Showing posts with label Bible study. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Bible study. Show all posts

Saturday, August 4, 2018

Is the first principle of UU biblical?

When you consider that both Unitarianism and Universalism were conceived in Christianity, you might wonder whatever happened to the Bible in Unitarian Universalism?

Christianity and the bible along with it, unfortunately, has become marginalized and in some UU congregations, disappeared. It's a shame and a mistake. Western Civilization, like it or not, believe it or not, is based on biblical understandings and teachings.

The bible has been sorely abused and misused by some so called Christian denominations and churches and it has been beautifully used and uplifted in others. Bible teachings are a part of our secular life in Western Civilization and have been used to advantage in human justice improvements such as by Martin Luther King, Jr. in the campaign for civil rights for African Americans.

Uses of the Christian bible in UU sermons often add an element of inspiration, uplift, and recognition in the congregation.

Would not bible study be an invigorating activity in UU churches?

What does the bible teach that is foundational to UU principles?

The bible teaches us in Genesis 1:26:

"God created humankind in God's image. In the image of God did God create human beings: male and female God created them.

and in Genesis 30 it is written "And God looked over everything that God had made, and it was good, so very good!"

The first principle of Unitarian Universalism is that we covenant together to affirm and promote the inherent worth and dignity of every person. Where do UUs think that inherent worth and dignity comes from?

Human worth and dignity comes from its origin, from its source. UUs say it is "inherent." It just is. It is based on creation itself.

Unfortunately, our egos have separated us from creation. Some UUs think they are the authors of their own existence, but this is just silly. On the path of the spirit we come to realize that we are held lovingly in the hands of creation. It says so in the bible.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Bible Study - Fun and games with the 10 Plagues of Exodus

"Search 'Ten Plagues' on the Internet. The first site that comes up contians a series of suggestions for 'fun activities' connected with the plagues. For example, the plague of blood might be represented by putting red food coloring in water glasees, the bathroom sinks, even the dog's water bowl. Cut out frogs from green construction paper ("bend the legs to make the frogs look as if they are jumping"), and put them everywhere - in the drawers, the cereal boxes, the shower. White dots punched from paper and Scotch-taped to the skin will eventually approximate the itching and irritation of lice. Do the same with red dots, and you've got boils. Putting ice cubes around the house will remind you of hail. Cover the windows and turn out the lights and presto! the plague of darkness. I'm hardly beathing as I scroll down to find out how we will reenact the killing of the firstborn. The answer, it seems, is obvious. Red ribbon taked to the font door will warn the avenging angel to move past without stopping. 'When the neighors - who doubtless will be curious by now - ask what the ribbon is for, you can witness to them!'

Francine Prose, Exodus, Killing The Buddha p.35-36

Of course now a days, you could find a video game which would create a virtual community in which you can kill the first born of the neighbors and have a voice over of God laughing.

People worry now a days about rating movies, TV, video games, and songs PG or PG-13 but there is nothing more pornographic and violent than the Talmud, the Old Testament, of the Bible.

Is it any wonder that the world is in the mess it is with this passing for the revealed word of God and "sacred" scripture?

Unitarian Universalists who are on the free and responsible search for truth and meaning have got to be taken back by the violence, the malicious, sadistic torture which God perpetrates on the recalcitrant Egyptians. Next to God's plagues, waterboarding looks like a day in the park. Dick Cheney and the guy's at the CIA are nothing compared to the God of the Israelites.

Encouraging children to emulate a sadistic God in playing in these "fun activities" seems somehow blasphemous to the God I believe in. This is a real disservice to the idea of the Brotherhood of Man and the oneness of all of God's creation.

As Unitarian Universalists we value the interdependent web of all existence which seems to be more than the God of Exodus does.

This is article #10 in a series on Bible Study.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Bible Study - God of Exodus or Spirit Of Life?

"It is genocide without apology. And at the end of this dire prophecy comes the most important sentence of all, the real beginning of what the rest of Exodus will so ferociously and zealously continue: the demarcation of difference, the establishment of a separation between Israel and the other peoples and tribes, the forging of an identity, the birth of a nation, and all the exclusiveness that it will require: 'But against any of the children of Israel shall not a dog move his tongue, against man or beast; that ye may know how the Lord doth put a difference between the Egyptians and Israel.'"

