I Refuse To Believe In A God With Such A Low Opinion Of Dogs

God is Dog spelled backwards. Coincidence?

Now, all you Dog lovers, who wants to worship a Tac?

Just to play devil’s advocate, the quote from the Mahabharata could be interpreted to show a prevailing disdain for dogs in Ancient Indian culture.

By this, I mean that there are several stories and passages in the Mahabharta that can be interpreted to have a reformist bent to them. There are stories and passages that seem to indict the caste system. This does not mean that the caste system was the prevailing attitude.

In the Mahabharata, the idea that all creatures have souls and we should show compassion to them appears frequently. The choice of a dog here in the particular passage quoted is telling. Indra is completely taken aback by Yudhistra’s refusal to leave the dog. Why? Because dog’s do not occupy the same place in Hindu mythology that many other creatures (snakes, lions, tigers, elephants, etc) do. Had this been an elephant following him, Indra probably would have been like, “OK, whatever.” (said in Sanskrit, of course). The idea here (my interpretation) is that even though the dog is perceived to be lowly, its actions are what it should be judged by. Rather than being reflective of pervailing attitudes (of a Western view of dogs), the story is making use of the existing attitudes (that dogs are lowly) to illustrate its moral. MHO, of course.

Meant to say that “this does not mean that acceptance of the caste system was not the prevailing attitude.”

As a Christian, I tend to think that God has a number of reasons for creating animals. Chiefly among them, animals are:

  1. cute (companionship)
  2. warm (protective), or
  3. tasty (sustenance).

In thinking about it, I think animals may serve a distinct purpose as indirect messengers about certain things in the universe. Case in point: we take crows as a portent of evil, and hey, who doesn’t get a little freaked out when they see a crow? The crow itself is just an animal, a happy little bird who wants to fulfill its function. Per se, there’s nothing wrong with it, but I often suspect God attached an “icky” factor to it to remind us of the existence of evil.

I see this with a number of animals. Worms, for example, remind me of the repugnance of death. Hey, a worm’s doing its job, but it’s also REALLY icky.

So…dogs? Could be that the Hebrews had a low opinion of them because, culturally, they didn’t have companionship purposes. Hence, the low opinion of dogs in the Bible reflects a Jewish cultural idea of the animal in reflection of an opinion of how man should not behave.

I don’t think Christ’s comments on the dogs are necessarily derogatory, but to make a point that the sacred shouldn’t be abused. I wouldn’t, for example, feed a Eucharistic host to a dog that happened to be at a Catholic mass, because, inter alia, the dog isn’t baptized or even human for that matter. It’s not that I don’t like the dog, but even if it were starving, I wouldn’t pass what I believed to be the body of Christ onto an animal. (Yeah, SOMEBODY is going to lambast me here, I know.) Heck, look at the childrens’ quote: literally, Christ is saying “Don’t feed a dog over your children.” That’s not derogatory; it’s common sense. (Again: I predict a dog-lover might gripe here.)

Finally–is this a fair compilation of EVERY dog comment in the Bible? I seem to recall somewhere a passage about a dog being happy on his master’s return. Somebody help me here.

Jesus loves my cat. (I want to make a bumpersticker that says that some day)

But seriously, he did live in Egypt until he was five, so maybe he did have a cat. (Did they still worship cats back in Egypt when Jesus was born?)

Found it! The dog passage I mentioned is in Tobias, which is in the Catholic apocrypha (but not the KJ version). Anyway, my people consider it canonical and valid:

As I understand it, the dog is meant to represent God’s happiness at the event in question.

Dogma <--------generally has negative connotations. Poor dogs. They just can’t catch a break!