Not So Polite Dinner Conversation: Where the “History” channel has a docudrama of the Book of Revelation

why look!  Jingoistic bullshit!
why look! Jingoistic bullshit!

Just stumbled upon this “Revelation: End of Days”  a docudrama format of the nonsense from Revelation from the “History Channel” which deserves the title as much as the Syfy Channel does.  It does seem to at least have better production quality than the Left Behind nonsense, but it doesn’t have the excellent porn star names for the main characters Rayford Steele and Buck Williams.  I’m recording this to watch later.  Stay tuned for the hilarity to follow.

I do watch a fair number of channels that the “History Channel” is affiliated with.  It doesn’t surprise me  much that this apparently didn’t get much ad time and shown on a Monday and Tuesday.  Indeed, such crap should be buried.



Not So Polite Dinner Conversation – Cue uncomfortable smiles, History Channel 2’s new series “The Bible Rules”

twain Christians-bible-is-a-drug-store-650x462I had the opportunity to watch “The Bible Rules” a new series on the History Channel 2.  This is about the lesser known bits of the bible, the parts that many Christians and Jews have no idea exist since most of their leaders will judiciously ignore them in favor of the happy fuzzy parts.   It’s an interesting counterpoint to the nonsense they had last year, “The Bible” (reviewed by me here, and here) which was recently repackaged into a movie, “Son of God” to get even more money from theists.

As expected, there are TrueChristians who are sure that the series is wrong wrong! Wrong!, and not interpreted in the “right” way (just do an internet search on the series and a page or two in you can see the frothing).   It’s hilarious to see them horrified that God wasn’t mentioned until a whole 5 minutes into the show “So deficient of Godly teaching is this series that it’s not until 5 minutes and 30 seconds into the first episode that God is even mentioned although Moloch is discussed almost from the opening words.”  I guess mentioning the Bible and quoting the Bible isn’t enough for some TrueChristians; it all has to be about them.  I wonder must God be mentioned every, hmmm, 5.34 seconds to be Christian enough?  Of course, this TrueChristian is also in shock over the new Cosmos series too since it dares to tell the truth and show their religion as it is, warts and all.

I’m only one episode in, “The Curse” (can see it here ,may not be visible to folks outside the US. It autolaunches with soun.d. You can also get close captioning on it) but the presentation seems to take one stand, that these strange laws, most abhorrent to many modern humans, are simply evidence of the ancient cultures and how they lived.  This is a valid viewpoint that I have no problem with as an atheist.  It does appear to lead to much discomfort on the part of the various religious leaders whose comments are in the show.  It may indeed be my subjective view of how they act, but there are many too-wide smiles, and nervous laughter when certain verses are discussed.  There is a lot of “oh how silly these laws are” whilst trying to make believe the god supposedly ordering those laws exists.  It comes down to: do you believe that the bible is accurate when it quotes God as directly giving these laws, or do you want to claim that these laws are completely human in basis, being how they reacted to a world that was often lethal and mysterious to them?    The series description says that “We find weird rules, revealing rules, curiosity-inspiring rules—and these rules, which will help us understand history, are presented in informative, surprising and reaffirming ways.”  Reaffirming to who?  For me, this show is indeed reaffirming that the claims of the bible and its believers are nonsense.

Some of the commenters who are on this show are the “Interfaith Amigos” a rabbi, a UCC pastor and a Sufi imam; Michael Coogan, a lecturer at the Harvard Divinity School (a quote from him “These books were written over the course of many centuries, and like all other books, they reflect the presuppositions and prejudices, the ideas and ideals of their authors (almost entirely men) and of the societies in and for which they were written.” );  Rev. Bill Golderer (ordained the first gay Presby minister, much to the horror of other Christians who saw him in this show), Rev. Brian McLaren; Salman Hameed;  Patrick McGovern (he’s one of the folks who help Dogfish Head Brewery come up with their stranger things); Rev. Dr. Jaqueline Lewis; Thomas Cahill; Dr. Jacob L. Wright; Seth Sanders;  Shawna Dolansky; Rev. James Hamilton; Rabbi Brad Hirschfield; Eric H. Cline; and others.  Most of these are apologists who want to place a more modern spin on what their god “really” meant.

Here are the verses reviewed in this episode and some thoughts on them.

“Do not give any of your children to be sacrificed to Moloch.” – Leviticus 18  (right before the admonitions against homosexual sex) it appears that they are using the ESV version of the bible for this. Of course, some Christians are sure that this version is “a lie of the devil”, declaring so on their stereotypically badly designed websites.  Note for TrueChristians: your claims don’t become more “true” because of the number of colors and fonts you use.

Much shock is shown when child sacrifice is mentioned.  “Who or what would demand the sacrifice of a child?”  Of course, anyone who knows that bible knows that the god mentioned there does exactly this (Genesis 22, perhaps in Exodus 22: 29-30 considering first born sons the same as livestock, Judges 11, and perhaps when this god kills David’s son rather than David, 2 Samuel 12, as a replacement sacrifice).  The show does call anything but Christianity and Judasim a “cult” which I am guessing is a sop to modern theists, but they are religions just like ones now.   There is some evidence that child sacrifice was practiced, and it seems that it was not an unthinkable act throughout out all of the religions of the ancient Middle East and Mediterranean.    Valuable sacrifices were made to all gods of that time, blood and life being the most important.  They were all “horrible demanding” deities.  In this segment, Rev. McLaren seems to have a problem not laughing through his interview about child sacrifice.  It strikes me as the uncomfortable laughter of someone who really doesn’t want to talk about something but has found himself on tape. We have Golderer and McLaren sure that Abraham was horrified by his god’s demand, but we have no idea what Abraham felt because the bible says he did exactly what God asked without question, no emotions mentioned at all..  We do have a Christian pastor who is sure that God can ask you do the awful and that you should do it (around 7 minutes in).  Rev. Dr. Jaqui Lewis is sure that what god says is what should be done.  In my opinion, this is a rather peculiar attitude for someone who claims to be for social justice.   It is the claim of the pastors that the A&I story was a change in paradigm, that God was saying we don’t sacrifice anymore.  I do not find that to be the case at all.  There is nothing that says that child sacrifice is wrong and primitive, it only says that God was testing Abraham to see if he would do anything that God said and that he needed Isaac in the days to come.

