7: The Wall Between Heaven and Hell (Part III — It’s not magic. It’s an illusion!)
The Ten Commandments. Religious laws given from God to the Jews? Sure. Best movie ever? Definitely! I can honestly say I’ve seen it about, oh, 924,839 times, give or take, and it never gets old. Then again, I feel the same about Planet of the Apes and Omega Man, so it could just be a Charlton Heston thing.
30 seconds into the post and already I digress.
The story of Moses and Pharaoh is one of the most famous biblical stories around, so it’s no shock that I ran across it in the Quran. It’s also one of the longest continuous stories in the damn book. I’m splitting it in two so your eyeballs don’t turn into raisins. (You’re welcome.) Brace yourselves, babies: this will be a long one.
God starts us off with his usual bullshit about how everyone (except Mohammed and the converts) can suck on balls:
100. Do not the people who inherited the earth from the (earlier) inhabitants perceive that We could afflict them too for their sins if We pleased, and put seals on their hearts that they may not hear (the voice of truth)?
101. These were the (earlier) habitations whose accounts We have given to you. Their apostles came with clear proofs, but they did not believe what they once denied. That is how God seals the hearts of those who do not believe.
102. We did not find many of them faithful to their promises, and found many of them disobedient.
OK, so God puts a seal on the hearts of those who didn’t believe in his previous prophets. Seems pretty fucking counter productive to me, but I’m not the one steering this boat. These people he’s talking about — they didn’t just ignore God’s prophets. They were also disobedient and made promises to God that they broke. Golly, could it be the Jews? God doesn’t really say. Instead, he jumps right in to the Moses story without giving any kind of background or anything. Good thing I’ve seen the movie or I’d be totally fucked.
103. So We sent Moses with miracles after (these apostles) to the Pharaoh and his nobles, but they behaved with them high-handedly. See then the end of the authors of evil.
104. Moses said: “O Pharaoh, I have been sent by the Lord of all the worlds;
105. “I am duty bound to speak nothing of God but the truth I have brought from your Lord a clear sign; so let the people of Israel depart with me.”
106. He said: “If you have brought a sign then display it, if what you say is true.”
And with that, the royal tape measure was fetched. Moses and Pharaoh dropped their panties, lifted up their skirts, and got ready to settle things once and for all. OK, not really. But wouldn’t it have been so much easier?
God sends Moses to Pharaoh to talk him into letting his people go. He could have probably saved everyone a buttload of trouble by cutting out the middle man, snapping his fingers and freeing the people himself. *Poof* problem solved. But no, that’s not God’s style. His routine usually involves being as big a pain in the ass as possible and making things way more complicated than necessary. It’s how he rolls. So God sends Moses to do a little song and dance in front of Pharaoh:
107. At this Moses threw down his staff, and lo, it became a live serpent.
108. And he drew forth his hand, and behold, it looked white to those who beheld it.
Moses’ miracle is to turn his walking stick into a snake. Ooh ahh! And then, if that’s not amazing enough, he waves his hand around…and it turns white! Pretty fucking cool, right? But if that’s all it takes to be a prophet, then shit, there are a whole lot of wand wavers in Las Vegas that are prophetier than old Moses. And I’m not the only one who thinks so. Pharaoh and his people think Whitehand McSnakestick is a “clever magician” and they bring in their own reserve magicians to one up his ass.
113. The magicians came to the Pharaoh and said: “Is there reward for us if we succeed?”
114. “Yes,” said he, “you will be among the honoured.”
The fuck? Honor schmonor, dude, I wouldn’t do it for anything less than a cash prize. Lump sum, bitches. And I’d want it in writing first, because Pharaoh sounds like the kind of cheapass who’d try to gyp you out of your winnings.
115. So they said: “O Moses, you may cast your spell first, or we shall cast ours.”
116. “You cast it first,” answered Moses. When they cast their spell, they bewitched the eyes of the people and petrified them by conjuring up a great charm.
