What About the Ten Commandments?

by

For those who may have forgotten or never known – here they are:

1 – I am the Lord thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. Thou shalt have no other gods before me.

2 – Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth: Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me; And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments.

3 – Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain; for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain.

4 – Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work: But the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates: For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.

5 – Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee.

6 – Thou shalt not kill.

7 – Thou shalt not commit adultery.

8 – Thou shalt not steal.

9 – Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour.

10 – Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbour’s.

The above is the King James Exodus 20 version that is familiar to most Americans. Without getting too deep into the business of which of the three versions in the Old Testament is the “most authentic” I will note that this is from the Masoretic revisionist version of the 7th to 10th centuries AD.

What Jesus and the Apostles and Disciples are recorded as quoting is the Septuagint – the Greek version of the Old Testament. At the time of Christ more Jews spoke Greek than Hebrew. Sorta’ like today when more Jews speak English than Hebrew. As a note the Septuagint at around 250 BC is a good 1000 years older and closer to the source documents than is the Masoretic text.

Anyway – here is a translation of the Septuagint version of the same Exodus 20 version:

1 – I am Jehovah your God who brought you out of the land of Egypt and out of the house of slavery. So, you must have no gods other than Me.

2 –You must not make images for yourselves of anything in the skies above, on the earth below, or things that live in the water under the earth. You must not bow before them or serve them, for I Jehovah your God am a jealous God, and I bring the sins of the ancestors upon the children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren of those who hate Me. But I am merciful to the thousands who love Me and keep My Commandments.

3 –You must not misuse the Name of Jehovah your God, for Jehovah your God will not forgive those who misuse His Name.

4 –Keep the Sabbath day and make it holy. You may work and get everything done in six days, but the seventh day is the Sabbath of Jehovah your God, and you must do no work… not you, your son, your daughter, your male servant, your female servant, your ox, your burro, any of your cattle, or any strangers that are visiting among you. Because, Jehovah made the sky, the ground, the sea, and everything in them, then He rested on the seventh day. So, Jehovah blessed the seventh day and made it sacred.

5 – Honor your father and mother, as Jehovah your God commanded you, so that things may go well for you and that you may live a long time in the land that Jehovah your God is giving you.

6 – You must not commit adultery.

7 –You must not steal.

8 –You must not commit murder.

9 –You must not testify falsely against your neighbor.

10 –You must not desire your neighbor’s wife, his house, his field, his male servant, his female servant, his ox, his burro, any other animal, or anything else that belongs to your neighbor.

Let’s take a look at these things from two different perspectives – the Judeo/Christian (same roots) and the agnostic/atheist (since most libs are too dumb to know the difference).

1 through 4 only apply to believers, since they discuss the relationship with God. For the non-believer they are a non-issue.

Honor father and mother. Many children seem to unintentionally carry childhood resentments into adulthood and taking care of aging parents can be a bit of a strain. For the believer the commandment can be a steadying influence when the temptation is to abuse or ignore parents. There is nothing other than perhaps some sense of gratitude to steady the non-believer. By extension, if we as a society allow children to be killed for convenience how big a step is it to allow the extermination of the elderly for convenience or financial reasons?

No adultery. Enough for the believer. For the non-believer – why not? What good reason is there to not commit adultery? If it feels good – do it. And it feels pretty good until you get caught.

Stealing. God forbids it. Enough for the believer. For the non-believer – WHY NOT? What could be wrong (if you can get away with it) with enriching yourself at the expense of someone else’s wealth? Why should you care? Why should anyone else matter?

Killing/Murder. There is some difference here. The Masoretic text says killing, the Septuagint says Murder. Without getting too hung up here, most of the Jewish scholars and Christian Fathers have said that it was OK to defend yourself against attack, and that serving in the military was fine. So, it would seem that the issue here is murder, not justifiable (but regrettable) killing. For the believer – he knows that God values each life and that to take that life is the prerogative of God, not man. Indeed, to the believer each life is sacred because it is valued by God. The non-believer has no such rationale. Why should you not murder if it is really in your best interest? If you clearly gain something and do not get caught, what reason would stop you?

As far as desiring/coveting neighbor’s possessions – is that not what the whole current liberal (non-believer) strategy of envy/resentment is about? For what possible reason should you not resent/envy those who have more than you?

If there is no God – or you believe that – there is no reason that anyone can give that places anything else above one’s own desires. There is no reason that anyone else’s life should be valuable except as it relates to you. If you do not believe then the life of the unborn has no value unless you decide that it does TO YOU. If you do believe then the life of the unborn does have value and importance apart from any relationship to your existence. If you do not believe that there is God this does not affect His existence – but it does affect yours and those around you. For if there is no God in your world then there is no reason for there to be any morality. Good and evil have reality only as they relate to your judgment. If you change your mind then you change your morals – or lack of them. There are no absolutes for the unbeliever other than as are the mood of the moment. Everything becomes relative to the moment and is changeable.

Now – for the angry liberal atheist/agnostic who wants to scream that murder, theft, etc. are wrong – I pose the question: WHY? If there is no God, and there are no absolutes without a God – then why should one not follow one’s own desires with only the caveat that one must not get caught – the eleventh commandment to some. Without a God why should I not put my desires far above yours or anyone else’s?

4 Responses to “What About the Ten Commandments?”

  1. Elizabeth Says:

    I posted this for Himself, who wrote it.

  2. jane Says:

    Come on Ted. “There is a moral law that governs the universe.” C.S. Lewis

  3. Robert Betrand Says:

    Kant’s Categorical Imperitive is a very VERY simplified version of secular morality, another simplifed version that a good weakatheist blogger has used is “That which benefits your species and your society is good, that which is to it’s detrement is evil”

    Buddhism is another example of morality and very good reasons for morality without a deity. Human beings are social and tribal creatures we are by definition interdependent upon each other, murder, theft, lying, and the like are all things that prey upon the social structures that societies and even we as a species rely upon to survive. We have grown to a point where the downfall of society would lead to the deaths by starvation and dehydration (let alone disease) of over 90% of the human population, therefor it is imperitive that these structures remain in place, we are a small and fragile species, easily preyed upon by other creatures, without eachother we are doomed and that, that enlightened self-interest is the basis of secular morality.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 735 other followers

%d bloggers like this: