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.

Monday, February 28, 2011

Deuteronomy 11:26-16:17 (Re'eh)

Deuteronomy 11:26-16:17

More memetic engineering up front here: Pass on these religious memes you get the big carrot. Fail to pass them on, you'll get the giant stick. We've heard this many times before by now, and it never fails to inspire.
Deut 12 reads like an attempt to centralize religious authority in the cult of the temple (the same folks who would go on to become the Sanhedrin in Jesus' time) and ensure that they don't have to compete with other religious ideas or priests. More carrots and sticks at the end of this chapter.
I'd like everyone to read Deut 13:6-9 just to get an idea of how serious these memes are about protecting themselves from contamination. Any apostasy or idolatry merits an immediate death sentence, and it is ordered here that we take care not to pity the victim nor hearken unto her cries for mercy. No doubt apologist gits and post-modernist twats will see this as an understandable cultural innovation, necessary to preserve the ideological purity cult of YHWH, but it looks like cold-blooded murder to me. I should also point out that this particular passage is inextricably conceptually linked to the first of the Ten Commandments of Exodus 20 (one states the crime, the other states the punishment) and therefore modern calls for posting those verses on government property should be seen as far more sinister than generally supposed. A few verses later, the authors go from murder to genocide, ordering the destruction of entire cities who fail to worship the right god. The various bloody religious wars of both the Middle East and Europe have demonstrated that this principle lived on for centuries after being put to paper in the Torah.
Chapter 14: God loves uni-brows. Who knew? Also, it turns out that some animals are unclean to eat. I think we've covered this material before. I love the line about seething a kid in it's mother's milk. Caught my son doing that just the other day.
Chapter 15 is mostly restatement of earlier law, with a few odd bits thrown in. Curiously enough, the Jews are encouraged to be moneylenders to non-Jews herein this chapter. Personally, I don't mind usury, but evidently it leads to bitterness in some quarters.
Chapter 16 gives us the rough outline of the feasts of passover, weeks, and booths. One gets the sense that the audience is taken to be familiar with how these festivals are traditionally celebrated.

No comments: