A nonbeliever's SECOND reading of the Bible

A nonbeliever's SECOND reading of the Bible
Hunc tu caveto.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Biologist Richard Dawkins gets chided a lot for his description of the God of the Bible. But when we read the Bible, we have to admit that his description is accurate. I think the conflict happens because people's spiritual experience do not square up with the Bible's description. In fact, that's probably why most people DON'T read the Bible!

Dawkins famously said that Yahweh is "a petty, unjust, unforgiving control freak; a vindictive, bloodthirsty ethnic cleanser; a misogynistic, homophobic, racist, infanticidal, genocidal, pestilential, megalomaniacal, sadomasochistic, capriciously malevolent bully." We've only gone into Leviticus, the third book of the Old Testament, and we can't deny any of it.

Well, after all the rules on sacrificing animals, God has a few more rules that He suggests following. That's right! The all-powerful, all-knowing creator of the universe does not want you to follow these rules:

You can:
  • Eat cloven-footed animals that eat their cud (i.e. cattle). Okay, I do this!
  • Eat animals that have scales or fins (aka fish). I love fish, and I especially love ceviche!
You must:
  • Circumcise your male children. I don't have a problem with this, but that's probably because I'm circumcised and I find chicks dig it.
  • Sacrifice a lamb AND a small bird on your child's first birthday. Hey, my mom and dad never did that!
  • Arrange to have a priest sacrifice a lamb and a small bird after giving birth.
  • Quarantine diseased individuals, and have a priest inspect him. Generally good advice! But thankfully we have doctors nowadays.
You can't:
  • eat divided-footed animals that chew their cud (i.e. camels).
  • eat rabbits or hares because their feet are divided. What's wrong with eating rabbits?
  • eat pork. As long as you cook pork, it's clean.
  • touch the corpses of the above animals. So did they just left the corpses lying around, or did they have infidels dispose of them?
  • eat rodents or tortoises (not sure why they're grouped like that).
  • eat lizards or snakes. I heard lizards and snakes are good eatin'.
  • get leprosy or you'll be considered 'unclean! That sucks. First you get leprosy; and then you become ostracized by the community.
He also wants you to know the following unscientific "facts":

  • sea creatures without fins or scales are ABOMINATIONS. No, they're not. They're perfectly natural.
  • rabbits chew their cud. They actually chew their food, crap it out, and THEN eat their crap!
  • bats are birds. Bats are actually mammals!
  • some insects have four legs. There are no insects with only four legs.
  • some birds have four legs. There are no birds with four legs.
  • women are dirty and sinful after childbirth. Physically dirty (more like bloody) maybe; but sinful (aka 'spiritually dirty')?
  • Women are dirty when they're on their period. Really?
  • Women who give birth to a male child are unclean for one week; two weeks if it's a female! That's just messed up.

God's also got an interesting cure, or maybe just a ritual, for lepers. Check it out:

  1. Get two birds; kill one.
  2. Dip the live one in the blood and sprinkle or smear the blood on the leper, using the live bird as a brush.
  3. Then let the blood-soaked bird fly away.
  4. Next, find a lamb and kill it.
  5. Wipe some blood on the leper's right ear, right thumb, and right big toe.
  6. Sprinkle oil on the leper and rub some of the oil on the leper's right ear, right thumb, and right big toe.
  7. Repeat steps 1 through 6.
  8. Find another pair of birds. Repeat steps 1 through 3.
  9. Sprinkle the house with blood.

Next time, I'll discuss yet more crazy stuff from Leviticus, including what to do if you accidentally jizz on yourself!

Friday, August 28, 2009

From the previous chapters in Leviticus I learned that there was a particular way to perform a sacrifice (unblemished male, kill it, cut it up, burn it). Christians like to say that Jesus was the "ultimate sacrifice." But Jesus's sacrifice left out two important steps, the cutting up and burning, and wasn't ritualistic at all. Did we just catch Christianity on a technicality? To be honest, I think all the Judeo-Christian religions are full of technicalities and are embarassingly easy to disprove, IF you think logic is a reasonable criteria for belief.

