By Some Idiot
This is the third and final part of my 'Apocalyptic Mess' series of reviews.
But before we get going, here's a slide show.
A sunny afternoon break at home... I might sit at the kitchen table.
Where's the lighter?
"And if the burnt sacrifice for his offering to the LORD be of fowls, then he shall bring his offering of turtle doves, or of young pigeons. And the priest shall bring it unto the altar..." This is so boring.
"And when any will offer a meat offering unto the LORD, his offering shall be of fine flour; and he shall pour oil on it, and put frankincense thereon..." Hang on. Wouldn't the frankincense ruin the smell?
"And every oblation of thy meat offering shalt thou season with salt; neither shalt thou suffer the salt of the covenant of thy God to be lacking from thy meat offering: with all thy offerings thou shalt offer salt." Well, God is clearer on that than he is about homsexuality. Note to the religious: Salt everything!
Fuck. This is like a cookbook from Hell.
Hmm, Leviticus 11:17 reckons that the 'little owl' is an abomination. Ramon Insertnamehere will agree.
Wait, so if you come across a leper, the Priest has to actually yell: "Unclean! Unclean!" God this is fucked. This is doing my head in.
Ooh! The cricket's on!
I am going to open my review of Leviticus (which I stupidly read three times, just trying to get my head around it) with a lengthy extract. Perhaps make a cuppa, settle yourself in, and take your time reading this. It is a large slab taken from Chapter 26 of Leviticus - the last chapter, and it is God's words. In this extract he explains what he will do to you if you don't abide by his rules, as detailed in the previous chapters of Leviticus (which I will come to after the extract.)
You ready? Here goes. Leviticus 26: 14-38
14 But if ye will not hearken unto me, and will not do all these commandments;
15 And if ye shall despise my statutes, or if your soul abhor my judgments, so that ye will not do all my commandments, but that ye break my covenant:
16 I also will do this unto you; I will even appoint over you terror, consumption, and the burning ague, that shall consume the eyes, and cause sorrow of heart: and ye shall sow your seed in vain, for your enemies shall eat it.
17 And I will set my face against you, and ye shall be slain before your enemies: they that hate you shall reign over you; and ye shall flee when none pursueth you.
18 And if ye will not yet for all this hearken unto me, then I will punish you seven times more for your sins.
19 And I will break the pride of your power; and I will make your heaven as iron, and your earth as brass:
20 And your strength shall be spent in vain: for your land shall not yield her increase, neither shall the trees of the land yield their fruits.
21 And if ye walk contrary unto me, and will not hearken unto me; I will bring seven times more plagues upon you according to your sins.
22 I will also send wild beasts among you, which shall rob you of your children, and destroy your cattle, and make you few in number; and your high ways shall be desolate.
23 And if ye will not be reformed by me by these things, but will walk contrary unto me;
24 Then will I also walk contrary unto you, and will punish you yet seven times for your sins.
25 And I will bring a sword upon you, that shall avenge the quarrel of my covenant: and when ye are gathered together within your cities, I will send the pestilence among you; and ye shall be delivered into the hand of the enemy.
26 And when I have broken the staff of your bread, ten women shall bake your bread in one oven, and they shall deliver you your bread again by weight: and ye shall eat, and not be satisfied.
27 And if ye will not for all this hearken unto me, but walk contrary unto me;
28 Then I will walk contrary unto you also in fury; and I, even I, will chastise you seven times for your sins.
29 And ye shall eat the flesh of your sons, and the flesh of your daughters shall ye eat.
30 And I will destroy your high places, and cut down your images, and cast your carcases upon the carcases of your idols, and my soul shall abhor you.
31 And I will make your cities waste, and bring your sanctuaries unto desolation, and I will not smell the savour of your sweet odours.
32 And I will bring the land into desolation: and your enemies which dwell therein shall be astonished at it.
33 And I will scatter you among the heathen, and will draw out a sword after you: and your land shall be desolate, and your cities waste.
34 Then shall the land enjoy her sabbaths, as long as it lieth desolate, and ye be in your enemies' land; even then shall the land rest, and enjoy her sabbaths.
35 As long as it lieth desolate it shall rest; because it did not rest in your sabbaths, when ye dwelt upon it.
36 And upon them that are left alive of you I will send a faintness into their hearts in the lands of their enemies; and the sound of a shaken leaf shall chase them; and they shall flee, as fleeing from a sword; and they shall fall when none pursueth.
37 And they shall fall one upon another, as it were before a sword, when none pursueth: and ye shall have no power to stand before your enemies.
38 And ye shall perish among the heathen, and the land of your enemies shall eat you up.
Oh man, how cool is that? See, this is why I love the Bible. It is written exquisitely, and with such evilness and spite and it delivers such forceful language and concepts. If I encountered the most hideous and sick criminal, never would I have been able to conjure such an imaginative punishment for him as "...ye shall eat the flesh of your sons, and the flesh of your daughters shall ye eat."
And what a remarkable character the LORD, Yahweh, is! He's like Darth Vader multiplied by a zillion..."I will destroy your high places, and cut down your images, and cast your carcases upon the carcases of your idols, and my soul shall abhor you." Bwahahahahaha!
It's powerful and inventive stuff and at times a delight to read; up there with Shakespeare even, and I am fortunate to be an atheist who can read this and feel nothing but entertained.
