An Atheists Journey Through The Bible – Cain and Abel

The next part of the Bible is the adventures of Cain and Abel. If you haven’t already, you can find the first part of this series here: The Attempted Conversion of An Atheist – Genesis Creation.

So far Adam and Eve have been thrown out of the Garden of Eden and cursed by God for eating of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. After being exiled, Eve conceives Cain and Abel.

Cain and Abel grow up and Abel becomes a Sheppard while Cain becomes a farmer. One day Cain and Abel decide to bring God an offering – Cain brings some fruit and Abel brings the firstlings of his flock and of the fat thereof. This is where God sort of slips up:

And the LORD had regard for Abel and his offering, but for Cain and his offering he had no regard. So Cain was very angry, and his face fell. The LORD said to Cain, “Why are you angry, and why has your face fallen? If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door. Its desire for you, but you must rule over it.”

A number of things are confusing at this point. Why an almighty God would need an offering of any sort never made sense to me. He supposedly created it all in six days after all, so why would some fruit or a sheep mean squat to him?

If we look at other religions, we find this same type of offering system. We can even find human sacrifices in some. It seems we humans like to sacrifice things in the hopes of appeasing Gods to better our standing or circumstances.

The second weird thing is that again, God is supposed to be omniscient, so he knows the consequences of His actions before He even makes them. If that’s the case, God has pretty much set both Cain and Abel up by acting like an ungrateful wretch.

So of course, Cain murders his brother Abel out of jealousy. If God had just shown a little freaking gratitude, this whole mess could have been avoided. Afterward, God again looks like a doddering old man because he needs to ask Cain questions. If He’s all knowing, He sure does a good job hiding it.

Then the LORD said to Cain, “Where is Abel your brother?” He said, “I do not know; am I my brother’s keeper?” And the LORD said, “What have you done? The voice of your brother’s blood is crying out to me from the ground. And now you are cursed from the ground, which has opened its mouth to receive your brother’s blood from your hand. When you work the ground, it shall no longer yield to you its strength. You shall be a fugitive and a wanderer on the earth.”

So God decides to curse Cain for killing his brother, which God himself caused when he decided to act like a prick when receiving his offerings. Not only that, but God didn’t seem to know what had happened at first and required clarification from Cain.

Of course, Cain’s a tad pissed at his punishment and tells God that whoever finds him will surely kill him.

Wait a second…who is going to find him? The only other people born so far are his parents. I doubt he’d have much trouble staying away from the only other two people on the planet even if his parents did want to kill him for killing his brother.

God is concerned by Cain’s apparent fear of his parents or whoever he was referring to originally and says He will mark Cain and if anyone kills Cain, they will be punished seven-fold.

You have to love God-style justice.

So Cain leaves and settles in a place called ‘Nod’. He then finds a wife…

Where did this wife come from!? Did she just materialize? I thought Adam and Eve were the only other two people on the planet!

Well, Cain gets down to business with his non-existent/existent wife (who also remains nameless) and she conceives Enoch. Then Enoch finds himself a non-existent wife and has Irad. Then Irad finds a non-existent wife and fathers Mehujael. Then a bit later on Lamech takes two wives. I guess God likes polygamy as well.

The one thing that struck me while reading this is that rarely if ever do they birth daughters. They’re all men! This isn’t really surprising but it’s worth noting because women back then were regarded as little better than livestock. The birth of a daughter wasn’t something to celebrate. Boys were what really mattered and the Bible provides evidence for it.

One day, Pimp Daddy Lamech tells his wives that he has killed a man for striking him. He then declares:

If Cain’s revenge is sevenfold,

 

Then Lamech’s is seventy-sevenfold.”

Yep, that sounds fair. Maybe if someone else is murdered, we can up the ante to seven hundred and seventyfold.

After this declaration, we have a list of descendants up to Noah. The only thing to note here is that again, it’s males being born and all of them live absurdly long lives. I mean, as an example, Enosh lives to be 905 and he was still fathering kids at the age of ninety. That alone stretches the imagination and flies in the face of what we know scientifically.

Also at the time of Lemach, there were nine generations still alive. So Adam got to visit his great, great, great, great, great, great grandson.

So like the creation myth we’ve learned little that can be taken seriously. We’ve learned God still has to ask questions, that people can live to be 900 years old and have kids in their 90’s, that Cain had to run from non-existent people who were out to kill him, that women are either hardly ever mentioned in the Bible or are warped down Star Trek style and God isn’t a big fan of fruit.

Next up is Noah.

The Attempted Conversion of An Atheist – Genesis Creation

A religious blogger (very nice guy) challenged me to read the Bible again in what I think was an attempt to convert me to Christianity in a roundabout nice way. He also said in another post that he prays for my conversion although he would never advocate for forcing me to convert.

Fair enough.

I thought about it for a while and decided to do it. It’s been a while since I’ve read the Bible so it can’t cause any harm to brush up on it. Granted, the book is huge so it’s time consuming but I think the benefits will outweigh the drawbacks.

So I’ve decided to post my thoughts about each chapter as I read it. It will be a big project that might take an absurd amount of time but I hope people will read it, debate it and enjoy reading about it. I’ve decided to use the English Standard Version of the Bible since it was the only Bible that I could find for my tablet that was free.

