Monday, April 8, 2013

Revelation, Chapters 19-22: Kitchen Nightmares

The last four chapters. Feels good to be almost free.

Chapter 19

 A great chorus of alleluias starts up in heaven because Jesus has judged the whore. The elders and animals get on the floor and worship god. The throne talks. Your typical acid trip, in other words. We're told that the Lord God omnipotent reigneth (v. 6) though not what the answer to the Problem of Evil is. Also, Jesus is getting married! And TMI, his fiancee is getting ready for her wedding night. Jesus invites John to the wedding, since it's the decent thing to do. John falls down to worship big J, but Jesus tells him it isn't necessary as they're equals. 

Now John looks up into heaven and sees a white horse being ridden by another incarnation of Jesus who has come along to judge and make war (v. 11). His eyes are aflame, he's wearing a bunch of crowns and bloody clothes, has a sword sticking out of his mouth and he has a secret name, though on his clothing and thighs his mother has thoughtfully written KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS (v. 16) so no one will take them by accident at summer camp. He's followed by an army in clean clothes. 

Somewhere else in heaven, an angel is inviting all the birds to god's supper, which will consist of dead kings and horses. He also sees the beast and its armies nearby. The beast and a false prophet are taken captive and cast into a lake of fire. Jesus kills the rest and the birds eat.

Chapter 20

An angel comes along with the key to the bottomless pit and puts Satan in for a thousand years. After that, they'll let him out for a bit. John also sees the souls of martyrs, which are given thrones and allowed to reign in heaven for the same thousand years. The other dead people will need to stay that way for the same amount of time. Then they'll be resurrected and will get their turn at being gods for a thousand years. Satan will be let out of prison after the second thousand years and will go on fooling people, whom god will set on fire. The devil will be cast into the lake with the beast and the prophet. 

John now sees Jesus sitting on another throne the book of life. The dead are all lined up in front of him, including people who died at sea and people who were in hell, and he looks them up to see what it says about them. Death and Hell are personified so they can be thrown into the lake, along with anyone whose name isn't in the book.

Chapter 21

Now there's a new heaven and earth, but no sea. There's also a new Jerusalem with a new temple that god will live in. Then there will be no death or pain or resultant crying. Then god sits for a minute and says he's done and offers everyone a glass of water. He also tells us that even in this perfect new world there will still be assholes, and he'll still send them to the lake of fire. 

Now one of the angels approaches John and offers to show him the bride in a way that is not at all creepy. He shows him the new Jerusalem, which is all soft-lit and shot through a fuzzy lens. It now has a wall with 12 gates, one for each tribe. There are 12 foundation stones, one for each apostle. The angel has a ruler because the bible is obsessed with measuring things, and he also points out, in minute detail, every single gemstone used in construction of this Putin's Palace. It has no natural lighting, because it's a casino god's glow is enough. Anyone who is saved is welcome and the gates will never be shut because there will be no night time, which begs the question of why they have gates, then, but that isn't explained.

Chapter 22

God's throne is also the source of a river which flows down the main street of Jerusalem. A tree of life is planted on either side. It yields a crop every month that can be used to heal nations. There will be no curses, we'll see god's face, and we'll all have his name tattooed on our foreheads. This will all be happening very, very soon.

John reiterates that he really saw all this and worships the angel, who tells him to save his energies for god. He also tells him not to seal the scroll because again, this will all be happening any day now. Jesus reminds us that he's a descendent of David and invites all the righteous to come to Jerusalem for a drink. We're also told not to add or subtract anything from the bible, or god will curse us. He promises one last time to come real soon.

Done! I wish I could say it's been fun, but I can't.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Revelation, Chapters 17 & 18: Dream Girls

Chapter 17

One of the seven angels tells John to follow him if he wants to see the fate of a whore ) who sitteth upon many waters (v. 1) and who has been fornicating with kings. The people have got drunk off the wine of her fornication, whatever that means. So John follows the angel into the wilderness, where they find a chick sitting on a red beast with the usual seven heads and ten horns, because heaven forbid we should learn a new number. Anyway, the woman is dressed in scarlet and purple and dripping with jewels and drinking from a cup  full of abominations and filthiness of her fornication (v. 4) and again, how is that possible and how does it taste? Like so many other people in this book, she also has a face tattoo which reads: MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH (v. 5). She's also drunk, though not on the usual stuff, but on the blood of saints and martyrs. John is oddly fascinated because who wouldn't be? 

The angel asks him why he's interested and promises to tell him the story. The beast used to exist, but currently doesn't, but will eventually come out of hell and go to its destruction. People whose names were not written in the book of life (v. 8) before the world's creation will be amazed. The seven heads represent the seven mountains and kings the woman rules over. Five of those kings are dead, one is alive, and one is on the way, but will only rule for a bit. The beast is also a king and will likewise be destroyed. The ten horns represent future kings who will meet with the beast, then rule for about an hour. They will have a hive mind and will give their power to the beast, which it will use to fight the Jesuslamb, but it will lose. The water the whore was sitting in represents the people of the earth. The horny kings like the beast but hate the whore, so they'll strip her naked, eat her flesh, and burn her. This is all god's plan. Oh, and the woman isn't really a woman, she's Babylon, though that doesn't really explain whether the kings are cannibals or not.

Chapter 18

Yet another angel flies down to earth, shrieking about the defeat of Babylon and telling us every king on earth has fornicated with a city. Another voice invites the believers to leave the city before the plagues start. They will include death, famine and fires, all within 24 hours. The kings will miss her, but like all men who fuck then discard women, they'll say it's her fault. The merchants will weep because no one will buy the expensive, tacky crap they imported from her, but I can't feel too sorry for them, because in my experience there is always a market for expensive, tacky, crap. All the shipmasters and sailors who imported the crap will also wail and throw dust on themselves. But heaven, heaven will be happy about the destruction of an economy because God hath avenged you on her (v. 20). An angel casts a rock into the sea and compares it to Babylon because both will disappear completely.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Revelation, Chapters 15 & 16: Nightmare Beach

Chapter 15

John looks up and sees the last seven angels with the last seven plagues. In front of him, he sees a lake of fiery glass, surrounded by people who've defeated the beast. They're singing a song for Moses and Jesus. He looks up again and sees the plague angels coming out of the temple in pure white robes. One of the beasts hands each of the angels seven vials full of god's immortal anger. Then the temple fills with smoke that won't clear until the seven plagues finish.

