Friday, 14 November 2008

Leviticus

By Some Idiot

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This is the third and final part of my 'Apocalyptic Mess' series of reviews.

But before we get going, here's a slide show.

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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!


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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)
Wizards (20:27)
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.

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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.

41 comments:

Melba said...

My only complaint is that you don't post more often.

Also, re the blood rule (heh, little AFL joke there) I think it's not just that the meat should be cooked well, but also to do with slaughtering and hanging/draining. All the blood needs to be out for it to be halal/kosher. Not sure about Christians, but they hang meat too...

And I love your point about people (believers) wanting to pick and choose. You can't have it both ways, so fuck off.

"If you're telling me that Mary was a virgin, then I can have slaves".

Very nice.

Perseus said...

Yeah, the first eleven chapters detail how to drain all the blood which I guess is important to both Halal and Kosher preparation. The Christians just kinda skip all that though.

Maybe if Christians just dump the Old Testament and say that only the New Testament is applicable they will be less hypocritical.

They can then have the Resurrection, but in return, they have to let go of creation.

Alex said...

I thought the hanging of meat was something everybody did to aid the tenderising process.

I'm probably not the first person to say this, but it's very green over here, isn't it?

Nice review, too.

squib said...

All those bits about menstruating women... I'd say Prince Charles is in trouble with the man upstairs

I once saw a woman who won something who took the microphone and thanked the man upstairs and I thought oh she must live in an apartment block

Great slideshow, a very fine looking ashtray and overall you remind me of some sort of Texan pirate goth :)

I like the new term Great Christian Squirm. It's more catchy than the other one about gluten

Perseus said...

I love you Squib. 'Texan Pirate Goth'... that pretty much sums up my everyday look. I'm so gonna use that now.

The menstruation thing appeared at least ten times in Leviticus. The word 'unclean' was often used.

Perseus said...

Oh, and Alex: If you would like to redesign my blog, please do, or pass me to someone who wants to. I'll pay $50! The Google templates are all duds.

Melba said...

I took the green off mine, Perseus and I must say, it is a quieter look.

re the meat hanging; I don't think the hanging is to necessarily tenderise the meat, but I do know that the longer it hangs, the more tender it tends to be. In Muslim societies, they don't hang the meat that long, they eat it fresh, right after slaughter (a correlation with burying the dead before sunset as well?) and consequently you have to cook the fuck out of it in a casserole arrangement to get anywhere near tender, and then sometimes it's still tough. That's why they have lots of "wet dishes" ie meat and vegies cooked in water/stock. And with the bbq'd meat, the people I hung with didn't seem to mind/notice that it was hugely chewy and tough.

The Muslim, and perhaps Jewish, palate is sensitive to the blood in meat that we have here, ie non-Halal. Well, my ex-husband would always talk about the smell and taste of the meat here not being the same as in Turkey, or Halal butchers here.

I, too, noticed the ashtray, as well as the fine-looking tureen arrangement in the background. Now I have tureen-envy.

Perseus said...

The gold tureen was a gift. Perfect for casseroles, except that I suck at casseroles. It's just decoration until I learn how to cook a decent casserole.

Perseus said...

Is the new look any better?
Oh, and I think I also read Leviticus 3 times because I don't have a girlfriend.

Andy Pants said...

You didn't actually give the book a grade. And yes, the whole old testament is more or less irrelevant. I can't remember which book it was but there is a story about a group of bears mauling a thousand children for making fun of a monks baldness. Utterly inexplicable.

Melba said...

Yes, new look is better, APART FROM THE CHANGED PIC AT TOP. I really really loved the old one. It was so dreamy, beautiful and clever.

Not that a pic of you isn't any of those things.

But you asked.

Melba said...

But I guess it is fitting with the tone of the blog. Book reviews; man at table with book.

Perseus said...

It's my RSVP.com replacement idea. Because I'm a snob and refuse to go on RSVP or any other dating site, I figure I'll put a picture here, and my 'profile' may be gleaned by reading the blog. If it works to attract a woman I'll go he, but at least I'm trying.

Andy: I don't grade the Bible because it's too hard. I might just give it one grade when I get to the end... or another idea I'm toying with is ranking them.

So far, Genesis is winning.

Andy Pants said...

