Archive for the 'religion' Category


I Am Atheism

I am Atheism

by Randy Grant

EDIT: My story has been accepted for publication on We Are Atheism:

The title may sound a little grandiose unless you know about We Are Atheism, a project meant to gather atheists’ stories and encourage atheists the world over to come out and announce the truth. Just like any other minority (using the sociological definition, for atheists are a majority in many communities without even realizing it), atheists sometimes feel the need to hide who they are. In some cases this feeling is justified: People have been threatened with ostracism, loss of their jobs, vandalism, and occasionally outright violence when coming out as atheists, and in such cases, I encourage you to come out only if you are prepared to face those consequences. One atheist’s story that I find particularly compelling is that of Grappling Ignorance, an English teacher who suffered greatly when his community discovered that he criticised religion and promoted atheism on YouTube.

That sort of intolerance is a measure, at least in part, of the destructiveness of ignorance. Religious people think that atheists cannot be good people. Isolated atheists believe that they are the only atheists in their communities except the people whose lives they see fall apart when they come out. Sometimes those isolated atheists may even be the cruellest, hoping to hide their true feelings in vitriol, lest the same thing happen to them. I am here to teach you, to tell you that both are wrong. Atheists can be good people, and you, the closeted atheist in fear of becoming an island, as no man is meant to be, are not alone.

Everything after the cut, with the exception of the copyright info and some formatting, is what I submitted to We Are Atheism. First, a bit of bookkeeping, as suggested by the We Are Atheism website:

καὶ τὰ λειπόμενα


Gospel of Matthew 3

And here we go again. A whole chapter this time! Well, it’s a short chapter, but the Bible is inconsistent about these things.

This time we leave Jesus for a bit to meet John the Baptist, a holy man very like Jesus who lived a little earlier, and whom early Christians coopted as a prophet of the coming of Jesus in order to take his followers into the fold. He is most famous for dunking people in water (βαπτίζω: to baptize; from βάπτω: to dip) in the process of confessing of sins (ἐξομολογέομαι τάς ἁμαρτίας), quite possibly related to the Jewish tradition of throwing one’s sins into the water on Yom Kippur. As part of the (frankly, weird to anyone who knows anything about Judea in the early Roman Empire) New Testament theme of Pharisee and Sadducee bashing, some of the aforementioned show up and, rather than thinking that maybe they want to be better people, John calls them names and tells them that someone is coming who will baptize them in fire (ouch!) In order to be sure everyone knows Jesus is better than John, Jesus goes for a baptism, and John says he should be the one getting baptized (see, in those days, only messianic figures could baptize someone), and of course there’s that reference to baptism in fire. Coincidentally, very John (The Divine. That’s a Revelation reference. Of St. John the Divine.)

There’s some other interesting things here. For one, verse 16 has a very odd construction (I’d translate it literally as “Jesus being baptized immediately, he came up from the water,” which is fine as it goes, but very odd in context, especially temporally). Also, “ἡ τροφὴ ἦν αὐτοῦ ἀκρίδες καὶ μέλι ἄγριον” (emphasis mine): “his food was locusts and wild honey.” That the author felt the need to specify suggests that there may have been domestic honey, harvested not by foresters but beekeepers. I’m sure there’s literature on that somewhere, but not having quick access to it at the moment I’m just going to say that I think that’s pretty cool, beekeepers in the days before bee suits and epinephrine.

There’s also a quote from Isaiah. There’s a lot of Old Testament quotes in the New Testament to “prove” that Jesus is the messiah (a lot of them merely force his life into a timeline that cannot be possible, of course). This one is meant to show that John is a prophet who will pave the way (see what I did there?) for Jesus.

Translation followed by original text (still using A Reader’s Greek New Testament: 2nd Edition, footnotes excised and numerals changed to Greek by me) below the cut.

καὶ τὰ λειπόμενα


Matthew 2:13-23

Wow, I can’t believe I forgot about this! Yeah, I did actually finish translating Matthew 2 (and a little farther, actually, but not to a decent stopping point). I haven’t done much more, but I plan to keep working on it, since, as a college graduate, I don’t really ever work on any Greek that I don’t pick up myself. Here’s my translation of Matthew 2:13-23 (the rest of the chapter), followed by the Greek as copied from A Reader’s Greek New Testament (2nd Edition), but with the numerals changed to Greek because why not? My translation may sound a little awkward at times because I’m trying harder to maintain the impact of word choice and order than to translate colloquially.

καὶ τὰ λειπόμενα


New Testament 1: The Gospel of Matthew

I’ve been sitting on this for a while, hoping to finish the third chapter at least before posting, but for one reason or another it keeps getting put off, and it’s getting in the way of other things, so here’s what I’ve got so far. For some reason, I’d gotten it into my head to translate the New Testament from the beginning. No idea how far I’ll get (probably not very), but here’s the start:

καὶ τὰ λειπόμενα