“You’re a wizard, Harry!” and other unforgettable moments from the Bible.

You're a Wizard Harry
1. “You’re a wizard, Harry!”
Who can forget that moment in the book of Mark when Hagrid revealed to the 11-year-old Harry that he’s a wizard? This was, I believe, a critical turning point in young Harry Potter’s life.

White Rabbit
2. “Oh dear! Oh dear! I shall be too late!”
In the early chapters of Exodus, Alice follows a white rabbit down a hole, thus starting her amazing adventure in Wonderland. It was that precise moment when the rabbit pulled out a pocket watch and exclaimed he was running late that truly piqued Alice’s interest and began her adventure.

Luke I Am Your Father
3. “Luke, I am your father!”
Though the evil Lord Vader was introduced as early as Genesis, it wasn’t until the book of 2 Kings that he was revealed to be young Luke Skywalker’s father. This was a shocking revelation even for those who had been following the story from its beginning.

Moby Dick
4. “Call me Ishmael.”
These were the first words uttered in the Bible, and still resonate with all of us to this day.

Nick Carraway
5. “So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.”
The final words of the Bible, this quote reminds us that as we paddle furiously toward the future, the current always drags us back into our past. This is infinitely deeper when you consider that current also means present, and that present also means gift, and you should never look a gift horse in the mouth, and I think this is exactly what Nick Carraway meant about Jay Gatsby, though he recognizes its inevitability with all of us.

Motherfucking Snakes
6. “I have had it with these motherfucking snakes on this motherfucking plane!”
Oh Samuel L. Jackson. You won our hearts in Ezekiel 25:17 but it wasn’t until you uttered this phrase in the book of Malachi that we truly understood how you felt about all those snakes on that plane.

Donkey
7. “There she lusted after her lovers, whose genitals were like those of donkeys and whose emission was like that of horses.”
Speaking of Ezekiel, this gem is found at the 23:20 mark where we learn of Oholibah, the younger of two sisters, both engaging in prostitution from an early age. Oholibah enjoyed men with huge penises and who ejaculated a large amount of semen.

Scientific Progress Goes Boink
8. “Scientific progress goes ‘boink’?”
Ha ha! Remember when in Proverbs, Calvin invented a duplicating machine? So do I! And this line Hobbes utters when he activates the machine was an instant classic!

Beatles on Ed Sullivan
9. “Ladies and gentlemen, The Beatles!”
Probably the most memorable moment in the Bible was in the book of John when the Beatles appeared on the Ed Sullivan Show. This was a turning point not just in the history of rock n’ roll, but in American history as well.

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Miracles?

Yeah, yeah, Brandon made a post with this same title a while back. But mine has a question mark. So it’s different, see? See? Anyway, the subject matter is slightly different and it’s been, like, almost two months. Now that we’ve settled that this is an entirely different post from Brandon’s, we can continue.

What is a miracle?
A miracle is any event that betrays the laws of nature. It is not simply something science has no answer for, but something science and scientific laws explicitly state could not happen. It is a phenomenon which, without “divine guidance,” would otherwise be impossible. A meteor hurtling toward earth and then stopping, abruptly, about a mile before impact is an example of something that betrays the laws of nature and science and could legitimately be called a miracle.

Some people think a miracle is “anything that happens at just the right time when it is not expected.” This is okay, if you’d like to consider every single coincidence or stroke of good fortune a miracle. By that definition, you would say that winning the lottery is a miracle, but it would be one hell of a stretch to call it an act of god, let alone proof for god’s existence.

There are no miracles, ever.
Now that we’ve got that explanation out of the way, I can make my assertion: that there has never in history been such a phenomenon which, by the above definition, would be considered a miracle.

For the record, I should point out again that as an atheist I am prone to disregard the Bible as a factual account of historic events, so using any examples from the Bible would be completely futile. To argue while citing the Bible as proof is to assume the Bible is one hundred percent factual and accurate. That just doesn’t fly with an atheist. To quote Damon Wayons in one of his greatest characters ever, Homey don’t play dat.

