Wednesday, 3 August 2011

GOD - WOMAN - LOVE - AND THE OLD TESTAMENT



                       READING THE OLD TESTAMENT 

                  THE RAVINGS OF A TRIBE OF ANCIENT 
                              WANDERING  NOMADS

Many who read this little rant probably wonder - what is the big deal – we knew this, ions ago. 

Just as many ( probably many more), mostly regular church goers, have  listened to the message of love preached by their priest or minister, and given the subject little or no thought.


There is certainly no lack of experts on the bible. They cover a wide spectrum of opinion and expertise, not to mention intelligence, logic and the ability to express their thoughts clearly.

We have the right wing fundamentalists from the southern United States who stubbornly refuse to use the brains “god” has given them and insist every word of the entire bible is the dictated word of god.

At the other extreme are the Atheists who use their brains, insist there is no god, and believe (and let’s not be fooled here, it is a belief, every bit as much as the Theists) that with enough lightning bolts and time, the first spark off life will burst forth. The route this spark takes on its inevitable march to the Nobel Prize is open to conjecture!

In between these polar opposites are the so called intellectuals, Christians, Islamists, Jewish, in fact they cover virtually every religion known to man.  There are literally hundreds of wonderful books out there that give a particular insight into god, life, and the various religions bibles. They are all worthwhile in their own way.

I understand one famous Christian philosopher when asked if he believed all the horrible stuff found in the Old Testament was true, answered something like this.

Why worry about it, it is obviously is all myth and metaphor, read it and get on with life.


The above is undoubtedly wonderful advice – but not being a famous intellectual, I have to read and make some of my own observations, before I can get on with life.


            The basic premise of this essay is not to determine if there is, or is not, a god or Supreme Being.  Rather it is to determine to my own personal satisfaction if the god of Moses is a loving compassionate god. As you will see below the answer is a resounding

NO! 

Reading the New Testament, it would appear Jesus came to the same conclusion.


The inescapable conclusion.

The god of the Old Testament is a vengeful, cruel, fickle, spiteful, bloodthirsty god.

If the above is not true.

 Then the obvious conclusion (in fact the only conclusion) is, this god is the invention of a small tribe of vengeful, cruel, fickle, spiteful, bloodthirsty, wandering nomads. 

These Nomads made their god in their own image.


At the time of the writing of the Old Testament (or Torah) when a people decided on a god to worship (and there was quite a number), it was only natural they endowed their god with a body, and the morals of their own. It was natural to claim they were made in his image. Of course there were female gods as well; one in particular – sometimes referred to as ‘Wisdom’ seemed at times to be of considerable interest to the god of the Israelites. It appears that all the peoples of the time had one or more gods. It also appears there was considerable competition among the various tribes/clans, and indeed countries, as to which god was the most powerful.

I guess to peoples of this time in history, powerful was congruent with being cruel, jealous, vengeful, and at times spiteful.
It is almost inconceivable to this writer, but this ‘loving’ god, decides to display most of these traits with the first two humans born on earth.

 Here we have two brothers who are taught presumably that this god must be given gifts from time to time. Since there aren’t too many professions available, one brother raises sheep and goats. As any self respecting Nomad knows, herding animals is the preferred way of life. The other poor brother is relegated (by god presumably) to being some sort of farmer, and grows grain.  It would then be natural if they were to give anyone a gift, it would be of what they produced. One might think any reasonable human (or god) would appreciate such a gift. This is especially true since these two brothers were the only humans born on this earth. 

But no- this loving god (like the Nomads) loves having a slaughtered animal, but looks with disapproval upon the brother that gives him the best of all he possesses  - the grain he produces.

 This of course leads to jealousy, and naturally in this fresh new world we soon have fifty percent of the entire native born population a murderer.

                                               What a beginning! 


