Saturday, May 11, 2013
Come Together, Part 5
Courtesy one of those truly terrible, simple-minded, thought-reducing advertising ventures on Facebook, "No Hope..."
Part 4 began examining the Judaic roots of modern anti-homosexuality (call it "western" if you prefer). The picture above, typically leveled at evangelical Christians, quotes two important components of the Torah, each an example of sexually repressive codes that created modern hatreds.
We'll do two things, here, regarding Leviticus and Deuteronomy: first, we'll scathe the Torah from a moral perspective; next, we'll defend those aspects of Judaic law from an economic perspective. The negative aspects, as well as the positive aspects of the Judaic rules will be covered, and the positive aspects will help introduce the discussion of coming together on sexuality hatreds.
Criticizing the Old Testament/Torah is easy: it commands Jews to murder faggots, which many 21st century humans recognize as wrong (or at least "going too far"). As previously discussed, the violent Judaic movement against homosexuality led to the popular terms "faggot" or "fag," which derived from the older "fagot"/"faggot" for "bundle [of sticks]," e.g., something for burning. Male homosexuals were derisively called faggots because their sin was deemed so great that it incurred God's wrath more than anything else. Like firewood, they would burn in Gehenna/Hell after being bloodened by good Chosen.
Even if you're comfortable with killing homosexual men, the Torah's order to murder non-virginal brides might tip the balance of comfort. There is a vast distinction between "the Torah" and "people who currently identify as ethnically and/or religiously Jewish," given that professed Jews in the U.S. are more likely than average to hold what would be called "liberal" social opinions on sexuality and gender relations. "Judaism," here, refers to the state of being commanded by the Torah. The modern perception of the Torah, even by many "orthodox" Jews, tends to consider it a collection of quaint, outdated metaphors, forgetting that the Torah was written literally, and was taken literally for most of its existence. Now, the Torah/OT is most strictly adhered to by folks like the Westboro Baptist Church and non-secular Islamic clerics, who still actually accept God's commands to the older prophets--so, the laws of "Judaism" are, perhaps ironically, kept alive mostly by self-identified anti-Semitics.
A tribe of early humans manages to trap some plants and animals. The hunter-gatherer lifestyle becomes "civilization." Women die regularly in childbirth; infants die regularly thereafter. With average life expectancies in the twenties (or the thirties, if you eliminate 0-1-year-olds from the curve), the Torah almost makes sense.
Let's assume you make an early form of worldview-mistake, and turn selfish: you come to believe that "your" genes (or your "blood," if you prefer) is the essence of importance. In a finite, terrible world, the best you can hope for is to splatter some of your genes behind, so that when you die, those genes are still there. By leaving your blood, you've succeeded in some form of survival.
If we do accept that--Market-Style Evolution, as it were--then Judaism makes a great deal of sense. It is Objectivism for the Ethnicity; Matzo Soup for the Soul. If you're fooling around homosexually, then you're wasting time and energy that could be used, instead, to be impregnanted and/or to impregnante, rolling die after die in pursuit of a better chance at offspring that survive to reproduce. A society that accepts homosexuality would see a reduced birth rate, so when the Torah ordered the murder of homosexuals, it was essentially enforcing breeding requirements: all sexual energy had to be directed toward male/female vaginal intercourse, with "no seed spilled" on the ground (Onan). Judaism condemned sodomy, masturbation, homosexuality, loving, and caring, because those things were "inefficient" with regards the factory-farming of humans. In essence, what the Torah says about sex is, "You're on the clock. Laziness is counter-revolutionary. We are watching. Men, inseminate women. Women, birth children."
Which, while terrible, is an advantage to a warlike tribe, just like enslaving women. The Torah commanded that women not have authority over men so that they wouldn't be able to say no to husbands: women should always be pregnant, producing more Chosen babies, resulting in greater population expansion than in societies where women were free to decide to pursue other interests. Women who were not virgins when they were married were ordered killed by the Torah, because for men trying to perpetuate their genes, the threat of accidentally raising someone else's child(ren) was a major one: if you took your thirty-one available years of life and gave meat to the fruit of someone else's loins, then you "lost." Your genes lost, and that was it. Like a stock options plan, the Torah's mortal consequences for experienced brides encouraged men to believe that, by dominating and raping the daughters they bought from other men, they would be guaranteeing the perpetuation of their own blood/genes.
All bad, yes, but this section is about defending Judaism. Religious Judaism openly and unequivocally advocates horrific behavior. The Torah, and the religion it commands, is terrible. It's not merely "outdated;" it's literally terrible. Early humans could have expanded quite well without murdering the babies of other tribes, which carried "competing" genes; without murdering homosexuals; without enslaving women for use as breeding stock. Maximum, heartless, corporation-like efficiency in promoting certain genes is not necessary for survival.
What makes Judaism, then, defensible? It is--like the stupid racism of Joe from Part 2 of this series--an inappropriate overreaction to an inappropriate outlook. The Torah commands violent social controls in an attempt to save its adherents' genes from a harsh world.
In a bad economy, when Joe sees Hispanics getting jobs, and he faces the prospect of starving, he may lash out (stupidly and wrongly) at Hispanics. In a tough time for a group of people, when they see others getting food and having babies, and they face the prospect of dying off, they may lash out (stupidly and wrongly) at non-breeders--including gays and disobedient women.
...which doesn't make the Torah's prescriptions right. ...which doesn't make the nasty genocide, murder-death-kill, exterminate-every-last-child, slaughter-homosexuals-beat-women Holy Book anything shy of the most noxious prescription for arrogant, racist, sexist, destructive civilization ever created on Earth.
...but which does, perhaps, make it a little bit understandable. Joe, upon learning that Hispanics are only competing with him for jobs because of the unfair economic structuring of society, could come together with his real allies, the desperate Hispanic workers. People who follow the western ideas that originated from the Old Testament could do similarly. Believing in the ick factor, rather than in the real social and economic justifications for modern anger at homosexuals, keeps the hatred going. Pretending that it's about ickiness, while it feels good and superior, will only help it perpetuate, so if you want it to stop, look elsewhere.
How does all that translate into the modern world, though, considering that almost no one actually cares about the Torah anymore? The only ones who still do are a few fringe groups who actually believe that adhering to a religion means adhering to its sacred texts (rather than the more popular option of trusting celebrated mediators who say that it's okay to disregard said sacred texts).
It's a bitter pill to swallow. It takes a cue from the Iroquois. Remember the Great Law (seven generations)? If you think just about yourself and other adults, then pouring extra battery acid out in the local park is acceptable: it doesn't end up hurting people until the next generation. And "not hurting" is just the beginning. Considering that humanity is an interdependent organism, life comes with a debt: breaking out of the cycle of creation is defaulting on a loan that you took out of someone else's flesh.
Continued in Part 6.