6/26/2003                                                                                       View Comments

Will I Die?

The fear of death is the primary means of control that Christianity uses to capture the minds and emotions of thousands of followers around the world. Without the fear of death, there is absolutely no motivation for a person to indenture themselves to the life robbing and mind numbing slavery of the Christ cult. Even Paul the Apostle admits that if there is no resurrection then following the path of Christ makes a person miserable. Take away the fear of death and the promise of some future pie in the sky and the premise of loving GOD just because he is god, is thrown right out the window.

Christianity continually makes the unfounded promise of eternal life to believers, but it also promises eternal life to non-believers. Think about it: the lambs of god go straight to heaven for an eternal life with their god while the infidels reside in hell forever and ever. It seems to me that everyone is destined to live forever in Christian theology. There is no annihilation in any mainline Christian teachings. Everyone lives forever.

Those who reject Christ have to spend their eternal life in hell though. Until recent history, hell was always portrayed as a variation on Dante's Inferno with burning flames, sulfurous gases, horrific screaming in agony, and so on. Now, evangelical Christianity leads us to believe that hell is merely separation from god. As such the descriptions in the Bible are reduced to an anthropomorphic way to help us poor small-minded mortals understand a state of being we cannot fully comprehend. I won't belabor the attempt on the part of Christianity to distance themselves from the lake of fire visualization; it is just that according to Christian theology, GOD is omnipresent. He is everywhere all the time. Where would this place be that is separated from GOD? If god is everywhere, then he is in whatever hell is. If God is in hell then hell cannot be a separation from GOD now can it?

If you want to hold on to the Christian afterlife worldview, then you must realize that you will live forever regardless of your faith or lack of faith and there is nowhere in the universe that you can be separated from GOD. Since GOD is love, you cannot be separated from the love of GOD.

Christianity is so full of logical errors that it astounds me sometimes at how I was able to swallow the load of crap for so many long wasted years.

I read Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut Jr. many years ago and it made a big impression on me. The hero of the story has the interesting experience of getting "unstuck in time'" One minute he is walking on the beach as a middle aged man and the next he is a young man on a war torn battlefield. As the plot unfolds we see his life from one end to the other, but not in a traditionally linear order. He learns how to go to different times in his life that are pleasant and avoid the painful or traumatic times.

So what's the point?

I want to suggest that all of us really do live forever even without the illusions of complicated religion. So much of our lives and the way we understand the world is a matter of perception. If I believe other people like me, that I am good looking and a very luck guy, then in truth, I am. If however I believe I am ugly, disliked, hated, and very unlucky, then that is the truth. I am really the same either way, but my self-perception greatly alters the way I view my personal reality. I want to suggest that if we alter the way we view time, then much of our fear of death will vanish. If it were possible to travel back in time we would be able to meet our favorite historical figures. While we were there, would those people be alive or dead? Naturally if we were in the past with them, they would be alive. In 1960 I am two years old. In 1960 I will always be 2 years old. I will never cease to be 2 years old in 1960. In fact I am eternally 2 back then. Nothing can ever change that. On the day of my death I will stop accumulating experiences, but those that I have experienced will forever reside somewhere in the fabric of time.

Whenever I remember family and friends that have passed from life as I know it, I visualize times and places we spent together. In my memory they are still alive, still laughing, still having fun. They live in my memory and they live in the past. I too live in the past with them. A younger version of myself lives in the past doing exactly what I did then.

Now maybe I am really reaching with this one. It is likely that my fascination for science fiction has gotten the better of me here. I can admit that my version of a naturalistic afterlife is inventive to the point of complete fantasy. I think the senario I present here is no less fantastic than the one which says there is an angry god bent on burning infidels in a fiery pit of infernal damnation so that they will endure an eternity of pain and suffering just because they used their brains and rejected a screwy religious cult.

As an addendum to this rant, I quote Vonnegut in Chapter 2 of Slaughterhouse 5, "'When a Tralfamadorian sees a corpse, all he thinks is that the dead person is in a bad condition in that particular moment, but that same person is just fine in plenty of other moments. Now, when I myself hear that somebody is dead, I simply shrug and say what the Tralfamadorians say about dead people, which is 'So it goes'.''

6/22/2003                                                                                       View Comments

Love Not the World

I really love being alive. I love everything about it. I like it when I feel good and everything is going my way, and I find a certain pleasure in overcoming the various difficulties that challenge me as the years roll past. I like being a man. I think being born in the USA where my security is not threatened and where my freedoms are protected is awesome. I love the age I live in. The technological gizmos and gadgets that I enjoy fill my day with wonder and fun. You might say that I "love the world."

The Christian message touts itself as being "good news." The message is hopelessly mixed. While claiming to be a positive force, in reality it is riddled with negative pessimism.

I was a Christian for 30 years, I know the rhetoric. God sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. We have eternal live through His name. We deserve the punishment of eternal damnation in Hell for our rebellion against GOD, but in his amazing love and mercy HE developed a plan to rescue us from our fate.

The gospel is positive, so the Christian says. The gospel is positive, so I also said when I counted myself among the "elect."

The core of Christianity is a story of dark foreboding. It tells us that life on earth is nothing, or less than nothing.. "Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world." "For Demas hath forsaken me, having loved this present world," " He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me." "Teaching us that, denying ... worldly lusts,"

Family is to be abandoned if it interferes with devotion to the god. Physical pleasure is to be shunned. This life is nothing but a staging ground for eternal bliss in the afterlife. Nothing you do here on earth is of any importance is it is not somehow related to spreading the gospel or glorifying the Christian deity. Inventors, explorers, scientists, psychologists, or anyone else that attempts to understand the world with the goal of enhancing or bettering human lives on this terrestrial ball are looked on with distrust and condemned if their world view reflects a lack of belief that their lives are in the hands of an angry god.

