Monday, March 15, 2010

Doodlemastery Bible School Part 3: False promises and exaggerated claims

Here it is at last, the product of all my postponed projects and procrastination. And we're only on Chapter 3 of Genesis. Gah... Some quick notes first.

It should be clear to readers which comments I make as legitimate logical and moral claims, and which are just me dicking around with wordplay, etc. If I'm being uber-literal, chances are it's just me poking fun at a confusing document and making inappropriate and lame references to things. However, do keep in mind that many self-proclaimed Christians interpret the Bible literally. So while I'm probably missing the richer literary significance and undertones of the book, I'm also pointing out its inadequacies as a moral guide.

And it's also poorly written.

Also keep in mind that I'm reading this as both a work of fiction and a list of purported historical accounts. Mostly fiction, since no historian would take this seriously and themselves be taken seriously by anyone other than backwards patriarchal conspiracy theorists. When I'm referring to the characters of the Bible, they are just that, characters, not actual people. Just like in The Passion of the Christ. So when I call God a dick, I mean God the character. If the biblical God were to be real, he would be a dick. A dick of infinite, incomprehensible magnitude.

Thank God he doesn't exist.


Oh! And we're in for a treat for this reading, since in this Bible (Douay-Rheims, for those of you who recall) Chapter 3's introductory lines tell us that the reading includes "the promise of a Redeemer". Oh, joy of joys! We're finally going to see how Jesus fits into this misogynistic jumbled cooked-up creation myth. I mean, this most holy creation account.

Now the serpent was more subtle than any of the beasts of the earth which the Lord God had made... (Genesis 3:1)

As Ricky Gervais noted, "In my humble opinion, I think the snake was a mistake."

Really, what is the function of this snake if not to deceive people? Seeing as there's little good in deception during this (fictional) period of time, it seems the only thing this snake can do is be a bastard, since God created him to be a bastard. But then that would make God a bastard too, wouldn't it? Same goes for God creating psychopaths and the violently insane. If you ever get any high-minded ideas about free will and God's benevolence in creation, just remember there are people with neurological disorders that make it medically impossible to make morally good decisions.

Also note that this chapter never states that the serpent is actually the devil. It's heavily implied, I know, but then the punishment that follows for the serpent doesn't make much sense. This chapter also seems to suggest God made the devil a liar deliberately.

... And he said to the woman: Why hath God commanded you, that you should not eat of every tree of paradise?

And the woman answered him, saying:... (Genesis 3:1-2)

"Holy shit, a talking snake, what the fuck??" Kidding, she never seems to question the presence of a talking snake. Maybe it was like a Disney movie and all the other animals could talk? I don't know. But it doesn't seem to matter, since humans at this point appear to have the IQ of a cup of noodles.

By the way, I didn't add those italics. I don't know why they're in the goddamn Bible.

... Of the fruit of the trees that are in paradise we do eat:

But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of paradise, God hath commanded us that we should not eat; and that we should not touch it, lest perhaps we die. (3:2-3)

Well why the hell put the tree there in the first place? What purpose is there in a tree that causes people to die? Or what point is there in arbitrarily punishing people for eating from a tree that's like any other? It's like having a door that's not broken, won't set off an alarm, doesn't lead to a prohibited area, and has no special designation, but still has a sign on it that says "Use Other Door". Just put a fucking wall there!

Consider the obvious fact that Adam and Eve - who, I remind you, represent all of the potential future for humanity - are dumb as bricks, since it's implied that they were just created a day or so ago. They don't even know what lying is, for Christ's sake. And as far as they can tell, each fruit is like every other, and there's no reason for them to think their beloved God would plant a tree there just to trap them into becoming mortal. So for a more apt moral comparison, it's like filling a baby bottle with arsenic and then warning an infant not to drink from that one bottle, which looks the same as the other bottles.

This doesn't bode well for God's reputation as the moral nexus of the universe.

And the serpent said to the woman: No, you shall not die the death. (3:4)

"You shall walk the walk."

For God doth know that in what day soever you shall eat thereof, your eyes shall be opened: and you shall be as Gods, knowing good and evil. (3:5)

I hate to bring this up, but... knowing the difference between good and evil is a good thing. Ignorance isn't virtuous, especially not as far as moral discrepancy is concerned. If you're wearing a blissful smile on your face while you're maiming and killing people... that's fucked up. God's word doesn't really have any input on that. And if you think it does, I'd like to stay as far away from you as possible.

Knowledge = gladness.

And the woman saw that the tree was good to eat, and fair to the eyes, and delightful to behold: (3:6)

"Um... Eve, the... the fruit, you're supposed to go for the fruit. Don't look at the tree like that. Keep your eye on the prize, Eve. Honey? Hello?"

...and she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave to her husband who did eat. (3:6)

So she didn't even have to bother tempting Adam, she just handed the fruit to him and he said "Yes, Dear". Didn't he know it was the forbidden fruit? If he didn't then he was suckered into damnation and God was wrong to judge him, and if he did know then he was a passive moron. Did God not create intelligence yet?

