Wednesday, May 15, 2013

The ten commandments

I've read many articles online about the ten commandments; and so I thought that it was time for me to add one more to the mix. In this post I intend to point out some of the flaws in the ten commandments themselves, and most importantly some of the flaws that I can see in the biblical deity's character.

The ten commandments

Unless you are familiar with the scriptures not many people know that the ten commandments are actually narrated twice in the scriptures. You can find them in Exodus chapter 20:3-17 and Deuteronomy chapter5:7-21. For the purpose of this post and to avoid confusion I will stick to using only the version outlined in Exodus. 

  1. divine proscription: a command from God, especially one of the Ten Commandments Synonyms: directive, order, commandment, demand, charge, instruction, mandate, decree
I would like to start off by first defining the word commandment. As you can see from the definition above and its related words a commandment is an order or decree. I have often accused the biblical deity of being a dictator and a tyrant. The ten commandments clearly demonstrate that this assessment is correct. God likes power and he loves to be in charge, yet theists continue to claim that this same god has given us all the gift of free will. In all truth, the only free will you have is the will to voluntarily submit your life and will over to the power and authority of God. That's not free will, that's coercion; since the other option leads to the threat of eternal torment for not choosing to bow down to your master and creator!

The biblical deity obviously suffers from megalomania. Which is defined as:

  1. greed for power: an excessive enjoyment in having power over other people and a craving for more of it
  2. psychiatric disorder with delusions of power: a psychiatric disorder in which the patient experiences delusions of great power and importance
This is made most clear by the first four commandments which have absolutely nothing to do with morality. That is unless you define morality as the obligatory worship of the god of your choice.

1. “You shall have no other gods before me."
2. “You shall not make for yourself an image in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below."
3. “You shall not misuse the name of the Lord your God, for the Lord will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his name."
4. “Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy."

The first commandment demonstrates the utter intolerance of Judaism. Christians also share the same intolerance and claim of absolute truth from this commandment. The second is a prohibition against making images and if you read further of worshiping those images. Once again it is all about Yahweh. In the third commandment you are warned that even his name holds power and misusing his name can also have dire consequences. Finally, the fourth just reminds you that he rested on the seventh day from his labor of creation and so you too must take the seventh day as a day of rest. Why would an omnipotent deity need any rest at all is beyond me. Maybe he is not omnipotent after all. Based on this initial assessment, I move to refer to the ten commandments as the six commandments since the first four shouldn't even count.

Now let's take a look at the last six commandments and see what we can make of them.

5. “Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you."
6. “You shall not murder."
7. “You shall not commit adultery."
8. “You shall not steal."
9. “You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor."
10. “You shall not covet your neighbor’s house. You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his male or female servant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor.”

These last six commandments are a little bit more pragmatic and to an extent more useful to a community or society as a whole. But they are also quite ambiguous in that they don't take into account specific situations that may require interpretation of those laws. The fifth commandment states that you should honor your mother and father. But what if mom and dad are physically abusive and substance abusers as well? Do we still honor them for the years of abuse and torment that we were subjected to because of their life styles? Let's not forget about the effects of sexual abuse as well.

 
I am aware that in the book of Leviticus and even some of Exodus we are given some instances where the law is interpreted to specific situations. But some of the punishments in my view don't fit the crimes and are often too extreme. For instance death for worshiping other gods or practicing witchcraft or fortune telling. The sixth commandment says that we should not commit murder. But as anyone knows there are various forms of murder. There is that which is committed maliciously and with intent and then there are those incidents where self preservation requires you to kill another human being and then there is murder in defense of another. Of course other situations and reasons could apply as well. But while God commanded against murder, he led the Israelites on a campaign of war and wanton murder in order for them to possess the lands he so called gave them and clear it of its present inhabitants. So murder in the commandments was subjective to the whim of God.