Exodus, Francine Prose, in Killing The Buddha edited by Peter Manseau and Jeff Sharlet

Most of the problems in the world today, on the planet Earth, is the claim of exclusiveness by various churches, nations, races, etc. The claim that we are saved but you are condemned is heard around the planet. And the authority for such claims? It's right there in the Bible.

God has favorites. God loves some of His children more than others. Some He will protect and support as long as they obey Him and others He will torment and kill.

Quite a God, huh?

And this is the time of year, with Passover coming, when we are reminded again of such nonsense. The conflict between the Israelis and the Palestinians and by proxy the Middle East and the West, the Muslim and the Christian, could well spell, with the availability of nuclear weapons, the end of human life as we know it.

Do you suppose this is what God had in mind? Did God realize that His playing favorites and making some of His human creatures special that it would create animosity, hatred, conflict, leading to the eliminationist ideology that people not like us deserve to die?

Unitarian Universalists certainly don't believe in such a God and His values. Unitarian Universalists believe in the inherent worth and dignity of every person regardless of your tribe, race, nationality, religion. Unitarian Universalists believe in the acceptance of one another and the encouragement in the spiritual growth of that person on whatever path he/she is on. Unitarian Universalists believe in justice, equity, and above all else, compassion in human relations. Unitarian Universalists believe in peace, liberty, and justice for all.

I think it is accurate to say that Unitarian Universalists don't believe in the God of Exodus. The God of Exodus doesn't seem to be a God at all but rather a tribal idol who is worshiped because of the promises which the idol has made for the people's obedience.

Exodus, taken literally, is a very toxic mythic story. It gives one segment of humanity special status to engage in bellicose behavior with other segments of society. We need a story which will help all people work together in collaboration and mutual benefit. The story of Exodus is about oppression and liberation and misses the story about cooperation for mutual benefit.

Somewhere there has to be a better God than the one in Exodus. I am much more comfortable with the Spirit Of Life which Unitarian Universalists have come to know and love.

This is article #9 in a series on Bible Study.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Bible Study - Exodus - Killing All The Babies

On 02/14/10 I posted an article on Exodus in which I commented that I never taught my 9 children the vengeful, tribal, blood lust that is taught in Exodus, and yet I said that it is endemic in our culture, unfortunately.

I was reading Timothy Beal's new book entitled Biblical Literacy: The Essential Bible Stories Everyone Needs To Know, and I ran across this quote which he cites from Charlotte Bronte, in her book, Jane Eyre :

"My hopes were all dead - struck with a subtle doom, such as, in one night, fell on all the first-born in the land of Egypt. I looked on my cherished wishes, yesterday so blooding and glowing: they lay stark, chill, livid corpses that could never revive."

Dashed wishes, hopes, and dreams, compared to dead babies??

I don't know what to make of Jane's narcissistic reference to all the first born children of Egypt being killed by God in retaliation for Pharoah's enslavement of His favorite tribe.

It seems appallingly ridiculous like all the children which the United States has killed in Hiroshima, Nagasaki, Viet Nam, Iraq, Afghanistan, and excused as "collateral damage".

Does God justify His killing of all the first born children in Egypt as "collateral damage?"

No wonder the United States can behave in such unjust and callous ways when its citizens for the most part claim to be Jews and Christians who follow this God who not only behaves in this way but seems so righteous in doing so.

At any rate, the comparison of Jane Eyre's hopes, and dreams, and aspirations to all the dead children of Egypt strikes me as banally evil.

This is article #8 in a series on bible study.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Bible study - the horror of Exodus

"And the brutality. From the start, Exodus involves a series of bloodbaths - outbreaks of state-sponsored and divinely ordained carnage directed principally at children."

"Even children understand that Exodus is only a movie, that those are actors, and not real people, movie deaths, not real ones. And as children, we learn from the movies that the deaths of our enemies are good deaths, to be celebrated and cheered."

