Biblical Crimes

For thousands of years the Bible has been promoted as the ultimate in moral guidance. But anyone possessed with genuine respect for moral conduct often staggers away in bewilderment.

Indeed, the opening chapters of Genesis kicks things off with a highly questionable take on common ethics. Adam and Eve are apparently fashioned for fun and games for they are placed naked in a decievingly paradisical setting in which two trees hold center stage–two trees that they are forbidden to use as a source of food. The godly set up is a game of entrapment. When the inevitable happens and they eat of the tree, God feins outrage that they gave in to temptation and declares death to be their punishment–not just Adam and Eve, but all life forms! The divine rules of the game do not take into account that if the couple had no experience with life how could they comprehend the threat of death?

Kicked out of Paradise, Adam and Eve produce two sons. One, Cain, is an agriculturalist and the other, Abel, is a sheepherder. For all the blessings that God bestowed, He expected material offerings to be brought to him by Adam’s sons. Abel dutifully slit a sheep’s throat and God found it pleasing, but Cain’s gift so laborously tended from the soil was scorned.

Cain, not surprisingly, smarted at the discrimination and in frenzy at holy prejudice killed his brother. There were no laws established in Paradise so this act cannot technically be called murder or even manslaughter. The “justice” meted out to Cain by the Omniscient One was banishment from Cain’s native land and a command that he not till the ground any more. It was evolutionary for Cain one might say, for he was wonderfully successful after that. We are not supposed to ask; if God was all-powerful, why didn’t he simply resurrect Abel and give instruction on moral beahavior?

The same loose concept of moral conduct continues throughout the “Good Book” with material goodies being awarded by God to morally deficient persons. Aggression is highly praised in the divine tales, and war crimes regarded as acceptable–if carried out for God’s security. Examples: under Moses’ generalship the Israelites killed all the Midianite men, their kings and the prophet Balaam; Joshua loved holocaustic violence in which even thousands of noncombatant women, children and aged were slaughtered; deceitful David exterminated men, women and children in various stories, even sawing them and hacking them to pieces. He was also partial to penis trophies.

Other bibilcal characters are admired for homicide: the “prophet” Elijah, for example, killed 450 priests of Baal to “justify” Jehovah; the “prophet” Elisha sent out two bears to kill 48 children who had mocked his bald head; Esther is praised for scheming the murders of Persians; Jezebel admired for trumping up false charges against a father and his two sons so they would be slain. Etc, etc, etc…

Sexual escapades and misconduct, as long as they are strictly heterosexual, are sniffed over. Lot and his daughters merit no chastising for incest; the maltreatment of Sarah by Abraham benefitted Abraham; Isaac followed his father’s footsteps and profitted by passing his wife off as his sister to the king; deceitful David indulged in adultery and had the woman’s husband set up for assassination; Dinah, Jacob’s daughter, too young to give legal consent was defiled by her half-brother; etc. etc. etc.

Nowhere throughout these “holy” stories is it ever told how a seeker may achieve a personal state of grace. Maybe because that requires a high respect for true ethics and morality.

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