Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Judges Part II: Just a Few Questions

The Spiritual Path You Pick

The spiritual path a person chooses is just as important as their general life path. Much like a person's general life path can be cluttered with useless habits and harmful behaviors and poor self-control, so do these things also apply to the spiritual path a person chooses. 

Whether a person chooses spirituality as a way to understand themselves better, the people around them better, or the purpose of life better these things are all vulnerable to the things you choose to bring with you on your spiritual path.

In choosing what you wish to believe it is imperative that you consider what this belief that you choose changes within you. Does this belief encourage compassion and joy and appreciation? Does this belief encourage separation, destruction, intolerance, and cruelty? Does this belief convey no hope for mankind save for ONE particular belief, no chance for man to on his own make anything better for himself, and that the truth of free will is actually a believe-this-way-or-die philosophy?

Be very discriminating in what you choose to believe for it will not take very long for you to receive the consequences of your search for the divine. 

How does your belief tell you to treat people? How about people who believe differently than you? Does what you believe demand control of your finances, your creativity, your love, your life...or your will? Do you choose to believe there is absolutely ZERO hope for mankind outside of Christianity, Islam, Judaism, or any religion for that matter? Does what you believe tell you that you cannot change yourself, but that only GOD/Jesus can do that? Does your belief tell you that there are terrible fears and darkness just waiting around every corner, eager to pounce on you and devour you and then vomit you into hell before you can find a way to Jesus and accept Him into your heart?

Don't be so careless, and for some this is done innocently enough, with your belief. Belief does not possess power so strong as to change the truth, but that does not mean it is not powerful. Crack open a history book and you will find ample proof of the fluctuating power within belief. Belief is not a toy and should not be squandered on ANY belief even remotely similar to hate, sorrow, genocide, abuse, racism, bloodshed, meanness, separation and so many more negative things.

A good rule to live by or at least consider is this: if the belief you are choosing (or are thinking about choosing) does not affect you in a positive, building upward manner...well, then it is likely not something you should spend your precious stores of belief upon. If the belief dazzles you with grand stories of free will and then tries to scare the crap out of you by teaching you had best use that free will to choose one particular answer, one particular way to believe...well, then it is likely not something you should allow into your spiritual front door.

Never ever forget to question everything. Remember, when it comes to belief you do not have the luxury of verifiable fact. If you did, well, then it would not be belief.

Perception is key when it comes to spiritual beliefs, but this MUST be your perception and NOT that of others. Here, I am relaying the questions that I have in regards to the Bible, God, and Christianity. It is true some of the questions can be answered or explained away, but those are the teeny, easy-to-answer questions. It is really the bigger questions that are never answered that gnaw at a person's belief. For me, these questions all together are why I no longer believe in the truth of the Bible or in God. Some of the questions are silly or absurd. Some of the questions take more pondering than others. Some of the questions are very difficult to consider, let alone try to find an answer to.

While I provide my questions I do not provide my answers. I want to know what your answers to some of these questions are, especially if you are a believer. I want to know what makes you believe what you believe, absurdities and all. At the end of each post is a comments link. Click it and give your answers to the questions.

1. Judges 3:1-2, 4
Now these are the nations that the LORD left, to test Israel by them, that is, all in Israel who had not experienced all the wars in Canaan.

It was only in order that the generations of the people of Israel might know war, to teach war to those who had not known it before.

They were for the testing of Israel, to know whether Israel would obey the commandments of the LORD, which he commanded their fathers by the hand of Moses.

     1) Sooo...here we have one verse saying that the nations which were left were for the purpose of teaching the people of Israel war, correct? Then there is another verse that says the nations are there to test Israel to see whether or not they will listen to the LORD/God, correct? So, which one is it?

     2) In Joshua 1:2 the LORD/God says He is about to give to the people of Israel the promised land, but He says NOTHING in regards to there being nations that would be left over for teaching war or for testing the devotion of people of Israel. Why doesn't God/the LORD inform the people of Israel this part of His plan?

     3) Joshua 1:5 notes God/the LORD as saying no one would make a stand against His people, but did God mean this to apply only to the lifespan of Joshua or the lifespan of the people of Israel? Either way God still mentioned nothing of allowing remnants of other nations to hang around for testing or teaching, right? Is this purposeful oversight by God wrong?

     4) Okay, so God promises His people this really amazing land that is already inhabited with very generous boundaries, promises that no one residing in the promised land will be able to make a stand against the people of Israel, and promises to always help and be with His people (of course by this point you should know that last promise just isn't happening). None of these promises come to fruition, right? I mean, the boundaries are not what God said they would be, some of the inhabitants are making a stand, and the help and company promised by God for His people is random and spotty, correct? 

