09 March 2010

The Divine Dialouge

God: Okay, read that back to me.
Moses: What, from the start?
God: No, no, just the stuff we just went over.
Moses: Okay. Ah...don't kill, don't steal, don't covet thy neighbor's stuff.
God: Don't kill, don't steal, don't covet -- yes, that sounds accurate. Is that ten?
Moses: (counts) Ah...eight, nine, ten- yes, O Lord, that is ten.
God: Good. Go and tell the people of Israel what I the Lord have commanded.
Moses:  Yes, O Lord. And afterward?
God: Hm?
Moses: I don't want to hike all the way back up this mountain, O Lord, respectfully.
God: Oh. Yes. Afterward...see that land beyond the river, where thy neighbors the Canaanites live?
Moses: Yes.
God: Well, once you've delivered the laws, I wish for you to cross that river, kill the inhabitants therein, take the virgins for yourselves, live in homes you have not built, and reap from fields that you have not sown.
Moses: You..I'm sorry, run that by me again?
God: Go over there --
Moses: Right.
God: Kill the people..
Moses: ...uh..huh...
God: ...and make yourself at home with their daughters, their homes, and their possessions.
God: Is there a problem? Speak, O Mortal.
Moses: Y-...what about what you just said?
God: What about it?
Moses: Don't kill, don't steal, don't want stuff that isn't yours.
God: I'm not asking you to covet it, am I? Just take it. It's yours. .
Moses: But it isn't mine. It belongs to those guys. The Canaanites.
God: Oh. Well, not really. It's my land. I made it. I was just letting those guys use it. It's yours now.
Moses: O--kay....but shouldn't you tell them? Send an angel, maybe, to escort them somewhere else? It's kinda rude for me to just show up  and say --
God:  Shush! They're heathens! They don't worship me. They're not worthy. Do as I say.
Moses: Um..
God: You remember the pharaoh, Moses?
Moses: Yes..
God: Remember what happened to him?
Moses: Yeah, he wouldn't free us from slavery, sooo...you....killed all the livestock in the land and sent locusts to devour the grain, which uh...doesn't really leave any food for anybody, really. Then you killed a bunch of kids. You uh, you showed him.
God: Do you want me to "show you"?
Moses: Um....not really, no. I'm good.
God: So you're going to...
Moses: Kill the people, take their stuff. Just like you told me not to, only five minutes ago.
God: Well, let's get to it! We've got a covenant to keep! 
Moses: Oy vey.

After giving Moses the law, YHWH commands Moses to take the Israelites to the "Promised Land" of Canaan, inconveniently peopled by various tribes. The Israelites spend the trip killing people, being killed by God, and whining. He eventually grows tired of this, forcing them to wander around in the desert until all the adults have died off and a new generation of people who will listen to him for once have matured. Moses -- for all his toil and tears -- is one of the accursed, so his murderous protege Joshua oversees the subjugation of Canaan.

These Hebrews aren't nice people. They're as savage as you might expect from the era, which is confusing given that they've had contact with a God of absolute justice. Does absolute justice come in the form of slavery, slaughter, and destruction? Are their standards so low? Is their God so wretched?  And lastly, is he so dumb to the idea of irony that he sees nothing wrong with creating "moral codes" and then ordering people to violate them with great zeal?



Snowbrush said...

Insightful, examining the movement into the Promised Land in light of the Ten Commandments. Same with the point of your last entry, "When Evidence is a Facade."

smellincoffee said...

I think it disrupts the idea that absolutes come handed down from a deity, particularly this one: there's no consistency.

Snowbrush said...

No, there's no consistency.

RedKnight said...

I am currently engaged in making similar points to a couple Christian fundie family members, one of whom is a Christian Reconstructionist, on my Facebook. It is certainly getting interesting, and possibly intense. You can read about it, Smellincoffee, in the Freethinkers Union, on the expentecostal forums.