Chapter 16

A voice tells the angels to pour out their vials. The first one causes the people who worshiped the beast to break out into sores. The second one kills everything in the sea. The third one turns the rivers into blood. This is fine because the heretics that shed Jesus' blood will now have to drink blood. The fourth angel's vial allows him to burn people to death. The fifth angel's elixir plunges the earth into darkness and causes pain so severe people chew their tongues off. I can't believe there are people out there who lap this up. The sixth vial dries up the Euphrates river. When that happens, the beast and the dragon yak up frog-like devils who gather up an army for the coming war. We're told not to sleep naked, because Jesus might come back any time and wouldn't that be embarrassing. The demons bring their followers to Armageddon, which I had no idea was a place. The seventh angel dumps out his potion and a voice says It is done (v. 17). 'It' apparently means earthquakes and thunderstorms, which break Babylon into three parts. God also gives them a wine glass full of wrath. The islands and mountains head for the hills. Then there's hail the size of a 'talent', which I'm told is 33 kilos.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Revelation, Chapters 13 & 14: I Dream of Jeannie

Chapter 13

John stands on the beach and watches a creature emerge from the deeps. Like everything in this book, it has seven heads, each with ten horns, each horn adorned with a crown. Each head has the word 'blasphemy' written on it. It sort of looks like a leopard, except that it has bear paws and the mouth of a lion. One of the heads also has a terrible scar on it. Satan gives the beast a high position in his government and people start worshiping it because they figure they can't beat it.

The beast starts blaspheming and continues for 42 months, at which point it makes war on the christians. Non-christians, meanwhile, worship it. John warns us that this will be a very traumatic time and we must be prepared to be taken hostage or even killed.

Now John sees another beastie emerging from the earth. This one has a normal number of lamb's horns, but talks like a dragon. This one is kind of an enforcer for the first one, making everyone worship it and paint a picture of it, which he then brings to life. Except that unlike the paintings in Harry Potter, this one kills people who don't worship it. The second beast can also make fire fall out of the sky. It marks people with its name or number (666 natch) on the right hand or forehead. Only those people can engage in commerce.

Chapter 14

Jesus now appears on a mountaintop with his 144,000 fabulous followers, all with god's name tattooed on their foreheads and, unsurprisingly, all virgins. They burst into song, a song only they know. Nope, not gay at all.

Next, three angels fly across the sky. The first one is shrieking at us to worship god, because the end is nigh. The second one is shouting that Babylon has died of shame from getting drunk and hooking up. The third warns that people bearing the mark of the beast will be tortured with fire and brimstone and that Jesus will watch and laugh and laugh.

Now a voice calls out to John to write: Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth: Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labours; and their works do follow them. (v. 13) He looks up and sees Jesus sitting on a cloud, wearing a crown and holding a sickle. An angel flies out of the temple and tells him its harvest time. Two more angels with sickles come along to help and they all thrust their sickles into the earth, and come up with vines bearing grapes (humans, I assume), which they put into the great winepress of the wrath of God (v. 19). It's one of those old-timey I Love Lucy style wine presses, but rather than produce wine, they flood the city with blood that reaches the horses saddles.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Revelation, Chapters 11 & 12: Nightmare before Christmas

Chapter 11

We're back to measuring things, a la Ezekiel. An angel hands John a ruler and tells him to measure the temple, the altar, and all the people inside. He doesn't need to measure the courtyard because the Gentiles have taken it over for the next 42 months. The angel promises to give his powers over to two witnesses, who will stand there prophesying in sackcloth for the next 1,260 days. No doubt they will be every bit as convincing as old Zeke. When they finish talking, a beast will come out of hell and kill them. Their bodies will lie in the streets for 3 1/2 days, and people will rejoice and send each other presents because there is nothing worth celebrating more than when a prophet finally shuts up. After those 3.5 days, the witnesses will go up to heaven on a cloud, and a great earthquake will hit Jerusalem, killing 7000 and convincing the rest to glorify god.

Then the angel points two two olive trees and two candlesticks and informs us they're pyrokinetic and will burn anyone who tries to hurt them alive. They also have the power to turn the rain off and to turn the rivers into blood, and to unleash plagues on the earth.

Apparently all that was the second woe? And the third starts when the seventh angel blows his trumpet. When he does, a chorus says The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever (v. 15). Then the 24 elders all fall down to thank god for destroying the earth. Then the heavens open and the temple is visible through a thunderstorm, hail and another earthquake.

Chapter 12

Now a woman appears wearing the sun as a dress and some stars as a crown. She's standing on the moon, giving birth. Respect. Then a red dragon appears. He has seven heads, each topped by a crown and ten horns. He knocks down a third of the stars with his tail, then positions himself under the woman, ready to eat her kid. Alas, he doesn't get the chance as god scoops him up as soon as he's born and promises he'll rule the earth with an iron fist. The woman runs off into the wilderness, where god promises that whatever's in there will feed her for the next 1,260 days.

Now there's a war in heaven, with Michael the archangel and his angel army fighting the dragon. The dragon eventually loses and is kicked out of heaven. Another voice promises that everything will be fine now that Satan has been removed from the premises. Alas, the earth is SOL because Satan now lives here and he's got to do maximum destruction in a minimum amount of time. He immediately goes off in search of the woman, but she is given eagle wings and flies off to her nest, which has been stocked for the next 42 months.

Satan, not remembering that she can fly, upchucks a flood in hopes of flushing her out, but the earth helps her and swallows the water. This pisses Satan off, so he makes war with her descendents.

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Revelation, Chapters 9 & 10: I dreamed a dream

Chapter 9

The fifth angel blows his trumpet and a star falls to earth, where it is given a key to the bottomless pit (v. 1). He (or maybe she? It's quite hard to identify a star's gender) turns the key in the lock and opens the door, which emits a giant belch of smoke that blocks out the sun and moon. Locusts fly out of the smoke and are given the power of scorpions. They're told to leave the grass and trees alone and to focus their rage solely on the humans who don't have god's seal of approval on their foreheads. They're also instructed not to kill the non-marked people, just to torture them with scorpion stings for five months. They're promised that the men will want to die, but won't be able to. John gets a closer look at the locust/scorpions, and sees that they look like battle horses wearing crowns and with the faces of men, hair of women, lion's teeth and scorpion stingers. They're wearing breastplates and their wings sound like chariots.

The locusts have a king, Abaddon on Hebrew or Apollyon in Greek, or 'The Destroyer' in English, because this book can never, ever be subtle.

The sixth angel sounds and one of the horns on the altar starts speaking. It tells the angel to let four other angels who are currently imprisoned in the Euphrates river out. The angels have a year, a month, a day and an hour to kill a third of the people on earth, so clearly they need an army of 200 000 horsemen, mounted on horses wearing breastplates of fire, and of jacinth, and brimstone (v. 17) and with the heads of lions that breathe fire, smoke and brimstone and bitey snakes for tails. With all this in place, they run around and kill a third of the populace. The non-believers who don't die also refuse to repent.

Chapter 10

Yet another angel flies in, this one wearing cloud clothing and a rainbow hat. His face is as bright as the sun and his feet are pillars of fire. He lands with one foot in the sea and the other on land. He's holding a little book. He opens his mouth to speak and roars like a lion. When he stops, John goes to write what he said down, but only gets as far as raise show dogs before the angel tells him to keep what he said a secret. Then he raises his hands to heaven and swears that time stops now. He also says that when the seventh angel blows his trumpet, it will be the fulfillment of god's plan. God then speaks and tells John to go take the book from the angel. He does, and the angel instructs him to eat it, but promises it will taste like honey but eventually give him a tummy-ache, because paper is indigestible.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Revelation, Chapters 7 & 8: Nightmare at 20 000 feet

When I was about 5, I snuck into the room while my parents were watching The Twilight Zone: The Movie, probably exactly when this clip was playing. It took me years to get over it.

