In previous posts I have presented some reasons for rejecting the idea that the book of Leviticus was inspired by God, and for rejecting the view that this book is a reliable source of truth or wisdom. In this post I will discuss, or begin to discuss, two more reasons for rejecting the idea that Leviticus was inspired by God, or that it is a reliable source of truth or wisdom:
5. Leviticus contains bad moral guidelines.
6. Leviticus contains bad laws and bad social guidelines.
The Bible in general, and the first five books of the Bible in particular, is supposed to provide us with excellent moral guidelines, and exemplary laws and social guidelines. The book of Leviticus, however, is FILLED from start to finish with BAD moral guidelines, BAD laws, and BAD social guidelines. If the book of Leviticus contains messages from Jehovah (as most Christians and Jews believe), then we may reasonably infer that Jehovah is either a SHITHEAD and/or an ASSHOLE, based on the lousiness of his rules, laws, and guidelines.
In more philosophical terms, we may reasonably infer that Jehovah is a morally imperfect person or an intellectually imperfect person, or that Jehovah is both morally and intellectually imperfect. If Jehovah is either morally or intellectually imperfect, then Jehovah is NOT God, because God, by definition, is morally and intellectually perfect. In any case, the BAD moral and practical guidelines presented in Leviticus show that this book was clearly NOT inspired by God, and that we have very good reason to reject this book as having any sort of authority or credibility as a source of moral or practical truth.
LEVITICUS CONTAINS BAD MORAL GUIDELINES
The book of Leviticus promotes sexism. The book of Leviticus promotes slavery and discrimination. The book of Leviticus promotes violence and wars of aggression. This book is better at instructing us about how NOT to behave, or about how to behave without regard to basic morality and without regard for basic fairness, and without regard for basic human rights, than it is at providing instruction about how to be a good and just person. Leviticus is better at teaching people how to be SHITHEADS and ASSHOLES than to be decent human beings.
SEXISM is rampant in Leviticus, from start to finish. For example, the first five verses of Leviticus are drenched in sexism:
1 Now the LORD called to Moses and spoke to him from the tent of meeting, saying,
2 “Speak to the sons of Israel and say to them, ‘When anyone of you brings an offering to the LORD, you shall bring your offering of livestock from the herd or the flock.
3 If his offering is a burnt offering from the herd, he shall offer a male without defect; he shall offer it at the doorway of the tent of meeting, so that he may be accepted before the LORD.
4 And he shall lay his hand on the head of the burnt offering, so that it may be accepted for him to make atonement on his behalf.
5 Then he shall slaughter the bull before the Lord; and Aaron’s sons the priests shall offer up the blood and sprinkle the blood around on the altar that is at the doorway of the tent of meeting.
(Leviticus 1:1-5, New American Standard Bible)
In verse 1 of Chapter 1, Jehovah speaks through a prophet named Moses. Moses was a man, not a woman. Nearly all the prophets mentioned in the Old Testament are men; very few women are called prophets in the OT. And although there are many books in the OT that are attributed to a male prophet, there are ZERO books in the OT that are attributed to a female prophet. The first five books of the OT are attributed to the male prophet Moses. There are just two books in the OT named after women: Ruth and Esther. Ruth did not claim to be a prophet, is not called a prophet in the OT, and is not considered to be a prophet. Esther did not claim to be a prophet, is not called a prophet in the OT, and is not considered to be a prophet.
In addition to the five books attributed to the male prophet Moses, there are five books called “the major prophets”: Isaiah, Jeremiah, Lamentations, Ezekiel, and Daniel. These are the names of four men who were considered OT prophets (Lamentations is traditionally believed to have been written by Jeremiah). ZERO of “the major prophets” books was written by a woman prophet.
Twelve books of the OT are called “the minor prophets”: Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi. These are the names of twelve men who were OT prophets. ZERO of “the minor prophets” was written by a woman prophet. So, clearly Jehovah strongly preferred to communicate through men rather than women. Jehovah was a sexist who promoted sexism.
Not only does Jehovah communicate primarily through men, but his communications are directed primarily to men. In verse 2 of Chapter 1, Jehovah tells his prophet Moses to “Speak to the sons of Israel…”. The book of Leviticus is thus directed primarily to men, not to women. This is another way in which Jehovah displayed and promoted sexism.
In verse 3 of Chapter 1, Jehovah requires that any animal brought as a “burnt offering” be “a male without defect”. In other words, a “burnt offering” should be one of the very best animals from the herd or flock, and being a “male” would make the animal one of the best. So, this requirement also displays and promotes sexism.
The leader of the priesthood was Aaron, a man who was the brother of Moses. This is another example of sexism. Furthermore, in verse 5 of Chapter 1, we learn that ALL of the priests for Jehovah (other than Aaron) were required to be SONS of Aaron. No women were allowed to be priests for Jehovah. So, in addition to promoting sexism by choosing men almost exclusively to be his prophets or messengers, Jehovah further displayed and promoted sexism by requiring that ALL of his priests be men.
