18 September 2014

The Scathing Atheist

If you've never listened to the Scathing Atheist, you should.

Noah Lugeons, Heath Enwright, and Lucinda Lugeons have created one of the best podcasts on the internet. Begin with episode 1 and go through all 83. Or start with the current one and work your way backwards. If you choose the second option, you'll begin with the episode in which Noah interviews me. The interview begins at 31:50, but best parts of the show, by far, come before and after that.

Many of the episodes contain a segment called "The Holy Babble," in which Noah, Heath, and Lucinda provide the most entertaining and profound biblical exegesis you'll ever hear. I'll be putting up links to these segments at the SAB.

15 September 2014

EJ&T Numbers 27-28: Inheritance laws and animal sacrifice

In the Every Jot and Tittle project, I am listing all of the Bible's commandments from Genesis to Revelation, in accordance with Jesus's words in Matthew 5:18-19. I have no idea how many commandments I'll find, but Jewish tradition claims there are 613. See here for a list of those that I've found so far.

  1. If a man dies and has no son, then his daughter receives the inheritance.
  2. If a man die, and have no son, then ye shall cause his inheritance to pass unto his daughter. And if he have no brethren, then ye shall give his inheritance unto his father's brethren. And if his father have no brethren, then ye shall give his inheritance unto his kinsman that is next to him of his family, and he shall possess it: and it shall be unto the children of Israel a statute of judgment, as the LORD commanded Moses.Numbers 27:8-11

  3. On each sabbath, in addition to your regular daily sacrifices, kill two first-year unblemished lambs, with 0.2 deal of flour mixed with oil, and a drink offering.
  4. And on the sabbath day two lambs of the first year without spot, and two tenth deals of flour for a meat offering, mingled with oil, and the drink offering thereof: This is the burnt offering of every sabbath, beside the continual burnt offering, and his drink offering. Numbers 28:9-10

  5. On the first day of every month, kill and burn two young bulls, one ram, and seven first-year unspotted lambs, using the following procedure.
  6. At the beginning of each month kill and burn two young bulls, one ram, and seven first-year unspotted lambs.

    And in the beginnings of your months ye shall offer a burnt offering unto the Lord; two young bullocks, and one ram, seven lambs of the first year without spot. Numbers 28:11

    Along with one of the bulls, include 0.3 deal of flour mixed with oil; include 0.2 deal of flour mixed with oil with the ram; and several tenths deal of flour mixed with oil with one of the lambs. Burn the whole mess for a sweet savor unto the Lord.

    And three tenth deals of flour for a meat offering, mingled with oil, for one bullock; and two tenth deals of flour for a meat offering, mingled with oil, for one ram; And a several tenth deal of flour mingled with oil for a meat offering unto one lamb; for a burnt offering of a sweet savour, a sacrifice made by fire unto the Lord. Numbers 28:12-13

    Be sure to include a half hin of wine with each bull, 1/3 hin of wine with each ram, and a quarter hin of wine with each lamb. Offer these burnt, sin, and drink offerings on the first day of each month.

    And their drink offerings shall be half an hin of wine unto a bullock, and the third part of an hin unto a ram, and a fourth part of an hin unto a lamb: this is the burnt offering of every month throughout the months of the year. And one kid of the goats for a sin offering unto the Lord shall be offered, beside the continual burnt offering, and his drink offering. Numbers 28:14-15

  7. On the first day of Passover, don't do any work. Kill and burn some animals instead, according the the following instructions.
  8. On the first day of Passover, don't do any work.

    In the first day shall be an holy convocation; ye shall do no manner of servile work therein Numbers 28:18

    Kill and burn two young bulls, one ram, seven first-year unblemished lambs. Add some flour mingled with oil, 0.3 deal for each young bull, 0.2 deal for ram, several tenths deal for a ram, and several tenths deal for a lamb.

    But ye shall offer a sacrifice made by fire for a burnt offering unto the Lord; two young bullocks, and one ram, and seven lambs of the first year: they shall be unto you without blemish: And their meat offering shall be of flour mingled with oil: three tenth deals shall ye offer for a bullock, and two tenth deals for a ram; A several tenth deal shalt thou offer for every lamb, throughout the seven lambs: And one goat for a sin offering, to make an atonement for you. Numbers 28:19-22

    Do this, along with a drink offering, each day for seven days for a sweet savor to the Lord.

