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This was originally sent as an e-mail via Myspace (November, 2007):
Hey this is Fallon. Ive been depressed lately. I keep getting religeous e-mails from everyone. You know, those spam e-mails that everyone keeps sending one another from person to person to person? Well im fed the fuck up with it. So, I... Fallon Fox decided to write my own spam letter. Its a letter I wrote to a friend of mine asking questions of chistianity. Im sending it out to everybody. So, here it is. I hope that I get no more of those e-mails. Anyhoo this is what i wrote her. If you have the time and patients you can read what I wrote. You will then see why I have been depressed lately.
This will be rather long as I told you in the previous letter. I really do hope that you read the whole thing like you said that you would. That way you will know how to get back to me. You said you would do this for me so that's why I took the time. Ive just back tracked and I'm writing this first paragraph after 8 hours of writing the rest of it this letter. Yes, its true. It has been 8 hours. That's how important it is to me. I have written this whole thing by my self. I really need an answer from a christian. So, here it is:
In order for me to set up this question that I feel the need to ask you. I must first set the background up and give a little history of myself in relation to it. I believe I may have told you once that I was raised in the church? From birth until the age of around 18 or so I went to church Mondays, Wednesdays, Saturdays, and Sundays. It was a rare occasion such as a death in the family, or the breakdown of a vehicle that my family would not go to service. My mother was, and still is, a Sunday school teacher. My father taught a youth ministry class every so often on Wednesdays. I pretty much ate and breathed the bible almost 24/7. I could tell you the books of the bible, in order, by the age of 6. I would estimate that I could recite over 30 bible verses verbatim by the age of 8 or 9. We had bible studies where we would just sit there and read the bible chapter after chapter to ourselves in church. I have highlighted, put notations in the margins, taken notes, marked pages, flipped pages and read and read. It is possible that there is something in there that I haven't read in my life time. But, I highly doubt it.
During the time spent reading the bible I came across things that disturbed me greatly. These things were so ridiculously horrible they kept me up at night. This slowly but surely led to my eventual agnosticism and what christians would call "apostasy". Later on in life while pondering these things more, in conjunction with basic facts and the method of using rational thought, I became atheist to the whole Judea Christian god of the bible.
I remember once when I was a kid we were coloring inside of coloring books in Sunday school. The coloring book had a page where it depicted the Israelites in the desert after Pharaoh had finally released them. It showed scouts of moses hiding in bushes surveying land they were about to conquer. It showed People there tending to their land, raising families and going about their basic daily routines. I remember coloring two men dressed in animal skins carrying grapes on their shoulders that were suspended from one very large stick. I thought this was a pretty nice scene. People happy and enjoying their life minding their own business. It was all good until I put down my crayon and turned the page. The Israelites were now out of the bushes telling the people there to give up their land and worship god. These people said they didn't know god or the Israelites, forcefully told them no, and kicked them off of their land. In the next panel it said that those resisting people were then killed by the Israelites. This story broke my heart. That memory of the coloring book has been seared into my memory. It was a inhumane vicious story of genocide told to grade school children.
When I got older I came upon another story while reading the verses. The same feelings of disgust that I had as small child came over me. I thought that perhaps I may have missed something. Perhaps there was some great reason why these people had to be brutally killed. I went back and read the whole chapter. The killings still didn't seem justified. I went back further still and read the whole book of the bible that story was in. It still didn't wash with me. I read on to find out if there was something after that I may have missed. The more I read, the more stories I read of hate, genocide, and alike. I figured that perhaps this was just something that the Israelites did by themselves and that god had no hand in it. But, upon further reading I found that many of these that I read were not only sanctioned by god. But, ordered by god. This is the part when I contemplated even more the following question. How can a loving caring god not only allow, but order the killing of Innocent children, pregnant women, and old people.