Francine Prose, Exodus, p. 33, Killing the Buddha by Peter Manseau and Jeff Sharlet

As I read the bible, I am more and more appalled and understand better and better why the world is as screwed up as it is. We as humans have held as sacred, and the revealed word of some God up in heaven some pretty dastardly myths.

It is hard to see how they have served us well other than to normalize and sanction atrocity after atrocity that tribes of humans committ against other tribes.

I didn't teach this stuff to my 9 children, but it is endemic in the culture and can't be avoided. It is in the paper every day, and the movies and the blood lust to torture and kill enemies runs very deep in our brains. It is extremely difficult if not impossible to overcome in spite of what Jesus and Buddha taught.

Us Unitarian Universalists no longer look upon the Old Testament as the revealed Word of God, or sacred scripture. Our values are quite different, even the opposite of what the Old Testament of the Bible teaches. We say that we believe in the inherent worth and dignity of every person something which Exodus clearly does not teach.

We, UUs, say we believe in justice, equity, and compassion in human relations, but the slaughter of children doesn't seem to fit with this value. I could go on, but you, dear reader, get the point.

Exodus is a liberation story but one that teaches dysfunctional values of retaliation, vengeance, torture, and murder as justified human activities. I think it may be time for us to speak up as inhabitants of planet earth and point out that Exodus is no longer a morality tale which current inhabitants of Terra Firma in the third millennium should emulate.

This is article #7 in a series on Bible Study.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Bible Study - The God of Exodus

"From the start, Exodus involves a series of bloodbaths - outbreaks of state-sponsored and divinely ordained carnage directed principally at children. It is a story of liberation in which whole populations are oppressed, enslaved, tormented, nearly wiped out. The victims, with the exception of the soldiers drowned in the Red Sea, are almost entirely civilians."

Exodus by Francine Prose in Killing the Buddha by Peter Manseau and Jeff Sharlet

As a good Roman Catholic boy I heard and read the old Testament during the first reading of the Mass, and heard and read the Epistles during the second reading, and then heard the Gospel from the New Testament in the third reading. In the liturgy of the Catholic Mass this is known as the Liturgy of the Word. At age 64,I am somewhat ashamed to admit that I have never read the whole Bible cover to cover. I have to tell you that so far I am shocked and chagrined. This God of the Old Testament is not a nice guy at all. He kills children and afflicts people with terrible suffering out of vindictiveness. No wonder we have the problems in the world that we do with people being brainwashed into thinking that this is who God is.

Exodus is worse that any sadistic and brutal film that Mel Gibson could dream up. What kind of God wantonly kills innocent people and children?

Of course the story of Exodus is played out every year in the celebration of Passover. It is a very dysfunctional story that sanctions genocide, oppression, and cruelty of all sorts.

As I said about Genesis, this is not a book for kids. It is too violent, gratuitously violent. And frankly, I don't like this God any more than I like Hitler, Idi Amin, Pol Pot, Stalin, and the leaders of the United States who have engaged in wholesale exploitation and killing of civilian populations.

No wonder, humanity has not transformed itself when this kind of religious myth is what informs its consciousness and world view.

Exodus does have its appeal as the arch typical conflict between the oppressor and the oppressed which leads to struggle and "freedom". The cost of "freedom" though is framed as being death, destruction, mayhem, rationalized and justified as teaching the oppressor a lesson. What the lesson is, is simply that might makes right, and you fuck with me and I'll fuck with you until you finally give up fucking with me or we kill each other in the process. It seems that the need to be right exceeds any sense of compassion, mercy, justice, or good sense.

As a template for human activity, Exodus has provided a most dysfunctional script. The behavior of the God described and the people manipulated by that deity is not anything positive to be emulated in this day and age, and yet you see this drama continued to be acted out, encouraged, sanctioned, and justified by religious and political leaders every day of the week.

God's splitting of humanity into His special people and the rest of us schleps has led, over the last 2500 years, to a narcissistic sense of entitlement which has caused enmity between peoples leading to disastrous results up to and including the holocaust in which 6 million people were killed.

