Wednesday, May 26, 2010

The mad Prophet

60 pages to go in the Bible now.  I have just read Ezekiel, and it is one of the most bizarre parts of the Bible thus far.  It continues the trend of the second half of the Old Testament being about how awful, evil and unholy Israel is and how brutally God is going to ream everyone because of it.  This is the first section where it is completely dedicated to recording the prophecies directly transmitted to a person without any third person storytelling.

The word of the Lord came to me, "Mortal...."

It has a bizarre beginning with Ezekiel meeting some four winged angels with 4 hands, 4 wings with 4 faces - human, lion, ox and eagle.  He then goes on to have many visions and messages from God over a number of years.  There isn't anything resembling a story or plot as each few paragraphs the topic changes completely.  A good summary of the way the book goes:

God is angry at the iniquity of the Israelites.
God will smash Israel, sending his servant Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon to destroy Jerusalem.
Babylon is evil and God is going to destroy it and render it uninhabited for all time.
Nebuchadnezzar, God's servant, is going to go smash the city of Tyre.
Nebuchadnezzar did not get enough booty from Tyre to satisfy him so God made him powerful so he could go destroy Egypt and get his loot from there.
God destroys Egypt.  After doing so, God puts Egypt back together again, but smaller this time.
God is angry at the iniquity of the Israelites again (still?) and will smash them to pieces.
God loves the Israelites and is going to bring the remnants of their civilization back to the promised land he just recently booted them out of.
God is going to destroy all the nations that are not Israel for the crime of destroying Israel.

There is also an extended whore metaphor where Israel is repeatedly portrayed as a whore who first lived in Egypt and then prostituted herself to everyone in the world.  It is clear that whoring is the absolute worst thing that Israel could have done because God does not like his women/civilizations to look elsewhere for their relationships.  The book concludes with a multipage listing of the exact dimensions and layout of a tremendous palace/temple/city that God wants created for him when he gives Israel back to the Jews.  4500 cubits for this wall, 3 cubits thick for that wall, the nave to be 20 cubits wide and such goes on and on.

Endless cycles of violence at God's command and the constant repetition of "God will smash your civilization and then you will know that he is THE LORD." make me sad.  Is this really the best Christianity can do for a deity?

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