That alone was annoying. You’d think that if spreading your faith was your top priority, you’d make the damn book that is meant to spread that faith free!

Genesis starts off with the creation of the Universe. No offense to any believers who may be reading this, but to believe in the creation portion of the Bible, you’d have to set aside all common sense, modern scientific knowledge and rational, critical thinking skills. It just doesn’t add up or make much rational sense.

The first thing I noticed is that God completely messes up the order of creation. On the first day he creates night and day but he doesn’t create the light making objects (sun, stars and moon) till the fourth day. Not only that, but He makes the plants before making the sun, which would be impossible since without the sun you have no photosynthesis or heat etc. and so the plants would have died.

That’s one example of the absurdity of the creation myth. It’s a good story and I know some religious people will say each ‘day’ is actually an ‘age’ or ‘eon’ but that doesn’t really matter since the plants still would have died whether they went a 24 hour period or an age without sunlight. The Earth would be a frozen wasteland without the sun, not to mention that it would be floating around space because the suns gravitational pull is what keeps us in place.

I could go on pointing out how the creation myth goes against what we know through evolution, but I think that example is sufficient in the interest of keeping the article short enough to read.

Let’s jump ahead to the creation of humanity.

If you’ve ever wondered where the term ‘Dominionist’ came from, you’ll find it in Genesis. In verse 26:

Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”

This single verse has given humanity the permission to rape and pillage the Earth unmercifully. Many people use this verse to justify all sorts of environmental damage.

Thanks God.

On the seventh day, God rests. I know creation requires some heavy lifting, but isn’t God omnipotent? Why would he need to rest at all?

So then God makes Adam out of dust. Considering he just made the dust and the entire Universe, I’m not sure why he would require the dust to make man. Couldn’t He just poof Adam into existence?

Right after that He creates two magic trees – the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Then he warns Adam not to eat the fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

First off, didn’t God know ahead of time that Adam would eventually eat from the tree? Why bother putting such a tempting tree in the garden to begin with if you had the knowledge ahead of time (omniscient) that it would damn humanity to death?

God also warns Adam that if he eats from the tree, in that day he would die.

And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, “You may surely eat of every tree of the garden, but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.”

But it gets better.

“It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him” Now out of the ground the LORD God had formed every beast of the field and every bird of the heavens and brought them to the man to see what he would call them. And whatever the man called every living creature, that was its name.

Adam must have been freaking busy as hell. That’s a lot of naming to do! Presumably, (because later it says Adam didn’t manage to find a fit helper) none of the animals made for a fit helper so God decides to put Adam to sleep, remove a rib and creates Eve.

Again, this raises the question of why a God needs a rib or would go through the hassle of taking a rib when he just finished creating everything in the Universe. At the very least, why not just use some more dirt like He did with Adam?

Of course, this also relegates Eve to the role of a helper. I’m not sure how many women really like that label but I know if I were a woman, I’d find it pretty damn insulting.

So now that God has done all kinds of wonders that don’t make much sense, the snake enters the scene. The talking snake tricks Eve into eating from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil and she in turn gives some to her husband Adam, thus condemning all mankind.

They immediately realize that they’re naked and so they sew fig leaves to create loincloths. This shows right from the beginning the fixation with sex and sexuality that Christianity has. It’s pretty much saying that being naked is evil since they only got this shocking knowledge after eating from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

From here on out (in the creation myth) God looks like a doddering old fool.

And they heard the sound of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God among the trees of the garden. But the LORD God called to the man and said to him “Where are you?” And he said, “I heard the sound of you in the garden, and was afraid, because I was naked, and hid myself.” He said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten of the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?”

So God needs to ask questions and had no idea what had happened. So much for omniscience. There he was strolling around the garden like a common man when he gets the surprise of his omnipotent life because Adam had eaten from the tree that God put there in the first place.

Good job big guy!

So now God has to do something. He damns the snake to crawl on his belly. Wow. So very devastating to the snake. How did he get around before? Was he walking on legs or something?

Then He curses Adam and Eve and every subsequent generation. But wait! Eve gets condemned to:

 

“I will surely multiply your pain in childbearing;

 

in pain you shall bring forth children.

 

Your desire shall be for your husband,

 

and he shall rule over you.”

All I have to say is thank Man for modern medicine that reduces that pain of childbearing that God so nicely cursed Eve with. And I bet women are super glad to know that man gets to rule over them. I guess God never met a lesbian or didn’t see that coming either, since they wouldn’t desire a husband in most cases.

God then sews them up (he’s a great seamstress) some animal skins as garments and exiles them from the Garden of Eden. But if you missed it, God doesn’t keep his promise. Adam doesn’t die on that day. In fact, he gets to live to the ripe old age of 930. You didn’t read that wrong. That’s 930 years old!

God then places a Cherubim and a flaming sword in the east part of the garden to guard it.

We’ll stop here since Cain and Abel deserve their own article. We’ve learned that God didn’t create things in the right order, He doesn’t know as much as believers think He does, that women are basically servants, that we have dominion over every living thing, that God is capricious and likes to curse things and He can sew a hell of a garment when He puts his mind to it…among other things.

So far the conversion isn’t looking so good. I still don’t see how anyone can believe this is the truth without first suspending all common sense.