“Whoever curses father and mother should be put to death” – Exodus 21

Again, the show presents this as a cultural thing, ancient peoples believed that curses were real.  A valid answer but a problem when one wants to believe that supernatural powers are real and gods are real.  People may have believed in curses but is there any evidence these curses worked?  It doesn’t seem so.  We do have curses recorded from the ancient period but nothing shows that the curses were any more effective then than they are now, not at all.   No more effective than spells or prayers.  The show claims that “Thousands of years ago, there were people who used magical spells to change the course of events.”  There were stories about people who did this, but again no evidence of this being true, no more than Athena showing up at Troy.

“A man or woman who is a medium or wizard shall be put to death” – Leviticus 20

Continue reading “Not So Polite Dinner Conversation – Cue uncomfortable smiles, History Channel 2’s new series “The Bible Rules””

Not So Polite Dinner Conservation – a bit more about that Bible miniseries. Battle, blood, and a little bit off the tip please.

too bad we don't still have shows this good anymore.
too bad we don’t still have shows this good anymore.

Watching about half of the second part of the Bible miniseries.  I do have to say it’s doing a great job of showing how violent and primitive the bible is. I can still remember singing about Joshua and Jericho when in bible school and when I taught bible school. Joshua fought the battle of Jericho, Jericho, Jericho and the walls came a-tumblin’ down…..  I’ve read several Christian blogs saying how great this miniseries is and how you can show it to your children (however some do find it too violent, which should tell them something).  It’s rather telling when they find it okay to show violence like this, but often complain about videogames and movies.  

This part opens up on ninja Israelites.  Rahab is the prostitute that hides the spies that Joshua sends in to Jericho.  The spies are surprised at her reaction, “You’ve heard of us?”   Oh yes, she’s heard of you, hard to miss the supposed thousands of soldiers right out side her city and she’s supposedly heard of the events in Egypt.  The problem is that *no* one else has evidently, not the people in the city don’t notice thousands of people just outside the city, nor do any other kingdoms in the area hear about the *entire* Egyptian army being destroyed, etc.  If you’re going to write a story, at least clean up the logic holes.  

Another problem we find with the nonsense in the bible (nonsense that the miniseries carefully avoids) is that it claims that all of the men who came out of Egypt have died. That would mean 600,000 plus men have died in 40 years of wandering around.  If we divide it evenly, 15,000 people (not counting women and children) died each year (41 a day) in an area of the Sinai peninsula, which is a rough triangle 80 miles (128 km) wide and about 120 miles (200 km)long (it’s around 60K km2 or 23K mi2

Joshua circumcises fighters who are the descendents of the original multitude, which is quite a pile of foreskins (but we already know that  God loves those).  We have a quick appearance by a angel, the commander of the lord’s armies, also shown in the miniseries, but it makes little sense since he says he’s not for helping Joshua, comments about sandals and disappears to never be seen again.  Continue reading “Not So Polite Dinner Conservation – a bit more about that Bible miniseries. Battle, blood, and a little bit off the tip please.”

Not So Polite Dinner Conversation – the “History” Channel and its new mini-series The Bible

Only thing missing is the sandy hair that my graduation bible JC picture had.
Only thing missing is the sandy hair that my graduation bible JC picture had.

Oh my, the History Channel is putting on a mini-series about the bible, all with “reenactments”.  Well considering that none of the essential events of the bible have been shown to have occurred at all, this should be like watching “re-enactments” of Br’er Rabbit, Br’er Fox and the tar baby.  Their Jesus sure is northern European Caucasian and has the long hair that a Jewish man wouldn’t have had during that time.  You know:  “27 “‘Do not cut the hair at the sides of your head or clip off the edges of your beard.”  Leviticus 19 has a whole lot of the crazy laws in it and some actually coherent ones.    

One would think that the executive producers would be a bit more concerned with reality, but since one was the “angel” (she cast herself as the Virgin Mary) from Touched By An Angel, the sappy and soporific Christian fantasy television show, no wonder it looks to be complete drek.  The other producer is the guy who has brought you such “reality” shows as Survivor, etc complete with ginned up drama from very ignorant and silly people.  The History Channel can add religious myths to its line up of aliens, Nazis and lunatics who think we didn’t land on the moon.  How pitiful that it’s going down the same path The Learning Channel has, becoming a freak show where it’s okay to ridicule people from the politially safe spot at home on a couch.  A note: this mini-series is supposedly using the NIV and NRSV as the bibles of choice. Now what will our KJV-onlyists do? 

But if we have to have such a thing, there could be some great moments of cinema if we select the right parts. Parts that our “reality” TV guru would appreciate, if he wasn’t trying to hide behind the skirts of respectability. 

First, we have the good ol’ description of a prostitute lying with men with “emissions the size of donkeys”. (Ezekiel 23) No, this god couldn’t just say he’ll tear down cities, nope, we get bestiality porn and rape fantasies.  Continue reading “Not So Polite Dinner Conversation – the “History” Channel and its new mini-series The Bible”