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Sunday, June 24, 2012

Slog Bible Study: Deuteronomy 23:12-14

Posted by on Sun, Jun 24, 2012 at 7:00 AM

Deuteronomy 23:12-14
Set up a place outside the camp to be used as a toilet area. And make sure that you have a small shovel in your equipment. When you go out to the toilet area, use the shovel to dig a hole. Then, after you relieve yourself, bury the waste in the hole. You must keep your camp clean of filthy and disgusting things. The LORD is always present in your camp, ready to rescue you and give you victory over your enemies. But if he sees something disgusting in your camp, he may turn around and leave.



Comments (46) RSS

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Matt the Engineer 1
I think that's the most practical advice I've seen in the bible, short of the recipe for bread.
Posted by Matt the Engineer on June 24, 2012 at 7:30 AM · Report this
emma's bee 2
@1: agreed. But all that specificity about the shovel, and nothing about what to wipe with? Hard to believe the LORD doesn't find certain of those options disgusting, too.
Posted by emma's bee on June 24, 2012 at 7:34 AM · Report this
Cato the Younger Younger 3
Jeff Lewis and God...could be the same person with OCD
Posted by Cato the Younger Younger on June 24, 2012 at 7:35 AM · Report this
This is from Deuteronomy? Are you sure about that? This sounds suspiciously like the Boy Scout Handbook.
Posted by Pope Buck I on June 24, 2012 at 7:35 AM · Report this
NotSean 5
Posted by NotSean on June 24, 2012 at 7:38 AM · Report this
bleedingheartlibertarian 6
Indoor plumbing is an abomination.
Posted by bleedingheartlibertarian on June 24, 2012 at 8:00 AM · Report this
Matt from Denver 7
How does the LORD feel about "if it's yellow, it's mellow"?
Posted by Matt from Denver on June 24, 2012 at 8:20 AM · Report this
pissy mcslogbot 8
--And bringeth not the berries of Dingle nor the marks of Skid for the Lord can see your underpants.
Posted by pissy mcslogbot on June 24, 2012 at 8:33 AM · Report this
Renton Mike 9
Sounds like my wife or mother-in-law. +1 for the OCD
Posted by Renton Mike on June 24, 2012 at 8:41 AM · Report this
passionate_jus 10
None of the Bible makes any rational sense. So if God created EVERYTHING then God also created your poop, but God won't hang out with you if he sees your poop?

Also, if he does not see your poop (which he created) he will grant you "victory" over your enemies (which he also created), but if he does see your poop (which, again, he created) he will let your enemies destroy you (even though he created both of you).

What an asshole!
Posted by passionate_jus on June 24, 2012 at 8:50 AM · Report this
Matt the Engineer 11
@4 I thought the same thing. I searched immediately, and it's actually in the bible.
Posted by Matt the Engineer on June 24, 2012 at 8:50 AM · Report this
passionate_jus 12
Question: The Christian God is supposedly all knowing and sees everything.

Does that mean that God is in the toilet bowl with me when I defecate?

What a freak!
Posted by passionate_jus on June 24, 2012 at 8:52 AM · Report this
Wow. Has no one seen what's really wrong with this, which is the anthropomorphization of God? How, exactly, could God "leave" if God is omnipresent? It suggests that God is corporeal. That God is in some places but not in others.

God is everywhere. Which means that God is in you, in animals, in plants, in the soil and the air and, yes, in your poop. All of it must be treated with an element of respect because all of it is made of godstuff. The entire physical world that we know is a manifestation of the spiritual world which is made entirely of godstuff.

I realize that this passage has been translated into easy-reading modern language but all the more reason for care. It is the spread of precisely this kind of sloppy thinking that misrepresents religion and spirituality which has lead to more sloppy thinking and further degeneration in a downward spiral.
Posted by Charlie Mas on June 24, 2012 at 8:54 AM · Report this
TVDinner 14
If God is so hung up about poop, why did He make poop in the first place? Huh?
Posted by TVDinner http:// on June 24, 2012 at 9:03 AM · Report this
I strongly recommend the book "Hebrew Myths" by Robert Graves and Rafael Patai. The elegant, non-corporeal, omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent, abstract, God of the Jews, started as a Bull God, worshiped for the size of its penis.

But, just because God started that way doesn't mean that the more refined and sophisticated understanding of God that we hold today isn't valid. There remains a lot of legacy text from earlier times when we retained a more primitive sort of God because that's what we could understand at that time. We also had a more primitive understanding of the stars because that's what we could understand at that time. Just as the truth of the stars was true before we could grasp it, it is possible that the truth about God was true before we could grasp it.

The trick, for modern people capable of abstract thought, is to see the more primitive representations of God and history and mythology for what they are and to fit them into our more sophisticated understanding. Some of it is history, some is allegory, and some is divinely inspired law.

The failure of fundamentalism - and it is a failure - is to presume that every word of the biblical text is literally true. This is an absurd presumption - particularly given the fact that the Lord of the people who promote this view spoke almost entirely in parables.

