Terrorism is Bad, Right?

I think, or at least hope, that we can all agree that it’s a very bad thing. So how come we support a state that engages in terrorism?

As you may have heard, an Iranian nuclear scientist was killed the other day by assassins who were almost certainly connected with the Israeli government. This was one of several murders of nuclear scientists that happened recently. Israel hasn’t admitted to doing these murders, but let’s be real here. We all know it was probably them. Yes, it is possible it was an internal conflict or that some other country did it, but Israel is certainly the most likely suspect.

I’m not at all in favor of Iran having nuclear weapons. I mean, that’d be something almost as horrible as, say, Russia, China or North Korea having them. But there are limits to what I’m willing to do to prevent them from having them. For example, I’m not willing to have us invade Iran. I’m not especially willing to tighten already tough sanctions that aren’t punishing the people in power. I’m also certainly not in favor of using terrorist tactics to prevent them from getting nukes.

I do understand and support Israel’s right to exist and to defend itself, but at what cost? I support our right to do those things, too, but that doesn’t mean I’d support us using terrorist tactics. It seems to me that targeting civilians for murder counts as terrorism. If they were targeting Iranian government officials, like the members of the clergy who are in charge, or the Iranian president, that wouldn’t be terrorism, but it would still be unwise.

Realistically we all need to just calm the fuck down and get to the negotiating table with Iran. We need to give them diplomatic recognition (though perhaps understandably we might not want to set up an actual embassy), and actually deal with them. We can’t just ignore them and hope they’ll go away and we can’t continue sanctions that don’t punish the people in power. What we don’t need is another war. What we don’t need are certain prominent politicians talking about how they’d love to have us invade yet another Muslim country.

What we certainly don’t need is to cede the moral high ground by engaging in terrorism or supporting terrorism done by our allies.

Yet More Religious Evil

You may have heard about a story recently where a little girl in the Middle East was on her way to school and a bunch of religious extremists, who make up a whopping 10% of the population of this girl’s country, attacked her verbally, spit on her, called her a whore, etc. Why? Well, she was wearing short sleeves. These are the same fanatics who believe there should be separate sidewalks for males and females. This isn’t even just confined to their country. No, these wackaloons have managed to export their insanity to the United States and have basically taken over a town in New York.

I really have nothing to say about this, beyond the fact that if your religious beliefs allow you to think that it’s ok to call little girls whores because they are wearing short sleeves, then you and your religious beliefs are fucked-up beyond all sanity.

Plans for Palestine

Mahmoud Abbas has announced plans for Palestine to seek full UN membership. This is a step toward them having their own independent state of Palestine. While I am very much in favor of a free Palestine, I am against this particular method.

First of all, it isn’t going to succeed. Even if they get a vote on it, the US, and likely the UK, will use their veto power to block it. So that’s the end of that. And second, trying to use this tactic at all doesn’t further their cause. All it does is make them look bad, further unite the Arab world against Israel and put everyone into an awkward situation.

Israel does need to grow the hell up and let Palestine exist as its own nation (ideally with Jerusalem as its capitol, or failing that, the city itself as its own nation). The current cycle of violence and reprisals doesn’t do anything to stabilize the region. A free Palestine might not do that, but on the other hand, it might. We do know that things as they aren’t aren’t stable.

But on the other hand, the Palestinian Authority needs to understand that trying tactics like this only makes them look bad and won’t accomplish anything good.

About Obama’s Speech

A few days ago Obama gave a little speech where, among other things, he told Israel that a good starting point for talking peace is returning to their legal, pre-1967 borders with land swaps to address both sides’ security issues and Hamas recognizing Israel. Naturally the right wing went apeshit because… I’m not sure why, actually. I mean, it wasn’t a departure from what Clinton and at least the previous Bush said. It’s just that it was Obama saying it. For a very good analysis, check this from Sully.

For the record, I fully agree with this stance. Israel has, for too long, gotten whatever they wanted to get because… I’m not really sure why, actually. Yes, it’s a democracy, but so what? We support, have supported and will continue to support nasty dictatorships in the region, so clearly that’s not why. I think it all dates back to the Cold War, actually. But anyhow, Israel has been far from a great ally and has seemingly gone out of their way in the last few years to avoid any chances of peace. Yes, Hamas and other groups don’t help, but we expect them to behave badly. We don’t expect that of Israel.

