Alternately titled: Moses shows patience and restraint while God just wants to slaughter everyone.
In my last post I talked a bit about the oddly comedic incidents scattered throughout the books of Moses wherein God gets pissed at the Israelites and decides that the best course of action is to either kill them all or just kill some of them. In these situations the stories typically depict Moses and Aaron having to talk God out of it in a VERY similar way to the story of Sodom and Gomorrah.
You might remember that in the story of Sodom and Gomorrah God warns Abraham that he is going to destroy those cities but Abraham talks God down to the point where if God finds ten righteous persons he will spare the city. To modern Biblical believers this should be frightening. Here is a supposedly perfect and Holy God compromising his morality based on the advice of human beings. Here are human beings talking God into being MORE loving. MORE patient, MORE merciful and all around MORE moral. This is one of those red-flag hallmarks that makes it obvious that these are stories, not historical accounts of actual interactions with any god.
As I said similar scenes occur between Moses and Aaron and God several times in the Old Testament. One example happens during the story of the 10 Commandments. God is coming down to Mount Sinai in a rumbling thundering fiery cloud (you know, the sort that might spew out of a volcano, the sort that ancient superstitious people might mistake for the glory of a god). There’s been plenty of weird superstitious rules and rituals imposed by God thus far but here, at the origin of the Mosaic Law, is where things get really bad, where something as simple as setting foot on the wrong mountain or working on the wrong day of the week meant your neighbors and family were commanded by GOD HIMSELF to execute you brutally.
Now what reason, other than superstitious horseshit, could there possibly be for God to set up this kind of rule? Sure, okay, Moses is his chosen one who is the only one who is supposed to be up there but what, exactly, is the benefit of executing anyone who so much as touches the mountain? Usually rules and laws are meant to maintain the public good or the welfare of people but here we have a rule that just puts people in danger of the death penalty for no reason.
Of course you might say, “well God wanted them to stay away because his glory and power might harm them if they get too close”. There is a recurring theme in some parts of the Bible (but not all) that seeing or being in the presence of God can be fatal to an ordinary human being, even one who believes. But this is superstitious horseshit as well because an all powerful God, especially one who was once incarnated in human form as Jesus, could easily decide to appear without any harm to anyone in a totally benign form. All the pomp and circumstance of mimicking a volcanic eruption and appearing in a form that would be so harmful to human beings it apparently requires their execution if they attempt to be subjected to it does no one any good and makes absolutely no fucking sense…
All of that without mentioning how immoral it is to kill someone just for touching a mountain and how even more bizarre and cruel to want the animals killed as well.
Most Christians know that while Moses is being talked to by God Aaron and company are down below making idols and worshiping them, apparently forgetting the shit they just went through with the plagues and apparently turning a blind eye to the fire and quaking and the very voice of God which God himself tells Moses he will be able to hear.
The Lord said to Moses, “I am going to come to you in a dense cloud, so that the people will hear me speaking with you and will always put their trust in you.” Then Moses told the Lord what the people had said.
– Exodus 19:9
“Mount Sinai was covered with smoke,because the Lord descended on it in fire. The smoke billowed up from it like smoke from a furnace, and the whole mountain trembled violently”
– Exodus 19:18
Admittedly God’s words to Moses do go on for quite a few chapters as God details a whole bunch of pedantic overly detailed and obviously manmade nonsense that is supposedly the basis for the ancient Jewish faith. It isn’t until Chapter 32, when Moses is about to come down the mountain, that the idols are finally cast by Aaron and the other Hebrews. Of course God’s first instinct isn’t to show restraint or mercy or understanding but to shed blood.
To someone like me this screams, “We made this story up!” and “This isn’t meant to be taken literally” but to a Biblical literalist this is ACTUALLY what happened and why it happened. God is actually such an evil monster that his immediate reaction is to wipe out his own people, or, at the very least, to slaughter all those who worshiped the idols. Idol worship of any kind is forbidden under penalty of death by Yahweh as does any attempt to practice religious liberty. In fact taking the Bible at its word Yahweh is 100% opposed to the idea of religious liberty and if our legal system mirrored the Biblical one we would be executing anyone who did profess their belief in Yahweh and Jesus.
Moses, as I stated before, becomes the voice of reason against God’s insane knee-jerk blood-thirst.
The same story is actually retold in Deuteronomy Chapter 9 but this time it is written from Moses’ point of view. And, surprise, Moses’ version is much the same with him claiming that only through fasting and prayer and begging God not to do it he manged to save Israel from disaster… and by disaster I mean the furious wrath of God.
So now we come to the end of our wonderful tale. Moses manages to convince God to spare some of the Israelites but Moses, being only slightly less of a dick than God, isn’t going to spare everyone, not even close. And, just with all punishments in the Old Testament law, the brutal executions will be conducted in the name of God and upholding righteousness and will involve people killing their friends, family and loved ones themselves.
That is some fucked up shit right there and kinda explains Jesus’ whole spiel in Matthew about how “anyone who does not hate their Father or Mother is not worthy of me” and how all of his followers are required to love him more than they love anyone else or they are unworthy.
If you accept the Bible as the word of God than THAT is the kind of God you serve.