Posts Tagged ‘ leviticus ’

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!

What’s God Got To Do With It? (Nothing)


God. File photo. Circa... always.

Well, here I am again after a long absence.  No excuses.  I’m a lazy moron crushed by divergent responsibilities.  I apologize.  Onward.

Leviticus  1-9

When we last looked, Aaron, knife in hand,  had slashed his way through a  multitude of bloody sacrifices, seemingly one for every occasion.  Feel guilty about a particular sin in your past?  Amazingly, Aaron always has an animal that can be butchered and toasted to carry away your guilt.  Shocking isn’t it?  Offend God by some small sin?  Offer him a burned and bloody mess, and he’ll forgive you.  Offend him with a greater sin?  Give him an even bigger bloody and charred mess, and things’ll be fine.  There’s little doubt that God does get a bit of a woody from charred flesh, but it’s a wonder that there were any animals left.  Was there anything left for mere people to eat?  Remember that this was the same time that the Hebrews were starving and had to be fed by bread falling from the sky and quail stumbling into the camps and spontaneously combusting.  Yet here they are throwing animals on the  fire to be uselessly burned, all to appease some idea of a vengeful God.  This is just senseless like much else in religion.

Let’s think about this.  Does it make sense in the overall scheme of things?  Could your sins be carried away by the death and barbequing of some animal flesh?    Perfectly logical, right??  Um… Sure, that is if you’re a bronze-age animal-herding tribes-person who is desperately seeking any explanation on how their world works.  Today???  After a trip through modern public education??? Not so much.

The very idea that I could atone for cheating on my wife by taking one of our animals out and ceremonially slaughtering it is ludicrous.  Let me be clear.  Although I’m an atheist, I like the concept of sin.  Bear with me here; I know I’m in dangerous territory. Don’t we all harm people in our day to day lives?  Simply in being human, we create havoc in this world with our unnecessary cruelties  and heartless actions.  People are constantly destroying the things they love through callousness and stupidity, ignorance and fear, through… just being human.  I have no difficulty in calling these persistent human atrocities sin. In addition, I want to live in a world where some sort of atonement is required.  We can’t just say, “Oops.” and go on with our lives.  We should all try to atone for the pain we have caused. Whether it sins against our brother or crimes against our planet, we should try our damnedest to make it better.

The concept of justice has always burned rather fiercely in me.  Even as a child, the thought of someone getting away with injustice kept me awake far into the night.  I stand by this moral system.  Atoning for our sins and crimes is essential for becoming a better society. We need to attempt to fix the damage we have done.  We need an internal sense of self justice.  I understand that this may sound like an archaic idea for an atheistic progressive, yet it was this concept that became central to my fleeing my fundamentalist background.  It was the sheer unfairness of the Bible that drove me forth and made me both atheistic and liberal.

Therefore, the concept of sin doesn’t bother me.  My problem lies with the idea that when we sin, we sin against a god.  How can this be?  Our sins are against our fellow humans and the world we live in.  Against God??? Never!  To atone for our sins or wrongs we must attempt to rectify what we have done with the people harmed and not with some invisible, space-dwelling superman.  God has nothing to do with this!  If I harm my child, it is not to God that I must atone, it is my son.  If I harm my wife, not only must it be to her that I will atone, but God is a jackass for even trying to intrude on that debt.  God deserves nothing in this transaction.  Nothing!  Even allowing for his existence, which I do not, he is simply not part of the equation.  It is between the harmed and the harmer, not some giant, invisible, butt-plug constantly lurking overhead!!

Only if I could possibly harm an all-powerful, all-knowing and all-seeing deity, a perfect being, could he ever deserve some form of atonement.  Doesn’t the very definition of perfection proclaim that anything I do cannot harm him?  Isn’t that what all powerful means.  How religions insist that their gods are all powerful and yet have the sensitivity and temperament of an infant is beyond me.  But let’s allow this too. I seem to be in the mood for allowing illogical impossibilities so let’s give him the exalted position of omnipotent fucking baby.  Think about this.  If my sins against my fellows really does make baby Jesus cry, shouldn’t my atonement to my injured brothers and sisters be the reparation he requires?  Why must I kiss his deified ass too?   What could this possibly accomplish?

