This is a commentary on the over six hundred commandments and laws directly given by the Abrahamic God to his chosen people. Many people, even devout Christians still think that there are just the ten, and the extra one devised by Jesus...
I have grown tired of skirmishing with the evangelists that stride forth across the BBC Religion Boards and H2G2 and feel that it is time to begin to adress them directly.
Over the past months I have been asking these theological pygmies one question: which of your God's laws do you keep? I am yet to receive even a partial answer. Those that have tried have revealed a paucity of scriptural knowledge I have found breathtaking in both its ignorance and its arrogance.
So let's travel back in time and visit the laws they would have us live by. Note that this will be an ongoing critique because there are well over six hundred direct commandments and laws set down by their God.
NB: For the purposes of this series I shall define a commandment as a line beginning 'Thou shalt' or Thou shalt not'. Other pronouncements I will call laws.
It is in Exodus that we first have a definitive lisiting of the abrahamic God's laws. These were given, so it says, to Moses on Mount Sinai and were "written with the finger of God" onto to 'tables of stone'.
For our first outing we will address the first six verses of Exodus Chapter 20:
20:1 And God spake all these words, saying,
20:2 I am the LORD thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.
20:3 Thou shalt have no other gods before me.
20:4 Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth.
20:5 Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me;
20:6 And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments.
Immediately, as a pagan used to facing up to the monotheists, what strikes me first is the fact that this God recognises that there are other gods. Not very monotheistic... As we explore Exodus and Leviticus we will find this theme revisited again and again.
The ancient Hebrew scribes clearly recognised that other gods existed for other peoples, but felt that theirs' was superior.
The second thing that strikes me is the prohibition on representing any part of the natural world in an artistic form. This is well recognised in Islam where the abstract form has been taken to really quite dazzling forms in art. However, both christianity and judaism seemed to have missed this. Some of the West's greatest artworks are representational and thus break this clear commandment.
The reason for the commandment is clarified in the verses that follow. This God seems to fear competition from 'graven images'. So much so that he threatens to not only punish you, the artist, but also your children, your grandchildren and your great grandchildren.
The get-out clause that some christians have used with me on this is the phrase "that hate me". Unfortunately this God's general definition of those that hate him runs along the lines of "if you ain't fer me you're agin me".
And then there's the upside of the threat. Love me and you will be OK. Hate me and your great grandchildren will regret it. This is classic extortion. Watch 'The Godfather' and see this line played out agaqin and again.
So from the very beginning of our study of The Six Hundred we have a constant theme emerging. Love me or ye'll suffer. If this God was a politicala leader today we'd call him a tyrant. What worries me is that so many otherwise kind and loving Christians feel he has the right to do so...
Look out for the next episode as we get into the bits that underlie the entire judicial system of the West.
'ow do butt'
this thing about graven images always gets my goat
the catholic church uses statues of mary and proclaim her as "the mother of god" and have candles laid out in front of shrines to her where the faithful genuflect, yet this is in clear violation of 20:4 and 20:5
what a bunch of hypocrites
Ah but the RCC has some clever reinterpretations of this ruling. Ask your local priest and watch him tapdance .
And don't forget, the likeness of anything under heaven includes any representation of a Roman torture device worn around the neck, held in prayer and held up in front of a vampire in a movie...
And any illustration of any figure of Jesus in any Christian children's book.
|Subject: The Six Hundred Part One|
Posted Mar 2, 2009 by Tumsup
This is a reply to this Posting.
Was it George Carlin who said that if Jesus were back we'd execute him again and then christians would wear little electric chairs around their necks?
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