The Rainbow Bridge

The idea for the “Rainbow Bridge” came from an anonymous poem (sic) from the 1980’s.  It reads:

Just this side of heaven is a place called Rainbow Bridge.

“When an animal dies that has been especially close to someone here, that pet goes to Rainbow Bridge. There are meadows and hills for all of our special friends so they can run and play together. There is plenty of food, water and sunshine, and our friends are warm and comfortable.

All the animals who had been ill and old are restored to health and vigor. Those who were hurt or maimed are made whole and strong again, just as we remember them in our dreams of days and times gone by. The animals are happy and content, except for one small thing; they each miss someone very special to them, who had to be left behind.

They all run and play together, but the day comes when one suddenly stops and looks into the distance. His bright eyes are intent. His eager body quivers. Suddenly he begins to run from the group, flying over the green grass, his legs carrying him faster and faster.

You have been spotted, and when you and your special friend finally meet, you cling together in joyous reunion, never to be parted again. The happy kisses rain upon your face; your hands again caress the beloved head, and you look once more into the trusting eyes of your pet, so long gone from your life but never absent from your heart.

Then you cross Rainbow Bridge together….”

Author unknown…

Other than vets printing this out and handing it out to their customers after putting their pets to “sleep”, I’m not sure how, in the pre-internet age, this concept gathered steam, but now, there is a website, Facebook page(s), etc. devoted to the concept of seeing our beloved pets after we die.

Which is the point of heaven – a concept to lessen the fear of death.  Christianity took off for 2 reasons:  one, it is reiterated time and time again in the New Testament, that if you follow Jesus, you don’t have to abide by the arduous Jewish laws.  And two,  if you follow Jesus, (John 3:15) “whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life”.  (also “everlasting” life in 3:16). (Debunking the concept of heaven completely!)

Religion is all about death.  And the hugely popular concept of our pets getting their own special “heaven” where they await our demise adds another dimension to “heaven” and belief in such.  Especially the parts about being hurt or maimed and made whole again.  That is also the assumption behind going to heaven as well (see Heaven is For Real where the young boy talks about his grandfather who got younger).

This is all very interesting considering the Bible never mentions people going to heaven.  It is, not unlike the “poem” above, a man made concept.

The NT references to heaven as it relates to a human “going there” (as opposed to an angel coming down from it, or a light coming from it) include Matthew 5:12, Mattt 19:21, Mark 10:21, Luke 6:23, Luke 12:33, Luke 18:22 which all refer to rewards and riches waiting for you.  2 Corinthians 5:1 says home is heaven after the earth is destroyed.  1 Thess 4:16 states the Lord will come down from heaven and those who have died and were in Christ will rise first.  2 Timothy 4:18 states “The Lord will bring me safely to his heavenly kingdom.” And finally 1 Peter 1:4 states “These blessings are kept for you in heaven.”  Col 1:5 states “You know what is waiting for you in heaven”.

So heaven is a giant carrot.  And in case that doesn’t work, the rainbow bridge is another one.

 

In heaven, you don’t eat junk food

Overheard in the grocery store this morning, and I wondered where the young girl got that idea.  And then I remembered oh yes – VBS.  Sounds like a disease, which it could be, but it’s Vacation Bible School.  The staple of every elementary child’s summer, as it’s one more way for the parent to park their kids somewhere while they get something done; perhaps work…

But it hearkens back to, why do we believe what we do?  And when you indoctrinate children in Sunday School and for a solid week during the summer, you get – brainwashed little humans.

You get people who don’t think for themselves.  I really need to write that Skeptic Children’s Bible.

Again, asking for prayers on FB

Saw on Facebook this morning, someone is asking for prayers for someone diagnosed with cancer who is “starting chemo”.  They said, “you can’t have too many prayers”.  It’s absolutely bizarre to me that in 2017 people continue to pray to the invisible sky god, while undergoing medical treatment.  Their cancer may regress, then it may come back.  It may work, it may not.  If prayers worked, the cancer would be cured.  Nobody prays that the cancer “only comes back once or twice”.

How much is this chemo going to cost?  Do they have good medical insurance?  Do they need to start a “GoFundMe” account?  God doesn’t pay the medical bills.  Why not JUST pray – it’s cheaper…

On a side note, you know what they didn’t have in the Bible when people (supposedly) lived to be 900?  Telephones, ambulances, chemotherapy, etc.  Then god “shortened the life span to 120”.  Because that’s the only explanation for why we no longer live to be 900.

Why would god cause someone to have cancer?  It would have to be because they didn’t live the way he wanted.  But do we go by Jesus’ list or the OT list?  Do we go by the 600+ Jewish laws?

If God could heal cancer, it would be God that caused the cancer.