At this point I will give you the specific verse that I have been talking about. 1 SAMUEL 15:1-3 These people (the Amalekites) were killed because they had attacked the Israelites a some time earlier when they had come out of Egypt. Which in some outlandish way one may be able to say was kind of justified? But, I ask who did the attacking from the Amalekites towards the Israelites? Was it the women? Was it the children? Was it the babies? Yes, I said babies. (read verse 15:3) It mentions "infants and sucklings". What in the world can a 2 year old do to deserve being run through with a sword? How can anyone justify that killing. Not only in the name of god. But, ordered by god himself. How is this loving? How is it merciful? How is it justice? If someone were to kill your infant would you then go and kill theirs? I suppose not. Why? Is it because the other persons child is Innocent and had nothing to do with the killing of your child? Would you be guilty in court if you killed someone else baby for killing yours? Why? Again, is it because the other persons child is Innocent and had nothing to do with the killing of your child? If this atrocity were to occur today by any group of people on earth what would you call it? Would you yourself call it murder, genocide? What if you had proof that god commanded it? Would you then feel that the killing of innocent infants is justified? Shouldn't god know that infants have nothing to do with what atrocities their parents commit? I suppose that god would order the killing of innocent children but Jesus would not? ( I will deal with this thought later on in this letter) Is that the cop-out, the great escape, the way that we pass off all of this horribleness?
I Samuel 15
15:1 Samuel also said unto Saul, The LORD sent me to anoint thee to be king over his people, over Israel: now therefore hearken thou unto the voice of the words of the LORD.
15:2 Thus saith the LORD of hosts, I remember that which Amalek did to Israel, how he laid wait for him in the way, when he came up from Egypt.
15:3 Now go and smite Amalek, and utterly destroy all that they have, and spare them not; but slay both man and woman, infant and suckling, ox and sheep, camel and ass.
So, here it is now as it was then, in black and white. I suggest you read the whole chapter from beginning to end.
This is not meant to be a story of fiction like Hansel and Gretel. Nor is it meant to be like Little Red Riding Hood, War and Peace, War of the Worlds, Green eggs and ham, or Harry Potter and the Sorcerers stone. This story is not meant to be taken as a metaphor either. If I were to come across a person who would read this particular story and say it was metaphoric, I would call him or her a lunatic. No, it is meant to be taken as a literal fact, an actual occurrence, a historical event. It should not be said that it is something of a typo either. The bible is inerrant correct? It is without error? It was written by men of god who were instructed by god himself to write it correct? God would not allow a whole chapter or verse to be inserted in his written word, and distributed to the masses for the duration of millennium which would be false would he? If so, Then what else in the bible would be considered false? What information do we then cherry pick out of it? The good passages or the bad ones? We delete the ones that we don't like? The ones that we are not comfortable with? No, it all has to be uniformly accepted or it all falls apart.
There is story after story of god himself ordering, helping, and condoning the death of women, children, infants, and old people. One of the latest I have read is this one. Numbers 31 (The whole chapter). In it the Israelites attacked the Midianites to "avenge the lord". The reason for this is totally irrelevant. The result is similar to the first story told in this letter. If you read down to the 17Th and 18Th chapter of Numbers 31 you will see that Moses has the male children and women of the midianites killed. But, the "women children" (the girls) were to remain alive and kept for the Israelites. Numbers 31:25-54 is god speaking. In it he tells the Israelites what they can split up and keep for themselves. This includes the girls. What did they use the girls for I wonder? Numbers 31:18 "But all the women children, that have not known a man by lying with him, keep alive for yourselves." If you doubt that they were used for sex then I suggest reading Deuteronomy 21: 11-13. The book of Deuteronomy is a list of things that Moses commanded the Israelites to do. It was a list of laws handed down by god himself. laws that included rules for raping their captives. Again I ask you to read Deuteronomy 21: 11-13. Isn't that rape? Would you be a willing participant to sex with the man who killed your mother and father one month ago? All the while being forced to shave your head and cut your nails. Not to mention you are still a "woman child".