Chapter 7

John now sees the four angels standing at the four corners of the earth, holding on to the wind, keeping it off the earth. A fifth angel starts rising in the east and tells the other four that he's just going to quickly mark god's 144 000 best christians(12 000 from each Israelite tribe) so they're safe from harm, and then they can start destroying everything.

Then John notices that a large crowd has gathered around the Jesus lamb, all dressed in white and carrying palm fronds. The angels give up on world destruction and also come over to worship the lamb. One of the elders is getting a bit senile and asks John who the people in white are, but then he remembers they're martyrs and they've washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb (v. 14). Now they live in heaven, safe from famine, thirst and skin cancer. 

Chapter 8

The Jesus lamb opens the seventh seal and for half an hour, there is blessed silence. But then someone gives the seven angels trumpets. An eighth angel flies up to the altar carrying a censer full of incense and starts praying for the saints. Then he fills the censer with fire from the altar and throws it down to earth, which causes people to start shrieking again, as well as a thunderstorm and an earthquake. 

By now, the trumpeter angels have finished warming up. The first one blows his horn and a mix of hail, fire and blood falls to earth, burning a third of the trees and all of the grass. The second angel toots his own horn and a burning mountain falls into the sea, turning a third of it into blood, killing a third of the sea life and sinking a third of the ships. The third angel's trumpet causes a star to fall out of the sky and destroy a third of the rivers and fountains. This particular star is called Wormwood and it also poisons the water. The fourth angel's trumpeting is so bad it kills a third of the sun, moon and stars and kills a third of the day. The action is cut off by yet another angel flying through the air crying out woe to the people, because we haven't heard the other 3 trumpets yet.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Revelation, Chapters 5 & 6: Dreamweaver

Chapter 5

God picks up a book with seven seals binding it shut. Suddenly an angel starts shrieking Who is worthy to open the book, and to loose the seals thereof? (v. 2) No one can, which causes John to cry. One of the old dudes in the chairs assures him that Jesus can open the book.

Next, a dead lamb appears in the middle of the floor. It has seven horns and seven eyes, because it represents the seven spirits of god. It takes the book and the old dudes and the animals all start worshiping it. Now they have harps and censers and they sing about Jesus and the book. 

John realises that there are more things in the room as millions of angels and animals, then everything on earth starts shouting about Jesus. Then the original four animals say amen.

Chapter 6

The Jesus lamb starts opening the seals on the book. The first one causes a man with a bow to appear, riding a white horse. They put a crown on him and he rides off to conquer stuff. The second horse is red and its rider has a sword. He gallops off to take away peace on earth and make people kill each other. The third rider is on a black horse and has a set of balancing scales. He babbles for a bit about the price of wheat and reminds us not to overdo it on the wine or oil. The fourth horse is pale (v. 8) and is being ridden by Death, with Hell following along behind. Death is given charge of a quarter of the earth and is allowed to kill people by the sword, famine or wild beasts. When the fifth seal is opened, John sees a bunch of martyred souls under the altar shrieking about vengeance. They are handed white robes and told it will be a while yet, but to hang tight until their brethren are similarly killed. The sixth seal causes a massive earthquake and solar eclipse and the moon turns crimson. The stars fall down and the figs die. Heaven rolls up and the mountains and islands all take one step to the left. The people hide and beg the mountains to give them shelter from the wrath of god.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Revelation, Chapters 3 & 4: Nightmare on Elm Street

Chapter 3

Sardis: You're the living dead. Don't get too excited, though, because you aren't perfect yet and Jesus could come back at any time. There are a few people who haven't defiled their garments (v. 4) and he'll dress them up in white and recommend them to god. 

Philadelphia: You, Jesus likes. He likes you so much he's going to force the worshipers from a nearby synagogue (or as John likes to call it: the synagogue of Satan (v. 9) to worship the christians. He also promises not to put them on trial during the apocalypse. Finally, he agrees to give them all free tattoos: one with god's name, another with Jerusalem's new name, and finally one with his new name. 

Laodiceans: You, Jesus is not so sure about. You've been tepid in your faith and he's been thinking of spitting you out as a result. Apparently they've come into some money and have been bragging that they don't need anything. Jesus counsels them to buy white clothing, gold and eye makeup. He invites himself over to their houses for dinner and promises that in return, when he takes them to heaven, he'll sit them on the throne with himself and his dad.

Chapter 4

Now the really trippy part starts. John looks up and sees a door into heaven. A voice calls to him to come up and check things out. He has an out of body experience and goes through the door. The first thing he sees is a throne with a figure on it like a jasper and a sardine stone (v. 3) with a green rainbow around it. There are 24 old men in crowns seated around the main throne. Everybody is silent because the throne has thunder and lightening and voices coming from it. There are seven candlesticks in front of the throne, each representing a spirit. Also in front of the throne is a sea of crystal glass. Arranged around it are four beasts- a lion, a calf, a man and an eagle,  with eyes in the fronts and backs of their heads. Each has six wings with eyes on it, and each just sits there all day shrieking Holy, holy, holy, LORD God Almighty, which was, and is, and is to come (v. 8). When god gets tired of hearing that, the old men cast their crowns at his feet and say  Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created. (v. 11)

Monday, March 18, 2013

Revelation, Chapters 1 & 2: Nightmares and Dreamscapes

Revelation is the most controversial book in the bible, the one that almost didn't make it in during the Nicene Council, a collection of visions worthy of only the best of acid trips. I say, after 21 books of being told to behave because the world really is going to end now, bring it on.

Chapter 1

Jesus decided to let his friend John have a peek at what the end of the world will look like, even though the time is at hand (v. 3). First he sends greetings to the seven churches of Asia from god's seven bestie angels and from Jesus, who, we are gruesomely reminded washed us from our sins in his own blood (v. 5).

Now, onto the Stephen King part of our story, or if you prefer The Brick Testament: Jesus will arrive on a cloud and people will start to wail, because he'll announce that he's here to end the world. John pauses the action briefly to give us some background on his vision: he was on the island of Patmos in the Spirit on the Lord's day (v. 10), which I'm just going to infer means 'drunk off my ass, and possibly a little high,' when a voice told him to write down everything he's about to see and send it off in book form to the other churches. He turns to look for the source of the voice and sees Jesus sitting at the centre of a circle of seven candlesticks, wearing a skirt belted at the nipples a la Steve Urkel. His hair is white, his eyes red, his feet glowing like brass in a fire, and his voice sounds like waves. He's holding seven stars, his tongue is a two-edged sword, and his face is shiny. John faints, but Jesus revives him and says he's back and he stole the keys to heaven and hell from his dad. He explains that the stars are angels and the candles are churches.

Chapter 2

Jesus has a message for the angel of the church at Ephesus: he knows they've been hard workers and haven't listened to any of those pesky christian dissenters, but he still doesn't like them because thou hast left thy first love (v. 3). Jesus threatens that, unless they take her back and apologise, he'll throw their candlestick away like he did with the hated Nicolaitanes. He promises that if they do that, he'll let them eat from the tree of life. 