Genesis 4 (New International Version)

Now Abel kept flocks, and Cain worked the soil. 3 In the course of time Cain brought some of the fruits of the soil as an offering to the LORD. 4 But Abel brought fat portions from some of the firstborn of his flock. The LORD looked with favour on Abel and his offering, 5 but on Cain and his offering he did not look with favour. So Cain was very angry, and his face was downcast.

 6 Then the LORD said to Cain, "Why are you angry? Why is your face downcast? 7 If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must master it."

 8 Now Cain said to his brother Abel, "Let's go out to the field." [d]

9 Then the LORD said to Cain, "Where is your brother Abel?"
      "I don't know," he replied. "Am I my brother's keeper?"

 10 The LORD said, "What have you done? Listen! Your brother's blood cries out to me from the ground. 11 Now you are under a curse and driven from the ground, which opened its mouth to receive your brother's blood from your hand. 12 When you work the ground, it will no longer yield its crops for you. You will be a restless wanderer on the earth."



Now we have the entire native born human race living under a curse. It is rather difficult to imagine a worse beginning for our world. The all knowing, all loving
 god, begins the mess by being cruel and small minded by chastising poor Cain. After toiling in the sun and heat to grow food for his family, Cain gives god a gift of the result of his labours.  Then god chastises Cain again for looking downcast – it would be hard to imagine looking bright and happy when the all powerful god of the universe shows you displeasure.

Three verses later Cain marries and starts to build a city. Quite a trick – from being the sole native born, scourge of the earth, to finding  a wife, (sister?) to building a city.

 17 Cain lay with his wife, and she became pregnant and gave birth to Enoch. Cain was then building a city and he named it after his son Enoch. 18 To Enoch was born Irad, and Irad was the father of Mehujael, and Mehujael was the father of Methushael, and Methushael was the father of Lamech.

I realize the above is only a myth, and it is not my intention to go through the entire Old Testament to show the temperament of god, it will suffice to say things get a lot worse. Just a few examples will follow.
Deuteronomy 13

In Deuteronomy the lord god gives the world instructions on how to treat other peoples who dare to worship other gods – or as in the following, how to treat the chosen ones  -  if they think about worshipping other gods

Worshipping Other Gods
 1 If a prophet, or one who foretells by dreams, appears among you and announces to you a miraculous sign or wonder, 2 and if the sign or wonder of which he has spoken takes place, and he says, "Let us follow other gods" (gods you have not known) "and let us worship them," 3 you must not listen to the words of that prophet or dreamer. The LORD your God is testing you to find out whether you love him with all your heart and with all your soul. 4 It is the LORD your God you must follow, and him you must revere. Keep his commands and obey him; serve him and hold fast to him. 5 That prophet or dreamer must be put to death, because he preached rebellion against the LORD your God, who brought you out of Egypt and redeemed you from the land of slavery; he has tried to turn you from the way the LORD your God commanded you to follow. You must purge the evil from among you.

 6 If your very own brother, or your son or daughter, or the wife you love, or your closest friend secretly entices you, saying, "Let us go and worship other gods" (gods that neither you nor your fathers have known, 7 gods of the peoples around you, whether near or far, from one end of the land to the other), 8 do not yield to him or listen to him. Show him no pity. Do not spare him or shield him. 9 You must certainly put him to death. Your hand must be the first in putting him to death, and then the hands of all the people. 10 Stone him to death, because he tried to turn you away from the LORD your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery. 11 Then all Israel will hear and be afraid, and no one among you will do such an evil thing again12 If you hear it said about one of the towns the LORD your God is giving you to live in 13 that wicked men have arisen among you and have led the people of their town astray, saying, "Let us go and worship other gods" (gods you have not known), 14 then you must enquire, probe and investigate it thoroughly. And if it is true and it has been proved that this detestable thing has been done among you, 15 you must certainly put to the sword all who live in that town. Destroy it completely, [a] both its people and its livestock. 16 Gather all the plunder of the town into the middle of the public square and completely burn the town and all its plunder as a whole burnt offering to the LORD your God. It is to remain a ruin forever, never to be rebuilt

Chapter 18--19 if anyone does not listen to my words that the prophet speaks in my name, I myself will call him to account. 20 But a prophet who presumes to speak in my name anything I have not commanded him to say, or a prophet who speaks in the name of other gods, must be put to death."

