06 September 2007

Random Rant

While perusing a list of biblical atrocities, I came across a verse that makes even less sense than most. Exodus 22:20: He that sacrificeth unto any god, save unto the Lord only, he shall be utterly destroyed. At least, it makes no sense under the assumption that there is only one god, that of the bible.

Possibilities: the sacrifices are aimed at a god that doesn't exist; the sacrifices are aimed at something that does exist, and was therefore created by the god of the bible. Now, if they're sacrificing to something that doesn't exist, it would make a lot more sense to just, say, show them that it doesn't exist? Destroying them seems more than a trifle severe. If they're sacrificing to something that god created, well, in the first place why's he getting so upset? In the second place, god presumably has the power to manifest through it.

I can only think of two ways that this verse makes any sense whatsoever. The first is that it's an admission that there is more than one god, so you better choose the "right" one. The second is that it's a social control and has no real relation to any sort of god. That is, it's really about a cultural norm and maintaining the status quo. Most likely, it's just a way of dividing "self" from "other," and indicating to all members of the culture that "otherness" will not be tolerated.

But taken literally, the verse only makes sense if the god of the bible is insane or if there actually are other gods beside the one of the bible.

AM Addendum: Also note that for anyone to be destroyed using this verse as justification is a tacit acknowledgment that there are other gods.

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