Thursday, March 17, 2016

The bIBLE again!

by Luke Muehlhauser on December 4, 2008 in Bible
REPOSTED FROM MY OLD SITE.

Noah was a jerk.
The God of the Old Testament is arguably the most unpleasant character in all fiction: jealous and proud of it; a petty, unjust, unforgiving control-freak; a vindictive, bloodthirsty ethnic cleanser; a misogynistic, homophobic, racist, infanticidal, genocidal, filicidal, pestilential, megalomaniacal, sadomasochistic, capriciously malevolent bully.
- Richard Dawkins
There is plenty of evil in “the Good Book,” but here are some highlights:

1. God drowns the whole earth.

In Genesis 7:21-23, God drowns the entire population of the earth: men, women, children, fetuses, and perhaps unicorns. Only a single family survives. In Matthew 24:37-42, gentle Jesus approves of this genocide and plans to repeat it when he returns.

2. God kills half a million people.

In 2 Chronicles 13:15-18, God helps the men of Judah kill 500,000 of their fellow Israelites.

3. God slaughters all Egyptian firstborn.

In Exodus 12:29, God the baby-killer slaughters all Egyptian firstborn children and cattle because their king was stubborn.

4. God kills 14,000 people for complaining that God keeps killing them.

In Numbers 16:41-49, the Israelites complain that God is killing too many of them. So, God sends a plague that kills 14,000 more of them.

5. Genocide after genocide after genocide.

In Joshua 6:20-21, God helps the Israelites destroy Jericho, killing “men and women, young and old, cattle, sheep and donkeys.” In Deuteronomy 2:32-35, God has the Israelites kill everyone in Heshbon, including children. In Deuteronomy 3:3-7, God has the Israelites do the same to the people of Bashan. 

In Numbers 31:7-18, the Israelites kill all the Midianites except for the virgins, whom they take as spoils of war. In 1 Samuel 15:1-9, God tells the Israelites to kill all the Amalekites – men, women, children, infants, and their cattle – for something the Amalekites’ ancestors had done 400 years earlier.

6. God kills 50,000 people for curiosity.

In 1 Samuel 6:19, God kills 50,000 men for peeking into the ark of the covenant. (Newer cosmetic translations count only 70 deaths, but their text notes admit that the best and earliest manuscripts put the number at 50,070.)

7. 3,000 Israelites killed for inventing a god.

In Exodus 32, Moses has climbed Mount Sinai to get the Ten Commandments. The Israelites are bored, so they invent a golden calf god. Moses comes back and God commands him: “Each man strap a sword to his side. Go back and forth through the camp from one end to the other, each killing his brother and friend and neighbor.” About 3,000 people died.

8. The Amorites destroyed by sword and by God’s rocks.

In Joshua 10:10-11, God helps the Israelites slaughter the Amorites by sword, then finishes them off with rocks from the sky.

9. God burns two cities to death.

In Genesis 19:24, God kills everyone in Sodom and Gomorrah with fire from the sky. Then God kills Lot’s wife for looking back at her burning home.

10. God has 42 children mauled by bears.

In 2 Kings 2:23-24, some kids tease the prophet Elisha, and God sends bears to dismember them. (Newer cosmetic translations say the bears “maul” the children, but the original Hebrew, baqa, means “to tear apart.”)

11. A tribe slaughtered and their virgins raped for not showing up at roll call.

In Judges 21:1-23, a tribe of Israelites misses roll call, so the other Israelites kill them all except for the virgins, which they take for themselves. Still not happy, they hide in vineyards and pounce on dancing women from Shiloh to take them for themselves.

12. 3,000 crushed to death.

In Judges 16:27-30, God gives Samson strength to bring down a building to crush 3,000 members of a rival tribe.

13. A concubine raped and dismembered.

In Judges 19:22-29, a mob demands to rape a godly master’s guest. The master offers his daughter and a concubine to them instead. They take the concubine and gang-rape her all night. The master finds her on his doorstep in the morning, cuts her into 12 pieces, and ships the pieces around the country.

14. Child sacrifice.

In Judges 11:30-39, Jephthah burns his daughter alive as a sacrificial offering for God’s favor in killing the Ammonites.

15. God helps Samson kill 30 men because he lost a bet.

In Judges 14:11-19, Samson loses a bet for 30 sets of clothes. The spirit of God comes upon him and he kills 30 men to steal their clothes and pay off the debt.

16. God demands you kill your wife and children for worshiping other gods.

In Deuteronomy 13:6-10, God commands that you must kill your wife, children, brother, and friend if they worship other gods.

17. God incinerates 51 men to make a point.

In 2 Kings 1:9-10, Elijah gets God to burn 51 men with fire from heaven to prove he is God.

18. God kills a man for not impregnating his brother’s widow.

In Genesis 38:9-10, God kills a man for refusing to impregnate his brother’s widow.

