I recently re-read the Bible’s Leviticus chapter 11, with its variety of walking, crawling, slithering, swimming, and flapping abominations. There were some highlights I thought I’d share:
- We aren’t actually supposed to be eating ostriches. I was a bit surprised by that because I didn’t realize ostriches were bountiful enough in Hebrew lands to put special ostrich abstinence rules in place.
- On the other hand, giraffes are totally kosher according to the rules since they both “chew the cud” and have split hoofs.
- Apparently, no one noticed that four-footed insects are mighty scarce and that laws banning their consumption (see here) are a bit superfluous. Also, there is a distinction made between jumping and non-jumping bugs. Some jumping bugs are good-eating, but if the bug don’t leap, you shall not eat.
- Elsewhere, special mention is made that “You shall not boil a young goat in its mother’s milk.” (Deut 14:21) Good rule, since that just seems cruel anyway, if a bit overly specific.
Alas, lots of tasty animals including shrimp and crabs don’t make the cut. But although God puts on a good show of hating unclean animals almost as much as he hates public speaking (there must be a reason he prefers talking to people when they’re alone on mountaintops), my working theory is that God is a shrimp lover too, like me. Think about it. He tricks us into believing they’re nasty so we don’t eat them and they can flourish in the ocean, for his own godly appetite.
If I’m right, thousands of years of religion might boil down to an elaborate shrimp-saving conspiracy.