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Stuff [Jul. 16th, 2010|02:18 pm]

If you've been on Reddit lately, maybe you've seen this picture:

If not, the story is that apparently there weren't any gay pride parades or military funerals this week, so Fred "God Hates Fags" Phelps and the Westboro Baptist Church are protesting in front of ComicCon.

In case you were wondering, the text of Romans 9:13 is "Just as it is written: Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated." So I guess it's one of those things that has to be taken metaphorically.

No, you know what? Fine. Let's try taking it metaphorically. According to Genesis 25:27, "Esau became a skillful hunter, a man of the open country, while Jacob was a quiet man, staying among the tents." So Esau basically ran around outside shooting stuff, and Jacob stayed in all day, probably reading comic books and playing World of Warcraft. One more time, Reverend Phelps - which of these guys is your metaphor for nerds?

Face it, Fred. God loves nerds. Read the Bible. If you're not a fan of Genesis, try Ecclesiastes 9:16. "Wisdom is better than strength." How much more explicitly pro-nerd can you get? In fact, and I hope He will forgive me for saying it, God seems like something of a nerd Himself.

This comes out a little better in Judaism than in Christianity. Rebbe Nachman, the great Jewish sage, famously told a student "Why don't you study? Even God studies Torah, three hours daily" (source: Rebbe Nachman's Wisdom.) This curious assertion comes from the Avodah Zarah tract in the Talmud, Judaism's second holiest book, in which it is written that God spends the first three hours of every day studying.

Think about it. There's Thor, running and jumping and smashing stuff with his hammer. There's Zeus, having sex with anything that's got two legs (and then some). And then there's God, who finds that sort of thing totally uninteresting. "Hey guys, you know what I like? Studying books!"

And He does love books. According to the medieval philosophers, the world itself was God's book. The Bible sometimes touches on this idea with the concept of a Book of Life. For example (Exodus 32:31-33):
"Then Moses returned to the Lord, and said, “Alas, this people has committed a great sin, and they have made a god of gold for themselves. But now, if Thou wilt, forgive their sin—and if not, please blot me out from Thy book which Thou hast written!” And the Lord said to Moses, “Whoever has sinned against Me, I will blot him out of My book."
Thus it is said by the wise of all faiths that our world is to God but a world in a book, a fiction, a dream. And yet God cares deeply about events in our world. What do we call people who care deeply about events in fictional worlds in books? Nerds! What's that, God? You don't like the Children of Israel making false gods to rule over them? Why don't You go write about it on Your blog?

...actually, that's exactly what God does. I quote Rabbi Yaakov Menken:
According to Jewish tradition, the Torah not only existed before the Jews came to Mt. Sinai; it preceded the universe itself. It even preceded the creation of time—for the entire world was created in accordance with the Divine Plan, and this plan is found in the Torah.
So if the Bible predates all created beings, God was basically just writing it to Himself. And if you read the Bible, you'll kinda notice it's a bunch of disjointed rantings, written over many years, about things that annoy God. What do you call a bunch of disjointed angry rants written over many years for no audience in particular? You're reading LiveJournal! You already know the answer to that question!

So. God spends His time studying books, He's obsessed with fictional universes, and when stuff in fictional universes doesn't go the way He wants He rants about it on His blog. I think His nerdiness is proven beyond a reasonable doubt. But I'll let Islam have the last word. This is from a section of the Koran arguing why Christianity must be false because God cannot have a Son:
"And they make the jinn associates with Allah, while He created them, and they falsely attribute to Him sons and daughters without knowledge...How could He have a son when He has no consort? (Surah 6:100-101)
In their commentary on this verse, Jay Smith and Dr. Paul Blackham write:
"God has no consort and [no] reproductive activity. He is not...mixed up with sordid and sinful human relationships."
Yup. He's a nerd, all right.

...also, the commentators on the Koran are kind of mean. You don't have to rub His face in it like that.

And darnit, speaking of mean people brings us back to Reverend Fred Phelps. I'd almost succeeded in forgetting him by this point, and I wish I had. There's no place for bigoted, evil people like him in today's society, and we'd be better off without him. I guess the best that can be said for him and his ilk is that he's not just spreading hate for the heck of it, but he's basing his vile opinions in his reading of the Bible and his interpretation of various passages, and you have to respect that.

After all, there's no way that someone could, say, take a bunch of Bible passages out of context and selectively quote them to build support for totally ludicrous preconceived ideas about God, right?

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