In short, the first five verses of Leviticus are completely drenched in sexism. If the book of Leviticus was inspired by Jehovah, then Jehovah was a sexist; Jehovah has an ignorant and unjust attitude of prejudice towards women, and Jehovah promoted this ignorant and unjust attitude towards women. If Jehovah was a sexist and promoted sexism, then Jehovah is ignorant and unjust and thus is NOT God. God, if God exists, is all-knowing and perfectly good. God is not, and cannot be, a sexist. Therefore, the first five verses of Leviticus are sufficient by themselves to establish that this book was NOT inspired by God.
CHAPTER 2 OF LEVITICUS
Jehovah again displays and promotes SEXISM in Chapter 2:
1 ‘Now when anyone presents a grain offering as an offering to the LORD, his offering shall be of fine flour, and he shall pour oil on it and put frankincense on it.
2 He shall then bring it to Aaron’s sons the priests; and he shall take from it his handful of its fine flour and of its oil, with all of its frankincense. And the priest shall offer it up in smoke as its memorial portion on the altar, an offering by fire of a soothing aroma to the LORD.
3 The remainder of the grain offering belongs to Aaron and his sons: a most holy part of the offerings to the LORD by fire.
(Leviticus 2:1-3, New American Standard Bible)
CHAPTER 3 OF LEVITICUS
Jehovah also displays and promotes SEXISM in Chapter 3:
1 ‘Now if his offering is a sacrifice of peace offerings, if he is going to offer from the herd, whether male or female, he shall offer it without defect before the LORD.
2 And he shall lay his hand on the head of his offering and slaughter it at the doorway of the tent of meeting, and Aaron’s sons the priests shall sprinkle the blood around on the altar.
3 From the sacrifice of the peace offerings he shall then present an offering by fire to the LORD, the fat that covers the entrails and all the fat that is on the entrails…
(Leviticus 3:1-3, New American Standard Bible)
CHAPTER 4 OF LEVITICUS
It should be no surprise that Jehovah continues to display and promote SEXSIM in Chapter 4:
1 Then the LORD spoke to Moses, saying,
2 “Speak to the sons of Israel, saying, ‘If a person sins unintentionally in any of the things which the LORD has commanded not to be done, and commits any of them,
3 if the anointed priest sins so as to bring guilt on the people, then he is to offer to the LORD a bull without defect as a sin offering for his sin which he has committed.
(Leviticus 4:1-3, New American Standard Bible)
22 ‘When a leader sins and unintentionally does any of the things which the LORD his God has commanded not to be done, and he becomes guilty,
23 if his sin which he has committed is made known to him, he shall bring as his offering a goat, a male without defect.
24 And he shall lay his hand on the head of the male goat and slaughter it in the place where they slaughter the burnt offering before the Lord; it is a sin offering.
(Leviticus 4:22-24, New American Standard Bible)
BUT WAIT, THERE’S MORE…
Not only do we find this ignorant and unjust sexism consistently promoted throughout the entire book of Leviticus, but we also find other stupid and unjust views, laws, and guidelines promoted in Leviticus. For example, there is no hint that DEMOCRACY is of any value; instead we get a big fat helping of brutal authoritarianism. There is no hint that FREEDOM OF RELIGION has any value; instead, religious beliefs and practices are repeatedly DICTATED by laws and ENFORCED by the threat of the DEATH PENALTY.
Moses was not elected by the Israelites to be the ruler of the Israelites. Jehovah was not elected by the Israelites to be the god of the Israelites. Aaron was not elected by the Israelites to be the head of the priesthood by the Israelites. The sons of Aaron were not elected by the Israelites to be their priests. Jehovah and Moses simply dictated all of this to the Israelites and determined that anyone who refused to follow the “laws” dictated by Jehovah and Moses would be put to death. This included laws that dictated WHO the Israelites would worship and HOW that worship would be conducted. Anyone who worshiped a god other than Jehovah or who worshiped Jehovah in some way other than the ways dictated by Jehovah and Moses were to be put to death.
We in the USA believe in Democracy and Freedom of Religion (at least Americans who are not SHITHEAD Trump supporters). We believe that anti-democratic authoritarian rulers who persecute and kill people who practice a religion different than the religion approved by the authoritarian rulers are evil, and thus such governments are BAD for human beings. But it is precisely such a social and political system that Jehovah, Moses, and the book of Leviticus promotes! For anyone who believes in DEMOCRACY and FREEDOM OF RELIGION, this is powerful evidence that Jehovah was NOT God, and that the book of Leviticus was NOT inspired by God. It is rather the work of a person who was a SHITHEAD and/or an ASSHOLE.
