Jun 19

Holy Baloney! The Ten Commandments Dissected

In Brief—Many believers who have little idea what the Judeo-Christian Ten Commandments actually say want them to be enshrined as the law of the land. This piece describes the rules by which those fundamentalists would have all of us live. Be careful what you wish for…you might get it.


The Ten Commandments Myth—

”…[The] Ten Commandments was clearly a marketing decision…”

George Carlin

This quotation is part of a Carlin routine on the Ten Commandments. Carlin was a smart guy and his observations on The Decalogue, as well as religion generally, are not only funny but perceptive as well.

The Fable—

According to Exodus in the Judeo-Christian Bible, Moses climbed the mountain where God presented him with ten rules, or commandments. There is a total lack of evidence that Moses ever existed and there’s no sign of the fragments of the stone tablets on which the commandments were supposedly written. These alleged rules portray a jealous and insecure deity and include rules that had been around for centuries before Judaism or Christianity ever existed.

Can you list the Ten Commandments? It’s a good bet that vanishingly few who claim that those rules are the word of God—even that they should be the law of the land—are able to name the Ten Commandments. For those who are uncertain, here are the generally understood Ten Commandments, though they may vary according to sect.

  • 1) I am the Lord thy God.
  • 2) Thou shalt have no other gods before me. Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image.
  • 3) Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain.
  • 4) Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.
  • 5) Honor thy father and thy mother.
  • 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 neighbor.
  • 10) Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s (house, wife, servants, animals or anything else).

Notice anything unusual? The first three show a God that is insecure, as if credulous men rather than God came up with these rules. You’d think that a perfect deity would not be concerned with rules as picayune as these, that there were more important matters to deal with than declaiming he was Da Boss, that other gods not be allowed to outclass him, that you shouldn’t possess any statues or pictures of unapproved gods, and that you shouldn’t offend him by uttering his name as a swear word. But this is God, remember? As the all-good, all-knowing and all-powerful creator of the whole universe, he doesn’t want his creations belittling him.

Take a look at number four (4). Which day is the Sabbath? Different groups of believers have different days they designate as the “Sabbath” or day of rest. The God of the Ten Commandments is said to have created the universe and everything in it in six days and was so pooped that he had to rest on the seventh day. Believing Jews say that Friday is the Sabbath, but most Christians say Sunday is the Sabbath…although some say Saturday is the Sabbath. Which believers are right? Rest? Millions of Christian believers work on their Sabbath. Seems that putting bread on the table takes precedence over worship.

What about number five (5)? More than a few humans are put up for adoption as a baby, so they have no idea who their biological parents might be. What if mom or dad or both are monsters who abuse their kids? Both mothers and fathers abandon their children. Should the kids honor these parents? Seems logical there are reasons why many moms and dads need not be honored. Face facts, some parents just don’t warrant honoring.

Numbers six (6), seven (7) and eight (8) are common sense rules that have been around for centuries before Judaism and Christianity were even dreamed up. We’ll overlook the fact that God himself has had a hand in quite a number of unjust killings. Stealing? Aren’t we still seeing the results of grand scale thievery by Wall Street and the banks that has taken place? And these folks are thriving today.

Number 9, perjury, happens every day in politics and the courtrooms of America. I have personally seen numerous instances take place while the judges know it is perjury. Newspapers make millions on falsehoods and national leaders deliberately lie. Wars are fought and innocents die because of lies. Lying is a way of life throughout the world.

Finally, we get to number ten (10), “Thou shalt not covet…” What’s to say? Coveting is a common human pastime whether it’s the neighbor’s bigger house, the fancy car, his/her significant other or whatever. What human hasn’t envied and wanted something belonging to or associated with someone else? People around the world covet America’s perceived wealth and want that. Coveting is the very foundation of capitalism.

These are the Ten Commandments that some insist we must place in our public buildings, our schools, our halls of justice and even enshrined as the law of the land. No sooner are the Ten Commandments forced on us than America will become a theocracy like those in the Middle East. Do you really want this?

Be careful what you wish for, you just might get it.


