The Culture of Death: Looking Better Every Day

I’ve always enjoyed life, but reading Dennis Prager’s latest column makes me want to send $20 to NARAL so I can get their complimentary "Culture of Death" tote bag:

Choose life: The case for Judeo-Christian values: IX

Dennis Prager

There are good people on both sides of the Terri Schiavo tragedy, but chances are that if you affirm Judeo-Christian values, you have opposed pulling the feeding tubes from the severely brain damaged woman’s body.


Because Dennis and his New Christian Overlords are right about everything, including creation science, while the rest of us deluded secularists are obsessed with death and sodomy (and we’re going to hell to boot!).

Because if there is anything that Judeo-Christian values stand for, it is choosing life and rejecting death.

Unless you’re a convicted criminal and/or Muslim, in which case you’re shit out of luck.

Even believing Jews and Christians are not fully aware of how much the rejection of death-oriented Egypt underlies the values and practices of the Torah, the first five books of the Bible held sacred by Judaism and Christianity.

Egyptian civilization was steeped in death. Its bible was the Book of the Dead, and its greatest monuments, its very symbols, the pyramids, were gigantic tombs.

Whereas American landmarks, like the Washington Monument and the Empire State Building, are testaments to the United States’ throbbing manly Judeo-Christian shlong power!  (Although the Pentagon is kinda vaginal if you ask me… it must’ve been designed by some breast-fed-til-12 secularist pansy.)

One of the Torah’s first tasks was to destroy the connection between civilization (and, of course, religion) and death. That is the reason, I am convinced, for the absence of overt mention of the afterlife in the Old Testament — it was greatly concerned with getting humanity preoccupied with life.

Which is why God kills the firstborn child of every Egyptian household (Exodus 12:29), commands Moses to stone a man to death for taking His Name in vain (Leviticus 24:10-16), sends plagues to kill 14,700 Israelites (Numbers 16:40-50), and (my personal favorite) sends bears to maul children who make fun of bald people (Kings II 2:23-24).

With a few noble exceptions, preoccupation with the afterlife has led to denigration of life.

"The noble exceptions" being the people who are against Israel’s planned evacuation of the Gaza Strip because they think it will block The Rapture.  See, the logical Christian mind understands that the afterlife isn’t about getting 70 virgins- it’s about sitting in Heaven and watching non-believers suffer the wrath of the Antichrist from the comfort of God’s personal IMAX.

One of the greatest insights of Sigmund Freud, who, his atheism notwithstanding, was perhaps the greatest mind of the 20th century, was that human beings have a Death Instinct, a death wish that is as strong as the Life Instinct. He wrote this decades before Nazism and the Communist genocides of the 20th century proved his point.

And I’m sure Siggy was thrilled to have his point proved by the two greatest killing machines in human history.

Yet, he was only saying in psychoanalytical terminology what Moses had said in Deuteronomy thousands of years earlier.

Well, Moses was also 120 years old by the time of Deuteronomy, so I’d take anything he said at that point with a grain of salt…

The Torah began this transformation with its constant emphasis on rejecting everything Egypt stood for.

Since the Egyptians enslaved them, that’s probably not surprising.  Similarly, you didn’t see many slaves in the 19th century singing "I’m Proud to be an American."

The ban on eating or even owning bread during the seven days of Passover, the holiday commemorating the exodus from Egypt, the central Old Testament event after Creation, was primarily a symbolic rejection of Egypt. As noted in the Encyclopedia Britannica, the Egyptians essentially invented bread as we know it. "The Egyptians apparently discovered that allowing wheat doughs to ferment, thus forming gases, produced a light, expanded loaf, and they also developed baking ovens."

Dennis, we’re sick of hearing about your gassy, expanded loaf.  Please find something else to talk about.

(Fermented) bread symbolized Egypt as apple pie or hot dogs might represent America. Moreover, fermentation is likened to sin and death in both Jewish and Christian understandings of the Bible.

So the puffier the bread, the more evil it is.  By this logic, Wonder Bread is outright Satanic.

The Torah’s ban on sexual intercourse during menstruation is also a separation of that which represents life (intercourse) from that which represents death (menstruation).

It’s no wonder women in the Bible are so evil- every 28 days, they become symbols of death!

Biblically, menstruation had nothing to do with women being "unclean."

"It’s more that they’re treacherous, conniving temptresses who make us feast on their apples and then expect us to send checks when they get themselves pregnant."

In fact, nearly the entire body of Torah instruction (found especially in Leviticus, the least known of the Five Books) concerning what is incorrectly translated as "unclean" or "impure" is actually about that which is touched by death. Substitute "touched by death" for "impure" or "unclean," and you will have a far better understanding of the text.

Aaaah, Leviticus… my favorite chapter in the Bible.  Let’s test Dennis’ hypothesis with a random verse, say, Leviticus 15:16-18:

And if any man’s seed of copulation go out from him, then he shall wash all his flesh in water, and be unclean until the even.

