Monday, March 25, 2013
Passover: Time to celebrate the wanton torture & slaughter of innocent millions
Tonight is the first night of Passover. There was a time in my life when Passover actually meant something meaningful and good to me. According to the Jewish faith, Passover commemorates the Israelites release from slavery in Egypt as told in Exodus.
We’d gather as a family - aunts, uncles, cousins et al, - and share the “Seder”, the Passover meal. As the youngest child, it was my solemn duty to ask the “four questions” which were answered by my father. Among the questions was “Why is this night different from all other nights.” The answers, along with all the other facets of the Judaic fable, were all lies.
You’ll recall from watching The Charlton Heston, Yule Brenner movie “The Ten Commandments”, that Moses went to Pharaoh and asked him to let his people go on multiple occasions; but each time “God hardened the Pharaohs’ heart” against the Jews and he refused to release them, only to have his nation punished by ten of God’s successively more hideous plagues. For the final coup de gras punishment God sent down the angel of death to kill all the first born of Egypt, culminating in the deaths of perhaps millions of Egyptians from infants to old people.
The good news is that the angel of death, evidently lacking “Jew-dar” (the Jew detecting version of “gay-dar”) was clued into where the Israelite homes were by the lamb’s blood the Jews smeared on their door lintels at Moses’ direction . The Jewish first born were thus spared. The angel of death “passed over” their houses. How nice. The story is so delightful to Jewish believers that if you Google “Passover plagues” you’ll find lots of happy children’s images celebrating the ten plagues. The picture above is one of them.
The faithful, be they Jew or Christian, never want to question this story, subject it to some reasoned inquiry. The fact is that the “four questions” that every thinking Jew and gentile should be asking are these:
“If God gives free will, why did God intentionally influence the Pharaoh’s decision to reject Moses’ pleas for freedom multiple times by ‘hardening’ his heart?”
“If God is omniscient, and knew that Pharaoh would only release the Jews following the mass genocide of Egyptian first born, why didn’t he just jump directly to the ultimate mass murder and avoid the other theatrics of locust, and hail, a bloody Nile, etc?”
”If god is Omni-beneficent, all merciful, why sacrifice so many innocents to prove his point? After all, after many plagues the people of Egypt implored the Pharaoh to let the Jews go. Why not just destroy the House of the Pharaoh, the priests and advisors, and Pharaoh himself, or better yet, simply appear in the sky and threaten destruction personally?”
”If the story were true, how is it that the Old Testament story is not corroborated by one monument, not one papyrus, not one etching or shard of data by the hand of a single Egyptian; a civilization famous for their detailed record keeping and devotion to commemorating historical events- or a single visiting Greek?”
The fact is these aren’t things the religious want to consider. And while thousands of apologists have written tens of thousands of pages of justification for these contradictions, they are no more on the critical thinking radar screen of believers than is questioning how the sun stopped in the sky over the battle of Jericho without causing the natural disasters that would have ensued had the earth stopped spinning.
You’d at least think that a people who admire and respect education, who have themselves been persecuted and subjected to genocide at the hands of their fellow God fearing religionists, would be rather circumspect about celebrating the torture and destruction of millions of innocent lives. But I suppose when one has been a victim so long and so often that it’s a lot easier to accept the victimization of others without much concern. After all, it’s all good … that time it was “God’s will.”
I could just image the answer my father would have given if I had posed those “revised” Passover questions during the Passover Seder: “Shut the hell up ya little pisher, and pass the brisket!”.