Now, a few words for the church angel in Smyrna: he knows they're doing good works, but also that they're being persecuted by some people claiming to be Jews but who are really the synagogue of Satan (v. 9). He also informs them that they can expect to be thrown into prison and tortured for 10 days, during which time they will possibly die, but he'll reward them for it. 

Pergamos, aka Satan's seat (v. 13): someone named Antipas was martyred there, but he still doesn't like them for eating meat intended for sacrifice and for fornicating. Also, they've been sheltering his hated Nicolaitanes. He advises them to repent before he comes over there with his tongue-sword. 

Now he has a message for all christians: if you can persevere, he'll give you manna and a stone with your secret name on it. 

Thyatira: you've been good, but you're also under the sway of a woman who calls herself Jezebel and claims to be a prophetess. She's been teaching them to fornicate and to eat sacrificial meat. He warned her to stop, but she didn't so now he's going to throw her into a torture bed with her lovers. He's also going to kill her children with death (v. 23) so everyone will know he judges you by your kidneys and your heart. He promises that people who obey until the end will rule over nations with an iron bar they can use to shatter potters' vases. As a bonus, he'll give them the morning star, possibly the planet Venus.  

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Jude, Chapter 1: The tyranny of small differences

This book purports to be written by Jude, brother of James and Jesus, an illiterate, Aramaic-speaking peasant who somehow wrote a letter in fluent Greek. He urges his followers to ignore the false prophets who god is controlling and who are turning them against Jesus' teachings and sending them all to hell. He backs this claim up by reminding us about that time god smote the Israelites or that other time when some angels came down from heaven to breed with human women, for whom god is reserving punishment until the end times. He also refers to Sodom and Gomorrah and a text that isn't part of the bible about the archangel Michael and the devil fighting about Moses' body. He also talks about Cain and Balaam. You get the picture: the early christians were not a unified, loving community of like-minded individuals. The good news is, these are all signs of the apocalypse, so he urges them to convert as many people as possible by whatever means necessary, compassion, fear, whatever works.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

2 & 3 John: John and the real Christ

2 John

John is writing to a lady and her children to remind them to love each other, because there are many antichrists in this world who don't believe Jesus was flesh and blood. No, really, this was a source of huge debate according to Bart D. Erhman: was Jesus really flesh, or spirit made to look like flesh? This is what the top minds in Europe thought about for hundreds of years. Imagine where we'd be if they'd put all that energy into cancer research or combating poverty. Anyway, John is clearly in the 'real flesh' section and promises that anyone on team 'fake flesh' is going to hell, so he urges his followers not to let them into their houses. He promises to come and visit soon.

3 John

John now turns his attention to someone called Gaius, about whom he heard some good things that inspired him to write. He praises him for his evanglising and for not accepting gifts from non-christians. He also passes along some gossip about a church run by one of his political enemies, a man named Diotrephes, who is trying to take over church leadership and who he unironically accuses of talking smack about him. He urges Gaius not to be swayed by Diotrephes so he can go to heaven.

And that's it. Two shortest books in the New Testament.

Friday, March 15, 2013

1 John, Chapters 1-5: The sky is falling

Chapter 1

'John', who is certainly not the same 'John' as who wrote the gospel of 'John' swears up and down he's telling the truth that he knew Jesus and by extension god and now he wants to pass along their message of light. He's also a huge talk-downer, constantly referring to his followers as little children. He informs us that we've been purged of all our sins by the blood of Christ, but then tells us we all sin, and to deny that is to lie. So the answer is to confess and be forgiven.

Chapter 2

Try not to sin. But when you inevitably do, confess and all will be well. You know Jesus if you keep his commandments. Lots of people claim to know him and not follow his teachings, but they're liars. How else can you tell if you're a believer? Well, if you love your brother, you're good. If you don't: hell. Also, don't love the world, or indulge your lusts or be proud, because this is all ending soon and the only thing that will matter is whether you obeyed god.

It's the end of days, and there are a lot of antichrists about, which 'John' defines as former believers and non-believers. Anyone who doesn't believe in both Jesus and god doesn't worship the same god, so take that, Jews! Now, sit back and get ready for the return of Jesus.

Chapter 3

The world ignores the christians, but that's okay because it will all be over soon. Meanwhile, keep hope and don't sin. Except that somewhere between chapter one and now, John has had a change of heart and decided that Whosoever abideth in him sinneth not: whosoever sinneth hath not seen him, neither known him: whosoever sinneth hath not seen him, neither known him (v. 6) In fact, the only people who sin are devils. He moves the goalposts even further, telling is that not only do christians not sin, they don't even do things that aren't righteous. So love one another, even if the world hates you. Hating your brother is akin to murder. Show your love through works. God knows what's in your heart, so all you have to do is ask for things and he'll give them. 

Chapter 4

Don't hedge your bets by worshiping every god around, you only need one. How will you know who to believe? If they say Jesus was flesh and blood, they're real. Also, the spirit is stronger in you than it is in the world. Anyway, love each other, because god is love (v. 8) and God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him (v. 9). If you love people god will live in you. If you believe in Jesus, god will love you. If you have fear, god doesn't love you, nor does he love you if you hate your brother.

Chapter 5

We know Jesus was god's son because he was baptised and then he died on the cross. Also, the father, the son and the holy ghost are the same thing and you have to believe in all three. There is something called a sin unto death (v. 16), but what that might be, John doesn't say. Also, it's possible to commit sins that don't carry the death penalty, but again, we don't know what those are. Fortunately if you're a christian, you can't sin, just all those other assholes out there. 

Sunday, March 10, 2013

2 Peter, Chapters 1-3: Red Forman's bible

Chapter 1

'Simon Peter' greets the christians and hopes they're avoiding all those icky lusts and striving to be The World's Most Perfect People so they can get into heaven! Speaking of which, he swears up and down that Jesus really is coming back to end the world, and reminds them that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation (v. 20).

Chapter 2

As the end of days approaches, there will be plenty of false prophets, and it's important not to listen to them lest you end up in hell. And believe you me, god is not shy about who ends up there: fallen angels, everyone but Noah's family, Sodom and Gomorrah. Right now he's not happy about people who walk after the flesh in the lust of uncleanness, and despise government (v. 10), which hopefully means the entire Tea Party is hell-bound. 

You won't get reported to god by those tattle-telling angels, no your own bad deeds will be obvious to god, like Balaam's.

Good lord, did you know that
dumb ass (v. 16) is a biblical saying, and not a divine revelation given to the immortal Red Forman? I did not. But that's not even the most disgusting image in this chapter. No, that title belongs to verse 22: The dog is turned to his own vomit.

Chapter 3

'Simon Peter' has another beef, this time with people who doubt that Jesus is actually coming back, seeing as we've been waiting 2000+ years now. That's just ignorance, and god is coming for you with fire, someday. We won't know when because one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. (v. 8) Of course, god doesn't actually want to send you to hell, and the best way to prevent that is to be a good christian and not read 'Paul's' letters. Wish I'd read that verse about 15 books ago.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

1 Peter, Chapters 1-5: Are you covered in blood? Good.

Apparently, Peter has spent his time between Acts 4 and now going from an illiterate speaker of Aramaic to a fluent writer of Greek. Or, you know, this letter is a fake.

