Reading the Bible, Part 5
After Proverbs comes Ecclesiastes, which finally has content that approaches actual thought-provoking wisdom. More on that in a minute. Then there is the Song of Solomon, which is an erotic love poem. Thatís weird. Then comes Isaiah, which reads like it belongs near the book of Kings and itís nothing but angry rants about how God is going to destroy his enemies. Jeremiah has more angry rants. Ezekiel has more threats for competing civilizations. Iíll talk about all of the rants and threats too.
Here we go:
Chasing the Wind:
Ecclesiastes is surprisingly different from the other books of the Bible. Iím personally amazed that it wasnít removed from the Bible at some point in history for being contrary to the usual storyline that purpose in life comes from obeying God and religious leaders. In Ecclesiastes, there is no purpose. ďUtterly meaningless! Everything is meaningless.Ē People are born, they work, and they die. Repeat, repeat, repeat. Itís like a never-ending play with a new cast doing the same script every generation. ďWhat has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun.Ē Part of me wants to say that the author is wrong. I think the ability to fly an airplane around the planet in a few hours while watching videos on a handheld device that performs billions of calculations per second is pretty new. But the larger point is still valid. One day I will die and be forgotten and a new cast of humans will go about their lives. ďNo one remembers the former generations, and even those yet to come will not be remembered by those who follow them.Ē Seriously, the Bible actually says ďNo one remembers the former generationsĒ! I view this as an admission that the Adam and Eve creation story is false. Itís an admission that humans evolved over a long period of time and had no ability to record or remember where they came from.
The author of Ecclesiastes declares himself to be a powerful teacher and leader, the son of King David. Maybe itís Solomon, maybe itís a brother, or maybe itís some random person hundreds of years later. Either way, he declares ďI have seen all the things that are done under the sun; all of them are meaningless, a chasing after the wind.Ē He tried a life dedicated to knowledge and wisdom. Meaningless! He tried a life dedicated to pleasure and wealth. Meaningless! He tried working and achievement. Meaningless! I like the ďchasing after the windĒ part. Itís the perfect metaphor for futility. The author concludes that you can only do the best you can. Work and eat and try to enjoy yourself. Makes sense to me.
Ecclesiastes 3 has another powerful reminder that Hell was invented long after this religion started: ďAs for humans, God tests them so that they may see that they are like the animals. Surely the fate of human beings is like that of the animals; the same fate awaits them both: As one dies, so dies the other. All have the same breath; humans have no advantage over animals. Everything is meaningless. All go to the same place; all come from dust, and to dust all return. Who knows if the human spirit rises upward and if the spirit of the animal goes down into the earth?Ē Itís pretty clear to me that the early authors of the Bible had no expectation of life after death.
Wrath of God:
After reading the books of Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Ezekiel, I just have one thing to say. If you believe in the Bible and you like to say that certain events are punishments from God, it is seriously time for you to shut up. Iíve had enough. Chapter after chapter, page after page, itís nonstop blathering about who God is mad at and who heís going to destroy and how bad people are for not paying him enough attention or getting in the way of his chosen people or for worshipping competing Gods. Isnít it a better explanation that there have been thousands of civilizations in history that have won and lost countless battles without a magic entity controlling everything? Yet for THREE THOUSAND YEARS, idiots have been waving their hands and flapping their gums about how God is displeased with whoever and did or will do whatever to them. Iíve heard famous preachers with millions of followers blame hurricanes on God being angry about homosexuality. I really donít see how anybody could listen to a person that retarded and I personally wonít tolerate it anymore. Itís time to stop pretending that they have a reasonable viewpoint. The next time you hear someone talk about Godís judgments and current events, tell him or her directly that he or she is stupid and that you refuse to suffer his or her idiocy. Perhaps you can suggest a science class too.