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Acts of God

“Let me begin by taking you back in time. It is the year 621 BC; six centuries after the death
of Moses. This was a time of religious and tribal upheaval during which the priesthood was
losing the immense power it once held over the people; people who, according to Exodus,
Leviticus, and many other references were still worshipping their traditional natural gods.
This was the year that Hilkiah, high priest of the Hebrews, is said to have discovered the
Book of Laws.”
More grumbling could be heard as Doctor Kessler flipped through several slides of idols and
amulets that his team had recently unearthed.
“All of these artifacts date from between 900 and 650 BC and strongly support the position
that nothing resembling monotheism existed in Jerusalem prior to Hilkiah‟s discovery. Add
to this the fact that we have no mention of Moses in any historical record prior to this time
and we begin to see a picture emerging which is quite different from the generally accepted
The grumblings continued and there were one or two more dropouts, but Harvey managed to
get through the remainder of his slides without any serious disruptions. It wasn‟t long,
however, before he struck another nerve.
“So, what was really going on with the Hebrew priests in Persia? What kind of a deal did
they make, and what were the conditions? Is it possible, as legend suggests, that they
succumbed to the demands of Cyrus; that Jahweh, his lowly Volcano God, should rule the
Hebrews for three millennia?”
A young woman in the front row shook her head and scolded Harvey as if he were a five year
“The Hebrews were the chosen people, not the Persians.”
“That‟s right”, Harvey fired back, “and it was the King of Persia who chose them, that they
should go forth and extend his domain and that of his favorite god, Jahweh. You think it is
merely a coincidence that the Persian Volcano God and the supposed God of Abraham share
the same name? And a Persian name at that?”
“Bullshit, Doctor”, the doctor drawn out mockingly just as it had been the week before. “This
is all absolute bullshit!” bellowed the big Kansas ball player from the back of the auditorium.
“You are nothing but atheist pagan scum and we do not have to sit here and listen to you
blaspheme any longer!” The young man stormed out pulling two entire rows of noisy
supporters in his wake.
“Wait a minute”; protested Harvey,”I am not scum.”
But it was too late, the mass exodus had begun. Within minutes there were only a handful of
students remaining, not counting the group of „born agains‟ Harvey had noticed when he first
came in. He could see that they were getting ready to pounce. This was only his fourth
lecture but he could spot them immediately. He wondered again what it was that set them
apart, but still could not put his finger on it. Realizing that he had once again gone too far,
Harvey decided to go a little farther.