My ex-husband takes our four kids for visitations every other weekend, and every Wednesday for a few hours. Before I get into anything, here's a little bit of background:
My ex-husband and I are (were, in his case) atheists/freethinkers. We didn't believe there was a God, and raised our children in a secular household. They were never brought to church or told there was a higher power, etc. We had agreed to let them find their own path, whatever that path may be.
Since the divorce, my ex-husband had decided that he's now a devout follower of Jesus. Good for him (and I don't mean that with sarcasm). But since he's made that decision, he's harassed our children. My children are made to listen to anti-evolution talk, talk about Jesus and God, and they are not allowed to offer a retort. They have to listen, but then aren't allowed to ask any questions or add to the conversation. When they explained that they were interviewed by a skeptic's podcast about their beliefs in God/Santa/Tooth Fairy, their aunt was so shocked she exclaimed in front of my kids, "That makes me need a cigarette!" One great lesson (listen, but don't speak for yourself) to another (I'm angry, so I'll smoke).
I have raised my children from day one to think for themselves. I want them to explore things on their own time. If they want to experience a church, we'll discuss denominations and I'll take them. If they want to learn about a foreign religion, we'll discuss them at length and them go to a service. I would never keep my kids from life experiences, nor would I make them believe what I believe, simply because I believe it. I want them to have many experiences, have lots of questions, and come to a conclusion that's right for them. What they experience at my ex-in law's house is sheer harassment. The best part is, however, he doesn't even get his religious 'facts' correct! Ahh. Awesome.
What to do? We had agreed to raise the kids to be rational freethinkers. Now, because he's had some great revelation for himself, he's forcing it upon them. There has to be some action I can take against this. If they want to ask him questions, great. If they want him to take them to church sometime, great. I want it to continue to be their decision, and he wants to indoctrinate them. Sigh.
1:3 And God said "Let there be light," and there was light.
1:14-1:19 (This is where God creates the sun, moon, and stars)
How can there be light on the first day if the sun was not even created until the fourth day? Shouldn't the fourth day actually be the first day? Up until that point in time he'd have no natural showing of day and night because there was no sun or moon. Was it an educated guess? To separate one day from the next there has to be a natural cycle of the sun rising, and then setting with the moon rising, and the moon setting with the sun rising to bring about day 2. None of this could have happened.
1:27 Male and Female, he created them.
Notice that man and woman were created at the SAME TIME here.
1:28 "Be fruitful and increase in number."
There's no mention of marriage between the two before they were on their way to procreate. This lends to my idea that marriage is NOT a biblical institution. In fact, marriage was used for personal gain during the way-back-whens (think dowry).
2:4-2:25 A quick run-down of what happened here is that the Earth was barren, then God created man (Adam), then a garden (Eden) was placed there so man could tend it. After that, God decided that Adam needed a helper so he created animals. Since Adam did not find a suitable helper amongst the animals, God used one of Adam's ribs to create woman (Eve).
Notice anything? Chapter 1 and Chapter 2 contain two DIFFERENT creation myths, back to back! Was there no editor-in-chief assigned to the task of quality control for this book? Which one should the believers follow? Or are they so engulfed in their belief system that they fail to see the inconsistencies? Growing up (non-theist) I had only ever heard the myth of Eve coming from Adam's rib. But now hold on: There's TWO stories? The first two chapters of Genesis was enough to make me start questioning the content of this book immediately.
3:1 The "Serpent" is mentioned.
Nowhere in the text is the Serpent referred to as Satan. It's a trickster. Never is it even portrayed as evil. It simply coaxes Eve into doing something she had been told not to do.
3:17 "Because you listened to your wife and ate from the tree about which I had commanded you . . ."
Eve never MADE Adam do anything. She had taken her bite and kindly offered her husband a bite, which he accepted without a fight. Proven in 3:6 with, "She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it." I see no sign of struggle there.
4:3-4:5 In the course of time Cain brought some of the fruits of the soil as an offering to the Lord. But Abel brought fat portions from some of the first born of his flock. The Lord looked with favor on Abel and his offering, but on Cain and his offering he did not look with favor. So Cain was very angry, and his face was downcast.
How could the Lord look so unkindly on a man doing his best to make offerings to his God. Did Abel's taste better? Did God not like fruit or vegetables? Was it an acid reflux thing that made God look down on Cain with such disdain? Both men sought to please a God that they feared, respected, and loved. Why was one so favored over the other?
Here's something I found very interesting, and I'm thankful the Bible gave me its 'specifics.'
