The Good. The Bad. The Asinine.

Secular Understandings of the Bible – Genesis and Genealogy

Uruk and the Bible

INTRODUCTION

I find quite a lot of the debate surrounding the Bible a bit sterile. What it generally consists of is atheists pointing out the impossibility of literal interpretations of famous stories, or snarkily quoting passages from Leviticus or Deuteronomy while, on the other side, pie-eyed and frankly insane fundamentalists point to the handful of textual and archaeological attestations of which they’re aware, whilst simultaneously threatening the atheists with a hell in which they presumably don’t believe.

This strikes me as being about as productive as dry humping a telegraph pole. All the appearances of the thing are there, but it’s a very, very long way from the thing itself. The idea that a text can survive in oral tradition for five or six hundred years, and then roughly two and a half thousand in written form without undergoing major revisions, redactions and distortions is just laughable. Anyone capable of believing in something like this simply isn’t worth arguing with, as they’re clearly not at home to Mr Rational Thought.

What I hope to demonstrate over the next few posts is that the argument about literal truth is moot (in the American sense of the word), and that there’s quite a lot of very interesting information in the Bible, none of which has to do with God, but rather with literary truth, mnemo-narrative, and the real relationship between Christianity and the roots of Western law and culture.

I should point out at the very top that I am not a Biblical scholar, and that this is not a scholarly series of articles. This means I’m not going to bother with footnotes and references as I shamelessly steal the work of the following professors: William Propp, Richard Friedman, Aren Maeir, Eric Cline and Israel Finkelstein. To a much lesser extent I shall also be drawing on the minimalist/revisionist work of Professor Francesca Stavrakopoulou. I’ve linked to some of their major works so that you can check them out for yourself, if you’re so inclined.

GENESIS – GENEALOGIES

There’s a general consensus that Paradise is somewhere in the vicinity of the ancient city of Uruk. Or somewhere in Ethiopia. Or possibly Greece, Israel or, most nuttily of all, England. It doesn’t really matter all that much, but for what it’s worth, Uruk makes sense to me. The mythologised patriarch Abraham is said to have come from Ur, which isn’t that far away, and Uruk is generally thought of as the first proper city (that’s a little bit controversial, but let’s just go with it). The reason this makes sense is because of the clear and overt purposes of Genesis. These are the recording of creation myth and the validation of a set of kings and priests via a genealogical line from the ‘first man’ through to the first patriarch (Abraham).

As a hard historical source, I don’t think there’s any real dispute that Genesis is garbage. The genealogies and timelines of Genesis form the basis for the laughably incorrect chronology of Baeda and, by extension, the Young Earth nutters. But it’s not what we’d call egregious. When compared to roughly contemporaneous documents and stories of a similar nature, it becomes clear that Genesis isn’t really much better or worse than anyone else’s account. Sumerian and Egyptian king lists contain a hodge podge of gods and people mixed together with wild abandon and, in comparison with the tens of thousands of years of life claimed for the first seven Sumerian kings, some of the biblical claims are actually quite modest.

For the purposes of a broad (rather than a minute and scholarly) understanding, we can go with the breathtaking over-simplification that the whole thing is an exercise in legitimacy – political, cultural, territorial and spiritual. Basically, tracing through to Abraham is a way of claiming legitimate ownership of Yahweh, Israel, the Torah and authority over the Jewish peoples, by the authors of the version which has come down to us today. There are a great many debates raging, far above my head, about the historicity of Abraham and whether or not he ever existed, but I’m not really sure how important this is for understanding what all this begetting/begatting nonsense is about. It’s basically the same thing as Princess Diana’s family tracing their lineage back to the mythical version of King Arthur, or the Romans claiming the equally mythical Trojan War survivor Aeneas as the founder of their culture. It’s a mixture of the political and the etiological – we come from a line of god-like heroes, therefore what we have and what we are both have absolute legitimacy.

In the next post, I intend to have a crack at the creation myth and the story of Adam and Eve, hopefully demonstrating that their dismissal as ‘Bronze Age fairy tales’, or their veneration as ‘literal truth’ are both somewhat wide of the point.

A media release from the Australian Christian Lobby

MEDIA RELEASE
For immediate release
_____

The Australian Christian Lobby has questioned the wisdom of a campaign by some Australian corporations supporting a change to the definition of marriage.

“I just wonder if they have thought about how legislating a family structure which causes children to miss out on one of their parents is fair,” ACL Managing Director Lyle Shelton said.