IF you are against logic, and unreasonable, yea ... you'll probably maintain the belief. That is one of the great mysteries of human psychology: Why do we maintain false beliefs? Psychologists actually have an answer for that; confirmation bias. We find comfort and hope in these beliefs; we don't find comfort in not knowing. We also find meaning in everyday acts through hindsight bias.

In Chapter 8, Moses makes Aaron a priest and gives him the breastplate and all the special garments God told him about up on Mt. Sinai. He even hooks Aaron up with the Urim and the Thummim. The Urim and Thummim is just a coin they flip to make tough decisions.

Then, to purify Aaron, they sacrifice a ram. They 1) pick an unblemished male; 2) kill it and sprinkle and smear the blood on Aaron's ears, thumbs, and BIG TOES; 3) cut it up, and 4) burn it so God can smell it.

Chapter 9 is just more animal sacrifices. Well, that's an understatement. Moses calls for two calves, two rams, a baby goat, a lamb, and "a bullock" to be sacrificed. So what follows is what appears in my mind to be a massive animal blood orgy; a vegan's worst nightmare. They kill the animals, sprinkle their blood around, cut them up and wave the parts in the air, and then burn it. The worst thing about this is that no one eats these; they are a waste of food.

Chapter 9 ends with God consuming the animal parts with fire in such a way that the Israelites fall to the ground in awe.

Chapter 10 is tragic. Aaron's sons light an incense and offer it to God. But God doesn't authorize that kind of fire, and basically burns the two sons to death. Aaron puts on a poker face, but if I was in that situation I'd still be sad. Moses tells Aaron that he shouldn't mourn, or else God will kill him and the whole community, too. Yikes!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Leviticus is another book of laws. A lot of Christians like to use the anti-homosexuality stuff, but completely ignore the crap about killing kids who talk back to their parents. The truth is no one is a fundamentalist; everyone cherry picks the Bible according to their own prejudices.

Chapter 1 starts off with a very detailed account on the best way to sacrifice to Yahweh. To sacrifice, it is necessary to follow these important rules. It can be summed up as follows:
  1. Pick an unblemished male from your livestock. No females, that's just gross.
  2. Kill the animal, let the blood sprinkle around the altar. You know - let it marinate!
  3. Cut the animal into little pieces.
  4. Light it on fire, because God loves the smell of burning meat. Wait ... don't we all? Barbecues, anyone?

If you're sacrificing a sheep, be sure to kill it on the north side of the altar.

And there is an explanation on how to sacrifice birds:

  1. Pick out a turtledove or a young pigeon. Don't show off and sacrifice an ostrich, guys.
  2. On the altar, rip off its head, and let the blood drip to the side of the altar.
  3. Pluck its feathers, and cast those darn feathers to the east of the altar! Cut up its wings.
  4. Finally, burn it.

Hey, Yahweh's a cool guy! He loves a good barbecue. It's a sloppy, bloody barbecue where no one eats; but you gotta hand it to Him for style. His rules on animal sacrifice make for an interesting form of entertainment. And He just wants to smell it! F*!& oxygen bars; that's for wimps! Yahweh's gotta love my house on the weekends, then. Too bad no one says grace there, though.

The rules on animal sacrifice go on until Chapter 7, and prescribe animal sacrifices for very specific 'sins', like 'sinning through ignorance', or 'lying about possessing someone else's property'. The prescription for the latter is to first return the property, plus a fifth more than its value. Then, the lying thief has to bring one of his flock and have a priest atone for his lying. Any leftover meat from the sacrifice goes to the priest (in this case the priest is Aaron) and his sons.

It's a very lucrative occupation to be a priest in Bronze Age Israelite culture.

Grassroots Skeptics is launching their website, http://grassrootsskeptics.org/, on Friday, September 4.

They're actually going to have an "online party," too. I guess it'll be BYOB.

