Positively biblical

Seven weeks after Easter sunday, there’s an old Judeo-Christian festival called Pentecost/Whitsun[day], when the apostles, among others, were waiting in a house in Jerusalem and the Holy Spirit descends descends upon them and they all start speaking in different tongues [their native tongues] but everyone understands everyone else in their own native tongues because the Holy Spirit was acting as the translator. Some like to call this the Pentecost Effect, and I think it’s a pretty nifty thing. Almost like the Babel Fish [that’s from H2G2].

Speaking of biblical stories, I must mention something that came to my attention recently. The sin of Onan.

Genesis 38:7-10
But Er, Judah’s first born was wicked in the sight of the Lord; and the Lord slew him. Then Judah said to Onan [Er’s brother], “Go in to your brother’s wife, and perform the duty of a brother-in-law to her, and raise up offspring for your brother.” But Onan knew that the offspring would not be his; so when he went into his brother’s wife he spilled the semen on the ground, lest he should give offspring to his brother. And what he did was displeasing in the sight of the Lord, and he slew him also.

This particular story is cited as the reason for the official ban on masterbation and contraception. However, there is a Jewish custom called the “levirate”, which says a childless widow must be impregnated by the deceased’s next male relative to make sure there is an heir to the deceased’s property and name. So some think Onan was slain for his refusal to honor this levirate obligation, not because he practised some primitive form of contraception.

Read up on this and form your own opinions. I have one, and it’s a bit incendiary.


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