The Mighty CE is Civilisation!

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God's Law or Godwin's Law?
Recently the slaughter of animals has been in the press quite a bit due to the Australian people finding out that Indonesian abattoirs aren't nice places for animals. It's made the front page of The Age today after people worked out that 15 Australian abattoirs have permission to slit the throats of animals without stunning them first so that they're conscious as they slowly bleed to death. This is in accordance with religious tradition of both Muslim and Jewish dietary practices because their God is, apparently, a total arsehole.

Religion is an interesting thing. In one sense it gives many people a set of guidelines to live their lives by which are principled and quite noble. There are many people in the world that are much better off because of religion. On the other hand it provides some people with a shield to hide behind so that their actions cannot be questioned. I am very big on religion. I think that, by and large, religion does a lot more good in the world than it does bad. I'm a huge fan of the social groups that are formed because of religion and the sense of sharing that many religious groups have for not only each other but also outsiders that are interested in what they're doing. That's why this sort of shit pisses me off.

Rabbi Mordechai Gutnick stated in The Age that calls to ban the conscious slaughter of animals was motivated by ignorance and anti-Semitism.

Fuck you, Mordechai.

It's not anti-Semitism to want to limit the suffering of an animal that's getting killed, it's basic morality. If you're saying that basic morality is anti-Semitic then I really don't see a place for Judaism in the world, at least not the psychotic orthodox kind that leads to making outlandish statements like that. Anti-Semitism isn't a shield that you can raise every time someone says something that doesn't completely surrender to the world-view that Jews can do whatever the hell they want. Further on in the article he states, "We make a concession for beef..." which shows that the rules on this sort of thing are actually flexible. The Talmud and Mishna are Jewish texts which involve Rabbis debating the intricacies of God's word. It's actually one of the things that impresses me most about Judaism is the room that it makes for debate within the Talmud:

He [R. Eliezer] said to them: “if the law is with me, the heavens will prove it!” A bat kol (“heavenly voice”) issued forth: “Why do you dispute Rabbi Eliezer, when the law is with him in everything!”

But Rabbi Yehoshua arose and said: “Not in the heavens is it…” [Deut. 30:12]. What did he mean by “not in the heavens?” Said Rabbi Yirmiya: “The Torah has already been given at Mount Sinai; we give no credence to a bat kol, because You had already written in the Torah at Mount Sinai, ‘Decide according to the majority’” [Exod. 23:2]

Rabbi Nathan met Elijah. He said to him, “What did the Holy One Blessed Be He do then?”

He said to him, “He laughed and said, ‘My children have beaten me. My children have beaten me.”

This is perhaps one of the most beautiful lines in the Talmud in which God itself, the God that threatened to murder the entirety of the Israelites several times as they were walking through the desert because they questioned its orders and murdered Moses because he didn't give it full credit after he drew water from a rock, says, "Okay, you guys can decide whatever you want to, it's fine with me."

Judaism, within its own religious texts, has leeway to debate and modify religious practice to better suit the changing world. As long as it doesn't violate the fundamentals of the core rules laid down by God it's okay. Instead of harking back to these impressive foundations of Judaism, however, this Mordechai says, "You're anti-Semitic if you don't agree." He rejects God's Law for Godwin's Law.

It's not anti-Semitic to think that animals shouldn't die horribly. To say otherwise is the sort of knee jerk crap that makes people hate religion, and rightly so. If the shield of anti-Semitism is constantly raised in this manner it will eventually be beaten out of the hands of those that raise it.

Let's save the call of anti-Semitism for when things are actually anti-Semitic, and let's make God laugh at the lack of suffering in animals.

This post is over.


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