Christians are taught to be in wonder of creation. They are taught to be grateful to the Lord above for the gifts he so freely bestows on each of them. They are told to mimic the patience of Job when adversity strikes, because GOD, in his incomprehensible wisdom, is testing them for so greater of an unexplained reason. They are also taught to be afraid, to be very afraid: heaven for the elect; hell for the damned.

While I will admit that Christianity provides a nice mental escape from some of the harsh realities of life, if your life is going good, it offers nothing but criticisms. "Woe to the rich." "Woe unto you that are full!" "Woe, woe, woe, to the inhabiters of the earth."

I am sitting on the porch of my house as I type this rant. My shirt is open and the heat of the sun feels magnificent. Life is grand. My wife loves me and I love her. Two of my children are on the honor roll, and I have one son serving in the Marines I never miss a day of work, and I am good at what I do. I pay my bills early and I have nearly no debt at all. I am not rich, by American standards, but I live and eat very well. My health and the health of my family is good. I am appreciative that I have such a pleasant situation. I am also an apostate and therefore worse than pond scum in Christian theology. I realize that adversity will come. My health, or the health of my loved ones will fail one day. I will die. This is reality. But to say that the life I lead now is of no value, simply because it is "mortal" is pathetic. I know I won't live forever, but I also know that my life, although short, is a wonderful thing.

Christianity tells me that life on earth sucks and then you die. If you don't believe in Jesus, life sucks and then you roast in hell forever and ever and ever and ever and ever.... Christianity also tells me that life on earth sucks, but, if you believe and obey Jesus you get to live forever, and that's the only way to keep it from sucking. That's right, believe and obey is what I said. How else will you demonstrate that you believe unless you obey? Saved by faith? Sure.. , but without obedience, there is no real evidence of belief.

Christianity claims to offer freedom, a positive outlook and a life after death, when in reality it requires bondage to a religious dogma, a functional hate of the only life we have, a terrible separation from loved ones who don't agree, and a fantasy of some sort of after life that will make real life pale to inconsequence in comparison. If you are a Christian, you will be happy forever in paradise, so the promise goes. If your loved ones don't believe, they will be tortured for eternity. Regardless of that, you will be mindlessly happy for ever and ever and ever, even with the knowledge that they are in horrible and never ending torment at the hands of your loving (angry) god.

If your life is filled with nothing but impossible poverty, disease or death, then I can understand the need to escape your reality with the promise of a future life where every tear will be wiped from your eyes, but if you love life, be assured you are making the right decision by leaving the false hope of Christianity far behind.

6/19/2003                                                                                       View Comments

What is Atheism Really All About?

by Richard Carrier (1996)

"He who decides a case without hearing the other side, even if he decides justly, cannot be considered just" -- Seneca

What is an Atheist?

An atheist is a person who does not believe that any gods exist.

Why don't you believe in God?

There is simply no more evidence for Jehovah than there is for Zeus. Christians find no reason to believe that Zeus exists, so they do not believe in him. For the same reason, I do not believe in Jehova. God himself is more than welcome to share an honest conversation with me. Until he does, I have no reason to trust that anyone is a reliable spokesman for any god.

Don't you want to go to heaven?

I do not believe there is a heaven. But even if a real heaven did exist, and for some reason a god chose who went and who didn't, if that god is a good and noble being he will judge me for my value as a human being, and not for my belief in him.

How can you turn your back on true happiness?

I cannot imagine being happier than I have been already. I live a very spiritual, fulfilling life, and am filled with an abiding love of being and thinking. I find love, reason and a practical, humble approach to life to be more than enough for me.

How can you trust sinful humans, ignoring all the good god does?

It offends me that an invisible god is given credit for every good thing that happens in the world, while every evil is blamed on humanity. There is much evil in the world that is not the fault of human beings, such as ignorance and disease and droughts, and most of the things that are good are entirely the product of human love, effort or genius, such as friendship and vaccines and even irrigation pipes.

Not all human beings are evil. We all possess great potential for good. Yet a god could do so much good in the world that is not being done, such as warning innocent children when to stay away from danger, or preventing too many people from being born, or turning all the weapons in the world into flowers. Surely a loving god would do these things, and more, just as any wise and compassionate human being would if they had the means.

And so, when a doctor saves someone's life, we truly owe our thanks to the doctor, and the society that made her education possible. It is insulting to both when a god is thanked for something that he could have done himself but didn't. If a loving god really existed, we would not need doctors in the first place.

If there is no god, then where do you think the universe came from?

I do not even know if the universe had a beginning, much less what may have started it. No one knows. Inventing a god to do the creating only leaves open the question of where that god came from.

So why be moral?

I dislike the kind of people who hurt me or lie to me or who are insincere or inconsiderate. Thus, if I were to be like such people, I could not escape disliking myself. I could never do something that would make me the sort of person I hate, because I could never be truly happy if I hated myself, no matter how hard I tried to rationalize what I have done. But this also means that to truly like myself, and thus to be truly happy, I must be the sort of person I really like, and I like people who are honest and principled and who care about others. So I strive to be like the sort of person I see to be good. I have also found that virtue earns stronger and fonder friendships, and secures the trust of my neighbors, and both of these things are essential to living a good, full life.

What do you think happens when you die?

I see that the brain is what gives me existence, and I depend on its health for my ability to think and survive. When the brain dies, I die, and when the brain ceases to exist, so do I. I do not find this to be sad. We all enjoy everything we experience, even when it doesn't last. I love life deeply, and as death would end my experience of living and loving I do not want to die. But I do not fear death, because there is no reason to fear the end of fear itself.

