The Ten Commandments — #1

TenCommandmentsA StubbornThings Symposium8/21/15
The Grand Finale  •  For the last year and a half we have been discussing, one at a time, the commandments Moses brought down from Mount Sinai just after the Jews escaped from Egypt, the ones God Himself scribed on two tablets of stone.  We’ve started from the last commandment and have finally arrived at the first, the most important, the ta-da! of the whole project.

Why did we do this backwards? Because this upside down order enabled a fresh, stand-alone look at each single idea. Because this system let us begin to see the interrelationships between the various mandates, and because it highlights the most important commandment of all, the one, without which, none of the others can stand.

This symposium has also allowed us to examine these ten laws in the light of 21stcentury America, even though Moses brought them down the mountain almost 3,500 years ago. It has given us opportunity to compare these absolutes with today’s moral relativity. We have been able see them in a different light.

These are not rules for Christians to follow in order to get into heaven. These are not even the rules the Jews followed to ensure a blessed eternity. Nothing in those laws addresses anything ethereal or eternal. These are the rules given to Israel, a fledgling nation, in order to survive as a nation.

When the majority of the Hebrews followed these Laws, the nation prospered. When the people and the leadership followed other gods, created graven images to worship, stopped honoring the Sabbath, ceased obeying parents, began killing each other, having adulterous sex, stealing, lying, and coveting, then the nation foundered, eventually split, and in 597 B.C. was wiped out.

But the Jews came back, rebuilt and again prospered under the Mosaic Law. This next time they found themselves in the opposite pickle; they had embellished and twisted the Law until they failed to recognize their Messiah when he arrived. For that they were again sent packing by the Romans in 70 A.D.

You see, the heart of the Ten Commandments is its ability to focus on the elements of a successful society – how do the people of a prosperous, free society behave? It is the aggregate of those behaviors that make or break a nation, and the foundation on which those pivotal standards rests is the first  —  “You shall have no other gods before Me.” Or as it is presented in Leviticus 19 — “‘You shall be holy, for I the Lord your God am holy.”  Let us be holy and save this nation.

Deana Chadwell


Number 1: “Thou shalt have no other gods before me.”


 

PAT TARZWELL

Well, we have finally reached the end. But as it turns out, we have not reached the same end; I have been using Rabbi Daniel Lappin’s commentaries of the comparison of the two tables with a horizontal perspective. And there’s the rub…in his version of the Ten Commandments — or, as he puts it, Ten Statements — this all works out very well. But for my post here I will be using a different first statement then what Brad has asked for. Rabbi Lappin uses this first one, “You shall have no other gods before Me” as part of the second statement.

So here we go with my, most likely solo, topic.

I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.

The first part of this compares nicely: I Am the Lord your God, with Thou shall not murder. The very first thing we need to acknowledge, if we are to live in a society that has morals and can act civilly towards our fellow man, is that God exists and that the great I Am is the Lord your God. If we cannot do that, then who gets to decide that murder is wrong? Where does the idea that murder is wrong come from without God telling us it is wrong? The Laws of Nature cannot do that. Lots of animals kill, but they do not murder. But the Laws of Natures God do tell us that. Without God we are just clever animals.

So let us look at the statement in its entirety. God is declaring his place in the scheme of things; He is the one and only God, pointing back to Egypt and how He used their false gods and idols to defeat pharaoh. But He is also pointing out that they were slaves, and it is He that set them free from their bondage. He was gracious enough to set us free again 2000 years ago, once and for all, because we just can’t seem to get it right, those damn false gods and idols get us every time, even today.

Since God is outside of time, when He has us write things down, it is for us, at all times. If these principles are truly timeless, He was not just speaking to the Jews 3500 years ago, He was also teaching us as well. We are held in a type of bondage to this day. We are slaves to things, and it is a very long list of things. We are so self-centered that we forget to be thankful for what God has given us, to look to him, not just in times of great needs and stress but also in times of great joy, times of plenty, little joys and little stresses — grateful that we are no longer slaves to sin and death, even though we still slip up all the time. We are free and if we chose Him, eternity with Him lasts a long time.

So with this in mind, I am very grateful to God for my many blessings, like Brad inviting me to participate in this wonderful discussion. Thank you to all of you who participated in the discussions and the very fine responses. It has truly been an honor to be associated (even in a very small way) with this excellent group of writers.