For there to be a permanent, fair peace in the area, Israel is going to have to make compromises. They need to stop building settlements everywhere. They need to stop treating Palestinians the way the Nazis treated Jews. They need to stop retaliating to every provocation in massively out-of-proportion ways. They need to let Palestine go their own way. They need to do a lot of land-swapping with the 1967 borders as a starting point. Ideally they should return their capital to the legally mandated location of Tel Aviv, but I don’t expect that to happen.

On the other side, Hamas needs to recognize Israel’s right to exist. The various extremist groups need to stop attacking Israeli settlements.They also need to be willing to make compromises on land and accept that they won’t get everything they want. On the other hand, at the end of the day they could end up with their own country again, and that’s pretty important.

Ultimately both sides need to grow the fuck up. They both need to stop acting like they’re the only ones entitled to that land. It’s stupid and wrong and doesn’t do anything to solve the problem. Extremists on both sides need to be ignored and then hopefully progress can be made.

What Should America Do?

As events in Egypt drag on, the central question on the Sunday talk shows is what we should do about it. Many people seem to have the opinion that we should, at all costs, stop democratic reform in Egypt, since it might lead to an Islamic government that’s hostile to Israel. I think this is what we call “obnoxious”.

Here’s what we should do: stand up for the principles we claim to hold. Defend the Egyptian peoples’ right to self-determination. Call loudly for reforms in public, and then Obama needs to be on the phone calling firmly but privately for Mubarak to resign. Yes, there’s a chance that a democratic government in Egypt might end up being Islamist and hostile to Israel. That would suck. But if that happens, it means that there needs to be a PR campaign to change the hearts and minds of the Egyptian people rather than the current situation, where there’s peace because a dictator is stomping out any possibility of no peace.

Besides, we should trust the Egyptian people. They have had thirty years of peace and diplomacy with Israel. There’s no reason to assume that’s going to suddenly disappear if they are allowed the same freedoms as we enjoy.

Ultimately in the long run we need to stop propping up anti-democratic regimes simply because we happen to like what their leader is doing for us. It’s a bad, odious habit that always comes back to bite us in the ass (Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden are great examples of this). Either we are a country that supports freedom and democracy for everyone or we’re just a bunch of self-interested hypocrites. I know which I’d rather we be.

Some Perspective on Israel

Courtesy of Andrew Sullivan:

Imagine, for a moment, that a US ally that is not Israel – say, Turkey – killed an unarmed American civilian on an unarmed ship in international waters by four bullets to the head at close range. And imagine that president Obama decided that we shouldn’t rush to judgment and that Turkey was in an understandable bind, because it was enforcing an embargo on a tiny strip of (say, Kurdish) land it had recently strafed with missiles and bullets, killing over a thousand. The land was home to an elected Kurdish government that was viciously terroristic – even totalitarian in some respects – and wanted to destroy Turkey, even though it had few means to accomplish this. The Kurds, like the Palestinians, had no homeland at all, and were now suffering greatly under the blockade and embargo.

Can you imagine how the Republican right would explode at this example of classic Obama “weakness” and “appeasement”? Can you even conceive that the American right would actually champion and celebrate Turkey’s attack – and be far more solicitous of Turkey’s actions than any of America’s allies? Can you imagine that the conservative British prime minister would be more outraged at this attack on a defenseless ship and the murder of an American citizen than the president of the United States?

Sully is using this as a way of highlighting the double-standard that we have when it comes to Israel. We support them doing things we would never put up with any other countries doing. And if some other country did it to us? Can you imagine the hue and cry?

In the example above, Turkey would clearly be wrong in what they are doing. So why isn’t it wrong for Israel to do the same thing?