What about all the people who experience god?

There are people in the world who experience the essence of Buddha, who remember past lives, who truly feel the power of ritual magic in their lives, or who walk with the spirits of their ancestors. There are so many different experiences I do not think it is wise to arbitrarily assume that any one of them is truer than another.

I have looked all over the world, and I see Buddhists are mostly in Asia, Hindus mostly in India, Muslims mostly in the Middle East, and Christians mostly in the West. The idea of god, and all the assumptions of our respective religions, are taught to us as children. That Americans are mostly Christian is more likely the result of Christianity being taught there, and not the result of that religion actually being true or superior to any other.

Haven't Christian values done much good in the world?

I know that people have done much good in the world, whether they were Christians like Martin Luther King Jr., or Hindus like Gandhi, or atheists like Elizabeth Cady Stanton. Honesty and compassion are good values anywhere. They are not unique to Christianity.

So what do you believe in?

I believe in many things. I believe in the potential of humanity, in the power of reason, in the comfort of love, and in the value of truth. I also believe in the beauty and joy of human experience, and the nearly unlimited power of the human will to endure almost any hardship or solve almost any problem.

I believe that faith can mislead people into falsehood, and that we need reason and doubt as necessary checks against our capacity for error. I believe that we need to allow our fellow human beings to make choices for themselves and to live the life they wish to, in mutual peace and goodwill.

I believe that political negotiation and compromise -- fuelled by an honest measure of respect for different opinions, beliefs and lifestyles -- is the only way the world will find universal peace and goodwill, and that using the scientific method is the only way the world can arrive at an agreement on the truth about anything.

I believe that it is better to preach the gospel of "be good to your fellow man, and love each other as life itself," than to preach the gospel of "believe in our religion or be damned." For it is better to be good to each other and to build on what we all agree to be true, than to insist that we all think alike.


Copyright 1996. Copying is freely permitted, provided credit is given to the author. No material herein may be sold for profit.


HUMANITATE MAGIS QUAM RELIGIONE NOBIS OPUS EST

"We need humanity more than religion"

6/18/2003                                                                                       View Comments

HOLY SHIT!!

HOLY SHIT Thousands of pilgrims are flocking to upper New York State to view this likeness of Jesus Christ which mysteriously appeared on several sheets of bathroom tissue.

Mrs. Georgia Logsdon claims that the likeness of Christ appeared while she was suffering from a severe case of intestinal influenza.

"I had been sick for days", Mrs. Logsdon recounts, "And I had spent most of my time in the bathroom."

"After one of my particularly violent bowel movements, I prayed to Jesus that I would get over this malady quickly. In the process of cleaning myself, I noticed that a section of the soiled sheets bore a striking resemblance to Jesus. I knew then that my prayers had been answered."

Mrs. Logsdon reports that upon gazing at the visage of Christ, her intestinal problems abruptly ceased. The healing power of the mysterious image in not limited to Mrs. Logsdon. Her husband, Edward, also claims of being relieved of hemhorroid pain after seeing the tissue.

A neighbor, Viola Henderson, states that her dog, Speezo, was cured of ringworm after he sniffed the image.

6/13/2003                                                                                       View Comments

Jesus Loves Me

Jesus Loves YOU!sung to the tune of "Jesus Loves Me"

Jesus loves me, every day,
Christians prove it when they say,
"Read it in John 3:16,
the love of God so plainly seen."

(chorus:)
Yes Jesus loves me
Yes Jesus Loves ME
YES JESUS LOVES ME
the bible tells me so.

I decide to read their book
written by their Holy Spook
JESUS LOVES METhreats of judgement on each page
A loving of God from age to age

(chorus)

Romans rings a tolling bell
for all those He made for hell
Comprehend His love today
chapter 9 explains His way.

(chorus)

Jesus wants me to believe
that he loves me don't you see
But if I reject his song
He will make me suffer long

(chorus)

I love my children just like GOD
I chasten them the whole day long
If they refuse to worship me
My wrath will burn eternally
You're Going to HELL - DUDE!
CHORUS:

Yes Jesus loves me
Yes Jesus Loves ME
YES JESUS LOVES ME
the bible tells me so.

6/09/2003                                                                                       View Comments

In The Beginning... God Was Nuts!!!

by Mark Smith 1/31/91

According to the Bible, in the Book of Genesis, Biblegod created from mud and/or a rib, presto-chango, the innocents named Adam and Eve, and placed them in the middle of a wondrous playground called "The Garden of Eden". These two were literally babes in the woods. They would have been a hundred times more naive than any three year old around today. According to the story in Genesis (there are two contradictory ones to pick from, by the way) Adam and Eve were without any "knowledge of Good and Evil". Anyone could have told them to stick their hands into a fire, and they would have innocently done so without question or hesitation. In other words, they were the proverbial "blank slate" when it comes to gullibility.

But why is this the way it was? Christians claim these two were created perfect, with no faults or shortcomings whatsoever, and it was only thru their "free will" that they screwed things up; yet they suffered from the fault, the imperfection, the defect, of being gullible. Where did this intrinsic fault come from? A perfect being, such as Christians claim Adam was, would not have made an imperfect choice, otherwise he wouldn't be a perfect being. Who therefore, I wonder, would create beings with the built-in fault of being gullible- unless the Christians want to argue that being gullible is a virtue and not a vice? Of course, Christians praise being gullible ("unless one become as a little child...") and many televangelist base their business on Christians being gullible, but few would come out and call being gullible a virtue. Adam and Eve then, suffering from massive amounts of gullibility, were obviously NOT perfect, for perfect beings would not have been created gullible, and therefore would not have fallen for what the talking snake said. So much for the Christian claim that Adam and Eve, and not Biblegod, is to blame for the fall. Biblegod stacked the deck, created defective creatures, and set the whole row of dominos up for a fall. But I digress, back to the Garden of Eden...