And every garment, and every skin, whereon is the seed of copulation, shall be washed with water, and be unclean until the even.

The woman also with whom man shall lie with seed of copulation, they shall both bathe themselves in water, and be unclean until the even.

So according to Dennis, if you get cum stains on your clothes, you shouldn’t wash them off because they’re nasty; rather, you should wash them off because the cum is "tinged with death."

Have I mentioned that Dennis’ column is slowly driving me insane?  Just thought I’d throw that in there before continuing:

The biblical and Judeo-Christian transformation of human thinking from death- to life-orientation has been a staggering accomplishment — even though it has obviously not been entirely successful even in the contemporary Western world.

I.e., in Hollywood, Canada, Europe or The New York Times.

The cavalier attitude about human life expressed among the leading opponents of Judeo-Christian values — such as PETA, which equates barbecuing chickens with cremating Jews; the Princeton ethicist who believes that parents can commit infanticide under various conditions; those in the non Judeo-Christian West who lack a moral problem with abortion for whatever reason; modern film and art that portray death as kitsch; and the secular culture’s contempt for those who call themselves ‘pro-life’ or believe that Terri Schiavo had a right to live — are all examples of the contemporary attempt to undo the life wish of Judeo-Christian values and affirm the natural death wish that resides in the human soul.

Nice try, Dennis, but I’ve only seem Death Wish once, and it sucked.  I also find it funny that PETA are fighting to save animals’ lives, but they’re part of the Culture of Death too.  I guess "The Culture of Death" really means "people who disagree with Dennis."


Comments: 27


James “The Bleating Forehead” Lileks considers Prager his best bud. But dwelling on orange shag carpeting, marbled mirrors, and macrame planter holders is in no way an endorsement of a culture of death…


So, if I die, then I’m part of the culture of death? Since I don’t want that, I guess I’ll have to live forever.

I can see that there’s going to be parking space issues.


Maybe the pictures of the Townhall columnists are only shown from the neck up because otherwise you would be able to see that the person was wearing a straightjacket. Somehow these people are getting loose, and getting to computers with internet access. If you find any typos in Townhall columns, be sympathetic, because it’s damn hard to type with your face.


You know, jenna, that’s actually a comforting thought. Somehow, the image of Dennis leaning into a keyboard and smacking his face against it repeatedly, just puts a big smile on my face and a warm glow in my heart.


Because if there is anything that Judeo-Christian values stand for, it is choosing life and rejecting death.

Is that the same Judeo-Christian faith that basically says “Put up with all manner of horrors in this life, because if you believe in the baby Jeebus, after you die, it’ll be alright”?

That one?


Egyptian civilization was steeped in death. Its bible was the Book of the Dead, and its greatest monuments, its very symbols, the pyramids, were gigantic tombs. As opposed to say… a relgion whose preeminent symbol is a torture/execution device? Way to go Dennis you sure made your point there!


Not that I’d expect a Townhall columnist to know any better (or more likely, admit to knowning), but most scholars of the ancient world don’t think there was an Exodus, or for that matter, that the Hebrews were ever in Egypt. The Egyptians were zealous record keepers, and they never mention the Hebrews. The ancient Hebrew language has no loan-words from Egyptian. There are no traces of a large nomadic population in the Sinai during the period of the Exodus.

To my great surprise, Prager’s interpretation of ritual uncleanliness does have some Talmudic support, according to one essay I dug up from someone at Rutgers. But his statement Biblically, menstruation had nothing to do with women being “unclean,” is still bogus since the key point is what ritual uncleanliness derives from.


so these would be the non-afterlife-believing Egyptians he’s talking about? As opposed to the ones i’ve heard of, that buried people with their belongings so they could be transferred to the afterlife? The ones that necessitated that burials be proper so as to ensure entry into an afterlife?


…and didn’t i read somewhere on the internets that a rabbi said that braindead=dead for jews? is he part of the non-Judeo-Christian “Culture of Death”?


Because if there is anything that Judeo-Christian values stand for, it is choosing life and rejecting death.

Say what? The Christians think you get “pie in the sky when you die” — for them, being dead in heaven is way better than being alive on Earth. Justice Scalia (an oxymoron, I know) has said, “for the believing Christian, death is no big deal.” Thus, he doesn’t lose any sleep over letting government kill people — even though I daresay he figures that many of those people are hell-bound. We atheists are the ones who value life, since we realize that’s all you get.

An Angry Old Broad

God this is scary shit.Menstruation is associated with death?Umm,didn’t anyone tell these people it’s part of the biology involved in creating new LIFE???For such manly men,it sure is telling to see how scared they are of women.

I wonder,are there any SANE places left on this planet?


Angry Old Broad, any place outside of the USA is sane. Even Iraq.


Um, Dennis, there is no archeological or historical evidence that the Jews were ever enslaved wholesale by Egypt.

