Once again in Deuteronomy we see that God's hung up on the other gods. Chapter 13, verses 12 - 16 go like this:
12 If thou shalt hear say in one of thy cities, which the Lord thy God hath given thee to dwell there, saying,
13 Certain men, the children of Belial, are gone out from among you, and have withdrawn the inhabitants of their city, saying, Let us go and serve other gods, which ye have not known;
14 Then shalt thou enquire, and make search, and ask diligently; and, behold, if it be truth, and the thing certain, that such abomination is wrought among you;
15 Thou shalt surely smite the inhabitants of that city with the edge of the sword, destroying it utterly, and all that is therein, and the cattle thereof, with the edge of the sword.
16 And thou shalt gather all the spoil of it into the midst of the street thereof, and shalt burn with fire the city, and all the spoil thereof every whit, for the Lord thy God: and it shall be an heap for ever; it shall not be built again.
God really needs to work on this insecurity thing He has. Like, it's really messing up His relationships. It's not healthy to be so jealous. Maybe He just set too high standards for Himself. I mean, being an omnipotent being has got to be hard.
I think its His insecurities that bring on the attacks of jealousy, which is really a cry for more love. Sure it's within His rights to ask for more affection. After all, He's God! But when self-doubts arise, the indirect way that jealousy demands attention is counterproductive. Excessive possessiveness is simply inappropriate. Jealousy is a fast way to drive away the very people He may fear losing.
Maybe His health insurance doesn't cover psychiatric help. Now about this directive of His - wouldn't God be more suited to know if someone in some other city is worshiping other gods? I mean, He's omnipotent, right? Can't He just read everybody's thoughts and then rain down some fire and brimstone on the infidels? Why is He relying on us to hear some rumors?
So am I obligated to hang around in bars and supermarkets listening for such rumors? And what if I hear a rumor and go to a city. What gods is God worried about here? Is it only the ones which we have not known which upset Him? What about the ones we do know, like Hercules, who had his own Saturday morning cartoon, or Trident, who was the Little Mermaid's dad in the Disney cartoon? Are they cool?
How lengthy an investigation must I conduct? Do I need character witnesses for my informants? Should I be slipping some twenties on the side to get the facts? And if it's true that they are serving other gods that they have not known, can I try to convert them? Or must I smite them even if they repent? Can God just not live with someone who's been unfaithful? Is it because the trust is gone?
What happens if during my interrogations I learn that the worshipers are Jews or Muslims? Can I breath a sigh of relief, since we all worship the same God? Can we peacefully coexist? Or am I morally obligated to smite them too since they don't worship Jesus as God's Son? And if so, when they hear rumors that Christianity is being preached in my town, are they obligated to smite us as well? Is the worship of Jesus the same as serving another god? What happens if the people from my town go forth to smite them at the same time they go forth to smite us? We'd all look pretty silly arriving in the other's town with no one there to smite. To eliminate that embarrassing situation, perhaps we should all just stay home and smite ourselves.
But if I must go and smite them, must I do it only by the edge of the sword? Can I use the tip of the sword if that would be more appropriate? Must I smite the whole town if only a few have been worshipping like crazed infidels? And what kinds of cattle must I smite while I'm there. Is God talking only about the bovines? Maybe he wants any animal that chews the cud to get the edge of the sword. Does this include rabbits too? And how can I destroy the town utterly if I'm only armed with a sword? Is it permissible to bring along a couple of M1 tanks?
After everyone has been smitten, what kind of spoils must gather in the street and burn with fire? Is God only referring to valuables and objects of culture and taste, or does He want everything piled up? What about the tacky furniture or the cheap crap from the likes of Walmart? Am I allowed to keep some of these spoils to offset my traveling expenses?
How shall I ensure that the city will remain a heap forever without ever being rebuilt? Should I make a tire fire? Maybe ignite a coal mine beneath the town? What if years from the date of utter destruction, someone tries to rebuild it? Should I smite them as well? Should I keep guards posted? Am I allowed to use nuclear weapons to discourage the rebuilding?
And who the hell is Belial?