Chapter 1

'Peter' writes to the elect (v. 2), who will know who they are based on whether god sprinkled some of Christ's blood on them. If so, you're going to heaven when the world ends.  Don't look like Carrie? Sorry, you're SOL. Meantime, be sober and judge people for their works.

Chapter 2

Be nice and control your lusts and Peter will use you as a stone in his building of worship. Also, brag about your good works to people and obey the king, who will punish evildoers. Slaves ought to fear their masters.

Chapter 3

We haven't talked about women for awhile, so let's do that now. Women have to obey, of course, but at the same time, their obedience has to win non-christian husbands over. It doesn't seem to occur to anyone that a wife converting while her husband remains a pagan is pretty disobedient. She also can't beguile him into faith through sexy tricks like hair braiding, lingerie or fancy jewellery. She has to be dowdy like the old testament matriarchs.

Husbands have to honour their wives as the weaker vessel (v. 7), be compassionate to others, and not get caught up in vengeance cycles. Plus, bad people can't harm you if you're faithful. Of course, if you do suffer, it's god's will, just like when Jesus died and went to hell to talk to the sinners. Furthermore, christians should be prepared to discuss their faith with anyone who asks.

'Peter' also explains to us where baptism comes from: apparently, when everybody except for Noah's family died in that flood way back when, it was actually god saving people, and dunking your head now will also get you saved. No, it is not explained what the connection between saving people by keeping them dry and saving them by getting their hair wet might be.

Chapter 4

Suffering means you aren't sinning. This will also allow you to finally give up thinking sexy thoughts like those whoring pagans and think about god until the world ends.

'Peter' also wants to tell us that Jesus went down to hell once to give the sinners a chance to repent.

Be good, be charitable, and for heaven's sake, don't murder anyone, no not even when the apocalypse starts. Speaking of apocalypses, it will be much worse for non-believers.

Chapter 5

'Peter' reminds the elders to take care of their flocks and the younger members to obey their elders. All people should remember that the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour (v. 8).

Friday, March 8, 2013

James, Chapters 1-5: Your tongue will condemn you to hell

Chapter 1

Finally! A chapter of the new testament that isn't all about Paul and his creepy sexual predilections. James informs us that he's writing to the Jewish diaspora about how to get wisdom. Namely, ask god and he'll give it to you. I check the statistics to see if that is the most abused bible verse of all time, and yup, it is. Also, if you don't get wisdom, it's your fault, because your faith wasn't perfect.

The poor will be rewarded, and the rich punished, but not until everybody's dead, of course. In fact, the very best thing to be is tempted, because if you can resist it, you'll get the crown of life (v. 12). But don't say you're tempted, because god can neither tempt nor be tempted, nor does he ever change. Your temptations are because of your sinful, human, god-created lusts, which will eventually kill you. So be good, and better yet, do good works. What might those include? Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world (v. 27). If only more christians followed that verse and didn't obsess about what happens in other people's bedrooms.

Chapter 2

A parable! I don't think we've had one of those in a donkey's age. So this is about a rich man dressed in  the gay clothing (v. 2) and a poor man, who both come into the temple. The rich man is offered the best seat in the house, whereas the poor is told to stand or crouch under someone's footstool. Lesson: don't judge a book by its cover, because god is taking the poors to heaven while the rich exploit us and sue us and blaspheme Jesus' name. 

If you do everything right, and then screw up one little thing, you're going to hell. But also if you were a merciless prick in life, you won't be shown any mercy in the afterlife. 

You can only get to heaven through good deeds, not just through faith. So if you see someone in need and wish them well, that's not enough. Also, devils believe in god.

Chapter 3

Don't become a preacher because you will be judged more harshly than others. A person who can control his own tongue is perfect and perfectly in control. He compares the tongue to a bit in a horse's mouth or a ship's rudder: a small instrument that controls a large and powerful thing. Likewise, your tongue can get you sent to hell. We are told that men can control any animal, but not his own tongue, which can be used equally well for cursing and blessing. It's like a fig tree that grows olive berries, or something. Anyway, control your tongue and you'll be saved.

Chapter 4

People suck: we fight wars, fuck people we aren't married too, and want things we can't have. Oh, we sure ask for things we want, but we don't get them because we asked in the wrong way. 

Next, James calls us adulterers because we try to hedge our bets by praying to various gods in hopes of assuring a good harvest or recovery from illness, but doing that will send us to hell. So resist greed, purify yourself, act sad and don't badmouth other people and you'll get into heaven. Finally, you are just a little speck of dust to god, and the only way to get noticed is through your good works.

Chapter 5

God is going to punish the rich by tarnishing their silver in the end times, so hold off on your jealousy now. And the end times are nigh. God is right outside the door. So don't take oaths, but pray. If you're happy, sing a psalm. If you're sick, as the others to pray for you and you'll feel better right away.  

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Hebrews, Chapters 9-13: Meat Markets

Chapter 9

You'll remember that way back in 1 Kings, god had the Israelites build a hideously-decorated temple to store Moses' crap in while he was 'between places.' Turns out it wasn't just Moses' stuff, it was also a pot of manna they were saving for the end times and Aaron's stick just in case they, I dunno, needed to hit someone or something. Oh, also all this had been sprinkled with mixed cow and goat blood. No wonder they never picked it up. You'll also remember that most of the priests could only go into the first chamber of the temple, and only the high priest could go into the inner chamber, and he had to bring blood with him, because god is Ron Swanson. But none of that got you into heaven! In fact, it was blocking the way to heaven. Nope, that was the old system, and now Jesus is taking us to an even better afterlife. So now we don't have to sacrifice things, because god is satisfied with Jesus' blood. Also, you can't have a testament without somebody dying.

Chapter 10

God cannot try you twice for the same sin. Since sacrifices are reminders of past sins, they actually offend him now. Jesus forgets our sins, except for those of his enemies, whom he uses as a footstool. Plus, I think whichever one of Moses' sons in law was running the meat market behind the temple is now out of favour. So now believers should encourage each other to do good works while they wait for the end times, and not dwell too gleefully on how the Jews are all going to hell when Jesus comes back.

Chapter 11

Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen (v. 1). Seems about right. Also, god created the universe, and what we see is not what we are made of. 

Without faith, you can't please god. Then we get a list of people from the book of Genesis who supposedly pleased god, like Abel, who was murdered. Or Abraham, who was all set to kill his son Isaac on god's whim, a sort of practice Jesus. Or a bunch of nameless people who were tortured and asked for more because it meant a better afterlife. 

Chapter 12

Strip off all that baggage of laws and sacrifices and just sit naked for a while and think about Jesus. And if you get scourged or told off, just know that it's god's way of showing his love for you. In fact, if god isn't abusing you, you're clearly a bastard and not a real son. In exchange for being tortured, you can't have premarital sex or swear. And you will get to climb a mountain. Not a physical mountain, like the one Moses went up, the one where if you touched it, they stoned you to death. No, you're going to god's metaphysical city on a hill, when he destroys the world.

