The 10 Commandments have been a fixture of Christian moral standards for centuries. How do the 30 million+ atheists in the U.S. see these pillars of Godly behavior?
Here’s one perspective…
1. Thou shalt have no other gods before me.
Am I reading this wrong, or is this a tacit acknowledgement that there are other gods? This suggests that monotheism is more a devotion (submission, maybe) to a single god rather than a belief that there is only one god.
There’s more than a whiff of egomania here. Why would the all-powerful, all-knowing, creator of the universe be threatened by a little competition? That would be like LeBron James fretting that Ruth Bader Ginsburg will be guarding him in the next game.
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.
Same question. How can the creator of everything be jealous of anything he created?
It seems like there are lots of graven images — Jesus’s, St. Anthonys, St. Marys, etc. — in church gift shops all over Christendom. Enforcement of #2 might cut into the holy merch bottom line if they made a point of clamping down.
And by the way, ask yourself this question: Am I responsible for anything my great great grandfather did decades before I was born? I don’t see how. Why should you have a bunch of iniquity visited upon you for something your stupid grandfather (who nobody liked anyway) did on a drunken Saturday night in 1887? This doesn’t sound fair at ALL.
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.
God damn these rules are strict!
I think atheists should get a pass on “damning” things. When I say goddamn this or goddamn that, obviously I am not invoking some deity I don’t even believe in to condemn to everlasting fire some fool who’s texting in front of me while idling at a green light. It’s just an exclamation. Please…
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.
This is a problem. Every major pro sport plays on Sunday. God doesn’t want to mess with the NFL.
And Christian women, look closely at this commandment and notice who doesn’t get a day off… YOU!
Cattle get the Sabbath off. Strangers within thy gates (there are plenty of these in my neighborhood) get the Sabbath off. Slaves? Yep. (and this is pre-OSHA)
Women? Sorry. No.
One more thing here. Why does the all-powerful creator of the universe need rest? Does he get tired after a long week of whipping up matter and energy? Is he out of breath or have a stitch in his side? If you are ALL-powerful, you are in tremendous shape. Ironman triathletes don’t have to rest when they walk up a flight of stairs. Apparently God does.
5. Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee.
This one sounds good, but let’s face it. Not all parents are worth honoring. Should the young Gunther Hitler honor dear old dad? Should little Nikki Stalin gush over papa Joe? What about that rambunctious Billy Gacy? Should he light a candle on Secular Dia De Los Muertos? I don’t think so.
Most people love or at least appreciate their parents if they were lucky enough to be born to good ones. But this commandment should definitely have an asterisk for the children of evil.
Next week…Commandments 6 – 10.