— Pat Tarzwell was born conservative, runs a successful hi-tech business, and lives a red-state life in a deep blue one.

 

ANNIEL

I The Lord am your God who brought you out of the land of Egypt, the house of bondage: You shall have no other gods beside me. Deuteronomy 5:6-7. TANAKH, Jewish Publication Society.

The words [of the law] were uttered not for one people alone, and not for one age, but for all peoples and for all generations until the end of time. And as the Ten Commandments were a renewal of the act of creation, so the generation of life depends on the second act of creation, the giving of the law. And just as the first act of creation made a division between chaos and order, so the second act of creation made a division between good and evil, between right and wrong. From this day forth there would be a center of reference, a line of conduct, a standard whereby to measure good and evil in all the corners of the earth, for all men and for all generations until the coming of the great day of God.” From the commentary leading into Exodus 19 in the Plaut Chumash (The Torah: a modern commentary, edited by W. Gunther Plaut) (citation: S. Ascham, Moses, P. 233).

And now we circle from the end to the beginning, and as God Himself has decreed, He is Alpha and Omega, the first and the last. And the first shall be last and the last shall be first. W. Gunter Plaut in his writing, the Plaut Chumash, ibid., refers to the giving of the Law as the second act of creation, of making a division between good and evil, that being the center of reference for all men for all time.

Now that we have seen the training wheels of the Ten Commandments, which all must follow as the “law that brings us to Christ”, we come to the heart of the matter, God Himself, the Great I AM, and the why of putting Him and His Laws first in our lives.

In a world where people reject God, they also find it imperative to deny His laws as they turn from the light. The battle between light and dark, good and evil has raged from the beginning and will continue until the end: “. . . the coming of the great day of God.” Ibid.

One of the criticisms of the Ten Commandments made by those who wish to become gods unto themselves, has been that God, the Great I AM, tells us He must be first in our lives and that he is a “zealous” (TANAKH), or a “jealous” (KJV) God. Some philosophers have equated God as a selfish being for His insistence that we worship Him above all else. Why would a God who loves His children say we must put Him first? Is He really a jealous God? Are we to be slaves to such a God?

To become a person of faith in the great God, we must first understand who we are, where and who we came from and where it is we want to go. We need to get a clear picture of our journey here on earth. Do you believe God created you, that there is a purpose for your existence, or do you think you are just another “animal”, a product of evolutionary chance with no clear reason for being? Which would be the most satisfying answer? Most importantly though, which answer is the truth? This we must know lest we be led astray.

As a youngster I and my siblings had very little religious training, although my mother sent us to church on Christmas and Easter, and occasionally in between. My father at that time spoke against all religions. With no one to teach me, how was I to know who or what God was?

I was eight when my most beloved grandfather died. I saw him in the casket not breathing and went to bed that night and thought to hold my breath to see what not breathing would feel like. I was terrified by the overpowering physicality that required me to breathe. As I looked into the darkness, I thought of my grandpa and wondered if someone would show him where to go. Otherwise how would he find his way? I was empty inside and I had no feeling for eternity.

For several years I thought only of the loneliness of death, the awful feeling of not being able to breathe. Then one day when I was about thirteen I knew to end my fear I had to find out if God was a reality. I went to my favorite “thinking spot,” a split rail fence where I often sat to gaze at the mountains. I looked at all the beauty around me and asked God directly if He lived. He didn’t answer right away but I stayed where I was just thinking and looking. I don’t know how long it was, but suddenly a still voice came into me that said, “Don’t you see how beautiful it is? Do you really think that happened by accident?” I looked again with new eyes. Warmth washed over my whole body and I knew beyond doubt that God is real and that He had created the earth and all of us for a purpose. For some time that knowledge was enough for me.

As I grew and studied and thought more on the matter, I came to know that every person who has ever lived does so at the will of God, that The Lord of Heaven and Earth has a plan for you and me, but we are responsible for discovering our part in that plan for ourselves. Life was not meant to be easy, and I do not believe we were made to dwell forever as children in Eden.

