God Dictates in Mysterious Ways...
The Lord dictates in mysterious ways:
Some of the verses in Leviticus, laying down the dietary laws for the Chosen of God have some odd aspects and apparent contradictions. Then again, no contradiction is so clear that no apologist can someday, somehow, come up with a rationalization for the whole thing. Sort of. More proof supporting my belief that religion is like UFO's, ESP, White Supremacy, and the holes in Star Trek plots...you are more likely believe the explanations if you already agree with the conclusions.
The Lord's voice comes from the tabernacle, and Moses and Aaron write frantically as the instructions continue:
Lord: These are the beasts of the earth that are for you to eat: First, any beast that has a cloven hoof and chews it's cud.
Moses: So, cows, deer, antelope, chamois, caribou, buffalo...
Aaron (helpfully): Reindeer, bison, camels-
Lord: NO! Not camels. They do not have split hooves.
Moses and Aaron glanced at each other, then bent their heads and wrote this.
Lord: Now what?
Aaron: Well, my Lord, um, camels have a distinct split in their feet...
Lord: Those are toes, not hooves. Two toes isn't the same as a cloven hoof.
Moses (interrupting a comment by Aaron): Important distinction, Lord, shall we go on?
Lord: Yea, verily. Okay, don't eat rabbits because they eat shit.
Moses: Um, Lord? Do you really want to put that in the scroll?
Lord: Wait until you read 2 Kings 18:27.
Lord: Um, never mind. Anyway, we don't want people to eat rabbits, they're unclean.
Moses: Well, that will make sure, but do we really want 'poo' in the dietary laws? It's offputting.
Lord: Sigh....okay, how's this? They don't have cloven feet, but they do chew cud, so they're unclean.
Moses and Aaron make eye contact again.
Lord: What? It isn't really a lie...really. Look, cud is grass that wasn't digested the first time through. Cows bring it back up from the stomach, chew it more finely, and pass it thru again. Rabbits don't have as many stomachs. I thought about it, but they're really small. So, they pass the cuds through first, then eat the turds that have lots of grass, and pass it through again. So, when they eat the turd, it's bringing the cud back up, just like the cow does, but more gross.
Moses: Um, okay. Whatever you say, Lord.
Lord: Okay, now, pigs are unclean because they do have cloven feet, and don't chew cud. Hands off. Now, of fish, you can have anything with fins and scales, fresh or salt water. Anything else, leave them alone.
Moses: Sir? Are oysters alive?
Moses: Well, I've never been sure. Anyway, if they are, are they unclean?
Lord: Yes. They're alive. They're unclean.
Moses: Ah, darn, there used to be these boats that'd pull up at the piers each morning, with vases of oysters, and the guards would shuck a few for me...so they're alive, huh?
Lord: Yes. They're alive. ........They're unclean.
Moses: Oh, yeah. Of course, never again. Um, why are they unclean, sir?
Lord: Um, well, you live in a desert climate, and they go bad fast. You're far from the sea, in modern travel terms.
Aaron: But if sea-FISH are okay to eat, why-
Lord: Look, they're off, okay?
Moses: Yes, Lord. Off. Got it. Um....
Moses: Um, it's oysters, Lord, are their pearls okay?
Moses: Yes, sir, back in Pharoh's court, some of the courtiers used to dissolve pearls in vinegar and drink them.
Lord: They are an abomination to you, don't touch them, their carcass, their shells, their pearls...
Aaron (interrupting a comment by Moses): Important distinction, Lord, shall we go on?
Lord: Yes, okay, birds, don't eat the raptors: eagle, ossifrage, ospray; scavengers: vulture, kite and after his kind-
Aaron: His 'kind' my Lord?
Lord: Yes, kind, it's a common enough word. It's a genetics term, I discussed it with Noah.
Moses: So, what would the kite's 'kind' be?
Lord: Well, any carrion eating bird, like the caracara or the buzzard.
Aaron: So, we don't eat birds that eat unclean animals?
Moses: Shut up, Aaron.
Lord: The raven, and kind; owl, night hawk, cuckow, hawks and their kind...
Aaron: (to Moses) Wouldn't the night hawk be a 'kind' of hawk?
Moses: (to Aaron) Shut up, or you're have transcriber's errors.
Lord: ...little owl, cormorants, great owl, swan, pelican, gier eagle, stork, heron, lapwing, bats...
Moses: Bats, my Lord?
Lord: Yeah, bats.
Moses: Oh, so we're thru with birds?
Moses: Well, I know, now, that my tutors in the palace were heathens, but they brought me a bat, once, and it doesn't have hollow bones, or feathers, or lay eggs, and it has teeth instead of a bill...well, sir, the only thing it has in common with birds is that they fly.
