Sunday, February 20, 2011

Psalms 101-105: Is god a patient father or a toddler having a tantrum?

Psalm 101

Like many a kid hoping for a puppy for Christmas, Asaph promises to be reallysupergood if god will only talk to him. He won't look at wicked things, talk to wicked people, slanderers or the proud. He'll kick anyone who isn't righteous out of his house and slay all the evil-doers in the land. Sounds awfully boring and gory.

Psalm 102

Asaph compares his loneliness to that of pelicans, owls and sparrows and admits to eating ashes and drinking his own tears. Methinks we know why he's so lonely. Anyway, his life sucks because god is ignoring him.

Psalm 103

Asaph thanks god for curing diseases, being so slow to anger and so merciful. Um, I'm not sure he's read the rest of this book. Like the time God makes the entire nation of Israel walk around in the desert for 40 years because Moses hit a rock wrong, or when he sends them poison birds after they complain about not having enough meat. That god? Was pretty quick to anger and unmerciful. Of course all of this is only true for people who fear god, so maybe he has picked up on some of it.

Psalm 104

This one is a biggie in the whole scientists vs. the willfully ignorant permanent state of culture war we seem to have going on these days. It tells us about how god hung the heavens like a curtain, fixed the earth in place and once flooded the whole thing in a tantrum, but then got over it and put the water back in it's place. God also takes care of animals, providing food and drink for livestock and homes for birds, goats and rock badgers. To humans he gives wine, oil and bread. He made night so forest creatures could hunt, like lions, which to the best of my knowledge are diurnal, but whatevs (and which would seem to contradict the claims of literalists that, before the flood, all animals were vegetarians, since night existed then, too.)
Anyway, god made the seas and the whales and make sure everybody has something to eat.

But when god turns his face away from all the creatures great and small, they die. He also tells them when to reproduce.

Of course this almost-sweet nature prayer has to end with a request to kill all the sinners in an earthquake.

Psalm 105

This Psalm is a retelling of the events of Genesis and Exodus.

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