Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Thou Shalt Not Steal

Dear Internet Diary,

The Eighth Commandment:

The fat of my feast shall not remain all night until the morning.

Well, if there's one thing Christians can do, and atheists, for that matter, is clear away the fat of the feast. I am not a biblical historian. I don't know what the Jews did with the offerings to Yahweh, but I confess, it kind of sounds like leaving cookies for Santa Claus. If you leave those out, Santa is supposed to eat them. If you, as a parent, leave the cookies 'til moring, the kids will be disillusioned, and their belief in your fairy-tale will be shattered.

If you know any better about this commandment, I invite your comments. I live to learn.

The New! and Improved! Commandment:
Thou Shalt not Steal.

As a general guideline, it is a good thought. It doesn't work as an absolute. It doesn't in the bible, either, which is surprising, considering how many christians insist that the Ten Commandments are absolute. The penalty for stealing an ox is five oxen. The penalty for stealing a sheep is four sheep. But if it's in the Code of Lipit-Ishtar, it must be true, right?

So how can stealing ever be good ? American law makes allowances for people whose lives are in danger. If it comes down to a can of orange-juice or death, the moral thing to do is to steal the orange juice. It would be nice if it were given willingly, but sometimes there's not enough time. Allowances must be made for self-defense.

You would think an all-knowing God would know that. But that's not what the commandment says. I guess it's too complicated to include issues of context in graven sound-bytes.

But thanks for listening, diary.

1 comment:

breakerslion said...

"The fat of my feast shall not remain all night until the morning."

Here we see the pudgy, soft fingers of the clergy reaching for those offerings. This is a nice little piece of CYA, and an advertisement for a value-added service at the same time! In days of old, folks used to go to high places and make offerings. Now, this was no longer appropriate unless the supplicant wanted to hang around all night and clean up before dawn. I'm betting there were convenient rules against watching to see what God would take for itself too, like not looking on the face of...? How much more convenient to take those pesky old offerings to the temple, and let the poor, acursed Levys do the cleaning chores for you. And by the way, God likes a little more sage and not so much garlic on his poultry!