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10 Commandments?

Moses with the Tablets of the Law (painting by...

Moses With The 10 Commandments

Once again I have head Pascal’s wager from a well meaning Christian. Pascals wager says although god can’t be proven, life should be lived as if god exists because one has everything to gain if there is a god and nothing to lose if there isn’t a god. That is incorrect since a life as a slave to the bible god is a life lost when it is shown that the bible god doesn’t exist. You might be wondering why the title mentions the 10 commandments. As it turns out the Christians where I live that actually use Pascal’s wager (seems the gene pool out here was once pretty small) claim even if they are wrong they lead a good and moral life based on the 10 commandments. In a somewhat odd twist I have heard a Methodist, pastor at a Weslyan Church, say following the 10 commandments leads one to a good and moral life but strangely absent from his sentence was Jesus. Guess he took up residence with those missing children on milk cartons.Since the claim is following the 10 commandments leads to a good and moral life. let’s take a closer look ok? The 10 commandments must be extremely important since we find them listed 3 times in the bible. We read them in Exodus 20:2–17, again in Exodus 34:11–27 and yet again but the last time in Deuteronomy 5:6–21. Maybe I was wrong about their importance. The three lists are all different. Guess Christians can claim one is for god, one is for Jesus and one is for the holy ghost/spirit/breath or whatever the term du jour is.

For the sake of simplicity I will examine only 1 list and it is Exodus 20:2-17 which the Church (and Judaism) agree on. The Jews do not call these the 10 commandments, Cecil B. DeMille‘s movie lied. Judaism calls them Aseret Ha-Dibrot which translated means the ten statements since a careful counting shows much more than 10 commandments. In any event, it isn’t much of a surprise that the Church differs from the Jewish counting but it is surprising that much like the 33,000+ denominations and however many versions of god’s word there are, there are different numberings within this “unified” Church [mainly the difference is in the first 2 commandments]. The different numberings are split by the Catholic, Orthodox and then everything else not Catholic or Orthodox. I am going to look at the last category.

I am the lord thy god. Somehow this became a preamble to the 10 commandments. So our numbering starts at the next one.And once again my commentary will be interspersed within the text.

1. You shall have no other gods before me.

2.You shall not make for yourself an idol.

3. You shall not make wrongful use of the name of thy god. The preceding commandments are just saying. I am god and I have low self esteem so worship me. The important 10 commandments, important enough to repeat 3 times [all different] and the first 3 are wasted on vanity?

4. Remember the Sabbath and keep it holy. I can’t speak for most people but I remember to set my alarm clock, I remember to eat dinner, I remember to shower but I don’t know anyone besides Orthodox Jews and a few Seventh day adventists that remember the Sabbath. Sunday is not the Sabbath.

5. Honor your father and mother. Now that is a good commandment. Wait a sec, I’m confused, didn’t Jesus contradict this in Luke 12:52-53.

6. You shall not kill. One good commandment but is it practical to never kill? What about to save your loved ones? What about when someone attacks you in the street and pulls a gun out? Never?

7. You shall not commit adultery. Ok, thats a good one.

8. You shall not steal. Ok, this is good.

9. You shall not bear false witness. Hmm, doesn’t false witness include not stealing and more?

10. You shall not covet anything that belongs to your neighbor. Again?! 7 was good but this covers 7 and more. Unless of course you plan on commiting adultery with someone you don’t covet.

By my count the first 3 commandments were wasted on nothing more than god’s vanity and the 4th is a commemoration of his getting tired after creation [thought he was omnipotent, why did he get tired?]. 1 commandment was contradicted by Jesus so we can’t count that one. Of the 5 commandments that are left 2 of them are totally redundant so we are left with 3 commandmants out of 10.

Far cry from the important and necessary 10 commandments we see hanging all over government offices [here in the USA]. 3 commandments and all 3 can be found in civilizations before the creation of July 4th 4004 BCE. Anyway, this was a neccesary look because of an argument that seems to be gaining popularity among Christians. Next time they bring up the 10 commandments, give them a little lesson on the 3.

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One Response

  1. Amazing that ‘rape’ is nowhere to be found in any of the ten…. Prohibition of nonconsentual sex would be number 2 in my list – right after prohibition against murder.

    And breaking number 10 is the driving force of our economy. We’d still be superstitious tribal sheepherders if we followed that one.

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