The seventh commandment states that you shall not commit adultery (have relations with a married woman or man) yet at the same time we read in the Old Testament that it was okay to have concubines alongside multiple wives. So polygamy and concubines (mistress) were okay but somehow to me that seems self contradictory.  The eighth commandment seems more practical than its predecessors. I don't condone stealing and feel that it is a good commandment but what if you are homeless with children in a culture that does not have welfare or other government aids for those who are down and out? Aside from begging stealing may be necessary for your own survival and that of your children. Some countries actually prohibit begging in the streets so stealing ends up being your only alternative. Also, the Israelites stole everything they had under God's command so once again it wasn't bad because God gave them the land and was leading the troops.

The ninth commandment seems more applicable to all situations. It's not cool to lie about your friends or neighbors or anyone for that matter. The Salem witch hunts are a perfect example of the consequences a lie could bring someone. So far I think that this is the one and only commandment I fully agree with. Finally, coveting your neighbors goods, property, and his wife is definitely not cool. But if your neighbor is prosperous and you desire his wealth it can also have a positive effect on you and motivate you to work to get where he is at. So in some instances coveting may not be so bad after all. It's bad to maliciously covet someones things which eventually leads you to steal or even murder someone for their possessions.

Even though I do not agree with all of the sayings attributed to Jesus I think that one in particular saying blows the ten commandments out of orbit.

So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets. Matthew 7:12 This seem to me to be self explanatory so I will leave you to ponder its significance.

Note: All word definitions are taken from the Bing online dictionary and all biblical citations are from the New International Version. 

16 comments:

  1. It is significant to note that many scholars have pointed out that the original ten commandments were specifically Jew-centric. The prohibitions of the "final six" applied only to fellow Jews, e.g., "Thou shalt not kill another Jew." And the "neighbors" were only those who lived with you on the proper (Jewish) side of various borders, and it was perfectly OK to kill, steal from, and/or covet the property of non-Jews.

    The late-coming christians simply co-opted their version of the ten commandments and applied them to everyone. Well, sort of...

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  2. "It is significant to note that many scholars have pointed out that the original ten commandments were specifically Jew-centric."

    Absolutely! This also applies to all those Old Testament prophecies that the Christians have adopted as predictions of Christ. Or even some of the promises of God to the people of Israel which Christians have claimed as their own and tend to quote out of context.

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  3. Blast from the past:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E5WEB2iN3wE

    and

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vXxu3lXg3G8

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    1. Big blast from the past Matt I actually remember both those videos. It's good to see you my old friend. I haven't posted a video in a long time. I reach more people with my writing than I do with videos.

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    2. Also, the "golden rule" wasn't original. It was said by a Rabbi over a century before and things almost exactly like it were said in other cultures centuries before Jebus supposedly existed - Confucious, Buddhism, Ancient Greece, etc.

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  4. If you believe this then tell me why scientist through the world can not create a single cell and I don't mean cloning.

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    1. I was going to give you a different reply but I decided to look up some further information before I did. As far as scientists creating a cell read this article:

      http://abcnews.go.com/Health/Wellness/scientists-create-synthetic-cells/story?id=10708502 Spoiler it's already been done!

      But my question to you would be what does that have to do with a post about the ten commandments?

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  5. Jesus Christ himself mentioned in the Bible that believers would also stray; you are certainly not the first who has decided to satisfy his flesh instead. Also, and this is sad to say, many "christians" are not living a "Christ like" character. Even more so sad is that fact that there are so many well educated people such as yourself who has now sided with them enemy, and manipulates the word of God to lead the lambs to their slaughter. Such potential as yours is now being wasted.. and Jesus loves you none the less... Repent before judgement, or you will have no one but yourself to blame for your eternal resting place, my brother.

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    1. Thanks for your comment Bob Boggess. First of all you don't have to be a prophet to know that believers of any religion would stray. People change their minds about beliefs of all kinds all the time. I agree that many claiming to be Christians don't even have a clue what that really means. Finally, your last sentence is one of the many reasons of why I left the church and stopped believing in God.

