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What's It All About?

wolfpurplemoon is an Atheist, but came into possession of The Book of Genesis Illustrated by R Crumb and decided to start reading the bible from cover to cover. In a Year. And then it seemed it would be better to not accost close friends with daily ponderings on this subject, so they've been relegated to this community.

Disclaimer
I definitely don't have any academic knowledge of scripture and I started with very little experience of the bible's contents, beyond what I picked up at school and from various sources around the internet. I've also never belonged to any religion and have rarely stepped foot in a church so my responses to the passages tend to be just my immediate gut reactions, with a little assistance from the Skeptics Annotated Bible, so don't expect deep or profound insights or even anything particularly intellectual.

Update (November 2010): The SAB isn't my primary source for reading the bible, I started to find the KJV very hard going, so for a while I've been reading a modern translation and just skimming the SAB's annotation so that 'little assistance' has been very minor. Anyone concerned that I'm not considering alternative perspectives need read no further than the comments on my entries to reassure themselves that I'm being offered plenty of alternative perspectives.

Revelation 20-22

The technicalities of heaven's legal system are such that they can only chain up Satan for one thousand years and then have to let him go to have another attempt at deceiving the world before apparently being defeated one final time.

Also, if your name isn't on the list then it's into the lake of fire with you. Sounds like the most extreme celeb party ever.

I do wonder why anyone would want to worship this God who uses humans as pawns in his celestial feud with Satan, condemning any who are deceived by Satan and only letting those into heaven who were already destined to go. Seems that if there was even a slim chance of his existence then I'd choose not to worship him.

Once all this stuff has happened there will be no more death, pain or crying, at least for the special chosen ones. All the people who didn't get chosen, or sinned will have all the suffering. But if you cowardly pick the mindless worship in fear of the lake of fire, I don't think that helps you because one of the detestable people who'll be going there are cowards.

A shiny new Jerusalem will appear, all shaped and measured according to various factors of 12, and decorated with expensive gems, with fruit trees in season all the time.

There will be no more night, God's light will shine down on them forever. How do you get any sleep?

More circular logic, this is all true because the angel within the story said it was all true. He also said that the time of this prophecy coming true was near, so truth is probably relative.

I think that's it, that's the end. I'm thinking about writing some sort of final conclusion post soon, but for now, that's all folks, thanks for following me through this long year!

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Revelation 17-19

An angel explains a vision of a sexually immoral woman sitting on a beast in the water, sort of. I think she's supposed to be Babylon, and she will be destroyed because of her immorality. But as the rest of the world already got destroyed it's no surprise that Babylon would go too.

All the throngs in heaven are happy about the whole thing and praise God for his sound judgements.

Jesus will finally get married once the world is all destroyed. And then ride out of heaven on a horse and kill the beast and his false prophet by throwing them into the lake of burning sulphur and killing the rest with the sword in his mouth.

Last day tomorrow!

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Revelation 13-16

The dragon known as Satan gives a seven headed leopard-bear-lion-beast the power to rule the earth and everyone worships it, everyone that lives on earth because their name wasn't in Jesus' book of life since the beginning. This beast gives the power to another beast who does lots of deceiving and convincing people to worship it.

This final beast makes all people get a mark of the beast on their right hand or forehead if they want to buy or sell things. I think I'd ask for my right hand to be marked if a preference is allowed. The beast's number is 666 and it is this number or his name (not specified) that should form the mark.

The saved people don't have any choice between right hand or forehead, they all have Jesus and God's names written on their foreheads. These are 144,000 virgin men who sing and follow Jesus all over the place.

Getting the beast's mark makes God angry with you and he'll torture you with fire and sulphur in front of him and his angels, now I'm seeing God as Jabba the Hutt enjoying the suffering of his prisoners.

Seven angels enact the final seven plagues and torture the humans remaining on earth a bit more. Unsurprisingly, the people being tortured with sores and sunburn are blaming God for their troubles and are not really in the mood to give him any glory.

All the kings of earth are brought together in a place called Armageddon for a final battle but first, the final plague is a huge earthquake that flattens all the cities and mountains followed by really big hail. And yet everyone continued blaspheming God, shocking.

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Revelation 9-12

Locusts with the power of scorpions. Locusts that attack people. Locusts that follow instructions and can tell time. Locusts that torture by stinging like a scorpion. Seriously, what? Also, I wonder if maybe it would have been better to hire scorpions?

OK this sounds like a typical crazy dream moment, you know when in a dream you're suddenly somewhere else or the person you were talking to is suddenly a tortoise? Well, the locusts just became horses. Hey author of Revelation, noone is particularly interested when you start a sentence with 'I had this crazy dream...'

Some other horses, not the scorpion-locust-horses, have tails made of snakes. God goes to a lot of effort designing these freaky creatures just to destroy the world and torture and kill the people in it. Surely an omnipotent being could just will it out of existence in a moment? Especially as all this death and destruction is having no effect on the whether the remaining people believe in this particular God or worship him correctly.

Fire breathing prophets with power over the rain and who die when they are done, and then wake up after three and a half days, freaking everyone out (the fire breathing was apparently less disturbing than the rising from the dead). And following that with an earthquake that kills 7000 is finally enough to convert a bunch of terrified people.

