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"Faith is not a good reason to believe in any one thing. It's a bad reason to believe in everything. Faith is not synonymous with any one idea; it is synonymous with any strongly held idea, true or not. But one thing faith is not synonymous with is a logically justified idea."

April 15, 2010

The Ten Commandments Dissected

1. "I am the Lord your God, you shall have no other Gods before me."
This commandment isn't even about morality. It's about conformity. It's a jealous God telling you that you're not allowed to worship any other God. It almost seems as though he admits that other Gods exist. He must be, since the next commandment deals with the same issue, but specifically with non-existent Gods.

2. "Thou shalt not make a false idol."
This is somewhat the same as the one before it. It's not a moral law, it's a law of conformity. And it suggests that the first law was speaking about other Gods that actually exist. So is there only one God, or many Gods? As an atheist, I believe they're all idols. The Christians pray to a cross, a medieval torture device. The Muslims pray to a black rock, which is most likely a meteor, etc...

3. "Thou shalt not take the Lord’s name in vain."
Once again, this is not a moral rule. It's another law restricting the free will of humanity. It restricts the freedom of speech, which is not just a right given to Americans. It's a human right because you cannot enforce any law restricting it. That's why the founding father's said there shall be no law against the freedom of speech. Not because some speech can't be harmful, it can be. But because they know that there's no way to accurately enforce any law restricting it. And the Christian God, who is claimed to be all-knowing and all-powerful, can't even stop free speech. No matter how much he says he dislikes it, I can still say "God Dammit" whenever I want, and I do.

4. "Remember the Sabbath day and keep it holy"
Yet again, another commandment that has nothing to do with morality. How do Christians claim that the 10 Commandments is the greatest source of morality in existence when it's quite obvious  that many of them don't even touch on any moral subject? Oh, right... They were told it was the greatest source of morality by their preachers, and that's as far as they went in their thinking process. What about the Sabbath is worth keeping? We're not supposed to work in any way. We aren't even supposed to push a button on this day! Do you want to live under that sort of conformity? Of course not, that's why modern Christians did away with all the regulations on the Sabbath and decided that the Bible really meant we should all attend church on Sunday. Nice cop out. Although the real Sabbath was on Saturday. But that's party night!

5. “Honor thy Father and thy Mother."
Okay, finally we come onto a moral subject. It's not entirely based on a moral premise, but it's close. You should, especially when young, respect your parents or legal guardian. Except that this is another example of a good rule that needs to be elaborated on, and the Bible doesn't do it. What if your father is a pedophile? What if your mother beats you? What if your parents want to lead you astray from God? In that specific case, the Bible says you should kill them. I say, honor your parents and/or legal guardian within reason. Even bad people can have kids, and their kids need to recognize the faults of their parents for what they are. For all you good parents out there, thank you.

6. "Thou shalt not kill."
Okay, another pseudo-moral issue. The Bible says "kill" but Christians love to quote it as "Thou shalt not murder" even though the Israelites had a word for murder and decided to use the word for "kill" instead. How do they justify this new translation? I don't know. Why do they make this comparison? Because without asserting that the Bible means "Murder" rather than "Kill" they couldn't have their Crusades, their Holocaust, their abortion clinic bombings, their Iraq Wars, their Gay Bashing Murders! Etc... They know it's impossible to live in a world, even a moral one, without some killing. So they justify a new translation and then claim it was always meant to be that way. How about we just say that the all-knowing, all-powerful, all-seeing creator of the universe forgot to elaborate on yet another topic.

7. "Thou shalt not commit adultery."
I have a problem with cheaters, and because of that I've never cheated on any woman in my entire life. Seriously, not even once. I just won't do it. However, I do not believe that cheating is a moral issue. It might be an ethical one, within the confines of a relationship. But I doubt it's a moral human issue. You have the right to be with whomever you want, provided that they allow you to be. That's your right to choice. You want to choose someone else mid-relationship, that's fine. I don't think that makes you immoral, just unethical as a spouse or lover. People like to pretend that cheating is a form of lying, and I see the comparison, but I don't think it sticks entirely. When you make the commitment to stay faithful, you don't know what's coming down the road in the near or distant future. I'd say the best thing to do is be willing to break off the relationship you're in before continuing on to someone new. Adultery is not a moral issue. It's an ethical issue, and it's not even a very serious one in society. For the creator of the universe to become concerned with the issue of adultery, it should bring suspicion onto his intent and his origins.

8. "Thou shalt not steal."
Okay, here's an issue that is entirely moral in my opinion. Stealing is wrong in any circumstance. Even in the case where you are starving, it's still wrong. The question is not "Is this wrong" but "Am I willing to do something wrong under the circumstances"... Then if you are caught, it's up to the police and the courts to ask "Is this worth punishing under the circumstances?"... This is one law that doesn't need too much more elaboration, and in the case of the creator of the universe, I'm willing to let the elaboration go. This is one commandment that I like.

9. "Thou shalt not bear false witness against your neighbor."
They say that this is about lying, but the original translation is clearly about perjury. Apparently, the Christian/Jewish God of the Bible thinks it's perfectly fine to lie, just so long as your fellow man isn't at stake. In many cases, I'd agree. And I don't think that lying in any circumstance is a moral issue. The outcome of lies might be morally related, but the act of lying alone is not morally related. In the case of perjury in a court of law, it's ethical. The all-knowing creator of the universe doesn't seem to understand the difference between morality and ethics.

10. "You shall not covet your neighbor's house; you shall not covet your neighbor's man servant, nor his wife, nor his oxen, nor his ass, nor anything that is your neighbor's."
This is basically a rule against thought crimes. It says you aren't only restricted from stealing as stated above, you're restricted from thinking about something you want, or see, in the case that you might act upon it. That's crap because you can't stop from thinking about things. And God apparently can't enforce his rules on you. What about our Capitalist economic system, isn't that based on breaking this rule? Isn't greed the one thing that drives a Capitalist economy? Also, this is not a moral issue either. Thought crime, even the worst thoughts that could lead to crime, is not a moral issue. No crime has been committed, and therefore there is no moral standing to judge by. There's a bias and a bigoted standard to judge by, which is what the Bible often uses to render judgment. Finally, it's important to point out that in the traditional form of this commandment, like the one above, the man servant (slave) is put before the wife of your neighbor. Sexism once again stares at the world through the Bible, and no one wants to admit it.

In conclusion, I feel as though I should mention that some of the worst crimes in humanity didn't even make the list. There is no commandment regarding rape, pedophilia, genocide, etc... The scope of the Ten Commandments, and therefore the scope of God himself, reflects the point of view of old desert men. Not an all knowing intelligent being. How different would Christianity be today if there were commandments restricting pedophilia? Just look at the Catholic church now and wonder "What if?"


wetmackeral said...

I like, I like- though I personally don't agree that theft is ALWAYS wrong, I've always been a sucker for the starving guy who needs to survive and has no other method in which to do so. (See: Majority of India's slums. Not nice, but until the rich start spreading the wealth round there, it isn't going to change any time soon). Otherwise, good job!

Anonymous said...

Right on, that's awesome! I do find it odd that Christians think so highly of the 10 Commandments when the first FOUR, almost half of them, are so ridiculous. Especially the very first one! It's as if he was saying there was a choice to have other gods, but he forbid anyone to choose any god but himself. Very Odd Indeed.

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