In order to keep his position internally consistent, Mr Shelton then also called for legislation to force married couples to have children, and to ban marriage for couples who don’t want children or who have children from previous marriages, and to ban unmarried couples from having children, and to force married couples without children to get divorced, and to ban divorce. When asked how he would both ban and require divorce, Mr Shelton shouted “OMG THAT TREE LOOKS LIKE JESUS!”, and ran from the room.

When he returned, Mr Shelton went on to say, “This debate needs to move beyond politically correct ideology to a mature and open debate. Men have pee-pees and women have hoo-has, and that’s all there is to it. Furthermore, you’re all poopy-heads, and I will now close my eyes and stick my fingers in my ears until you leave”.

Noting that the Football Federal of Australia had also backed the campaign, Mr Shelton wondered where this left the tens of thousands of Australians who play soccer but also believe a child should be raised by their mother and father. “I wonder where this leaves the tens of thousands of Australians who play soccer but also believe a child should be raised by their mother and father,” he wondered. “Mexico? Aruba? That place where all the refugees come from? Even if it leaves them exactly where they were before, playing soccer and believing a child should be raised by their mother and father, I’m pretty sure they all stand around during games thinking about children not being raised by their mothers and fathers instead of thinking about whether they’re in an off-side position, and it will make them sad to think that the governing body wants to change the definition of marriage, and much sadder than the thousands of gay, trans and intersex players who stay in the closet because they think the governing body and society in general won’t accept them. I just really feel for them.”

“The corporates involved in this latest campaign really are not showing very much tolerance to those in the community who have a different view about marriage and the rights of children,” Mr Shelton said. “Of course, if the FFA came out in support of my own personal view of marriage, that would be fine.”

When asked whether he understood the meaning of irony, and whether it was intolerant to be intolerant of intolerance, Mr Shelton yelled “POOPY-HEADS!” and ran from the room.

END OF MESSAGE

In which Bill Muehlenberg writes a book that is the same as his other book but with a very different title so you have no idea it’s the same as his other book

Once upon a time, Bill wrote a book. Then one day, he wanted to write another book. But writing books is hard. So he came up with the brilliant plan of writing the same book all over again, and changing not one, but two words in the title, so everyone would think it was a new book. The result is [Insert bad word] Relations – The [Insert bad word] of Homosexuality. And it’s brilliant.

Now, let me say from the outset that I haven’t read this book. But I’m going to review it anyway. Why? Because I can. And why can I? Because that’s what Bill does. If there’s one thing I’ve learned from Bill, it’s that I’ll turn gay if same-sex marriage is legalised. And that cardigans are awesome. Oh and that we can make judgements on books and movies without reading or watching them. Take his review of Dinesh DiSouza’s film, America, and the book that it’s based on:

I have not seen the film as yet, and my copy of the book is still coming in the mail. But we know enough about the volume to say this: it is a stirring defence of America and a powerful critique of our current POTUS who is doing all he can to destroy America.

Or his review of Noah:

Some misguided Christians claim I must experience this film, otherwise I cannot speak to it. But I haven’t had firsthand experience of a satanic church service either – so what? There are plenty of things I can rely on others about, and/or I don’t need to experience myself.

Or his review of Cory Bernardi’s book:

Now I don’t happen to have a copy of his book as yet. But I know Cory and I know what he stands for so I can imagine pretty well the sort of stuff he says in his book.

YAAAAAAAAAAAAAY! Isn’t that handy? I can just review things without reading or watching them! Such a time saver.

Anyways, Bill’s book. It’s amazing. Kind of like carrotless-vomit, or a piece of poo shaped like a 1979 Corolla, which are both also amazing. I mean, it has footnotes. FOOTNOTES! And as everyone knows, footnotes are a sure sign that the author knows his stuff [1]. And the more footnotes an author uses [2], the better his argument [3].

The best part about the book, however, is the creative title. It’s very different to the title of his previous book, to indicate that the contents are also very different. Strained Relations – The Challenge of Homosexuality… it just has a nice ring to it, don’t you think? Oh sorry that was his first book. Strained Bumholes – The Problem with Pooftas is what I meant to say. Oh no wait that was the working title. Dangerous Attractions – The Threat of My Own Personal Fear of Being Gay is an awesome title. Or it would be, if it ever made it out of Bill’s subconscious [4]. Thaaaaat’s right, now I remember the title of the book I haven’t read that I’m reviewing [5] – Dangerous Relations – The Threat of Homosexuality.

