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About a year ago, I began slooowly reading the Holy Bible and assessing what it means to a modern reader — not historically, but literally and metaphorically.
As I'm nearing the end of the third book of sixty-six (Leviticus, that is), I've encountered one of the most disturbing passages yet:
16 And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,In other words, keep those creepy physical defectives away from my holy altar! God is love, doncha know, God is love.
17 Speak unto Aaron, saying, Whosoever he be of thy seed in their generations that hath any blemish, let him not approach to offer the bread of his God.
18 For whatsoever man he be that hath a blemish, he shall not approach: a blind man, or a lame, or he that hath a flat nose, or any thing superfluous,
19 Or a man that is brokenfooted, or brokenhanded,
20 Or crookbackt, or a dwarf, or that hath a blemish in his eye, or be scurvy, or scabbed, or hath his stones broken;
21 No man that hath a blemish of the seed of Aaron the priest shall come nigh to offer the offerings of the LORD made by fire: he hath a blemish; he shall not come nigh to offer the bread of his God.
There are so many unsavory passages in this vaunted tome, such as...
- The punishment of all women because Eve dared to eat from the Tree of Knowledge
- The destruction of nearly every living thing, because God got it in his head that "the wickedness of man was great"
- Completely uncriticized slave-banging and otherwise legitimizing slavery as a legal activity
- A Bible hero offering up his virginal daughters to an angry mob (and the daughters subsequently raping him)
- God insisting that Abraham be willing to stab his son to death on a sacrificial altar, and surely traumatizing the kid in the process
- Members of YHWH's favorite family avenging a single act of rape by tricking an entire city of men into getting circumcised and then killing them all
- After killing a young man the Lord deems wicked, killing his brother for not wanting to impregnate his sister-in-law
- God randomly trying to kill his right-hand man, Moses
- The plague after plague unleashed on the Egyptians — including the slaves and animals — because God hardened Pharaoh's heart so he wouldn't let the Israelites go and have a picnic in His honor. And making an annual celebration of the killing of every firstborn Egyptian.
- Yahweh claiming ownership of every firstborn male, including of the human variety, with the seeming implication that he wants them sacrificed in his honor
- Meting out punishment not only on infidels, but on three or four generations of their offspring
- Repeated calls to execute people who work on the Sabbath
- A 9/11-sized massacre of fellow Israelites because they dance around a golden idol
- Endless descriptions of reasons and methods for absolving human sins by ritually sacrificing animals, including rituals where one animal is soaked in the blood of its butchered brethren
- The Good Lord burning two children alive for lighting some incense, and then forbidding their father — His #1 priest — from grieving the loss
- And countless other reasons for people and animals to be slaughtered, including for being gay and for being a critter who's the victim of bestiality. And you'll be excommunicated for many other sins, including having sex with a menstruating woman.
The major story of the Pentateuch is that God is going to kick all the natives out of Canaan and give it to a small group of people that are his favorites. Doesn't that sound like the nicest little deity you've ever heard of?
For y'all, who may have read much more of the One True Infallible Guide to Morality, what are your favorite examples of bad messages in the Good Book?
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Bonus out-of-context Bible quotes:
The coolest (so far) is from Genesis 27:11 — "I am a smooth man."
The cruelest, so fitting for today's Religious Right Repubs, from Leviticus 19:15 — "Thou shalt not respect the person of the poor."
The truest, from Exodus 15:3 — “The LORD is a man of war.”