We too often see Christians toting around the Ten Commandments as if they are the greatest things to ever be presented to mankind. They want every child to hold it as their moral compass, and consider it a terrible thing if you fail to list them off. But have you ever thought about just how absurd the Commandments really are? There are quite a few issues with them, when you both consider what is there, but also what isn’t there. So let’s dive right in and pick them apart piece by piece. These commandments are taken from Exodus 20:2-17 in the English Standard Bible.
- “I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. You shall have no other gods before Me.”
So this first commandment is essentially god asserting his authority over his people, saying he is on the top, no one else. This ultimately tells me that this god is a greedy, conceited dictator who can’t stand the idea that people could care about someone else more than him. So right off the bat, I really don’t like this god very much: what the hell happened to humility? Isn’t humility something that his son, Jesus, taught? And isn’t he and Jesus the same person?
I also cannot help but notice that his reasoning doesn’t even apply to me. He references how he freed his people from the bondage of slavery in Egypt, and this seems to be why I must hold him in highest esteem. I certainly wasn’t brought out of Egypt so why should I, or anyone alive today, care? Just think about this for a few seconds: you are an omniscient being who wants to make rules for humans to follow for millennia to come, so for your first rule you decide to reference a singular instance of your strength that you know won’t apply to anyone in the future, nor will it even be provable that it even happened.
First impressions are everything, and he has gone above and beyond convincing me that he is everything deplorable in a person. He is clearly incapable of properly convincing people to worship him and he is entitled and thinks he deserves to be treated better than anyone else. Why would anyone want to love someone like this? This could easily pass as a description of Donald Trump.
- “You shall not make for yourself a carved image—any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; you shall not bow down to them nor serve them. For I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children to the third and fourth generations of those who hate Me, but showing mercy to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments.”
Here god goes on to further sully his reputation by admitting, in his own words, that he is a “jealous god”. I can’t think of a more deplorable individual than one that thinks they are entitled the praise and worship of everyone, and consciously abhors the idea of anyone else getting the same kind of treatment. I’m sorry, but being god changes nothing. If he were a humble god, then perhaps I’d like him, but of course he isn’t.
And then he goes on to describe how he is holding the children of sinners accountable for the sins of their fathers. This is absolutely disgusting behavior. This is the same bullshit logic as Social Justice Warriors who think white people should pay for their ancestor’s actions as slavers. It completely ignores the fact that people are their own person, with their own beliefs and views of the world. It makes no sense for me to pay for something that I find as abhorrent as everyone else (like slavery).
The most pathetic thing about this commandment is the fact that he slips in that last statement as if that changes everything he just said. It’s like some kidnapper saying, “I will string each and every one of you up and torture and gut you until you bleed out, even if it was your grandfather that committed the iniquity, but remember, if you love me I will forever be merciful!”
- “You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain, for the LORD will not hold him guiltless who takes His name in vain.”
What god is saying here is that he essentially wants his name to be spoken only in terms of high regard. Not only can you not criticize him, but you can’t even use his name in casual terms. He honestly expects us to worship him as much as possible, and do nothing but worship him. If only Big Brother were an actual person in the novel and movie of 1984, they could have casted god to play his character.
- “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the LORD your God. In it you shall do no work: you, nor your son, nor your daughter, nor your male servant, nor your female servant, nor your cattle, nor your stranger who is within your gates. For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day. Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and hallowed it.”
No one even follows this idea anymore. And why the hell should it even matter? Is this seriously something important enough to warrant placing it on the Ten Commandments? Do you honestly think you should be punished for working on the wrong day?
- “Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long upon the land which the LORD your God is giving you.”
This is a good commandment, all in all, but I will throw in that honor and respect is earned. If your father beats your mother, or vice versa, don’t honor them; I don’t care what some god says.
- “You shall not murder.”
On the face of it, this one seems to be all good and well, but I have some problems with it. How does this statement help anyone? Murder is wrong? No shit! Now what is murder? How is this law helping anyone understand exactly what is being commanded here? Is killing someone in self-defense murder? Is killing someone in the name of god murder? According to law, murder is an unlawful killing. What is an unlawful killing? Answers! I need answers!
- “You shall not commit adultery.”