You can find them on Facebook and Twitter, too.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Exodus ends with the building of the Tabernacle, a special, portable temple-ish structure that holds the Ark of the Covenant. The Ark is where Moses will store the stone tablets.

The final chapters of Exodus are a very long and detailed account on how the temple, the ark, the altar, and all the regalia that comes with them (i.e. curtains, statues, etc.), were made. The Israelites building it were following instructions laid out when Moses was speaking with God up on Mt. Sinai.

"And they set in it four rows of stones: the first row was a sardius, a topaz, and a carbuncle: this was the first row." That's how detailed they are, for the last five chapters.

Other than the building of the Tabernacle and Ark, I should point out some inconsistencies, as that is my role as a nonbeliever to do so.

Verse 37:1 says that a man named Bezeel builds the Ark of the Covenant, but later in Deuteronomy Moses says that he's the one that built it. Not a big deal, BUT it's just one more thing to add to the long list of inerrancies within the Bible.

Verse 38:26 seem to indicate that the Israelites numbered at a few million people. Such a number is ridiculous. Even the City of Rome, a few hundred years later, would only have 1 million people living in it at its height. And that's a city with irrigation and aquaducts, etc. The people who wrote Exodus are claiming that several million people that were living in the desert! I'm not sure if we should take that claim seriously.

Don't get me wrong, though. The Tabernacle is very significant to the Israelites. And thought we don't realize it yet; the Ark is F***ing awesome!

In later books of the Old Testament, we'll see how the Ark is like the Israelite's secret weapon. It shoots this light out, called the Shekinah, which obliterates armies like they're nothing.

As for the Tabernacle, when Yahweh is in it in the daytime, He appears as a cloud. And when He's in it at night, He appears as a pillar of fire. When Yahweh is present, the Israelites can resume their traveling. When He isn't there, the Israelites stay where they are and wait for Him to come back.

So, let's put this in perspective. Exodus tells us that there was a group of several million Israelites wandering around the desert, carrying around the Ark of Covenant, which looked like an anvil, with two cherubim statues, on a stretcher. The Ark probably felt like an anvil, too, to the people carrying it. The cherubim are not cute little baby angels, either. They're a mythical creature with four legs and wings. At least, that's what the Sumerians believed. And the Israelites are basically the Sumerians with a slightly different religion.

Meanwhile, a huge dark cloud would follow them through the desert. When the group would stop, they'd build up this portable temple, the dark cloud would settle on it, and as night came a huge pillar of fire would rise up from the Tabernacle area, in full view of everyone, probably for miles around.

These were people you didn't want to mess with. And this is one heck of a tall tale!

Friday, August 21, 2009

So ... what's that about the 10 Commandments?

In a nutshell, this is what I discuss:
  • God gives Moses two stone tablets
  • Moses breaks the tablets when he sees the Israelites worshipping a Golden Calf.
  • There is no mention what these first tablets say
  • Moses gets a second copy of the first tablets
  • The commandments on the tablets are NOT what we claim is "The 10 Commandments"
  • Scroll to the bottom if you'd want to see what they say

I ofcourse encourage you to read the entire story.


Exodus Chapter 24 opens up with a little bit of some good old-fashioned animal sacrifice! Moses burns some oxen, sprinkles the blood on his fellow Israelites, and MAN does God love it! Well, despite its context, I'd imagine it smelled like a decent little barbecue.

A bit later, Moses, Aaron, and two other guys go up the mountain and they see God, and I guess they thought He was pretty awesome because they noticed that Almighty Creator was wearing some sapphire rocks under His feet! Interesting shoes, no doubt, but still odd that these rough men would be so keen on divine footwear! To be honest, I would probably look at God's feet, too. I'd imagine they would look strange.

Well, Mr. YHWH tells Moses and his friends that He's going to write something on stone, and that Moses must show it to the Israelites. God creates a cloud on top of Mt. Sinai, and Moses joins Him in the cloud. Moses and God hang out in the cloud for 40 days and 40 nights.

