Friday, October 16, 2009

Old Testament Brutalities

By the Rev. Howard Bess
October 16, 2009

I decided I needed to do a refresher on basic Old Testament material. I reread the entire books of Leviticus and Deuteronomy. I doubt if many folks have read these two documents, but they are in the Bible, so they must be worthy of our attention.

Read on.


libhom said...

This is yet another reason to just say no to religion.

chmoore said...

Hi Howard,
Like you, not long ago , instead of listening to the same chosen passages read in church, I decided to plow through the entire Leviticus; just to see how fundamental and literal, fundamentalists and literalists really are.

After seven full chapters of every variation of animal sacrifice, scattering the blood "round and about", and more chapters of what to do or not, I decided that fundamentalism and literalism are truly cherry picking afairs. Animal sacrifice in church today is not the norm, lest they be arrested for animal abuse violations.

Or in another example, men lying with men is stated within the context of "in a woman's bed". The woman's identity is not stated, but it's a safe guess she's probably the wife of one of the men. It's "her" bed because of the commitment of the marriage. I'm not a theologian, but I read this as meaning, just because your sex partner is of the same sex, it doesn't excuse adultery. I didn't get the feeling that homosexuality per se was a big concern for these people.

Finally, I found a couple of choice nuggets in Leviticus 19:18 "You shall not take vengeance, nor bear any grudge against the sons of your people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself; I am the LORD." and Leviticus 19:34 "The stranger who resides with you shall be to you as the native among you, and you shall love him as yourself, for you were aliens in the land of Egypt; I am the LORD your God." [both are New American Standard Bible versions]

We know this today as the Ethic of Reciprocity, AKA the "Golden Rule", which is also stated in various ways in virtually every known religion of the world, and also secularly.

I'm especially drawn to the UNIVERSAL emphasis of 19:34. I believe it's in line with the One God's universal moral code of fairness and justice for everyone. After all, I can cherry pick too.

John L. OPPERMAN said...

Old Testament compared to todays brutalities, mostly in the name of two of the worlds "major" religions...sometimes makes the OT read like a boy scout manual.
Many argue that religion(s) cannot be blamed for the unspeakable attrocities done in their name.
Yeah, a gun is inert, but the USE made of it doesn't make the gun an innocent object.
Actions speak louder than words.
It can be said Capitalism is the root of all evil, the way it always eventually plays out-and the way it gets there. Teamed with religion is truely horrendous and will surely be the end of us all.
~John L.

Bill from Saginaw said...

I always thought all this wacky Old Testament stuff about the divine virtues of ritual animal sacrifice was simply a con job run by the priesthood of that era in an effort to persuade the God-fearing commoners to hand over free protein for the clergy to enjoy.

Bill from Saginaw

Peter James said...

There is a GOD in heaven.
Very soon GOD will use the Northen Army and its allies to punish USA the English speaking world & Israel

read the article in

The Northern Army And Its Allies Used To Punish The English Speaking World & Israel