But of course, herein lies the problem. 'The Bible' is taken very seriously by many millions of people as a divine document. We swear by The Bible in court. It is placed in hotel rooms, in courts, in parliaments. It is 'holy' in the minds of many who, in its name, have fought wars, and killed, and maimed, and stopped homosexuals from getting married, and insisted they teach Creation in science classes.
And so the religious, if they do believe The Bible is in fact the divine word of God, must take God's threats seriously. He will chastise you for your sins, so you better do what he says to do, and avoid doing what he says not to do, otherwise you may have to eat your children.
But don't panic, because the preceding 25 chapters of Leviticus contains all his rules so if you study them, you'll know what to do and what not to do.
For instance: Homosexuals? Abomination! You're fucked. Very clear on this. "Thou shalt not lie with mankind as with womankind: it is abomination." (18:22).
But the LORD is even clearer on who else is fucked, and they are no more or less fucked than the gays.
Those who get drunk in a church (10:8)
Those who touch a dead camel (11:8)
Those who eat a bat (11:9)
Those who touch a woman who has given birth in the last week (12:6)
Those men who don't have a shower after ejaculating (15:16)
Those who touch a woman menstruating (15:19-20)
Those who eat blood from anything (presumably, the meat should be cooked well) (17:10)
Those who ask a woman to get naked if she's menstruating (18:19)
Those who eat from a fruit tree that is not more than three years old (19:23)
Those with tattoos (19:28)
Those men who get naked with a woman that is menstruating (20:18)
Anyone who works on the Sabbath (too many references to list)
If you fall into any of the above categories you're likely to have God's face set against you and be slain before your enemies.
Please understand and appreciate this. The above rules (plucked from about 1,000 rules contained in Leviticus) are given no more or less importance than the homosexual issue, which brings me to something that has been noted many times before but I now want to give it a name: The Great Christian Squirm.
The Great Christian Squirm (GCS) is prevalent amongst all the religious except for maybe those nutters who hang about with the 'God Hates Fags' signs at US army funerals (they are the only True Believers I can name).
The GCS is when anybody both religious and who think the Bible is holy, whether they be fundamentalist or recreational, pick and choose. "Homosexuality is wrong," they may say, but have they eaten fruit from a tree less than three years old? Have they touched their wives after giving birth? Because as I say, Leviticus is clear on both topics. So they squirm out of it by saying, "Oh, but that's the Old Testament, and you have to look at the Ancient Greek translation of the word 'fruit', oh and Jesus changed everything and umm, you have to put Leviticus in context of the times and ummm..."
You can't have it both ways, dudes. Either the book is the Holy and Divine Word of the everlasting creator LORD, or it isn't. Either you take it ALL, or you take none of it, so if you even dare say, "It is okay to touch my wife after she gives birth," then I say to you, "Then you cannot have Creation, you cannot have The Ten Commandments, you cannot have Noah's Ark and you cannot have the Resurrection."
It is also in Leviticus that slavery is given the go-ahead:
"Both thy bondmen, and thy bondmaids, which thou shalt have, shall be of the heathen that are round about you; of them shall ye buy bondmen and bondmaids. Moreover of the children of the strangers that do sojourn among you, of them shall ye buy, and of their families that are with you, which they begat in your land: and they shall be your possession." (25:44-45)
I would suggest that all religions, at least in Western society, these days find slavery abhorrent. But there it is, in the Holy Bible. Watch them squirm. Watch them tell you that that bit no longer applies, but that other bit does.
Sorry Christians. If you're telling me that Mary was a virgin, then I can have slaves.
As a stand-alone book Leviticus is a dismal faiure. Moses the dumb-arse is on Mt Sinai and God is telling him his rules. That's kinda it. Chapter 26 with all the evil bits is the only entertaining part because the rest of it is rule after rule after rule. It's an empty book - empty of relevancy, empty of entertainment, empty of art. The first eleven chapters is all about burnt offerings... how to slaughter the lamb or the goat or the ox or whatever, which parts you can eat and which parts you can't, when to offer a lamb and when to offer a turtle dove and so on. There's a few chapters on leprosy and boils, a bit about some extra piety required of the Priests and repeated over and over and over is shit about the Sabbath. I tell ya: Moses must have had a keen memory to remember all these rules. It's not like he was taking dictation or anything.
There's only one 'story' in the whole book, in chapter 24, concerning a little half-caste kid in the tribe who blasphemes. God tells Moses to have the kid murdered. "And Moses spoke to the children of Israel , that they should bring forth him that had cursed out of the camp, and stone him with stones. And the children of Israel did as the LORD commanded Moses." (24:23)
Leviticus is of no interest to anyone really, except for maybe orthodox Jews who want to stick to their kosher cooking and need to know when all the holy days on the Jewish calendar are. That's all it is. The whole fucking Leviticus is just one boring and irrelevant rule after another rule.
There are some nice rules that God laid down, though they are few and far between. One which I can't find now was a very direct commandment to be nice to kids and I appreciated that, even though in Exodus God was quite happy for kids to be murdered as long as they were Gyppos. There was also some stuff about looking after family and neighbours if they encounter financial misfortune... you know, like, give them a job, or lend them money, and feed them, and that was nice, but, all in all, it was mainly about how to prepare meat. That's the over-riding and dominant feature of Leviticus, followed a close second by Sabbath rules.
So why did I read it three times? Well, bereft of art, entertainment and relevancy, I found it interesting that we, us humans, as a people, as a species, are capable of believing this stuff to be Holy. I had to keep reading to appreciate how truly bizarre we are. Humans are a fantastic bunch. We are capable of anything.