Beginning of intolerance 2 (we are not Kosher)
Partially based on What Is So Amazing about Grace
Food prohibitions of the OT from Leviticus 11 include,
Pork, scallops, lobsters, snake, camels, rabbits, owls, bats, reptiles, ostriches, to name a few.
Some have pointed out the health benefits of the Levitical laws. The ban against pork removed the threat of trichinosis, and a ban against shellfish kept the Israelites safe from the viruses sometimes found in oysters and mussels. Others note that many of the forbidden animals are scavengers, feeding on carrion. Still others observe that specific laws seem directed against the customs of the Israelites' pagan neighbors. For example, the ban against cooking a young goat in its mother's milk was likely given to keep the Israelites from, mimicking a magic‑spell ritual of the Canaanites.
All these explanations make sense and may indeed shed light on the logic behind God's curious list. Some animals, though, cannot be explained away. Why lobster? Or what about rabbits, which carry no health risk and eat grass, not carrion? (There is however that myth which ends up in the Beastiary that a Rabbit grows a new anus for each year of life). And why did camels and donkeys, the ubiquitous work animals of the Middle East, make the list? Clearly the laws have an arbitrariness about them or there are factors we are unaware of.
What did God have against lobster? The Jewish writer Herman Wouk says that "fit" is the best English equivalent for the Hebraic word "kosher" that guides Jewish customs to this day. Leviticus judges some animals "fit," or proper, and others unfit. Anthropologist Marx, Douglas goes further, noting that in each case God forbids animals that show an anomaly. Since fish are supposed to have fins and scales, shellfish and eel do not qualify. Birds are meant to fly, and thus emus and ostriches do not qualify. Land animals should walk on all fours, not crawl along the ground like a snake. Domesticated cattle, sheep, and goats chew the cud and have cloven hooves; therefore so should all such edible mammals.
Rabbi Jacob Neusner agrees “ if I had to say in a few words what makes something unclean ,it is that for some reason or another it is abnormal.”
The OT has a similar and more troubling ranking to people.
16 The LORD said to Moses, 17 "Say to Aaron: 'For the generations to come none of your descendants who has a defect may come near to offer the food of his God. 18 No man who has any defect may come near: no man who is blind or lame, disfigured or deformed; 19 no man with a crippled foot or hand, 20 or who is hunchbacked or dwarfed, or who has any eye defect, or who has festering or running sores or damaged testicles. 21 No descendant of Aaron the priest who has any defect is to come near to present the offerings made to the LORD by fire. He has a defect; he must not come near to offer the food of his God. 22 He may eat the most holy food of his God, as well as the holy food; 23 yet because of his defect, he must not go near the curtain or approach the altar, and so desecrate my sanctuary. I am the LORD, who makes them holy.'" 24 So Moses told this to Aaron and his sons and to all the Israelites. NIV
Step forward in time Acts 10
About noon the following day as they were on their journey and approaching the city, Peter went up on the roof to pray. He became hungry and wanted something to eat, and while the meal was being prepared, he fell into a trance. He saw heaven opened and something like a large sheet being let down to earth by its four corners. It contained all kinds of four-footed animals, as well as reptiles of the earth and birds of the air. Then a voice told him, "Get up, Peter. Kill and eat." "Surely not, Lord!" Peter replied. "I have never eaten anything impure or unclean." The voice spoke to him a second time, "Do not call anything impure that God has made clean."
This obviously has take care of the food prohibitions.
Talking with him (Cornelius), Peter went inside and found a large gathering of people. He said to them: "You are well aware that it is against our law for a Jew to associate with a Gentile or visit him. But God has shown me that I should not call any man impure or unclean. So when I was sent for, I came without raising any objection.
Jesus' approach to "unclean" people dismayed his countrymen and, in the end, helped to get him crucified. In essence, Jesus canceled the cherished principle of the Old Testament with a new rule of grace:
I did not intend to get past a probable contributing cause to present day intolerance toward those that are variant . But Acts 10 shows part of the acceptance evidenced in the New Testament.