During this time, the Israelites get restless. They apparently NEED to worship SOMETHING! I must admit I have no idea what that must feel like. Or at least, I don't remember having that need. So, someone (Aaron of all people!) has the bright idea of making a golden calf.

In a nutshell, the Israelites pool all their gold jewelry and melt it down, and then they create an idol of a golden calf. Then they go off the deep end and start dancing, drinking, and having a rather crazy orgy-ish time.

Chapters 25 to 31 is just a list of instructions on how to create the Ark of the Covenant, of which Moses will later put the stone tablets that He will give; and it also talks about how to make a myriad of other things: candles, curtains made of goat hair, holy garments, a special breastplate for Aaron, special pants for the priests (if they don't wear them, they'll die!).

What? A breastplate for Aaron? Yea, it's a special one, too. Apparently, Aaron's breastplate will bear the names of the children of Israel, and also attached to the breastplaste is this weird coin thing-a-ma-jig called the Urim and the Thummim. The Urim and the Thummim is basically a coin that one flips to make decisions. "Should I kill this guy? Let me consult the Urim and Thummim. Oh, sorry. Urim, you lose."

Anyways, a lot of this stuff is obscure, but I invite you to read it. It doesn't really come across as a spiritual message, though, so I just sort of browsed through them. Anyways, as we all should know, God gives Moses the two stone tablets and tells Moses, "You better go back down, 'cause your peeps are going crazy!"

Notice that at this point, there is no mention about what is on the stone tablets!!!

When Moses sees the orgy going on, he throws the stone tablets down, thus destroying the only thing that the Israelite God had ever written down in His own hand, up to that point.

There's a huge argument, and Moses and his followers kill at least 3,000 people who still wanted to worship the Golden Calf.

Finally, after all the hubbub, Moses goes BACK up Mt. Sinai and God hooks Moses up with a second copy of the stone tablets. During their conversation up on Mt. Sinai, God is a little shy to show His face, and instead shows him "His Backside". This is known in some circles as "The Divine Mooning".

God says the stone tablets have the exact same wording as the first tablets (Exodus 34:1), and these second tablets say:

  1. Thou shalt worship no other god (For the Lord is a jealous god).
  2. Thou shalt make thee no molten gods.
  3. The feast of unleavened bread shalt thou keep in the month when the ear is on the corn.
  4. All the first-born are mine.
  5. Six days shalt thou work, but on the seventh thou shalt rest.
  6. Thou shalt observe the feast of weeks, even of the first fruits of the wheat harvest, and the feast of ingathering at the year's end.
  7. Thou shalt not offer the blood of my sacrifice with leavened bread.
  8. The fat of my feast shall not remain all night until the morning.
  9. The first of the first fruits of thy ground thou shalt bring unto the house of the Lord thy God.
  10. Thou shalt not seethe a kid in its mother's milk.
THAT'S what's on the stone tablets, and that is what God Himself called the 10 Commandments!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Exodus 21 through 23

I'm just going to lay out some of my favorite laws in these chapters.


  • If you buy a Hebrew slave, you must free him on his seventh year. Other slaves are screwed.

  • If you gave your slave a wife while he was a slave and she has kids, the wife and children belong to the master. I don't have to say anything about this one.
  • If you sell your daughter into slavery and she doesn't please her master, then the master can sell her in a "strange nation". Basically, if you need some extra cash, SELL YOUR DAUGHTER INTO SLAVERY!
  • The master should be punished if he beats his slave so severely that he or she dies, or is out of commission for longer than a day. Otherwise, no biggy.
  • If you beat your slave so severely he loses an eye or a tooth, then you have to free your slave.

Family Values

  • If you're child hits you; kill him!
  • If you're child cusses at you; KILL HIM!
  • If you seduce a woman to have sex with you, you have to marry her. But if her father is against the marriage, you must pay her the market price for virgins.
  • Be kind to strangers, widows, and orphans. If not, God will not only kill you, but make your wife a widow and your child an orphan (duh).
  • Give your firstborn son to God ... child sacrifice???