Among theologians, the fundamentalists have about as much credibility as those who deny global climate change or the holocaust. So to oppose religion by opposing fundamentalists is to make a straw man argument.

If all I have to do to prove the wrongness of Republicans (or the Democrats) is to prove that their most ridiculously extreme members are wrong, then everyone is wrong.

Let's get away from ridiculing the Bible or the religious by ridiculing the grossest misunderstandings and misinterpretations of it.
Posted by Charlie Mas on June 24, 2012 at 9:07 AM · Report this
Unfortunately, #15, the "most ridiculously extreme members" of one party are shaping this country's policies, so I think ridicule is appropriate. (See earlier Slog-listed legislation in Tennessee for confirmation.)
Posted by BhamBrad on June 24, 2012 at 9:22 AM · Report this
MacCrocodile 17
@1 - Have you ever tasted that bread? Not my favorite. If the Bible has some pointers on a good sourdough, I'd love to hear it.
Posted by MacCrocodile on June 24, 2012 at 9:43 AM · Report this
Sargon Bighorn 18
The FOUNDATION of society is SANITATION not opposite sex marriage.
Posted by Sargon Bighorn on June 24, 2012 at 9:46 AM · Report this
Pope Peabrain 19
And after you poop, please feel free to rip out this page of the bible to wipe your ass.
Posted by Pope Peabrain on June 24, 2012 at 9:56 AM · Report this
rob! 20
pissy @8, I've missed you so.
Posted by rob! on June 24, 2012 at 10:01 AM · Report this
bedipped 21
God Hates Flushing!
Posted by bedipped on June 24, 2012 at 10:05 AM · Report this
Knat 22
@15: How about we ridicule it for the twisted values it espouses, the fantasy-based science it relies upon, the obviously wrong history it teaches, or the fact it can't keep its own story straight?
Posted by Knat on June 24, 2012 at 10:22 AM · Report this
passionate_jus 23

It's not just a failure of fundamentalism, it's a failure of religion in general. Religion divides people into different tribes. It also teaches that there is a "better" afterlife than this life we have. It is one of the main reasons why people don't care about serious issues, such as global climate change.

Also, religion teaches us that if you don't believe in a particular thought pattern then you may be punished; indeed, the Abrahamic faiths teach that you may be punished for eternity in a huge lake of fire. Eternal damnation is not just something that fundamentalists believe in, it is a major tenet of the whole damn religion.

It's this tenet that makes it easier for "believers" to kill "non-believers".

The sooner organized religions (especially the evil Abrahamic faiths) are shoved into the dustbins of history, the better.

Any belief system that teaches that there is a better life after actual life and that there is a Creator that punishes souls for eternity after actual life, is a belief system that causes terror and oppression.
Posted by passionate_jus on June 24, 2012 at 10:26 AM · Report this
@13 Except that the notion of a god like you describe is rather new and certainly was not what the authors of this part of the Bible believed. At the time this was written the concept of god was more of a super human spirit than some vague concept of all knowing all being omnipotence.

You can see it in the Bible where God has a place to live, is limited in power(iron chariots!), and often engages in rather petty emotional thinking. The Israelites, at least initially, really weren't even monotheistic. They did not think there was only one god, they simply believed in only one god out of many they thought existed.

Don't blame the translation.
Posted by giffy on June 24, 2012 at 10:27 AM · Report this
passionate_jus 25

That might not be what the original authors intended but that's what most modern Jews/Muslims/Christians teach -- God is all powerful and all knowing.
Posted by passionate_jus on June 24, 2012 at 10:33 AM · Report this
#15 Hebrew Myths: Modern Christianity :: Taco Truck: Applebees

The food's worse, but the marketing and customer retention programs are far more refined and sophistic.
Posted by dirge on June 24, 2012 at 10:34 AM · Report this
@23 that's a pretty kneejerk reaction to the concept of the afterlife. Even if you believe firmly in it, that thought doesn't absolve you from responsibility. You still need to take care of your shit. No one just goes 'fuck it, I'll just wait for heaven'. As far as the 'who-cares-Jesus-is-gonna-come-and-fix-it-all-crowd, it is all our duty to remind them they're being selfish and lazy.
I don't believe in the afterlife but if I had a child die of cancer I'd probably hope there is. It makes life easier to bare if there's some sense of justice.
Posted by CbytheSea on June 24, 2012 at 11:29 AM · Report this
Don't Sh*t where you eat. Makes sense to me.
Posted by martin7341 on June 24, 2012 at 11:40 AM · Report this
sirkowski 29
I wish God had specified to do this with dog poop as well. The sidewalks would be much cleaner...
Posted by sirkowski on June 24, 2012 at 11:41 AM · Report this
@22, all of those only make sense in the context of fundamentalism. Absent fundamentalism there is no "other side" to your argument and therefore no argument.

@23 "Religion divides people into different tribes." Honey, people were in tribes long before religion. Tribalism is older and more deeply embedded in human nature than religion. If your fight is with tribalism you have a lot of fighting to do, and religion is just one part of it. Good luck.

