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The 10 Commandments are Ridiculous!

For some bizarre reason, people love the 10 Commandments. Most people don’t even know what they are, few people today actually obey them, and almost anyone could create much better commandments without a whole lot of mental effort. Quite frankly, the 10 Commandments are ridiculous!

Before we go into them, it is important to remember that these are the top ten laws that are so important and necessary that according to the Bible God actually put them in STONE. In fact, the penalty for breaking any of these commandments is DEATH… and then eternal torture.

For starters, the first 4 Commandments are simply God’s vanity:
1. You shall have no other gods before me
2. You shall not make for yourself an idol
3. Do not take the name of the Lord in vain
4. Remember the Sabbath and keep it holy

But let’s look at 3 and 4 for a moment. Most people don’t even understand Commandment 3 which has nothing to do with cursing. It actually has to do with praying for trivial stuff like winning a sports game or the lottery. These are vain things to be prayed for. The other interesting thing about this Commandment is that no one today can actually break it. This goes back to the old idea of spirit law. If you know the True Name of a spirit (or god) you can command it. Top Rabbis were said to know the True Name of God and so they were being commanded not to use God’s name in vain. But no one today knows what that “True Name” was so the commandment is moot.

Then there is Commandment 4 in which we are commanded not to work on Saturday. Well, some people need to work overtime so I think that is a horrible law. Now, don’t get me wrong, I think it is a good suggestion to take a day off work once a week, but I hardly think it ought to be a law.

I grew up in Bergen County, New Jersey. Despite the fact that it is a very secular area, they actually have a county wide law making it illegal for certain businesses to be open  on Sundays (including malls). So Sundays really sucked for me and Saturdays weren’t that great either since mall traffic was twice as congested because the malls weren’t open by law on Sundays.

Moving on to Commandment 5, “Honor your father and mother.” That seems like sagely advice… depending of course on your father and mother. But should it be a law punishable by death? I don’t think so. What does “Honoring” someone entail anyway? What if your father and mother want to beat you for working on Saturday? Should you honor them and allow them too or should you disobey them and run to a neighbor to call social services? God should have been a little more specific with that one. Some parents are just not worthy of the honor.

Thou shall not Murder. This again seems like some pretty sagely advice, but it too is a little vague. First, there is actually some debate about whether it is Murder or Kill. But let’s for the sake of argument say it is Murder. Does self-defense count as murder? Still, on the whole, this is actually a pretty good Commandment. So out of the 6 Commandments so far, only one is even remotely decent. I should add though that the idea that we shouldn’t murder each other was hardly new even at this early stage in our social development nor is it a rule in which we couldn’t possibly have figured out without the help of God’s all-knowing wisdom.

The 7th Commandment is, “Thou shall not commit adultery.” That’s a pretty good rule. It is actually so good that we have it as a law today… oh wait, no we don’t. There is currently no state in the country that has made adultery illegal. If there was, we could arrest most of Congress and almost all the Republicans. Again, this is good advice but a horrible law.

“Thou shall not steal” is a pretty good commandment. I’ll put this one up with the Thou shall not murder as a decent law. However, again it was hardly original at that time and no one needed God’s divine wisdom to figure it out. The other problem with it is that the Bible makes no mention of exceptions. I think there needs to be some exceptions for this commandment. What if you are stealing something dangerous from people who will use it to harm others? Like stealing a gun from a would be killer. What about the always popular stealing bread to feed a starving family? The Ten Commandments have no exceptions and no court system, judge, or jury to address mitigating circumstances. No, the Ten Commandments are black and white and in stone.

Commandment 9, “thou shall not bear false witness.” Well, we have perjury laws in America today, but I think this commandment goes further. How do you answer the dreaded, “Do I look fat in this dress” question? And what do you say when the Nazis are at your door asking if you are hiding any Jews? Again it’s a great idea, but a bad law. Sorry God, try again.

Finally, we have the last Commandment, Thou shall not covet. Let’s face facts here, if President Obama suggested this law we would have every religious right Republican screaming about thought crime legislation. This is not only a terrible law, but it is anti-capitalism and anti-American.

So out of the whole 10 Commandments, only 2 of them are any good at all, and they are pretty obvious rules even for that time period. What is more interesting are the commandments that are absent from God’s top ten list in stone.

Thou shall not enslave other people.
Thou shall not rape.
Thou shall treat women equally to men.
Thou shall give a hoot and not pollute.

Those are examples of great commandments that are much better than at least 8 of the ones God was alleged to have put into stone. Not only did God not include those commandments in the Ten Commandments, but they are in fact no where in the Bible. Sadly, the Bible actually teaches the exact opposite of my four Commandments above.

In any case here is George Carlin’s famous analysis of the 10 Commandments:




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  • http://www.examiner.com/atheism-in-norfolk Kenneth Montville

    Good article. One point about the mitigating circumstances though is that in Christianity the Decalogue is unchanging and immutable; however, in Judaism there is a long history of adjudicating the law. The Mishna goes through all the possible circumstances of a given law to find any possible loopholes and decide on their validity. Generally self defence is not murder, nor is stealing for the greater good considered abhorrent. The Mishnah can get really in depth such as, if a house is cleaned for Passover and a mouse enters the house with a bit of bread in his mouth then does the house need be cleaned again? What if it was a rat? What if the rat had a mouse in his mouth with bread in the mouse’s? (say that ten times fast).

  • http://www.dangeroustalk.net Staks

    That’s a good point Ken, but the Ten Commandments aren’t like other laws they were alleged to have been literally written in stone.

  • http://www.examiner.com/atheism-in-norfolk Kenneth Montville

    True, that’s a good point not to mention your point that the commandments are generally a bad set if offered to pick any ten single laws.

    The Decalogue was definitely a different sort of institution than the rest of the 613 mitzvot found in the Torah in that God supposedly wrote it in stone. However, in Judaism there is the notion of the written Torah and the oral Torah. The written Torah is what the Christians adopted, the oral Torah was the justifications of, adjudications within, and discourses on the written Torah which became the Mishnah. Supposedly both were given to Moses (even the bit about his death at the end of Deuteronomy somehow haha) directly by God. The oral Torah is where we get the idea that murder means cold blood not self defence or that different terms for God can be used only in certain circumstances to avoid profaning his name (i.e. YHVH = never, Adonai = in religious services, Ha Shem = always). I guess my point is that Judaism has a bit more introspection than Christianity.

  • qwertyuiop

    In fact, the penalty for breaking any of these commandments is DEATH… and then eternal torture.

    Isn’t that the penalty for everything in religion?

  • qwertyuiop

    Actually arresting congress and republicans may not be too bad a law ;)

  • nash oudha

    Ah.. right.. some dumb jew wrote these based on his time how to be “good person” we got new laws based on our times. For me all these shit plus the bible can be stuck up the ars on the believers