OK, first off, these magicians are fucking morons. They’re there to show the guy up. They should make him go first and then swoop in for the kill. Strategy, magicians, strategy. Moses knows what I’m talking about.
And on top of that, a “great charm?” What kind of great charm? I mean, if it’s so fucking great, why doesn’t God bother describing it? It was supposedly so great that it scared the shit out of people, so why not divulge the details? Whet our appetites? Wouldn’t it just make Moses look even more badass in comparison? Or maybe not:
117. We said to Moses: “Throw down your staff;” and it swallowed up their conjurations in no time.
Dude, weak. Moses can’t even pull out a brand new trick to shock and awe people. He just does the same shit all over again. He throws down his staff. Only this time it eats the magicians’ mysterious great charm. Now if I were the magicians, I would have checked that fucker’s staff. Clearly that’s where his “power” is coming from. But just you wait. The magicians have some unbelievable tricks up their sleeves and Moses totally doesn’t see ‘em coming:
120. The sorcerers fell to the ground in homage,
121. And said: “We have come to believe in the Lord of all the worlds,
122. “The Lord of Moses and Aaron.”
Nah, I’m just fucking with you. The magicians totally puss out, roll over and let Moses win. And all it took was one lousy magic trick. Oh, wait, I’m sorry. All it took was one…illusion. Arrested Development, anyone? Anyone??
It never ceases to amaze me what a shitty storyteller God is. There are plenty of Muslims out there who push this book as The Greatest Thing Ever™. Um, have they actually fucking read the fucking thing? Loose threads all over the damn place, inconsistencies, simple math errors, scientific “miracles” that a fifth grader could debunk. And if you say anything about it, they get all huffy. “Oh, you think you can do better?” Or even better, “Are you saying Shakespeare is better than the Holy Quran?”
And, fuck it, you know what? I’m saying it: Shakespeare is better than the Quran. I get more out of reading Shakespeare than I get out of the Quran. Shit, I get more out of reading a Garfield comic strip than I get out of the fucking Quran. But I digress, again.
There’s no tension, there’s no drama. The angels are too pussy to tell God that he needs to work on the fucking plot line. Or maybe the magicians were so pissed about not getting a cash prize that they threw the match. Either way, Pharaoh isn’t going to let them off the hook that easily:
123. But Pharaoh said: “You have come to accept belief in Him without my permission! This surely is a plot you have hatched to expel the people from the land. You will soon come to know.
124. “I will have your hands and feet on alternate sides cut off, and have you all crucified.”
Hands and feet on alternate sides cut off? Isn’t that the same punishment Mohammed prescribes for the bad guys who fight in a war against God? I checked: it is. Funny that Pharaoh — the bad guy — should threaten the suddenly God-fearing magicians with that same punishment. And I don’t mean funny like haha, I mean funny like Mohammed is one twisted son of a bitch. He throws in a crucificion on top of everything else, which, according the the Skeptics Annotated Quran didn’t even exist in ancient Egypt.
Hire a fucking fact checker.
P.S. You suck.
125. They answered: “We have (in any case) to go back to our Lord.
126. “The only reason you have to hate us is that we believed in the signs of our Lord as they came to us. O our Lord, give us sufficient endurance that we may die submitting (to You).”
Double you. Tee. Eff. Overkill much? It was ridiculous enough when they had a change of heart five minutes into the magic competition. Now they’re going “back” to their lord? And they would die for him? Just like that?? I consulted the Skeptics Annotated Quran, and it turns out there’s a wee little problem. Check out what chapter 10 says about the same story:
10:83. But none of them put faith in Moses except some youths among his people who were nonetheless afraid lest the Pharaoh and his nobles should persecute them; for the Pharaoh was mighty in the land, and guilty of excesses.