Lord: One other thing...they're unclean.
Moses: Oh, yes sir.
Lord: And all birds that have four legs, they're unclean.
Moses and Aaron glance at each other but quickly look back to their scrolls.
Lord: Now, you can eat of some of the four-legged creepy insects: the locust and his kind, bald locust and his kind, beetles, grasshoppers. But any other flying insect that creeps about on four legs, them you cannot eat. Don't even touch them. Now for the other beasts, don't eat anything that walks on paws: weasel, mouse, tortoise and his kind, ferret, ...
Aaron: (to Moses) Isn't the ferret a 'kind' of weasel?
...chameleon, lizard, snail and mole. Or anything that goes on it's belly. Or has more feet than most things. For I am the LORD your God: ye shall therefore sanctify yourselves, and ye shall be holy; for I am holy: neither shall ye defile yourselves with any manner of creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. For I am the LORD that bringeth you up out of the land of Egypt, to be your God: ye shall therefore be holy, for I am holy. This is the law of the beasts, and of the fowl, and of every living creature that moveth in the waters, and of every creature that creepeth upon the earth.
After the tabernacle was silent for a while, Aaron and Moses finished their scrolls and gathered up their writing kits.
Aaron: Is He always like that?
Moses: (glancing at the quiet tabernacle) Well, let me tell you the story of the 500 commandments....
Aaron: 500? There's only 10.
Moses: Well, I thought about all those poor boys in Hebrew school, trying to memorize 500 commandments, and talked him down. We had to generalize a lot...
Note: One creationist site, discussion about just how many animals went on the ark with Noah produced one keen insight. The rules were that 2 of every Unclean animal came along, and 7 (or 7 pair) of every Clean animal came along. When trying to figure out how many animals that would be, the site proclaimed: Well, there weren't that many animals listed in Leviticus as 'Clean.' Well, the list of 4-legged ruminants with cloven hoofs would be about 150 species of animal....not breed, but distinct species:
addax, alpine ibex, Andean Guemals, Angolan springbok, arabian oryx, Arabian Tahr, argali, axis deer, bantang, Bate's Dwarf antelope, beira antelope, beisa, bezoar goat, bighorn, blaauwbok, Black lechwe, blackbuck, blesbok, bohor reedbuck, Bongo, Bovidae, brindled gnu, brown goral, bushbuck, cape buffalo, cape or red hartebeest, caribou, cattle, chamois, chinese muntjac, chinese water deer, chiru, common duiker, common eland, common hartebeest, common reedbuck, common springbok, common waterbuck, daghestan tur, dall sheep, defassa, derby eland, dibatag, dorcas gazelle, dwarf musk deer, fallow deer, fea's muntjac, forest duiker, formosan serow, four-horned antelope, gaur, gemsbok, gerenuk, giant sable antelope, giraffe, goat, goitred gazelle, grant's gazelle, Greater Kudu, grey goral, grysbok, hairy fronted muntjac, Harrison's dwarf antelope, Himalayan Tahr, hog deer, impala, Indian buffalo, indian chevrotain, indian muntjac, iran sheep, Japanese Serow, Kafue Flats lechwe, Klipspringer, Kob, kouprey, kuban tur, Lesser Kudu, lichtensteins hartebeest, lowland anoa, malay chevrotain, maned serow, markhor, mongolian gazelle, mongolian saiga, moose, mouflon, mountain anoa, mountain musk deer, mountain nyala, mountain reedbuck, Mrs. Grays lechwe, mule deer, musk ox, nilgai, Nilgiri Tahr, northern steinbok, nubian ibex, nyala, okapi, oribi, Pere David's deer, pleihari muntjac, Pronghorn antelope, Puku, Red deer, red goral, Red lechwe, reindeer, roan antelope, roe deer, Royal antelope, sable antelope, saiga, salt's dik-dik, Schomburgk's deer, scimitar oryx, Sharpe's grysbok, Sheep, siberian ibex, siberian musk deer, Sika, sitatunga, South American Pampas Deer, South American Pudu, South American Spike-horned deer, South American Swamp Deer, southern Steinbok, spanish ibex, Suni, Takin, tamarau, thomson's gazelle, tufted deer, tufted oryx, urial sheep, virginia deer, walia, wapiti, water chevrotain, white tailed gnu, Yak, and Zebu. So, that's at least 150 sacrifices after a year afloat in the Ark. And that isn't even counting all the clean birds.....there are about 8000 species of bird, and only a few are considered off-limits.
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