Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Damned nation

Damn, are we all damned.

An old article from the inimitable George Monbiot, titled We're All Damned. Some choice cuts:
Leviticus leaves little room for doubt. Thou shalt not eat animal fat, or the fruit of a tree you’ve owned for less than five years. Thou shalt not round the corners of your head, or mar the corners of your beard. Thou shalt not touch a woman, or anything she’s sat on, until seven days after her menstruation begins. Thou shalt not put a stumbling block before the blind (which does for anyone parking on the pavement). Thou shalt not trade in freehold: after 50 years, all property must revert to the people it was bought from.

Leviticus prohibits from officiating in church anyone that hath a blemish, be he lame, crookbackt, with a flat nose, “or any thing superfluous”. Quite what this means is anyone’s guess, but it must certainly cover deaf aids, spectacles, dentures and toupees, thus barring the greater part of the priesthood from its duties.

*sniff* *sniff* Is someone barbecuing? Oh, I'm sorry - that's my soul. Damn.

Of course, one can rely on the traditional New Testament opt-out: Jesus came to fulfill the Mosaic Law, and therefore Leviticus and hyperlinked chapters are irrelevant. So clearly a clever stratagem is to define the "fulfilled law" as whatever bits you don't care to observe (e.g."Rise in the presence of the aged," Lev. 19:32; "The pig is also unclean; although it has a split hoof, it does not chew the cud. You are not to eat their meat or touch their carcasses," Deut. 14:8; "Make tassels on the four corners of the cloak you wear," Deut. 22:12).

The remainder, of course, is lovely for bashing homosexuals. Yee haw!

P.S. The Bible is clear throughout that the problem is man lying with man. Ellen Degeneres, Rosie O'Donnell, and those hot Miller Lite commercials with the chicks wrestling are safe. *whew*


  1. Anonymous2:10 PM

    i dont think christians should focus on leviticus. (im not sure from the blog entry if you were supporting leviticus, or ridiculing it.)
    after all, that book is an ancient law for a nomadic desert tribe. it is a cultural index, sort of, and NOT a serious guideline for christian values. this is my opinion-- im neither a theologian, scholar, and hell, some days im barely a human. *roar with laughter*

  2. Anonymous5:07 PM

    Since ERKed is usually about politics, seems safe to say the ridicule lands directly on the "right winged Christians" who like to pull out the Old Testament when it applies to a hateful stance, like anti-gay marriage discussions.

    I see a lot of blemished Christians out there still going to church, so maybe we should just abandon Leviticus altogether.

  3. I was neither supporting nor ridiculing Leviticus - maybe some teasing, but certainly no theological assault. (The admonition about tassels is at least worth joking about.)

    I am ridiculing the "selective approach" to the Old Testament. The clearly ceremonial aspects of the OT are intermingled with laws about food and laws about behavior, with the words "abomination" applied far more, for example, to liars than to homosexuals.

    Furthermore, it's certainly not clear whether Christ actually made "The Law" irrelevant (replaced it), "fulfilled it" (whatever that means), and what parts in particular, if "The Law" doesn't mean all of Mosaic Law. If it means all of Mosaic Law, then the OT is fairly irrelevant, and Christ said nothing at all about homosexuals, so it's certainly nothing Christians should feel quite so adamantly about. Christ was, on the other hand, quite explicit about the wealthy and liars and hypocrites.

    So yes, it was directed at the pick'n'choose Christians who select those kibbles they agree with and discard the bits they don't.

    Here's a very interesting (not that I fully agree with it) discussion on this topic: http://www.biblicalstudies.org.uk/article_law_hays.html.

    One downside of the article is the conclusion that abstracting from the specific admonition against touching unclean animals gives a general cleanliness principle which, applied today, means no pornography for Christians. What on earth WERE they doing with those sacrificial lambs?