    Ye shall offer these beside the burnt offering in the morning, which is for a continual burnt offering. After this manner ye shall offer daily, throughout the seven days, the meat of the sacrifice made by fire, of a sweet savour unto the Lord: it shall be offered beside the continual burnt offering, and his drink offering. Numbers 28:23-24

    Then on the seventh day, have a holy convocation. But don't do any work.

    And on the seventh day ye shall have an holy convocation; ye shall do no servile work. Numbers 28:25

08 September 2014

EJ&T Numbers 19: Getting clean with holy water made from the ashes of a red cow

In the Every Jot and Tittle project, I am listing all of the Bible's commandments from Genesis to Revelation, in accordance with Jesus's words in Matthew 5:18-19. I have no idea how many commandments I'll find, but Jewish tradition claims there are 613. See here for a list of those that I've found so far.


  1. Kill and burn a red cow; make holy water from its ashes to wash away sin.
    I think this cow qualifies
  2. Find an unblemished, spotless red cow that has never pulled a plow.
    And the Lord spake unto Moses and unto Aaron, saying, This is the ordinance of the law which the Lord hath commanded, saying, Speak unto the children of Israel, that they bring thee a red heifer without spot, wherein is no blemish, and upon which never came yoke. Numbers 19:1-6
    Give the red cow to a priest, who will kill it, dip his finger in the blood, and sprinkle the blood seven times in front of the tabernacle.
    And ye shall give her unto Eleazar the priest, that he may bring her forth without the camp, and one shall slay her before his face: And Eleazar the priest shall take of her blood with his finger, and sprinkle of her blood directly before the tabernacle of the congregation seven times. Numbers 19:3-4
    Burn the dead cow's body in the sight of the priest, including the skin, flesh, blood, and dung.
    And one shall burn the heifer in his sight; her skin, and her flesh, and her blood, with her dung, shall he burn: Numbers 19:5
    Throw some cedar wood, hyssop, and scarlet onto the burning cow.
    And the priest shall take cedar wood, and hyssop, and scarlet, and cast it into the midst of the burning of the heifer. Numbers 19:6
    Then the priest must wash his clothes and take a bath. He will be unclean until the evening. Likewise for the person who burned the cow.
    Then the priest shall wash his clothes, and he shall bathe his flesh in water, and afterward he shall come into the camp, and the priest shall be unclean until the even. And he that burneth her shall wash his clothes in water, and bathe his flesh in water, and shall be unclean until the even. Numbers 19:8-9
    Have a clean man collect the ashes and put them in a clean place. The ashes will be used to make "a water of separation" that will wash away sin.
    And a man that is clean shall gather up the ashes of the heifer, and lay them up without the camp in a clean place, and it shall be kept for the congregation of the children of Israel for a water of separation: it is a purification for sin. Numbers 19:9
    The clean man that gathered the ashes must wash his clothes. He will be unclean until the evening.
    And he that gathereth the ashes of the heifer shall wash his clothes, and be unclean until the even. Numbers 19:10a
    This is a statute for ever and for everyone, Israelites and strangers.
    It shall be unto the children of Israel, and unto the stranger that sojourneth among them, for a statute for ever. Numbers 19:10b