This god is about to give his people the promised land – of course there is one problem – there are people living on this land, worshipping their own gods, and minding their own business.  This god through the voice of Moses instructs his people how to treat these unfortunate souls – those that are the first to be attacked – and those at a distance.


How to treat the inhabitants from a city that is at a distance

Chapter 20--- 10 when you march up to attack a city, make its people an offer of peace. 11 If they accept and open their gates, all the people in it shall be subject to forced labour and shall work for you.

If this is the loving god’s idea of peace - I’d sure hate to see what he would call slavery.

 12 If they refuse to make peace and they engage you in battle, lay siege to that city. 13 When the LORD your God delivers it into your hand, put to the sword all the men in it. 14 as for the women, the children, the livestock and everything else in the city, you may take these as plunder for yourselves. And you may use the plunder the LORD your God gives you from your enemies. 15

This is how your lord, the loving god, instructs you are to treat all the cities that are at a distance from you and do not belong to the nations nearby. Kill all the men and make all the women and children into slaves.

ETHNIC CLEANSING   

               OR

HOW TO EXTERMINATE THE CITIZENS OF A NEIGHBOUR

 16However, in the cities of the nations the LORD your God is giving you as an inheritance, do not leave alive anything that breathes. 17 Completely destroy [a] them—the Hittites, Amorites, Canaanites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites—as the LORD your God has commanded you. 18 Otherwise, they will teach you to follow all the detestable things they do in worshipping their gods, and you will sin against the LORD your God.

Numbers Chapters – 31  Gives a more graphic and real life (DEATH) example of the results of carrying out the instructions of god upon the “evil” ones

NUMBERS  31

Campaign against the Midianites
31:6 So Moses sent them to the war, one thousand from every tribe, with Phinehas son of Eleazar the priest, who was in charge8 of the holy articles9 and the signal trumpets. 31:7 They fought against the Midianites, as the Lord commanded Moses, and they killed every male.10 31:8 They killed the kings of Midian in addition to those slain – Evi, Rekem, Zur, Hur, and Reba – five Midianite kings.11 They also killed Balaam son of Beor with the sword.12

31:9 The Israelites took the women of Midian captives along with their little ones, and took all their herds, all their flocks, and all their goods as plunder. 31:10 They burned13 all their towns14 where they lived and all their encampments. 31:11 They took all the plunder and all the spoils, both people and animals. 31:12 They brought the captives and the spoils and the plunder to Moses, to Eleazar the priest, and to the Israelite community, to the camp on the plains15 of Moab, along the Jordan River16 across from Jericho.17 31:13 Moses, Eleazar the priest, and all the leaders of the community went out to meet them outside the camp.

The Death of the Midianite Women

31:14 But Moses was furious with the officers of the army, the commanders over thousands and commanders over hundreds, who had come from service in the war. 31:15 Moses said to them, “Have you allowed all the women to live?18 31:16 Look, these people through the counsel of Balaam caused the Israelites to act treacherously against the Lord in the matter of Peor – which resulted in the plague among the community of the Lord! 31:17 Now therefore kill every boy,19 and kill every woman who has had sexual intercourse with a man.20 31:18 But all the young women21 who have not had sexual intercourse with a man22 will be yours.23

KILL –KILL – KILL – MEN, WOMEN, BOYS,  - HOWEVER  THE  LOVING GOD  SAYS YOU MAY MAKE VIRGINS SLAVES  - THOSE HORRIBLE NON-BELIEVERS – JUST WHAT THEY DESERVE!!


