Rabbi Gellman, who used to be part of the God Squad with a catholic priest, still has a syndicated column. I occasionally address them there. This time it’s a column that in my paper is titled “why don’t animals talk”.
Now many cultures have myths on why this is. They are just-so stories like Kipling wrote. Raven can’t talk anymore because he stole fire for mankind and carried it in his beak.
The answer we have from the rabbi to ostensibly a third-grade girl is that it is somehow to teach humans “not just about right and wrong but also about wrong and right and even more right.” (Italics mine) What the hell? This certainly drives a spike into the objective claims of morality from theists. If this god allows something that it kinda isn’t good with, but there is a better idea, then why not require the truly “good” idea? The rabbi wants to have it that eating meat is okay with his god but its better if we could eat without causing some animal to “suffer and die”.
In this column, Gellman mentions Genesis 1:29 and Genesis 9:3. They are, with a little added for context (the specific verses are italicized):
“26 Then God said, “Let us make humankind in our image, according to our likeness; and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the wild animals of the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps upon the earth.”27 So God created humankind[e] in his image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.
28 God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it; and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the air and over every living thing that moves upon the earth.” 29 God said, “See, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit; you shall have them for food. 30 And to every beast of the earth, and to every bird of the air, and to everything that creeps on the earth, everything that has the breath of life, I have given every green plant for food.” And it was so. 31 God saw everything that he had made, and indeed, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day.” Genesis 1
0 Then Noah built an altar to the Lord, and took of every clean animal and of every clean bird, and offered burnt offerings on the altar. 21 And when the Lord smelled the pleasing odor, the Lord said in his heart, “I will never again curse the ground because of humankind, for the inclination of the human heart is evil from youth; nor will I ever again destroy every living creature as I have done.
22 As long as the earth endures, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night, shall not cease.”
1God blessed Noah and his sons, and said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth. 2 The fear and dread of you shall rest on every animal of the earth, and on every bird of the air, on everything that creeps on the ground, and on all the fish of the sea; into your hand they are delivered. 3 Every moving thing that lives shall be food for you; and just as I gave you the green plants, I give you everything. 4 Only, you shall not eat flesh with its life, that is, its blood. 5 For your own lifeblood I will surely require a reckoning: from every animal I will require it and from human beings, each one for the blood of another, I will require a reckoning for human life.” – Genesis 8-9
So, we have a god that has no problem with killing and burning animals for its own pleasure, so Gellman’s claim that this god is all about veganism isn’t true in the slightest. This god is so all about meat is that he rejects Cain’s offering of fruits and vegetables, and approves of Abel’s offering, also making it questionable why Abel was bothering with killing animals at all since they weren’t eating them, and why this god had to kill and skin animals to make clothes for the newly naked Adam and Eve. The rabbi claims that his god gives the allowance to Noah to eat meat “grudgingly”. That is no where in the verses.
The rabbi then gives a rather horrible little story (midrash) about how Noah wanted a hamburger. He has the snake being truthful and saying one has to make a hamburger (and seemingly implying that it was being evil, which begs the question, why was this snake on the ark?). Noah, for no reason other than personal want, kills and eats his friend the cow. This is from a person who chats regularly with this god. The end of the story is that animals don’t talk to humans because that Noah ate one of them and they are upset.
So are animals upset with this god too since it demands their death?
Which of the cows did Noah eat and how does this work with the other utterly silly story in the bible where it can’t make up its mind on how many animals Noah took with him on the ark?
If we can eat “Every moving thing that lives shall be food for you; and just as I gave you the green plants, I give you everything” then why the claims we can’t eat some of these things in Exodus and Leviticus? This god is so forgetful, losing things, forgetting what he’s said before.
This a prime example of theists making up nonsense thoughtlessly and making things ever worse for their bible’s claims.
“Back of all these superstitions you will find some self-interest. I do not say that this is true in every case, but I do say that if priests had not been fond of mutton, lambs never would have been sacrificed to God. Nothing was ever carried to the temple that the priest could not use, and it always so happened that God wanted what his agents liked. Now, I will not say that all priests have been priests “for revenue only,” but I must say that the history of the world tends to show that the sacerdotal class prefer revenue without religion to religion without revenue.” – Robert Ingersoll (lots more excellent quotes here for those who don’t think atheists used to be as feistyt as they are now)