This one is also good and well, but it seems to be oddly specific. Why can’t it just say, “be faithful,” and have that cover all relationships?
- “You shall not steal.”
This one is fine, but still too specific, as you will see later.
- “You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.”
You should not lie. This isn’t a terrible thing, but do you honestly think there should be a law against lying? Should people be punished if they lie? I certainly don’t think so, unless you’re in court. If you lie in everyday life and are caught, then you’ll suffer natural consequences.
- “You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, nor his male servant, nor his female servant, nor his ox, nor his donkey, nor anything that is your neighbor’s.”
This one is straight up bullshit. Apparently it is bad to feel emotion. What would you call this particular emotion? Jealousy? Yeah, that seems about right. But then that brings my attention back to commandment number two. Didn’t he claim he was a jealous god back in that commandment? Apparently it is okay to covet the worship of some other idol and even coerce people with hell to take, no steal, that worship for yourself. Why the hell should I follow the rules of some god who can’t even stay true to them himself?
And this commandment directly correlates with commandment number eight. Commandment number eight says we shouldn’t take things that aren’t ours without permission, but the tenth one goes a step further and says we’re not even allowed to want something that isn’t ours. Thoughtcrime anyone?
And how the hell could our society even survive with this rule? No one would ever buy or sell anything: how would our economy work? And if we are allowed to buy things, then what are the guidelines? This commandment does nothing to explain this. God just throws this vague nonsense in our faces and expects to know. I guess this explains why Christians sometimes say that they just “know”.
The commandments themselves aren’t the only things wrong with this list, however. There are a few things that seem to be missing, as well. How comforting is it to know that rapists have broken none of the Ten Commandments? Want to have sex with that one girl? Go ahead! Slip those drugs in! Hell, why not beat the shit out of her and forcibly fuck her up the ass as she screams for help? As long as you worship god as you do it, and she survives the encounter, you and god are in good terms! And what about assault? Is it bad to assault someone? The commandments say nothing on this. And what about slavery? The worst part about this nonsense is how easily all of these questions could be avoided. One of the biggest misquotations of the Ten Commandments is when someone falsely assumes that the golden rule is one of them. But why isn’t it one of them? If god had the sense to put in one commandment that stated, “Treat others as you would yourself,” then assault and rape and slavery would be included, would they not?
Another thing is that many Christians today will now assert that in order to be a Christian you must believe that Jesus Christ was the son of god and that he died for our sins. So I must ask: where is this commandment? If this is the one thing you must believe in order to be a Christian, then why isn’t this in the list? Of course, the answer to this is that the Ten Commandments were made in the time of the Old Testament, while Jesus was born and died for our sins much later, in the New Testament. But god is omniscient! He knew that Jesus would die for our sins, and he knew this was such an integral part of the Christian belief system, so why isn’t it in the commandments? This shows that the commandments were written in their time for the people in that time, so then I will ask, why are we still teaching them?
At this point, I think I am free to make the conclusion that either god is a primitive machination of primitive people, or he is one sadistic motherfucker who condones rape and assault and slavery and couldn’t care less about misinterpretation of his rules. He cares more about the assertion of his authority, designating three whole commandments to that idea alone, than actually enforcing common decency or any other value in modern day society. He cares more about style and pretentious showmanship than substance. And worst of all, even by human standards, this list falls horribly short of any moral code in modern day. Our current legal system is preferable over this drivel in any context. If you find yourself defending this list by arguing that the bible does address these concerns elsewhere, then you are missing the point that these Ten Commandments should sum up the core principles that Christians hold. Any writer would understand that this would be the proper way to present “the Truth”, as Christians phrase it.
To finalize all of this, I have rewritten the Commandments for the Christian god, since I feel the original poorly captures what truly matters in the lives of modern day Christians:
- Believe with all of your heart, all of your soul, and all of your mind that I, the Lord your God, sent My only Son, Jesus Christ, to take your sins and your transgressions upon Himself, to die in your place, only to rise again on the third day.
- You must pursue me as the Way, the Truth, and the Life in every thought and every action of your life.
- Treat others as you would have yourself be treated.
With some inspiration from George Carlin: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CE8ooMBIyC8