     5) Is the reason that God is making the claim that the resistance of the original inhabitants is to teach His people war and to test their devotion because He secretly needs to provide excuses as to why His promises didn't pan out?

2. Judges 3:5
So the people of Israel lived among the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Amorites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites.

     1) Sooo...never mind all of the verses that note these people being absolutely destroyed, laid low by the children of God with the people of Israel citing routing victory, right? Is that what this means?

     2) Why are there so many instances where the people of Israel decimate a people/enemy and then the same people/enemies pop up later on? Is God's version of utter destruction different than the modern-day understanding of the same?

     3) What happened to the people of Israel receiving their promised land and not having to worry about complications in seizing the land since the inhabitants would not be able to make a stand?

3. Judges 3:8-10
Therefore the anger of the LORD was kindled against Israel, and he sold them into the hand of Cushan-rishathaim king of Mesopotamia. And the people of Israel served Cushan-rishathaim eight years.

But when the people of Israel cried out to the LORD, the LORD raised up a deliverer for the people of Israel, who saved them, Othniel the son of Kenaz, Caleb’s younger brother.

10 The Spirit of the LORD was upon him, and he judged Israel. He went out to war, and the LORD gave Cushan-rishathaim king of Mesopotamia into his hand. And his hand prevailed over Cushan-rishathaim.

     1) The LORD SOLD His people? Sold as in exchange for money or for some kind of good or service? Doesn't the word 'sold' imply an exchange of some sort? If so, what did God/the LORD receive in exchange for selling His people? Did He get a fair price? What would a fair price be to God? Isn't life invaluable? If so, why is God putting a value on life?

     2) Why is God so angry so much of the time?

     3) If the LORD allows His spirit to be upon one man so this man can help to lead the people of Israel, wouldn't it then makes a hell of a lot more sense to allow the spirit of the LORD upon all the people? This way all the people know exactly what they should and should not be doing according to the LORD, right? Wouldn't this save time and save lives?

4. Judges 3:12-14
12 And the people of Israel again did what was evil in the sight of the LORD, and the LORD strengthened Eglon the king of Moab against Israel, because they had done what was evil in the sight of the LORD.

13 He gathered to himself the Ammonites and the Amalekites, and went and defeated Israel. And they took possession of the city of palms.

14 And the people of Israel served Eglon the king of Moab eighteen years.

     1) For as hard as the people of Israel are said to have fought for the land they were promised, why does God allow so much of it to be revoked so quickly? 

     2) Is it possible that since the LORD could not follow through with His grand promise of all the land that neither could He destroy all of the inhabitants? What would this say about the immutable power of God?

     3) If God allowed the people of Israel to be taken/subdued coincidentally about the time His people realized that they couldn't take possession of all of the land, is it possible that God allowed their capture under the guise they were not following instruction because He was really trying to distract the people of Israel so they would not recognize His lies, His over-inflated promises, and His frightening lack of power?

5. Judges 3:31
31 After him was Shamgar the son of Anath, who killed 600 of the Philistines with an oxgoad, and he also saved Israel.

     1) Sooo...some guy takes a stick used to poke oxen in order to get them moving and kills 600 men with it? Was this all on the same day at different times, on different days at different times, or on the same day at the same time? Did he kill off the men one at a time?

6. Judges 4:7
I will draw out to you Sisera, the commander of Jabin's army, with his chariots and his many troops to the river Kishon, and I will give him into your hand.'"

     1) Why does the LORD's interpretation of "I will give them into your hand" never seem to mean what it is apparently supposed to mean?

     2) What is God's own, personal interpretation of delivering the enemy into the hands of the people of Israel?

7. Judges 4:9
And she said, “I will surely go with you. Nevertheless, the road on which you are going will not lead to your glory, for the LORD will sell Sisera into the hand of a woman.” Then Deborah arose and went with Barak to Kedesh.

     1) Do you realize that this verse is not a celebration of the worth of a woman? Do you realize it is meant to be offensive in the sense of a lowly woman getting the glory of killing Sisera, something that SHOULD have been done by a man? It is an insult through and through, you do see that, right?

8. Judges 6:4-6
They would encamp against them and devour the produce of the land, as far as Gaza, and leave no sustenance in Israel and no sheep or ox or donkey.

