From an email:
Dear Mr Hank Fox,
To promote skepticism/critical thinking I wrote some questions for the Christian believer. Mefiante from South African Skeptics made a good translation. She is now working at the last part. The most sophisticated questions. Are you able to put the link to these questions at your blog?
Thank you very much,
Piet – Rotterdam – Netherlands
Piet: Done! And thank you!
This one was fun:
15. Leprosy was not an unknown condition in the time of the Bible. There were even rituals performed by priests to cure the disease. In Leviticus 13-14 it is clearly proscribed what the priests need to do. The ritual requires two clean birds of which one is to be killed, and the other dipped in its blood together with some cedar wood, scarlet and hyssop. The living bird is then set free and the sick person sprinkled with the bloody mixture once daily for seven days. After a further seven days of isolation, washing and bathing, and shaving and cutting hair, the patient must take a lamb to the priest who will slaughter it for a trespass offering. The priest will daub some of the blood on the patient’s right earlobe, right thumb and right big toe.
“And the priest shall dip his right finger in the oil that is in his left hand, and shall sprinkle of the oil with his finger seven times before the LORD: And of the rest of the oil that is in his hand shall the priest put upon the tip of the right ear of him that is to be cleansed, and upon the thumb of his right hand, and upon the great toe of his right foot, upon the blood of the trespass offering: And the remnant of the oil that is in the priest’s hand he shall pour upon the head of him that is to be cleansed: and the priest shall make an atonement for him before the LORD.”
What does Yahweh achieve with bird blood and blood on right thumbs and toes? Wouldn’t it have been easier to give a description of an effective cure instead of these primitive voodoo rituals?
Or how about:
21. The Bible is often pointed to as a source of morality. Why are war and slavery not forbidden?
Oh, crap. My original title to this post, now changed, was “Tough Questions for UNbelievers.” Argh.