A Few Biblical Crimes

For some two to three thousand years the Bible has been advertised and promoted as being the ultimate in moral guidance for mankind.  But anyone with genuine respect for moral conduct and ethical behavior toward their fellow man often staggers away in bewilderment after reading some holy accounts.

Indeed, the opening chapters of Genesis brusquely kick things off with a highly questionable take on common ethics.  The naive couple, Adam and Eve, the last of the Creator’s handiwork, were seemingly fashioned only for fun and games.  Naked and clueless they were placed in a deceptively paradisaical setting–a setting which featured two breathtakingly beautiful fruit-bearing trees as it focal point.  Ah, but these were declared to be off limits as a food source for God’s not-too-bright last creations.  This is clearly a case of crafty entrapment, not omniscient wisdom.  But God is pictured as outraged and declared that death is to be their punishment–and not just for Adam and  Eve, but for all matter-life forms!  The first human couple had absolutely no experience as life beings, so how could they have possibly comprehended what the threat of death meant?

Ethics and compassion soon got another below-the-belt attack in the “revealed” record of Cain and Abel, the sons of Adam and Eve.  Cain was a farmer and Abel was a sheepherder. For all the bounty that God had graciously allowed them God expected both of them should bring material offerings to him in gratitude.  Abel slit a sheep’s throat and God found this to be extremely pleasing, but Cain’s gift taken from laboriously tended fields, was scorned by the Creator.  Cain, of course, smarted at this discrimination and in a jealous frenzy killed his brother.  According to the Bible there were no actual criminal laws established in Paradise, nor had there been need for such law in a family of four.  So the homicide of Abel cannot be termed murder or even manslaughter.  So the Omniscient One banished Cain from his native land and Cain was commanded not to till the ground anymore.  Apparently Cain was expected to starve himself to death.  Or perhaps that was the Omniscient One’s plan for Cain’s evolutionary success, for Cain became wonderfully successful as a builder of cities after that..  Still we can’e help but wonder–is infinite punishment for “sins” committed by a finite being’s brief life really the caliber of a Creator’s justice?

The same loose concepts of holy moral/ethical conduct is continued throughout holy word.  Aggression is highly praised in divine tales, and war crimes pass as acceptable practice–if carried out for the security of a man-invented faith system.  For example, under Moses’ generalship the Israelites are glorified for having killed off all the Midianite men, their kings and the prophet Balaam.  Joshua is portrayed as reveling in holocaustic violence in which even thousands of noncombatant women, children, and the aged were slaughtered.  Deceitful David exterminated men, women and children in various stories, even sawing victims in half or hacking them to pieces.

In a number of holy stories characters are admired for homicide.  The alleged “prophet” Elijah, for example, is glorified for killing 450 priests of Baal to “justify” Jehovah and is held as exemplary.  And there is Elisha, Elijah’s successor, who called upon God to send two bears to kill children who had dared to mock his bald head.  And there is Esther who is praised for plotting the mass murders of Persians.  And there is Jezebel who trumped up false charges against a father and his two sons so they would be slain.

Sexual misconduct, as long as it is strictly heterosexual, is routinely sniffed over. Abraham’s nephew, Lot, and his two daughters merit no chastising for acts of incest.  The maltreatment of Sarah whom Abraham loaned out to the king for material benefits is brushed over. Isaac, their son, followed dad’s example and passed his wife off to the king as his sister for favors.  Good old David, indulged in adultery and had the husband set up for assassination.  Dinah, Jacob’s daughter, too young to give legal consent, was defiled by her half-brother, prince Shechem.  How do these tales and many other similar holy tales teach anyone how they are to achieve a personal state of grace?

Strangely, impurity is a constant counterpoint played upon in holy tales, but the “impurity” is always about following some man-invented routine of pretentiousness and mannerisms as being the only method that God approves.  The impurity angle is more of a concern in Judaism and Islam, but subliminally it lingers in Christianity also.  This springs primarily from the claim that just being born–expelled from a woman’s body–renders each person impure.  It’s that old “original sin” scam.  It is never explained why, if the Creator is omniscient (all knowing), “he” could not have devised a more practical manner for multiplying new life.  Nonetheless, that little oversight allows for his self-appointed representatives to have steady employment in their self-devised theatrics.  For example, to make up for original impurity some sects insist that one’s hair must be trimmed in a strict prescribed manner, or certain foods must be avoided or prepared in a ritual way, and of course certain theatrics (man-contrived rites, rituals, ceremonies, etc.) must be performed.

Such is the enticement and lure of man-written holy books.  The emphasis is commonly placed upon following some man-devised routine as though it was magically set down in stone and perhaps delivered on some mountain top.  That, however, is not the all-inclusive nature of true spirit.  Rigidity and inflexibility happen to be the conditions of something that is dead.

 

 

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