As I argued in Part 6 of this series, killing thousands of mammals and birds every year to atone for sins when only the death of Jesus can atone for sins is not just stupid, it is morally wrong. It is wrong to kill thousands of mammals and birds every year for no good reason, and according to the teachings of the New Testament, sacrificing animals does NOTHING to atone for anyone’s sins. If animals sacrifices worked to atone for sins, then there was no need for Jesus to die on the cross to atone for anyone’s sins.
So, if one accepts the Christian belief that Jesus’ death was necessary to accomplish atonement for the sins of all humankind, then animal sacrifices to Jehovah were superfluous and thus immoral. Either Jehovah was IGNORANT about the fact that only the death of Jesus could atone for sins, or else Christianity is a false religion, and the death of Jesus was NOT the only way to atone for the sins of humankind. If Jehovah believed that animals sacrifices could atone for human sins, and if the truth is that ONLY the death of Jesus could atone for human sins, then Jehovah was wrong about one of the most important theological issues that exists, and thus Jehovah was NOT God.
On the other hand, if Jehovah believed that animal sacrifices could atone for human sins and he was RIGHT about this, then Christianity is a false religion, and the death of Jesus was unnecessary for the atonement of sin. From the point of view of Christian Theology, the belief that animal sacrifices can atone for human sins is a serious error, and thus Jehovah was MISTAKEN, and thus Jehovah was NOT God, and thus Leviticus was NOT inspired by God.
The whole idea of one person or creature suffering to atone for the sins of another creature or person is in itself a morally flawed idea. Justice cannot be achieved this way. Children should not be punished for the sins of their parents. The Bible itself teaches this principle of justice:
20 The person who sins shall die. A child shall not suffer for the iniquity of a parent, nor a parent suffer for the iniquity of a child; the righteousness of the righteous shall be his own, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be his own. (Ezekiel 18:20, New Revised Standard Version)
But underneath this principle is a more basic principle: One person should not be punished for the bad actions of another person. Thus, whether atonement of sins is believed to be based on the killing of animals or the killing of a person (i.e. Jesus), the whole idea of atonement is contrary to a basic principle of justice. Both the OT and the NT embrace the idea of atonement for sins based on the killing of a creature other than the person who committed a wrong action. This is unjust and provides us with a very good reason for rejecting the view that the OT was inspired by God, and for also rejecting the view that the NT was inspired by God.
CHAPTER 11 OF LEVITICUS
In Chapter 11, Jehovah prohibits the Israelites from eating various kinds of animals and sea creatures:
1 The LORD spoke again to Moses and to Aaron, saying to them,
2 “Speak to the sons of Israel, saying, ‘These are the creatures which you may eat from all the animals that are on the earth.
3 Whatever has a divided hoof, showing split hoofs, and chews the cud, among the animals, that you may eat.
4 Nevertheless, you are not to eat of these, among those which chew the cud, or among those which have a divided hoof: the camel, for though it chews cud, it does not have a divided hoof; it is unclean to you.
5 Likewise, the rock hyrax, for though it chews cud, it does not have a divided hoof; it is unclean to you.
6 The rabbit also, for though it chews cud, it does not have a divided hoof; it is unclean to you.
7 And the pig, for though it has a divided hoof, and so it shows a split hoof, it does not chew cud; it is unclean to you.
8 You shall not eat any of their flesh nor touch their carcasses; they are unclean to you.
9 ‘These you may eat, of whatever is in the water: everything that has fins and scales, in the water, in the seas, or in the rivers, you may eat.
10 But whatever is in the seas and in the rivers that does not have fins and scales among all the teeming life of the water, and among all the living creatures that are in the water, they are detestable things to you,
11 and they shall be detestable to you; you may not eat any of their flesh, and you shall detest their carcasses.
12 Whatever in the water does not have fins and scales is detestable to you.
(Leviticus 11:1-12, New American Standard Bible)
These prohibitions are STUPID. Rabbits and pigs can be domesticated and can provide a great source of meat and protein for people to eat, be healthy, and avoid starvation or malnourishment. Clams, oysters, lobsters, abalone, crabs, and shrimp provide further sources of meat and protein for people to eat, be healthy, and avoid starvation and malnourishment. To prohibit the eating of such sea creatures is STUPID. This is clearly BAD guidance about what people should not eat.
Such prohibitions by Jehovah imply that either Jehovah was IGNORANT that these creatures provide a good source of meat and protein for people to eat, or else that Jehovah did not care greatly whether the Israelites had plenty of sources of meat and protein in order to avoid starvation or malnourishment. Either way this prohibition is clear evidence that Jehovah is NOT both all-knowing and perfectly good. Jehovah is either IGNORANT or less than perfectly good. Either way, Jehovah is NOT God, and thus Leviticus was NOT inspired by God.
To Be Continued…