If you still have not gotten the big picture here let me set the stage for you. Let me tell you a story I have created myself. While you read it I beg you to put yourself in the shoes of a woman, a child, an infant of the slain or captured that god ordered, condoned, or killed himself. Imagine that you are a 5 year old little girl. It is the middle of the afternoon. Your mother is off in the distance tending her garden that she has planted earlier this season. You have a doll in your hand that you are playing with. It is a doll made of cloth and straw, made with loving care by your beautiful older sister. Your brother of age 8 gleefully skips as he passes you by. He wants to play a game of tag and is commenting on the sweet smell of a roast that your aunt is cooking nearby. It will be lunch time soon. You see your father nearby talking to some men who you have never seen. They are not men from around where you live and are total strangers. They tell him something he does not like. His face turns hot and you can tell that he has become very upset. He yells at these men, curses at them and tells them to go away. Later on that night you hear him talking to your mother. He tells your mother that the men demanded that they give them the land where you live. That the men said if they believe in their god and serve them that everything would be OK. That the men also said that if they don't they would kill him, your brother, your sister, your aunt, your uncle, grandma, grandpa, your friends, your neighbors and everyone else that live on your town. He says that this is the reason he was upset.
The next morning is like that of yesterdays. The adults are working, the children playing, and the sweet smell of breakfast. All of a sudden the men who made your father angry yesterday return. But this time they have thousands more men with them. They are all carrying swords and Shields. They begin to slay the town. They kill your neighbors first. They hack and slash through bone and sinew all of your friends in the town square. Your father along with the other men of the village attempt to defend the village from the invaders. But, there are too many. Some are decapitated, some are run through the middle with the sword. There are some still who lay bleeding, alive still. They grab your neighbor, a pregnant woman in her 30's and stab her through her stomach. They scream" Leave none alive but the virgins! Glory be to god!". Then, they come to you. A man raises his arm with a sword. You cover your face with your hands. He slashes down on you. He cuts through your arm and it lay next to you. You begin to scream in pain. He stabs at you again. This time he cuts through your chest. You fall to the ground in pain. It is impossible for you breath now. Laying racked with pain, you notice that they have a hold of your older sister. They observe that she is older and more beautiful than you. They decide to take her back to their camp to find out if she is a virgin. That is the last thing that you see before you die.
Now, I hope that you actually read that story. I hope you understand the horror of which the bible speaks. This would be a round about the way in which they occurred. If you think it didn't happen like that then how else do you think it happened? Can you think about this story and the story that is listed in the bible and not be filled with horror or sadness? Not to mention anger at the idea of a god who would do this to innocent children and infants? Below is a list of just a few of the verses where atrocities like this are told of. Bear in mind that these are all either condoned, ordered, or done by god himself:
Geneses 7:21-22 God drowns all children (except for Noah's) in a flood.
Genesis 7:19-24 God kills all the children of Sodom and Gomorrah.
Genesis 22:2 God tells Abraham to kill his son for a burnt offering.
Exodus 12:30 God murders the Egyptian firstborn children.
Exodus 21:15 , Leviticus 20:9 , Deuteronomy 21:18-21 Children who are disobedient, or who curse or strike their parents are to be killed.
Deuteronomy 20:16, Joshuah 10:40 God ordered the Israelites to kill all of the children in the cities that they invaded.
1 Samuel 15:2-3 God orders Saul to kill all of the Amalekite children.
2 Samuel 12:15-18 To punish David for having Uriah killed, God kills David's newborn son.
2 Kings 2:23-24 God sends bears to kill 42 little boys for making fun of Elisha's bald head.
God will make everyone drunk and then "dash the fathers and the sons together." He vows to "not pity, nor spare, nor have mercy, but destroy them."
Jeremiah 19:9 God will make parents eat their own children, and friends eat each other.
Psalms 135:8 and 136:10 God is praised for slaughtering little babies.
Psalms 137: 9 Happiness is smashing your little children against rocks.
Hosea 13:16 God promises to dash to pieces the infants of Samaria and "their women with child shall be ripped up."
