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Was doing some less-than-perfect DIY yesterday and the radio was playing in the background.
There was this item on the Samaritans. It would seem that a) they're still around and b) if you want to see one in the wild, better hurry, cause they're an endangered species.
There used to be several 100K of them in the first century CE but forcible conversion, first by the Romans, then by the Muslims, damn near wiped them out.
Their numbers dwindled over the centuries, largely due to a ban on outside marriages. That is, until the 1950s. Inbreeding had gotten so bad that they were forced to allow marriage with Jewish women. These women were largely Russian and Ukranian immigrants. This worked so well for them that the ban has been further relaxed to allow marriage with ANY Ukrainian and Russian women.

Now, There are a couple of typically theist things going on here.
First of all, Are Samariatans Jews? They're following some version of the Torah but they self identify as Israelites rather than Jews. The fundamental difference? They worship a different hill ... No kidding. The almighty creator of the universe, according to them, cares about which pile of dirt you sit upon on "special" days.
They call themselves Israelites because only THEY are the chosen people. The present day Jews in Israel left and came back. The Samaritans stayed put for 2000 years. So, just like just about every religion only THEY are the good guys. And, btw, they really seem hung up on real estate.
The doublethink about marriage is also a funny one. For thousands of years, their god was not ok with outside marriages. And then, hmm, we seem to be running out of women, ... hey, guess what, god IS ok with outside marriages. Now, for the average religious sheep, I can understand this. They regard their religious leaders as perfect, and follow them no matter what. But, what about those leaders themselves? Did they start going through their scripture, hunting for verses to rationalize the change? Did they self-condition ... like slap themselves every time they thought about the marriage limitations? How does that work? Did they sit in a corner for a week going "godisokwithoutsidemarriages.godisokwithoutsidemarriages..."? How can you go through a change like that and NOT realize that you're believing male bovine excrement.
One last thing, you'll have noticed, in the true tradition of the Abrahamic religions, the Samaritans treat women as commodities. Property to be acquired and used ... walking baby-factories. Well, at least SOME things the Abrahamics agree upon.  &)
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nogodsforme Interesting. January 10, 2013, 06:40:13 PM