Word of mouth also doesn’t count as a legitimate source. If that were the case, I could tell you that I fell from the top of a skyscraper the other day and landed head-first in a garbage bin full of nothing but broken glass and fire ants, yet suffered no injuries whatsoever. And you’d have to believe me. Because you believe personal accounts of miracles.

All that said, you are welcome to provide me with examples of any miracles for which there is not only documentation (from a reputable source) but, ideally, photo and/or video evidence.

Biblical miracles
Even the so-called miracles in the Bible can be more or less explained away by science. It is entirely possible that “back in the day,” natural events happened. God-fearing people did what they did best and feared god. They embellished the natural events in their tales and as they were passed down more and more through the generations, by the time they were written down they had been so embellished they could now be mistaken for miracles.

Look, I realize the Bible is an actual book. It was written by people who believed in the business they were writing down. That doesn’t make it any more accurate, however. While some of the primary parts of the Bible (Jesus, as an example) are clearly sampled from previous religions, I’m sure some parts are simply huge exaggerations of actual events. Fascinating stories require fascinating embellishments in order to be fascinating.

“But those are Old Testament laws!”

I will often challenge my Christian peers with some of the following laws put forth in the Bible:

  • If anyone curses his father or mother, he must be put to death. He has cursed his father or his mother, and his blood will be on his own head. (Leviticus 20:9)
  • If, however, the charge is true and no proof of the girl’s virginity can be found, she shall be brought to the door of her father’s house and there the men of her town shall stone her to death. She has done a disgraceful thing in Israel by being promiscuous while still in her father’s house. You must purge the evil from among you. (Deuteronomy 22:20-21)
  • If a man happens to meet a virgin who is not pledged to be married and rapes her and they are discovered, he shall pay the girl’s father fifty shekels of silver. He must marry the girl, for he has violated her. He can never divorce her as long as he lives. (Deuteronomy 22:28-29)
  • If a man beats his male or female slave with a rod and the slave dies as a direct result, he must be punished, but he is not to be punished if the slave gets up after a day or two, since the slave is his property. (Exodus 21:20-21)
  • Keep my decrees. Do not mate different kinds of animals. Do not plant your field with two kinds of seed. Do not wear clothing woven of two kinds of material. (Leviticus 19:19)
  • When a woman has her regular flow of blood, the impurity of her monthly period will last seven days, and anyone who touches her will be unclean till evening. (Leviticus 15:19)
  • For six days, work is to be done, but the seventh day shall be your holy day, a Sabbath of rest to the LORD. Whoever does any work on it must be put to death. (Exodus 35:2)

…and so on, and so forth. I then ask of them which of these laws have they broken? Why is it okay that they have not yet been put to death for their violation of Biblical laws? Why do these things apparently no longer matter to their god?

Every answer is exactly the same: those are Jewish laws of the Old Testament. Those laws were put forth by Moses. And then something about Jesus dying and those Old Testament laws not being of relevance any longer.

A couple things come to my mind at that point. First, the law forbidding homosexuality is a so-called Old Testament law (Leviticus 20:13 which, for the record, not only says homosexuality is an abomonation, but that anybody committing such a treacherous act should be put to death immediately) which Christians just love to quote when attempting to pry their religious beliefs into politics. That and, y’know, the¬†Ten Commandments (Exodus 20:2-17 and Deuteronomy 5:6-21). That old thing which the “New Testament Christians” place as the foundations of their morality. As a sidenote, Jesus later references the “commandments” (Matthew 19:17-19), but only six of them. He omits the first three, which are all about loving God, and then sort of combines the last two so as to say simply to treat your neighbor as yourself. The “golden rule,” so to speak. The important thing here, though, is that even Jesus himself was saying to follow those Old Testament laws.

So are the Old Testament laws still relevant? You say no, but Jesus says yes.

The second thing that comes to mind is Numbers 23:19, “God is not a man, that he should lie, nor a son of man, that he should change his mind. Does he speak and then not act? Does he promise and not fulfill?” God does not change his mind. Whether they’re laws put forth in the Old Testament or the New, he does not change his mind. Did you work last Sunday? Time to die.

Oh. Also, there’s this, which can be found in the New Testament.

Slaves, submit yourselves to your masters with all respect, not only to those who are good and considerate, but also to those who are harsh. (I Peter 2:18)