Here’s some more from Sully:

To read Charles Krauthammer today is to enter a twilight zone of an alternate reality. A country permanently occupying and colonizing a neighboring region, and treating its original inhabitants as dangerous interlopers, is the victim. An elite commando unit attacking a ship carrying toys and wheelchairs in the hours before dawn are those we should feel pity for. A country with 150 nuclear warheads and the strongest military in its region, the victor in every conventional war it has always fought, is somehow also always fighting for its very existence. A country backed by the sole superpower, supplied with aid by huge majorities in the US Congress, is facing extinction. Self-defense requires not civilly disabling and inspecting the cargo of an unarmed ship but raiding it at dawn and killing nine and injuring dozens. Basic human revulsion at a military that can kill over a thousand people – including scores of women and children in a trapped, impoverished enclave – can only be a function of anti-Semitism. A territory that is being systematically populated with Israelis in illegal settlements in contravention of the Geneva Conventions is merely a “buffer zone”. You need to colonize buffer zones?

Exactly. Israel needs to stop pretending they are always and forever the victim. I’m also tired of people saying they are “surrounded” by enemies. They aren’t. Egypt and Jordan, while not exactly Israel’s best friends, get along with them more often than not.

None of Israel’s behavior, of course, excuses the actions of the terrorists in the West Bank and Gaza. They needs to be rounded up and punished. But Israel needs to stop overreacting because it is not doing anything to make things better for anyone.

A Reply to Jonolan

I recently wrote an article about Israel’s interception of a flotilla of ships that were trying to get around the blockade of Palestine. This resulted in some lively comments from an anti-Muslim blogger named Jonolan. The most interesting one is reproduced below:

There’s not a single Muslim country that doesn’t execute homosexuals and there’s not a single Muslim country where their populace seems, by and large, to have a problem with that.

The following countries have Muslim majorities and do not punish homosexuality at all:

Bosnia and Herzegovina
Iraq (since 2003. See, our invasion was good for something after all!)
Indonesia (legal in all but one state, and then the laws apply only to Muslims)

So by my count that’s thirteen countries that are majority Islam where homosexuality isn’t even illegal. This is a somewhat larger number than zero.

Here’s a list of majority Muslin countries where homosexuality is illegal but is not punished by the death penalty.

Burkina Faso
The Gambia
Nigeria (illegal throughout the country, punished by death only in, yes, areas controlled by Sharia law. Does that make you feel better?)
Sierra Leone
Eritrea (almost exactly half the country is Muslim and almost exactly half is Christian, so I’ll count it on both lists. Both, you say? Oh, just wait)
Tanzania (split almost exactly in thirds between Muslims, Christians and indigenous religions, so look for it on the other list as well)
Cameroon (also split between Muslims and Christians, so, yes, other list)
Turkmenistan (legal for women, illegal for men)
Uzbekistan (anal sex is illegal, but everything else seems fine)
Palestine (so, yes, illegal there, at least in places. See this article for details)
The Maldives

So that’s another 30 where it’s illegal but doesn’t carry the death penalty. So far we’re looking at a total of 43 Muslim-majority countries where homosexuality is not punished by death.

Now let’s look at those Muslim-majority countries where homosexuality is illegal and is punishable by death.

Nigeria (in parts)
Saudi Arabia (a staunch US ally, btw)
United Arab Emirates

So, that’s eight. Of the Muslim-majority countries where I could find the information, which is a total of 51, there’s eight that practice the death penalty for homosexuality, at least officially. How often it’s actually enforced in a place like the UAE could be another matter. Let’s review what Jonolan said:

There’s not a single Muslim country that doesn’t execute homosexuals and there’s not a single Muslim country where their populace seems, by and large, to have a problem with that.

Thirteen where it’s legal, thirty where it’s illegal but doesn’t carry the death penalty and eight where it’s illegal but does. It’s also worth noting that Albania is discussing the legalization of gay marriage. Several of these countries also have anti-discrimination laws.

