Just a brief one today, a little bit of pisstaking. I spent 5 days back at home for a funeral, but had to get some work done while I was there. To this end, I decided to go the Blackwell’s in Liverpool to find a book I needed. They didn’t have it because their foreign literature section is tiny. Anyway my mum said she’d pick me up so I waited outside (in the cold – won’t be heading back in a hurry) with a coffee, and whilst I was standing there, a guy came over and handed me a flyer. This is nothing unusual on university campuses.
Anyway so the flyer read “If you don’t believe in God, then you’re in for a shock!” Interesting, I thought, (not) expecting to find some irrefutable evidence inside the leaflet. Instead it was just repeating what the Bible says about Jesus’ “cross-work on Calvary” and that believing in him is all the proof you need.
So I said to this guy, “oh, the Bible, I’ve read that.”
“Do you believe it?” he said.
“No, I’m an atheist, a humanist actually.”
“Oh,” he replied sneerily, “I see you’ve hardened your heart like the Pharoah did, then.”
I was quite taken aback by his tone (and that he of all people was apparently accusing me of a lack of critical thinking), but luckily he brought forward an example that I knew quite well, so I replied “Well I’m glad you brought that up, because actually, the Pharoah didn’t harden his heart, the Bible says that God did it.”
“No he didn’t, not the first time.”
“Really? Because I have the Bible quote, you can look it up if you want. It’s in Exodus 4.”
So he pulled out a Bible from his bag and I went through Exodus 4 and picked out the quotation, well before Moses meets the Pharoah. God says to him, “When thou goest to return into Egypt, see that thou do all those wonders before Pharaoh, which I have put in thine hand: but I will harden his heart, that he shall not let the people go.”
And again, before the second meeting with the Pharoah, God says it again “And I will harden Pharaoh’s heart, and multiply my signs and my wonders in the land of Egypt. But Pharaoh shall not hearken unto you, that I may lay my hand upon Egypt, and bring forth mine armies, and my people the children of Israel, out of the land of Egypt by great judgments.” He’s essentially saying “I’m not going to let Pharoah agree, so that I can punish the Egyptians”. Nice guy, this god. Don’t know why he doesn’t just punish them anyway, doesn’t seem too far out of his character.
So anyway, this guy kept flicking backwards and forwards in his Bible, trying to look for some time before Exodus 4 when Pharoah hardens his own heart. He couldn’t find it, so he slammed his Bible with a huff and walked off without a word. Sometimes I love it when I know the Bible better than they do.