This God of Exodus is certainly not a Unitarian Universalist. He does not believe in the inherent worth and dignity of every human being. In fact He plays favorites and torments and kills people.

This God of Exodus does not practice justice, compassion and equity in human relations. He seems to be a willful God who wants His way and if he doesn't get it He makes people miserable until they are coerced into compliance.

This God of Exodus does not believe in the free and responsible search for truth and meaning but rather in very autocratic and patriarchal terms essentially says "My way or the highway." "Don't dare believe anything other than what I tell you to believe or I will kill you."

This God of Exodus does not believe in democratic process or the right of conscience. He is a jealous God who is calling the shots and demands obedience or else people are eliminated.

This God of Exodus has no respect for the interdependent web of existence but manipulates Nature to serve His purposes in coercing human beings.

Some people believe this book of the Bible is the revealed and sacred word of God. It is this belief which has led to such dysfunctional and destructive behavior in the world.

Karen Armstrong has written her book, The History Of God, in which she traces the history of the human anthropomorphizing of God. It would be nice if humanity moved beyond this particular projection. This God of Exodus does not serve humanity well. When and how will we ever grow beyond it? Unitarian Universalism points the way with its principles.

When John Buehrens, former UUA president, would ask atheists what God it was that they don't believe in, I would hope that they would answer, at least in part, the God of Exodus.

This is article #6 in a series on Bible Study.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Bible Study - How did Cain and Able have kids?

Video lasts 1:40

I didn't see an exhibit on this at the Creation Museum in Petersburg, Kentucky.

It probably was incest, I would guess, wouldn't you?

You've heard the old saying, "Vice is nice, but incest is best."

You would think the Creation Museum being in Kentucky and all, that those folks down there would know the answer. The good Father is probably an Irish Catholic from Boston so he hasn't a clue to what the right answer is. Obviously, he is tongue tied, but he does a fairly good job B.S. ing and he is cute and charming isn't he?

This is article #5 in a series on Bible Study.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Bible study - How's the fruit?

I have been thinking more about Adam and Eve's alledged "sin", the so called "original sin", the one we all are cursed with. I don't think it was a sin at all. I think God wanted Adam and Eve to do what they did. I think the story sets the God of the story up as both the Good cop and the Bad cop, but My God doesn't operate this way.

Here's my way of thinking.

If God didn't want Adam and Eve to eat from the tree of good and evil why did He even put it in the garden to begin with? God created the Heavens and the Earth and then He created Adam and Eve and then He created a beautiful garden for them to live in where they had every thing they needed, but then God places in the garden a tree of good and evil and points it out to them like a seductress and tells them about it and not to eat from it. Isn't that like pointing the cookie jar out to a two year old who hasn't seen it before and then telling the kid that she can't have a cookie now that the parent has brought it to the kid's attention. What kind of manipulative and sadistic nonsense is that, unless God really wanted them to eat from the tree of good and evil and I think God did.


Because as I was taught in Religious Ed from the Baltimore Catechism back in the 50s that "God created us to know, love, and serve Him." In order to do that God had to give the humans He created free will. Love out of obligation, responsibility, gratitude is not real love. True love is unconditional. True love loves just because it wants to not because it is conditioned by obligation, responsibility, or gratitude. So God has put Herself in a Catch-22. If She is to create a loving creature, then She has to give that creature free will. And free will requires that the being with free will is conscious, that that being knows what it is doing. That beings thoughts, feelings, behavior can't be based on instinct, can't come just naturally, it has to be the product of awareness so that it has intentionality or it isn't true love.

So, God, in the Garden of Eden tricked Adam and Eve into becoming self-conscious by using Reverse Psychology like a parent or a teacher might do with a young child. You tell the child not to do the very thing that you are hoping that the child will do.

Self-consciousness is a great blessing as it brings great joy and freedom, but on the other hand it also can be a curse and bring much pain and suffering. I love this God which leaves it up to us to decide who we want to be, what we want to do, who we want to become. God created a creature She respects and has given creative power to. That's quite a gift. God has created us to be God-like.

