Bob & Trent,
As promised in #4, my first thought topic to engage your considerable critical facilities in opposition to your internalized myth biases may as well be a biggie: The Ten Commandments.
I’ve chosen TTC from hundreds of equally feebly and immoral biblical teachings because it is 1) directly given by God, 2) it is ‘The Law’ and as such is 3) foundational to Judaism and therefore 4) foundational to Judaism’s lineal descendants; Christianity and Islam.
(And because in the movie Moses was played by the head of the National Rifle Association.)
So, if I can help you shatter these stone tablets, we may be putting a crack in the stone cell of myth and superstition which imprisons reason.
[ An Aside: Why is it if someone asserts a strongly held belief with no empirical evidence (i.e.; ‘Faith’), in any number of ideas like holocaust denial, Elvis sightings, or overnight abductions for extraterrestrial rectal exams, they are shunned as being shit nuts, but if on ‘Faith’ alone you believe a burning bush spoke to a guy you’re ‘devout’? Or,
If I mumble some Latin over my Pop Tarts and milk Sunday morning and my ‘Faith’ lets me honestly believe, and in all sincerity assert that through transubstantiation my breakfast had literally (not symbolically – literally) become the body and blood of James Dean then wouldn’t I be considered delusional? ]
With brief examples I will first illuminate the inane, petty and vicious nature of TTC and, more importantly, next I will show from where they were plagiarized, and then I will call for a show of hands on who would wish to live under the moral code of the author.
In the Pentateuch there are three versions of the Decalogue. I will use the first as it is probably the Sunday School version most of us were subjected to, Exodus 20, versus the reprised iteration after Charlton Heston got a little pissed and smashed the first set, Exodus 34, or the third version in Deuteronomy 5.
- I am the Lord
- No graven images of living things in the air, on the earth or in the water. No prostrations are to be made before any such images. Interestingly this is the only commandment with a proscribed penalty. And the punishment will be on the sinner’s family until his fourth generation descendants. After that, going on to state he is a jealous God seems a bit superfluous. And he will not allow other Gods to be put on an equal footing with him. (Sounds like he knows there are other Gods.)
- Is another ego trip; the people are ordered not to take God’s name in vain. More bullying.
- Remember the Sabbath Day, yup, more; “I’m the Boss” but not much in the rules to live by department. (BTW these folks would have meant Saturday, not Sunday.) With 1 through 4 we’re finally done with the; I’m the bad ass, honor me, praise me, remember my day, bullshit.
- Honor thy Pops and Moms. OK, but it comes with a creepy inducement “that your days may be long upon the land…” So doing the right thing for the folks because they are your folks, or, so you can inherit the ‘ol family farm ?
- Don’t murder anyone. OK, but two pages later God tells Moses to have his people kill all the males of the neighboring tribe, kill the women “who have laid with men” (biblical MILFs), but keep the females virgins for your best fighters. So… “Thou shall not kill, unless as part of an ethnic cleansing campaign to take the next tribe’s land.” was probably too long to write on the tablet.
- No fuck’in around with another member of the tribes wife. OK, and by the way, the Mafia added daughters.
- Don’t steal. Ok
- You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor. OK, this one actually makes sense.
- And like all good Catskill comics he saved the best for last: “You shall not covet thy neighbor’s wife, (where the quote usually ends) nor his house, nor his field, his male servant, his female servant, his ox, his goat, his donkey….” I kid you not. Go home and tell your wives the foundation law of the three monotheisms lumps her in with servants and donkeys, go on, I dare you.
Number 10 is also the first recorded condemnation of a thought crime: it doesn’t say you can’t fuck your neighbors wife, or steal his goat (both covered elsewhere). No, number 10 says you can’t think of doing it because the mere thought is deemed prohibited.
Meaning we are all in jeopardy all of the time, so if anything, TTC may be more relevant to the foundation of the Orwellian totalitarian crushing of an individual’s moral code, more than the foundation of a moral code.
This is all garbage. Bronze Age petty insights of people so primitive they were terrified by myths of a vengeful and jealous God, and so ignorant of the natural physical world they thought lightning and thunder were his farts.
So, can we at least agree to resolve: The Ten Commandments, or a diluted version of same, may serve to impress children with infantile instruction, i.e., Mom says don’t steal is weak compared to God says don’t steal. But if you think there is sufficient moral example contained in TTC for it to be the basis of any moral code, that it’s only down to you having been told as much long before you had obtained the critical facilities to question false promises and exaggerated claims.
To close on the substance of TTC topic; there are more moral lessons to be derived from a randomly chosen chapter from Homer’s Iliad. Marcus’ Meditations. Shakespeare’s Coriolanus, or Tolstoy’s War and Peace, than in the entire blood soaked, racist, slaver, infanticidal, misogynistic, genocidal garbage known as the Old Testament.
So much for the content of TTC, now on to where they came from:
Inscribed on the walls of the Temple of Luxor (Bruce – that’s Egypt not Vegas) +/- 3,500 years ago is Spell 125 from The Egyptian Book of the Dead. The Spell details God giving Mises (yeah, Jews didn’t bother much thinking up new names) a stone tablet inscribed with the confession of one who would be deemed worthy. Including; I did not steal, I did not kill, I have not lied, etc.
So everyone happy to be within the cartoonishly simplistic moral compass of the Pharos raise your hand.
Hopefully you begin to see God did not create Man, but Man sure has created (albeit without much originality) a whole bunch of Gods.
Next Up: Why are all these Gods born on December 25th ? Or, what I learned in Celestial Navigation 101.
And next up after that we’ll consider what constitutes the 1,300 additional ‘commandments’ Bob’s Orthodox buddy told him about. Spoiler alert: There’s lots of steer butchering, goat cooking, female hygiene, and genital mutilation instruction included in ‘commanded’.
And next up after that we’ll examine Catholicism’s very own Satanic verses in how the Vatican to this day explains the prototype Jesuses.
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