We are the ones who must find our gifts and strengths, and to overcome our weaknesses. The only way we can accomplish our goals is to put God first. If we think only of our own desires we run the risk of becoming weak, becoming a law unto ourselves and losing our way completely. We are not to trust in the insecure “arm of flesh” lest it become our idol, whether that arm is our own or belongs to someone else.

Part of the First Commandment is to remember that God led the children of Israel out of the “house of bondage”. The writer Avivah Gottlieb Zornberg in her book The Particulars of Rapture: Reflections on Exodus, refers to many Jewish commentators who teach that only a free people are capable of redemption. One of the greatest of those commentators, Rashi, taught that even Moses himself wondered if slavery in Egypt had so changed the Israelite people that there was little hope for them to accept liberty. It would take forty years of wandering in the desert wilderness to train and prepare a younger generation to make an attempt at freedom.

Even as God led the Children of Israel out of bondage in Egypt, He is also the God who redeems us and brings us out of the bondage of sin and idolatry by turning us outward to Him first. Idolatry is easy, and the first idolatry really is to worship yourself.

All of God’s Commandments revolve around freedom and of turning to Him, the source of light and truth, to keep us free. If you love God with all your heart, might, mind and strength, then you will increase in love to your spouse and children and fellow beings. You will want to treat them well.

This Commandment is the first step in a return to spiritual health – “for all men and all generations until the coming of the great day of God.” ibid.

— Anniel is a frequent contributor to StubbornThings and suggested this symposium.

 

DEANA CHADWELL

God made us. We didn’t make Him. That is the crux of it all.

When He introduced Himself to Abraham, He said, “ I am that I am.” He is absolute, eternal existence. (When I use the pronoun He, 1. I am not implying that God has male genitalia, and 2. I am not discounting the issue of the trinity –that’s another essay.) He always was and always will be. He is outside of time and space, which are mere inventions of His; therefore, He is eternal. He is perfect righteousness – the designer of all goodness. He is absolute justice – He can be because He is perfect goodness and He is omniscient, so He has all the facts. His justice is tempered by His astounding love – love so great He would allow His perfection to be punished, to take the penalty due us so that we would not have to bear it ourselves. He is faithful, unchanging and He is truth, in its most absolute sense. He is, in ways we can’t even understand, omnipresent, and He is omnipotent; the only thing He cannot do is countermand His own attributes — He can’t be unfair, or unloving, or deceitful. And He is sovereign – the Lord of Lords, the King of Kings, the Bright and Morning Star. He is light, and music, and laughter and joy.  And everything we have, He created.

It seems, in light of all that, that it’s not too much for Him to demand that we “have no other gods before him.” Loyalty is a reasonable thing to ask of us. It also asks that we be truthful, that we not pretend He isn’t, that we not pretend that someone else is – Mohammed, Buddha, Confucius, Thor, Zeus. Add to these things the fact that God made us in His image, therefore the worship of some make-believe deity that we designed to look like us is especially blasphemous.

We could, as many an atheist does, insist that we need no God to behave well, and for a generation or two that works; truth dies a slow death. But sooner or later we end up with a mom who would murder her cheerleader daughter’s competition.  Or we find women willing to kill nearly born babies and auction off the cadavers. Now, educated people are suggesting that the elderly just be euthanized. Sooner or later someone – a Hitler, perhaps – will come along and ask, “Why not?”

There will be no answer in the mind of the atheist, for without the existence of God, a perfect and almighty God, a just and demanding God, there is no earthly reason, no evolutionary rationale to treat your neighbor as you would yourself (Christ’s summation of the Decalogue). Without God there is no immediately evident reason for not having rampant, promiscuous gay sex with monkeys and 10-year-old boys. There is no way to tell if gassing Jews is wrong or not.

If we blow the 1st Commandment, we will eventually blow them all and if enough people in a society begin dissing their parents, cheating on the their wives, poisoning the cheating husbands, stealing everything that’s not nailed down, lying even when the truth would sound better, coveting everyone’s everything, then we have a society that needs constant, intense policing – martial law and a ruthless dictator. My sense is that we are very close to that tipping point. And why? Because for several generations now our children have been taught that Darwin was a greater prophet than Moses, that everything is the result of blind, purposeless, random mutations and therefore, as Dostoyevsky said, “all things are permitted.” We do not have the necessary self-discipline to follow those rules without the specter of God hovering over us. Remember the phrase “the fear of God?” We need more of that today.