God is tricky if you believe the story of Genesis. He loves His creatures and He hates His creatures. He blesses them and He kills them. The God of Genesis is like a war lord who dominates and oppresses with His will and if His will is not followed He smites and kills those who would oppose His Will. At the same time, He gave us that capability all along, or did we steal it from Him? Have we like in the myth of Prometheus stolen not fire but the creative power of God? Perhaps it is we humans who live in guilt and fear for having stolen God's power of creativity and yet God made it possible for us to steal it all along and even in a paradoxical way pointed it out to us telling us we shouldn't take it.

But we did, and here we are trying to get back to God, to the At-one-ment with the universe that we enjoyed naturally in the Garden before our ancestors ate the fruit from the tree of Good and Evil.

I love the greeting, "Hey, how are you? What do you know?"

"What do you know?" You, too, have been blessed or cursed with self-consciousness and what do you know about your soul and its relationship with the God of the Universe? Do you need to eat some more fruit from the Tree Of Good and Evil or have you had enough?

My God wants us to know and the only way She could get us to give up our cozy enmeshment in the Garden of Eden was to get us to eat from the Tree of Good and Evil and since we did that and became self-conscious, humanity has never been the same. We have been cursed with a creative power that we don't know what to do with and don't know how to manange atomic energy, the power of reproduction, the atmosphere on our planet, the relationships with one another. God gave it to us when God put the Tree of Good and Evil into the garden. It has been like pointing out that whole jar of cookies to a two year old.

Do you think that someday we will learn how to manage our self-consciousness in a way that recreates the Garden of Eden that God gave us to begin with? Buddha claimed that he had done it. Jesus not only said that He had done it, but that we all can do it too if only we have more faith and love. Humans seem to be low on faith and love, but I believe that we are slowly finding our way back home to God as individuals, as partnerships, as communities, and as the whole human family. God knows that we have a ways to go yet.

The story of Genesis is a tricky one. It is not what it seems. It certainly can't be taken literally, but as allegory it is outstanding.

Well, I am at the end of this article and I am going to go get me some more fruit.

This is article #4 in a series on Bible Study.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Bible study - A Will above mine

"The knowledge of a Will above mine? I couldn't say when that particular awareness first announced itself - I only know He was there early, my God, a personality outside what people told me, beyond religion and the usual prayers."

A.L. Kennedy, "Genesis", in Killing The Buddha by Peter Manseau and Jeff Sharlett

John Buehrens the former President of the UUA writes that when people say they don't believe in God he likes to ask them which God it is that they don't believe in.

Ha, ha, ha.

Great line isn't it?

And there is the old saying from World War I I believe that there are no atheists in fox holes.

Ha, ha, ha.

Another great line isn't it?

In Alcoholic Anonymous, the grandfather of all 12 step programs, the steps to recovery include the admission that one's life is unmanageable, and the need to turn one's life over to a Higher Power whatever you conceive that Higher Power to be. Those in the know opine that it is this surrender that is the miracle of AA. It is in this surrender that the program works and people begin to heal their lives.

Adam and Eve eat of the fruit of the tree of Good and Evil and they become aware that they are naked. Self consciousness arises. They are no longer one with Nature but separate from Her. God recognizing this separation says "What in Hell have you done!!!???"

And it has been downhill ever since. Or maybe uphill.

It seems that human beings want to get back again into God's good graces. Human beings want to go back home to the Garden of Eden to the lack of awareness which they once enjoyed.

"Ignorance is bliss" so they say.

Ha, ha, ha.

And trying to dull our awareness especially when it is painful to us we use alcohol, drugs, gambling, sex, work, food, TV, Internet, shopping, and suicide.

Awareness can be very painful and it can cause much suffering. Better to be ignorant or anesthetized.

Some have found a way of sitting with their awareness and just watching it much as they imagine God must do. And it is in sitting with their awareness and watching it that brings them back to God. It worked for Buddha, and it seems to have worked for Jesus who spoke as if He was one with His Father.

