The world is driving me nuts, so I thought I’d start a series about things and groups and incidents that confuse me. There’s enough grist for this mill to supply the world in wheat for 20 lifetimes. I mean, be honest, can you make sense out of the world? Really? Then you’re taking some really good dope and not sharing, which is a bad thing. Everywhere I turn, things get more and more strange, inexplicable, illogical, and downright bizarre. Forget parody. I can barely write about reality without thinking my brain’s been infected by nanotechnological gizmos that are distorting reality.
So, I’m beginning a series on things that confuse me. I’m starting with Judaism and Jews for two reasons. First, I’m Jewish (although an agnostic) and no matter how pissed off the Jews get, they’re not going to take out a million dollar bounty for my head on a silver platter. Second, I’ve been confused about the religion since I was forced to study it in my young years–many years ago in a galaxy far way.
Forget the notion of a literal interpretation of the Bible. That way leads down two paths–one leads to utter confusion and despair, the other to total insanity. But let’s rather just look at the stories.
Here’s old Abraham–I mean really old, like over 90 and God finally gives him and his wife a son. That’s a pretty big deal in those days–both being over 90 and getting pregnant. And that’s after all the visits to fertility clinics, sacrifices of lambs, sheep, chickens, and ducks, not to mention potions whipped up by the greasy-haired old hags, standing around a cauldron singing, Double, double toil and trouble; Fire burn, and caldron bubble.
Oh wait…that isn’t the old Testament. Oh well, close enough.
Anyway, God wakes up Abe one night, who isn’t sleeping all that well anyway because he’s got a young kid, and tells him to take his son up to a mountain and lop off his head. Are you kidding me? Now God knows that it’s just a test of Abe’s faith, but Abe doesn’t know that. What a shitty thing to do. Why not just give him a psych test to see if he’s really faithful. Do a Rorschach thing showing him pictures of lions sleeping with lambs or something.
And Abe does it!!! He drags the kid up to the top of a mountain & is about to whack his head off when God says, “Nah, I’ve changed My mind. There’s a lamb. Go kill that.”
What kind of God treats the father of his new religion that way? What kind of person would treat someone that way? And then there’s Noah & the flood. You mean to tell me that of all the people in the world, only Noah, his wife, sons and wives were the only decent people? What about the little babies who drowned? How evil could they have been. (Well, I’ve met some really annoying kids, but there must have been one or two good ones.)
And Sodom and Gomorrah. Evil cities. God tells Lot to get his family and run to the hills…but don’t look back, he warns. Lot’s wife looks back. What’s a fair punishment? Whack her on the ass with a birch branch, give her webbed feet, turn her hair gray? No, he turns her into a pillar of salt, which is great for the cattle who always need salt licks, but is pretty damn harsh when you think about it.
And Egypt. Hey, I’m glad the Jews escaped, but God, himself, God and not a ministering angel, killed all the first-born sons in Egypt. I’m sorry, but my freedom isn’t worth the death of thousands of innocent children.
It goes on and on, but it’s not just the Bible. The Jewish religion is very weird. Not satisfied with the Ten Commandments, a bunch of know-it-alls in the middle ages came up with a few hundred more. And someone got the bright idea that the religion only passed through the mother…obviously not Lot’s wife…so if a Jewish man marries a non-Jewish woman, wham, the kids are goyim.
And just try to convert. It’s easier to grow hair on a bald head than convert to Judaism. And why? Maybe there was a time when that made sense, but it’s stupid now. We’re running out of Jews. Change the stupid rule. And while you’re at it, get rid of most of those idiotic Kosher laws originally passed for health purposes. I’m sorry, but any religion that tells me I can eat bacon ain’t going to get a lot of respect from me.
Now, here’s a tough one. Growing up in an Italian neighborhood, I heard more about hell and purgatory and venial, cardinal, and mortal sins than just about anything else. Kids used to keep track of how they were doing in amassing them. But Jews? There’s barely a concept of heaven, and as far as I can tell, none about hell. In the Torah, the Five Books of Moses, the source from which springs everything else, no one talks about an afterlife. What good’s a religion without an afterlife?
Finally, Jews and their relationship to God. If that isn’t bizarre, I’m a Lithuanian. Jewish men–I don’t think Jewish women do this & don’t know why not–but older Jewish men have the strangest relationship with God since the ancient Greeks and Romans. Christians talk about a personal relationship with God, but do they argue, whine, complain, berate, question God’s wisdom and fairness, and His overall lack of good sense? It’s like talking to an old friend where the nature of the relationship is kvetching. There’s a certain lack of respect there that’s just got to piss God off.
Yeah, we’re the chosen people…but chosen for what? I’m confused.
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