Now for fun, let’s look at a list of majority Christian nations where homosexuality is illegal and not punished by death (and yes, I’m not going to bother listing the ones where it’s legal. A: that’s less fun, and B: there’s just too many Christian-majority nations to do):

Tanzania (see, I told you you’d see those countries listed again!)
Liberia (settled by former slaves from the USA. I guess they learned a lot from our country, where homosexuality was illegal in several states until 2004)
Democratic Republic of the Congo
São Tomé and Príncipe
Malawi (a shocker, I know)
Seychelles (illegal for men only)
Uganda (which is trying to pass laws that would include the death penalty)
Zambia (male only)
Zimbabwe (male only)
Swaziland (male only)
Belize (male only)
Antigua and Barbuda
Grenada (male only)
Jamaica (male only)
St Kitts and Nevis (male only)
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
Trinidad and Tobago
Guyana (male only… again)
Solomon Islands
Papua New Guinea
Kiribati (wanna guess which gender this applies to?)
Tonga (male only)
Tuvalu (male only)

(source for all the above information)

So that’s thirty-seven majority Christian nations that outlaw homosexuality. None of them punish it by death, at least not officially, but Uganda is certainly trying their best to change that, and, like I said up above, remember that it was illegal in several US states until Lawrence v Texas in 2004. Yes, it took a Supreme Court ruling to change the laws here; it wasn’t done by the people of those states just deciding to do the right thing.

The interesting thing to note here is that the problem isn’t Islam per se, it’s religion in general. The countries that make homosexuality a crime are those where religion and ignorance dominate. Heck, in my research I even found a couple majority Hindu countries that outlaw homosexuality. This is not a problem that’s exclusive to Islam.

So I think I’ve dealt with that part of the comment nicely. What’s the next part? Oh, yes.

Similarly, you’re an Atheist and a “militant” one. That’s a capital offense in most, if not all, Muslim countries as well and, again, their populace seems, by and large, don’t have a problem with that..

I’m a militant atheist? In what way? I’ve never called for religion to be illegal. I think it should be eliminated from the world’s culture, but I’d do that through eduction and learning, not through guns or laws. Now you did put that in quotes, so I know you didn’t mean it in the military sense of the word “militant”, but I’m not sure in what way you do mean it.

Also, the following Christian countries have laws against blasphemy. ;)

Ireland (this one has gotten some attention lately)
The Netherlands
New Zealand

Admittedly it’s unenforced in most of these countries, but you get the idea. Also I’m willing to bet that, if polled, most American’s would be in favor of anti-blasphemy laws here in the USA.

Ah, but you mentioned specifically Muslim countries. Yes, it’s illegal in a great many, though not punished by death in most and not illegal in all. I’m just not in the mood to type up another long list.

Let’s go to the last line of the comment:

So why side with them?

I’m not, exactly. I’m saying there’s plenty of blame to go around. I’m saying Israel has done some very evil things in the last few years aided and abetted by the USA. I’m saying that collective punishment against an entire group of people is a bad thing. I also understand that Israel has the right to defend themselves and that terrorism is bad no matter who is doing it.

And yes, I’ll stand up happily for the rights of people who would gladly have me horribly murdered for my sexual preferences and/or atheism. Why?

Because I’m a better person than they are.

Israel’s Latest Mistake

As I am sure you have heard, Israel stopped a set of ships in international waters the other day, a bit of a fracas ensued and several people were killed (none of them Israelis). Israel claims this is perfectly justified. In fact, Benjamin Netanyahu was just on TV a few moments ago saying that Israel has the right to defend themselves, and they do. But they need to learn the words “proportional response” and they need to stop thinking that every little act out of Gaza needs to result in an entire population of people being stomped on.

We don’t yet know all the details and probably won’t ever know them all. But what I at least know is that it’s clear that Israel’s current practices are not working. They’ve done great evil to the people of Palestine and then act amazed when bad things are done them in turn. They really need to learn how to suck it up and start treating the Palestinians like equal members of Israeli society or they need to allow them to form their own nation.

Israel, of course, won’t allow the second option. The land is theirs, they say, and has been since God gave it to them. Well, tough. It’s not just your land, you share it with a lot of other people. So either treat them right or let them go their own way. Oh, and while you’re at it, move your capitol back to Tel Aviv, where it is supposed to be.

Oh, and can we in the USA please, please, please stop our collective knee-jerk approval of everything that Israel does? It doesn’t help us and it doesn’t help anyone else, except the al Qaeda recruiters.

The Current Mess in Israel

So I see that, once again, people who claim their religions are about peace and brotherhood are busy murdering one another in what’s supposed to be the holiest part of the world. Yes, it’s time to talk about the war between Israel and Hamas, which is apparently about to become a ground war.

