Thursday, March 17, 2005

food for thought

This post is not about Dr. Laura. I like Dr. Laura, and her no nonsense advice. I am posting it because it is an amusing piece of theological food for thought.

An open letter to Dr. Laura
J. Kent Ashcraft
May 2000

Dear Dr. Laura,
Thank you for doing so much to educate people regarding God's Law. I have learned a great deal from your show, and I try to share that knowledge with as many people as I can. When someone tries to defend the homosexual lifestyle, for example, I simply remind him that Leviticus 18:22 clearly states it to be an abomination. End of debate.

I do need some advice from you, however, regarding some of the specific laws and how to best follow them.

a) When I burn a bull on the altar as a sacrifice, I know it creates a pleasing odor for the Lord (Lev 1:9). The problem is my neighbors. They claim the odor is not pleasing to them. Should I smite them?

b) I would like to sell my daughter into slavery, as sanctioned in Exodus 21:7. In this day and age, what do you think would be a fair price for her?

c) I know that I am allowed no contact with a woman while she is in her period of menstrual uncleanliness (Lev 15:19-24). The problem is, how do I tell? I have tried asking, but most women take offense.

d) 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?

e) I have a neighbor who insists on working on the Sabbath. Exodus 35:2 clearly states he should be put to death. Am I morally obligated to kill him myself?

f) A friend of mine feels that even though eating shellfish is an Abomination (Lev 11:10), it is a lesser abomination than homosexuality. I don't agree. Can you settle this?

g) Lev 21:20 states that I may not approach the altar of God if I have a defect in my sight. I have to admit that I wear reading glasses. Does my vision have to be 20/20, or is there some wiggle room here?

h) Most of my male friends get their hair trimmed, including the hair around their temples, even though this is expressly forbidden by Lev 19:27. How should they die?
i) I know from Lev 11:6-8 that touching the skin of a dead pig makes me unclean, but may I still play football if I wear gloves?

j) My uncle has a farm. He violates Lev 19:19 by planting two different crops in the same field, as does his wife by wearing garments made of two different kinds of thread (cotton/polyester blend). He also tends to curse and blaspheme a lot. Is it really necessary that we go to all the trouble of getting the whole town together to stone them? (Lev 24:10-16) Couldn't we just burn them to death at a private family affair like we do with people who sleep with their in-laws? (Lev. 20:14)

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.
Your devoted disciple and adoring fan.

These are the Biblical verses refered to above, in two different translations: the King James Version [KJV], and New International Version [NIV]

Lev 18:22 [KJV] Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination. [NIV] Do not lie with a man as one lies with a woman; that is detestable.

Lev 1:9 [KJV] But his inwards and his legs shall he wash in water: and the priest shall burn all on the altar, to be a burnt sacrifice, an offering made by fire, of a sweet savour unto the LORD. [NIV] He is to wash the inner parts and the legs with water, and the priest is to burn all of it on the altar. It is a burnt offering, an offering made by fire, an aroma pleasing to the LORD.

Exodus 21:7 [KJV] And if a man sell his daughter to be a maidservant, she shall not go out as the menservants do. [NIV] If a man sells his daughter as a servant, she is not to go free as menservants do.

Lev 15:19-24 [KJV] And if a woman have an issue, and her issue in her flesh be blood, she shall be put apart seven days: and whosoever toucheth her shall be unclean until the even. 20 And every thing that she lieth upon in her separation shall be unclean: every thing also that she sitteth upon shall be unclean. 21 And whosoever toucheth her bed shall wash his clothes, and bathe himself in water, and be unclean until the even. 22 And whosoever toucheth any thing that she sat upon shall wash his clothes, and bathe himself in water, and be unclean until the even. 23 And if it be on her bed, or on any thing whereon she sitteth, when he toucheth it, he shall be unclean until the even. 24 And if any man lie with her at all, and her flowers be upon him, he shall be unclean seven days; and all the bed whereon he lieth shall be unclean.

[NIV] When a woman has her regular flow of blood, the impurity of her monthly period will last seven days, and anyone who touches her will be unclean till evening. 20 Anything she lies on during her period will be unclean, and anything she sits on will be unclean. 21 Whoever touches her bed must wash his clothes and bathe with water, and he will be unclean till evening. 22 Whoever touches anything she sits on must wash his clothes and bathe with water, and he will be unclean till evening. 23 Whether it is the bed or anything she was sitting on, when anyone touches it, he will be unclean till evening. 24 If a man lies with her and her monthly flow touches him, he will be unclean for seven days; any bed he lies on will be unclean.

Lev 25:44 [KJV] Both thy bondmen, and thy bondmaids, which thou shalt have, shall be of the heathen that are round about you; of them shall ye buy bondmen and bondmaids. [NIV] Your male and female slaves are to come from the nations around you; from them you may buy slaves.

Exodus 35:2 [KJV] Six days shall work be done, but on the seventh day there shall be to you an holy day, a sabbath of rest to the LORD: whosoever doeth work therein shall be put to death. [NIV] For six days, work is to be done, but the seventh day shall be your holy day, a Sabbath of rest to the LORD. Whoever does any work on it must be put to death.