  3. How to get clean after touching a dead body, bone, grave, unclean person, or water of separation
  4. If you touch a dead body, you will be unclean for seven days.
    He that toucheth the dead body of any man shall be unclean seven days. Numbers 19:11
    But if you wash yourself on the third and seventh days with the holy water made from the red cow's ashes, then you'll be clean.
    He shall purify himself with it on the third day, and on the seventh day he shall be clean. Numbers 19:12a
    If you don't wash yourself with the cow-ash water on the third and seventh days, you won't be clean.
    But if he purify not himself the third day, then the seventh day he shall not be clean. Numbers 19:12b
    If you touch the dead body of a dead man, and don't purify yourself according to the above instructions, you'll be cut off and unclean.
    Whosoever toucheth the dead body of any man that is dead, and purifieth not himself, defileth the tabernacle of the Lord; and that soul shall be cut off from Israel: because the water of separation was not sprinkled upon him, he shall be unclean; his uncleanness is yet upon him. Numbers 19:13
    If a man dies in a tent, whoever enters the tent is unclean for seven days. And any open containers are also unclean.
    This is the law, when a man dieth in a tent: all that come into the tent, and all that is in the tent, shall be unclean seven days. And every open vessel, which hath no covering bound upon it, is unclean. Numbers 19:14-15
    If you touch the dead body of someone who was killed with a sword, or any other dead body, or a human bone, or a grave, then you'll be unclean for seven days.
    And whosoever toucheth one that is slain with a sword in the open fields, or a dead body, or a bone of a man, or a grave, shall be unclean seven days. Numbers 19:16
    If you are unclean, get some of the red cow ashes and mix them with water. Have a clean person take some hyssop, dip it in the water, and sprinkle it on the tent, the open containers, and any people that were around a dead man, or who touched a dead person, bone or grave.
    And for an unclean person they shall take of the ashes of the burnt heifer of purification for sin, and running water shall be put thereto in a vessel: And a clean person shall take hyssop, and dip it in the water, and sprinkle it upon the tent, and upon all the vessels, and upon the persons that were there, and upon him that touched a bone, or one slain, or one dead, or a grave: Numbers 19:17-18
    Have the clean person sprinkle you on the third and seventh day. Then wash your clothes and take a bath. You'll be clean that evening.
    And the clean person shall sprinkle upon the unclean on the third day, and on the seventh day: and on the seventh day he shall purify himself, and wash his clothes, and bathe himself in water, and shall be clean at even. Numbers 19:19
    If you don't get clean, though, you'll be unclean and cut off from your people.
    But the man that shall be unclean, and shall not purify himself,that soul shall be cut off from among the congregation, because he hath defiled the sanctuary of the LORD: the water of separation hath not been sprinkled upon him; he is unclean. Numbers 19:20
    This is a perpetual statute.
    And it shall be a perpetual statute unto them, that he that sprinkleth the water of separation shall wash his clothes; and he that toucheth the water of separation shall be unclean until even. Numbers 19:21a
    The person that sprinkles the water of separation must wash his clothes. And whoever touches the water of separation will be unclean until evening.
    He that sprinkleth the water of separation shall wash his clothes; and he that toucheth the water of separation shall be unclean until even. Numbers 19:
    Whoever touches the unclean person is unclean until evening.
    And whatsoever the unclean person toucheth shall be unclean; and the soul that toucheth it shall be unclean until even. Numbers 19:22

06 September 2014

Preview Strange Flesh: The Bible and Homosexuality

Pre-orders now available

Well, it's finally time! Steve and I have been working hard for the last year, going through many rounds of edits, but we've finally got the book ready for publication! Amazon won't let us put up a preview just yet, but we decided to post a few example chapters.

Here are the Table of Contents and Introduction:



And here are Chapters 4 and 5, so you can get an idea of what the book will be like. You can click the embedded page below to expand it for easier reading.



The book will be released on October 1st. You can check out the Amazon listing here, and we'll be putting up links to the book on the site and the blog. I'm hoping that we sell at least a few copies, so we can beat out this other book with the same title:





Or this one






Or this one!




We were really lucky to get Dave Muscato from American Atheists to write a special Afterword for us for this book.  Thanks, Dave!

03 September 2014

EJ&T: Numbers 18 - Priests and money

In the Every Jot and Tittle project, I am listing all of the Bible's commandments from Genesis to Revelation, in accordance with Jesus's words in Matthew 5:18-19. I have no idea how many commandments I'll find, but Jewish tradition claims there are 613. See here for a list of those that I've found so far.

  1. Every male descendant of Aaron may eat the most holy meat offerings, sin offerings, and trespass offerings in the holy place.
  2. It's not entirely clear, however, who in the priests' families gets to eat the meat, sin, and trespass offerings. "Every male" as it says in verse 10 or "everyone that is clean," both male and female, as it says in verse 11.