And the eyes of them both were opened: and when they perceived themselves to be naked, they sewed together fig leaves, and made themselves aprons. (3:7)

Okay, Christians, Jews, seriously, stop trying to pass off your prudishness as part of human nature, or from some unseen moral source. Human bodies can be pleasing to the eye. Oftentimes people want sex. We're not all suddenly going to become sex offenders if we admit that sex, even casual sex, can be nice. It's part of who were are. Get used to it.

Come to think of it, Adam and Eve were butt-naked back when they were without sin. And once they knew they had sinned they became ashamed of their nudity. So doesn't this mean that we can only be free from Original Sin if we're naked and not ashamed of it? The message is clear: all Christians must become nudists upon being saved. It's the only way to be sure.

Also, where did they get the thread and know-how to sew those leaves together? And were they really wearing aprons? That means their backsides were completely exposed, butt cheeks flapping in the wind.

Gah. I need goggles to read this thing.

And when they heard the voice of the Lord God walking in paradise at the afternoon air, Adam and his wife hid themselves from the face of the Lord God, amidst the trees of paradise. (3:8)

Oh, so God's voice was walking along in paradise. That makes perfect sense. What the fuck does that mean? Sure I'm being an anal literalist, but why don't you tell me what the correct interpretation is? Did God have a body that was walking? Did he say something? Did Adam and Eve just sense him? What could the writers possibly have been trying to say??

And yeah, I know that God is omnipresent and omniscient, so Adam and Eve are being idiots for trying to hide. But then how does God alarm people like that? Did he just say "OOGA BOOGA, I AM HERE, FLEE BEFORE MY GODLINESS"?

And the Lord God called Adam, and said to him, Where art thou?

And he said: I heard thy voice in paradise and I was afraid because I was naked, and I hid myself. (3:9-10)

Clever dick, that God, asking where Adam was. Adam had not yet learned the first lesson of not being seen: not to stand up.

Gotta sympathize with Adam here, though. I know I'd be afraid if I was naked and out in the open. This is textbook psychology stuff.

And he said to him: And who hath told thee that thou wast naked, but that thou hast eaten of the tree whereof I commanded thee that thou shouldst not eat? (3:11)
"Shouldst"? Quick posthumous tip for Olde English writers: if you can't pronounce it, don't write it. Can you imagine trying to contract the negative form of that word? "Shouldstn't."

And Adam said: The woman, whom though gavest me to be my companion, gave me of the tree, and I did eat. (3:12)

Adam: the world's first rat.

And the Lord God said to the woman: Why hast thou done this? And she answered: The serpent deceived me, and I did eat. (3:13)

Well, the snake asserted something that wasn't true. He didn't really go to great lengths to conceal his intentions. I know it's supposed to be the first lie in the history of creation, but where's the lesson in that? Were the writers afraid that Jews/Christians were so gullible as to believe anything a talking animal tells them? Then again, we are talking about people who take a fair amount of bullshit based on faith. If skepticism were the actual lesson then we'd all be a lot better off. Critical thinking does a clayman good.

We're all claymen, remember? We didn't evolve from goo, you know. God crafted us from clay. So instead of being treated like animals, we're supposed to be treated like... dirt... yeah...

I think you may have heard this before.

And the Lord God said to the serpent: Because thou hast done this thing, thou art cursed among all cattle,... (3:14)

Good thing the snake isn't a cow.

...and beasts of the earth. (3:14)

Damn, spoke too soon.

Upon thy breast shalt thou go, and earth shalt thou eat all the days of thy life. (3:14)

I'm pretty sure snakes don't eat dirt, unless God is assuming snakes keep their mouths wide open as they crawl along the dirt. God is kind of dense, isn't he?

I will put enmities between thee and the woman, and thy seed and her seed: she shall crush thy head, and thou shalt lie in wait for her heel. (3:15)

Hey, go easy on the snake, man. He's only doing what he does best. If you had just given him some legs, spats, and a top hat, he could have been a great entertainer. That would have been much more fulfilling (and awesome) than the cunning you gave him.

Also note the first instance where God creates hostilities where none existed previously. God's love at work, ladies and gentlemen. Just imagine how much suffering could have been alleviated if we were still at peace with snakes. Anti-venom would be obsolete. God must be pushing antidotes for profit.

I'm talking about living life on peaceful terms with snakes. Sometimes I think this book will drive me out of my damn mind.

To the woman also he said: I will multiply thy sorrows, and thy conceptions. In sorrow shalt thou bring forth children, and thou shalt be under thy husband's power, and he shall have dominion over thee. (3:16)

Welcome to Misogyny 101.

About making childbearing painful... Did Eve have a wider pelvis before the Fall, and God shrunk her down a couple sizes? It's like a magical hereditary corset. This would also suggest that C-sections are sinful. Won't all our mothers be thrilled to find out.