And finally, if you believe in God, and believe that heaven awaits you on the other side, why get chemo?  Why not want to go to heaven where you don’t have to deal with the IRS, health insurance, politics, traffic, debt climate change, etc.

I  think we ask for prayers out of habit.  Desperation.

 

Writing the Bible

Remember, each individual book of the Bible was composed hundreds of years before the whole thing was codified.  The authors never knew that they were writing something that was going to be the holy book.  But I digress – my point is, why in hell, would the priests who codified the Bible in the 300’s keep in the parts where Jesus told his followers he would “return in their lifetimes”.  (Luke 21:32-33 The earth and sky will be destroyed in your lifetime.  Matthew 10:23 – The Son of Man will come again before you can even travel from city to city…)

Why didn’t the priests in the 300’s take those parts out since at that point it was obvious that was false?

If the Bible was the work of a creator of the universe who could communicate with us, it wouldn’t say these things.

Judgment

Today I looked up “Judgment” in my favorite searchable Bible site – http://www.gatewaybible.com.  And I chose the “Good News Translation” as a starting point, unaware that it has a couple of additional books.  I was specifically looking for references to “Judgment Day” to see if that term appeared prior to the New Testament.

I immediately noticed that it does appear in the book of Judith, at 16:17: “The Lord Almight will punish them on Judgment Day”.  I researched the Book of Judith and one site reports it was written in the second or first century BC.  That would be the only time prior to the life of Jesus that there was a reference to a Judgment Day.  That I can tell.

OK, next the Good News Translation had several passages from the “Book of Wisdom” (aka Book of Solomon not to be confused with the Song of Solomon) regarding “Judgment Day”.  It was written in the first century CE, but that makes sense.

Isaiah 33:14 refers to God’s judgment; Joel 3:2 refers to the “Valley of Judgment” and the short book of Zephaniah, supposedly written in the 600’s BC states at 1:2 “I am going to destroy everything on earth (on the day of the Lord’s Judgment); 1:7 and 14:1 both state “the day is near”.  I find that odd for something written in the 600’s BC.

Malachi, also an OT prophet states at 2:17 “The day is near”.  (Reminds me of Blazing Saddles).

Then of course the NT is rife with references to the final judgment.   1 Peter 4:17 states, “The time has come for judgment to begin”. Interesting.

But one of my points is, when someone asks if you read the Bible, it’s tempting to say, which one?  Apparently the “Good News Translation” sees fit to add some additional extrabiblical books that weren’t approved by those picky Catholic priests in the 300’s.

 

The Bible For Children

I bought the book  The Bible For Children: From the Age of Gutenberg to the Present by Ruth Bottingheimer (1996 Yale U. Press) “used” on Amazon and it was a bit dry and historical, but it told me what I wanted to hear.  That “Children’s Bibles” became popular in the 1800’s, and they drastically edited the various Bible stories to suit the readers’ needs.  “Revisions undeniably aided nineteenth century mothers and governesses who felt incompetent to deal with the Bible’s unaltered text: its manifest improprieties forced them to resort to ‘constant artifice and evasion to divert the attention of inquisitive children from [unfit] subjects’. The Abraham and Isaac story is one of the only potential violent parental/child instances ever detailed; yet that one story is one of the most effective at scaring children into “becoming religious”.  If you piss God off, he’s not going to be so lenient next time.

In another instance, “…the full, and illustrated story of Lot and his daughters has  been so thoroughly suppressed in the twentieth century, that contemporary adults routinely respond to its telling with incredulous consternation.”

The author of the current satirical set of books entitled,  Awkward Moments Children’s Bible contains cartoon illustrations of some of the most violent and innappropriate verses in the Bible.  The author goes by the pseudonym “Horus Gilgamesh” because of the constant death threats he receives.  And all he’s doing is quoting the Bible!

I recall when my oldest child was in pre-school at a local Lutheran church, they held a book fair, and he went through the line and simply picked up whatever book the kid in front of him chose.  I flipped through it and was aghast at the implications therein: “If I die today, I won’t worry because I’ll be with Jesus”.  To my paranoid parental mind, it invited a young child to dash into a busy street. I said as much to the parent standing next to me, and she said, “no, this is when you want to reach them, when they’re young.”  And I thought, that’s interesting.  She was talking about brainwashing.

Children’s Bibles tend to tell basically only the creation story, the flood story, the above mentioned Abraham and Isaac story, Moses in the rushes, Daniel in the lions’ den, Jonah and the whale/big fish, David and Goliath, and the Jesus stories.  As much as kids question “why?” when they’re four, for some reason kids don’t question who Cain’s wife was.  Or why God didn’t create Jesus from the get-go, if Christianity is the one true religion.  Or why  their friend goes to Synagogue and not the Baptist Church like they do?

I’m totally going to write a Children’s Bible for Skeptics.