Friday, October 15, 2004

The lighter side of Christianity

St Marks, Kennington
All this talk of Islamic Fundamentalism going on in the media has got me thinking about my school days. I went to Catholic Schools and, as consequence, spent a fair bit of time flipping through Bibles. Teenage boys being what they are, I used that time as productively as possible and looked for the rude bits.
And rude and saucy bits there are; Onan spilling his seed, David sending Bathsheba's husband to certain death so he could lie with her, all that smiting of debauched cities. Yes, the Bible can be a page-turner when it wants to be. After several years of meticulous, theological study I eventually concluded that Deuteronomy was the rudest and most engrossing part of all.
Deuteronomy, or Devarim as it is properly known, is the fifth book of the Hebrew Bible and also fifth book of the Christian Old Testament. Christians are therefore bound by its teachings. Deuteronomy was supposedly the fifth and final book of the Bible written by Moses, which is surprising considering it includes a detailed account of his death and burial. Ah, the power of prophecy.
Deuteronomy is essentially a law book and, as mentioned, Christians are bound by its teachings. It starts off gently enough, with a recap of the Ten Commandments, and then gets considerably juicier towards the middle, particularly Chapters 19-26. What makes Deuteromy so interesting is what it says about the early Israelites. Most of its laws relate to the proper conduct of rape, pillage and adultery. There are no sections relating to daffodil picking or stuffing Teddy Bears. A few examples:
Chapter 19
  • The Israelites shall establish three cities for the purposes of housing people who have committed manslaughter and are fleeing from vengeance.
Chapter 20
  • When the Israelites capture cities from 'friendly' tribes they shall slaughter all the men and take their women and children for their own. If they capture cities from unfriendly tribes they shall kill everything.
  • If a man has children by two wives and he hates one of the wives, his eldest son shall inherit his goods, even if the hated women is the mother.
Chapter 21
  • Unsolved murder cases are to be closed by sacrificing a heifer.
  • You cannot sell captured women if you have slept with them.
  • Stubborn and rebellious sons are to be stoned to death by your neighbours.
Chapter 22
  • You cannot wear mixed fabrics e.g. wool and linen.
  • If you suspect your new wife is not a virgin, her undergarments are to be inspected publicly the following day. If they are bloody you must give her father a hundred pieces of silver. If they are not bloody she is to be stoned to death as a whore.
  • If a man sleeps with a betrothed woman in a city they are both to be stoned to death. If they sleep together in the countryside only the man is stoned to death. If she is not betrothed, no-one gets stoned but they must marry and her dad gets fifty pieces of silver.
  • 'A man shall not take his father's wife, nor discover his father's skirt' (?)
Chapter 23
  • 'He that is wounded in the stones, or hath his privy member cut off, shall not enter into the congregation of the LORD.'
  • 'A bastard shall not enter into the congregation of the LORD; even to his tenth generation shall he not enter into the congregation of the LORD.'
  • If you marry an Egyptian your grandchildren can be considered Israelites
  • Any soldiers having moist dreams must spend the rest of the night outside of camp. They can come back in the next day, after cleaning themselves.
  • When on campaign, all poop is to be buried immediately in case God visits
  • You cannot go with Israelite whores or Israelite sodomites (non Israelite whores and sodomites are presumably OK)
  • No whoring in Church.
  • You cannot charge family members excessive interest. You can, however, charge non family members excessive interest. (A big source of profit and pain for Jews in later centuries as they were able to lend money whilst Christians were forbidden to. Nobody likes someone they owe money to.)
Chapter 24
  • VD is grounds for a divorce. If you VD ridden ex-wife remarries and is then widowed you cannot marry her again (?)
  • 'When a man hath taken a new wife, he shall not go out to war, neither shall he be charged with any business: but he shall be free at home one year, and shall cheer up his wife which he hath taken.'
  • Men must marry their dead brother's wives.
Large chunks of the Old Testament have troubled thoughtful Christians for centuries. Could the same God be responsible for the somewhat harsh Old and the considerably mellower New Testament? The Christian Church addressed this tricky theological issue by burning anyone who thought not.
Anyway, these are just my personal highlights. This material is just acheing for some kind of spoof. I strongly recommend giving Deuteronomy 19-26 a thorough read when you have a few moments and, don’t forget what the television tells you; Islam is a primitive and barbaric religion and Christianity/ Judaism aren't.

and, remember, no fighting in jism-encrusted armour


Venom said...

Came across your blog. Hoep you don't mind me commenting. Nice blog you have here, and i absolutely like the pictures.

Stef said...

Thank you Venom - nice handle by the way ...