Andrew Sullivan wrote a very good commentary on the issue which I think sums up my personal views on this. Yes, Israel has the moral high ground here, but on the other hand, they’re killing far more civilians than Hamas ever could. This is doing nothing more than continuing to fuel the fires of religious hatred and breed a new generation of future terrorists.

Problem is that there is not a solution here that either side would find acceptable. Israel needs to give the Palestinians their own homeland and bugger their government back up to Tel Aviv where it belongs (that’s the official, UN-endorsed capital, not Jerusalem). For their part, the Palestinians need to stop supporting groups like Hamas and understand that, like it or not, Israel is here to stay.

Of course ultimately if both sides just rejected their religions they could live at peace. If you don’t have rabbis on one side and imams on the other telling both that it’s kosher/halal to go around murdering people who don’t believe in your god the same way you do, nothing will change. I absolutely guarantee you this problem would not be happening of both sides were secular.

Badger’s Bible Project – Exodus 8:1 – 12:51

Welcome to the next chapter of Badger’s Bible Project, covering the Plagues in Exodus (and for more great analyzation of this story, check here)!

Here begins one of the most evil series of acts by God thus far in the Bible. I understand he does a lot more evil things as the book goes on, but for now, this is king. Far worse, even, than the Flood, because this is pure, targeted evil that makes those involved think they might have hope, but in the end shows they don’t. Even worse, it’s all done to further God’s arrogance.

The Plagues really start in Exodus 7:21 when God turns the Nile water into blood, thus killing everything therein. Somehow the people of the area don’t wind up having a mass die-off from a lack of water.

But we begin the story proper with God gloating about what he plans to do.

You'll have his staff when you pry it from his cold, dead, hands!

You'll have his staff when you pry it from his cold, dead, hands!

And the Lord spoke to Moses, “Go to Pharaoh and say to him, ‘Thus says the Lord; let my people go, that they may serve me.’” – Exodus 8:1

Right off the bat we see that God doesn’t want freedom for his people; he just wants them to be his slaves, and not anyone else’s. Believe it or not, his behavior goes downhill from here.

“But if you refuse to let them go, behold, I will smite all your territory with frogs.
“So the river shall bring forth abundantly, which shall go up and come into the your house, into your bedroom, on your bed, into the houses of your servants, on your people, into your ovens, and into your kneading bowls.
“And the frogs shall come up on you, on your people and on all your servants.”‘” – Exodus 8:2 – 8:4

“Presumably this is where the Egyptians ended up with their great fondness for grenouille,” he typed in a tongue-in-cheek fashion.

You know what this, and all other God’s introductions to the Plagues remind me of? A Bond villian describing his entire plan to Bond before trying to kill him.

Interestingly we next see that God apparently has a touch of the Vegas showman in him.

Then the Lord spoke to Moses, “Say to Aaron, ‘Stretch out your hand with your rod over the streams, over the rivers and over the ponds, and cause frogs to come up on the land of Egypt.’” – Exodus 8:5

Clearly since God is, apparently, omnipotent, there’s no reason Aaron needs to do this other than for effect. It’s actually a decent touch to the narrative.

Well, Plague happens, and after it, there’s another nice touch as the Egyptians round up all the dead frogs, and there’s another decent touch to the story as a bit of reality intrudes on this horrible bit of fiction.

They gathered them together in heaps, and the land stank. – Exodus 8:14

So clearly when writing this, someone realized, “Oh, yeah, a shitload of dead frogs will probably start to rot and smell like… well, a shitload of dead, rotting frogs.” It’s a minor bit of attention to detaill, but a nice one.

I also can’t help but remember a book by Terry Pratchett called Pyramids, wherein Djellybebi, a kingdom, not unlike Egypt, has a Plague, but they’re a very small kingdom and even their plagues are so half-hearted the best they can manage is the Plague of Frog. *

Next we find out what God has in mind next. Lice!

… For Aaron stretched out his hand with his rod and struck the dust of the Earth, and it became lice on man and beast. Al the dust of the land became lice throughout the land of Egypt. – Exodus 8:17

You know, I could empathize with the nastiness of this. When I was a boy back around 1986, our family went on a big family reunion at Yellowstone during which myself, my sister, two of my cousins and a couple hangers-on wound up getting lice all at the same time. Yeah, that was fun to deal with.