      Christianity is not a religion of love but of fear. The Bible is full of references to "fearing God" and it's so called gospel (good news) is that there is a way out of eternal damnation or hell. Of course it's contingent on your submitting your life and will to the will of this so called god you claim exists without evidence and worship without reason. It's not free will when you are menaced with the one and only option which basically amounts to worship me or else no matter how you try to decorate and disguise the sadistic nature of it all.

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  6. Thank you for your reply. I have to be honest in that I have felt the same way in regards to submitting to anyone or anything. What I found that helped me better understand this was when God said that his way is "good and acceptable" for our lives. It is a parent - type life lesson. God is saying that the way of men ends in death, and it is not Gods will for anyone to see death. You are most certainly correct that it is his way or no way, but that is because he is Holy, and he wants his followers to be Holy too. I have even compared the Christian faith to others, and the Christian faith is full of more love than any other. You mentioned the lack of evidence in God, and worship without reason. You seem very seasoned in the word, so you must have heard that his system is built on faith. If he revealed himself to our physical eyes, he would have no Glory or satisfaction in our love for him. However, if you are looking for evidence, please take a close look at the current status of the United States of America. The fear and love of God the Father has brought us wealth and prosperity, as well as protection from our enemies. Now, a greedy, material nation, one who has drivien God out of school, work, and life is now blaming the very God that they have asked to leave on why their children are being killed by other children in school, why their home lives have been ruined, divorce and sexual immorality has sky rocketed, and the lazy people milk the bottle for every last sip until there is nothing left to give, and we owe the rest of the earth ridiculous amounts of debt. Israel went the same path, and now they are living with so much less than what God wanted to give them. America is doing the same thing now, and our judgement will be a rough one. Again, with your experience, read the book of Revelation while watching the news and please tell me how you are not even slightly aware of the similarities from todays events when compared to the warnings in the book of Revelation. I may be wasting my time, but the mercy and love God has shown me compells me to help others to the best of my abilities. You probably have more knowledge of Gods word than I do, but as stated by Jesus, if you don't have love, then you have nothing.

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    1. I don't beleive in Biblical prophecy or any prophecy for that matter. It is easy to infer from an ancient text what you want it to mean while looking at current events. No predictions in Revelations are specific, if God wanted to prove his existence he could have done so through prophecy. I would have been impressed if he would have predicted the Holocaust and named Hitler in a two thousand year old book. Have you ever heard of a cold reading? It's a technique psychics use to get someone to give information about themselves. They throw out things that most people share for example they will say something like "I am sensing that you have recently suffered some kind of loss in your life." Of course all of us have whether it be the loss of a job, our loved ones to death, or a spouse to separation etc. So called biblical prophecy is nothing more than one big cold reading that can be applied to practically any situation.

      Speaking of love, I don't know what God's idea of love is, but in my mind love is unconditional. Comapring God to a father figure is an inaccurate way to depict him. No father forces you to love him and threatens death if your refuse. In my experience love is something you earn it is not something that just happens. You can't demand love like God does. A good parent would understand his children and love them unconditionally whether they be gay, straight, a drug abuser, even a murderer.

      I love my kids more than anything and I would gladly without hesitation give my life for them if I had to. I have a gay daughter and I never gave her slack over it. I am tolerant of others situations, beliefs, and lives. I am a regular blood donor and that makes me feel good about myself that my donation is helping someone who needs it.

      I don't need God to express love it is entirely a human emotion and comes from within. I have had rough times in my life and those experiences have made me strong while at the same time compassionate for those that struggle as I have and still do.

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  7. But didn't God prove himself through prophecy? With Noah, with Moses, with Jesus, with Israel, and then some more? My friend, I feel like your new found ideas are not yours alone, rather the enemy has given you another option and you chose it. Please make sure that you know what you are giving up as you are really missing out on a lot of love and a much happier life. I will pray for you, but as you already know you have to be willing to follow Gods law. Men have free will, and at the end of our lives our final resting place is earned.