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    • Dave Meyers on June 19, 2016 at 17:20

    Rules are meant to be broken, they say. And none more than the Ten Commandments, especially the last five.
    I’m always amused when playing any sort of game with Marilyn. She says rules are merely suggestions. That goes for recipes too……you’re out of raisins(?)…..sweet peas are close enough.
    Stop-signs are another example of a suggestion rather than a rule for some. So are mortgage payments…..although my lender doesn’t see it that way.
    In the modern era we could add a few more commandments to the list of ten, I think.
    How about, ‘Thou shalt not use a cell phone on speaker mode in a crowd’. Or, ‘Thou shalt not display a bumper sticker for thy presidential choice’. WHO CARES? That also goes for any sticker that starts with, ‘My Child……….’ NO ONE CARES!
    Another would be, ‘Thou shalt have your mind made up when thou getith to the front of the line’. That one should be punishable by death if not obeyed.
    And finally, ‘If thou beist a Conservative, forward not thy f_cking Right-Wing Email’.

      • Don Bay on June 20, 2016 at 09:37

      Your last commandment resonates with me. That said, if it were not for these nutty emails being forwarded by a friend, I would not have any idea what was going on out there in Neverland by the insane Right. Fortunately, these nutty emails give me a chance to set the record straight and inject sanity into the ultra-conservative world. Admittedly the ultra-conservative minds are closed, but it gives me something to do. Your contributions never cease making me smile.

      George Carlin’s take on the Ten Commandments is hilarious and right on. I hope you checked out the enclosure.

    • Brenda on June 19, 2016 at 17:52

    Very, very good.

      • Don Bay on June 20, 2016 at 09:48

      Another non-believer hits the target. We should hope that this way of thinking catches on.

  1. Yeah, Dave and Don, I get it and mostly agree. And there are more everyday commandments to add to Dave’s list. But how about some really important commandments that aren’t among the ten? Like respect and equality. That doesn’t mean I respect what someone stands for, because often I don’t. But I can still treat them with respect while working toward my version of what’s right. What about fundamental equality? Why concentrate on the “big ten” when others are just as important or even more so?

    In other words, many of the big ten are flawed, as you point out, Don, while some of the often ignored commandments are always true and often forgotten.

      • Don Bay on June 20, 2016 at 10:04

      As I pointed out, the Decalogue was clearly written by credulous men who were locked into attracting other uneducated people by scaring them silly. The writers were almost totally ignorant although a few enlightened people saw through the charade. It’s frightening that some of our contemporaries want to make the Decalogue the law of the land. The good news is that these people will die off and scientific truth will take over. Then there’ll be other things to worry about.

      Let’s replace the existing ten with your suggestions. Though humans will be humans and won’t pay attention anyhow, at least yours are worth following.

      Do you have anything to say about George Carlin’s suggestions? I particularly like his last suggestion.

    • Susan on June 20, 2016 at 19:48

    Good one Mr. Bay!
    I’m in Rome now and wondering what this Pope here thinks about those commandments. I think I’ll run on over to the Vatican and ask him. I wonder if I need to make an appointment.

      • Don Bay on June 21, 2016 at 07:09

      Who knows what this pope thinks about the Decalogue? Since it’s part of their holy book, let’s assume it’s acceptable to believing Catholics. We know what George Carlin and I think, but Carlin is funnier than I am…maybe he was smarter, too, based on what I have seen.

      Did you know I was blessed by Pope Pius XII? I was one of perhaps 10K to be so honored. It didn’t take.

  2. Yep, missed George and thanks for reminding me. He is hilarious, as usual, and pretty much right, again, as usual.

      • Don Bay on June 21, 2016 at 07:13

      Carlin was the funniest standup comedian of his time. If you haven’t seen his stuff, you are leading a deprived life. You’re right…Carlin was hilarious.

    • Elodie on June 21, 2016 at 17:40

    There’s this guy from Mississippi who’s an atheist. Most of the time he’s a bit too angry for me, but he did this thing where he told the story of the Bible that’s pretty darned funny. Enjoy!

      • Don Bay on June 22, 2016 at 16:51

      Dusty is funny and even more profane than George Carlin, but he’s definitely angrier than Carlin. And, like Carlin, he’s telling the truth…if you can get past the profanity.

      Genesis, which is part of the Judaic portion of the Bible, portrays a deity that is murderous, capricious and insecure…just like the men who wrote this baloney to win over the credulous hordes. If folks ever wonder why humankind is so violent, they need only take a look at Genesis.

      Thanks for providing the link to the “History” channel’s version of the Bible story. I love Dusty’s comparison of “History” with Dr. Pepper.

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