Why can’t I own a Canadian?

This question was posted by a man named “Jim” in 2002, in response to a radio personality who repeats Leviticus 18:22 as the reason homosexuality is amoral and apprehensible.  The following letter is the reply, with some funny lines in it.

Lev. 25:44 states that I may indeed possess slaves, both male and female, provided they are purchased from neighboring nations. A friend of mine claims that this applies to Mexicans, but not Canadians. Can you clarify? Why can’t I own Canadians?

…this is expressly forbidden by Lev. 19:27. How should they die?

I know you have studied these things extensively, so I am confident you can help. Thank you again for reminding us that God’s word is eternal and unchanging.

Remember that just because someone wrote it in a book doesn’t make it true.

Tales of Genesis

Well I’m into Exodus, and tales of Moses, but for now I’ll recap the famous, and not-so-famous stories from book 1: Genesis.

1.1 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.

Probably one of the most quoted bible passages, this and the whole first chapter (which outlines what God did on each of his first 7 days) is the entire basis for creationism.  Not to pick straws too quick, but Darwin’s Origin of Species is a bit more detailed than a single chapter.  Depth however, does not guarantee accuracy, so lets dig.

1.4 God saw that the light was good…

Well its good that he figured that out, I’d hate if he were dissapointed in his creation… oh wait:

6.6 The Lord was sorry that He had made man on the earth, and He was grieved in His heart.

I guess everyone makes mistakes (this is the part where God creates the flood and destroys all the land animals and stuff, not sure what happens to the fishes, I guess they’re fine).

But getting back to the start, we have the initial account of creation of man in 1.26-30, except in chapter 2 it talks about how after the first 7 days, then he creates shrubs and plants, and then man and woman.  So it’s already not very clear when God actually made Adam; on day 6 or week two?

Chapter 3 gives us the serpent (not said to be possessed by the devil, its just an evil snake) “tricking” Eve into eating from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil (which she couldn’t have fully understood was a sin until after eating from it) and the aftermath of that.  Chapter 4 talks about Cain and Abel – where Cain gets jealous of his brother’s better gifts to their Lord and kills him.  Cain then heads off and has kids with his wife who came from nowhere, I guess (people were just kinda around but not mentioned I guess…)  Chapter 5 is really dry with nothing more than genealogy from Adam to Noah.  Each lived an average of 900 years (okay).

After that comes man being corrupt and the Flood, where Noah got his two of every species (male and female, and miraculously every beast was fertile, unless we lost some species after the ark).  Oh and luckily:

8.1 But God remembered Noah and all the beasts and all the cattle that were with him in the ark; and God caused a wind to pass over the earth, and the water subsided.

Good thing He remembered (this happens a lot in Genesis that God happens to remember that shit’s going on down here), or else Noah and all those animals would have gotten awfully tired of life at sea (and likely would have ran out of drinkable fresh water, which is a good question regardless).

Once again, after the flood there’s only Noah, his wife, and his few sons, but they manage to repopulate the Earth with humans.  I could see there being “unimportant” people not included earlier in creation, but the flood destroyed everything (or was supposed to), so the only humans left were immediate blood to Noah.  So… ?  Oh and God also promised:

8.22 The Lord smelled the soothing aroma; and the Lord said to Himself, “I will never again curse the ground on account of man, for the intent of man’s heart is evil from his youth; and I will never again destroy every living thing, as I have done.

So I don’t think we should really have to worry about the Rapture coming, since He really doesn’t want to destroy the Earth again.

Then the tower of Babel gets built (a few generations later) and God gets pissed and everyone has to speak different languages.  Then we get Abram (later Abraham) who is the first person to really live the words of God after Noah.  Abraham goes to Egypt (on God’s command), and tells the Pharaoh that his beautiful wife is really his sister so he won`t be killed, and he then offers her to the Pharaoh (who graciously accepts).  God then gets pissed at the Pharaoh for attempting to sleep with his favourite son`s wife, but doesn`t ever blame Abraham (who told the lie).

Abraham eventually gets a few sons from God (after many animal sacrifices), but eventually asks Abraham to sacrifice one of his sons, only to say “just kidding” at the last second. Naturally Abraham would have brutally murdered his son for his Lord. There’s also the bit about Abraham “going into” his servant Hagar, since his wife Sarah was unable to conceive (this also happens a lot – getting children takes precedence over wedding vows, or at least polygamy was acceptable at this point).