I wonder how long it took him to come up with that title. I mean, thesauruses can be tricky [6]. I can just imagine Bill, sitting there in his study in his cardigan and brown corduroy pants, saying “Pablo! Stop massaging me and fetch me that book that tells me what words mean the same as other words! And no, you cannot put your shirt back on”. And he flicks through to “strained”, and wonders aloud… “Hmm… Tight Relations? Stiff Relations? Hmm. Pablo! What do you think of Stiff Relations?” [7]

This method appears to have worked for the actual book, too. Take this passage from Laboured Relations [8]:

Gay people are bad. They make me sad. But being a bigot makes me glad.

And now compare it to this, from Nasty Relations [9]:

Gay people are crappy. They make me unhappy. But being a fanatical religious zealot makes me dance in the streets with joy [10].

See how easy that was? And how awesome? I mean, the book practically writes itself.

Anyway, the important thing to remember is that gays are bad, and Bill needs twelve dollars and seven cents to tell you that gays are bad. If that sounds like a lot of money, that’s because it is – he tells us gays are bad every day on his blog. FOR COMPLIMENTARY.

Sorry, I meant for free. These thesauruses are tricky.

P.S. I have posted this review to Amazon. I encourage anyone who hasn’t read this book to do the same here.
_____________________

EXTENSIVE FOOTNOTES TO SHOW THAT I AM SMART
[1] Like this one.
[2] Bill uses lots.
[3] Not really, I’m being sarcastic.
[4] Cough cough… Ted Haggard.
[5] Because I can.
[6] Not for normal people though, obviously.
[7] Yes these are actual synonyms.
[8] aka Strained Relations. Laboured is a synonym for strained, see.
[9] aka Dangerous Relations. Nasty is a synonym for dangerous, see.
[10] But not in a gay way.

I AM NO LONGER AN ATHEIST. Oh wait, yes I am.

As some of you may have guessed, I am an atheist. A pretty strong atheist, too. Intellectually, I mean, not physically. I can only do about 10 push-ups.

But as strong as my atheism is, and much like my believing counterparts, I have the occasional moments of doubt. A crisis of no faith, if you will. After all, no one can be 100% confident in their beliefs 100% of the time, so every now and then I catch myself thinking, “What if I’m wrong?”.

What if I’ve missed something? Is there some argument or evidence for god that I haven’t seen or understood? Should I finally get around to reading the Book of Mormon? Do I really need 72 virgins, and if so, how will I remember all their names? Will Lord XenuNote 1 forgive me for laughing at his spaceship if give him a massage?

Thankfully, tpeople like William Lane Craig exist to help set me straight. Craig is something of a celebrity in Christian Apologetics circles – he’s always on the cover of “People (are going to hell)” magazine – as he appears to bring an air of intellectual respectability to Christian beliefs. He has everything figured out logically, you see, so Christians need not be embarrassed about believing some of the things they do. You know, like that whole Trinity thing, or angels.

Anyway, he has just penned a piece for that other bastion of intellectual respectability – Fox News – in which he lists out the five best arguments for Christianity. I was a little nervous when I sat down to read them. Would this be the moment I would have to publicly recant my atheism? How many ‘likes’ would it get on Facebook? Once I converted, who would teach me how to pick on gays and single mothers?

Let’s see what he had to say.

1
God provides the best explanation of the origin of the universe

Quick! Someone tell the physics professors!

Here Craig presents a dumbed-down version of his already dumbed-down Kalam Cosmological Argument (he is writing for Fox News, after all). If you haven’t heard it already, it goes something like this:

  1. Everything that begins to exist has a cause; and
  2. The universe had a beginning to its existence; so that must mean
  3. The universe had a cause. Ima call him ‘God’ and use him to pick on gays and single mothers.

This argument is the reason why the word ‘specious’ was invented. If you think about it for a couple of seconds, you will very quickly realise that:

  • The conclusion has been smuggled into the opening premise;
  • That premise should apply equally to God himself;
  • Even if you admit that the universe’s current form had a beginning, it in no way negates the possibility that some other form of universe existed before that;
  • Even if you admit there was a first cause, there’s no reason to assume that he’s an angry old man with a son named Jesus who hates us having fun but desperately wants us to love him.

NEXT.

2
God provides the best explanation for the fine tuning of the universe

Craig’s second argument essentially says, “We exist, so the universe must have been set up for our existence.”