  • If an ox kills someone, STONE the ox! If the ox's owner lies about the ox being aggressive in the past, stone him too!
  • If you dig a pit, and an ox falls and dies in it; the dead animal is your's!
  • Don't boil a baby goat in its mother's milk

Other stuff

  • You shouldn't worship other people's gods. In fact, you should overthrow them!
  • Fellow Israelites don't get an interest rate when you loan to them, but foreigners - charging interest is okay

A few good things

  • Don't do what others do if you think it's wrong
  • If you witness an enemy's livestock wandering astray; you should bring it back to him.
  • Be honest, and don't kill innocent people.
  • Help out poor people

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Aside from little incident in Exodus 18:11 where someone goof up and acknowledges that there are other gods, Chapter 18 isn't worth much discussion. What I want to talk about is Exodus, Chapter 19, where we first get into the story of the 10 Commandments.

Chapter 19 and 20 actually talk about the 10 that we are familiar with. However, Moses doesn't have these written down. These are just told to Moses, and are NOT referred to as Commandments. The word "Commandments" doesn't come until Chapter 34. Chapter 34's Commandments are vastly different then Chapter 20's words from Yahweh to Moses. I'll get to that in a future blog.

While most people probably don't know the 10 Commandments, this is basically them:

1. Don't worship other gods.
2. Don't make graven images of anything that is on Earth or in heaven.
3. Don't use God's name in vain.
4. Don't work on the Sabbath.
5. Honor your mother and father.
6. Don't murder.
7. Don'g commit adultery.
8. Don't steal (either kidnapping or property)
9. Don't covet your neighbor's wife.
10. Don't covet your neighbor's property.

And the penalty for breaking any of these, as you probably know, is death.

The story that leads up to this is kind of funny, too. I mean, if someone came up with this stuff today, we'd probably make a wide berth around the person telling it.

God wanted to put on a show on Mt. Sinai for the Israelites, who He favors more than any other people on Earth. Even the Aztecs? Yes. Even the bloody Aztecs.

He tells Moses to relay to the people that the men should have sex with their wives (God literally says "come at them" - YIKES!), they should wash themselves, and that whoever touches the mountain will perish. He also warns that anyone who tries to rush and see Him will also die. And that the big show happens in 3 days.

Sure enough, on the third day a dense cloud descends on Mt. Sinai and a loud trumpet is heard. This is the signal for Moses (just Moses) to go up the mountain and see the Almighty.

Moses goes up, and then God tells him to go back down and make sure the people don't rush forth, or they will die. "Oh, and the priests should sanctify themselves before I attack them, too," said the Almighty Creator Himself. So Moses goes down, and Chapter 19 ends.

Chapter 20 opens with the voice of God. God tells the Israelites in this great booming voice coming from the mountaintop 10 instructions. It's the more detailed version of the list I provided above. He really details the instruction to follow the Sabbath!

The voice from Mt. Sinai was so deafening and powerful that afterward the Israelites asked Moses that he be the one to speak for God, because "Speak thou with us, and we will hear: but let not God speak with us, lest we die."

Apparently, this will be the last time that God will speak directly to everyone. He just wanted to do it once to prove it to the Israelites, so they don't go messing around.

Next time, I will discuss the interesting and fun laws that God and the Israelites set up in Exodus 21-23, like selling thieves to repay their debt to society.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Exodus Chapter 17 is very quick and easy. Basically, the Israelites are still in the desert and they're pissed that there's no water. In fear of them, Moses asks God what's going on with the water supply and God tells Mo to tap a rock. Moses does so, and behold, water comes out of it!

The authors of the Bible don't really care about transitional material. After the watering episode, the Amelekites attack the Israelites. In the battle, as long as Moses holds both of his hands up into the air, the Israelites are winning; but if he lowers his hands, the Amelekites are winning. The battle goes on for so long that Moses is propped against a rock and his two homeboys held the hands up for him.