For they would come up with their livestock and their tents; they would come like locusts in number—both they and their camels could not be counted—so that they laid waste the land as they came in.

And Israel was brought very low because of Midian. And the people of Israel cried out for help to the LORD.

     1) So the people and their camels were so numerous they were like swarms of locusts? Can't a locust storm number in the hundreds of millions?

     2) Did the people and their camels number in the hundreds of millions?

     3) Aren't there only about 14 to 20 million camels (roughly speaking) in the world today? How many were around in the Bible times? Even if you multiplied that by ten you would still fall well short of the assessment that the people and camels numbered like a swarm of locusts, right?

     4) Why are there so many Bible descriptions that are horribly, shamelessly exaggerated?

9. Judges 6:13
13 And Gideon said to him, “Please, sir, if the LORD is with us, why then has all this happened to us? And where are all his wonderful deeds that our fathers recounted to us, saying, ‘Did not the LORD bring us up from Egypt?’ But now the LORD has forsaken us and given us into the hand of Midian.”

     1) Isn't it about damn time someone ask this freaking question?

10. Judges 6:20-22
20 And the angel of God said to him, “Take the meat and the unleavened cakes, and put them on this rock, and pour the broth over them.” And he did so.

21 Then the angel of the LORD reached out the tip of the staff that was in his hand and touched the meat and the unleavened cakes. And fire sprang up from the rock and consumed the meat and the unleavened cakes. And the angel of the LORD vanished from his sight.

22 Then Gideon perceived that he was the angel of the LORD. And Gideon said, “Alas, O Lord GOD! For now I have seen the angel of the LORD face to face.”

     1) Why does the angel of the LORD, or the LORD, or God need human food? Why does the angel burn the food up? Is this how angels eat, by burning things up?

     2) If the LORD/God is everywhere all of the time why didn't He come and take the snacks His people left out for Him? Why send an angel if God is already there?

11. 6:36-40
36 Then Gideon said to God, “If you will save Israel by my hand, as you have said,

37 behold, I am laying a fleece of wool on the threshing floor. If there is dew on the fleece alone, and it is dry on all the ground, then I shall know that you will save Israel by my hand, as you have said.”

38 And it was so. When he rose early next morning and squeezed the fleece, he wrung enough dew from the fleece to fill a bowl with water.

39 Then Gideon said to God, “Let not your anger burn against me; let me speak just once more. Please let me test just once more with the fleece. Please let it be dry on the fleece only, and on all the ground let there be dew.”

40 And God did so that night; and it was dry on the fleece only, and on all the ground there was dew.

     1) Of all of the tests that Gideon can think of in order that the LORD prove to him that he is indeed the chosen Gideon picks morning dew and fleece? Why doesn't Gideon ask something useful like how many men will be needed to fight, what the weapons were, how big the enemy is, information on the enemy, logistics...anything that would make sense, right? THOSE kinds of questions would prove to be far more useful inasmuch as providing proof is concerned, correct?

12. 7:2-3
The LORD said to Gideon, “The people with you are too many for me to give the Midianites into their hand, lest Israel boast over me, saying, ‘My own hand has saved me.’

Now therefore proclaim in the ears of the people, saying, ‘Whoever is fearful and trembling, let him return home and hurry away from Mount Gilead.’” Then 22,000 of the people returned, and 10,000 remained.

     1) Sooo...is the real reason why God/the LORD allowed some of the inhabitants of the promised land to fight back successfully against the people of Israel because in His heart of hearts He wanted the so-called glory of war for Himself?

     2) Sooo...God/the LORD does NOT want the people of Israel to be strong enough on their own, but just weak enough to where they will always have to ask the bipolar God/LORD for help?

13. 7:5
So he brought the people down to the water. And the LORD said to Gideon, “Every one who laps the water with his tongue, as a dog laps, you shall set by himself. Likewise, every one who kneels down to drink.”

     1) Why didn't God just show which guys were suitable for war and which ones were not instead of wasting time on bullshit games that leave a huge amount of room for error? I mean, don't you think it is possible for a very good soldier to kneel and drink, and don't you think it is possible for a horrible soldier to scoop the water up to his mouth?

14. 7:12
12 And the Midianites and the Amalekites and all the people of the East lay along the valley like locusts in abundance, and their camels were without number, as the sand that is on the seashore in abundance.

     1) Why does God's Word insist on utilizing examples that can be nothing more than exaggeration? When God is talking about the number of locusts and the number of grains of sand on a beach is He trying to impress people with His grand knowledge of things humans would not be very likely to investigate?