In that case you should definately try checking out Jay Pinkertons Back of the Bible series. If you haven't read it already.

http://jaypinkerton.com/backofthebible.html

Cath said...

It always amuses me what people take seriously out of the bible as well.... I think the bible should include more fire-breathing dragons and stuff - make the fairy-tale aspect a little more obvious.

Oh, and don't touch me, I maybe menstruating.

Priceless.

Ramon Insertnamehere said...

All owls are abominations.

And you look vaguely familiar - in a Texan Pirate Goth sort of way.

Boogeyman said...

Firstly, I'm impressed you were able to take a photo of yourself from so far away.

Second, all the old classics were full of these sacrifices and burnt offerings. I seem to remember every second verse of The Iliad and The Odyssey involved slaughtering some livestock for everything from a propitious sea voyage, to giving thanks for not passing a kidney stone after using the latrine.

"What's for breakfast dear?"
"Goats slaughtered in the name of the gods, and some wine"
"Geez, couldn't we just have porridge and orange juice like the barbarians down the road?

Perseus said...

I had to use the 10 second delay function. Each photo involved me hitting the button, running to the table, getting ready, adopting a nonchalant stance and then repeating.

The camera has a 'repeat' function but I can't make it work.

My next review will contain a slideshow of 'my day with Peter Costello's Memoirs'.

Cath said...

Will it involve popcorn and a toilet?

Melba said...

It might have a noose, a pistol and a quart of gin?


Ooooh, props.

Pepsi said...

“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” Sounds like it was written by a sexually frustrated monk to me.

The rules were written by a man for men weren’t they, so we ‘ladies' don’t have to abide by them, its that nice.

I think the photos are really really pretty – everything is so shiney, did you polish your bites just for the photo shoot?

I love the boat steering wheel on the kitchen wall, nice blokey touch

I’d give it 6/10 for pulling power.

catlick said...

Shameless, utterly shameless.

Perseus said...

Shameless is my schtick.

*

Pepsi, if that's your real name... if that's who you really are (by the way, if MCL cracks the shits again at what is clearly a joke then, well, umm, she's a fool): The only thing polished was me ego.

The ship's wheel is a '6' or the photos themselves?

'6' is a pass, I suppose.

Pepsi said...

Pepsi is my name as much as Perseus is yours.

6.5 was for the entire package.

I would of gone for a 5.5 but I was so impressed with the shiney objects in the kitchen I thought this guy knows how to whip out a duster & do a bit of polishing so he deserves an extra point for that.

Can I have the wheel ?

Cath said...

Needs a moose-head on the wall for the truly blokey look. Although you lose points for the girly heart-shaped wrought iron chair in the corner.

Perseus said...

What's girly about a wrought-iron chair with a forest green cushion? It's not that girly.

No Pepsi, you cannot have the ship's wheel. In the absence of personality features I rely on the decor.

Melba said...

Back off girls. We know perseus is all man. Even if he does know the names for different shades of green.

And if we're marking, you get 10/10 from me because the place is tidy and you love reading. That is all.

Perseus said...

'British Racing Green' is my favourite!

Pepsi said...

'British Racing Green'

Blokesworld - were all the colours of the rainbow are named after cars.

Can I have the ashtray.

I'm going to Mt Sinai in Jan, I'll put in a good word for you with "God" if you give me the ashtray.

Aesophia said...

Perseus, I read your review ages ago but it's taken me a while to digest it (and thank god that you're the one reading it, not me). I, as everyone else seems to be, am highly impressed with the photos. I also like the comments that go with the photos.

I don't know about 'texan', I would say Victorian-Gothic (lacey looking open shirt) Rock-Pirate (open shirt and vest) type, I fully expected a huge skull ring on your finger instead of that big black one.

I also give you 10/10 for tidiness and that you love reading. Maybe there should be a section on this site where you can put all our ratings up to impress the ladies for you ;P

As far as using this as your pseudo-RSVP site, telling a potential womb that you're reading the Bible in this photo may give off the completely wrong idea, as far as your stauch atheism is concerned... Just saying ;P

Although, that said, you would hope they read the review too, before enquiring a little more about the lovely Pers... Unless that's not what you're after, I'm really not sure. I do know 'must have womb' is in the top 5 though.