If we think about the entire concept, it’s really like a tax on sin.  God, like any overbearing bureaucratic government, demands his cut of the atonement, a pain tax.  Like some Mafia boss, the God of godfathers, if someone’s going to be paying for a sin, he demands his share and fuck anyone who doesn’t like it.

This is an idea so absurd that I am continually appalled that there are still modern, educated people who still believe it.  I know I’ve said this before, but to me the single biggest proof that we are not intelligently designed is the utter nonsense that we insist is true in spite of the world of evidence refuting it.  We are simply too stupid to have been designed by anything other than evolution.

What I do find quite ironic in this entire section, particularly as an American in the midst of the great tax debate, is that this sin tax was a graduated one.  A Hebrew was only required to bring and burn what he could afford.  The poor paid considerably less than the rich for the same service.  Even then the wealthy were held more accountable for their errors than the poor.  The sacred idea of a flat tax which the right wing in this country hold onto as a fifth gospel just doesn’t seem to jive with this part of the Bible.  Not that the Bible has any validity when it might possibly conflict with greed, but… well… that’s a topic for a different discussion.

But can anyone refute that even God believed in taxing the rich more.

I’m just sayin’

Finally! Proof that he is real!


Ooh! Ooh! Hot thing!

Leviticus 9/23

OK then! As we remember from the last episode the sacrifices have been made in all of their gory detail, and apparently heaps of dead carcasses lie on the blood soaked earth outside the tent of meeting waiting for… Well, something.

Moses and Aaron went into the tent of meeting. When they came out and blessed the people, the glory of the LORD appeared to all the people. Then fire came out from before the LORD and consumed the burnt offering and the portions of fat on the altar; and when all the people saw it, they shouted and fell on their faces.

Hooray! Another of God’s fabulous miracles.   Fire actually roared out onto sacrificial meat, and everyone was awed.   Damn… Well people, this one leaves me stumped.  Could this be the proof we have been searching for?   Could this be the culmination of the true quest of my blog–the quest to find God?  Why, yes!  Yes, it is. Why, now it seems obvious that God is real, for how else could this have been pulled off.  By mere trickery and fraud?  No!  By the charred corpse of Saint Lawrence, it’s fire, or shit’s sake!  It’d only been around for three or four hundred thousand years.  That’s just not enough time to learn a few simple tricks.  How could these primitive people who had just escaped centuries of slavery from one of the most advanced civilizations on the planet ever know much about fire.  How could they possibly have known about pitch, tar or other accelerants many of which had only been around for several millennia and then known to pour said accelerants over the animals to have them roar into flame?  I mean these are tricks that would take us at least six or seven minutes to accomplish today using any number of common household chemicals.

To have the fire come out and consume the sacrifice as stated, the priests would have to have access to some kind of oil-like substance like the oil that has been seeping out of the ground for millions of years.  By the rancid bowels of Buddha, they were walking around the Arabian Peninsula, and everyone knows what a paucity of oil they have in that land.  Sure they may have been able to fake it if they had some access to another kind of oil.   You know like the kind they burned in the lamp they made for the Tabernacle…  Or alcohol which… they… drank…  Um…  Or pine pitch… or…

Well… I admit it’s true that dried animal dung when powdered and thrown in a heaping handful over a campfire will produce an impressive column of fire, but tell me all you fucking skeptical geniuses, where would simple goat and sheep herders possibly find enough animal dung to do this?  Riddle me this?  Hmm?

Um…   Hey wait just a minute…   Shit!

Goddamn it.  Back to square one.

And Now For Something Completely Different, Leviticus.


Leviticus 1-9

So Aaron came near to the altar and slaughtered the calf of the sin offering which was for himself.  Aaron’s sons presented the blood to him; and he dipped his finger in the blood and put some on the horns of the altar, and poured out the rest of the blood at the base of the altar.  The fat and the kidneys and the lobe of the liver of the sin offering, he then offered up in smoke on the altar just as the LORD had commanded Moses.  The flesh and the skin, however, he burned with fire outside the camp.

