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Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Leviticus 16-19: God has office hours, repeats himself some more

Right, now we're back to bullying Aaron. Man, this "story" jumps around a lot.

God says "I don't want Aaron just going in the holy tent whenever he wants!" So God establishes office hours for himself, once a year, on July 10. He also lays out a veritable gauntlet of tedious ceremony to get in, involving dressing up, a bath, and...you guess it...lots of animal sacrifice!

I've said it before and I'm sure I'll say it again, but this is a horrible book. I mean, look back through this blog, and imagine everywhere I say something like "tedious animal sacrifice," there is a minimum of an entire chapter going into every single detail of how to do it. The same thing. Every. Time. Sooo tedious. Sooo repetitive. Just imagine how much shorter it would be, if they only went into the details one time. Also, there are so many better things to go into detail about. Things that could actually help mankind; I thought God was supposed to be all about that (an idea I certainly didn't get from his book, but rather from his followers...).

Of course, I think I'm starting to get repetitive in my complaining about how repetitive the bible is. But then again, this is just a stupid blog and not a holy book.

Anyway, then God makes a rule that all sacrifices must be done in the tabernacle by a priest. Apparently there was too many people thinking they could just do their own sacrifice! Big problem, that. I see this as simply a way to control people. Though, I can sort of see the appeal of leaving this sort of thing to the experts. I mean, look at how complicated it is, plus God might burn you to death if you do it wrong.

Also, don't eat blood. Guess they're all vegetarians now. I think this has been mentioned like 5 times already.

Now there's a whole chapter about who you can't have sex with. Basically, don't have sex with any family members closer than about...your aunt. Too bad the people in Genesis didn't know that.

Oh, and here is an obvious slap to the face for Jacob: "Do not take your wife’s sister as a rival wife and have sexual relations with her while your wife is living." Oh snap!

In the middle of this list of family you aren't supposed to sleep with is the religious right's all-time favorite bible verse, Leviticus 18:22: "Do not have sexual relations with a man as one does with a woman; that is detestable."

After reading this chapter, I've come to the conclusion that the bible is perfectly OK with lesbians. The whole chapter is sort of written from the point of view of the man, in that it just lists all the women you can't sleep with... as in, "don't have sex with your mother." One might assume that also means, "don't have sex with your father." But it doesn't necessarily have to mean that, since it also says "don't have sex with your daughter," which would cover it. And the next verse, 23, is about bestiality. It basically says "don't have sex with animals, and also, women shouldn't have sex with animals." They go out of their way to specify no bestiality for both men and women, but they only tell men not to have gay sex. So every social conservative should be a-ok with lesbians now, right? Lol. Oh well, it's not like I would be OK with throwing gay men under the bus anyway.

I have been yelled at a lot for taking things out of context...how's that for context? Lol.

Anyway... then there is some statement about how this (all the incest, gayness and bestiality) is what the people who are already in the promised land did wrong, this is what they did to deserve what's coming to them. That seems a bit harsh to me. And it seems a bit strange that God cares so much about sex. More than almost anything else, besides the "pleasing aroma" of dead burning animals. God is weird...

The next chapter is titled "various laws." This ought to be good. Really, I think I could have titled every chapter since they arrived at Mt. Sinai "various laws."
  • Be holy, because I, God, am holy
  • Respect your mom and dad
  • Observe the sabbath
  • No idols
  • Do the sacrifices correctly
  • Don't be too careful in your harvests, so poor people can forage in your fields
  • Don't steal
  • Don't lie
  • Don't deceive each other (aka, don't lie? again?)
  • Don't swear falsely by my name!
  • Don't rob your neighbor (or, don't steal...again.)
  • Pay your workers on time
  • Don't curse the deaf or trip the blind
  • Judge fairly
  • Don't spread slander (err, don't lie?)
  • Don't hate a fellow Israelite. But apparently you're free to hate other people
  • Don't bear a grudge
  • No crossbreeding of plants or animals
  • No fabric woven of 2 kinds of material
  • Don't sleep with other people's slaves
  • When you plant a fruit tree, don't eat the fruit til the 5th year
  • Don't eat blood!
  • No divination
  • Don't trim your beard
  • No body modification (tattoos, etc)
  • Don't let your daughter be a prostitute...otherwise everyone will want to do it! OK...
  • Observe the sabbath (AGAIN)
  • No spiritists or mediums (you will be defiled by them!)
  • Respect the elderly
  • Treat foreigners nicely
  • Be fair when you weigh or measure stuff
Seriously, almost all of this has been said multiple times already. God is repeating himself sooo badly.

So, one of the most common things to happen when I try to talk to religious people is that they say "God says being gay is wrong!" Then I say "God also said shaving and fabric blends are wrong. You're just picking out the parts you like and ignoring the rest." Then they say, "you're just taking it out of context!!!" Seriously, I don't see how. The "context" seems, to me, to be that they have been hanging out at Mt Sinai for like 40 chapters, listening to God ramble on incoherently about (mostly) stupid and inconsequential shit that the Israelites should and shouldn't do. In the course of that rambling, he brings up "don't be gay" along with tons of other things, such as "don't shave and don't wear fabric blends." It would be like me saying "picking on the handicapped is wrong, because the bible says so!" But no, I already thought that for myself, it's just a happy coincidence that the bible happens to say so too.

I guess you could say that homosexuality, bestiality, and incest are "extra bad," because God is planning to wipe out entire tribes of people over it (though really, I think they just happen to be in the way and God is looking for an excuse. God knew this was going on happen back in like Genesis 15, but he does absolutely nothing to prevent it), whereas the rest of the stuff he mentions, he's just like "don't do that, k?" But... if you really believed in God, wouldn't you care about everything he says, not just the "extra important" stuff? It's a strange attitude; it's like trying to get away with something. Yeah, I know God said not to shave, but I think I can get away with it... but God seems to really hate teh gay, so don't do that. That just seems to be a strange way to look at it, if you truly believed in God.

Therefore, having read this far, I still say that I am right and they are wrong. These people already decided for themselves that homosexuality is wrong (or, more likely, "icky"), and they should just take responsibility for it rather than saying "God said so!" If they really cared about what the bible says, they would care about the rest of this stuff too, but they don't. And I don't see why anyone should.

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