    This shall be thine of the most holy things, reserved from the fire: every oblation of theirs, every meat offering of theirs, and every sin offering of theirs, and every trespass offering of theirs which they shall render unto me, shall be most holy for thee and for thy sons. In the most holy place shalt thou eat it; every male shall eat it: it shall be holy unto thee. Numbers 18:9-10

  3. Every clean descendant of Aaron, both male and female, may eat heave offerings and wave offerings.
  4. And this is thine; the heave offering of their gift, with all the wave offerings of the children of Israel: I have given them unto thee, and to thy sons and to thy daughters with thee, by a statute for ever: every one that is clean in thy house shall eat of it. Numbers 18:11

  5. The clean descendants of Aaron get all the best oil, wine, wheat, and first fruits.
  6. All the best of the oil, and all the best of the wine, and of the wheat, the firstfruits of them which they shall offer unto the LORD, them have I given thee. And whatsoever is first ripe in the land, which they shall bring unto the LORD, shall be thine; every one that is clean in thine house shall eat of it. Numbers 18:12-13

  7. Every firstborn human and animal belongs to Aaron's male descendants.
  8. Every thing devoted in Israel shall be thine. Every thing that openeth the matrix in all flesh, which they bring unto the LORD, whether it be of men or beasts, shall be thine. Numbers 18:14-15a

    There seems to be some confusion about this, though. In Exodus 13 and 34, firstborn humans and animals belong to God not to the priests. (See Commandment #22.)

  9. Firstling cows, sheep, and goats can't be redeemed. Sprinkle their blood on the altar and burn their fat for a sweet savor unto the Lord.
  10. But the firstling of a cow, or the firstling of a sheep, or the firstling of a goat, thou shalt not redeem; they are holy: thou shalt sprinkle their blood upon the altar, and shalt burn their fat for an offering made by fire, for a sweet savour unto the LORD. Numbers 18:17

  11. The descendants of Aaron get the wave breasts and heave shoulders. It is a statute forever and a covenant of salt.
  12. And the flesh of them shall be thine, as the wave breast and as the right shoulder are thine. All the heave offerings of the holy things, which the children of Israel offer unto the LORD, have I given thee, and thy sons and thy daughters with thee, by a statute for ever: it is a covenant of salt for ever before the LORD unto thee and to thy seed with thee. Numbers 18:18-19

  13. The descendants of Aaron can't own land.
  14. And the LORD spake unto Aaron, Thou shalt have no inheritance in their land, neither shalt thou have any part among them: I am thy part and thine inheritance among the children of Israel. Numbers 18:20

    But the Levites shall do the service of the tabernacle of the congregation, and they shall bear their iniquity: it shall be a statute for ever throughout your generations, that among the children of Israel they have no inheritance. But the tithes of the children of Israel, which they offer as an heave offering unto the LORD, I have given to the Levites to inherit: therefore I have said unto them, Among the children of Israel they shall have no inheritance. Numbers 18:23-24

  15. The descendants of Levi (the priests) get one tenth of everything everyone else possesses.
  16. And, behold, I have given the children of Levi all the tenth in Israel for an inheritance, for their service which they serve, even the service of the tabernacle of the congregation. Numbers 18:21

    And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, Thus speak unto the Levites, and say unto them, When ye take of the children of Israel the tithes which I have given you from them for your inheritance, then ye shall offer up an heave offering of it for the Lord, even a tenth part of the tithe. And this your heave offering shall be reckoned unto you, as though it were the corn of the threshingfloor, and as the fulness of the winepress. Thus ye also shall offer an heave offering unto the Lord of all your tithes, which ye receive of the children of Israel; and ye shall give thereof the Lord'S heave offering to Aaron the priest. Out of all your gifts ye shall offer every heave offering of the Lord, of all the best thereof, even the hallowed part thereof out of it. Therefore thou shalt say unto them, When ye have heaved the best thereof from it, then it shall be counted unto the Levites as the increase of the threshingfloor, and as the increase of the winepress. And ye shall eat it in every place, ye and your households: for it is your reward for your service in the tabernacle of the congregation. Numbers 18:25-31

  17. If you're not a Levite, stay away from the tabernacle or you will bear sin and die.
  18. Neither must the children of Israel henceforth come nigh the tabernacle of the congregation, lest they bear sin, and die. Numbers 18:22

  19. If you pollute the holy things, you will die.
  20. Neither shall ye pollute the holy things of the children of Israel, lest ye die. Numbers 18:32