Chapter 13

Be nice to other people, including slaves. And don't go to prostitutes. And be content with your lot in life, so you won't go seeking satisfaction through other religions.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Hebrews, Chapters 5-8: Snoozefest

Chapter 5

God selects priests to be his holy representatives. Also, Jesus didn't really want to die, but god brought him to heaven because he was obedient and now he's in heaven and a priest of Melchisedec. They would like to explain this further, but the audience is really dumb, so progress is slow. They should be teachers by now, but they're only going over the basics. 'Paul' calls them babies, unable to distinguish right from wrong.

Chapter 6

Now we're going to talk about perfection and the doctrine of baptisms, and of laying on of hands, and of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment (v. 2). Thrilling. Ex-christians can never come back to the fold because it's like nailing Jesus to that cross all over again. Also, they're hell-bound. Not this congregation, of course! There's still hope for them. So work hard and remember that even Abraham had kids eventually and you'll get into heaven, where Jesus is waiting.

Chapter 7

Who is this Melchidesec that Hebrews is suddenly so enamoured with? Well, he's the king that met Abraham and blessed him after the slaughter of the kings way back in Genesis 14. Abraham gave him 10 percent of his war spoils. We know nothing else about this man, except that he's the reason you're supposed to pledge a tenth of your earnings to the church. According to 'Paul', the person who gives the blessing is better, as is the person who gets the tithes, because priests die, but Melchidesec is still out there, somewhere, like Godot. Also, if the Levite priests were so awesome, how come there's a new priestly order, hmm? And, here's the kicker: Jesus was from the tribe of Juda and he's also immortal. So there's a new priesthood, not based on blood, but on oath-taking and Jesus' priesthood is forever. And now barbecues, please, he's into promises, not sacrifices.

Chapter 8

We need a new covenant, because if the first one had been perfect, we wouldn't need a new one. So soon god will wash away the dirty old covenant.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Hebrews, Chapters 1-4: You didn't build that

Chapter 1

God used to speak to us through all kinds of prophets, like Ezekiel, who used to bake bread over a fire made of his own crap, or Jeremiah, running around wearing a yoke and shrieking about Babylonian exile, or Isaiah, wandering the desert, naked and sans sunscreen. But then he got the (comparatively) brilliant idea to use just one prophet: Jesus, who came along to tell us the world is ending.

Chapter 2

Pay attention, because god is watching for your sins so he'll have an excuse to send you to hell. Yup, that's exactly what I got from Jesus as well. After all, he'll be in charge of the next world, not angels.

So why did god make men? And why does he care so bloody much what we think of him? And why are we in charge of everything? The answer, as always, is Jesus, who died for your sins. Why god would still be looking for reasons to cast you into the underworld is not clear. Also, Jesus' death was supposed to destroy the devil, so: fail. Also, because Jesus was tempted (he was?) he has sympathy for people who have also been tempted. Not enough to save them from hell, though.

Chapter 3

'Paul' (the author never even claims to be Paul) to Moses: you didn't build that, so you aren't as good as Jesus. Also, if you don't believe in god, you can't go to heaven and will have to wander the desert for 40 years like those old testament idiots.

Chapter 4

If you don't fear god and work hard, you won't go to heaven.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Philemon, Chapter 1: A message from your bowels

Paul is still in prison, or back in prison, it's not clear. Having a lot of time on his hands, he sends a letter to Philemon and Apphia and Archippus, who run a church out of Philemon's living room. Anyway, Paul really likes them, to the point where the bowels of the saints are refreshed by thee, brother (v. 7). He's writing because he's found Philemon's lost slave, Onesimus, who, it would seem, robbed his master and ran off, where he was unfortunate enough to encounter Paul. He has become a Christian, and as a reward, Paul is now sending him back to slavery. However, he urges Philemon to treat him kindly when he returns. Paul promises to repay Onesimus' debts, even though Philemon owes Paul for saving his soul. What he completely neglects to do in the letter though, is condemn slavery, as it might piss off one of his rich donors.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Titus, Chapters 1-3: World's worst advice column

Chapter 1

'Paul' (not Paul) reminds us that God, that cannot lie (v. 2) has promised to destroy the world and bring all his followers to heaven. He's writing to Titus, who is in Crete, and is having problems with his congregation. He reminds Titus that his assignment was to correct any false beliefs among the faithful and appoint new priests. He reminds us about the rules for priests: monogamous, well-behaved children, not a drunkard, hospitable, etc. 

Titus' specific problem is those lying Jews, who are lying to the congregation and must be stopped. One of them went so far as to say The Cretians are always liars, evil beasts, slow bellies (v. 12). As if the bible has always been so tolerant of foreigners. 'Paul' wants him to rebuke the liars and convince them to return to the fold.

Chapter 2

'Paul' thinks old people are sober and wise, but that young women need to be taught to be
obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed (v. 3) and that young men are drunkards. Slaves should likewise be obedient to their masters and shouldn't steal. Everyone should be honest and do good works.

Chapter 3

Be good, but also remember that no matter how good you are, god will pick and choose who's going to heaven and who isn't. Avoid genealogy and unrepentant heretics.

'Paul' promises to sends reinforcements and invites Titus to spend the winter with him in Nicopolis. He tells him to bring two friends and a case of beer.

Monday, February 18, 2013

2 Timothy, Chapters 1-4: Are your ears itching?

Chapter 1

'Paul' (widely believed to be not Paul) is writing again to Timothy. Timothy is apparently a 3rd generation Christian, since his grandmother Lois was a convert, and his mother Eunice was also one. It does not mention whether they are secretaries, but with names like that, what else could they be?

He talks about the joys of loving god, but also the sorrows. Apparently no one in Asia likes him anymore, and he's in prison on Rome.

Chapter 2

'Paul' tells Timothy to be strong and stay away from non-christians and remember he knows everything because of Jesus, who is also allowing 'Paul' to endure his suffering. He reminds us that the end is near, so be good, don't talk about non-church things, like his current bugbears Hymenaeus and Philetus, who have convinced people that the resurrection already happened. But not to worry! God knows who the faithful are and Jesus will absolve you of your sins.

Then he goes on to talk about flatware. Rich people have all kinds of nice table settings that they should get rid of, and donate the money to the church. Instead they should eat off their crappy everyday plates. Also, be good and don't ask silly questions and be good to non-christians, because god might still save them in the end.

Chapter 3

In the end of days, men will turn evil and commit a long list of sins, perhaps the most interesting of which is that they will seduce silly women (v. 6) who are Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth (v. 7). But not to worry! We'll be able to identify them easily because of how foolish they'll look. 'Paul' talks some more about how he's been persecuted everywhere he goes, but that's just what christians have to put up wit and urges them to study their books because All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness (v. 16). That's also why we can't change a single word in this idiot book.

Chapter 4

Preach the word, because the time will come when people with itching ears (v. 2) will get desperate and will listen to anything anyone wants to talk to them about, which sounds like exactly the type of person you want joining your religion.

