Negative Reinforcement (Deuteronomy 27-29)

God decides it’s time for a rehashing of the Ten Commandments. For variety’s sake, he puts a more negative spin on them. For example: “Cursed be he who dishonors his father or his mother” (Deu 27:16). The orginal phrasing, “Thou shalt not…,” is like saying “Don’t do that, please” and this “Cursed be he…” business is like saying “Fuck you if you do that”. Harsh. This would never work on me; I always thought it was funny when I was a kid and a teacher would get REALLY mad and scream in an effort to control an uruly classroom. I remember a certain French teacher – Monsieur Desjardins – screaming and throwing a stapler across the room. Admittedly, French teachers in Ontario do not have an easy time and are literally driven to madness by Grade 8 students who, after years of core French, still only knew how to say “Je m’appelle Stefan (De Pinto)”. Man, that kid was dense.

God also throws this into the mix: “Cursed be he who misleads a blind man on the road” (Deu 27:18). Cursed be that guy for sure; he’s an asshole.

God mentions the good stuff that could happen to his people if they stick to his commandments. Stuff like having the “fruit of your body” be blessed. But it’s contained in a single paragraph in Deuteronomy 28. When it comes to the bad stuff that could happend, God goes on and on for pages. This much negative reinforcement goes against everything I’ve gleaned from reality television about dog training and child rearing (which isn’t much but I’m always in favour of holding strong, yet unsupported opinions).

Here’s some of the bad stuff that could happen:

– consumption

– fever

– inflammation

– drought

– mildew (OH NO!)

– blasting (it doesn’t say what kind)

– boils

– itchiness

– “…your ass shall be violently be taken away before your face…” (Deu 28:31)

– someone will have sex with your wife that isn’t you

– rain that isn’t rain but actually a kind of powder (haven’t heard of this one before – way to stay fresh, G)

– you’ll be forced to eat your own children (dark)

– a nation of stern countenance will rise up and overtake you (probably China)

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One CommentLeave a comment

  1. Keep your hands off my ass, God!


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