Sunday, 9 April 2006

Don't pass me by

With Pesach (aka Passover) and Easter coming up, what better opportunity will I get for another ever so delightful "let us have a go at religion" session?
This time I will focus on Judaism and leave Christianity alone, for two main reasons: First, I don't know much about Christianity to begin with; and second, the story of Jesus' resurrection is just so reliable and authentic that I cannot really say much about it. In fact, I know of a good few others that have been brought back from the dead: Deep Purple, Foreigner and Simple Minds are just a few of the dead that have been resurrected to have a few live shows at St Kilda's Palace Theater just this April and May.
And so without ado I will examine Passover, the holiday every relative of mine I'm in touch with keeps on asking me about and pass comments such as "you gentile, were you even aware that Pesach is coming".

First of all, I will explain why Pesach is the holiday I hate the most. In the army, non kosher food is not allowed, which means that not only you don't get to eat normal bread but rather have to eat brick like maza bread instead, you don't get to eat everything else that for some elusive reason is deemed to be none Passover kosher. Which means that in the army, for a period of three weeks or so each year, you don't get much to eat at all because they don't really bother with worthwhile replacements. And so, for four years of my life, I was forced to eat shit for a good few weeks a year; and it didn't end there, because then came the era of reserve duty. Just four years ago, immediately prior to coming over to Australia, I was called to the army to take part in the "Homat Magen" operation during Passover. And was my army base prepared for the extra intake of a massive amount of reserve soldiers? And was I forced to eat brick like shit for a good few weeks? And don't I really miss it now that I'm in Australia?
Answer these rhetorical questions as you will.

And now for the religious aspect of the holiday. What is it that we're celebrating in the first place? Well, Passover is a celebration of the Israelites fleeing slavery in Egypt. Fair enough, good causes don't come any better than that.
But don't the cause justify the means?
Let's have a look at that. Why is Pesach/Passover called Passover in the first place?
It's because god "passed over" the houses of the Israelites when he sent the angel of death to ravage death over all of Egypt's first born. Which is just lovely, because I'm sure all of those first born were filthy scum. They were all criminals who deserved to die, no exclusions.
Now, raise your hands if that line of thinking sounds terribly familiar to the line of reasoning used by the Nazis when they explained why Jewish babies should join their parents in incineration - namely that they will grow up to be filthy Jews - please raise your hands.
I simply find that hard to accept, and I will definitely find it very hard to celebrate.
And even if it was true and all of Egypt's first born were filthy scum worthy of death - why did god make them this way in the first place? The only reason for that, as far as I can tell, is that god is evil: God is willing to create evil creatures and ravage them in an awful fashion just to make a point to the people of Israel, who are physically very identical to those evil people (slight gene variation due to extremely slight inherited variations).
I like to think of god's orders to his angel of death in contemporary form. The way I see it, god gave Mr/Mrs Death the following code to follow:

. If ((Mezuza on door <> true) and
. (gender = male) and
. (person was first descendant of parents) and
. (number of own descendants <=0))
. then kill;
. Check out next person;
Until all people in Egypt have been covered;

Note I've added that last condition concerning the first born not having decendants of his own in order to explain why that Pharaho himself was spared; I don't really know whether only first borns with no children of their own were butchered.

Anyway, to conclude:
1. A god that runs a business this way is not my kind of god.
2. Forever Free, the Joe Haldeman book, which discusses the subject of the cruelty of the god mankind has invented, is an excellent book, despite what most of its critics say.


Anonymous said...

I don’t know if I should even bother, but…
Your people are slaves. You want to free them. Why are they ‘your’ people? Because of a covenant you’ve made with Abraham, but that’s not really the point is it? Slavery is kind of bad in any case (and don’t start with the Jewish slavery laws – those slaves were much more like servants).
So you ask the Pharaoh to let them go, but he won’t. You show him miracles, but he’s not convinced.
You turn the water to blood, rain frogs, bring lice, send predators, plague and boils, and nothing.
You try hail, and no luck.
You go with darkness, and he agrees to let them go, only to renege on his word later.
So what would you do?

The American Civil War probably caused much more damage than the death of one firstborn son per family. Wasn’t it justified?

Moshe Reuveni said...

I'll tell you what you don't do: You don't go about killing innocent people, period.
Besides, it was god's doing that the Pharaoh became stubborn. Therefore, when I read this story (as well as other interesting stories such as the story of the American civil war) I can't help thinking that the guy/gal is evil or stupid. One of man kind's worst inventions.

This whole affair reeks of a different value system to the one we hold today. Yet another example of how these old made up stories are irrelevant for us today.

Anonymous said...

I take it you're against wars in general right? Probably many German soldiers in WWII didn't care one way or the other about Jews. Some may not even wanted to rule the world, and yet we killed them.

Moshe Reuveni said...

As I said, god is evil: He/she lets the innocents suffer needlessly.