Metro State Atheists

Promoting Science, Reason, and Secular Values

Think you know the 10 Commandments? Think again.

One doesn’t have to look far when searching through the Bible’s skeleton closet to find some major inconsistencies, outright absurdity and downright cruelty.  However, even I thought I knew about the 10 Commandments.  Most people know the 10 Commandments to be as follows:

Exodus 20:2-17

ONE: ‘You shall have no other gods before Me.

TWO: ‘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.

THREE: ‘You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain.

FOUR: ‘Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.

FIVE: ‘Honor your father and your mother.

SIX: ‘You shall not murder.

SEVEN: ‘You shall not commit adultery.

EIGHT: ‘You shall not steal.

NINE: ‘You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.

TEN: ‘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.‘ (Source: http://www.allabouttruth.org/10-commandments.htm)

Although this list is well-known and considered the “official 10 commandments”,  nothing in the context surrounding this list ever mentions the words “Ten Commandments”.  There is a list in Exodus though that does mention this somewhat official phrase, Ten Commandments.  Although, this list will be a shock to some as it is a list that most people wouldn’t follow (because it has very little to do with morality or the workings of today’s society, some perfect being eh?).  So, without further ado, here is the ONLY list called the Ten Commandments, in the Bible:

Exodus 34: 14-27

1 Do not worship any other god, for the LORD, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God.

2 “Be careful not to make a treaty with those who live in the land; for when they prostitute themselves to their gods and sacrifice to them, they will invite you and you will eat their sacrifices. And when you choose some of their daughters as wives for your sons and those daughters prostitute themselves to their gods, they will lead your sons to do the same.

3 “Do not make cast idols.

4 “Celebrate the Feast of Unleavened Bread. For seven days eat bread made without yeast, as I commanded you. Do this at the appointed time in the month of Abib, for in that month you came out of Egypt.

6 “The first offspring of every womb belongs to me, including all the firstborn males of your livestock, whether from herd or flock. 20 Redeem the firstborn donkey with a lamb, but if you do not redeem it, break its neck. Redeem all your firstborn sons.  “No one is to appear before me empty-handed.

7 “Six days you shall labor, but on the seventh day you shall rest; even during the plowing season and harvest you must rest.

8 “Celebrate the Feast of Weeks with the firstfruits of the wheat harvest, and the Feast of Ingathering at the turn of the year. [b] 23 Three times a year all your men are to appear before the Sovereign LORD, the God of Israel. 24 I will drive out nations before you and enlarge your territory, and no one will covet your land when you go up three times each year to appear before the LORD your God.

9 “Do not offer the blood of a sacrifice to me along with anything containing yeast, and do not let any of the sacrifice from the Passover Feast remain until morning.

10 “Bring the best of the firstfruits of your soil to the house of the LORD your God.
“Do not cook a young goat in its mother’s milk.”

Then the LORD said to Moses, “Write down these words, for in accordance with these words I have made a covenant with you and with Israel.” Moses was there with the LORD forty days and forty nights without eating bread or drinking water. And he wrote on the tablets the words of the covenant—the Ten Commandments. (Emphases added) (Source: http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Exodus%2034&version=31)

What exactly is the prohibition on cooking a young goat in its mother’s milk doing on what is supposed to be the most profound moral list in all history?  Did god forget the first list? (mentioned above).  There are some similarities but they have far more striking differences; and if this god is supposed to be perfect, this shows he isn’t.  For he can’t even remember a list of ten things he is commanding to his supposed chosen people.  It seems more like it was written by an ancient Joseph Smith; or better put, it was written by insecure, men concerned chiefly with themselves and about no one else.  The rest of the Old Testament is a tribute to the old adage “history is written by the victors”.  But I digress.  Being that the real 10 commandments are laughable at best, I am not at all surprised that the early Jewish theologians claimed the first of these lists (again the first mentioned) to be the “official” 10 Commandments.  So let’s put these in 10 in the courthouses of America and see how seriously people take Judaism and Christianity.

Written by Joel

Metro State Atheists.

December 31, 2008 - Posted by | Bible, Christianity, god, Metro State Atheists, Old Testament, religion, The Holy Bible | , , , , , , , , ,

18 Comments »

  1. The second set of commandments are symbolic in nature, while the first set are ethical. Concerning the command about boiling a goat in it’s mother’s milk, consider the following:

    “Since God makes it clear in the Torah that we are to avoid the practises of the idolatrous peoples and maintain ourselves as a distinct nation, many assume that the Chukim, and particularly the laws of Kashrut, exist to counteract certain idolatrous rituals. Apparently it was a common pagan sacrificial practise to offer a foetal or new born goat boiled in the milk of its mother, and this was considered an abomination for the Israelites.” (http://www.kolel.org/pages/5762/reeh.html)

    Comment by Prisca | January 4, 2009

  2. First of all, that source is ambiguous at best and you have failed to address the issue all-together.

    Second, symbolic of what exactly? When the second list prohibits the eating of bread with yeast in it seems pretty straightforward, as does the other prohibitions. Please explain how ANY of the second are symbolic. I will start our by helping you with the one about god being jealous and being the only god. The only symbolism that could possibly be obtained here is god=govt (monarchy more than likely) and I could definitely see a monarch being jealous and trying to assert supremacy via the (erroneous) claim that he is only monarch.

