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Ten Commandments

Why take them seriously?

Here’s why it’s really hard to take the religious right seriously.

“I don’t believe in global warming,” said conservative activist Kim Simac, a horse trainer and mother of nine from Wisconsin who also believes that the teaching of creationism and prayer need to be brought back to public schools.

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…and…

One delegate, Sue Phelps, drew comparisons between Barack Obama, Fidel Castro and Adolf Hitler – “they were good orators too” – and said the president’s nationality and religion were “unanswered questions”.

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…and…

“Today in America, far too many young people enter adulthood unprepared for college, career, and life,” said Allan Golston, president of The Gates Foundation’s U.S. Program. [Drew] Dickens agrees and believes that “part of the problem is that we have removed prayer and the Ten Commandments from our schools and curriculum.”

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I could go on. When people are that vocal, yet that oblivious to facts, that ignorant of the Constitution, and that eager to force their religious beliefs on others, they’ve really got no room to complain when they are ignored or mocked.

What I really meant to say was…

Oops!As I’m sure you are aware, some Christians interpret the bible mostly as a fictional story filled with allegories and examples showing how we should live our lives. Some other Christians seem to not “interpret” the bible at all, instead taking it at its literal word, insisting that everything is true in exactly the way it is written.

I usually don’t have much of a problem with the first group, much like I don’t usually have a problem with those who interpret Aesop’s Fables as fun made-up stories with accompanying moral lessons. If Aesop-readers started speaking as if real talking foxes were actually disgruntled over not being able to eat grapes, there would be a different issue.

The bible literalists are the ones I target in this post. I find that, right at the beginning of the bible, we see that God is either not all-knowing or he is a liar. There are a number of biblical passages that show this, but I’m going to start right in Genesis chapter two.

God tells Adam that he can eat from any tree in the Garden of Eden except… the Tree of Knowledge. So far, so good. Other than setting Adam up for failure (and already knowing that Adam will fail, being all-knowing and whatnot), this is a relatively straightforward rule. Here’s the exact quote from the King James Bible.

And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat:

But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.

Genesis 2:16-17

That’s pretty simple. Eat from any tree in the garden whenever you want, just don’t eat from the tree of knowledge because on the day you do that, you’ll die.

Wait… you’ll die? That day?

If you continue reading Genesis, you’ll see that Adam and Eve both lived long after they chomped on the forbidden fruit. Strangely enough, that’s what the serpent told them. So did God lie and the serpent tell the truth? …or did God make a mistake when he just thought that Adam and Eve would die that day. It’s got to be one or the other because according to the bible, they most certainly did not die that day.

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The Ten Commandments: Why most of them aren’t even good suggestions (Part 1)

The source for the following essays is Deuteronomy 5:6-5:21.

How many times has the debate on religion begun, only to end in short order with the religious apologist arguing that what you say may or may not be true but you can’t argue that the TEN COMMANDMENTS weren’t a great contribution to out collective civility.

Wrong. I can. Lets take them one at a time. Over the next ten weeks I’m going to be discussing one commandment per week. Here goes.

“I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery; you shall have no other gods before me. You shall not make for yourself an idol, whether in the form of anything that is in heaven above, or that is on the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I the LORD your God am a jealous God, punishing children for the iniquity of parents, to the third and fourth generation of those who reject me, but showing steadfast love to the thousandth generation of those who love me and keep my commandments.”

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