What did the "loving" Biblegod set in the middle of their playground to catch their attention and arouse their natural curiosity? Why, nothing short of something guaranteed to kill them, and not only them, but every single one of their descendants for all time and eternity. Of course, he wasn't totally without normal human emotions- he did care enough for these two little kids to at least warn them not to taste the poison. Of course, having embedded the poison in a bright and shiny container rumored to look, smell, and taste just like an apple, some may doubt the sincerity of his warning to the kids.

After placing the poison, Biblegod left the playground, but he didn't leave the children unattended. He's too good of a loving parent for that. In his stead, he left his best friend Satan there alone with the kids, while he went off to hide in a bush and watch what was about to happen- that's how sick this god is. Of course, Biblegod being Biblegod, he knew exactly what was going to happen anyway, but he wanted to watch it in "real time", just for the fun of it. And yes, Biblegod could have stepped in at any time to stop the impending tragedy, but that just wouldn't have been as much fun for him, would it?

So there is Satan, all alone in the playground with the two kids, having been left in charge by Biblegod. Satan, the "Prince of Darkness", placed in the playground with the full knowledge and permission of Biblegod. It was certainly a top billed fight, a boxing match of epic proportions. Satan, the slickest "used car salesman" of the universe, --vs-- two trusting, innocent, sweet children. So Satan, disguised as a snake, walks up to the kids (snakes have legs, according to the Bible) and manages to sweet-talk the kids into eating an apple, in which poison had been hidden, NOT by Satan, but by the loving Biblegod himself.

Was this a fair fight? Did Biblegod do right? Millions of Bible Thumpers "think" so (Bible Thumpers actually don't think, they obey. "God Said It, I Believe It, That Settles It"). Was it fair? Even Bible Thumpers would have the common sense not to employ Satan as a babysitter for their own kids, so why would they justify Biblegod doing the same for his kids? Because... they don't think.

Anyway, after the kids took the poison, Biblegod came out of hiding- not to give his kids an antidote, like any normal parent would have done, but rather a lecture- in actuality, a curse. He proceeded to curse Adam and Eve from here to eternity, up and down, blaming them for having eaten the poisoned apple that he himself mistakenly left out in the open. But it wasn't a mistake, was it? He knew all along what would happen- making it nothing short of premeditated murder.

If any Christian mother today were to leave her two little kids in the hands of a known child killer, and then hide behind a curtain and calmly watch as the crazed killer talked the two kids into drinking the poison, AND THEN DID NOTHING TO STOP WHAT WAS GOING ON RIGHT IN FRONT OF HER EYES, most Christians would freely admit that the woman was at best nuts, at worst an evil murderer.

Any mother who would do such a horrific crime, regardless of how much she claimed to love her children, would in reality and practice be showing NOT love, but pure unadulterated evil and hate for her children.

Christians- wake up!!! The God of the Bible does not love you!!! He never did, and never will!!! How many atrocities will it take to get it through your thick skulls that any god that would do that to his own two children deserves not your love and worship, but your hate and disgust. In the beginning... God was nuts!!!

posted with permission of the author

6/06/2003                                                                                       View Comments

Be Fruitful And Multiply

Here is another interesting submission to ExChristian.Net by T. Simmons:

fornication?Every Christian I know believes that sex between two consenting unmarried adults is a sin. They throw around words such as promiscuous and fornication but has sex outside of a marriage construct been unduly condemned by Christians? I believe that this belief (sex is immoral unless within a marriage construct) was an evolution (mutation may be a better word here) of some early church teachings because nowhere in the entire Bible does it preclude the above supposed sin. There is no prohibition found anywhere in the Bible concerning sex between two unmarried adults while there are ample passages that presuppose it and imply that it is perfectly fine with God. I am about to back up my argument with a somewhat thorough study of the issue but much more could be said on this topic than the ten pages I have assembled here. I could delve into a theory of how the notion that sex between two unmarried adults is a sin came about and even how sex itself came to be regarded as sinful but that wouldn’t help my case here all that much and besides, maybe I’ll write a sequel.

First, we need to examine a few passages from the Old Testament that will expose the mindset of the early Semitic people toward sex between a man and woman when they lived 3000 years ago sometime around when the Pentateuch was penned.


Leviticus 15:24

18Also, when a woman lies with a man, and there is an emission of semen, they shall bathe in water, and be unclean until evening.
19"If a woman has a discharge, and the discharge from her body is blood, she shall be set apart seven days; and whoever touches her shall be unclean until evening. 20Everything that she lies on during her impurity shall be unclean; also everything that she sits on shall be unclean. 21Whoever touches her bed shall wash his clothes and bathe in water, and be unclean until evening. 22And whoever touches anything that she sat on shall wash his clothes and bathe in water, and be unclean until evening. 23If anything is on her bed or on anything on which she sits, when he touches it, he shall be unclean until evening. 24And if any man lies with her at all, so that her impurity is on him, he shall be unclean seven days; and every bed on which he lies shall be unclean.

There are a couple of things to notice here. First is the lack of the word husband. The verse assumes sex between any woman and any man. If sex between two unmarried people was considered by God to be a sin, he would have said, “If her husband lies with her” instead. It might be argued that Moses was just using the terms man and woman instead of husband and wife but the problem is that it would have no support from the passage. Further, look at verse 24. It says if “any” man lies with her at all during her menstrual period then he will be unclean for seven days. That certainly doesn’t leave room for the concept of a husband, does it?