Back to Deuteronomy

CHAPTER 21

Rebellious Son.       Or Stoning Teenagers

 18 If a man has a stubborn and rebellious son who does not obey his father and mother and will not listen to them when they discipline him, 19 his father and mother shall take hold of him and bring him to the elders at the gate of his town. 20 They shall say to the elders, "This son of ours is stubborn and rebellious. He will not obey us. He is a profligate and a drunkard." 21 Then all the men of his town shall stone him to death. You must purge the evil from among you. All Israel will hear of it and be afraid.
Chapter 22---  OR - THANK GOD FOR MAKING YOU A MAN !     (A JEWISH PRAYER?)

 13 If a man takes a wife and, after lying with her, dislikes her 14 and slanders her and gives her a bad name, saying, "I married this woman, but when I approached her, I did not find proof of her virginity,"

15 then the girl's father and mother shall bring proof that she was a virgin to the town elders at the gate. 16 The girl's father will say to the elders, "I gave my daughter in marriage to this man, but he dislikes her.
 17 Now he has slandered her and said, 'I did not find your daughter to be a virgin.' But here is the proof of my daughter's virginity."
 Then her parents shall display the cloth before the elders of the town, 18 and the elders shall take the man and punish him. 19
 They shall fine him a hundred shekels of silver [b] and give them to the girl's father, because this man has given an Israelite virgin a bad name. She shall continue to be his wife; he must not divorce her as long as he lives.

Sounds like justice-   the young (they are always very young) girl, -  who has done nothing wrong  -   gets to live with a man [and probably one of his other wives] that slandered her and probably hates her now  -  the girl’s father gets rich – sounds like a fair minded loving god to me.

 20 If, however, the charge is true and no proof of the girl's virginity can be found, 21 she shall be brought to the door of her father's house and there the men of her town shall stone her to death. She has done a disgraceful thing in Israel by being promiscuous while still in her father's house.

Being a girl in the land of the loving god, means having no justice, and having virtually no rights or protection from men. She dies – he, at the worst pays a fine, and keeps a virtual slave for life. A real win – win   for the female race.

  23 If a man happens to meet in a town a virgin pledged to be married and he sleeps with her, 24 you shall take both of them to the gate of that town and stone them to death—the young woman because she was in a town and did not scream for help, and the man because he violated another man’s wife. You must purge the evil from among you.

Such a deal  -- prevented from screaming  -- not screaming loud enough –Deserves a good stoning to death – loving god! 

28 If a man happens to meet a virgin who is not pledged to be married and rapes her and they are discovered, 29 he shall pay the girl's father fifty shekels of silver. [c] He must marry the girl, for he has violated her. He can never divorce her as long as he lives. You must purge the evil from among you.  

     Just what a young girl dreams of!

THE ONE THING THAT COMES OUT CRYSTAL CLEAR IS THAT THE LOVING GOD ONLY THOUGHT OF FEMALES AS CHATTELS OF MEN.

THE FATHER, -  ALWAYS GET PAID IN SILVER IF HIS   PROPERTY    IS NOT TREATED FAIRLY.  

THE HUSBAND OR BETROTHED MALE, IS   COMPENSATED   IF THE UNFORTUNATE GIRL IS STONED TO DEATH BECAUSE SHE  WAS RAPED IN THE CITY AND DIDN'T YELL LOUD ENOUGH!

ON THE OTHER HAND IF SHE IS LUCKY TO BE RAPED IN THE COUNTRY  AS OPPOSED TO THE CITY - HER FATHER GETS PAID IN SILVER - THE RAPIST GETS THE GIRL.

THE INNOCENT YOUNG LADY IS TAKEN FROM HER FAMILY, AND  IN ALL LIKELIHOOD,   WILL LEAD A MISERABLE LIFE WITH THE RAPIST  - AND HIS  WELCOMING OTHER WIVES.

                                    

GLAD I GOT THIS OFF MY CHEST  -  NOW I CAN GET ON WITH LIFE