"religion teaches us that if you don't believe in a particular thought pattern then you may be punished" Maybe your religion teaches that. Mine doesn't. And mine is an "Abrahamic" one, in fact, THE Abrahamic one. So I'll be grateful if you don't try to tell me what my faith teaches and please don't represent my faith - one you obviously don't share - to other people.

@24 " the notion of a god like you describe is rather new and certainly was not what the authors of this part of the Bible believed." My point exactly. Please don't hold the current believers of the faith responsible for previous belief systems which are no longer current. Would you try to discredit a scientist by referencing the things that science believed to be true 1500 years ago? I don't think so.

@26, Let's remember that Modern Christianity (whatever that is) rejects the entire "Old" Testament. They have dissociated themselves from the Hebrew Myths and are not germane to this discussion.
Posted by Charlie Mas on June 24, 2012 at 11:46 AM · Report this
malcolmxy 31
God Hates Slag
Posted by malcolmxy on June 24, 2012 at 11:54 AM · Report this
mocking and ridiculing the hebrews....
good sunday fun.
Posted by it ain't the holocaust but it will do in a pinch on June 24, 2012 at 12:15 PM · Report this
Shorter Deuteronomy: God's love is conditional.
Posted by I have always been... east coaster on June 24, 2012 at 12:18 PM · Report this
Chelydra_serpentina 34
Just "outside the camp"? No mention of "downhill from your water source"? God's worried about how your camp looks and smells, but not, apparently, about cholera, dysentery, or E. coli in the water.
Posted by Chelydra_serpentina on June 24, 2012 at 12:28 PM · Report this
treefort 35
My Dead Sea Scrolls professor said this actually shortened life expectancy considerably. They used to dig one big hole as an outhouse, but the shallow holes all in the same area caused them to continually churn and walk through bacteria ridden soil and track that dirt back into the settlement. Really not very clean at all, but that's old testament logic for ya.
Posted by treefort on June 24, 2012 at 12:35 PM · Report this
@35, your "Dead Sea Scrolls professor" is living in the 21st century, or at least the 20th century. The book of Dueteronomy in the Torah was written probably about 500 BCE, by human beings who had no knowledge of bacteriology.

The bible is not an "it" nor God, to be expected to know everything; it's a collection of stories.
Posted by sarah70 on June 24, 2012 at 1:36 PM · Report this
@30 I would if that scientist claimed that scientific work from 1500 years ago was infallible and completely true as some people do with the Bible. Or if they tried to make laws based on some dubious finding from the distant past, say mandating blood letting or some other foolishness.

Personally I find the 'modern' idea of god just as nonsensical as the 'ancient' one but others a certainly free to believe differently.
Posted by giffy on June 24, 2012 at 1:36 PM · Report this
"Alright, we've told you and told you not to just shit in the camp, but some of you haven't listened. So how's this? God says don't shit in the camp."
Posted by Proteus on June 24, 2012 at 2:13 PM · Report this
Fnarf 39
Toilets are an abomination unto the Lord. Toilet paper also is an abomination unto the Lord. Careful which hand you eat with.
Posted by Fnarf on June 24, 2012 at 4:26 PM · Report this
@21 I lived in Flushing for a year. It wasn't that bad.
Posted by Brooklyn Reader on June 24, 2012 at 5:02 PM · Report this
NaFun 41
Cleanliness is next to Godliness, duh.
Posted by NaFun on June 24, 2012 at 7:17 PM · Report this
@39 *Eat only with your right hand and wipe your ass only with your left * is still alive and well in many cultures. I ran into it in India just a couple of years ago. Try breaking up pieces of chapati to scoop up your food using only one hand.
Posted by crone on June 24, 2012 at 9:19 PM · Report this
blackhook 43
Why did God create mosquitoes?
Posted by blackhook on June 24, 2012 at 11:24 PM · Report this
blackhook 44
...and, for that matter, why did He create Donald Trump?
Posted by blackhook on June 24, 2012 at 11:25 PM · Report this
Rob in Baltimore 45
Oh, that's the Old Testament, and is germane. Christians can shit wherever they want in their camps.
Posted by Rob in Baltimore on June 25, 2012 at 6:37 AM · Report this
Andrew_Taylor 46
Let's hear if for the clarity and beauty of the King James version:

Deuteronomy 23:12-14
King James Version (KJV)

12 Thou shalt have a place also without the camp, whither thou shalt go forth abroad:

13 And thou shalt have a paddle upon thy weapon; and it shall be, when thou wilt ease thyself abroad, thou shalt dig therewith, and shalt turn back and cover that which cometh from thee:

14 For the Lord thy God walketh in the midst of thy camp, to deliver thee, and to give up thine enemies before thee; therefore shall thy camp be holy: that he see no unclean thing in thee, and turn away from thee.

Posted by Andrew_Taylor on June 25, 2012 at 4:48 PM · Report this

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