Then he slaughtered the burnt offering; and Aaron’s sons handed the blood to him and he sprinkled it around on the altar. They handed the burnt offering to him in pieces, with the head, and he offered them up in smoke on the altar. He also washed the entrails and the legs, and offered them up in smoke with the burnt offering on the altar.

 Then he presented the people’s offering, and took the goat of the sin offering which was for the people, and slaughtered it and offered it for sin, like the first. He also presented the burnt offering, and offered it according to the ordinance. Next he presented the grain offering, and filled his hand with some of it and offered it up in smoke on the altar, besides the burnt offering of the morning.

 Then he slaughtered the ox and the ram, the sacrifice of peace offerings which was for the people; and Aaron’s sons handed the blood to him and he sprinkled it around on the altar. As for the portions of fat from the ox and from the ram, the fat tail, and the fat covering, and the kidneys and the lobe of the liver, they now placed the portions of fat on the breasts; and he offered them up in smoke on the altar. But the breasts and the right thigh Aaron presented as a wave offering before the LORD, just as Moses had commanded.

And much like a Monte Python sketch, Leviticus starts with absurdity and blood.  And more blood.  And still more blood.  And so on.  I’m sure by now you know the drill.

Remember the good old days when I could carry on rhapsodically over the senselessness of a single sentence.  Allow me to assure everyone that this isn’t one of those days.  The entire first nine chapters of this book follows a similar vein to what I have quoted here.  Similar?  Shit!  To the uninformed (aka. Rational) being, it’s impossible to tell the difference from one chapter to the next.  For eleven pages we get to dwell on the proper way to sprinkle blood and where to pour it after that.  So much blood was spilt in the sand in front of the altar that God’s tabernacle must have reeked like rotting corpses and decaying meat.

Sigh.  Here I was struggling to get past Exodus with all its sacrifice and glorifying Moses and his God, but what do I find upon opening up Leviticus?  An eleven page essay on the various ways that God wants you to sacrifice animals to himself.  It’s like a cookbook for how to make God happy.  It’s an amazingly simple formula really.  Violate some taboo?  Sacrifice a goat.  Light a fire on the Sabbath?  Sacrifice a goat.  Get caught fucking a goat?  Sacrifice the goat.  Well… there is that stipulation about unblemished and clean.  I’ll get back to you on that one.

Oh, if only life were so blessedly simple.  For every sin I committed, every person I hurt, every lie I told, all I would have to do to atone would be to take some helpless beast and slaughter it, burning a good chunk in a fire, of course, and I would be forgiven.  God will be fine with you violating his commandments as long as you bloodily butcher something  for him…  And, of course, burn it on a fire.  Because that makes God happy.  Oh so happy.  God loves to see things burn.

And let’s be honest here, who could refuse to be pleased with someone who butchers a harmless beast for you, pours its blood around an altar to you, dabs drops of it here and there in honor of you, then wastes the large majority of the meat by burning it to a cinder.  All for me?  Gosh!  Just what I’ve always wanted, blood dripping everywhere, while perfectly good meat transformed into a  inedible charred corpse which no one is allowed to eat.  No one!  Can you believe it?

Oh, the fat guy in me screams with the injustice of it all.  Not one goddamned bite?  Are you fucking kidding me?  A bat-shit crazy barbecue where no one is allowed a single lamb chop?  Disgusting.  And what does dear old God get out of all of this?  Hmm?  Apparently, he likes the smell.  It seems the aroma is pleasing to him.  By a refried Christ, widows and orphans going hungry and they waste hundreds of pounds of meat because the smell of burning flesh gives Yahweh a chubby.  OK, I’ll admit that I’ve been a little aroused before by the smell of cooking meat, but that is only in anticipation of the eventual meal.  Burning it just for the aroma?  Perverted!  Unnatural!  Evil!  Every ounce of my cellulite screams for revenge!  I must have justice!

Oh, the great genocide of the Flood angered me.  The destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah pissed me off.  But this… this…  Depravity.  Yahweh, you son-of-a-bitch, you go too far.  Fat people of the world unite!

Yahweh, the pisser on chubby men, has a new enemy, and his name is Bundy!  265 pounds of quivering anger are coming your way you prick.

By Yahweh’s testicles turning on a spit, I will have my revenge!

Hmm?  I wonder how… ? Oh, never mind.

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