But how can we fear God if science says He doesn’t exist? We can open our own eyes, observe for ourselves the breathtaking intricacy of nature – the miracle of the butterfly, which science still can’t fathom; the precise miniature machines that fill our cells with particular and productive activity; the minute meticulousness of all the parameters of natural law, precision so exacting that the slightest change would render the planet uninhabitable. So much in science points to the masterful design of an omnipotent artist that the question becomes, “How can we not believe?”(See Romans 1.)

And here’s the real bottom line: You can be an atheist, intellectual and refined, and deny God’s existence and behave however you want to, but the hard, unyielding fact is that you would be doing so while standing on the planet God created, breathing the air He perfected, using a body He designed, and believe what you will, worship who/what you will, God is going nowhere and you owe him exactly what the rest of us do. You will stand before Him in all His perfection and glory. God isn’t an elective course you can choose not to take. You can skip the class if you want, but the F will go down on your transcript. God demands of us reality: the reality of His perfection; the reality of our failure to measure up; the reality of God’s sacrifice to solve that problem. It is not at all too much to ask that we have no other gods before Him.

— Deana Chadwell blogs at ASingleWindow.com.

See Also:
The Tenth Commandment Symposium
The Ninth Commandment Symposium
The Eighth Commandment Symposium
The Seventh Commandment Symposium
The Sixth Commandment Symposium
The Fifth Commandment Symposium
The Fourth Commandment Symposium
The Third Commandment Symposium
The Second Commandment Symposium
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50 Responses to The Ten Commandments — #1

  1. Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

    Pat, you’ve outdone yourself and made me take a look at this in a whole new way.

    • Pst4usa says:

      Thank You for those kind words Brad, also thank you for allowing me to participate in this symposium. It has been a real challenge for me and I need that to do almost anything. What a terrific bunch you have gathered together, I learn so much from each and every one.

      • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

        We’ll have to see if we can get together and do this again…under a completely different topic. I’m taking suggestions even now. One already may come to fruition, but who says we can’t do two at a time?

        • Timothy Lane says:

          I was already going to suggest a symposium on the Bill of Rights (which conveniently numbers 10 amendments).

          • Pst4usa says:

            That is a very good choice Timothy. It’s just we may not want to do those in reverse order.

          • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

            I’ll take the Bill of Rights and the Seven Deadly Sins under consideration. I’m leaning toward the Seven Deadly Sins because it would get to the root of some of the problems we are having. And any symposium on the Bill of Rights is bound to get geeky and overly technical. I’d rather do something that more people can relate to. Of course, it’s certainly possible that we could write an approachable and understandable treatment of the Bill of Rights. But even Hillsdale College makes my eyes glaze over sometimes. Sometimes you just need to get to the point and make an idea relevant to people.

            So, whatever we do (including the Seven Deadly Sins), I would hope that would be the approach, the writers always trying to relate things to the reader in ways they can understand. And I see that as a problem with the Bill of Rights. But if we pick that up, we’d all have to take a pledge to try to do so.

            • I like both of those ideas better than the education concept. That’s too nebulous. Numbered lists provide their own direction. Either would be cool.

              • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

                Well, I still like the education concept, but since this is a democracy (or benevolent dictatorship…one of the two) we can certainly do something else. I’ve got three suggestions on the table:

                1) Education Reform
                2) The Seven Deadly Sins (eight if we count Obama)
                3) The Bill of Rights

                I’ll add a fourth and fifth:

                4) Growing up and being wise and Holy in a vulgar, dumb, and juvenile culture

                Any other nominations?

              • Timothy Lane says:

                One thing I will point out is that there is, as far as I’m aware, no specific order for the Seven Deadly Sins. The sequence would thus have to be established in advance.

              • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

                There is even some discussion as to if there are 6 or 7 or 7 or 8 as there seems to be some overlap.

              • Timothy Lane says:

                One possible sequence would be Dante’s from Il Purgatorio, which had pride, envy, wrath, sloth, covetousness (usually avarice), gluttony, and lust in that order.

              • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

                I could go with Dante’s list.

        • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

          Or the seven deadly sins.