19. God threatens forced cannibalism.

In Leviticus 26:27-29 and Jeremiah 19:9, God threatens to punish the Israelites by making them eat their own children.

20. The coming slaughter.

According to Revelation 9:7-19, God’s got more evil coming. God will make horse-like locusts with human heads and scorpion tails, who torture people for 5 months. Then some angels will kill a third of the earth’s population. If he came today, that would be 2 billion people.
Now, Christians have spent thousands of years coming up with excuses for a loving god that would allow or create such evil. In fact, they’ve come up with 12 basic responses, which are the subject of The Tale of the Twelve Officers.

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Expressionist Poetry

FEBRUARY 14, 2012


Georg Heym

Georg Heym [Germany]
1887-1912


Born in Hirschberg, Lower Silesia in 1887, Georg Heym spent much of his short life battling conventional societal behavior. His parents, members of the Wilhemine middle class, were troubled by their son's behavior, and the young poet felt frustrated with the conventionality of their lives. His early influences, which show up in later poems, were figures such as Baudelaire and Rimbaud.

     In 1900 the Heym family moved to Berlin, where Georg attending several schools before graduating from the Friedrich-Wilhelms-Gymnasium at Neuruppin in Brandenburg. Heym began to write poetry as a student.

     Later he studied law at Würzburg, working in unfulfilling judicial jobs. He also began writing drama, producing Versuch einer neuen Religion in 1909 at the age of 22. He poetry, however, appeared upublishable. A year later Heym met Simon Guttmann, who invited him to the newly founded Neue Club. With members such as Kurt Hiller, Jakob van Hoddis, Erwin Loewenson (Golo Gangi) and regular visitors such as Else Lasker-Schüler, Gottfried Benn, and Karl Kraus, the group was shared objectives of writing works that rebelled against contemporary culture and spoke for political change. The Club also held regular "Neopathetisches Cabarets," meetings in which members presented work. Heym's poetry attracted great praise. And in 1911, publisher Ernst Rowohlt published his first book of poetry, Der ewige Tag, the only book to appear in Heym's own lifetime.

     On January 16, 1912, Heym and a friend, Ernst Balcke, went for a skating party on the Havel river. They never returned, and their bodies were found a few days later. Evidently Balcke had fallen through the ice and Heym and attempted to save him before he also drowned.

     Heym left behind a collection of fiction, Der Deib. Ein Novellenbuch, which was published in English as The Thief and Other Stories in 1994.


BOOKS OF POETRY

Der ewige Tag (Leipzig: E. Rowohlt, 1911); Umbra vitae, nachgelassene Gedichte (1912; München: Kurt Wolff, 1924);Marathon (1914); Dichtungen (1922); Gedicht (Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp, 1966); Gedicht (Frankfurt am Main: Fischer-Bücerei, 1968)


ENGLISH LANGUAGE TRANSLATIONS

Poems: English & German Selections, trans. by Antony Hasler (London: Libris, 2004)

     
Umbra Vitae

The people on the streets draw up and stare,
While overhead huge portents cross the sky;
Round fanglike towers threatening comets flare,
Death-bearing, fiery-snouted where they fly.

On every roof astrologers abound,
enormous tubes thrust heavenward; there are
Magicians springing up from underground,
Aslant in darkness, conjuring to a star.

Through night great hordes of suicides are hurled,
Men seeking on their way the selves they've lost;
Crook-backed they haunt all corners of the world,
And with their arms for brooms they sweep the dust.

They are as dust, keep but a little while;
And as they move their hair drops out. They run,
To hasten their slow dying. Then they fall,
And in the open fields lie prone,

But twitch a little still. Beasts of the field
Stand blindly around them, prod with horns
Their sprawling bodies till at last they yield,
Lie buried by the sage-bush, by the thorns.

But all the seas are stopped. Among the waves
The shops hang rotting, scattered, beyond hope.
No current through the water moves,
And all the courts of heaven are locked up.

Trees do not change, the seasons do not change.
Enclosed in dead finality each stands,
And over broken roads lets frigid range
Its palmless thousand-fingered hands.

They dying man sits up, as if to stand,
Just once more word a moment since he cries,
All at once he's gone. Can life so end?
And crushed to fragments are his glassy eyes.

The secret shadows thicken, darkness breaks;
Behind the speechless doors dreams watch and creep.
Burdened by light of dawn the man that wakes
Must rub from grayish eyelids leaden sleep.

—Translated from the German by Christopher Middleton

(1912)

Judas

Torment's curl leaps above his brow,
In which winds and many voices whispering
Swim by like waters flowing.

Yet he runs by his side just like a dog.
And in the mire he picks up everything saying said.
And he weighs it heavily. And it is dead.

Ah gently in the swaying eventide
The Lord walked down over the white fields.
It was him the corn-ears glorified.
His feet were small as flies
In the shrill gleam of golden skies.

—Translated from the German by Christopher Middleton
(1912)
____
English language copyright (c) 1962 by Christopher Middleton