Wednesday, April 7, 2010

God certainly hates Moloch, doesn’t He?

According to Liviticus 20:

20:1 And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,

20:2 Again, thou shalt say to the children of Israel, Whosoever he be of the children of Israel, or of the strangers that sojourn in Israel, that giveth any of his seed unto Molech; he shall surely be put to death: the people of the land shall stone him with stones.

20:3 And I will set my face against that man, and will cut him off from among his people; because he hath given of his seed unto Molech, to defile my sanctuary, and to profane my holy name.

20:4 And if the people of the land do any ways hide their eyes from the man, when he giveth of his seed unto Molech, and kill him not:

20:5 Then I will set my face against that man, and against his family, and will cut him off, and all that go a whoring after him, to commit whoredom with Molech, from among their people.

20:6 And the soul that turneth after such as have familiar spirits, and after wizards, to go a whoring after them, I will even set my face against that soul, and will cut him off from among his people.

20:7 Sanctify yourselves therefore, and be ye holy: for I am the LORD your God.

20:8 And ye shall keep my statutes, and do them: I am the LORD which sanctify you.


And who is this Molech, you might ask? According to the All Knowing, All Seeing Wiki:

Moloch, Molech, Molekh, Molek, or Moloc, representing Semitic מולך m-l-k, (a root which occurs in various Hebrew and Arabic words related to kings) is either the name of a god or the name of a particular kind of sacrifice associated with fire. Moloch was historically affiliated with cultures throughout the Middle East, including the Ammonite, Hebrew, Canaanite,[1] Phoenician and related cultures in North Africa and the Levant.


O.K., false god and all that. Got it. Yahweh detests false gods, as we well know.

It appears that, back in Biblical times, “knowing” believers in any god(s) or goddess(es) other than the One True God and getting them pregnant was a big time problem. The One True God really had a distinct problem with this, as He commands His followers to stone to death any of His followers or any non-believers that just happened to be wandering around in Israel if they had the presumptuousness to get a lady pregnant who also worshipped Moloch. Stoning to death seems very harsh for a Compassionate and Forgiving God. That sounds neither compassionate nor forgiving. That particular sentence seems very harsh and unforgiving. Throwing stones at someone, bashing them in the head and body, until their bodily functions stop, presumably due to loss of blood and traumatic injuries, would constitute cruel and unusual punishment in my book.

These verses in the Bible are emblematic of a very thorny problem for me. They are not relevant, and they are ancient anachronisms that have zero relevance to today’s complex and law-based society. First off, how many worshippers of Moloch does anyone know? I have never come across any, although I will be the first to admit that I run in pretty small circles of society these days. I did once know a practicing Wiccan with whom I spent a very interesting All Hallow’s Eve back in my college days. But that’s about it. Nope, I know of no followers of Moloch, certainly none who I would consider getting pregnant. But then, if I am not in the current country of Israel, then maybe God’s commandment is not in force? It’s difficult to tell.

I am just pointing out that prohibitions against getting a follower of Moloch pregnant have very little relevance in today’s society.

However, the bigger problem is, of course, what God commands his followers to do to anyone they find has violated said commandment. God, the One True God, the Kind and Benevolent God, really desires people who go to church on Sundays, who dress up in their best Easter outfits on Easter, who probably belong to the Kiwanis Club or Elks Club, who take their kids to the baseball games, to go stone people to death? Getting someone pregnant isn’t even a crime these days. And perhaps this guy is married to a nice lady who also happens to worship Moloch, and they have a child while they are married. Does this still apply? The husband gets stoned to death while the wife and kid get off scot free?

No doubt these aspects of the Bible made sense back in 150 B.C. There was no legal system; no courts, no lawyers, no presumption of innocence until proven guilty. Law was whatever the current social mores were at that time. Someone back then, no doubt a follower of early Judaism, thought this was a really good thing to have lying around, especially if it had the weight of the One True God behind it. This person might have had a grudge against someone who worshipped Moloch, maybe someone got his daughter pregnant. “I’ll fix them!” Whatever. It really doesn’t matter where this came from. These kinds of bloodthirsty and unthinking commandments attributed to God have absolutely no place in today’s society. None.

