Leviticus – Chapter 1: The Burnt Offering

After a long, three month slog through Exodus, I’m finally ready to begin Leviticus.  Although I know Leviticus is very similar to Exodus, I’m a bit excited to what it has to offer us.  Let’s get started!

“If the offering is a burnt offering from the herd, you are to offer a male without defect.” – Leviticus 1:3

God jumps right into the crazy in Leviticus.  If God is perfect, wouldn’t He understand He doesn’t need a perfect offering?  Wouldn’t any offering show the love of the people?  Is forcing the people to be perfect in their offering really a sign of love?  Is this really the best way to get the people to love and worship you?

“You are to slaughter the young bull before the Lord, and then Aaron’s sons the priests shall bring the blood and splash it against the sides of the altar at the entrance to the tent of meeting.” – Leviticus 1:5

Not exactly hygienic.  Then again, this might explain why God commands constant washing near the end of Exodus before entering God’s tent.  The people are always covered in blood from the slaughtering of animals for God’s offering!

“You are to wash the internal organs and the legs with water, and the priest is to burn all of it on the altar. It is a burnt offering, a food offering, an aroma pleasing to the Lord.”  – Leviticus 1:9

Burnt animal flesh is pleasing to the Lord.  God just loves the smell of burning flesh.  This is the sign of a mad man!

“If the offering to the Lord is a burnt offering of birds, you are to offer a dove or a young pigeon. The priest shall bring it to the altar, wring off the head and burn it on the altar; its blood shall be drained out on the side of the altar.  He is to remove the crop and the feathers and throw them down east of the altar where the ashes are.  He shall tear it open by the wings, not dividing it completely, and then the priest shall burn it on the wood that is burning on the altar. It is a burnt offering, a food offering, an aroma pleasing to the Lord.” – Leviticus 1:14-17

There’s much in these four verses.  First, God is very specific on the type of bird He is willing to accept as an offering.  Again, God is very concerned over trivialities but not so concerned about helping the people.  Second, the priest wrings the head off the birds.  I’m beginning to wonder if priests of the Bible are in any way similar to priests today.  I’m close to concluding that priest of biblical times were actually butchers.  🙂  Third, not only does God love the smell of burning sheep and goat flesh, He also loves the smell of burning bird flesh.  God is seriously disturbed!

Leviticus started out with a relatively short chapter.  God offers commands and rules on how to deliver offerings to Him.  God is very specific and loves the smell of burning flesh, even that of birds!

Coming Soon:  Leviticus – Chapter 2:  The Grain Offering

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Leviticus 24:15-16

I’m beginning my discussion of Leviticus tomorrow so I thought it would be a good idea to use a verse from Leviticus for this week’s crazy Bible verse.  It’s far from the only crazy Bible verse in Leviticus!

“Say to the Israelites: ‘Anyone who curses their God will be held responsible; anyone who blasphemes the name of the Lord is to be put to death. The entire assembly must stone them. Whether foreigner or native-born, when they blaspheme the Name they are to be put to death.’” – Leviticus 24:15-16

Think about what this means.  It’s not just Atheists and believers in other gods who God is demanding being put to death.  It’s EVERYONE that uses the Lord’s name in vain.  How many of us, including the deeply religious, have shouted out “God Dammit!” after hitting ourselves with a hammer or stubbing a toe or biting the inside of our cheek while eating?  Personally I say “God Dammit” a lot, usually when something goes expectantly wrong.  According the Bible, I’m to be put to death.  Being an Atheist is just icing on the cake.  The words themselves are enough to justify my death according to God.

What makes this scary is that several countries in the world do put people to death if they are not true believers and following the law very strictly.  Or if they aren’t put to death, the law might be on the books, or the law might hand down as punishment lashings.  There are places in the world (e.g. Saudi Arabia, Bangladesh) where it is absolutely scary to be an Atheist.  These are countries I will NEVER visit unless their theocracies are overthrown and replaced with a secular government.

