Butchery On The Sabbath or God’s Mercy Shines Through Again.
Originally, I was going to skip right over this section and cuddle up to the Golden Calf story. You have no idea how I have looked forward to that chapter, any other goddamned chapter, in fact. Fictitious or not, I’d have characters and events to write about rather than bullshit temple construction plans and priest consecration. Ugh! But then I read Exodus 31/12 and fell in love with its merciless incongruity. It sums up so many of the inconsistencies so much better than all the other dreck that I feel we can’t just pass it by without even a look. It’s like one of those campy pieces of Americana that still litter the landscape of North America such as the world biggest ball of twine or the largest working toilet west of the Mississippi. Who the hell could resist stopping if only to claim some bragging rights later. How can someone not go out of their way to see a huge working toilet? C’mon people! Large! Working! Toilet!
That in mind, let’s look at this toile… um…. I mean, rules and regulations regarding keeping the Sabbath. Yeah. That’s it.
“But as for you, speak to the sons of Israel, saying, ‘You shall surely observe My sabbaths; for this is a sign between Me and you throughout your generations, that you may know that I am the Lord who sanctifies you.
‘Therefore you are to observe the sabbath, for it is holy to you. Everyone who profanes it shall surely be put to death; for whoever does any work on it, that person shall be cut off from among his people.
‘For six days work may be done, but on the seventh day there is a sabbath of complete rest, holy to the Lord; whoever does any work on the sabbath day shall surely be put to death. ‘So the sons of Israel shall observe the sabbath, to celebrate the sabbath throughout their generations as a perpetual covenant.“It is a sign between Me and the sons of Israel forever; for in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, but on the seventh day He ceased from labor, and was refreshed.”
Killed for working on Sunday! Wow! Ain’t God a bastard? Holy shit people, that’s positively baddass. No labor protections back then. No mercy. Just sudden and swift “justice”. What I find odd is the same people who hold to a strict Biblical prohibition of a gay lifestyle never bat an eye about going out to eat on the Sabbath. I sure don’t see many people pushing for this particular literal view of the Sabbath any more, and dammit, I wonder why? It’s Biblical after all. God said it. Was he just kidding here? In fact the condemnation of Sabbath violations is more even firmly stated so why do all those people raging about the immorality of homosexuality based on Exodus simply gloss right over this one? Why aren’t the Westboro Baptists screaming about God killing clerks manning the Seven-Eleven cash registers on those Sunday shifts? Why aren’t religious fanatics stoning all those waitresses and waiters shoveling food into our fat little mouths at Perkin’s Sunday Brunch? Why in the name of all that is holy between Yahweh’s butt cheeks, are they not screaming about God’s retribution for all those people violating the Sabbath by driving taxis, flying airplanes, and making electricity? It obvious that all those poor working bastards who are trying to feed their families by puling extra shifts are offending God, so why aren’t we killing them? Don’t they deserve it, Biblically?
If someone wants to subscribe to a literalist point of view and use the Old Testament to support shit-assed crazy theory of morality, why don’t they use all of it? Why do they get to pick and choose what they want to follow? Any guesses? Oh, I know that the “real” Christian will have a long list of other Bible verses that if taken in the proper order and with just the right amount of weight and with one eye closed, will mitigate the concept as much as they need to get on with their lives, but that’s not the real reason, people.
This is an easy one. Why don’t people choose to follow rules, however obviously stated, that go against everything they already do? Because they don’t want to! That would require them to actually change their behavior instead of merely finding justification for what they do, and who in the hell wants to do that. Change is hard. Justification is easy. Christians choose not to follow the Sabbath because it would gain them nothing and cost them a great deal in terms of money and fun. To the vast number or theistic capitalists, what good would a day be if you are forbidden to make money? To all the rest of Christendom, what good is a day of rest when you are forbidden to do anything truly fun?
The truth is that observing the Sabbath as the Old Testament demands is just too hard and unprofitable. This is the essence of religious power. If what you preach can bring you greater power, influence or comfort then find some kind of Biblical justification. Trust me, there are oodles of rationale for nearly any action you choose. Want to condemn a neighbor for witchcraft and buy up his or her land? It’s in there. Want to annihilate native peoples and just take their country as your own? Yeah,it’s in there. Want to condemn a vast group of people whose only crime is to be aroused by genitalia similar to their own? Oh baby, the Bible has it. That fucker’s a regular Walmart Supercenter! It has everything you’ll ever need to accomplish your goal. Seek and ye shall find.
On the other hand, you’re not required to buy everything at Wally World. If what the Bible actually says interferes with your life, just ignore it.
After all, everyone else does.
The Bible: Noun. (1) An ancient tome written by bronze-age sheep-herders in search of answers in a world without science. (2) A book used by Christianity to justify its superiority over all the other superstitions that are as senseless as their own. (3) An unholy and ancient mess of a book, primarily used today to support, indiscriminately, whatever actions are taken by a concerned individual and condemn those of his or her enemies, also indiscriminately. (4) An ancient work of fiction whose primary historical function has been to create a path of destruction through the ages while giving its holders a desire for more.
Now that’s versatility.