Sunday, February 14, 2010

Bible study - the horror of Exodus

"And the brutality. From the start, Exodus involves a series of bloodbaths - outbreaks of state-sponsored and divinely ordained carnage directed principally at children."

"Even children understand that Exodus is only a movie, that those are actors, and not real people, movie deaths, not real ones. And as children, we learn from the movies that the deaths of our enemies are good deaths, to be celebrated and cheered."

Francine Prose, Exodus, p. 33, Killing the Buddha by Peter Manseau and Jeff Sharlet

As I read the bible, I am more and more appalled and understand better and better why the world is as screwed up as it is. We as humans have held as sacred, and the revealed word of some God up in heaven some pretty dastardly myths.

It is hard to see how they have served us well other than to normalize and sanction atrocity after atrocity that tribes of humans committ against other tribes.

I didn't teach this stuff to my 9 children, but it is endemic in the culture and can't be avoided. It is in the paper every day, and the movies and the blood lust to torture and kill enemies runs very deep in our brains. It is extremely difficult if not impossible to overcome in spite of what Jesus and Buddha taught.

Us Unitarian Universalists no longer look upon the Old Testament as the revealed Word of God, or sacred scripture. Our values are quite different, even the opposite of what the Old Testament of the Bible teaches. We say that we believe in the inherent worth and dignity of every person something which Exodus clearly does not teach.

We, UUs, say we believe in justice, equity, and compassion in human relations, but the slaughter of children doesn't seem to fit with this value. I could go on, but you, dear reader, get the point.

Exodus is a liberation story but one that teaches dysfunctional values of retaliation, vengeance, torture, and murder as justified human activities. I think it may be time for us to speak up as inhabitants of planet earth and point out that Exodus is no longer a morality tale which current inhabitants of Terra Firma in the third millennium should emulate.

This is article #7 in a series on Bible Study.

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