The point is that the text itself implies no marriage and therefore indirectly condones sex between two unmarried adults. If it was immoral, then the passage makes no sense at all. “If any man lies with a woman during her period then he is unclean - not to mention immoral.” If the only “lying” one could do was inside of a marriage then all of the sexual taboos should start off with “When a man lies with his wife….”. You get the point, I’m sure.

Let’s examine some more sexual taboos.

Leviticus 18:6-23
6 ”‘No one is to approach any close relative to have sexual relations. I am the LORD.
7 ”‘Do not dishonor your father by having sexual relations with your mother. She is your mother; do not have relations with her.
8 ”‘Do not have sexual relations with your father’s wife; that would dishonor your father.
9 ”‘Do not have sexual relations with your sister, either your father’s daughter or your mother’s daughter, whether she was born in the same home or elsewhere.
10 ”‘Do not have sexual relations with your son’s daughter or your daughter’s daughter; that would dishonor you.
11 ”‘Do not have sexual relations with the daughter of your father’s wife, born to your father; she is your sister.
12 ”‘Do not have sexual relations with your father’s sister; she is your father’s close relative.
13 ”‘Do not have sexual relations with your mother’s sister, because she is your mother’s close relative.
14 ”‘Do not dishonor your father’s brother by approaching his wife to have sexual relations; she is your aunt.
15 ”‘Do not have sexual relations with your daughter-in-law. She is your son’s wife; do not have relations with her.
16 ”‘Do not have sexual relations with your brother’s wife; that would dishonor your brother.
17 ”‘Do not have sexual relations with both a woman and her daughter. Do not have sexual relations with either her son’s daughter or her daughter’s daughter; they are her close relatives. That is wickedness.
18 ”‘Do not take your wife’s sister as a rival wife and have sexual relations with her while your wife is living.
19 ”‘Do not approach a woman to have sexual relations during the uncleanness of her monthly period.
20 ”‘Do not have sexual relations with your neighbor’s wife and defile yourself with her.
21 ”‘Do not give any of your children to be sacrificed to Molech, for you must not profane the name of your God. I am the LORD.
22 ”‘Do not lie with a man as one lies with a woman; that is detestable.
23 ”‘Do not have sexual relations with an animal and defile yourself with it. A woman must not present herself to an animal to have sexual relations with it; that is a perversion.

Of all of the sexual sins listed here, you’d think this would be THE ideal time for “Moses” to explain to the Hebrews that sex between the non-married is a sin! Think with me for just a moment. Ask the question “Why doesn’t it say wife or husband in any of the verses?” Let’s look at verse 6 again.

6 ”‘No one is to approach any close relative to have sexual relations. I am the LORD.


Do you see the problem? How can anyone approach a relative to have sex if they are married to begin with? That would either mean they were trying to have sex with a relative other than their spouse or worse they were already married to a relative! The former case would be adultery and these verses give no indication of adultery. The latter would be nonsensical since that would make the law say “Those who are married to a close relative – don’t have sex with them!”.

What about verse nineteen?

19 ”‘Do not approach a woman to have sexual relations during the uncleanness of her monthly period.

Obviously, Moses is giving laws to those people who are going to have sex with a consenting partner but he’s restricting their choices somewhat. There is no indication at all of any marriage construct here. Let’s look at another law of “Moses”.

Leviticus 19:20

20 ”‘If a man sleeps with a woman who is a slave girl promised to another man but who has not been ransomed or given her freedom, there must be due punishment.

If sex outside of marriage was considered wrong by Moses (i.e., God) then surely he could have avoided this verse by simply saying “If a man sleeps with a woman - PERIOD - it is sin.” It wouldn’t matter if she was betrothed or not, free or not, it would be sex outside of marriage, assuming, of course, that the man is not married. There is an implied green light for men to ‘lay with’ women as long as certain conditions were met, one of which wasn’t marriage. However, if you are still not convinced, let’s examine some more of God’s “word”.

Leviticus 20:18

18 ”‘If a man lies with a woman during her monthly period and has sexual relations with her, he has exposed the source of her flow, and she has also uncovered it. Both of them must be cut off from their people.

Exodus 22:16
16And if a man entice a maid that is not betrothed, and lie with her, he shall surely endow her to be his wife.

This one is also painfully clear if you think logically. It assumes that a man (notice the conspicuous absence of the words husband and wife) lying with a woman is fine unless she is having her period or unless he tricks or entices a young woman into having sex. One cannot argue that Moses is just speaking in general terms in Exodus 22:16 because of the text itself! A man who persuades a maid (young woman) who is not married or given in marriage yet to have sex, then his only penalty is that he must take her as a wife. The sex is completely a given! Again, if sex outside of marriage is a sin, then the only lying with that would have been permitted would have been between a husband and wife. “Moses” never uses those terms or anything similar to them. The American citizen is so far removed from life in the Arab regions during the pre B.C. era that they do not have any idea of the social structures that existed (many of which still exist today). The woman was slightly higher in status than say a camel. She was property – almost. But more on this later… Let us have a look at another example.

Deuteronomy 5:18

18 “You shall not commit adultery.

This is one of the well-known Ten Commandments. If sex outside of marriage was considered a sin by God, what better place to let us know than here? But in God’s mysterious way, he is conspicuously silent on that terrible sin of sex outside of marriage (which, for the remainder of this article, I will call SOOM) even though adultery is listed. The absence of the prohibition does not mean that it couldn’t be considered a sin but I’m going for a preponderance of the evidence. Therefore, let’s continue.

Deut 22:22-28

22 If a man is found sleeping with another man’s wife, both the man who slept with her and the woman must die. You must purge the evil from Israel.

Now, we see here a perfectly good example of adultery and its consequences. No problem here.