The Bible makes it clear.  To curse God is to prepare yourself for death.  If God was real, wouldn’t a loving God send a clear message to Atheists?  Wouldn’t a loving God want me to believe?  Make it clear to us.  Provide us with the direct evidence and we will gladly believe in you.  Oh, and to be clear on my end, the Bible is NOT clear proof of your existence.  The Bible is proof that God is an asshole.  Whoops!  Just got sentenced to death…again!  🙂

Introduction to Leviticus

At this point I’ve finished discussing three books of the Bible on this blog.  I started with Genesis, switched to Job, back to Genesis, and then just finished Exodus.  I’m moving through the Bible in what is considered chronological order, or as close to it as possible.  Next up is the book of Leviticus.

As you’ll see over the next couple of months, much of Leviticus is God speaking to Moses who then repeats God’s words to the Israelites.  God still keeps Himself hidden to all but Moses.  Leviticus picks up where Exodus ended.  The Israelites have left Egypt and are continuing on their path to the promised land God has said is theirs.  God is far from done issuing commands and making laws the Israelites must follow in order to receive His love.

Traditionally, and according to most study Bibles, the author of Leviticus was Moses.  That’s very convenient for the Moses, the only person to speak to God, to also be the book’s author.  Hmmm….something here is just a wee bit fishy!  🙂 Most scholars, however, accept that Leviticus was written over a long period of time by different, unknown authors.  As with Genesis and Exodus, tradition is wrong.  Moses is NOT the author.

My discussion of Leviticus on this blog will begin in two days.  I offer no guarantees.  Some of this may be exciting, some may be crazy, but much might be very boring.  In other words, not all that different from Exodus.  🙂

@godless_mom on Twitter

Today I’d like to give a shout out to the Godless Mom (@godless_mom) on Twitter.  I ran across her profile several months ago and immediately followed her.  I don’t know her personally, but she’s an amazing Atheist activist on the web.  Her Twitter feed is filled with awesome related content each day.  This includes news articles, opinions, links to her own blog posts and videos, along with conversations she has with both believers and non-believers.  She is not afraid to state her opinion nor is she afraid to back down from theists.

If you have Twitter account and are an out and proud atheist or have a pseudo account to keep your Atheism hidden for reasons of your own, then you need to be following the Godless Mom.  You won’t regret it!  I will warn you, however, that she posts MANY times per day.  The cool thing about Twitter is there’s no need to read every tweet.  I organize followers into lists and when I want a bit of Atheism content, I read through that list feed.  If I’m more interested in science, I read through my science list feed.  Twitter may seem overwhelming to the new user, but once you get the hang of it, it’s a great communication tool and information source.  As with anything on the web, you can’t believe everything you read, but if you’re careful, Twitter is truly a great source for informing oneself on a particular topic.

Review of Exodus

I started discussing the book of Exodus with Chapter 1 on June 24, 2015 and recently finished up with Chapter 40 on September 23, 2015.  Three months for a 40 chapter book?  Not too shabby!  Before moving on to Leviticus let me spent a few minutes on a review of Exodus.  To put it simply, Exodus is the story of God commanding Moses to lead the Israelites out of Egypt into the promised land.  The Egyptians are treating the Israelites horribly and refuse to let the Israelites leave, or so many Christians will tell you.  If you actually read the Bible, however, the Pharaoh of Egypt allowed Moses and the Israelites to leave many times.  Each time, however, God hardened the Pharaoh’s heart, making the Pharaoh treat the Israelites as slaves.  Would the Pharaoh have let the Israelites go had God not hardened his heart?  We’ll never know.  What we do know however is that God needed to harden the Pharaoh’s heart for a reason.  The story isn’t as interesting if the Israelites are allowed to leave Egypt in chapter 1.

Eventually God brings so much harm and destruction to the people of Egypt that the Pharaoh allows the Israelites to leave.  Many innocent Egyptians were killed.  Okay, maybe they weren’t innocent at the time, but God is the one who hardened their hearts into sinning.  They didn’t harden their hearts themselves.  After leaving, the Israelites continue to suffer.  God isn’t the loving character people make Him out to be.  God only speaks to Moses, even after saying He would reveal Himself.  He never does reveal Himself unless you consider fog to be God in disguise.