    The claim that the “first set are ethical”, is, I’m sorry for sounding harsh, utterly laughable. There is nothing ethical about the following and a short reason as to why will be provided in parenthesis next to the commandment:
    “You shall have no other gods before Me” (Jealousy, and if he is truly the ONLY and REAL, TRUE god…this is unnecessary)

    “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” (Making of pictures or sculptures is art, not blasphemy)

    “You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain” (Prohibition of certain words in a language is censorship, not ethics)

    “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy” (Although I could fun with the semantics of this one, I won’t. Saturday is just another day and the superstitious act of ‘keeping it holy’ is of no ethical concern.)

    “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.” (I will answer this with the words of the late George Carlin, “Coveting creates jobs, leave it alone!” In the majority of cases, coveting results in the act of buying something. That sustains the economy, and thus is of no ethical concern to us.)

    “Honor your father and your mother” (Old Georgy boy got this one right too, “…Respect for authority. Respect shouldn’t be given, it should be earned; it should be based on the parents performance”. So true. There are parents out there that deserve no honor nor respect. This is ethics, this is obedience.)

    “You shall not commit adultery” (Yes, believe it or not ethics here is more or less relative. In this case, since the culture of the time and context dictate, this applies mainly to women. Thus is sexist and thus not ethical. I could expand on my person views on marriage but it wouldn’t further my point.)

    “You shall not steal” (Again, some context and culture knowledge is required here. Taking what isn’t yours from ANYONE is an ethical concern, however, that is not what is meant, if you read on in the bible. It means, don’t steal from other Hebrews ,or Christians in the case of Christianity. The Old Testament is replete with stories of the Israelites taking and stealing from those around them, often by force. Thus, this statement isn’t ethical either.)

    and finally,

    “You shall not murder” (Oh boy oh boy, never thought I’d touch this one eh? Believe it or not the same logic and reasoning that applied above to the admonishment of stealing. It is meant to apply to fellow followers of the religion, or organized superstition as I call it. Again, the Old Testament is abundant with stories of the Israelites killing the surrounding peoples more or less indiscriminately, with the only justification for doing so being ‘god told me to’. That argument doesn’t hold any water today in courts. For these reasons this is an ethical proposition since it isn’t applied universally.)

    Lastly, you’ll notice (if you read the whole blog) that, (as I already pointed out) the first list isn’t called the “Ten Commandments” at all…anywhere. However, the second list is.

    Thank you for your comment.

    Joel

    Comment by Metro State Atheists | January 4, 2009

  3. In response I submit the following:

    http://dayeight.wordpress.com/2009/01/04/how-about-a-handshake-for-religious-diversity/

    Comment by Alexander | January 4, 2009

  4. I don’t respond to links. Please provide an original refutation.

    Comment by Metro State Atheists | January 5, 2009

  5. “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy” (Although I could fun with the semantics of this one, I won’t. Saturday is just another day and the superstitious act of ‘keeping it holy’ is of no ethical concern.)

    I find it rather disrespectful to call the observance of a holy day “superstitious”

    Your complete and utter lack of respect for the believes of others is rather startling. In order to be taken seriously it is probably best to display at least a little reverence for others and their views.

    In Exemplum:
    While I do not believe it is necessary or comfortable to sit on the floor when eating, as the Japanese do, In their company I would do so as to not offend them and to borden my own world view. In doing so I show respect and open the door for friendship and understanding.

    A careful choice of words can make all the difference.

    Comment by Alexander | January 5, 2009

  6. Then your objection is subjective, and says nothing about the points being made. In reality, they are only words. Refute the point at hand, quit attempting to create a diversion by talking about subjective topics such as what words you don’t like. And your example isn’t in anyway related to the example from my blog.

    Here’s one that is:

    Suppose you hear that I kiss a 4-leaf clover every Saturday at the same time every Saturday. In this case, you’d be hard pressed to not call this “observance” a superstition. You’d be quit correct, given the meaning of the term, which is ” 1. Unreasoning awe or fear of something unknown, mysterious, or imaginary, esp. in connexion with religion; religious belief or practice founded upon fear or ignorance. b. In particularized sense: An irrational religious belief or practice; a tenet, scruple, habit, etc. founded on fear or ignorance.” (Source: Oxford English Dictionary) Thus my use of the word is not only not intended to be offensive, I’m using the word correctly. If you are taking offense to the correct use of the word, then you are the one engaging in intolerance, insofar as you are trying to censor me for your own emotional/personal reasons.

    Thank you for your comment.

