The Foreskin of Your Heart (Deuteronomy 7-10)

The Book of Deuteronomy is proving to be a disappointment. It just rehashes what happened in Exodus and feels like the writers are stalling big-time.

Let’s make one thing very clear: the Old Testament does not preach religious tolerance. Rather, it preaches active religious intolerance. Don’t get me wrong – I’m not exactly the most tolerant person when it comes to religion. I truly dislike it. But I don’t make a habit of going around town and ripping crucifixes off the necks of little old ladies. In Deuteronomy 7, God endorses the following behaviour: “But thus you shall deal with them: you shall break down their altars, and dash in pieces their pillars, and hew down their Asherim, and burn their graven images with fire.” (Deu 7:5) Wow. That’s intense. P.S. I looked up “Asherim” and it’s a wooden pillar that symbolizes the Canaanite goddess Ashera.

Looking up Ashera led me to one to many “goddess” websites (which I would have really been into when I was sixteen and, for a brief period, a practicing Wiccan). The design of these websites makes it hard for anyone to take them seriously. Check this out:

Sparkly Website

God goes on to command: “And you shall destroy all the peoples that the Lord your God will give over to you, your eye shall not pity them…” (Deu 7:16). Even worse. These lessons seem to be in direct competition with those of the New Testament which is much more warm and fuzzy. How do Christians decide which ones to live by?

God reminds everyone of the manna he gave them to eat when they were wandering around in the desert. Manna does not sound like it tastes good at all but, not to worry, “man does not live by bread alone” (Deu 8:3). That sounds like something from a pro-anorexia website. I was heavily into pro-ana and mia websites in 2005. Pure fascination. I’m fascinated with both ends of the spectrum: the deathly thin and the morbidly obese. I think I remember reading in “Ana’s Grotto” that you could fill yourself up on air by breathing deeply when you were hungry. Tried it; didn’t work.

Here’s a nice picture I found on a pro-ana website:

What I like about it, is that it’s message is very subtle. The black around the eyes is a nice touch, too.

Moving on, God tells his people that they’re “stubborn” because they didn’t listen to everything he said while they were wandering aimlessly in the desert for forty years with infrequent access to food and water. I’d question his leadership skills, too. In Deuteronomy 10, God uses an interesting metaphor that I wouldn’t have chosen myself. He’s trying to get across the point (I think) that they need to just relax and listen to him: “Circumcise therefore the foreskin of your heart, and be no longer stubborn” (Deu 10:16). Okay. I can’t really see the similarites between a penis and a heart that would give *oomph* to this metaphor but that’s just me.

Published in: on March 12, 2011 at 8:32 pm  Comments (2)  
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2 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. …………………………It would be nice if some of the reporting on this subject focused on the many Jews who are opposed to circumcision.
    Some Jews feel the time has come for a symbolic bris without surgery.

    Jewish Groups for Genital Integrity
    * Jews Against Circumcision
    * Questioning Circumcision: A Jewish Perspective by Ron Goldman, Ph.D.
    * Beyond the Bris: Jewish Parenting Blog
    * A Case for Bris without Milah.

    • Cool. Thanks for the info. I’ll definitely mention this at some point.

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