fear of you and dread of you

A number of posts in this blog feature less than complimentary remarks about a certain white-bearded entity named Jehovah by some. He's wrathful and jealous, turns people into pillars of salt and demands people kill their children to prove their devotion. He's also not at all kind to animals, as is evident in the following hair-raising words attributed to him in a book written by his buddies:

The fear of you and the dread of you shall be upon every beast of the earth, and upon every fowl of the air, upon all that moveth upon the earth, and upon all the fishes of the sea; into your hand are they delivered. Every moving thing that liveth shall be meat for you; even as the green herb have I given you all things.
genesis 9:2

So that's why every sensible moving thing that liveth, and the insensible ones too, run for their lives when they see us coming. Hugh knew? Laying some of that green herb on us was pretty cool, true, but what has the big J. done for us lately?

I've been tempted to murder my own children on the odd occasion, but not on the demand of a cosmic psychopath. As Bob Dylan puts it in "Highway 61 Revisited":

God said to Abraham "Kill me a son!"
Abe said "Man, you must be putting me on."
God said "No", Abe said "What?"
God said "You can do what you want Abe, but next time you see me coming you better run."

The post "homicidal obedience" features a Caravaggio painting of Abraham, knife in hand, about to slaughter the son in question, Isaac.

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weirsdo said...

God is definitely "the man" in the Dylan lyric.
It seems strange that this story is so fundamental to both Islam and the Judeo-Christian religions. Defying authority seems much more rare and admirable to me.

Karen said...

Wow! Cosmic rapture revisited. Homicidal obedience was my first comment on this blog, wasn't it?

Karen said...

To address this post, though, I think the entire Book of Genesis should be taken with a grain of salt.

Brian Miller said...

how far will you go in your devotion....will you kill your own son? i wonder perhaps if he is not foreshadowing the death of his own son, giving an alternative at the last minute to Abe when he knows he can not with his own.

interesting too you chose the pillar of salt story as well...was it he that turned her to salt or her own disobedience as she knew what would happen.


choices. we all have choices. on what we will do and who we will follow.

thought provoking write...

Alice Audrey said...

I find wry humor in your saying all sensible creatures run from us after having spent the last three weeks posting about the Galapagos, where precious few of anything ran from us.

masterymistery said...

Hi Karen, yes you're quite right.

How embarrassing -- your comment prompted me to revisit "homicidal obedience" and it's all there, Bob Dylan quote included. I'm a bit annoyed with myself I can tell you.

On the upside, at least it demonstrates I'm consistent in my thinking!

Thanks for your comment --- I'll be monitoring/checking my posts a little closer in future!

MM

masterymistery said...

Hi Alice, good point, though a counter would be they don't know us very well, yet!

I suppose that in environments where there are large and hungry predators, eg tropical jungle, animals have learned that no-one and nothing is to be trusted, that even the teeniest flicker of movement 200 yards away is cause for concern.

Thanks for your comment. I'll scrutinise my logic a little more closely in future.;

masterymistery said...

Hi Brian, thanks for your comments.

No, I wouldn't go that far in my devotion, unless there were compelling reasons for killing my son, eg if he were a homicidal maniac threatening the life of another, but even then I don't think I'd do it. And I wouldn't be very happy with anyone requiring or asking me to do it.

I think everyone has the freedom and entitlement to create or select a belief-system they are comfortable with. So my comments apply only to myself, not to anyone else or their belief-systems.

But for me, and strictly for me alone, things like worship and obedience cause me to run in the opposite direction from the entity requiring them.

Your point about God foreshadowing the death of his own son is a very good one. I've not thought of it in those terms before now, so thanks for pointing me towards another interpretation. It does make sense.

I'm not saying that I've changed my views about that particular episode, but you've shown me that there is another way of looking at it, and it's a way that's quite robust and stands up to scrutiny. It flies, absolutely.

As far as Lot's wife is concerned, however, I can't see or accept that any act of disobedience large or small warrants being killed (presuming of course that the fate she met resulted in her death).

I can't even think of a metaphorical interpretation of those events, but am open to being persuaded there is one.

Your point about choices is a good one. Though I would add that the liberty/freedom to make choices includes the responsibility to accept the outcomes without complaint.

Regards, MM

masterymistery said...

Weirsdo, yes it is strange isn't it? And re the second part, "Defying authority" is my middle name! It's a dirty job but someone's gotta do it. Thanks for your commment.

Cheers
MM

masterymistery said...

mgeorge,

Thanks for your comment, which I accidentally deleted. I'm getting very careless these days, need to sharpen up.

Anyway, humblest apologies. I hope my stupidity won't prevent you from continuing to visit and commment.

Below is the response I posted to your post. Then I wanted to change something, so I copied the text , deleted what I thought was ... anyway, it's complicated and boring.

==============================

Hi mgeorge, Thanks for your comments. I read a bit of Castenada in my "yooth", engrossing to me at the time. Compulsive consciousness devouring, unpleasant habit! Reminds me of the kung fu - style movie ("- style" because it's a little more sophisticated than many in the genre) "The One" starring Jet Li. Made about five years ago, I think.

The plot is based on the multiverse concept, with "the one" travelling through all the alternate universes in the ensemble finding then killing those other versions of himself, and taking their consciousness and powers.

Thanks for the new scientist link, I'm going there shortly. You may know of physicist David Bohm's book "The Holographic Universe and the Implicate Order" or similar words. Waxes quite mystical in parts but with a reasonable dollop of rigour, to my mind anyway.

Much of it is over my head and way over my maths, but one of the key ideas (I think) has to do with one of the characteristics of a hologram, that a piece can stand for the whole, albeit at a degraded resolution.

So you could tear off a bit of the Universe and keep it in your knapsack for when you go hiking between Realities. Sitting by the campfire, you could take it out and "fire it up" then get all nostalgic about your home Reality!

MM

masterymistery said...

The following is the text of the comment by mgeorge that I accidentally deleted yesterday:


mgeorge has left a new comment on your post "fear of you and dread of you":

No amount of demonising will thwart the will and ability of true believers to adjust and update the interpretation of their scripture and dogma.

As a parallel to the Genesis quote, the controversial writer, discredited anthropologist and supposed shaman Carlos Castaneda in one of his books quotes his teacher thus (presumably from shamanism): the Great Eagle waits to devour the consciousness of all living things when they die.

Like all other living things, we seek compulsively to maximise good sensations and feelings - a big part of consciousness. We are taught that idleness and any rest beyond the minimum is not right. The only people who seek to break this compulsion may be meditators. Castaneda also alluded to consensual physical reality long before the Matrix movie. A New Scientist article on the unresting mind, meditation etc. (many moons ago) also touched on this. In this regard, here is a relevant article, most of which unfortunately requires log-in to read.
http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg20126911.300-our-world-may-be-a-giant-hologram.html

Faycin A Croud said...

I was raised Catholic and I always hated the Isaac story. I always thought I must not be a very good Christian because I would never kill my child for anybody. Although I considered myself devout, I knew that my love for my child would surpass my love for deity. I figured I was damned but I couldn't go against my conscience.
I actually like Bob Dylan. He doesn't have the greatest voice--far from it--but he's an amazing lyricist.

masterymistery said...

Hi Faycin, thanks for your comments.

You may have noticed Brian's comment above suggesting a metaphorical "explanation" based on foreshadowing the Father sacrificing the Son. But in my view, that would be a "foreshadowing" to no apparent effect or significance.

Placing conscience as the ultimate arbiter is something I'm very much in favour of.