I would also like to concur with Melba, my only complaint is that you don't write often enough. And a small niggly one would be that your blog is so full of crass language that I can't recommend it to my father (conservative ol bugger that he is) who would thoroughly enjoy your review otherwise (he is of the 'born-back-into-the-real-world-again variety). I, on the other hand, find it enhances your already articulate turn of phrase, adding amusement and (even more) cynicism.

Sooo... When's the Numbers review coming out?

Aesophia said...

Ooh, I forgot to mention: I'm loving the 'I wear sunglasses when I read, that's just how cool I am' thing ;P

Perseus said...

Aw shucks, Aesophia. I feel all chuffed and good about myself now!

I'm wearing a skull necklace... and I have a skull tattoo, though it's on my arm so it may appear in a summer book review. The sunnies served two purposes: 1 - Covering up my ageing eyes, and 2 - Reduced the glare through the window.

I would hope a potential date would read the review, otherwise I might end up on a date with a Baptist, and I know how that would end.

You could cut / paste / edit the swear words for Dad!

I think 'working womb' is Number One. Either that or, 'Likes footy'.

Aesophia said...

Well it's nice to know you've got those priorities sorted. Equal first going to working womb and must like footy ;P

Please keep the photos coming, I'd like to know how you change your style from Winter to Summer - do you lose the vest or something? Go for cut-off leather pants? Heheh...

And once again, get a-reading... I want Numbers!

And yes, at the moment, I'm cutting and pasting for Dad :)

Melba said...

[whispers]

the question is, where's pers gone this weekend?

are we going to get a report?

is he out dating somewhere?

ffs - i'm giving him my '80s. i need some dating shit in return.

sorry, drinking wine, caps go awol.

Aesophia said...

Ooh! Excellent question there Melba.

Full report expected there Pers. Like, now (to quote today's youth). You've had the weekend and a couple of days to recover and learn how to walk again (if said dating was successful that is).

Oh, and question: when the great and marvelous Perseus finally finds The One (or The Womb Who Also Loves Footy*) and they Tie the Knot, will we get to see photos of their Victorian Gothic wedding? Her wearing a beautiful, long flowing, hippy-type dress, him wearing his better version of what's now on his post header...

Oh. Actually... Just in case, was marriage on the cards there too Pers? Or are you just after a life-long commitment of the kind where you don't spend heaps of money you don't have on feeding and watering** your friends for a piece of paper that says so?

*Do they actually have to go for your team, or just likes footy in general will work for you?
**Alcohol-ing really, but it doesn't flow as well :)

Aesophia said...

Oh crap, forgot to whisper...

Ramon Insertnamehere said...

Yeah, were's the next post.

Don't make me come down there.

I mean, really, don't make me come down there. I hate the countryside.

Melba said...

Perseus where are you?

Methinks date(s) did go well.

We've lost you to real life.

[sniffs]

Perseus said...

I'm here... kinda.

There has been some girl action, but the reason for my sparse appearances is, rather boringly, work.

Ramon: I have three books completed without reviews. I shall attempt posts next week. Big weekend coming up. More dates.

Aesophia: No, they don't have to be Tigers supporters necessarily. Or even footy fans. Like going for a job as a dishwasher, footy experience is preferred but not essential.

A wedding would be fun.

I've had recent dates (and variances thereof) with four girls:

*Corporate Project Manager Who Can Do The Splits
*Way Too Young
*My Ex Gave Me Genital Herpes And I Hate Him
*Dr. PhD

Still to go is a blind date with Beauty Technician Surfie Chick, and, most excitingly, and potentially heart-breakingly, Pony Girl From The Mallee Desert, who you can read about in my review of The Kite Runner... which can be found under the label 'Fucking Shithouse'.

Perseus said...

Actually, I think Kite Runner is under 'Best-Seller' label. It should be under 'Fucking Shithouse'.

Disclaimer: That's not to say I am not accepting further dates. I am still available for dates. My shout.

(I am however having a follow-up date with Corporate Manager Who Can Do The Splits... but it's still just that. A date. No girlfriend as yet.)

Melba said...

I'm wondering if i know one of those girls on your list. Long shot though.

I like the name of Pony Girl best. But the heartbreakers are not the ones to pursue.

I left a pseudo text message about footy for you at the other place, TSFKA.