Chapter 17 lays out the case about how superstitious people were back then, and by extension how superstitious people are today. Superstition means a belief that isn't based on reason. If Moses actions were repeated today (lifting your hands affects the outcome of the battle), the general doing so would be thought of as eccentric at best. If Generals Patton or Petraeus held their hands up during a heated battle, most folks today would think they were crazy. In fact, they'd probably get fired.

But still, there are people today who let stories like this slide, believing that these events happened back then but can not be replicated today. That's an irrational belief itself, and I'd venture to say that it is superstitious as well.

Next time, the 10 Commandments. Are the ones we are familiar with the 'correct' ones, or are they even moral?

Thursday, August 13, 2009

After the Israelites cross the Red Sea, they sing a song. It's kind of a taunting song. But it's actually kind of cool:

"I will sing unto the LORD, for he hath triumphed gloriously: the horse and his rider hath he thrown into the sea.

The LORD is my strength and song, and he is become my salvation: he is my God, and I will prepare him an habitation; my father's God, and I will exalt him.

The LORD is a man of war: the LORD is his name.

Pharaoh's chariots and his host hath he cast into the sea: his chosen captains also are drowned in the Red sea. "

And it goes on and on. Okay, it doesn't rhyme, but it probably does in the original language. But we definitely get the hint. These are warlike people, and their God is a "man of war."

An interesting verse in the song is "they sank like lead in water." LOL

Yea, they sure did.

One telling verse in the song is this: "Who is like unto thee, O LORD, among the gods?"

These guys believe there's other gods! They just think that their God is the best.

In a way, the song reads like a musical, because all of a sudden this chick Miriam, Aaron's prophetess sister, starts dancing ... shaking her thang (or whatever it's called these days!).

So after all the singing and dancing, everyone's a little bit thirsty, but the water isn't the best tasting water in the world, and God has Moses throw a tree into the water to make it taste sweeter.

Actually, the longer they're out in the wilderness, the worse it gets for them. They soon start starving and complaining about Moses and Aaron. God hears this and this is when God rains manna down from heaven. What is manna? Well, in the Bible it's supposed to be bread from heaven, but some people think that it's the crap of a certain kind of insect.

Anyways, after eating manna for a few days the ungrateful Israelites start complaining again! Man, what a bunch of whining maggots!

Another odd thing about manna, was that it measured itself! When the Israelites went out to collect the manna, some took a lot and some took a little. But when threw it in the pile, it seemed to all equal out. I guess if half take more, and the other half take less, then it would equal out. Right?

Also, if someone tried to take more than the required amount and save it for the next day, the excess manna became rotten, producing worms and stinking. Except for the extra manna produced for the Sabbath (they couldn't collect anything on the Sabbath).

I thought it was a very interesting tale of magic and grumbling. I'm a little pissed off at the Israelites for whining so easily, but I guess in that situation - wandering around the desert with no food - it takes a certain kind of person to be grateful for what they've got.

But still, they had to eat manna for 40 years, until they reached the land of Canaan. 40 years! 40 years to get to a place that would've only taken months to get to!

There's no actual archaeological evidence of so many people wandering around the Sinai Desert. But if there was anyone out there, you know what they were probably doing? The Bible says they were wandering. I think they were doing what cults do. They were separating themselves from other people. Their beliefs were consolidating.

When they finally emerged from the wilderness 40 years later, they had a new religion. There were still practitioners of the older religions in their ranks, but with the reformers (especially Josiah and Hezekiah) that were to come, all that would be taken care of.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

The Exodus

All the plagues and wholesale slaughter was largely unnecessary. If God hardened the Pharoah's heart, couldn't the Almighty just as easily softened the Pharoah's heart? Oh yea. He definitely could have, but it wouldn't be nearly as good a story.

Well, after God did the equivalent of Nagasaki (He was just showing off) and the Pharoah witnessed the death of his firstborn son, the Pharoah decided to let the Israelites go.

"This Yahweh guy means business," he is reported to have said.

An interesting comment that God told Moses and Aaron, that I'm going to fictionalize: "Commemorate this day (the day that God killed Egypt's firstborn) with a special passover dinner ..."

