Fun with the Bible: Verifying Isaiah with Archaeology and How the World Could Be Without Judaism, Christianity and Islam

There is a verse in the book of Isaiah, chapter 22, verse 10, that reads, “You counted the houses of Jerusalem, and you broke down the houses to fortify the wall.” This is in the midst of a denunciation of Hezekiah, king of Judea in the latter half of the eighth century BCE by Isaiah.

For you see, in the eighth century BCE, the Assyrians were marching across the known world (Mesapotamia, or the Middle East, if you will) and conquering the hell out of everyone. In Judea, King Hezekiah decided to build (by reinforcing) a great and mighty wall around the city of Jerusalem to protect it from the Assyrians. In the northern kingdom of Isreal, by the way, the Assyrians conquered the Israelites and dispersed the tribes. Hence the ten lost tribes of Israel. In any case, Hezekiah was not going to let that happen to Judea and so he built this wall.

On a separate note, modern archaeologists digging in the old city of Jerusalem uncovered the wall that Hezekiah had build around the city and at one point in the wall, they actually found the foundations of a house jutting out. Before that discovery, religious folks and scholars were unsure about the particular meaning of this verse and what it referred to – or that it referred to something so real and tangible. However, after this discovery scholars knew that King Hezekiah had indeed built this wall and that a contemporary of his had chastized him for disregarding the homes of the common people in order to build the wall.

Now, personally, I think Hezekiah made the right decision, but the point I want to make is not that. Much of the Bible, as many of you know I believe, did not happen – at least not the way it is written. However, that does not preclude the fact that much of it is still true. In some cases, archaeology like this can perfectly verify the words of the Bible.

However, I’d like you to consider something else. The Assyrians had a policy of moving the conquered people away from their land and moving foreign people in. Moreover, they would force these conquered people to marry and assimilate with people elsewhere, thereby destroying all tribal identities and creating only people who saw themselves as subjects of the Assyrian empire. This is precisely what happened with the ten northern tribes from the kingdom of Israel and why they are now lost, and had Hezekiah not built this wall and chosen to do it as he did then the tribe of Judah would no longer be here because the Assyrians would have conquered them and done the same thing.

To whatever degree you think God has a hand in things, consider that without this man building this wall, there would have been no Judea and therefore no Jews. Thus, there would be NO Christianity and I’d be willing to bet, no Islam. Many people might cynically say, No religions, that’s a great thing, but let’s not be so naive as to imagine that nothing else – no other beliefs – would have risen in place of these systems that now dominate humanity. And no matter what, human nature would have overridden the peaceful inclinations that those religions had. Don’t forget, at their core Islam and Christianity are both religions of peace, for whatever violence has plagued their histories.

So, no wall from Hezekiah and the world as we know it would be a very different place. Consider that when you consider the impact of small things on the world at large.

What do you think about these verses?

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Cartman Beefs Up to Be on TV with Kathy Lee Gifford in South Park Episode 102, “Weight Gain 4000”

This episode has a new place in my heart because of my obsession with the Fat Acceptance movement and my newfound research on and knowledge of dieting, obesity and being fat. The long and the short of it is that dieting that cycles people between weights is very unhealthy and actually being fat is not. I’m sure to get a lot of hate for making such a claim, due to our culture’s unnecessary hatred of fat people, and though South Park is all about controversy, this South Park related blog is not here to get into that (if you’re interested, start by reading my review of Health at Every Size).

I just want to mention that this episode starts with Cartman getting to go on tv for winning an essay contest and the mayor telling him to slim down because he’s unacceptably fat. Not cool, Ms. Mayor! Cartman, however, takes her advice (sort of) and tries to beef up and get in shape by drinking a bunch of Weight Gain 4000. BEEFCAKE!

Cathy Lee Gifford is coming to South Park to be on tv with Cartman. She travels in a bulletproof pope-mobile like case that has a sign on it reading “God Bless You” (how obnoxious). Mr. Garrison, whose childhood and life were destroyed by Cathy Lee, tries to assassinate her, but of course this case makes it complicated. In attempting to prove that Cartman’s essay is fraudulent, Wendy discovers Mr. Garrison’s plan and enlists Stan to stop him. It’s very Kennedy assassination-esque.

So, I guess I take issue with some characters’ behavior in this episode, but that’s what South Park is all about – stirring up some feelings to get us a-thinkin’.

What did you think? What was your favorite part?

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