Despite appearances to the contrary, I don’t actually know the mind of God. Still, based on the bible, the koran and assorted hadith, I’ve got some idea of what one might reasonably expect a semitic-monotheist-religion-type deity to like and dislike.
Were I God, my biggest dislike would be of people assuming that I’m an idiot. I’m not an idiot: I’m an omniscient God. If I tell you not to do something, and then you come up with a silly semantic distinction which means you think you can get away with it and I won’t notice, then you’re really, really going to piss me off.
Harry Hutton made this point a while ago about Islamic banking. Ophelia at Butterflies & Wheels now has an article on temporary marriages, which touches on similar ground: while extramarital sex is very forbidden in Islam, some Shia believe that it’s perfectly legitimate to get married to a (prostitute/client, depending on which one you are) for two hours, then get divorced once the shagging is over.
Obviously, a religion which outlaws mortgages is bloody stupid and hard to stick to; a religion which imposes draconian punishments on extramarital sex is also bloody stupid and hard to stick to [*]. But God’s told you to do it: either you pay attention to him, you decide he doesn’t exist, or you accept you’re going to go to hell. Cute sophistry really isn’t going to cut it…
Unrelatedly, it’s been a couple of years since I last looked at Michael Kelly’s site, and his new-ish logic puzzles page is excellent. Indeed, #17 is my favourite logic puzzle ever, while #23 runs it a close favourite.
[*] This probably reads more like Islam-bashing than I intended. The same self-serving readings of religious injunctions are, of course, also prevalent among Christians and Jews of all varieties.