But I’m perfectly willing to admit that, meticulous archivists as the Egyptians were, they just forgot about that whole “enslaving an entire ethno-religious group only every first-born son in the kingdom to die from a plague and a bunch of other crazy shit happening like the Red Sea parting then drowning our entire army” thing, if you’re willing to admit you’re an Asshole among Assholes.


Ya gotta love how people conclude that ancient Egypt was “steeped in death” when the only things they know about the place come from its cemeteries.


Um, doesn’t the Bible frown on those who worry more about staying in this place instead of moving on to the next place?

“For Demas hath forsaken me, having loved this present world, and is departed unto Thessalonica; Crescens to Galatia, Titus unto Dalmatia.” – Timothy II 4:10

“Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment?” – Matthew 6:25

“He that loveth his life shall lose it; and he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal.” – John 12:25

“Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God.” – Colossians 3:2-3

“For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit.” – Romans 8:3-5


Every single one of the ancient Egyptians is dead. I blame their inferior morality.


Wow, I never realized how Egyptian I was for supporting PETA. I always thought PETA was in favor of life, albiet life for animals. Now I completely understand; PETA wants humans (especiall white, male Christian bloviators) to perish. PETA realizes that without the cruel torture of animals, people like the esteemed Mr. Pranger will no longer have the will to live. What fiends! Now that I’m on the their Egyptian ploy, I no longer support PETA, and will demonstrate this by torturing a bird soon.


I think what frightens me most is that Christian whacko extremists (sorry… is that inflammatory?) are now invoking Judaism as a basis for their nuttiness, as well as Christianity. As someone contemplating an escape from Christianity to Messianic Judaism, I have to ask… Is there NO safe haven?

I want my mommy… oh, wait… my mommy’s dead…. (GACK!! Mom, you turncoat!)



“You have misspoken”

until we personally come to terms with [death], all the railing against immoral secularists yadayadayada and their “culture of death” will only reek of narcissism.


Denis Prager is not a Christian. He is a devout, practicing Jew. As someone who listens to Prager’s radio show occassionaly, I can attest that this article sums up his intellectual schtick — take a preposterous theory, (ie. Christians aren’t obsessed with death), sprinkle in bits of Talmudic interpretation, mention an intellectual authority (Sigmund Freud — give me a break!), mention only the facts that support the nutty theory, and voila! — it sounds almost reasonable. Then let five or six callers on the air to agree or provide anecdotal evidence (Spoken in broad midwestern accent: “Dennis, you are so right on this one. My niece is a member of PETA and she has a tattoo of a skull. And don’t forget the Muslims. All they ever do is cut people’s heads off and commit suicide bombings.”


So what is the death count for the pro-life Chicken George Bush, anyway?
Counting the ones he executed in Texas, the dead on 9/11 due to his incompetence, the ones in Iraq due to his lies and last but far from least the 3 month old whose feeding tube was removed under a Texas law that he signed in 1999? I figure a low figure of 5,000. Good thing he isn’t pro-death.


i think, unconsciously, the christians are telling us something with this particular fight.
it could be one of a few things, namely:
“heaven is no where near as good as we’d led you to believe in order to recruit you for our faith.”
something like…
“rockefeller and carnegie have bought up the great portion of developmental real estate in heaven. good soul though you may be, you’ll be reduced to living in the streets or the parks of heaven for the foreseeable future.”
[we were made in god’s image, after all.]


Leviticus Chapter 19 Verse 19
“Ye shall keep my statutes. Thou shalt not let thy cattle gender with a diverse kind: thou shalt not sow thy field with mingled seed: neither shall a garment mingled of linen and woollen come upon thee.”

So which one is the death fabric–linen or woollen?

Oh, the blazer on my back, a slightly too tight metaphor for the eternal struggle between the Life Force and the Death Wish, the wooly Hebrew warp perhaps stretched with tension like cosmic strings, but completely subverted by the weft of Egyptian linen, snaking its way over and under the healthy, life-giving wool, trapping me in a navy mini-culture of ambivalence, dragging me inevitably into a state of inert uniformity with the rest of the universe.

Or the other way around.


Actually, Egyptian culture had quite a few dos and taboos in common with that of the ancient Hebrews: circumcision (ouch, yes!), the ritual pollution of menstruating women (yeah, baby!), strict dietary laws, and a belief in their chosen uniqueness (and the concomitant uncleanness of furriners).

And I love how them life-lovin’ Hebrews committed genocide when they took over Canaan. Dennis Prager, you silly twat.

Larry Firrantello

Actually, blood is not a symbol of death to ancient peoples, it is was a symbol of life, in fact to some it was the life force itself.

This whole thing is interesting considering Christians are saved “by His blood”.


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“Because if there is anything that Judeo-Christian values stand for, it is choosing life and rejecting death.”

I guess he forgot all about that when he was rooting for Stanley William’s death. As Mike Farrell said to him on Larry King (, “you disgust me”.


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