Apparently Pharaoh doesn’t like the lice too much, either, cause he decides to let the Hebrews leave. Little does he know that Captain Evil isn’t going to allow that. At least not until he’s killed a lot of people.

… But Pharaoh’s heart grew hard, and he did not heed them, just as the Lord had said. – Exodus 8:19

Well, yes, the Lord had said that was going to happen, and lo!, it did, and what a great sign and portent that is. Of course it happened because God made it happen, just as he said he would! There’s no reason for this other than God wanting to show off, and he does this at the end of every single Plague.

Next up we see God sending massive numbers of flies to pester the Egyptians, who were probably saying to themselves, “I really wish God would allow Pharaoh to let his people go so we, the innocents of this land, wouldn’t have to suffer.”

After the flies comes the next in the lists of God’s crimes as he offs all the livestock the Egyptians own.

So the Lord did this thing [killed the Egyptian's livestock] on the nexxt day, and all the livestock of Egypt died; but of the livestock of the children of Israel, not one died.
Then Pharaoh sent, and indeed, not even one of the livestock of the Israelites was dead. But the heart of Pharaoh became hard, and he did not let the people go. – Exodus 9:6 – 7

Yeah, not too much to say to that aside from, “Barbeque!”

God moves onto a weird one next, giving boils to everyone in Egypt. They end up being so severe that in a mildly amusing image, the magicians of Pharaoh can’t go and do their job, cause the boils are so annoying. A fairly harmless Plague, really, but still unpleasant.

Anyhow, let’s stop a moment and take stock. At this point the Egyptians have no water (the Nile having turned to blood), bad lice, flies everywhere, stinking, rotting heaps of dead frogs, all their livestock are dead and on top of all that, boils. Man, all they’d really need to have happen next is for all their crops to be destroyed and, as a nation, they’d doubtless cease to exist.

… And the Lord rained hail on the land of Egypt.
So there was hail, and fire mingled with the hail, so very heavy there was non like it in all the land of Egypt since it became a nation.
And the hail struck throughout the whole land of Egypt, all that was in the field, both man and beast; and the hail struck every herb of the field and broke every tree of the field. – Exodus 9:23 – 25

Ah… well… crap.

Of course there’s no way this was really affecting Pharaoh. Sure, by now the people are battered, thirsty and starving (a great formula for a revoltion that would’ve deposed the Pharaoh), but since he lives in a palace with servants and plenty of food, it doubtless didn’t effect him very much. So really God is spending his time here punishing the innocent while ignoring the guilty (who he is forcing to be guilty by “hardening Pharaoh’s heart” at every turn). How is this anything other than God being an evil prick? I really would like to know if any apologists out there have any explanation for his behavior being good and moral here.

Now we find even more evidence of God being a jerk by rubbing it in when it comes to Pharaoh.

So Moses and Aaron came in to Pharaoh and said to him, “Thus says the Lord God of the Hebrews: ‘How long will you refuse to humble yourself before me? Let my people go, that they may serve me.” – Exodus 10:3

Now this is just cruel, given that Pharaoh had been willing to see the light a couple times before God put the scales back up over his eyes again.

Continuing to be an utter prick, God now sends locusts to Egypt.

And the locusts went up over the all the land of Egypt and rested on all the territory of Egypt. They were very severe; previously there had been no such locusts as they, nor shall there be such after them.
For they covered the face of the whole earth, so that the land was darkened; and they ate every herb of the land and all the fruit of the trees which the hail had left. So there remained nothing green on the trees or on the plants of the field throughout all the land of Egypt. – Exodus 10:14 – 15

Ok, seriously. How are the Egyptian people surviving at this point? All the livestock, crops and water have been destroyed by God. Yes, they probably had a large amount of beer set aside (beer best described as “Chunky Beer, the beer you can eat with a fork!”), but still. For those who don’t know what locusts do, take a look at this picture of my grandfather, circa 1934.

He’d planted the corn himself as part of a 4-H project, and it had been doing well, until the day the locusts came to town. That is the sort of thing the Egyptians would’ve been left with. I’m sorry, but if all their crops were in that shape, the entire country would’ve died off and been conquered by their enemies. That this didn’t happen speaks of the fictional nature of this story.