And here’s the crux of the matter. When pressed on issues like this, most Christians will resort to the standard reply, “Oh, the Bible isn’t meant to be taken literally. Much of it is a parable, and you have to read it in that way to find the wisdom it contains.” To which I say, bull pucky. I believe it is terribly, terribly obvious that the authors of the Bible (including all the later revisions, Canonization and collations) fully intended for the entire thing to be taken as fact. There are no literary interpretations to be made, no symbolism, allegory or parables included. The story of Genesis was written to be read as factual history. This is true of all religions. Most every religion contains the story of creation. They also have a very detailed history of the people/tribe who believes that particular religion. That is what binds them together, that sets them off from the rabble. Everyone has their own, true history. The Bible is no different. The Old Testament was to be taken as the literal history of the Jewish people.

The “Good Book” commands you, as a follower of the Christian God, to stone to death anyone who gets a follower of a false god pregnant. That’s what it says to do. End of story.

So, the question then becomes, why does anything that the Bible says about anything have any inherent meaning in today’s society? Why should I believe anything written in the Bible? Because we are now into the realm of picking and choosing whatever passages out of the Bible that you think are applicable. "That one there, that’s good. 'Thou shalt not kill.' I like that one. Wait, doesn’t this one over here say that I should do exactly that, kill someone? This one over here says I should kill my own child if he curses at me. (Exodus 21:17) Wow, that’s pretty severe. God must not really mean that. But I shouldn’t kill anyone, except homosexuals, people who have sex with animals, men who lie with their mothers, and kids who curse at their parents… Wow, that’s really confusing."

See the dilemma here? You can go on forever picking and choosing what you think is and is not “the Word of God” in the Bible. That’s what leads to this insanity in today’s society about homosexuals. People cherry pick whatever “knowledge” they desire out of the Bible, usually something that supports their already formulated position. “See, I believe exactly the same thing that God does!” Isn’t that amazing?

And yet, modern Christianity expects us to exhibit unwavering faith regarding God and Jesus Christ, all based on a book that has been edited multiple times, contains multiple contradictions and ridiculous commandments that have zero relevance in today’s society.

I just don’t understand the need for belief and faith, especially as something as ridiculous and archaic as the Bible. No, I am not saying there aren’t any lessons to be gleaned from the Bible. There are, certainly. But that can be said of the Bhagavad Gita. Or of the Koran. Or the teachings of a Native American shaman. When you apply logic and reason to a reading of the Bible, it becomes nothing more than a collection of ancient beliefs, ancient history and ancient myths and legends that were handed down from generation to generation. That is what the Bible is.

I would be happy to listen to and debate anyone who would like to discuss this subject further. Because, in all truth, I do not understand.

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

Check out "The Bohemian Grove". Every year world leaders meet for a two week camp in Northern California to make sacrifices to "Moloch." Pretty scary if you ask me. I am happy God warns us about these people.

Anonymous said...

God has also warned us about you. And He has set His face against you for not stoning this entire "Bohemian Grove" congregation. When we get done with these worshippers of Moloch, we will then set upon you. But, fear not my friend, for ours is a benevolent God whose Mercy you may receive upon your death.

Anonymous said...

Not a very detailed or accurate look, is it? On the very link the article writer posted, it says, "As a god worshipped by the Phoenicians and Canaanites, Moloch had associations with a particular kind of propitiatory child sacrifice by parents. Moloch figures in the Book of Deuteronomy and in the Book of Leviticus as a form of idolatry (Leviticus 18:21–23: “And thou shalt not let any of thy seed pass through the fire to Moloch”). In the Hebrew Bible, Gehenna was initially where apostate Israelites and followers of various Ba'als and Caananite gods, including Moloch, sacrificed their children by fire (2 Chr. 28:3, 33:6; Jer. 7:31, 19:2-6)."

That's the second paragraph.

Pithy Cabbages apparently completely missed the point: "giving seed" isn't getting someone pregnant, it's giving over children to sacrifice by fire.

Specifically (same article, mind you), "... Other references to Moloch use mlk only in the context of "passing children through fire lmlk",..." [snipped for relevance]

So, you know, pretty much everyone interprets this stuff as child sacrifices which, yeah, is pretty heinous (as opposed to "getting someone pregnant" as Pithy Cabbages so glibly describes). Also humorous from this article: "...nice lady who also happens to worship Molech..." Because child sacrifice is a nice thing to do!

Also fallacious: presupposing modern marital practices (i.e. the flippant way in which divorce and re-marriage is mentioned), and modern social norms in a distinctly non-modern society.

Whether you believe the Christian (or Hebraic) Bible as truth or not is up to you, (though it decries you as an unbeliever... as most do), but really: do your research.

