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Posted by farid from ( on Monday, August 25, 2003 at 11:49AM :

Some insist that the problem with the major religions is that they aren't really being followed, that their adherents aren't being faithful to the Ten Commandments and the rest of the things their god wants them to do. I say that's not it at all...the real problem is that after getting done having your brains scrambled by these institutions, who even go so far as to say you don't need a mind for the really important stuff of life, very few people are in any shape to figure out the simplest things. What could be easier to grasp than the Golden Rule? What more does anyone in any society need but that? And yet children have to be chased through a mine field of threats, disasters, dire warnings and enough nonsense...meaning just that, utterly undo them, making them unfit for human discourse and interaction but... ready for Heaven??? Or rather, ready to committ any beastliness here on earth because "god" told them to...or be prepared and conditioned to do so.

People who otherwise sound rational and humane, until you touch on religion, fall all over the place as soon as it's brought up and take on the behavior and beliefs of what it would be unfair to call Savages...but is at the opposite pole of decent human behavior. As an example of which I'd like to take a quick dip into Gordon and Rendsburg's, "The Bible and the Ancient Near East" again. These two authors are supposedly well educated, undoubtedly widely read and generally come across as mature and even intelligent...whenever they discuss something insignificant or linger on the edges of what they claim is a great and deep matter. Once they wade in, however, you see what shallow propagandizing these sorts of "books" represent. In this excerpt they're discussing Elisha...another sheepshit herding genius who invented morals and ethics...since he had little else to occupy his time back in old dusty Israel...unlike them nasty Assyrians who were too busy inventing the props and structure of civilization to bother with ethics and what not.

And I quote...

"Another detail in the cycle of Elisha is easily misunderstood to the point of being ridiculous (a small voice wants to say, 'your entire bible is ridiculous'). It is the story of Elisha in Bethel, where he was called "baldy" by local children, upon whom the prophet heaped a hearty malediction so that a couple of bears (in Israel...where did they shit?) came out of the forest ( Israel?) and ripped open forty-two of the disrespectful youngsters."

Is this one Bad Dude of a god or what? And his prophet reacted like most of his bloodshot brethren who couldn't take a joke either. So they called him "baldy"..big friggin deal. For that 42 children have to get ripped apart? This is a bible? This is a book that teaches about proportionality, how about child psychology, how about maturity, restraint, compassion...what happened to forgiveness...what about humor? Or am I expecting any of this from the wrong people. This...THIS, is what them Hebrews did instead of figure out how to make belts to hold their pants up so we wouldn't be treated to their hairy arses hanging out 2000 years later.

Gordon must have had a glimmer of a thought that this might not sound so right and proper to modern ears...and that somehow or other we have to all be kept in awe of those idiots of 2000 years ago...keep following their "teachings"...and we have too, as the death by torture and starvation of 500,000 Iraqi children, who didn't even call an old fart names, shows so well. So he thinks to make this crap intelligible, in case there's a shred of decency left in us, by relating his own experience with children who deserve to be ripped apart by bears, or tanks and anti-personnel mines, "changing times", you know...but let him tell it...

"In travelling through Arab Palestine I (C.H.G.) observed that in certain villages the hospitality towards strangers (in spite of political tension) was admirable, like Abraham's hospitality to the angels. But at other villages (which had bad, but deserved, reputations) children would without provocation throw stones at strangers. Bethel was a town where there was no respect for strangers or for age. Accordingly, the point of the story is not that just children were punished, but that specifically the children of a bad community were given punishment they so fully deserved, as everyone in Israel knew."

I wonder why he believes anyone would think "just children" should be punished? Does he mean rock-throwing Palestinin children who have the incredible guts, born of desperation, to go up against flame throwing Israeli tanks? Is he really alluding to "rude" children such as these from "bad communities"..."as everyone in Israel" knows? See how well the bible prepares people who believe in that "holy" book to deal with unruly children down through the ages?

If you have no religion at all, you still know better than to kill 42 having savage beasts rip them apart for being disrespectful of "strangers" or "age". And that's the real point of the story and especially of all the blood and gore...that if you have god on your side..if you are "his" special darling, "his" prophet, doing "his" work and some fresh kid calls you get to kill him and his 41 mates. Today we'd have such a "god-frightful" person thrown in jail, if he wasn't an Israeli politician...or made president, if he was a "Christian Zionist".

-- farid
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