24 February 2011

Monotheism and Monopoly

The scales fell from my eyes (h/t The Scepticlawyer):

‘The Jerusalem Temple offers services and sets prices. If they set those prices in our currency then there would be no problem at all, but they demand scrip and control the exchange rate. That’s just another way of setting a high price.’

‘Exactly, Procurator.’

‘That’s not the point. If people don’t want to pay that high price, they should worship a god that accepts cheaper offerings. The god-market is competitive. Your client’s attacking the right of merchants to set prices.’

Claudia repressed a strong desire to collapse in a fit of the giggles. She’d suspected her husband would say something like this when the money making exercise otherwise known as the Jerusalem Temple had first been exposed to public scrutiny in the wake of the riot.

‘There aren’t a great number of alternatives in Jerusalem, Procurator.’

‘Are you suggesting that the Temple is a coercive monopoly, Don Linnaeus?’

‘I am, Procurator. Jews are born to their religion, and in this city at least, the law suppresses alternatives. And if they want to make sacrifice, they have to come here.’

In other words, Protestants of the more radical sort (e.g. Quakers) are actually rebelling against the Old Testament drive against Ba'al or Ba'als etc.: the push for the direct experience of religion by the population, with even people being their own priests, against the monopoly of the Temple and those who control it.