How Not to Sacrifice ( a Lesson In Two Charred Parts)

The incomparable Brick Testament's take on this story. Brilliant!

Leviticus 10.

Now Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, took their respective firepans, and after putting fire in them, placed incense on it and offered strange fire before the LORD, which He had not commanded them. And fire came out from the presence of the LORD and consumed them, and they died before the LORD.

WTF!  Holy seared siblings, Batman! God is such a badass! Yeah, because… well… he, uh…  Burned them to death for… Um…  What exactly?  Sacrificing without a permit? Making offering inappropriately?  Maybe they messed up the magic words like Ash in Army of Darkness.  “Klaatu Barada N… Necktie… Neckturn… Nickel… It’s an “N” word, it’s definitely an “N” word!“  Oh, You gotta love Army of Darkenss, but, seriously,  WTF?  Does God insist that he give a command before we pray to him?  Which, seemingly, would be my problem.  Apparently, I’m still waiting for the command.  I’m a sleeper cell closet Christian just waiting for some goddamned word.

So the Lord of Genocide kills people for worshipping him without his direct orders and that does have some interesting corollaries.  For instance, if that’s the case then the whole school prayer issue should be a moot point. C’mon people, knowing what we now know, it’s obvious that allowing prayer in schools would be a disaster. For their own protection schools would have to forbid any mention of God within their bounds.  Well, at least any to the Judeo-Christian God, anyway.

Oh, the horror of children spontaneously bursting into flames whenever they whispered a prayer to the Lord.  Holy shit!  Think about it!  The days leading up to the final exams would be an veritable fiery apocalypse. The burned and charred corpses of penitent students would litter the classrooms and hallways amid smoldering texts and  seared backpacks.  Just imagine the scene!  A small whispered prayer, a popping sound, and then the screaming would start.  Oh the screaming again.  And the smell!  Oh my God! The smell!  !  When will we ever learn people?  Obviously our education system would rapidly collapse in an righteous inferno all brought about by prayer in school.  Not to mention the prohibitive cost of fire insurance…

No.  It is clear that prayer in school must be forever forbidden.  Will someone, for the love of G… Um…  Just think of the children!

Seriously though, why did God kill them?  Was it because they “offered a strange fire before the Lord.”  Is that really so bad?  What in the sacred shit of Jesus is a “strange fire” anyway?  Well, I don’t know about the rest of you but that sure sounds like euphemism for pot.   Not that I am terribly familiar with the whole concept, good beer or wine being my drug of choice, but I was young once.  I know strange fires!  Were the sons of Aaron simply stoners, laying around all day offering strange fires to the Lord then trying to round up some manna and quail when the munchies hit?

Dude!  I mean, like, duuude!  Has anyone, like, seen my bird?  Fuck man, I put him right there!

Or is this something else.  We have already discussed (Yeah, a long time ago.  I know!) that if there is any truth at all to the statement “fire came out from before the LORD and consumed the burnt offering” it was very likely some kind of accelerant, the bronze age equivalent of gasoline used to awe the people into submission.  Did these two boneheads somehow manage use a little too much?  Did they spill it on themselves?  We’re they “playing with fire?”  Were they the ancient equivalent of the jackass who thinks that grilling requires one part charcoal and three parts lighter fluid and then sits around bitching about having no eyebrows and a reddish puffy look “tan”?

Or maybe it was a combination.  Like guns and alcohol, I’d imagine that “strange fire” and real fire would have to be a bad combo.  Truly, I’m not sure how long I’d last smokin’ a few joints, chewing a shroom or two and then playing with gasoline and matches.  Beautiful as I am, I too could earn the fury of the Lord.

Or… Or were these two the victims of something worse, something more sinister.  Remember that there has been quite a bit of tension between Moses and Aaron.  Aaron, the jackwipe, had already proved his untrustworthiness by sacrificing to the Golden Calf.  Were his sons part of the earlier rebellion and still pushing the limits?  Remember that Moses wasn’t exactly shy about killing several thousand people to regain control then.  Why would he stop at killing Aaron’s sons now?  Anyone who thinks that violence never solves anything really needs to look at Moses and his lackey, the Lord Genocide. Their motto has forever been, “Why do something peacefully and decent when you can kill dozens of  people and get the same result?”  Violence solved all of Moses’ problems.