Oh, and let’s not forget the ten commandments.  Of course, there weren’t really ten commandments.  There were many, many commandments God commanded of the Israelites.  The first set of tablets was destroyed by Moses, and God commanded him to create a second set.  The second set contained all that was on the first set, but also had several other laws added, including, and I kid you not, don’t cook a young goat in its mother’s milk.  I know we’ve all been guilty of that one from time to time, so just spend an evening praying for forgiveness and all will be okay.  🙂  Maybe the next time right wing Christians take control of a local government and illegally put a statue of the commandments up it will include the one on cooking a young goat.  Just saying.

Much of the latter half of Exodus is nothing but God telling the Israelites to build stuff and move stuff in specific places.  God seems less interested in helping the Israelites and more interested in having fancy stuff built for Him.  Who cares that the people are suffering if God has a gold altar, am I right?  🙂

Moses and the Israelites are not done yet.  Their story continues in the Book of Leviticus.

Exodus – Chapter 40: Setting Up the Tabernacle

In Exodus 39 God commanded the Israelites to make priestly garments and told them how to do so.  The people were blessed, but only after they completed every command of God’s.  This is the definition of God’s love.  Do what I ask and I will love you.  Do not what I ask and you shall suffer horribly!  Sometimes do as I ask and you will still suffer!  Do exactly as I ask but be related to someone who sinned and you will suffer.  Muhahahaha!  I’m pretty sure God invented the deep voiced, evil laugh!  🙂  Let’s see what happens in Exodus 40.

“Set up the tabernacle, the tent of meeting, on the first day of the first month.” – Exodus 40:2

Now that everything is built, it’s time to put things in their proper places.

“Take the anointing oil and anoint the tabernacle and everything in it; consecrate it and all its furnishings, and it will be holy.” – Exodus 40:9

What’s with anointing oil that it makes everything holy?  If I take a deuce and then dump a bit of anointing oil in the toilet, does that make my poo holy?  🙂

“Moses placed the gold altar in the tent of meeting…” – Exodus 40:26

God gets pissed at a golden calf, but a gold altar is okay?

“They washed whenever they entered the tent of meeting or approached the altar, as the Lord commanded Moses.” – Exodus 40:32

God is quite the germaphobe.

“Then the cloud covered the tent of meeting, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle.” – Exodus 40:34

In other words it was foggy out.

“In all the travels of the Israelites, whenever the cloud lifted from above the tabernacle, they would set out; but if the cloud did not lift, they did not set out—until the day it lifted.” – Exodus 40:36-37

I can understand this.  Even today it’s not always safe to travel in a thick fog.  It can be very dangerous.  In biblical times it was probably much safer to travel when it was clear and rest when it was foggy.  However, let’s not confuse fog with God.

That concludes Exodus 40.  Basically God commanded how Moses and the Israelites were to setup everything they had built for Him.  The Israelites will now live happily ever after.  The end…well, the end of Exodus.  There are still 63 books of the Bible for me to blog about.  🙂

Coming Soon:  Leviticus – Chapter 1:  The Burnt Offering

2 Samuel 12:13-14

Oh how I love Tuesdays for they are crazy Bible verse days!  Today’s crazy Bible verse comes from 2 Samuel.

“Then David said to Nathan, ‘I have sinned against the Lord.’ Nathan replied, ‘The Lord has taken away your sin. You are not going to die.  But because by doing this you have shown utter contempt for the Lord, the son born to you will die.’” – 2 Samuel 12:13-14

David admits to sinning, but Nathan, the prophet of God, declares that David will not die as a result of this sin, but his son will die.  This is what I do not understand about the God of the Bible.  God punishes the wrong person so many times.  Yes, the death of a child is devastating and I understand that in a way it is a punishment, but is this the best punishment God can come up with for David.  David continues to live, but the son is no longer alive.  Who is being punished the most?  David, the sinner, or his son, who did not commit the sin(s) in question?  Surely there is another punishment God can offer David.  Too often in the Bible the ones not committing the sin are killed as a punishment for those committing the sin.

Apply this to today’s society to gain a better understanding of how horrible God is.  Let’s say my father robs a bank.  Instead of him going to prison or being shot by the cops, it’s me, who had nothing to do with the robbing and quite possible wasn’t even in the same town!  Will my father suffer as a result of my death?  Sure, but did I deserve to die because of my father’s sin?  God says I do.