Thursday, January 26, 2006

Hey Moses! What's For Dinner?

All these creationists and fundamentalists and neo-christians with their “the bible told me to, this” and “the bible says so, that” really make me ill. It would be one thing if they kept it to themselves, like you are supposed to in America, but they need for everyone to live by their beliefs and feel that they are justified in this because they know what God wants. And they refuse further lines of inquiry. A colleague of mine has a creationist roommate who actually said the words “I would rather be ignorant than believe what you believe.” It all comes down to their belief that this jumble of texts sewn into one book has some divine origin and is actually the Word of God, and therefore you cannot argue with them, but come on.

Have you ever read The Bible?

I know I haven’t, at least not all of it, the Psalms and Song of Solomon aside (If you have not read it, you should; it’s dirty. Don’t know how that one got by the censors), but I also know that you can find bits and pieces in The Bible to support whatever position you want. That is how God was on both sides in the American Civil War and how he roots for both football teams in the Superbowl. It’s how abolitionists and pro-slavery Americans could insist that The Bible supported both of their “philosophical” positions. It does. The bible even tells you how you should treat your slaves. Sweet.

My favorite, however, so far, is Leviticus 11. I am mainly using the King James Version of the Bible because I love its flowery, overblown, pompous English. It’s how religions should talk. In Leviticus 11, we learn that the LORD told Moses to pass on to the children of Israel that they should not eat camels. Or rabbits. Or pigs. You can only eat beasts that have cloven hooves AND chew their cud. Not one or the other. It has to be both. Does Satan chew cud? If so, I guess we can eat him.

It’s all about what is clean and what is unclean, though the reasons are usually not given for the delineation. As far as all that live “in the waters,” you can eat these creatures if they have fins and scales. If not, they are not to be eaten (no mermaids). And this is repeated over a few chapters, in different ways, so you really get the point:
“9 These shall ye eat of all that are in the waters: whatsoever hath fins and scales in the waters, in the seas, and in the rivers, them shall ye eat.
10 And all that have not fins and scales in the seas, and in the rivers, of all that move in the waters, and of any living thing which is in the waters, they shall be an abomination unto you:
11 They shall be even an abomination unto you; ye shall not eat of their flesh, but ye shall have their carcasses in abomination.
12Whatsoever hath no fins nor scales in the waters, that shall be an abomination unto you.”


Beware when you ask your waiter for the fish special.

Bird wise, don’t eat the eagle, the osprey, vulture, the kit, the raven, the owl, the night hawk, the cuckow, and the hawk. Oh, and the little owl, and the cormorant, and the great owl, and the white owl (when do we just get to say “owls are right out”?), and the swan, the pelican, the stork, the heron, lapwing, and the bat. And any birds that “creep, going upon all four, shall be an abomination unto you.”

ON the menu, however, are “every flying creeping thing that goeth upon all four, which have legs above their feet, to leap withal upon the earth.” And bugs. Beetles, locusts, grasshoppers. But other flying creatures with four feet? Do not make yourself detestable with any “swarming things that swarm.” No. Also, no weasels, mice, or tortoises. Or ferrets, chameleons, snails, and moles.

I think there should be a Leviticus Dining Club. It would be a heretic society that would revel in eating all the things that the LORD says we shouldn’t. We’d feel so naughty.

And then there are cleaning instructions for your vessels, lest any of the carcasses of the unclean that shall not be eaten should happen to fall into them, or touch them, or look at them funny. And instructions for your cooking areas and fields lest any carcasses of the detestable should come into contact with them. If you touch any abomination listed above, you are to wash your clothes and be unclean until evening. The original “Go to your room.”

Clearly, “God” is just trying to watch out for public health in a hot climate with no refrigeration. Smart that “God” would be trying to keep people from getting sick through the use of superstition. After all, he’s God, and “I got you out of Egypt, and I’m holy, so you have to be holy too.” So paternalistic.

I guess that when we start hiring for the Leviticus Dining Club, we have to make sure that we don’t hire a literalist chef. He or she certainly would not cotton to the club charter let alone the menu requests, but they might wander in to the interview just because of the name. Unless he or she is a person who is willing to pick and choose what parts of The Bible they adhere to literally and are willing to compromise their religious morals for a little cash.
But come on, what do you think the chances are of finding someone like THAT?!

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