pregnant.” And she said, “Please identify whose these are, the signet and the cord and the staff.”   Then Judah identified them and said, “She is more righteous than I, since I did not give her to my son Shelah.” And he did not know her again.
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Here's the gist:

• Judah (son of Jacob) has three boys named Er, Onan, and Shelah.
Judah "took a wife" for Er named Tamar.
Er "was wicked in the sight of the Lord" and the Lord puts him to death.
Judah tells Onan to have sex with the now-widowed Tamar and raise the child for his now-dead brother.
Onan apparently decides to masturbate instead (using Tamar's vagina) and then "waste the semen on the ground."