    I am aware of cold readings as well, and I am aware that many psychics are frauds. There are some, however that actually have that ability, and God warns us to stay away from them. The book of Daniel mentions one of these psychics who was spreading all over town that Daniel was a man of God, and a Holy man. Due to the hypocrisy of the word coming from her, Daniel rebuked her and never again was she able to predict anything at all. As you said, the Bible is able to be applied to any situation as God said that our lives are like the grass that withers and dies, but his word is forever. His word being forever makes it able to be applied in any sense.

    With God being a father figure, he is giving us direction to follow and saying that the punishment for not following is death. Let's say, for example, that we tell our children to never drink and drive. Refusal to listen to this warning ends in death, but we are not the ones killing our children. The refusal to listen to guidance killed them, or they killed themselves for not obeying. It is not the will of God the Father that anyone perish; this is the meaning for that. God does not want you to die, but denouncing his name and disobeying his law will cause your death. Even if in Hell, God would not stop loving you, but he can not give you, me, or anyone else who ends up in Hell the same rewards as he can his followers. When I was younger, and much more foolish, my Dad helped me to understand this better from a humanistic stand point. Imagine a man knocks at your door. After you open the door, you see a well dressed man, in about his later 50's. When seeing him, you have no fear or worry; to you he seems very trustworthy. The man proceeds to show and tell you his life, and how he worked very hard all of his life, that he never cursed, never beat his kids which also grew up and had respectable positions in life, he loved and honoured his wife until the day she passed from natural causes. He is retired now, and states that because he was good and earned a respectable place among his peers that he is ready to retire, and he wants to spend the rest of his life at your house, and be taken care of by you. You have never met him, you never knew him, what do you say? Of course you have to say no as you have children, you do not know his history, he may corrupt the moral fibers that you wanted for your family and you do not know him. That is unfortunately what God has to say when your day of judgement comes, and you want to live in his kingdom forever, under his care. Also, take the time if you would to go to you tube and search for the video "John 3:16, A Love Story". It is just over 18 minutes long and I feel that it will give you a better idea on Gods true love for us. (Con’t next section)

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  8. (con’t from prev)I am glad to hear that you yourself are a good and loving father; they do not seem to be around much these days. But if I may be heard humbly by you I would like to say that a good father does love his children no matter what; a great father would show them the better way to live. Homo sexuality in Gods word is an abomanation, and will not bring her the satisfaction she seeks in the long run. My opinion on homosexuality is the same as my opinion for all other lusts. Its the desire of the individual, and option given by the great deceiver that your flesh lusts after, and you then fall victim to. I was this way with women, and though have not physically had an affair on my wife, I will at times be tempted by other women and it is hard to fight. The reward comes from winning those battles.

    You are right that you do not need Gods love to live a normal, humanistic life-style on earth, but you do need Gods love to be whole.

    I have really enjoyed discussing this subject with you, and I hope that no one gives up on you, and that you have as many chances to make the right decision before it’s your turn to see the truth

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    1. What you call truth I call a delusion. I have read the Bible four times and have preached the word countless times in various churches, on the radio, and on the streets. You my friend are preaching to the choire here and I still think that your analogies to fatherhood and God are off the mark.

      Telling your child not to drink and drive and their not heeding your advice leads them to death is a consequence of their own actions. In the case of God he can prevent you from dying or suffering eternally in hell. All he has to do is forgive all men since he made the rules and can change them anytime he wants.

      As far as homosexuality goes God cannot opine on the matter since he himself if the scriptures are accurate has demonstrated through his actions what immorality is. He allegedly drowned the majority of the worlds population including the animals. He murdered or instructed the Hebrews to murder people of other cultures and religious beliefs. He impregnated a betrothed woman. The list goes on and on and on.

      Even if the gospel were true I would not worship God since I find that he is no different than any other tyrant that has ever walked this earth. I don't need your sympathy nor your prayers since I feel that prayer only amounts to talking to yourself since God does not exist.

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  9. Fair enough my friend. Again, I enjoyed this conversation that we were able to share, and hope for the best for you and your family.

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    1. I too wish nothing but the best for you. Take care of yourself and thanks for commenting and sharing your thoughts and ideas with me.

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