Background Probability

The Agnostic Popular Front has moved to its new home at Skeptic Ink, and will henceforth be known as Background Probability. Despite the relocation and rebranding, we will continue to spew the same low-fidelity high-quality bullshit that you've come to expect.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Genesis 18-19: God Hates Inhospitality

In chapter 18 we find Abraham and Sarah at home (with their new and slightly different names) demonstrating their impeccable manners as host and hostess by preparing bread, butter, meat and milk from scratch for three men who seem to pop into the narrative from nowhere in particular. After the extravagant meal, the men inform the elderly couple that they will have a son. Laughter ensues, and Sarah claims it was just the laugh track. Abraham then sends these strange men off to Sodom, which seemed like a good idea at the time.

After this point, a curious thing happens. The all-knowing all-seeing all-powerful creator of the universe starts haggling with Abraham over the conditions of Sodom's utter destruction. Now I've always been skeptical of stereotypical portrayal of Semites as stern negotiators, but here we find the putative forefather of their many nations wrangling over price with the Lord God Himself, bargaining the price down from fifty righteous souls to only ten. Good on him, I say. Too bad Jesus couldn't talk God down a bit at Gethsemane, "Please Lord, take this cup away, maybe I just could just die of thirst instead?"

Anyhow, in the next chapter we find Lot demonstrating his own admirable hospitality by taking in and dining with two angels who have for some unfathomable reason taken upon themselves the form of attractive young men. The locals of Sodom gather around the house and say unto Lot, "Hey! Get those guys out here so that we may get to know them, you know, in the Biblical sense, by which we mean gang rape." Evidently the Sodomites had a very different sense of hospitality than that of Abraham and Lot. Being a proper patriarch and host, Lot refuses this offer, and counters with his own virgin daughters instead. Evidently, Lot isn't nearly as good a negotiator as Abraham. He should have lead off with goats and let the Sodomites haggle up from there.

The men of the city at this point try to break down Lot's door, evidently overjoyed at the prospect of getting to gang rape everyone in the house. The angels then strike the Sodomites with blindness, and hasten Lot and his family out of the city, to the nearby hamlet of Zoar in good time for the Lord to rain fire down upon the twin cities of Sodom and Gomorrah. While escaping, Lot's wife looks back and turns into a pillar of salt, and to this very day the families fleeing fearfully from the cities to the suburbs are referred to as "white flight," presumably in her honor.

After settling outside of Zoar, Lot's virgin daughters devise a clever plan to drug and rape him, because they wanted to have children and, well, their father was the only guy around. Thus did Lot demonstrate his own sexual prowess, in that although he was elderly and drunk out of his skull, he still managed to knock up two virgins, on two consecutive nights, against his will and without his knowledge or consent. It appears legendary feats of virility are becoming a running theme in this book, one gets the sense that the authors really wanted to play up the manhood of their forebears.

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