Pure speculation, I know, but it’s intriguing.  Look at the next few lines.

Then Moses said to Aaron, “It is what the LORD spoke, saying, 
’By those who come near Me I will be treated as holy, 
And before all the people I will be honored.'” 
So Aaron, therefore, kept silent.  Moses called also to Mishael and Elzaphan, the sons of Aaron’s uncle Uzziel, and said to them, “Come forward, carry your relatives away from the front of the sanctuary to the outside of the camp.” So they came forward and carried them still in their tunics to the outside of the camp, as Moses had said. Then Moses said to Aaron and to his sons Eleazar and Ithamar, “Do not uncover your heads nor tear your clothes, so that you will not die and that He will not become wrathful against all the congregation. But your kinsmen, the whole house of Israel, shall bewail the burning which the LORD has brought about.

Moses won’t even allow any mourning to be done for them.  He and he alone knows how the Lord Death demands his sacrifices and that is bloody, burnt and with Moses at the center.  Those trying to curry favor with the Lord without Moses in the loop are begging for trouble.

Honestly, doesn’t this sound like just another of Moses power plays?  Trickery and  murder to stay on top of “his” people.  Smoke and mirrors and blood and no one doubts his power.  Those who did are dead.  Those on the edge are terrified.

Regardless in how you interpret this, there is little here to understand.

The chapter goes on in nearly incomprehensible detail, but the most interesting thing about the entire page is in the note at the bottom regarding these deaths. Here is the modern interpretation of this passage.  “Their death was tragic and at first seems harsh, but no more than Ananias and Sapphira in Acts.  In both cases a new era was being inaugurated.  The new community had to be made aware that it existed for God, not ice versa.”

God does not exist for us, we exist for God, and of course, the implication that he can do any damned thing he desires to us.  If this book has anything more insidious within its pages I am yet unaware of it.  I know there will be many Christians out there who will jump to God’s defense.  Just do a search of “Nadab and Abihu” and read some of the amusingly twisted results.  This disgusting example of theistic apologetics is among the worst. But all of them seem to orbit around the old and worn bone of  “Of course we exist for him. He created us.”  But that’s like saying that my son exists for me and not me for him, and that is bullshit!

To my mind this expresses exactly the opposite sentiment that we all really need to believe.  We exist to protect our children.  They do not exist to serve our every whim.  Our overall purpose is to raise them to be fully functional adults.  Men and women who are complete on their own, independent of even us.  We want our children to love us. Sure. But we don’t cripple them with such a dependency on us that they are unable to function on their own, loving us out of a sick fear that we’ll harm them or cut them out of the will.  What kind of “Father” actually does that?

A shitty, psychotic father, that’s who.

The entire goal of parenthood is to take a newborn being who is so utterly dependent on you and your decisions and teach them to be utterly independent and able flourish on their own and without help.  Breeding pathological dependency into the beings you create is evil.  They deserve far better.

To put it another way, the ambition of parenthood is to make our children better than we are.  The goal of godhood, on the other hand, is to cripple them to assure yourself that they will never even approach that level.  He’s #1 and will always remain that way.  Yay God!

What a dick!

    • Ron
    • March 13th, 2012

    Hey, long time since your last post. I was starting to worry that the good Christians of Bismarck had exacted biblical justice for your heretical writings.

    On to your post…

    The apologetic link provides us with this dandy explanation:

    Point 5 Nadab and Abihu’s Presumption was Inexcusable

    Had Nadab and Abihu refrained from worshipping as they saw fit, and instead waited for the “thus saith the Iord”, they would still have been alive and in God’s good grace. But they presumed to offer to God something “which he had not commanded them” (Lev 10:1).

    Apparently, God was playing “Yahweh Says” when the two brothers jumped the gun — and God absolutely HATES IT when people do that — so he eliminated them from the game for keeps.

    So the moral of this story can be boiled down to this: “It’s all fun and games until someone becomes a smoldering pile of ash.”

  1. Hey Ron, I’ve just been a bit busy. I’ll likely have a bit more time… a bit more.

    So the moral of this story can be boiled down to this: “It’s all fun and games until someone becomes a smoldering pile of ash.”

    Yeah, that God is such a kidder

    • marytoo
    • March 15th, 2012

    Yay, welcome back KK.