'Paul' is getting lonely in prison, because everyone except Luke has abandoned him, and begs Timothy to come see him and bring Mark. We don't find out why Luke isn't enough, like, is he one of those people who will not shut up about Girls even though you've never seen it and you think Lena Dunham's overrated? He also wants his cloak, some books and especially parchments. He also warns Timothy that he's fallen out with someone named Alexander the carpenter. Anyway, he signs off with love and kisses.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

1 Timothy, Chapters 1-6: Everything offensive about the entire book

Chapter 1

'Paul' (widely considered to be not Paul) is writing to Timothy in Ephesus, where he apparently left him when he went to Macedonia. He asks Timothy for news, and specifically instructs him Neither give heed to fables and endless genealogies (v. 4). Then he starts right in on laws, which are not written for righteous (v. 9) people, but for perverts, kidnappers and murderers. He reminds us once again that he used to be a blasphemer himself and even calls himself the chief sinner, but says it's fine because he was ignorant at the time. He's now writing to Timothy with instructions on dealing with similar sinners in Ephesus, two of whom he calls out by name: Hymenaeus and Alexander (v. 20).

Chapter 2

The first thing to do is pray. Well, the men should pray. Women should adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with braided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array (v. 9) and then learn in silence with all subjection, because I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence (v. 11-12). Actually, let Pastor Deacon Fred read it out loud to you. It's terrifying. Anyway, how does Paul justify all this? Well, Adam was first and he was smarter than Eve, at least until her magical vagina convinced him to eat the apple. Anyway, if you do all that, you won't have pain in child birth.

Chapter 3

Now, the rules for how to be a bishop: You can't be polygamous or a drunkard (which 'Paul' repeats 3 times, leading me to believe he was drunk when he wrote this) nor own a lot of gold; you have to have good control of your children; you can't be a new convert, but you still need ties to the outside. Finally, you have to be a member of the church in good standing. Even though your wife must take no role in the church, she still needs to be a sober and faithful person.

Chapter 4

As the end times draw near, people will be seduced by evil spirits and will stop marrying and turn vegetarian, when actually, god put all those delicious, meaty animals on earth so we can eat them. No, never mind that other letter that the (possibly) real Paul wrote a few books ago about how it's better not to marry unless you're super horny! He also tells us not to listen to fables and that exercise isn't necessary. This chapter ought to quell any doubts anyone out there is having about whether the bible is a great lifestyle guide. 

Chapter 5

Be nice to people, except widows with children or grandchildren, who should learn piety at home by taking care of her. Failure to do so makes them worse than infidels. If a widow is over 60, doesn't have children, and isn't out carousing at night, she can pray, and maybe god will take care of her.  If she's under 60, though, don't give her shit, because eventually she'll get horny and remarry someone who isn't a christian. Besides which, young widows are just idle busybodies who go from house to house spreading gossip. Nope, better for women who still can to get married and have kids so they'll be too busy to rebuke people or think about Satan. Other rules: be nice to old people, especially leaders, and real widows, pay workers, only accuse old people of crimes if 2 or 3 people saw it, rebuke sinners in public, drink wine, never mind what he said in just the last chapter, don't hit people unless they hit first.

Chapter 6

Slaves, honour your masters, especially if they're christians, too. People who disagree are know-nothings and will only pervert you, so stay away. Remember that we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out (v. 7) and be happy as long as you have food and clothing. Rich people are prone to lusts and since the love of money is the root of all evil (v. 9), why not donate all yours to the church? Paul signs off with love and kisses and hopes to see them all in the afterlife.

Friday, February 8, 2013

2 Thessalonians: That's great, it starts with an earthquake, birds and snakes, an aeroplane

Chapter 1

'Paul' (probably not Paul, as this is another one of those letters whose provenance is in question) and Timothy write back to the Thessalonians to encourage them to pray because they've got apocalypse on the brain, and it's going to be a doozy: think flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God... Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction (v. 8-9).

Chapter 2

Ironically, someone claiming to be 'Paul' wrote to the Thessalonians awhile ago about doomsday and got them all confused! See, we'll know it's happening because first there will be a lot of apostasy, and then Satan will come back. So basically, any day ever? But no, some mysterious force is holding the evil back until Jesus comes along to eat him, but not before Satan manages to fuck shit up. Then Jesus will kill all the unbelievers, for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie (v. 11). He also chose who the believers would be, btw, and is going to bring them to heaven.

Chapter 3

Long story short: the world isn't ending quite yet, so believers should withdraw from the world while continuing to work. He puts this admonishment in because apparently some members of the congregation took their doomsday prepping a mite too seriously and now don't have jobs or food or anything. 'Paul' doesn't have any sympathy for the stupid, saying if any would not work, neither should he eat (v. 10). If anyone doesn't like the contents of this letter, the others should shun him, because 'Paul' ain't fucking around anymore.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

1 Thessalonians, Chapters 1-5: Gentlemen, control your vessels

Chapter 1

Paul, Silvanius and Timothy all send love and kisses to the church they've established in Thessalonia. Also, they are so, so, glad they will be with them when the apocalypse happens.

Chapter 2

Paul reminds the Thessalonians about how he was abused in Phillipi, but still got it together to come to them and convert them through endless proselytizing. And now the Thessalonians themselves are also being abused, just like the Jews persecuted Jesus and have forbidden Paul & co. from hectoring people on the streets. Anyway, Paul promises to visit soon, but right now Satan's keeping him away.

Chapter 3

Paul thought the apocalypse was nigh and sent Timothy to make sure the Thessalonians were properly faithful, and he was so, so happy to find out they're good little apocalyptic believers. Godot-like, he promises to visit soon to iron out any small misunderstandings in their faith. Until then, he reminds them to be charitable.

Chapter 4

Paul reminds the Thessalonians of the rules he set out on his last visit, namely no fornicating and for god's sake, gentlemen, control your vessel in sanctification and honour (v. 4). Whether your vessel is your wife or your penis is a matter of interpretation and icky either way. Other rules: no stealing, no hatefulness, convert people, work hard and forget about dead people, because you'll see them in heaven.

Chapter 5

Nobody knows when doomsday will happen. But the believers will be prepared, whereas the unbelievers will feel the destruction like a woman's labour. Until then, no drinking, be nice to people, and pray.

I love it when entire books can be summarised in under an hour.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Colossians, Chapters 1-4: Circumcised by Jesus

Chapter 1

'Paul' (probably not Paul) is writing to his faithful followers in Colossae, who he does not know personally, but about whom he has been hearing good things from his friend Epaphras.

Chapter 2

Paul has been struggling for the Colossian congregation and another one at Laodicea, both of whom have been tempted by false preachers. He informs them that they have been circumcised, not by a Mohel but by Jesus, and not actually but spiritually. Also, when you get baptised you die and then you're reborn. Another thing Jesus did: nail the Old Testament laws to the cross. So no one can tell you what to eat or drink or when to party like it's 62AD. In fact, you don't have to follow any earthly rules at all! Rules are for fools and don't actually help you to keep your base nature in check.