Then God starts to walk away and stops, seemingly in thought, and turns around. "Oh yea, if there's any dudes that still have that extra penis skin, they can't partake of that meal. That's just disgusting."

And so God walked away into the sunset.

I'm not sure how to interpret the beginning of Exodus 13. God asks that before they cross the Red Sea, the Israelites have to 'sanctify' their own firstborn males - man and animal. Does this mean to sacrifice them? Without an apologist over my shoulder telling me what to think, I am starting to think that this is indeed what God wants. Pretty scary!

In Chapter 14, I guess God isn't finished with his wily ways. He AGAIN hardens the Pharoah's heart so that the Pharoah will follow the Israelites. If I were an Israelite and I knew that the Almighty was doing this, I'd be a little bit pissed off. "Let's just go already," I would yell at the sky.

"Stupid unpatient American," sayeth the Lord. "Don't you want to be part of an awesome story?"

The Pharoah, who was more likely pissed that his son had died (if this story is even true), mustered 600 chariots and took off after the Israelites.

When they the Egyptians closed in, God created a cool fog of darkness (sounds like a spell from World of Warcraft), and the Egyptians couldn't find the Israelites while inside the cloud.

Then Moses held his rod over the Red Sea and the waters parted, and the Israelites started their trek to the other side. Finally, after a healthy head start, God lifts the fog of darkness (which is cool) and the Egyptians chase after the Israelites, and the rest I think everyone knows.

You know what? Fuck the Egyptians. They deserved it. Anyone who is stupid enough to fight against people who have an all-powerful, psychotic, blood-crazed deity on their side deserves to die.

Wait. Doesn't EVERYONE think they have that deity on their side? That could be a problem.

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Wow, I've been getting pretty busy lately so I'm going to limit my readings until everything smooths out again.

I think I'm going to focus more on some problems, especially with the last plague - the killing of the firstborn.

"The firstborn of the Pharoah to the firstborn of the slave woman at the mill, and the firstborn of all the livestock," to be exact.

Come on, man. Who the hell would kill off kids because one dude is an @$$hole? Most of the kids aren't even his kids. And the livestock??? A few plagues ago all the livestock were dead, and now this plague is acting like there's still a few firstborns out there.

But more interesting, God has the Israelites perform some sort of witchcraft ritual to make sure that THEIR kids are fine. The Creator of the Universe tells Moses that the Israelites must slaughter an animal without blemish at twilight; and it must be a one-year-old male goat or sheep.

Did you catch that? In the Bible, "Without blemish" equals "young male". It's kind of subliminal, but we see Yahweh's sexism. It's no secret that women are viewed as being, for a lack of a better word, filthy, in the Bible. For some reason, males are seen as clean.

And what does age have to do with animal's cleanliness? Animals are not moral agents. We don't hold them to the same standard as we do other humans, at least. Humans start doing bad things before they are 10, but animals will never be expected to uphold our laws. We give lions leeway when they kill another animal. Sharks, too. While we might kill animals that kill humans, we don't kill the animal because it's being immoral; we kill it because it is dangerous.

After each household slaughters a young goat or sheep, the Israelites have to paint its blood around the door of the house, and then roast and eat the entire thing - heads, bones, entrails, everything. Even the Rocky Mountain Oysters.

Oddly enough, God even has special instructions on "how" to eat the animal. They have to wear a special outfit. The Israelites must eat the animal wearing a belt around his waste, sandals on his feet, and a staff in his hand.

So, like a smart bomb God swoops down into Egypt and kills out a very select group of people. Except, rather than kill the leaders or a group of bad guys hunkered down in a bunker, God kills specifically the first-born, kids and otherwise innocent people. Even the criminal who was a first-born, but was in prison at the time died. Ironically, he was innocent!

I wonder what would've happened if God just killed the leaders of Egypt?

Anyways, the plan had its intended effect, to persuade the Pharoah into letting the Israelites go.