Lev 11:10 [KJV] And all that have not fins and scales in the seas, and in the rivers, of all that move in the waters, and of any living thing which is in the waters, they shall be an abomination unto you [NIV] But all creatures in the seas or streams that do not have fins and scales --- whether among all the swarming things or among all the other living creatures in the water --- you are to detest.
Lev 21:20 [KJV] Or crookbackt, or a dwarf, or that hath a blemish in his eye, or be scurvy, or scabbed, or hath his stones broken [NIV] or who is hunchbacked or dwarfed, or who has any eye defect, or who has festering or running sores or damaged testicles.

Lev 19:27 [KJV] Ye shall not round the corners of your heads, neither shalt thou mar the corners of thy beard. [NIV] Do not cut the hair at the sides of your head or clip off the edges of your beard.

Lev 11:6-8 [KJV] And the hare, because he cheweth the cud, but divideth not the hoof; he is unclean unto you. 7 And the swine, though he divide the hoof, and be clovenfooted, yet he cheweth not the cud; he is unclean to you. 8 Of their flesh shall ye not eat, and their carcase shall ye not touch; they are unclean to you.
[NIV] The rabbit, though it chews the cud, does not have a split hoof; it is unclean for you. 7 And the pig, though it has a split hoof completely divied, does not chew the cud; it is unclean for you. 8 You must not eat their meat or touch their carcases; they are unclean for you.

Lev 19:19 [KJV] Ye shall keep my statutes. Thou shalt not let thy cattle gender with a diverse kind: thou shalt not sow thy field with mingled seed: neither shall a garment mingled of linen and woollen come upon thee. [NIV] Keep my decrees. Do not mate different kinds of animals. Do not plant your field with two kinds of seed. Do not wear clothing woven of two kinds of material.

Lev 24:10-16 [KJV] And the son of an Israelitish woman, whose father was an Egyptian, went out among the children of Israel: and this son of the Israelitish woman and a man of Israel strove together in the camp; 11 And the Israelitish woman's son blasphemed the name of the Lord, and cursed. And they brought him unto Moses: (and his mother's name was Shelomith, the daughter of Dibri, of the tribe of Dan:) 12 And they put him in ward, that the mind of the LORD might be shewed them. 13 And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, 14 Bring forth him that hath cursed without the camp; and let all that heard him lay their hands upon his head, and let all the congregation stone him. 15 And thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel, saying, Whosoever curseth his God shall bear his sin. 16 And he that blasphemeth the name of the LORD, he shall surely be put to death, and all the congregation shall certainly stone him: as well the stranger, as he that is born in the land, when he blasphemeth the name of the Lord, shall be put to death.

[NIV] Now the son of an Israelite mother and an Egyptian father went out among the Israelites, and a fight broke out in the camp between him and an Israelite. 11 The son of the Israelite woman blasphemed the name of the LORD with a curse; so they brough him to Moses. (His mother's name was Shelomith, the daughter of Dibri the Danite.) 12 They put him in custody until the will of the LORD should be made clear to them. 13 Then the LORD said to Moses: 14 Take the blasphemer outside the camp. All those who heard him are to lay their hands on his head, and the entire assembly is to stone him. 15 Say to the Israelites: If anyone curses his God, he will be held responsible; 16 anyone who blasphemes the name of the LORD must be put to death. The entire assembly must stone him. Whether an alien or native-born, when he blasphemes the Name, he must be put to death.

Lev 20:14 [KJV] And if a man take a wife and her mother, it is wickedness: they shall be burnt with fire, both he and they; that there be no wickedness among you. [NIV] If a man marries both a woman and her mother, it is wicked. Both he and they must be burned in the fire, so that no wickedness will be among you.

Think before you choose

So here we have a theology model, namely, Islam, Judaism, and Christianity that are all based in the same root.

They all stem from an ancient Middle Eastern idea of patriarchal monotheism, that is, the idea of The One God, with male attributes.

Joseph Cambell explained it best. He taught that agricultural societies, who depend on the bounty of the earth, are generally peaceful, develop matriarchal theologies, and live in harmonious balance with the cycle of nature. Their religious doctrines exalt the feminine qualities of nurturing, mothering, and the honoring of birth, and new life.

Societies that subscribe to the Patriarchal model are war like and aggressive, exalting the male traits of power, fear and control.

Look at The UK, Ireland, Israel, Palestine, The United States, and Iraq; they are all using patriarchal models of worship, and they are all war like and aggressive.

History has shown that whenever a group of patriarchal people comes in contact with a matriarchal group, the result is that the patriarchal group will over power the matriarchal group, force them to assimilate, or wipe them out.

For example; what does the Christian holiday of Easter have to do with chocolate bunnies and eggs?


The eggs and bunnies were part of a spring fertility celebration practiced by the pagans, (a matriarchal group). The Christian Church simply stepped in and forced these people to assimilate their worship into the patriarchal model. The same goes for Christmas, and Halloween, and all of the other major holidays.

Is it any wonder the world is out of balance? That war and oppression, and violence against women, are perpetuated and condoned?

How can we, as a modern progressive democracy, be so hypocritical, to vilify the backward thinking of the Middle East, and at the same time go to church every Sunday, and exalt the concepts laid out by their ancestors?

If we fail to adopt a theological model that will evolve and grow in step with the modern ideals of democracy, our society will be doomed to a bloody, violent end.

Worship however you like, but do the world a favor, and think before you choose.