Adam and Eve were not bad. Sin is not being bad. Sin is separating oneself from God, from one's Higher Power. It is in this separation that we experience Hell and we long for Cosmic Consciousness but don't know how to get there.

Genesis as a diagnostic analysis in symbolic and metaphorical words is pretty good. But as a treatment plan, it offers little but description of murder, rape, deceit, attack, and the idea that some sort of God is around somewhere who might be occasionally interested in what His creatures are up to.

The God of Genesis is a Patriarchal figure if there ever was one who is an anthropomorphic projection of the peoples who conjured Him up. Is God really like this? Sometimes in someways, but the God described in Genesis is only the tip of the iceberg and is more a figment of the human imagination than anything that is the ground of our being and the sorce of the Universe.

A.L. Kennedy has it right though when she describes her intuition that her navel is not the center of the universe and there is something, a Will she calls it, "above mine."

If you think you know what that is you are very mistaken, but to be aware that there is something that you can't explain, that is an awesome mystery, is the basis for a spiritual life full of reverence, faith, mystery, and joy.

At this point in my life at the age of 64 I don't think I am ready to die. I still have some things to do in my alloted time on earth, but I am curious about what, if anything, awaits me. Will there be answers to my existential questions or nothing? I don't remember anything before I was born, and there maybe nothing after my death. I don't and can't know the answers to these questions here on earth, and whether I will be enlightened upon death remains to be seen, but I can tell you that the journey here has been one heck of a ride.

This is article #3 in a series on Bible Study.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Bible study - The myth of your creation

I love A.L. Kennedy's essay on Genesis in the book Killing the Buddha edited by Peter Manseau and Jeff Sharlet.

Kennedy writes, "...I was conceived in Australia, then born in Scotland at 3:57 A.M. on October 22, 1965 A.D. These are facts that I take on faith - I can't remember anything about them."

Okay, I think I was conceived at Fr. Bragg, North Carolina and was born in Bath, NY on 12/25/45 or so I have been told. Everybody says I was born on the same day of the year as Jesus. Do you think this is true? If so, what does it mean?

Kennedy writes further:

"We can't fix a date for the opening of time. According to James Ussher, once archbishop of Amargh, God began to create our heavens and our earth and everything herein on the evening before October 23, 4004 B.C......The Eastern Orthodox Church didn't specify a day but set the year of creation at 5508 B.C., while ancient Syrian Christians were sure it was 5490 B.C. A variety of the faithful of many religions have made a variety of other calculations, in cyclical and linear time, in order to pinpoint the birth of everything. Modern physicists are less precise-they propose a moment of singular significance, expanding from an infinite temperature and into potential life somewhere between 10 and 20 billions ago."

Now, I've visited the Creation Museum in Petersburg, Kentucky 2 years ago and I saw the dinosaurs roam with the human beings, so I got to tell you I am plenty confused about what and whom to believe about the origins of Homo Sapiens and Terra Firma.

Having read Genesis I think it is a great and awesome story which is totally symbolic and metaphorical like any great myth. Why anyone would believe and want to teach people that it is literally true and that God created the earth and life in 6 days makes me feel sorry for their poverty of thought and imagination. I want to tell them that you can't pin God down. God works in mysterious ways. God gives us the brains that we have so that we can puzzle out how the world works and it wasn't created in 6 days as we know them that is for sure.

How it all works we have to take on faith as much as we take on faith the date of our conception and birth. We have no conscious memory of these events but here we are in the flesh so we can guess that something along the lines of what we have been told are probably reasonably accurate.

Whatever your favorite creation story, I hope and wish that it empowers you, excites you, fills you with wonder and amazement at this precious thing we enjoy called life. The gift of the wonderful creation story of Genesis is not it's literal truth but the mystery, awe, and wonderment that it inspires. Is the myth of the creation of the world any different really than the myth of our birth since we weren't there to consciously verify any of the facts of the situation that we have been told?