23 If a man happens to meet in a town a virgin pledged to be married and he sleeps with her, 24 you shall take both of them to the gate of that town and stone them to death—the girl because she was in a town and did not scream for help, and the man because he violated another man’s wife. You must purge the evil from among you.

Ah. The sin is given in verse 24 – he violated another man’s … woman? No, WIFE!

25 But if out in the country a man happens to meet a girl pledged to be married and rapes her, only the man who has done this shall die. 26 Do nothing to the girl; she has committed no sin deserving death.

Here the difference is that a man who forces himself on another’s wife (actually soon-to-be wife) then the man is still at fault (rape) but the woman has done no wrong.

26 cont. This case is like that of someone who attacks and murders his neighbor, 27 for the man found the girl out in the country, and though the betrothed girl screamed, there was no one to rescue her.
28 If a man happens to meet a virgin who is not pledged to be married and rapes her and they are discovered, 29 he shall pay the girl’s father fifty shekels of silver. He must marry the girl, for he has violated her. He can never divorce her as long as he lives.

Now, the violation was the raping and what a penalty! Only fifty shekels of silver and he must now marry her! But the very next verse should tell us that…

30 If a man happens to meet a young woman who is not pledged to be married and sleeps with her and they are discovered, 30 they shall both be put to death for they have committed fornication.

But apparently the all-knowing God, in his mysterious ways again, didn’t feel it important to include that terrible sin of SOOM.

If SOOM was taboo, certainly it would have been listed along with (perhaps instead of) the other explicit forbidden sexual relationships. It isn’t to be found anywhere in the Bible. But for the sake of those who are still not convinced, let’s view another command from God’s “word”.

Ezekiel 18:6

He does not defile his neighbor’s wife
or lie with a woman during her period.

Here is yet another instance of a qualified sin. Lying with a woman during her period is a sin. So, we are left with no other choice but to assume that as long as she isn’t having her period, it is all right to have sex with her. Otherwise, now is the time to stamp the holy foot and say “If a man lies with a woman and neither are married, it is a sin.” Is the reason for the complete absence of any condemnation of SOOM because - it was never a sin?

At this point, if any Christians are still reading, many will be flipping feverishly through the pages of their Bibles to see if they can find a reference to SOOM. The more clever ones will first turn to the New Testament. There, perhaps, they will find a prohibition on SOOM. It is at this point that we must take an in-depth look at the words whore, harlot, prostitute, adultery, fornication and pornography because the matter hinges on the meaning of these words.

According to Strong’s Hebrew lexicon, a whore and a harlot are synonymous. Here is the actual reference from Strong’s lexicon for the word whore.

2181 zanah { zaw-naw’}

a primitive root [highly-fed and therefore wanton]; TWOT - 563; v

AV - ...harlot 36, go a whoring 19, ...whoredom 15, whore 11, commit fornication 3, whorish 3, harlot + 802 2, commit 1, continually 1, great 1, whore’s + 802 1; 93

1) to commit fornication, be a harlot, play the harlot
1a) (Qal)
1a1) to be a harlot, act as a harlot, commit fornication
1a2) to commit adultery
1a3) to be a cult prostitute
1a4) to be unfaithful (to God) (fig.)
1b) (Pual) to play the harlot
1c) (Hiphil)
1c1) to cause to commit adultery
1c2) to force into prostitution
1c3) to commit fornication

We see that a whore is one who either commits adultery, fornication or prostitution. Now, we are left with three terms to define - adultery, fornication and prostitution. Let’s look at adultery. Although the definition is well known, it deserves a look. Here is Strong’s definition of the Hebrew word for adultery.

5003 naƕaph { naw-af’}

a primitive root; TWOT - 1273; v

AV - adultery 17, adulterer 8, adulteress 4, adulterous 1, women that break wedlock 1; 31

1) to commit adultery
1a) (Qal)
1a1) to commit adultery
1a1a) usually of man
1a1a1) always with wife of another
1a1b) adultery (of women) (participle)
1a2) idolatrous worship (fig.)
1b) (Piel)
1b1) to commit adultery
1b1a) of man
1b1b) adultery (of women) (participle)
1b2) idolatrous worship (fig.)

An adulteress was a woman who broke wedlock or to put it differently, the woman had sex with a man other than her husband. The term usually referred to women in those days because since a man was allowed to have many wives, the man needn’t seek beyond his own bedroom for a new sex partner each day. We still haven’t found any reference to SOOM in the Bible. Let’s see what prostitution means. Here is Strong’s definition.

2490 chalal { khaw-lal’}

a primitive root [compare 2470]; TWOT - 660,661; v

AV - begin 52, profane 36, pollute 23, defile 9, break 4, wounded 3, eat 2, slay 2, first 1, gather grapes 1, inheritance 1, began men 1, piped 1, players 1, prostitute 1, sorrow 1, stain 1, eat as common things 1; 141

1) to profane, defile, pollute, desecrate, begin
1a) (Niphal)
1a1) to profane oneself, defile oneself, pollute oneself
1a1a) ritually
1a1b) sexually
1a2) to be polluted, be defiled
1b) (Piel)
1b1) to profane, make common, defile, pollute
1b2) to violate the honour of, dishonour
1b3) to violate (a covenant)
1b4) to treat as common
1c) (Pual) to profane (name of God)
1d) (Hiphil)
1d1) to let be profaned
1d2) to begin
1e) (Hophal) to be begun

Prostitute, the verb, means to defile or pollute. It might include payment for sexual services but it is not limited to that. It has multiple meanings, none of which imply SOOM. Another word that needs examination is fornication. This may provide some insight into the issue. Strong’s definition -

2181 zanah { zaw-naw’}

a primitive root [highly-fed and therefore wanton]; TWOT - 563; v

AV - ...harlot 36, go a whoring 19, ...whoredom 15, whore 11, commit fornication 3, whorish 3, harlot + 802 2, commit 1, continually 1, great 1, whore’s + 802 1; 93

1) to commit fornication, be a harlot, play the harlot
1a) (Qal)
1a1) to be a harlot, act as a harlot, commit fornication
1a2) to commit adultery
1a3) to be a cult prostitute
1a4) to be unfaithful (to God) (fig.)
1b) (Pual) to play the harlot
1c) (Hiphil)
1c1) to cause to commit adultery
1c2) to force into prostitution
1c3) to commit fornication

The root for fornication is the exact same root as whore. It is another way of saying adultery or prostitution. Sorry, Christians, it looks as if it’s a vicious circle here with absolutely no intimation of SOOM! Another interesting word is pornography, which we will also examine.