Just going to interject an idea of mine, as if it's not what I've already been doing. What would have happened if Adam and Eve didn't have any kids? What if they told God "No, go fuck yourself" and lived the rest of their lives and died childless. That'd put God's panties in a bunch. He went through all this effort to create a universe to set himself up as master of the human race (Why?), and then the first generation just dies out uneventfully. What would he have done? Would he just say "Well, that happened" and start all over again? Would he try creating more humans? What if he did and didn't tell us? That'd be quite a story, I think. God keeps trying to make mortals to rule over, and evolution by natural selection beats him to it. God sounds like the kind of guy who could try over and over for 4 billion years without getting anywhere.

And to Adam he said: Because thou hast hearkened to the voice of thy wife,... (3:17)

Ohhh, so Adam's mistake was listening to his wife! That explains it. Nope, can't see where anyone gets any ideas of patriarchy from the Bible.

I think Adam should have said "Hey come on! The writers didn't even give me a chance to make an argument!" I know I'd be pissed if I were a character in a book that was this poorly written as to skip over a critical piece of dialogue.

...and hast eaten of the tree, whereof I commanded thee that thou shouldst not eat, cursed is the earth in thy work; with labour and toil shalt thou eat thereof all the days of thy life. (3:17)

If hard labour in the field is supposed to be Man's curse, isn't smart agriculture cheating? Why did no one give any explanation once agriculture technology yielded massive surpluses? Shouldn't someone have said that we have to leave our fates up to God? But then, that'd mean a lot of theocrats going hungry. You see if it were a woman trying to use reproductive technology, then it's a different story. We can't have women making decisions about their own lives, there's a God to appease!

Speaking of women and agriculture, since men are supposed to suffer in the fields, what about when women till the earth alongside men? Does God get pissed?

Thorns and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herbs of the earth. (3:18)

Herbs? Do we have to? Can't we stick to fruit and meat? Next thing you know, you'll be forbidding us from eating bacon. But God wouldn't do that. Nope. That would be mighty stupid.

In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread til thou return to the earth,... (3:19)

"And in the sweat of thy back shalt thou eat beef, and in the sweat of thy pant leg shalt thou eat butter..."

...out of which thou wast taken, and into dust thou shalt return. (3:19)

See? We're all claymen. Or dustmen. Whatever.

And Adam called the name of his wife Eve: because she was the mother of all the living. (3:20)

So Eve didn't have a name at this point? Did Adam just call her "woman" up until then? It seems so, since he's said a grand total of two things in his entire existence so far.

And I presume she's mother of all living humans, rather than other animals. And not the dead, fuck 'em.

And the Lord God made for Adam and his wife garments of skins, and clothed them. (3:21)

It's good that they glanced over the part where God makes the animals come apart at the seams. I don't think we needed to see that.

And he said: Behold Adam is become as one of us, knowing good and evil: now, therefore, lest perhaps he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever. (3:22)

What? What?? Wait, what?! They hadn't eaten from the tree of life yet?! Why?? They were allowed to before, and you didn't mention it? God is a cheating, selfish bastard. That means humans don't die because of Original Sin, it's just because God is a prick who didn't let them eat from the Immortality Tree. Then why create the tree in the first place??

And as for the extremely abstract Christian claim that "us" in this passage refers to the Trinity (three persons in one god and all that nonsensical nonsense), keep in mind there are angels that God appears to talk with routinely, including the devil. Or maybe he's just a schizophrenic.

And the Lord God sent him out of the paradise of pleasure, to till the earth from which he was taken. (3:23)


And he cast out Adam; and placed before the paradise of pleasure Cherubims, and a flaming sword, turning every way, to keep the way of the tree of life. (3:24)

Isn't it great proof for the Bible that we can't find Eden anymore? It must be under a spell, like Hogwarts. If one can claim that Eden exists somewhere, then I'm going to find a magical means of breaking in. You'd think someone would try by now, or at least that they'd mention such attempts in the Bible. Can't you imagine it, people trying to break into Eden, The Great Escape style? Just imagine how many tunnels Adam and his descendants must have dug.

The question that should be on all of our minds at this point is this: Where is the "promise of a Redeemer"? That's right! Abso-fucking-lutely nowhere. God just said "You fucked up, grab your shit and get the fuck out." The real point of this chapter is this: Don't piss off your boss.

This is supposed to be the epic story that is the prelude to the salvation of mankind. Let that sink in when doing further biblical readings. I expect better storytelling from The Office than I do here. This tale is flat, unsympathetic, and with no meaningful metaphors. Why this story? Why this creation story? There are better ways to communicate the Fall of Mankind than eating a piece of fucking fruit. Literally interpreted, the story sucks. Figuratively interpreted, the story blows.

So do you understand now why God needed to send his beloved Son to bloody himself for our own good? I don't. But hey, we're just reading it from beginning to end, so that we're always thinking in context, right? At some point it'll all make sense, right?

After all, we've just started page 4. Only 1,228 pages to go...