     2) There are approximately 800 billion grains of sand in a cubic meter, so how in the hell can these people and their camels number as the grains of sand on a beach, let alone a cubic meter?

15. 8:16
16 And he took the elders of the city, and he took thorns of the wilderness and briers and with them taught the men of Succoth a lesson.

     1) Is this where the mob guys who beat people up to teach them a lesson gleaned their discipline philosophy?

     2) Did the LORD approve of this wretched behavior because the bad guys were being punished?

16. 8:19-20
19 And he said, “They were my brothers, the sons of my mother. As the LORD lives, if you had saved them alive, I would not kill you.”

20 So he said to Jether his firstborn, “Rise and kill them!” But the young man did not draw his sword, for he was afraid, because he was still a young man.

     1) Sooo...what is it with God/the LORD and this never ending cycle of killing, killing again, killing some more, and then for good measure killing even more? 

     2) Sooo...after killing these guys for killing his brothers, can the brothers of the guys he just killed then have a right to come and kill him for killing their brothers who were the sons of their mothers?

     3) Is this the kind of bond that God wanted for fathers and sons? Why in the blazing blue would any good father encourage or coach or press or command their son to kill another human being? Was it okay with God since those being killed were the enemy?

17. 8:27-28
27 And Gideon made an ephod of it and put it in his city, in Ophrah. And all Israel whored after it there, and it became a snare to Gideon and to his family.

28 So Midian was subdued before the people of Israel, and they raised their heads no more. And the land had rest forty years in the days of Gideon.

     1) Sooo...were the Midianites really subdued, like, for good? Are we going to see the Midianites pop up later in the Bible even though verse 28 here clearly says they raised their heads no more?

     2) Why does the land have rest for forty years? Does it have anything to do with the rains causing the flood falling for forty days and nights, or Jesus being tempted in the desert by Satan for forty days and nights? Why does God seemingly like the number forty A LOT?

     3) Did God invent numerology because of His obsession with certain numbers?

18. 8:33-35
33 As soon as Gideon died, the people of Israel turned again and whored after the Baals and made Baal-berith their god.

34 And the people of Israel did not remember the LORD their God, who had delivered them from the hand of all their enemies on every side,

35 and they did not show steadfast love to the family of Jerubbaal (that is, Gideon) in return for all the good that he had done to Israel.

     1) Does God think that addressing His people in a crude manner will help to improve their situation or their disobedience? Has a man ever improved his marriage by calling his wife a bitch, or a wife make her marriage better by calling her husband a mother fucker?

     2) Is it possible that the people of Israel knew full well they were 'forgetting' the LORD, that perhaps they were doing it on purpose in an effort to try to break away from a God who was prone to rages and making promises He just could not keep?

19. 9:23-24
23 And God sent an evil spirit between Abimelech and the leaders of Shechem, and the leaders of Shechem dealt treacherously with Abimelech,

24 that the violence done to the seventy sons of Jerubbaal might come, and their blood be laid on Abimelech their brother, who killed them, and on the men of Shechem, who strengthened his hands to kill his brothers.

     1) Sooo...the treachery did not start until the LORD put it there?

     2) Why is God sending an evil spirit when, since God is already everywhere, He could very well do this seeding treachery thing all on His own?

     3) Why is it that God is supposed to be everywhere but everytime He wants something done He almost always sends someone else to do it? 

20. 11:29-31, 34-35
29 Then the Spirit of the LORD was upon Jephthah, and he passed through Gilead and Manasseh and passed on to Mizpah of Gilead, and from Mizpah of Gilead he passed on to the Ammonites.

30 And Jephthah made a vow to the LORD and said, “If you will give the Ammonites into my hand,

31 then whatever comes out from the doors of my house to meet me when I return in peace from the Ammonites shall be the LORD’s, and I will offer it up for a burnt offering.”

34 Then Jephthah came to his home at Mizpah. And behold, his daughter came out to meet him with tambourines and with dances. She was his only child; besides her he had neither son nor daughter.

35 And as soon as he saw her, he tore his clothes and said, “Alas, my daughter! You have brought me very low, and you have become the cause of great trouble to me. For I have opened my mouth to the LORD, and I cannot take back my vow.”

     1) Sooo...this guy is filled with the mighty Spirit of the Lord but can't even foresee the hideousness of his careless vow?

     2) Don't these verses hint that, sure, the Lord will help you but you WILL pay dearly and very likely in blood?

     3) Why does God like things slaughtered and then burned?










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