    I’ve never understood this about the Cairn and Abel story either. Cain is a crop farmer and Abel a shepherd so they each sacrifice what they have access to. God then gets snooty about Cain’s sacrifice. WTF?

    I like the way he keeps them guessing too. He doesn’t bother to let them know in advance that an incorrect sacrifice will get them incinerated. It’s like one of those scientific experiments you see in the movies where you attached electrodes to a person and then give them a quizz. For each false answer – ZAP. See, we are made in God’s image!

    • Nancy B
    • March 15th, 2012

    “Hey, long time since your last post. I was starting to worry that the good Christians of Bismarck had exacted biblical justice for your heretical writings.”

    Or worse – converted him! ;-)

    “So the moral of this story can be boiled down to this: “It’s all fun and games until someone becomes a smoldering pile of ash.” ”

    LOL!

    • Ow, Nancy. Damn, that’s just mean. Like I told my father about a year ago. he has a better chance of converting to Islam that I do of going back to Christianity, barring a dramatic brain injury, of course. him and him and him

  2. “Or worse – converted him!”

    Now there’s a scary thought; trying to debate a fire and brimstone bible-bashin’ KK…

    Dare I say Moses is looking very Catholic? Very much the same set-up; prayers have to be routed through him, and him alone. Oy Vey Maria!

    • “Or worse – converted him!”

      Now there’s a scary thought; trying to debate a fire and brimstone bible-bashin’ KK…

      I’m pretty sure that if that’s the case the two sides of warring personality would rend me physically in half… And in order to rid myself of the infection, I’d accept that fate.

    • Ron
    • March 16th, 2012

    “…prayers have to be routed through him, and him alone.”

    Moses (in a Cartman-esque voice): “You Will Respect My Authoritah!”

    • rustiguzzi
    • March 16th, 2012

    I’ve long suspected that such was the reason for the commandment “Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord in vain”. Taking someone’s name in vain, to me, means claiming to speak or act on their behalf without proper authority – and the only ones authorised to say “Thus saith the Lord” are Moses and those appointed by him. Can’t have everyone taking it upon themselves to do that, now, can we?

      • marytoo
      • March 17th, 2012

      If Yahweh did actually exist it would be a sensible policy. We wouldn’t have half the bizarre sects we do today without all these people claiming God speaks directly through them (or leaves gold plates lying around) – although, on the other hand, it may just have been easier if he came straight out and told us what he wanted us to do instead of being all coy and mysterious.

    • Anonymous
    • August 1st, 2012

    I am a Christian and I found the part about praying in school before exams very funny. thanks for the giggle. There were times when bursting into flame would have been preferred to test taking.

    • Anonymous
    • April 24th, 2013

    Come back!!!!! As a new atheist I’m reading through these and they are awesome! I’d love to see more pleeeeeeease!

    • KK, may Darwin smile upon him, was working way too many hours on way too many separate projects. Something had to go, and sadly for us, I think this was one he decided to cut out to make some time up.

      Congratulations on your new-found enlightenment, though! Long may it, and you, prosper.

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  8. I am guessing that you received good advice in the past and nothing phased you. Imagine for a moment that you, for once in your life, you wanted to be saved: a child of God. And all the different churches bombarded you that unless you are one of them, you go to hell. If you became a Catholic, the Baptists would scorn you, and so on. I wished all Christians would say that only God can save, but, it just not going to happened. Nadab and Abihu placed all the sacrifices neatly on the alter. They had plenty of fire without the camp. They had incense at the ready. All they waited upon was for God to let them save the world. I mean they were ready! Then God stoled their thunder by bringing His own fire from Heaven. Nadab and Abihu were not evil. They really wanted to be God’s messiahs. When they saw the fire from Heaven come down, they probably smiled and then went to work doing what they thought would save the world. This was an exclusive moment. Only God could do what was righteous. Nadab and Abihu never gave a thought that they too were sinners. Of course their death does not mean eternal damnation. When the religious step in God’s Shoes, they soon found out that they don’t fit; hopefully in time before their demise. Should you ever want God, all this will make more sense because God will cause you to know Him! I said enough already. But you can ask any question sincerely about God and I or some other child of God will help you. When you make a tirade, question if someone supernatural might be reading it. Its in your best interest. God Bless

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