There are a lot of stories that I have left out as not to let this get too long. But, the list goes on and on. So, I guess that at the end of it all I need to know how christians can be comfortable with all of this pain and suffering of innocent children? How can you as a christian knowing full well of their suffering say that god is good? How can you put god and good in the same sentence and be happy with it? I have heard from christians that the stories of the old testament do not matter anymore because Jesus came and put an end to all of the death that happened before. They tell me that god does not condone, order, or perform these killings of children himself anymore. As if Jesus somehow convinced god to be more civil by dying on the cross. If this is so, then why didn't Jesus do this before the children were killed? He was alive at this time correct? What do you think Jesus would do about the situations I described to you before? I do not believe that the Jesus described in the new testament would condone or order the death of children or infants. So, jesus (god) was watching all that god the father (god) was doing to children, and wasn't bothered as much as he would be now? I thought that jesus was the same yesterday as he is today. Hebrews 13:8 " Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever." As a matter of fact, why not have jesus die on the cross directly after Adam and Eve left the garden. Why would Jesus be so loving and god be so destructive? Aren't they not the same person in effect? Are they not the trinity?
You told me that you are more affiliated with the new testament. My friend, what does this mean exactly? Does this mean that you ignore the old testament? If so, then why was the new testament written? I supposed the older testament is supposed to be read as fact, but the substance is to be forgotten? Why would the new testament make references over and over to the old testament? The suffering of children before Jesus death don't matter anymore? How can you concentrate so much on the good parts, (the parts in which you like and make you feel good). then take the bad parts, ( the parts in which make you feel bad.) and chuck them away? How can you be so comfortable with this cherry picking? Say that god is loving because he sent himself (jesus), to earth to die for himself (god the father), for rules that he created himself. Why would god go through all of this drama!? Why not just say "hey, I forgive you all" directly after Eden? No sacrifices, no death, no pain and discomfort, no babies, children, and mothers crying out in pain. I would feel a sense of love coming from the story if it had gone like this. Is love causing death to the ones you love? Is love condoning or ordering death to the ones you love? Think of the innocents. Think of the children.
It seems to me that the god of the bible keeps failing over and over to make a creation that will autonomously do what he wills of it. He tries, and he tries, and keeps failing miserably. He created the project of the angels and it failed. Then came project of Adam and Eve, and it failed. Next came the flood. Death and destruction to every man woman child and beast. Starting over with Noah and his family. It failed. On to picking the Israelites as a chosen people who would do as he willed. In the end that project failed. What do we have next? Oh yes. Sending his son Jesus (god) to earth to die as a sacrifice to himself (god). In the end taking all of whom accepted to heaven with him. Separating the wheat from the chaff (like he did in the flood, and with the Israelites). I wonder what will happen to this current project? As if there can not be another "fall" from heaven? Have we forgotten the Angels?
Like I told you in the previous letter, I have told this to many christians. They never come back with anything of substance. They duck and dodge, bob and weave. But, they never really come back with anything with even a hint of substance. It is as if they are trying not to answer because they want to look at the good and not the bad. As if it were to happen that they did look at both the good and the bad equally, (like I did) they would loose their "faith". I think it may be because they think that if they did not have that "hope" of the good parts in the bible, their lives would fall to pieces. This is not true however. I think that they are afraid of the unknown prospect of "not believing". In this, they loose a tad bit of the value pertaining to good and bad as it relates to human interaction. God can allow, condone, and cause the death of Innocent children. This becomes good because god called it good. Death and pain felt by the innocents is no longer considered good or bad because of how it felt to the innocents. But, the death and pain is considered good or bad because god wants, or does not want the pain or death to occur. (please note I said innocents). In the real world good and bad is a comparison between two things. Like, "this food taste good." verses "this food taste bad". It is a comparison because of the effect it has. It is because it is pleasing to your taste buds. The food is "good," because it taste "good". But, if the bible were have a passage where god says "All food that taste good now taste bad.". Christians would say that all food that taste good actually taste bad. They would know that "good food" taste good to them. But, it would no longer be said out loud or allowed to be thought of as good in their own heads.
Do you follow what I just wrote? It is the crux of the issue. It is why I loose sleep at night. My life is good and bad. Just like everyone else. It has its ups and downs. The events that make me feel good I call good. The ones that cause pain are bad. This issue happens to be one of my biggest "downs", one of my biggest pains. Not understanding how christians don't get the implications of what the bible is really saying depresses me.
I have said a lot here. This letter has been filled with many "mini" questions. They were mostly put forward so that I could get to the next question and the next. All adding up to this last and final question. So, in conclusion I guess the sum of all the "mini" questions in this letter comes down to this. How can you be comfortable with all of this?
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