What have you been told about your conception and birth? How much is true and how much is hyperbole and family myth? Since there is no way usually to know for sure what creation story do you tell yourself about your birth? Were you wanted? Were you planned? Were Mom and Dad deeply in love and wanted to conceive you or were you a "mistake" or even worse, an upsetting event in their lives? Were there other children born to your parents and where do you fit into their years of fertility and creation? Most birth stories from a family perspective, if the truth were known, are messy and dysfunctional. People are rarely conceived and given birth to in a story book fashion. Cain killed his brother, did any of your siblings want to kill you? Did you want to kill any of your siblings? Abraham claims that God told him to kill Issacc and plenty of parents these days kill their own children voluntarily in abortion. I don't know whether they believe that God is telling them to do this or not. Maybe? I know most women who have abortions struggle with the decision. Could you have been an abortion and not be here to even ask the question?

This bible study raises many questions and the most basic of course is why was I born? Why were we created? How were we created? For what purpose?

"Jesus loves me this I know for the Bible tells me so..." so goes the Sunday school children's hymn. Not all people believe this, probably not most Unitarian Universalists. Does the Universe love you? Is life a blessing or a curse? As a Psychiatric Social Worker I have known hundreds of people over my 41 year career who believed that life was a curse and killed themselves and in some instances other people.

While Genesis describes a creation story it also describes a lot of anti-creation and death dealing from Cain killing Able, to Abraham being willing to kill Issacc, to Joseph's brothers abandoning him in a pit to die, etc.

Makes you wonder what kind of a creator God these early people imagined. Even more I wonder about the creationists in Petersburg, Kentucky who teach that the creation story should be taken literally. If these creationists are right, Humankind is in big trouble.

This is article #2 in a series on Bible Study.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Bible study - Beware of your family

Dear readers of UU A Way of life:

It may seem strange to some Unitarian Universalists that this blog has begun a bible study, but it is what it is and here it is. I hope you will read along and comment. It probably will take a year or more to get through it so fasten you seat belt, bring along your drinks and cheese doodles because this whole trip will be long. However, it will be fun, scary, adventuresome, and exciting. I hope it will be worth the trip.

I started at the beginning in Genesis and it is quite a book. I highly recommend it. It's certainly better than the crap on TV and in the movie theaters.

There are so many great stories in Genesis that it is hard to know where to begin the study: is it Cain killing Abel, or Noah and his big boat full of animals, or Joseph and his multi-colored coat who gets left in the pit, or Lot's daughters who get him drunk so they can screw him (yet you read that right, there's actually a story of females raping a male right in the first book of the Bible), or Onan spilling his seed on the ground which gave rise to Onanism, the sin of masturbation. I don't know if the kids should be reading Genesis. It certainly is R-rated if not XXX. It depicts murder and mahem at its wildest and some would say best.

But one of the biggest take aways is that you are mainly at risk from your own family. Families in Genesis are treacherous. They kill, rape, injure, steal, are unfaithful, lie, trick and belittle each other.

The main theme of Genesis is that family life is dangerous and hell on earth. In reading Genesis, I wonder where the religious right gets their ideas of "family values" because the families of the Patriarchs were not nice. Today they would be called "dysfunctional".

If Genesis has anything to teach modern generations, it is how not to be. Out of all of it, the most compelling story beyond Lot's daughters raping him is the story of Abraham who hears voices to kill his own son Issac. Genesis has us believing for awhile that killing one's own children is God's will. Now I must admit that I have had times when I thought this too. Thank goodness I didn't act on it, but it was close. I had the freakin altar built and everything.

In our modern age you read periodically how a parent has killed the parent's children, and sometimes the other spouse, and then oneself. Such behavior, while appalling in contemporary times, is very biblical.

People read Genesis for the same reason we like Jerry Springer. We like to look down on others whom we consider to be our moral inferiors. It makes us feel better like "I might be an asshole, but I sure as hell am not as bad as that!"

When I read Genesis it paradoxically makes me feel better. After all I did not kill my 3 younger brothers like Cain did. I haven't been raped by my daughters. I have not impregnated my wife's housecleaning lady although she is pretty good looking.

At any rate, for an exciting and simulating read, try Genesis. Just don't let the kids at it until they are at least 17.

This is article #1 in a series on Bible Study.
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