    Joel
    President
    Metro State Atheists

    Comment by Metro State Atheists | January 5, 2009

  7. “I find it rather disrespectful to call the observance of a holy day “superstitious””

    Oh boo hoo. We shouldn’t have to censor ourselves becuase you too sensitive to take a basic criticism of your belief. I tolerate your beliefs…but I don’t have to respect them.

    - Chalmer

    Comment by Metro State Atheists | January 5, 2009

  8. I do not need to make a refutation and I do not need to create diversions. My beliefs and values are perfectly safe weather I read your post or not, respond to it or not, change your mind or not.

    I expect rhetoric to be important to any who has good ideas . I understand you do not find a value in careful rhetoric. That is, of course your, right and I would never want to censor that.

    Comment by Alexander | January 5, 2009

  9. Then stop whining. Rhetoric is important, but not expressing yourself for the sake of someones feelings is not. Your idea of careful rhetoric seems to be “shut up and respect me.”

    -Chalmer

    Comment by Metro State Atheists | January 5, 2009

  10. “I tolerate your beliefs…but I don’t have to respect them.”

    You are correct, you don’t have to respect other people’s beliefs if you really don’t want to but the point is that if you are respectful, you will get more out of a conversation or debate with someone of opposing beliefs. On top of that, you will likely get respect in return from that person. You would really rather be rude and disrespectful just for the hell of it? Because you are so much better than someone who believes in a religion?

    Comment by Shiloh | January 5, 2009

  11. I don’t believe that I’ve been rude or disrespectful. These are our honest opinions, and there is no way to dress them up. We do think religion is a superstition, period. This is not a personal attack, or a deliberate means to upset anyone. Regardless of conduct, our experience has told us that the mere fact that we disagree with religion is enough to upset people. One person came to tears for no other reason than that I mentioned I was an atheist. We attack ideas, not people, and ideas don’t need to be tip toed around. We are as honest as we need to be, no more, no less. If our straight forward opinion bothers you, bummer. Having your beliefs criticized it part of life. We don’t think we are better than religious people; if we did we wouldn’t put up with their criticisms of our beliefs. Expecting someone to curb their opinions for your contentment is far more an indication of superiority our being honest with someone. Go away, take your red hearings and loaded questions with you, and come back when you can disconnect a criticism of your beliefs with an attack on your character.
    - Chalmer

    Comment by Metro State Atheists | January 5, 2009

  12. I’m not offended by the fact that you found an inconsistency in the Bible. In fact, I think it’s interesting. What I also find interesting is that you assume that that I am a Christian with strong beliefs. I didn’t take the post as an attack on my character at all. I am simply trying to say that if someone is polite when disagreeing with another person’s beliefs, they will get more out of a debate. When people aren’t rude, they are more open and willing to discuss and understand. I would much rather debate with someone who is willing listen to both sides and say they disagree rather than telling me what I believe is flat out wrong. You completely missed the purpose of my comment.

    Comment by Shiloh | January 5, 2009

  13. Ok. Really. What you are saying is “you can disagree with me, but don’t tell I’m wrong, that’s mean”. Don’t like what we say or how we say it don’t listen. That simple.

    Joel

    Comment by Metro State Atheists | January 5, 2009

  14. Last point I’ll make on this most irrelevant side issue. Although South Park isn’t at all the bastion of intelligence, once in a great while they say something that is 100% correct. On on episode Mr. Garrison says, “Just because you tolerate something doesn’t mean you have to like it!…You can tolerate something and it can still piss you off!”.

    Joel

    Comment by Metro State Atheists | January 5, 2009

  15. Gracious God,
    May what we humans try to understand be the deepness of Your love. Your faithfulness is more powerful than words to a continual faithless generation from the Isrealites some 2000 years ago to now us in the 21st century. Wrap your love around Joel and all of us when we doubt who You are in our lives.
    In Christ’s name I pray, Amen

    Comment by April | March 11, 2009

  16. Gracious Flying Spaghetti Monster,
    May what we humans try to understand be the deepness of Your love. Your faithfulness is more powerful than words to a continual faithless generation from the Isrealites some 2000 years ago to now us in the 21st century. Wrap your noodly appendage around April and all of us when we doubt who You are in our lives.
    In Meatball’s name I pray, Amen

    Seems to work just as well as your prayer did April; not at all. That’s because prayer is a silly superstition like the four-leaf-clover, the horseshoe or the “lucky rabbit’s foot” (oddly enough, a rabbit has four of them and yet has at least one of his cut off…not so lucky). Talking to yourself won’t make things come true. But we always appreciate the attention. Thank you April.

    Joel

    Comment by Metro State Atheists | March 11, 2009

  17. Gracious April,
    My hang over seem impenetrable to this Jesus love aura. Perhaps you’re not praying long or loud enough for God to answer your prayers.
    - Chalmer

    Comment by Metro State Atheists | March 11, 2009

  18. haha owned

    Comment by haha | March 20, 2009


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