The Decalogue

The Decalogue (δεκάλογος), or more commonly known, the Ten Commandments, is allegedly a source of ethics from YHWH, and presented to Moses who wrote it onto the Book of the Covenant. In Jewish tradition this is apparently the second presentation of laws to Moses and the Torah lists 613 mitzvah. Most of them are what’s required to adhere to Rabbi expectancy, but some do list some ethical requirements,like do not perform incest or have sexual intercourse with animals. What’s interesting is it condemns men having sex with other men, but lesbianism is perfectly acceptable.

The Ten Commandments is clearly an except of the mitzvah, and seems to focus on obeying God more than being ethical. Much of the 613 mitzvah is complete nonsense, like don’t sacrifice an animal to god that’s been castrated, but some of it openly encourages violence, or completely avoids the subject of ethics, and I will select a few.

* The court must not let the sorcerer live

* The courts must carry out the death penalty of the sword

* The courts must carry out the death penalty of strangulation

* The courts must carry out the death penalty of stoning

* The courts must carry out the death penalty of strangulation

* Canaanite slaves must work forever unless injured in one of their limbs

* To destroy idols and their accessories

* Not to let any of them remain alive

* Destroy the seven Canaanite nations

* The rapist must marry his victim if she is unwed

Out of 613 commandments from the Torah, and 10 from the Old Testament, not once does it mention ‘child abuse‘, be it physical or sexual. Not once does it mention that it’s not permissible to own slaves. Not once does it mention equality, be it racially, sexually or culturally. A good portion of the commandments from the Torah is about sacrificing animals, especially lambs. As a supporter of animal welfare that doesn’t sit well with me whatsoever.

The Ten Commandments are seen, especially in Catholicism as divine positive law, and if you follow them and you’ll be judged as being righteous by god, and will be rewarded by an eternity in Heaven, but disobey them and you will face dire consequences. They are as follows:

1: “I am the Lord thy God, thou shalt not have any strange gods before Me.”

2: “Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain.”

3: “Remember to keep holy the Sabbath day.”

4: “Honour thy father and mother.”

5: “Thou shalt not murder.”

6: “Thou shalt not commit adultery.”

7: “Thou shalt not steal.”

8: “Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour.”

9: “Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s wife.”

10: “Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s goods.”

So other than stroking God’s overinflated ego, the rest are essentially don’t have sexy time outside of marriage, don’t murder, but I guess killing in defence is okay, and that’s why so many Christians in America have more weapons than Rambo, and don’t be jealous of some else’s property. Other than the killing part, where’s the alleged moral guidance?

Gods: who needs them?

As far back as the history of known humanity goes, there have been gods of various forms that are often born from the societies’ needs, and to put divine sovereignty over a culture, or used as a tool to put people into power as they claim they’re chosen by the gods. But why have there been so many, and why can’t people of faith come to some consensus on what defines a god? We are forever hearing from theists that their god is the one true god, and the man stood next to him who also believes that his god is the one true god, actually worships a false god or idol.

“From the beginning men used God to justify the unjustifiable.” – Salman Rushdie

WHAT IS A GOD?

The concept of a god as described by many theologians, includes the attributes of omniscience (infinite knowledge), omnipotence (unlimited power), omnipresence (present everywhere).

The above generally applies to monotheistic gods as in the Abrahamic faiths, who believe their god is the ultimate moral authority, and the creator of everything within our universe. Polytheistic faiths believe in many different gods who all carry out essential tasks, and henotheists believe in the one god, but in many different forms; ie Hinduism. Metaphysics is the theory of reality, and ontology is a sub section of that, and concerns the questions of existence, and the philosophical questions surrounding this subject. and many philosophers for thousands of years have debated on the truth of how and why would a god exist, and what purpose do they actually serve, and if they exist, where did they originate, and did they have a creator?

“Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able? Then he is not omnipotent.

Is he able, but not willing? Then he is malevolent.

Is he both able and willing? Then whence cometh evil?

Is he neither able nor willing? Then why call him God?” – Epicurus

GODS ARE SUBJECTIVE

What links the three main religions of the modern world is the prophet Abraham, but that’s pretty much where it ends, as their beliefs go off in certain tangents, and schisms, or cults are born from the original religions and adopt different world views and opinions that range from mild, to fundamental extremists. How can so many different areas of faith come from the three main books; Torah, Holy Bible, Qur’an? And how can any of these faiths ever claim to be objective when they take different meanings from the same book? A Jehovah’s Witness views Biblical text drastically different to a Protestant, and a Catholic views Biblical text drastically different to the Latter Day Saints, as they believe their translation is more accurate. How can Abrahamic faiths be seen as anything but subjective?

GOD: A CONVENIENT TRUTH

If they were to be honest, which is perhaps expecting far too much, they’d admit that their god is a convenient truth, and is the answer to questions that they can’t explain; ie Creation. Science is young and despite over the last hundred year advancing far more than anyone can imagine, they cannot explain the origin of life, or the origin of the universe with absolute certainty, but they have plenty of feasible theories. But because science doesn’t have the answers, it doesn’t automatically mean that a god was a creator.

“I don’t want to believe. I want to know.” – Carl Sagan

GOD IS DEAD

Every religion throughout history has changed and adapted over time with sections splitting away, or dying off altogether. The polytheistic pagan religions that include Norse, Egyptian, Roman and Greek, which are all but gone, used to view their gods as the supreme beings and the bringers of life and death. Now they are just viewed as myths and legends, and no one takes the idea of Thor or Odin seriously, but people died to protect these gods and the faiths surrounding them. The Abrahamic believers scoff and mock the idea of polytheistic gods and claim they are nothing but fairytales, but who’s to say in a few thousand years that Christianity was dying and another, newer, more powerful supreme being was now the one true god, and he was a totally awesome dude in the eyes of the faithful.