Caveat: it's very possible that the writer had an older article with less information (I, for one, couldn't find the exact quote he posted), especially considering the article posted is one and a half years old. Finding this blog while researching for personal writing projects and seeing such a gross (probably, hopefully, maybe accidental) misrepresentation of the facts for the sole purpose of reinforcing one's own beliefs gave me a desire to respond, especially after reading the article linked and said article's clarity that the detest given in scripture is pretty clearly against child sacrifice via fire. IF you really want to pick on Biblical things, you should probably look more at the books of Judges, Kings, and Chronicles. I'm not too interested in trolling your archives to find out if you did.) Happy reading!

Oh yeah, in the spirit of "here's me but not" (as you yourself do, sir Cabbage - also relevant, I have none of the IDs listed as options and am not interested in giving my real name to a random place online), I oft go by the handle "TL" around many of "t3h interwebs".

Anonymous said...

(Hey, TL again.)

To clarify (because, as we all do, I make mistakes and don't think I was clear), obviously the author doesn't think the ancient society which formed/was formed around (choose one) is relevant to modern society. He clearly does not.

However admitting that fact does not grant leave to flippantly ignore it later when doing an analysis of people and their motivations and perceptions and thought patterns, especially given the radically distinct nature of cultures.

Personally speaking, traveling to various places in Europe, China, Central America, the Philippines and the like, I've seen and experienced culture shock... and these are in relatively "modern" (choose your connotative definition) cultures. Having made good friends with many people in many places, I can honestly say they think differently than I do. Not just "think differently" as in "hold different beliefs", but their actual thinking patterns/emotional contexts are different from mine. And that's fine! It doesn't actually stop us from communicating!

But to presuppose my own norms (such as being a practitioner of X, such as a religion or activity, but still totally capable of being otherwise 'normal' by currently accepted standards) is completely false.

That and, in my personal circles (though common enough on the internet), "Oh, the Bible isn’t meant to be taken literally. Much of it is a parable, and you have to read it in that way to find the wisdom it contains." or any variant thereof has not since my early days of college been uttered by a practicing Christian I'm familiar with, regardless of the controversial nature of the material involved.

So, you know: different cultures and different thought patterns.

zeppo said...

Zeppo here, author of this post. Sorry to not have commented on this before. I haven’t been paying a lot of attention to either of my blogs of late. I shouldn’t ignore an ongoing discussion, though.

Thanks, TL, for your rebuttal above. You kind of hit my point, although I will say this was one of my less-thought-out posts. I just saw a reference to Moloch and went, “What…?” Yes, my point, as much as I had one, was that much of the Bible, in my mind, has very little relevance to our modern society. I thought I would use Moloch as a rather tongue-in-cheek example.

So, Anon, the one who said I was “glib” and missed the point about “giving seed….” Well, I will readily admit that I am not a biblical scholar and don’t know all the passages by heart. I was only going on what I was reading AT THAT POINT. Here is what I read from Liviticus.

20:2 Again, thou shalt say to the children of Israel, Whosoever he be of the children of Israel, or of the strangers that sojourn in Israel, that giveth any of his seed unto Molech; he shall surely be put to death: the people of the land shall stone him with stones.
20:3 And I will set my face against that man, and will cut him off from among his people; because he hath given of his seed unto Molech, to defile my sanctuary, and to profane my holy name.
20:4 And if the people of the land do any ways hide their eyes from the man, when he giveth of his seed unto Molech, and kill him not:
20:5 Then I will set my face against that man, and against his family, and will cut him off, and all that go a whoring after him, to commit whoredom with Molech, from among their people.
20:6 And the soul that turneth after such as have familiar spirits, and after wizards, to go a whoring after them, I will even set my face against that soul, and will cut him off from among his people.

OK, so “giving of his seed” doesn’t mean impregnating a woman? My mistake. But by the context, that is what it looks like. Why else would “whoring” be mentioned?

But hey, live and learn. I will freely engage in a polite discussion, as long as they are polite back. Which Anon, the one that took issue with my post, was kind of barely there.

One other point I have made about the Bible is that a reader can just about read anything they want to into it. There is absolutely no way of knowing what the original author intended, as the context of our civilization is so different than theirs, plus the fact that the Bible has been edited, transcribed, interpreted, translated, etc. for a couple of thousand years. Who knows what might have been the original meaning?

Here is one of my better posts on the subject, I think, than this admittedly less than serious one about Moloch.

http://pithycabbages.blogspot.com/2010/04/is-bible-allegory-or-history.html

If you are at all interested, which you kind of stated that you weren’t…. Fine.

TL, drop by again. Thanks for the comment. zeppo.