However, my work here would not be complete until we looked at the references to and context of fornication, not just the definition, to make sure that the usage is clear and also make sure it is never used to imply SOOM. Once we do this, the belief that SOOM is immoral will have been shown to have no textual support from the Bible.

Old Testament

The word fornication occurs four times. In the first three occurrences, the Hebrew root is zanah as shown in the above definition of fornication. The last instance uses the root taznuwth meaning whoredom. Here is the text.

2nd Chronicles 21:10-11
10So the Edomites revolted from under the hand of Judah unto this day. The same time also did Libnah revolt from under his hand; because he had forsaken the LORD God of his fathers. 11Moreover he made high places in the mountains of Judah, and caused the inhabitants of Jerusalem to commit fornication, and compelled Judah thereto.

Isaiah 23:17
17And it shall come to pass after the end of seventy years, that the LORD will visit Tyre, and she shall turn to her hire, and shall commit fornication with all the kingdoms of the world upon the face of the earth.

Ezekiel 16:26
26Thou hast also committed fornication with the Egyptians thy neighbours, great of flesh; and hast increased thy whoredoms, to provoke me to anger.

Ezekiel 16:2
29Thou hast moreover multiplied thy fornication in the land of Canaan unto Chaldea; and yet thou wast not satisfied herewith.

So, there is no reference to SOOM in the Old Testament. This also fits with the social structures of that era. Let’s see if the New Testament will shed any opposing light on this matter. The Greek word translated as fornication is porneia from which we get the word pornography. This is where it gets a little tricky and a prudent suspension of judgement must occur (i.e., don’t read definition one and say “Aha!”). You’ve read this far so hear me out. Here is Strong’s definition.

4202 porneia { por-ni’-ah}

from 4203; TDNT - 6:579,918; n f

AV - fornication 26; 26

1) illicit sexual intercourse
1a) adultery, fornication, homosexuality, lesbianism, intercourse with animals etc.
1b) sexual intercourse with close relatives; Lev. 18
1c) sexual intercourse with a divorced man or woman; Mk. 10:11,12
2) metaph. the worship of idols
2a) of the defilement of idolatry, as incurred by eating the sacrifices offered to idols

sex is sinfully ugly?Here, one might say that “illicit sexual intercourse” means “sex outside of marriage” but this is exactly what I’m trying to disprove! Illicit means unlawful and my point is that for the early Hebrews and first century Jews alike, SOOM was NOT unlawful. Notice above the list of those sexual acts which are considered unlawful -

1a) adultery, fornication, homosexuality, lesbianism, intercourse with animals etc.
1b) sexual intercourse with close relatives; Lev. 18
1c) sexual intercourse with a divorced man or woman;

I don’t see SOOM listed anywhere, do you? It was not unlawful and I have shown this to be true for the early Hebrews. We shall soon see that the first-century Jews also made no mention of SOOM. Unlike the older definition of pornography, our modern definition reflects the thinking of this modern age and lumps sex in general into the definition (i.e. dirty magazines) but this idea – that sex = pornography – is UNKNOWN in the Bible.
Let’s now look at a few passages from the New Testament.

Matthew 5:32
32But I say unto you, That whosoever shall put away his wife, saving for the cause of fornication, causeth her to commit adultery: and whosoever shall marry her that is divorced committeth adultery.

The very first occurrence of the word fornication in the New Testament tells us all we need to know. How could this make sense if fornication (pornography) means SOOM??? It would then be saying “If a man put away his wife unless she has sex with an unmarried man and she is also unmarried then the man causes her to commit adultery.” How could the woman be both married and unmarried simultaneously?

The Greek word here is porneia. Notice how “Jesus” used the word fornication. He was saying that if a wife indulges in any of the illicit (unlawful) sexual acts as defined in Strong’s definition of porneia, the husband then has the right to divorce her and not sin by doing so. This picture is becoming clearer. It is becoming obvious that SOOM was not considered a sin even up to the time of “Jesus’” ministry and well into the first century and only after hundreds of years later did it become a church tradition that SOOM was immoral. But for the doubting Thomas’s sake who’s saying, “This can’t be true!”, let’s keep looking.

The following are references using the word fornication (Strong 4202 or 4203, which is the act itself).

Matthew 19:9
John 8:21
Acts 15:20
Acts 15:29
Acts 21:25
Romans 1:29
1st Corinthians 6:13
1st Corinthians 6:18
1st Corinthians 10:8
2nd Corinthians 12:21
Ephesians 5:3
Colossians 3:5
1st Thessalonians 4:3
Revelation 2:14
Revelation 2:20-21
Revelation 9:21
Revelation 14:8
Revelation 17:2
Revelation 17:4
Revelation 18:3
Revelation 18:9
Revelation 19:2

The above scriptures use the word consistently with the definition. The following verse gives a little more support for my theory.


1st Corinthians 5:1
1It is reported commonly that there is fornication among you, and such fornication as is not so much as named among the Gentiles, that one should have his father’s wife.