Moving along we find God plunging Egypt into three days of darkness. Anoying to be sure, but again fairly mild, especially to the last great big evil God is planning.

Then Moses said, “Thus says the Lord: about midnight I will go out into the midst of Egypt;
and all the firstborn in the land of Egypt shall die, from the firstborn of the Pharaoh who sits on his throne, even to the firstborn of the female servant who is behind the handmil, and all the firstborn of the animals. – Exodus 11:4 – 5

First, “about midnight”? Right.

Second, this is appalling. How can anyone worship a being who would even allow this, much less go out and actually do it himself? This is incredibly evil, cruel, immoral and wrong. Naturally one would assume Pharaoh would, at this point, back down. You’d think that, and possibly let it happen, unless you’re an evil god like this one.

So Moses and Aaron did all these wonders before Pharaoh; and the Lord hardened Pharaoh’s heart, and he did not let the children of Israel go out of his land. – Exodus 11:10

Absolute evil.

God spends the next few verses warming up and telling the Hebrews, in great (annoying), detail all about what they should do in preperation of this great event (planning a party, it seems. God is the BC version of Martha Stewart, and if you’re expecting a joke along the lines of, “Only less evil”, don’t hold your breath). Then God, doubtlessly drooling over the chance to murder innocent people, goes out on the town.

And it came to pass at midnight that the Lord struck all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, from the firstborn of the Pharaoh who sat on his throne to the firstborn of the captive who was in the dungeon, and all the firstborn of the livestock.
So Pharaoh rose in the night, he, all his servants, and all the Egyptians; and there was a great cry in Egypt, for there was not a house where there was not one dead. – Exodus 12:29 – 30

Words alone cannot convey my disgust at this behavior. Not just the firstborn of Pharaoh, which would make at least some sense, but even the firstborn of the poor slobs in the dungeon who had, presumably, done something to piss off Pharaoh. Then the animals, too.

A quick side note about this: surely there would’ve been at least some places where there was not one dead. If you had a second son married to a second daughter, both their parents and older siblings were already dead and they had no children of their own, they wouldn’t have anyone dead in their house. Just a thought to keep me from focusing on the mind-boggling evil on display here.

You know, every once in a while you’ll hear some smarmy theist wondering why atheists are angry at God. Well, first off, we aren’t. I can’t be angry at that which doesn’t exist. My question back at them is, given that you think he does exist, why aren’t you angry at him for this crap?

At this point Pharaoh has had enough and God finally allows him to release his people from bondage. What a guy. The Hebrews, who had spent time borrowing stuff from their Egyptian neighbors in preperation for this day (and that’s pretty sinister, really), up and leave town in rather large numbers.

Then the children of Israel journeyed from Rameses to Succoth, about six hundred thousand men on foot, besides children.
A mixed multitude went up with them also, and flocks and herds – a great deal of livestock. – Exodus 12:37 – 38

Ok, so 600,000 men. If even half of them have a wife, mother or aunt tailing along, that’s about 300,000 women. If each family has even two children, that’s 1.2 million children running around. This is about 2.1 million people, at a conservative estimate.


Simple answer? They can’t. That’s how you know this is fiction.

Next we find out the Israelites had lived in Egypt for 430 years (Exodus 12:40), and then onto a little bit about Passover.

And the Lord said to Moses and Aaron, “This is the ordinance of the Passover: no foreigner shall eat it.” – Exodus 12:43

So to all my Jewish friends out there, don’t invite this goy to your Passover feast! You’ll only piss off the Great Beard in the Sky, and as we’ve seen so far, this is not a fellow with a sense of humor.

Thus ends this section of my project and I gotta say, “Man, what an evil fuck!” How can anyone find this being worth of their adoration? We see here that not only does he inflict horrible plagues on perfectly innocent people, he also makes Pharaoh incapable of doing what he’s told, and then punishes him for not doing what he’s told! Words fail me, they really do.

Next up: we’re off on the road to Judea!

* It was a very large frog, however, and got into the air ducts, keeping everyone awake for weeks.


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