Then again, the universe also seems quite keen to get rid of us, so…

NEXT.

3
God provides the best explanation of objective moral values and duties

And which god would that be, William?

NEXT.

4
God provides the best explanation for the historical facts concerning Jesus’ life, death and resurrection

According to Craig, “most historians” agree that Jesus thought he was the son of god, performed miracles, and was crucified, until a group of his lady-friends found his empty tomb, and it was discovered that he was actually alive and well and living it up on some kind of lecture tour. He then tells us that he “can think of no better explanation of these facts” than “God raised Jesus from the dead”.

Ignoring his rather generous definition of “facts”, it’s clear that William just isn’t thinking hard enough.

What if everyone just made the whole thing up?

5
God can be known and experienced

Finally, we have this:

Down through history Christians have found through Jesus a personal acquaintance with god that has transformed their lives.

Well that’s certainly true, William. Like all of these people who have claimed to be Jesus. Or Oscar Ramiro Ortega-Hernandez, who not only claimed to be Jesus but that he’d been sent back to earth to kill President Obama. Or Mohammad, if you substitute “Christians” for “Muslims” and “Jesus” for “Allah”.

NEXT.

Oh. That’s all you had. I expected more.

But now that I think about it, I’m not sure why.

_____

Footnotes

  1. In Scientology, “Xenu was … the dictator of the ‘Galactic Confederacy’ who 75 million years ago brought billions of his people to Earth (then known as ‘Teegeeack’) in a DC-8-like spacecraft, stacked them around volcanoes and killed them using hydrogen bombs.” – Wikipedia (back)

Found in translation

Oh Holger, you didn’t. Please tell me you didn’t say that “women should shut up in public”.

Because that’s what the Herald Sun, The Age, The Gaurdian, The Daily Mail and the ABC are saying you said. And, oh dear, I just checked YouTube, and it’s on there too, for all to see. “You push me around like my wife”, you said. “Women should shut up in public”, you said. What do you have to say for yourself?

You thought you were off the record? Come on Holger, you’ve been playing the press game long enough to know that nothing’s really off the record, especially when you have about 20 microphones in your face and you say something stupid.

Oh hang on, it was only a joke? A private joke between you and your wife? Well, sorry Holger, but just because you and your wife think it’s funny, it doesn’t mean the rest of us have to.

Wait, wait, what was that? What you actually said was “Mulieres taceres in ecclesia”? Haha, nice try Holger, but saying “Women should shut up in public” in Latin doesn’t make it sound any better. In French, maybe… but definitely not Latin.

Ahhhh, I see now. You were just quoting the Bible. 1 Corinthians 14:35, to be exact.

Well that can’t possibly be sexist. Carry on.
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Spotted by the eagle-eared Martin from Furious Purpose.

Don’t call me bigot

There are some things that people don’t being called. Like arsehole, for example. Or bitch. Or Quincy. Most of us are fairly immune to such taunts, however, because of a quiet confidence in our true nature. “That’s OK,” we tell ourselves, “I know I’m not an arsehole, or a bitch. And I definitely possess no quince-like qualities.” There is one label, however, that is almost guaranteed to result in an outpouring of outraged indignation.

No one likes being called a bigot.

And, my, have lots of people been called bigots lately. Same-sex marriage opponents have been called bigots. Same-sex marriage supporters have been called bigots, too. Not even Mr James Bigot of Wetherill Park has been safe, despite assuring everyone that the ‘t’ is silent. But it all became a bit much for some people when our Finance Minister, who is raising a child in a committed lesbian relationship, said that the Australian Christian Lobby, and, by implication, all Christians who shared their view, were “peddling prejudice” and engaging in “bigotry that has no place in a modern Australia”.

Needless to say, a lot of people were a little unhappy. The ACL itself said that “the bigotry card…played by none other than the Prime Minister Julia Gillard and Senator Penny Wong [made] no attempt to engage with our argument. Why bother when a slur of Christians will do?” Reverend David Swan shared a similar sentiment, saying that “if Senator Wong could take a moment to engage with the argument that has been proposed rather than simply accuse people of bigotry…then perhaps a better discussion might ensue”. And Gary Bigelow, who I’m told is most definitely not related to Deuce, felt that calling someone a bigot was “divisive and inflammatory…and unworthy of a politician in this country”. Because as we all know, Australian politicians are never divisive or inflammatory, are they? *cough*

So… are any of these criticisms justified?

