Tuesday 21 August 2018

Eid-ul-Adha: Celebrating an Obscenity

Today is the Muslim feast of Eid-ul-Adha.  This celebrates an event in both the Jewish / Christian and Islamic mythologies.  You can read it in Genesis 22 or Surah 37.  It's not for the squeamish.

Basically, God told Abraham  (or Ibrahim)  to sacrifice his son Isaac  (or Ishmael),  to prove he loved God more than even his own family.

So 'Bram told God in no uncertain terms to fuck off, and spent the rest of his days as a happy humanist, right?

No, he actually went along with the whole sick show.  It was only at the fifty-ninth second of the fifty-ninth minute of the twenty-third hour, when the blade of Abraham's knife was mere millimetres from the terrified Isaac's throat, that an angel appeared; and told Abraham that actually, God was satisfied that Abraham loved him after all, and he could spare Isaac's life.

This is just wrong on so many levels.

For a start, if somebody asks you to do something that you know is wrong, you don't do it, irrespective who that somebody is.  Even deities are not exempt.

For another thing, what kind of love is Abraham / Ibrahim even supposed to be demonstrating anyway?  What kind of love can there even be for a vicious bastard who wants you to murder a member of your own family?  Doing what you are asked, no matter how terrible, out of some misguided fear of adverse consequences?  Bollocks is that love.  What could God even have done to Abraham anyway, that would have been worse than losing his son?

Obedience is not a virtue.  We can make machines that do exactly what they are told to do -- in fact, they can't do anything else -- and even that is not always a good thing.  If you were to open a terminal window on your computer and type
  $ sudo shutdown -h now
it would do exactly what you told it; even although that almost certainly is not what you want, and in fact you probably would prefer the computer to exercise its power of insubordination if it had one.

To me, this whole story is just further confirmation that the God of the Bible and the Qur'an is the villain.

(Note: The original command has been replaced with something that would be more benign, if anyone actually did type it into a real computer.)

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