Oh mah gah! A contradiction? In the Quran? Blasphemy! Cut off her hand and foot on alternate sides! So in this version, most of the people thought Moses was a crackhead. Some of the young’uns thought he might be telling the truth, but they were too scared of the big, bad Pharaoh to do anything about it. See, that seems a little more believable to me. Mohammed should have probably just stuck with that one. Anyway, on with chapter 7:
127. And the leaders of Pharaoh’s people said to him: “Would you allow Moses and his people to create disorder in the land and discard you and your gods?” He replied: “We shall now slay their sons and spare their women, and subdue them.”
Pharaoh’s friends call him a pussy, so he does what anyone would do in the same situation: he tells his people to go kill all of the Jews’ boys. That’ll learn em! And what does Moses do? He tells the Jews to pray. Have faith. God will fix everything. Yeah. Some things never change.
…like the Jews and their constant whining:
129. They said: “We were oppressed before you came, and have been since you have come to us.”
Wah fucking wah, Moses, you haven’t made it all better. Whining aside, I would have probably blamed Moses, too. I mean, things were bad enough already; then Moses shows up and things get worse. And his only solution to the whole thing? Pray. I would have prayed, alright. I would have prayed for Moses’ magic staff to be magically shoved up his magic ass.
He answered: “It may well be that soon God may destroy your enemy and make you inherit the land, and then see how you behave.”
Little foreshadowing there. Not to totally give away the ending, but the Jews turn out to be asshole. It’s the Quran. What were you expecting? Anyway, God splooges his fury all over the Pharaoh’s face:
130. We afflicted the people of Pharaoh with famine and dearth of everything that they might take heed.
131. Yet when good came their way they said: “It is our due;” but when misfortune befell them they put the omen down to Moses and those who were with him. But surely the omen was with God, yet most of them did not understand.
132. They said: “Whatsoever the sign you have brought to deceive us, we shall not believe in you.”
Most of them did not understand. And why didn’t they understand? Whhhhy?? Because God sealed their hearts, that’s why! God doesn’t want them to believe, and then he shits and moans because, holy fuck, they just don’t get it. I have a suggestion for God: if you want a fucking date to prom, stop playing hard-to-get.
133. So We let loose on them floods and locusts, and vermin, frogs and blood — how many different signs. But they still remained arrogant, for they were a people full of sin.
134. Yet when punishment overtook them, they said: “O Moses, invoke your Lord for us as you have been enjoined. If the torment is removed, we shall certainly believe in you and let the people of Israel go with you.”
135. But no sooner was the punishment withdrawn for a time to enable them to make good their promise than they broke it.
Floods, locusts, vermin, frogs and blood? Meh. Can’t you find all that shit in the region anyway? If God had really wanted to scare the bajeezes out of these people, he would have used his imagination a little more. If I was an asshole God, know what I would have sent? A plague of polar bears. Yup. Polar bears falling out of the sky all over in Egypt. And they’d all be holding Qurans. How fucking crazy would that be? I told that to my friend, Rob, and he topped it: “I would send a plague of explosive diarrhea.” I hang out with some serious jerks.
136. So We took vengeance on them, and drowned them in the sea for rejecting Our signs and not heeding them.
Pharaoh’s people didn’t buy in to God’s signs. Probably had a little something to do with the fact that God put a seal on their hearts to prevent them from believing. And then God got all pissed and drowned everyone. Yeah, that seems totally fair.
137. We then made the people who were weak (and oppressed) successors of the land to the East and the West which We had blessed. Thus the fair promise of your Lord to the children of Israel was fulfilled, for they were patient in adversity; and whatsoever the Pharaoh and his people had fashioned, and the structures they had raised, were destroyed.
Patient in adversity? I thought the Jews were whining and bitching the whole fucking time. Also, it’s really fucking convenient that all the buildings that Pharaoh and his people built were destroyed. Why it almost as if they never existed! Head? Meet desk. Repeat a thousand times.
Coming up next: Moses meets God on a mountain! Yay! More drama with the Jews. Booooo! Hissss! Stay tuned!