In chapter 5 we are given the age at death of many people--
5: Adam (930yrs), Seth (912yrs), Enosh (905yrs), Kenan (910yrs), Mahalalel (895yrs), Jared (962), Enoch (365yrs), Methuselah (969yrs), Lamech (777yrs), and Noah (950yrs).
I hope you're seeing what I'm seeing here. Ridiculous, right?
6:3 "My spirit will not contend with man forever . . . his days will be a hundred and twenty."
So what's being said here is basically, "Hey. I'm the immortal one around here. You are all living too long, and to live a life that long brings you close to me. So, uh, we'll take care of that."
And onto one of my FAVORITE parts . . .
Noah and the Ark!
Here are the exact ark specifications as given in the Bible:
6:15 450ft long, 75ft wide, 45ft high.
Really? Shouldn't Noah have glanced skyward and said something like, "You seriously think I can fit everything you want me to fit on there? Why don't you just pack lighter. KTHX."
Now that you have the specs of the ark, here are two different commands given to Noah by God as to what should be brought aboard the ship:
6:15-6:22 (Condensed, and not word-for-word) The Ark would need to hold Noah, his three sons, his wife, his sons' wives, two of every animal and food enough for everyone and everything.
But in chapter seven we get:
7:1-7:13 "Take with you seven of every kind of clean animal, a male and its mate, and two of every kind of unclean animal, a male and its mate, and also seven of every kind of bird, male and female, to keep their various kinds alive throughout the earth."
Those are two entirely different commands, and both as equally impossible. Plus, why not save the fish? Didn't he want a re-do on the fish as well? Or do fish carry no sin? Also, keep in mind that Noah was 600 years old when the Ark was built. Hmm . . .
After the flood, God spoke to Noah and said:
8:21 "Never again will I curse the ground because of man, even though every inclination of his heart is evil from childhood. And never again will I destroy all living creatures, as I have done. As long as the earth endures, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night will never cease."
Why even read the rest of the Bible? (Though I am) Right here God promises that he'd never wipe out humanity again. Ta-da. The end. Right?
So that's my take so far. Please feel free to comment, question, or challenge.
I realize that it's been a while since I've posted, but I had taken on a seasonal job which ate up most of my time. It's over now, and I have more time to devote to the blog. Please send me all of your comments and questions and I will do my best to respond to you in a timely manner.
Now that I find myself with some free time, I've decided to read the Bible. It's interesting for me since I wasn't raised with religion, and I've never read it before. All I know is what I've heard in passing: Noah built an ark and took two of every animal, it rained for 40 days and 40 nights, the dove, the olive branch, etc: Jesus was born of a virgin: There are plagues and whatnot. Nothing specific at all. My husband was raised in the Christian school system and attended church regularly (CRC! Rah!) so this is all old news to him. I'm having a lot of fun reading through it, taking notes, and comparing my notes to what he was taught when he was growing up.
I've decided to write a book review on the Bible. I'll do it book by book, taking notes by chapter and verse. This will be my take on what I've read, so feel free to dispute, debate, or debunk anything I may come up with.
I don't know how many times I've been accused of raising children with no moral compass. The reason? Because we don't subscribe to a religion. Apparently the only way to lead a moral life is to believe in an invisible deity and read a book written by men thousands of years ago.
I found a great article on morality and godless parenting:
When I heard that a farm* would be bringing animals to my daughter's school, I thought she'd have a wonderful time. After all, kids do tend to love learning new things, especially in a hands-on kind of way. Never did I think the day would progress as it did.
I received a call from a friend of mine who has a child who went to the morning session of the farm presentation. She said that the woman teaching the class said that "God put the yolk into the egg for the baby chick to eat," and that "Chickens must be married before they have eggs."
I believe a rather vibrant WTF?! is appropriate here.
Keep in mind this is a public school. I am not opposed to my kids being curious about religion or wanting to explore one or many, but it's inappropriate for this to be said in a public school. I called the principal immediately who said that he hadn't heard anything about it, and he was sure I'd made some kind of mistake. Surely one of his teachers would have come to him and told him that such a thing was said. In what I believe was an attempt to placate me he said he would investigate this and call me back.
No more than five minutes later I received a voicemail from said principal saying something to the effect of, "Mrs. ________, I am SO sorry. That was indeed said. I spoke to the woman teaching the class and she admitted to having taught that. Rest assured that the afternoon class will NOT be hearing this, and that this group will never be invited back to this school."
Wow. I honestly hadn't expected that. The principal sat in on the afternoon session of the class and caught the woman as she started into the yolk-and-egg explanation, and he directed her to take a different course with that. Kudos to the principal for standing up and keeping unnecessary (and false) religious teachings out of public school.