To answer that question, it might be helpful to revisit what a bigot actually is. According to Merriam-Webster, a bigot is “a person who is obstinately or intolerantly devoted to his or her own opinions and prejudices”. I prefer, however, the words of Oliver Wendell Holmes, who said that “The mind of a bigot is like the pupil of the eye; the more light you pour upon it, the more it will contract”.

It all comes down to open-mindedness, or, more specifically, a willingness to consider that you might be wrong. If you’re the kind of person who considers the evidence first and forms an opinion second, or if you adjust your view in light of new evidence, then you’re probably in the clear. But if you decide before you think, or you cling doggedly to your opinion as evidence to the contrary piles up around you, then, I’m sorry, but there’s a very good chance that you’re a bigot. And if your opinion is a basis for discrimination against a particular race, gender or sexuality, that “good chance” becomes a certainty.

So I guess the three people above just need to ask themselves two questions.

1
The first question is a simple one: “Does my view form the basis of discriminatory action against a race, gender or sexuality?”

Why yes, yes it does.

2
The second question is slightly harder. “Can I conceive of any evidence that could change my mind?”

Note that this isn’t asking if such evidence exists, but merely if such evidence is possible. Is it possible that same-sex marriage will not automatically lead to plagues of bestiality and incest? Is it possible it will actually increase societal cohesion, and not lead to complete moral decay? Is it conceivable that a study might show that same-sex families are as happy or happier than their heterosexual equivalents?

Sadly, the answer for many of the opponents of marriage equality seems to be “no”. But, strangely, such people are actually less infuriating than the people who answer “yes”. For, while these people will trumpet any evidence that happens to confirm their particular preconception, they will summarily dismiss any evidence that contradicts it. Say hello, Lyle Shelton.

And they do this because they have to. You see, for someone like Lyle, all these many questions are different versions of just one.

When it comes to homosexuality and marriage, could god be wrong?

And I think we all know how Lyle would answer that one.
_________

So, are you one of these people? Are you willing to consider that you, or your god, could be wrong on marriage equality? No? Then you’re a bigot.

And just like anyone called an arsehole, or a bitch, or Quincy, all you need to do now is decide if you care.

Why I believe I can’t believe why this person believes what he believes

The latest Outreach Media poster is out, and I really don’t get it. Just what, exactly, is this poster trying to say?

Outreach Media - Why I believe

Apparently, it’s important that we know why this particular person believes in Jesus. But why? Oh yes, it must be because this person, Professor Ross McKenzie, is a world expert in condensed matter theory. That means he’s smart. Real smart. Much smarter, in fact, than anyone who happens to stop and read the poster, myself included.

Fine, fine… but what’s the point?

As we all know, there’s a lot of silly stuff in the bible. So maybe the point is that if a really, really smart person believes in something silly it’s OK for us to believe it, too. Which I guess means the poster is kind of saying this:

Why I believe 1

But perhaps that’s unfair. I don’t know what flavour of Christianity Professor McKenzie follows… maybe he’s so smart that he doesn’t take the Old Testament literally. Maybe he’s more of a New Testament kind of guy, and the poster is actually saying this:

Why I believe 2

OK, OK, I’m picking on a silly part of the New Testament. He’s probably just trying to highlight some of the more general beliefs shared by most Christians. You know, like this:

Why I believe 3

There, that sounds about right.

But hang on. They picked someone really, really smart for this campaign. That’s gotta be significant. Otherwise, why wouldn’t they have just picked Doris, world expert in condensed milk theory? Perhaps it’s because being a physicist means you have a better understanding of the universe’s origins… in which case, the poster is really trying to say this:

Why I believe 4

Hmm… perhaps I’m getting away from the original question. Why does Professor McKenzie believe? Maybe… just maybe… he studied all of the world’s religions objectively before deciding to believe in the one that had the most convincing evidence.

Or maybe he’s a Christian for the same reason pretty much everyone else is.

Why I believe 5

To Do’s unto others

The latest Outreach Media poster is out!

2013-01_resolutions

I dunno. Leaving aside the fact that entering eternal life means leaving this one, goals should at least be attainable, and drinking more water sounds kind of hard. With that in mind, I took the trouble to make a new list for them, one that is hopefully a little more achievable.

img016

God is a gentleman… apparently

If you’re a good American Christian, and you play to the stereotype, it’s likely that the recent school massacre has reaffirmed a few things.