Chapter 3

Sex and death. Death and sex. Since the world is ending and Jesus is coming back, we need to put our best feet forward, which means no more fornicating, nay, not even lusting after people, greed or evil concupiscence (v. 5), whatever that is. Also, no anger, blasphemy, swearing or lying, which will be hard, considering we lie 10 times a day. Anyway, trade all that fun stuff in for meekness, humbleness, forgiveness, charity, because that's what Jesus would do.

All that jazz in the last chapter about the lack of need for rules? Well, that was only for the firstborn sons of firstborn sons. Wives need to submit to their husbands, husbands need only love their wives, children have to be obedient, and parents shouldn't provoke their children and finally, slaves need to obey their masters, even when they're out of the room.

Chapter 4

Slave owners need to be just and fair to their slaves. What that means, or how that's possible with that kind of power dynamic in place is not explained. Try to be an interesting conversationalist so you can convert people.

Paul informs them that he's sending his associate Tychicus and Onesius to them and also sends regards from a bunch of other people and asks them to forward the letter to Laodicea when they've finished.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Phillipians, Chapters 1-4: Greetings from the bowels of Christ

Chapter 1

Paul and Timotheus send their greetings from Christ's bowels. I am not making this up. He also has some serious topics to discuss, namely strife and envy and how much he's looking forward to dying when Jesus comes back and destroys the world. Also, he wants them to know that even if he's not there, his spies report back on what happens in their congregation.

Chapter 2

If there's a good thing about living in Christs intestinal tract, it's that everyone thinks the same and is humble and compassionate. Also, even though we're in his bowels, we have to kneel every time his name is mentioned. And don't bitch about it, because you're setting an example for those godless heathens around you.

He promises to send Timotheus along, and hopes to make an appearance himself, but only if god wants it. He's also sending Epaphroditus, who is feeling better, thanks to god, who also spared Paul all the grief of finding a new apostle.

Chapter 3

It's been a whole 3 chapters since anyone mentioned foreskins, so Paul opens this chapter with 5 verses on circumcision. To sum up, it was a Jewish thing. Christians are much more concerned about where you go when you die.

Paul reminds us that he was a Pharisee and therefore is circumcised. But now he only cares about faith and death and resurrection.

Chapter 4

They say that anything you put online will still be there in a thousand years. So imagine the embarrassment and shame of two women, Euodias and Syntyche, who had a fight two thousand years ago that got them into the bible. Paul entreats them to kiss and make up so they can go to heaven. Oh, and whoever sent him a sacrifice? Thanks, but he doesn't need those anymore.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Ephesians, Chapters 4-6: Submit you wives, children and slaves

Chapter 4

It's very important for christians to stick together in one belief system, because there is only one god, who sent us people like 'Paul' to clarify that system for us. When we've worked it all out, we'll stop being children chasing after faddish, satanic prophets. So the gentiles have to throw off their old sinning ways and follow Christ, which means no lying, no going to bed angry, stop stealing, don't piss the holy spirit off, be  nice and forgive people. All very good things, if only they were the sole subject of this book.

Chapter 5

See, here's where all the stuff in the previous chapter, no matter how nice it is, is negated by the bullshit that makes up the rest of the book. So here's how not to be a christian: fornicating, failing to shower, jealousy, idle chitchat, drinking. All those things, no matter how vital to a functioning society, will lead you straight to hell.

And then we get to the biggest, steamiest pile of bullshit in the book: Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord.  For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church (v. 22-23). Men, on the other hand, only have to love their wives, because they aren't property. And then we get to the creepiest verse of them all: For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh (v. 31)

Chapter 6

Children need to be obedient, but parents shouldn't seek to piss them off, either. Slaves have to obey their masters, which good ole Jerry, a card-carrying member of the 1 percent, takes to mean that employees should seek the best for their employers. In the end, whether you were a slave or a free man, you'll get your reward in heaven. Never on earth, of course. That would be... fair, or something. Masters shouldn't threaten their slaves. Everybody has to be strong in the lord and put on his armour to fight off Satan. 'Paul' lists off the various bits of armour: the shield of faith (v. 16) and the helmet of salvation (v. 17) and of course, prayer.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Ephesians, Chapters 1-3: Living in sin

Chapter 1

'Paul' (probably not Paul) sends his blessings to the Ephesians, and a reminder: god picked you before he made the world, and whether you're going up or down after is already determined. Why this means you can't sleep until noon and spend the day watching The Real Housewives of Toledo and eating potato chips, because you can't change your fate, is not explained. All this is true because of Jesus dying, which also gave us wisdom and sound judgement and enlightenment. Which again, I don't see the use of, since everything was decided, at least according to my crazy creationist yet oddly useful bible comparison website, sometime before 4000 BCE.

Chapter 2

A cheery reminder that all christians used to live in sin, under the command of the devil, which at least was fun, because you go to indulge in the lusts of our flesh (v. 3), but was also occasionally punished by god. But god decided to forgive us by sending his son to be slaughtered alongside criminals, then force you to believe in him, so somehow that makes everything okay? I guess? Also, you can't buy salvation through circumcision.

Because of course we're never finished talking about foreskins. This particular congregation is apparently made up entirely of ex-gentiles and therefore not privy to the wonderous nature of cutting of a little band of flesh. But now they're friends with god, and they don't even have to mutilate themselves.

Chapter 3

Before, gentiles couldn't know god, but now they can, thanks to 'Paul.' Fortunately, this is a short book, because it's super-repetitive.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Galatians, Chapters 4-6: Go castrate yourself!

D'oh! One of my New Year's resolutions in 2012 was to finish reading the bible and I've still got 17 books and just under 300 pages to go. Hopefully I'll have this sucker done with by 2014.

Chapter 4

You won't amount to much until you die. Because, see, a christian is a child of Christ, a kid might as well be a slave until he grows up to inherit his father's wealth, and you won't get any of that until death.

Before the congregation got to know god, they were slaves to other gods. And yet, now they're turning back to their old habits and Paul's worried he's done all this work in vain. He wants to stay with them until they die, see. He links it all to Abraham and his two sons, Isaac, the result of divine promise, and Ishmael, the result of unprotected sex with a slave girl. Christians are Isaac, being persecuted by Ishmael, the Jews. And as the scripture says, they need to cast out Hagar and Ishmael, because they're free.

Chapter 5

Whatever you do, don't get circumcised. Jesus, who was circumcised, no longer likes it and won't allow you into heaven on the basis of presence or absence of a bit of penile skin. What will get you in? faith which worketh by love (v. 6). This entire chapter is a treasure trove of famous biblical sayings. Just 3 verses later we get A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump (v. 9) But here it's about bad people putting false ideas into believers' heads.

Speaking of agitators, Paul wants them to self-castrate, just like he wants believers to love one another without giving into the sins of the flesh, which Freud might call your id and which is constantly battling with the holy spirit, or superego. These two forces are at constant war with each other, and both keep you from doing what you want.

Among the more fun sins of the flesh: fornication, drunkenness and orgies. You're supposed to nail them to the cross with Jesus. On the other side, you've got the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance (v. 22-23)

Chapter 6

If someone succumbs to temptation, help him without succumbing yourself. Don't be an egoist. Work hard. Be faithful. Don't sin. Take joy in doing good turns. Don't believe people who try to convince you to get circumcised.