Category Archives: Judaism

The Eternal Fire

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I was raised contrary to many children raised within religion in that my parents would discuss sex openly.  We would discuss how good sex felt, in fact, a comparison that stands out from the discussion was to a much better feeling of releasing a sneeze.

We would talk about contraception.  We would talk about vaginas and penises.  We would talk about physical attraction, including no preconceived notion that we would be attracted to the opposite sex.

They weren’t gross or damaging to us.  They wouldn’t discuss their particular sex life, and perform acts in front of us, other than kissing, which let’s face it folks, isn’t a vulgar sex act.

Because of this normalization of sex in my thoughts, I also don’t get grossed out at the thought of parents having sex.

We were also taught that masturbation was great.  It was necessary.  It provided a healthy ‘out’ for our urges.

Along with all of that, we were also taught that the best prevention of disease or pregnancy was abstinence.  Now, this is important though… it was simply taught as the best not the only.

All that said, I did not wait until I was married.  My first intercourse experience was at 17 years of age.  Sure enough, it felt really good.  I guess you could say it was a hell of a thing.

So, to the meat and potatoes of this post, sorry for the long intro…

Even as Sodom and Gomorrha, and the cities about them in like manner, giving themselves over to fornication, and going after strange flesh, are set forth for an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire. – Jude 1:7

If you desire to wait for marriage before having intercourse, that’s fine.  When you decide to judge others for premarital sex, that’s when it’s an issue.

Let me ask all the married religious people a question.  Was it really worth the wait?  Or perhaps it was painful, uncomfortable, and messy (as first time sex is for many)?

Let me ask the religious people that have been married more than once another question.  Was sex with the second partner worse?  Better?  Same?  Honestly, I would likely guess it was better, but I’m sure that’s up for debate and not the point of this dissertation.  I’d bet that just because you’d had sex before, it wasn’t worse.

My point is that the sex drive is necessary for the survival of a species and, with small percentage of exception (asexuals), we all experience it.  It’s really interesting that it sets in at its most powerful level during puberty.  A time when most of the religious would push the hardest to prevent an individual from having sex.  Don’t take my point as I support underage sex, I really don’t.  I have 2 children, both below the age of consent, and in the full throws of puberty, and we teach similarly to my parents.  Abstinence is best, but condoms and other protections if the urge is too great.

Why, if we are created by a deity, would we have such a powerful drive to create new life before we were married?  I know some will say “mysterious ways”, and others will say “we are being tested”.  I just don’t buy those answers.  Perhaps, just perhaps, we evolved to procreate at the most likely to be successful point in our short lives.  It fits.  Evolution has no real care for ’emotional maturity’.

Perhaps it’s time for people to view sex with a healthier attitude.  The bible certainly doesn’t provide a healthy attitude, as seen in the quote above, or the following:

For this ye know, that no whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. – Ephesians 5:5

“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart. – Matthew 5:27-28

And if a man entice a maid that is not betrothed, and lie with her, he shall surely endow her to be his wife. If her father utterly refuse to give her unto him, he shall pay money according to the dowry of virgins. – Exodus 22:16-17

These seem pretty dire.  No heaven, mental adultery, buying your way out of premarital sex?  This is an unhealthy look at sex.  This creates paranoia.  Teaching these things to children is abuse.

Let’s get past this.  Let’s start a healthy dialog about sex.  Let’s help prevent disease and teen pregnancy.  Hammering your children with abstinence only sexual education has demonstrably the opposite result.

Religion, the blind taste test.

Pascal’s wager, which, in its simplified form is essentially, why not be a believer, to hedge your bets that non-belief can lead to consequences in the afterlife.  The biggest argument against this dilemma is, “what if you choose the wrong belief?”

There are many reasons people believe in a specific religion, among them are those in the lack of choice category (raised in it, state sanctioned religion, etc.), and those that are have/had a choice (study, through proselytizing, etc.).  For those in the first category, it is especially difficult for them to see any other belief as a valid religion, and for those in the second category, either it’s a situation of ‘right place at the right time’, or they have studied a set of choices and decided that one fits their position better than others.

This brings me to the point, or “the blind taste test.”  There is a similarity to blind taste tests done by companies like coke or pepsi.  In the case of being raised in a religion, you more often than not, don’t know better, nothing else has been tried.  In the case of choice, you’ve at least decided between more than one choice.  It’s still a blind taste test though, since, if for the sake of argument there is a god who is judging based on you being the right kind of believer, you might have chosen incorrectly.  And in this case, you have to wait all the way until the end to find out if your choice was the better choice.

I hear all sorts of reasons from believers as to why their choice is the correct one.  Nearly 100% of the reasons go back to doctrine (Bible, Koran, Torah, Book of Mormon, etc.) as their proof, yet those using the same texts, get a different taste test result, as an example Catholics and Baptists.  In fact, current estimates of different Christian religions are estimated in the range of 43,000.  In the case of Christian religious exclusivism, these are poor odds, even for Vegas.

Even if we just separate it down into the major players (Christianity, Judaism, Hinduism, Buddhism, and Islam), you’re looking at 5 choices, which isn’t bad odds in Vegas, but when betting your afterlife, do you really want to get stuck with a 1 in 5 chance of consequences?  Based on current numbers, if the correct choice isn’t Christianity, then at least 31.5% of people are destined for afterlife consequences.

Are you sure your choice is correct?  Sure enough to bet your afterlife?

Oh well, at least the coke vs. pepsi taste test isn’t eternal.

Bible Weirdness I

(There are a great many “an atheist reads The Bible” kind of blogs, and this won’t become one of those, but when I don’t have something specific to write, I may try to find inspiration in rewriting some of the lesser known and more interesting Bible passages.)

Genesis 15.

Abram (not yet Abraham) has a vision of God, and asks The Lord, “Can you do anything for me?  I’ve not had any children, and so, when I die, the servant boy is gonna get all my stuff.  I don’t want him to have all my stuff.”

And God said to Abram, “Don’t worry.  You’ll have a son.  And lots of descendants.  Give them your stuff.  Plus, see this land?  It’s yours!”

Abram thanks God, “Gee.  That’s awesome.  But…how do I know it’s mine?”

“Well, Mr. Question-pants, if you want to know, go get a three-year-old cow, a three-year-old goat, a three-year-old ram, a turtledove, and a pigeon.”

And Abram did so, but neither the effort in getting all of those animals, nor the time it might have taken to do so, was worth writing about in the sacred tome.

And The LORD commanded, “OK, now, cut the mammals in half, and line them up.  Do not, DO NOT, cut the birds in half!  That would be silly.  Then, later, when you fall asleep, I’ll come tell you how you’ll know this land is yours, in a dream.”

And, though The Bible doesn’t say, Abram probably looked into his current vision of God and wondered, “How is a dream going to be different from this vision?  Couldn’t he just tell me now?”  But, knowing God’s reputation for smiting back-talkers, Abram kepteth his mouth shut.

So, Abram waited to fall asleep so that God could come talk to him, again, in a slightly different way.  And Abram had to scare off some birds who wanted to eat God’s dead-animal based dream-catcher.

Then Abram fell asleep.  And God came back as a scary shadow dream.  And God told Abram that he would die happy and prosperous, but that his descendants would suffer a good long while, but then would be fine again.  And then God pulled out an atlas and showed Abram the boundaries of his descendants future land.