In particular, it’s probably reaffirmed that:

  • All those Christian founding fathers were bang on when they wrote the Second Amendment. It’s just the First Amendment they stuffed up;
  • What America needs, more than anything else, is more guns (let’s face it, you’re going to think twice about gunning down six-year-olds if you know they’re all carrying);
  • Anyone calling for even the smallest amount of gun control is a left-wing, anti-American, pinko, Muslim atheist kill-joy, and probably gay.

What it probably hasn’t affirmed is that, while your god might be great at weddings, he is, to put it mildly, a bit of an arsehole.

You see, if you believe in an omnipotent, omniscient and omnipresent god, you must also believe that god could have somehow stopped Adam Lanza from killing 20 children, but chose not to. But why on earth would he choose not to intervene? Let’s ask Bryan Fischer, Director of Issues Analysis for the American Family Association.

So there you have it, folks. God will happily appear on your toast, find you a parking space at Costco, stop your son’s Little League team from getting the wooden spoon, and help you win a Grammy. But he won’t intervene to stop the slaughter of 20 six-year-old children in a public school, because god is a gentleman, and doesn’t go where he’s not wanted.

Right.

Because nothing says “You’re wanted” like being nailed to a giant cross.

Just a thought…

1
Love your neighbour as you love yourself.

2
Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

3
Turn the other cheek.

4
Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.

5
Homosexuality is an abomination.

6
If your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away.

7
A human life is created by the joining of a material body and an immaterial soul at the moment of conception.

8
The Devil exists, and is currently taking time out of his busy schedule of never-ending torture to campaign for marriage equality in Australia.

9
Any pregnancy resulting from rape was intended by god.

10
An invisible all-powerful being named God created the universe and everything was fine until a snake tricked a woman into eating some magical forbidden fruit which she then gave to her husband but god found out so the man tried to pin the entire blame on her (what a douche!) but God decided to just punish them both (even though he was really to blame because he put a completely unnecessary but apparently very forbidden tree within easy reach of two idiotic nudists with limited reasoning skills) so the woman had to squeeze babies out of her inadequately sized vagina and the man had to grow vegies (which doesn’t really seem fair but being all-powerful God could do what he wanted so he did) and the two of them had to populate the earth but there were only two of them so there was a lot of incest until one day God decided to kill pretty much everyone on the planet but instead of just clicking his fingers to kill everything he decided to do it all dramatically via a massive world-wide flood so he ordered some guy named Noah to build a hunormous boat with very specific but conceptually inadequate dimensions and then gather up all the plant and animal species on the planet and put them on the boat as well as enough fresh food and toilet paper to survive while the earth was flooded (pity the rabbits if they ran out of toilet paper) which admittedly all sounds a little far fetched but the plan apparently worked because the flood came and everything died and life on the boat was pretty good except Noah’s sons nearly smoked all the marijuana but luckily Noah caught them just in time otherwise we wouldn’t have any marijuana today and after the waters all receded Noah ended up living to 900 or something which is why “Are you a builder of large-scale ocean going zoos?” is now a standard question on all insurance underwriting forms and he and his family repopulated the earth so once again there was quite a bit of incest but everything went back to normal for a while until God decided it was time to send his son who was himself down to earth because that was absolutely the only way he could think of to forgive everyone for the whole forbidden fruit tree debacle so he sent an angel to impregnate an engaged Jewish virgin named Mary and Mary’s fiance was like “Mary, WTF?!” and she was all like “Calm your farm, it’s God’s baby” and Joseph was like “Well OK” but secretly he was thinking “I bet it’s that Ishmael fucker next door” but anyway Mary gave birth to God’s son who was himself and he performed a few miracles like turning water into wine (it may have been merlot, but definitely wasn’t shiraz) but he pissed off the Jewish and Roman authorities so they hatched a plan to arrest him which God’s son who was himself wanted them to do anyway except for that one time in the garden where he asked his father who was himself if he could bail but god who was he said no so he went for a nice quite meal and was betrayed by one of his followers and now everyone hates that guy even though it was all part of god’s son who was himself’s plan but I digress so anyway they nailed God’s son who was himself to a big cross and he went to hell for three days for some unknown reason but then he came back to earth and released a zombie hoard before floating up to heaven and now many years later if you’re Catholic he will turn himself into a tasteless biscuit so we can all sit around on Sunday and eat him.
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Ten Christian beliefs, which begin as common sense and end in abject, interminable absurdity. The trouble is, the final absurdity is not a Christian belief, but its definition.

Which renders the other beliefs a little irrelevant, don’t you think?