Phallic Cannibalism, or Moses and Pharaoh: Now, It’s Personal.
Throughout this blog, I have tried to make my posts as cohesive as I am able. As any long-term reader knows, my success has been both a hit and miss. Some posts are fairly sharp and express the points concisely. Others, I would liken to a manure shotgun, spraying shit at the target in the hopes that at least some will stick. Sometimes, it’s the nature of the biblical section I’m reading. In others, alas, it’s just ineptitude. I’m not sure where this one falls. I’ve rewritten it so many times, it’s a Gordian Knot in my mind. The Blessed Atheist humbly apologizes for the confusion he leaves in his wake. Onward!
Fresh from the Good Will Magic Shoppe, Moses and Aaron are on their way to awe both the Israelites and the Pharaoh with their assortment of tricks. Of course, we all remember the total and absolute awesomeness of turning sticks into snakes, covering his hand with white stuff and the, always popular, changing a cup of river water to blood. Not much of an arsenal, but you must work with the tools you have. When God gives you lemons, you make lemonade. But when God gives you shit, sometimes your only recourse is to pile it up and fling it at people. And the theists have the nerve to say we’re not related to monkeys!
Moses and Aaron complete their journey and persuade the leaders of the Israelites that they truly are the servants of the Lord and to follow them when their God leads them out of Egypt. Of course they persuaded them. As history shows far too often, a people desperate for salvation will follow anyone who promises them some relief or redress of their grievances, even one who has only three rather pathetic magic tricks. The Pharaoh is a bit tougher to convince. With a level of affluence significantly higher because of his Hebrew slaves and a level of desperation considerably lower, mere word of that thrift store voodoo fails to awe the most powerful man in the known world. Imagine that! It was as if someone had come in blowing bubbles claiming he had all the witches of Oz to back him up.
Not only did the Lord Genocide’s Mojo not dazzle the Pharaoh, but we have seen that God himself was making the Pharaoh even more stubborn. So Moses and Aaron are granted an audience with the Pharaoh, but he would not listen. They said, “Thus says the LORD, the God of Israel: Let my people go, that they may celebrate a feast to me in the desert.” Pharaoh answered, “Who is the LORD, that I should heed his plea to let Israel go? I do not know the LORD; even if I did, I would not let Israel go.” They replied, “The God of the Hebrews has sent us word. Let us go a three days’ journey in the desert, that we may offer sacrifice to the LORD, our God; otherwise he will punish us with pestilence or the sword.”
Obviously they were turned down, but do you notice that the request is not for freedom, rather it is only a request for a few days to worship at the mountain of God. They never planned to come back, so why the need to deceive? With an omnipotent deity behind them, it serves no purpose. Is he not able to achieve his goals honestly? I understand that for mere humanity telling a lie gain your freedom is a small and understandable matter. But for Almighty God to use this method is a bit odd.
Anyway, the Pharaoh is not pleased with Moses and Aaron’s interference. He has little desire to see anyone stirring up his slaves, so he relies on the handiest tool of any oppressor; brutality. To make the Israelites think twice about following such riffraff as Moses, Pharaoh gives them the impossible task of building bricks without giving them the straw so essential to the job, at the same time demanding that the Hebrews maintain the same quota of bricks as before. Needless to say, the Hebrews feel the oppression even further, and are displeased with Moses and Aaron. Their lives are worse than ever, due to God’s insistence on making his game with the Pharaoh more entertaining. God’s two sock puppets are not terribly popular.
“The LORD look upon you and judge! You have brought us into bad odor with Pharaoh and his servants and have put a sword in their hands to slay us.” Moses again had recourse to the LORD and said, “Lord, why do you treat these people so badly? And why did you send me on such a mission? Ever since I went to Pharaoh to speak in your name, he has maltreated these people of yours, and you have done nothing to rescue them.” Then the LORD answered Moses, “Now you shall see what I will do to Pharaoh. Forced by my mighty hand, he will send them away; compelled by my outstretched arm, he will drive them from his land.”
Look At this! “Compelled by my outstretched arm, he will drive them from the land,” but we have seen that with his other hand, Yahweh is compelling the Pharaoh to keep them. God plays a massive game of tug-of-war with himself using both the Egyptians and the Hebrews as the rope. How can this be right and just? What is the purpose?
Next, God renews his promise to the Israelites, the same one he made to Abraham centuries before and hadn’t gotten around to fulfilling. In finally carrying out his duties, we have seen that his choice of strategy, sending an octogenarian sheep herder, was a bit dodgy. Why didn’t God just whisk them off to a promised land on the backs of angels? Why didn’t he teleport them paradise with the power of The One True God? Did he think they needed to work for their freedom a bit more? Hadn’t they suffered enough through 430 years of servitude and oppression?
Apparently not, God is not content to free then painlessly. He certainly likes to linger on his tasks, but we must go on. Moses and Aaron get another face to face with the Pharaoh. At long last it’s time for a little magic, as it turns out, very little.
Aaron threw his staff down before Pharaoh and his servants, and it was changed into a snake. Pharaoh, in turn, summoned wise men and sorcerers, and they also, the magicians of Egypt, did likewise by their magic arts. Each one threw down his staff, and it was changed into a snake. But Aaron’s staff swallowed their staffs.
Whoa! If that isn’t the ultimate in phallic symbology, I just don’t know what is. Not only is God saying that his dick is bigger than everyone else’s, but that it will eat the other little bastards for breakfast. Ow! Bring not out thy dick, for the Lord Thy God will chew thy wiener off! Damn! Normally, I don’t dip into sexist terms but in this patriarchal society I’m pretty sure that God wants to make Pharaoh his bitch. In fact, God wants to make everyone his bitch. I’m aware that other people may have different interpretations. This is irrelevant. I am right; they are wrong!
Looking at both this section and God makes Pharaoh Stubborn, I have to ask a few questions. I know these same questions arise time and time again, but really, they are fundamental to my rejection of religion in general and Christianity specifically. What do Judeo-Christians really see in this schizophrenic rendition of divine power? Is it really necessary for him to play both the good and bad cops in every single scene? Does every plan of God need to be so convoluted as to render it absolutely incomprehensible?
This is not the Prince of Peace or the Lord of Mercy. This is a God of random and despotic decisions. I am constantly bombarded by arguments for intelligent design or the necessity of a grand architect, but I see little evidence of intelligence or design in this world and especially not in this book. This book only tells the myths surrounding a capricious and arbitrary God dealing with, at times, a sycophantic people. Following such a being, real or imagined, is so much less than our full potential. As a species, why should we settle for the dregs of superstition when we can have so much more, the rewards of science.
Instead of spending our lives groveling in the dirt, let’s aim for the stars.