Again, fornication, or sexual immorality as the NIV translates the word, was not any reference to SOOM but to the taboos listed in Leviticus (sex with a relative, adultery, prostitution, bestiality, homosexuality, etc.) This may be a total shock to the Christian but this is why we have dictionaries.

1st Corinthians 7:2
1Now concerning the things whereof ye wrote unto me: It is good for a man not to touch a woman. 2Nevertheless, to avoid fornication, let every man have his own wife, and let every woman have her own husband.

Now then. Here is the only reference that even remotely sounds as if fornication means SOOM but remember that the list of unlawful sexual acts did NOT include SOOM! But let’s see how the NIV renders this passage.

1st Corinthians 7:2
Now for the matters you wrote about: It is good for a man not to marry. 2 But since there is so much immorality, each man should have his own wife, and each woman her own husband.

Paul says it is best not to marry so that you have more time for God (see 1st Corinthians 7). The concept is that if a man has his own wife, and the wife renders to him her duty (sex), then the man will be less likely to get involved with fornication or sexual immorality (i.e., adultery, sex with a relative, bestiality, homosexuality, etc.). Here, in this passage concerning sexual immorality as it pertains to marriage, would be a perfect time to condemn SOOM but strangely, Paul never mentions it!


Galatians 5:19-20
19Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, 20Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies,

Surely in a passage condemning works of the flesh Paul would have listed SOOM as one of the immoralities. But for some strange reason he remains silent on the issue! He does mention lust but remember that “Jesus” equated lust with the inevitable consequence of adultery – not SOOM!

Matthew 5:28
But *I* say unto you, that every one who looks upon a woman to lust after her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.

Even here, the idea of lusting after a non-married woman is absent.

What’s that, oh, Christian? You need more proof?

Jude 1:7
7Even as Sodom and Gomorrha, and the cities about them in like manner, giving themselves over to fornication, and going after strange flesh, are set forth for an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire.

Strange flesh probably refers to bestiality and homosexuality here. Still, we see no sign of a prohibition or condemnation of SOOM.

In summary, the absence of its mention, especially its absence from the very passages listing the various sexual taboos, is telling. But the positive evidence added to the unusual silences makes the case rock-solid.

Apparently, the early Hebrews and Jews of Jesus’ day were free to “be fruitful and multiply” and if you profess to believe the Bible, so are you.

© 2003 Tim Simmons

What do you think?

6/03/2003                                                                                       View Comments

The Christian and the Bear

Thank you LardT. Simmons, one of our regular posters, sent in a nice little story to be posted here for our mutual edification. It is based on the "Atheist and the Bear" joke which is posted below, followed by Mr. Simmon's reworking of the subject.

An atheist was taking a walk through the woods, admiring all that the "Accident of Evolution" had created. "What majestic trees! What powerful rivers! What beautiful animals!", he said to himself.

As he was walking along the river he heard rustling in the bushes. As he turned, he saw a 7-foot grizzly charging him. He ran as fast as he could up the path. He looked over his shoulder and saw that the bear was closing in. He tried to run faster, so scared that tears were coming to his eyes. He looked over his shoulder again, and the bear was even closer. His heart was pumping frantically as he tried to run faster, but he tripped and fell. He rolled over to pick himself up and saw the bear right on top of him raising his paw to kill him.

At that instant he cried out "Oh my God!"

Just then, time stopped. The bear froze, the forest was silent, the river even stopped. A bright light shone on the man, and a voice came out of the sky saying, "You deny my existence all these years, teach others I don't exist and credit my creation to a cosmic accident, and now you expect me to help you out of this predicament?

Am I to count you as a believer?"

The atheist, ever proud, looked to the light and said, "It would be hypocritical to ask to be a Christian after all these years, but could you make the bear a Christian?"

"Very well," said the voice. As the light went out, the river ran, and the sounds of the forest continued, the bear put his paw down. The bear then brought both paws together, bowed his head and said, "Lord, for this food which I am about to receive, I thank you."


The Christian and the Bear

One fair spring morning, a devout Christian decided to take a walk through a nearby wood. Upon entering, he began walking along a narrow dirt path through the lush, green forest admiring all of the things that God had created.

"Wow", he thought to himself while taking in the beauty that surrounded him. "What majestic trees!” Then, a faint rustling sound came from somewhere close by. The Christian turned to look but could see nothing and continued walking. His eyes followed a small stream that flowed beside the path. “What a lovely little stream!”, he thought and off to the left, the rustling sound grew louder. The Christian walked a bit faster down the path. Looking up, the Christian said out loud, “What a beautiful sky. God is indeed a very wonderful creator!" Suddenly, a huge grizzly bear emerged from the dense shrubbery and upon seeing the man, started to chase him. The Christian ran along the path for all he was worth, but the bear was almost upon him. The Christian looked back over his shoulder and saw that the bear was only a few yards behind him. The man then tripped over a large rock and fell to the ground beside a small wooden sign attached to a post. The bear, having slowed its pace, lumbered up to the Christian and began to sniff his clothing. The man, laying face down, closed his eyes and prayed in desperation "Heavenly Father, I ask you to please save me from this bear!"

As the Christian continued to beseech God, the grizzly let out a ferocious roar and ripped four deep gashes across the man’s back. The Christian screamed in agony while the bear continued tearing and ripping him into bloody shreds of warm flesh. The man, while still being mauled, reached out a feeble hand and touched the signpost just before losing consciousness.

When the bear had eaten all it could, it lumbered off in the direction from which it came, leaving the Christian's remains to decompose and rot.

Inscribed upon the sign were these words:

Matthew 21:22 - "And all things you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive."

The End