Abraham also set into practice the requirement to be circumcised to be a Hebrew.

God gets pissed and rained “brimstone and fire” on Sodom and Gomorrah (ancient cities) for some odd reason, but only after sending a couple angels to “have relations” with Abraham and his family, who were being sheltered by their friend Lot. Lot, however, did offer:

19.8 “Now behold, I have two daughters who have not had relations with man; please let me bring them out to you, and do to them whatever you like; only do nothing to these men, inasmuch as they have come under shelter of my roof.”

I have yet to find any upstanding morals at this point in the bible, but we do have another 30 chapters of Genesis to get through.

Finally we go down a few generations and meet Jacob. Jacob meets the beautiful Rachel, who he wants to marry, but unfortunately her father requires him to give 7 years of service, and then that the more homely Leah is married first. Not one to play the games of “The Taming of the Shrew,” Jacob marries Leah, “goes into her,” and has a happy marriage of a week before marrying Rachel (and he went into her too). Leah has a bunch of kids for Jacob, but for now Rachel is infertile. So Jacob marries Rachel’s servant and goes into her and has a child, which upsets Leah, so Jacob marries and goes into her servant too and has more kids. Then finally God decides Rachel can have some kids, and she does. Jacob ends up with a loving family of four wives and a lot of children. In exchange for such a great family, Jacob gives Rachel’s dad half his flock of livestock, but makes sure to selectively breed stronger and weaker halves so that he doesn’t get so ripped off.

Finally Jacob gets renamed to Israel and his son Joseph goes to Egypt. In Egypt, Joseph gets imprisoned and begins interpreting people’s dreams. His first interpretation is that in three days one other guy in prison will be released, he also tells another that in three days he will die. He also asks them to say something nice to the Pharaoh so he can go free, but that was pointless. So in three days one guy goes free and the other dies. Finally the Pharaoh has a couple dreams about seven healthy cows that get eaten up by seven sickly cows, and seven healthy grain stalks that get eaten up by seven weakly stalks. Joseph says that this will be seven years of prosperity followed by seven of drought, and that’s just God’s will. So the Pharaoh makes him second-in-command of Egypt.

So Joseph turns out to be right and makes Egypt very prosperous since he stockpiled during the prosperous years. Finally Joseph’s brothers come to Egypt for food, don’t recognize him, he screws with them, cries a bit, meets his father, and has his family move to Egypt (bad idea, since the Jewish got a lot of grief in Egypt in a couple generations, but that’s up to Moses to deal with in Exodus).

And that is roughly a crash course through Genesis. It has a lot of sex, some disturbing (by today’s standards) scenes, and a few minor contradictions (but nothings perfect). It also sets up the angry Old Testament God, who is not infallible (see the Flood) but is very vengeful and engaged in his creation.

I begin the Bible

I picked up a Gideons Holy Bible – the full Old and New Testament version (because why go with just half of the book?) and will hopefully be able to read it before summer is done.  The Gideons challenge that if you read 3 chapters a day (~12 minutes, they’re short) and 5 on Sunday you’ll finish in a year… so it’s a bit longer than most books.

This is the New American Standard Version, so all the “thou, thee, and thy”s are gone, but the message and stories are the same.

I’m currently almost halfway through Genesis (one of the longer books), and will try to write up a summary/commentary on most of the books as I get through them.

So far I enjoyed Gen 2:5-6

Now no shrub of the field was yet in the earth, and no plant of the field had yet sprouted, for the Lord God had not sent rain upon earth, and there was no man to cultivate the ground.

But a mist used to rise from the earth and water the whole surface of the ground.

Man, its pretty awesome that God installed a sprinkler system when he created the Earth.  I bet that came in helpful “in the beginning”.

All jokes aside, I read this as I would any other story book, I do not believe it is the Word of God, but merely stories written by men.  It is one of the great works of mankind however, and as has been reported, the bestseller of all time (especially when its free!)  I highly doubt this will convert me to Judaism, or Christianity, but will give me a better insight into both.  After this I might try to get the Koran too, but that might be a ways off.

Check back for more postings.