Monday, August 30, 2010

Why I Can't Own Canadians, Part 2

OK, you’ve read and I hope chuckled at the previous “letter” to Dr. Laura from Dr. Kauffman. His point is simple: the Bible is an outmoded relic of the Iron Age, and its values, mores, and ethics are completely irrelevant to modern life. Anyone who claims to base her ethics on the Bible is either a brute or a liar or both.

This line of thinking isn’t new. In fact it is more than 2000 years old. The Pharisees were the first to come up with it when they invented the idea of a second revelation to Moses on Mt. Sinai that they then used to undermine the authority of Torah and the Levitical Priesthood that derived its power from it. They called this second revelation the Oral Law and juxtaposed it to the Written Torah about which both Drs Laura and Kauffman are concerned. Whenever the Pharisees or their heirs, the rabbis, found a Written Law they didn’t like they “remembered” an Oral Law that ether rendered the Written Law moot, or made the implementation of it impossible.

For example, the Written Law says that adulterers are to be killed (Leviticus 20:10), something the rabbis found repellant. So they remembered an Oral Law that says that this can only be done if the adulterers are repeatedly interrupted mid-coitus by several witnesses who proceed to explain in detail the nature of the crime the couple is committing and the penalty to which they are leaving themselves open. Since few adulterers invite witnesses, the law as written cannot be implemented.

The rabbis were not alone in this subterfuge. Early Christians, themselves Jews, continued the effort of freeing themselves from Torah by using Jesus to undermine and even demonize the Written Law. Later Christians, by then mostly Gentile, went on to demonize the Oral Law as well, though they themselves were never subject to it. The very idea that Jews could still claim to be heirs to God’s revelation after the birth of Christianity was anathema to them.

The point is no one follows the Written Law. Instead they use it to give the aura of sanctity to their own opinions. Rather than have the guts to say, “I despise all homosexuals and wish to see them killed,” as the good folks of Uganda are doing, they feign helplessness before the word of God. “I don’t hate homosexuals, but God does, and I have to side with God.”

The fact is religion is all too often a way of ginning up one’s own opinions and clothing prejudice in the garb of piety. Stop taking your cues from demagogues and ancient tomes, and start thinking for yourselves.

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