That must be embarrassing, God's ark of covenant is showing!

A dragon sweeps a third of the stars out of the sky with its tail and then tries to eat a new baby as its born because its going to rule over all the nations. God looks after the mother and child (separately). Oh ok, that makes more sense(!), the dragon is Satan. He fights with his angels against Michael and his angels (Supernatural plot point, check! Well, minus the dragon...) and ends up cast down to the earth and starts terrorising people, again still not as evil as God.

It sounds awful to not love your life so much that you were afraid to die. I don't think it's worth being afraid to die but looking forward to it because life isn't too great seems morbid.

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Revelation 4-8

The throne room in Heaven sounds like a pretty trippy place, involving a large circle of thrones and thunder and lightning shooting out - this is starting to sound like something a young child would come up with during drawing time, especially with the random animals hanging about that look like actual animals apart from the six wings and eyes all over.

Jesus is the only one worthy to open the seven seals on a particular scroll, this makes the grovvelling masses in heaven fervently worship.

The first four seals release the four horsemen of the apocalypse - recent seasons of Supernatural have involved some of this end of the world stuff so it's very familiar - behind the fifth seal are the souls of people who've been violently killed for being Christians, apparently there weren't enough of them yet so they have to wait for vengeance. Breaking the sixth seal releases God's wrath on the world, 144,000 Jews are protected from the damage that the angels are given permission to perform.

The seventh seal just involves more damage and death on the earth, different disasters heralded by angels trumpeting before destroying a third of something like turning a third of the sea to blood and killing sea creatures.

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Revelation 1-3

I already think the author of Revelation must have been taking something, not only do voices speak to him, but he saw a fiery eyed, white haired man (Jesus?) amongst seven golden lamp-stands, carrying seven stars in his hand and a sword in his mouth.

The seven lamp-stands represent seven churches that Jesus has some specific instructions and pronouncements for, these are to mostly warn them about various satanic forces that are surrounding them.

Jesus also promises to return 'soon'. All I can be certain of is that starting Revelation means my time reading the bible ends soon!

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2 John-Jude

More warnings about deceivers and antichrists in these three very short books. Also various rumblings about churches that aren't following the teachings properly and not responding to letters written to inform them what they are doing wrong, I'd probably ignore letters like that too.

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1 John

Ok, so if you confess your sins Jesus forgives you. It doesn't say who you should confess them to, and surely if Jesus is all we've been told then he already knows you sinned, so why does he want to know exactly what you did again?

Hating your fellow Christian means you're still in the dark, I guess it's OK to hate the non-Christians though? Answered my own question there, loving the world or things in it means you don't have God's love, I don't understand why God hates the world he apparently made.

John says that it was the last hour right then, due to all the antichrists hanging around the place, now I'm picturing John as one of those crazy street preachers with signs that say 'The End is Nigh'.

So in the OT, those of us who say there is no God were fools, in the NT denying Jesus makes us liars and antichrists. Yay for 'them and us' mentalities.

John is of the 'ignorance is bliss' school of thought, being anointed into Christianity is enough, there's no need to learn anything after that.

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2 Peter

Oh hey circular logic, all the prophecies in scripture are direct from God, none are from the prophet's own imagination. How do we know this is true? Because the scriptures say so!

False teachers will try to infiltrate the church and corrupt it, they will be punished on the day of judgement along with angels who sinned and have been locked up in chains in hell.

Unrighteous people will just go back to sinning even if they find Jesus, they are just too enslaved by immorality to leave it.

Good one, claiming that in the last days people will scoff at the fact that Jesus hasn't returned, and will deliberately suppress the fact of the flood, and then a quote someone already left me in a comment when I mentioned how long it's taking, the excuse seems to be that time means nothing to God and he's just waiting patiently for everyone to have a chance to repent.

This is the sort of thing that is abhorrent to me about end times religions, the people conducting their lives in holiness and godliness are not merely waiting for the end times but actually hastening its arrival. The heavens and earth will dissolve and shiny new ones will be made. Why can't we just be happy with the world we have and work on making that a good place to live rather than wishing for its destruction? And anyway, if this promised end did come what happens to the non-human animals and all the plants residing on this planet that these believers are so looking forward to being destroyed?

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1 Peter

The phrase 'it is reserved in heaven for you' made me think of email and phone scams where it is claimed there are large amounts of money or nice prizes waiting just for you. In fact I just recently came across a quote by Gloria Steinem which is related: "It’s an incredible con job when you think about it, to believe something now in exchange for something after death. Even corporations with their reward systems don’t try to make it posthumous."

It was known that Jesus would come since before the world was formed, and he appeared when he did for the benefit of those living in the 'last times'.

The instructions to submit to various authorities (government, master, husband etc.) highlight the possibilities of using the religion to control people - though of course all the stuff about being happy to endure suffering has its role to play as well.

Christians are not to be ashamed of being Christians and should rejoice in suffering for Jesus.

Leaders of the religion are to care for the believers not as a duty but willingly and not for shameful profit. I'm certain that not a single preacher ever lead their flock for profit.

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