Most people know the story of Moses. He was a Jew, kidnapped by the Pharaoh and raised a royal, decided he liked gefilte fish more than those grapes you always see pharaohs eating, sat idly by while god committed mass infanticide along gender lines, and then ate some mushrooms on top of a mountain and found some “magic rocks” (or something like that).
It’s this last part that piques the interest. According to Jewish rabbinical tradition, the Torah (the first five books of the bible) were recited to Moses on Mount Sinai and at the Tabernacle. Moses wrote down the entire Torah. But if you read the Torah, you find out that Moses dies at the end without ever entering the promised land!
So basically, Moses knew that he would die after committing tons of selfless acts in Exodus, and that he was given no promise of eternal reward. Before the Jesus myth, there was no concept of salvation or life after death. To this day most religious Jews do not believe in the concept of heaven. Anyway, I’m assuming Moses must’ve paused for a moment when he got to the story of his death in Deuteronomy. I imagine it went something like this:
God: “And Moses was one hundred and twenty years old when he died…”
Moses: “Wait a minute god. You mean to tell me that I’m doing all this hard work without getting anything in return?”
G: “Why yes, my son. Oh and you will spend 40 years wandering in the desert before you die.”
M: “So you’re sending me on a death march?”
G: “Don’t worry, my son. You get the best gift of all, a sense of accomplishment. Oh! And in thousands of years little children will learn about your story by playing a Nintendo game!”
…more awkward silence…
I’m sure Moses had a few choice words with god after this revelation.
So god totally used Moses for his own amusement and then even admitted to Moses that Moses would die without tasting the fruits of his labor. This again raises the question: Why didn’t god just zap all the Jews out of Egypt and into the promised land? But I digress.
This view is not the monopoly of the Jewish faith either. Many Christian groups view Moses as the author of the Torah. I once spent a couple years hanging out at a Kingdom Hall (I wasn’t religious, but going to the services was the only way my childhood girlfriend’s mom would let me see my girlfriend on Sundays). They teach the same thing: Moses was a prolific penner! But they never noticed: The author of a large part of their most sacred book was forced to accurately predict his own death. Indeed, the first verse in Deuteronomy seems to justify this belief: “These are the words which Moses spoke unto all Israel on this side of the Jordan in the wilderness…”
This leaves three possibilities:
- God is completely insane and subjected Moses to cruel amounts of stress, with knowledge about his own death, much like a victim on death row,
- The bible is wrong (Moses did not write the Torah), which leaves the question, who wrote it?, or
- The whole story is BS.
My money’s on #3.