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My Personal Gripes with the Ten Commandments

Ever since I can remember, I have always believed that the Ten Commandments have fundamental issues. Let me show you by addressing each of the Ten Commandments in the most familiar order (the Catholic version).
  1. "I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt... You shall have no other gods before Me. You shall not make for yourself an idol..."

  2. The first sentence of this commandment is straight forward. God is sayings God helped the Jews out of Egypt. So far, I can not contradict this statement, since I was not there.

    The second sentence is that no other Gods are above God. So, if God is the highest God, then there are other Gods too. If so, who are they? What are they doing and why? The only other possible interpretation that I can think of is that God is the highest being, no matter how high humanity rises technologically or spiritually. If you believe in anything that is above God, then you are literally damned. No mention on how atheists' and agnostics' beliefs fit into this strict commandment, but I am sure it is not favorable either.

    The third sentence states no idols. Well, the Jews follow this practice literally, but most Christians have idols of Holy Crosses and Jesus throughout their churches, homes, and even as jewelry. So, are Christians, including the Pope, Priests, Nuns, etc., damned for having idols?

  3. "You shall not make wrongful use of the name of the Lord your God..."

  4. Some people know this commandment better as to not use the Lord's name in vain. Either way, just saying "God damn it" is blasphemy. I am not sure why God can not handle using bad words with his name, but I was able to when I was a child. Uh oh... Did I just violate the second sentence of the first commandment by saying I am possibly better the God in at least one small way?

  5. "Remember the Sabbath day, and keep it holy..."

  6. How many people practice each and every Saturday or Sunday as a holy day by not working, going to church, and praying all day? Not many in the 21st Century. Our lives are much more full than to spend one seventh of our lives praying and attending service. Does not going to church make people bad or evil? I don't think so.

  7. "Honor your father and your mother..."

  8. This commandment seems straight forward initially. Most people do honor their parents. But what if your parents did or do not honor you? Maybe your parents abandoned you or treated you unfairly. Should you honor unfit parents too?

  9. "You shall not murder."

  10. Most people believe this commandment is not to kill, but murder is believed to be more accurate. Murder is typically considered intentionally killing an innocent person. Therefore, it is okay to kill someone who may be trying to kill you or someone else as a defensive act. But does killing an enemy solder an act of murder during war? Soldiers do not have a choice to not kill, even kill civilians if they are ordered to.

    If the commandment is to not kill, would you kill someone to save your life? What about your child's life?

  11. "You shall not commit adultery."

  12. This commandment is typically understood as not having sex with someone who is not your spouse. This also means that if you are not married, then you are not allowed to have sex with anyone. In the 21st Century, this practice is mostly considered old fashioned and even not practical. For example, how are couples going to know if they are compatible for marriage? Additionally, this commandment does not make sense, because medical science has proven that sex is natural and necessary for good health, even if not married to your sexual partner.

  13. "You shall not steal."

  14. This is another initially straight forward commandment, but would you steal food if you and your family were starving to death? Luckily, most of us will never have to deal with this dilemma. But the truth is that most of us would steal if we deemed it necessary.

  15. "You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor."

  16. Most people interpret this command as to not lie. In an extreme situation, would you lie despite the consequences?

  17. "You shall not covet your neighbor's wife."

  18. It is almost impossible to consciously NOT desire something or someone. How can just wanting something be wrong and a sin? I agree that taking or try taking another person's spouse is wrong, but wishful fantasies that we have little or no control with seems too much for people to be able to control. Desiring or coveting is a NATURAL human emotion that is wrong but not a sin. If God created us this way, then why is it a sin?

  19. "You shall not covet your neighbor's house..."

  20. This commandment is typically translated into not desiring someone else's property or possessions. Again just like the 9th Commandment, I do not think it is possible to control one's thoughts and feelings. We should regret these thoughts and emotions, but they are a natural fact of life.

As a result, how can the word of God be so full of issues. The only logical conclusions are:
  1. God is not perfect. I guess this is against the 1st Commandment.
  2. God is vague. But isn't God perfect? I guess this can also be considered against the 1st Commandment. Maybe it is because God supposedly works in mysterious ways that we can not comprehend.
  3. The Ten Commandments are only man's interpretation of God's word, and thus are flawed because of man's imprecise translation.
  4. God is not real and so are the Ten Commandments.
You decide.

by Phil for Humanity
on 11/30/2006

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