  2. Timothy Lane says:

    After reading the first page, one thought occurs to me: Yahweh doesn’t actually say he is the only god there is — merely that he is the Israelites’ sole God. Other peoples might have their own god(s). He also reminds them of what he did for them, in return for which he expects worship and obedience.

    • Pst4usa says:

      Timothy, I think you have hit the nail on the head, in one aspect. God is saying that we are morons and we will create all kinds of false gods. But He is the Creator of all things, even those material or organic things that we fashion into gods.
      But as for Him being only Israel’s sole God, I have to disagree, He did choose the Jews, that is true, but He chose Israel to carry His word forward, and that through their line he would set the whole world free from bondage, by and through God incarnate, Jesus Christ. At least that is my take on the first commandment.

  3. Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

    For years, I thought I had the First Commandment in the bag. I later learned that there are all sorts of things that we put before God (sometimes unknowingly). We are sometimes so full of pride that we put ourselves in the place of God. How can we put ourselves in place of God? One way is to rely on our own (God given) intelligence and abilities rather than depending on God. We have progressed so much over the last century with science and technology until it is easy for humans to become puffed up with pride and think that we do not need God. In fact, some scientists have boasted that they can create life in a laboratory therefore; they put themselves in place of God.

    That’s a good point, Patricia. I was reading the free sample of Lee Strobel’s The Case for a Creator last night. I don’t know that I’ll purchase this, but it was interesting to see him tick off all the typical secular/atheistic reasons that so many in the culture have become naturalists/materialists in outlook. One of those is the meaningless Miller-Urey experiment wherein they zapped a test tube with electricity and created some amino acids. This is about as significant as tapping a rubber tree, letting the latex sap congeal with simple acid, and declare you’ve created an automobile, for one of the components is the rubber in the tires. But that is quite a different thing from designing a car.

    He also mentions a couple other of the “Icons of Evolution” (no wonder this book includes Jonathan Wells) such as Darwin’s “tree of life” (no tree has been found that is hard evidence for common descent), and Ernst Haeckel’s drawings of embryos (which were known to be fraudulent long ago).

    Why would God be so adamant about us putting Him first? He said in Matthew 6:33 “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.”  It is for our benefit to love God and put Him first. God knows the traps that are waiting to trip us up. He knows that all other gods will fail us. Whether our gods be our jobs, sports, money, hobbies, significant others, or even food, all of these false gods will eventually fail us.

    People have come to believe in science as a god…to the point that there is a bizarre movement called “transhumanism” which is about augmenting human beings with technology…eventually making them immortal and transcending the limitations of flesh and blood. This is based on the belief that consciousness can be created via mechanical means, although there is no reason to believe that purely mechanical and algorithmic processes can achieve this.

    Still, God, at least to me, remains mysterious. But not stupid. And I find a lot of the false gods that people depend on to be pretty lame.

    Excellent essay, Patricia.

    • Pst4usa says:

      Interesting to hear you comment about transhumanism Brad, I overheard a conversation about this idea just the other night. A very wealthy man, (a billionaire), was describing this very thing. That humans will be fitted with nanobots the will wipe out disease and make all necessary repairs so we will have no need for 0bamacare or medicine at all. I had to interject, why bother, they already exist, God designed them into the human body already, and that his god of science has cause the ones that God designed to fail sooner than they need to. It was a very short conversation.

      • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

        Sounds like Ray Kurzweil. These people are dangerous. They already consider themselves superior to others and with technology they plan to become gods. Of course, not all will be able to afford this technology.

      • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

        I had to interject, why bother, they already exist, God designed them into the human body already…

        The nanobots we already have inside our bodies — by the trillions, apparently — are truly amazing and are of fairly recent discovery. One type, the little bots (of various kinds) whose job it is to transport things around the cell via the microtubules, are not the product of natural selection but of design. Atom for atom, they would appear to be as efficiently designed as possible with nothing wasted…not something that a supposed process of unguided evolution could ever do.

        I don’t think the culture has anywhere near caught up to this astonishing fact yet. But I do think we will witness a rejection of Darwinian evolution (at least on the macro-evolution end of things). Right now people are taught that evolution (a squishy term to begin with, but which means for our purposes here neo-Darwinism) is a fact and that’s the end of the discussion. And with our uber-class-conscious culture, nobody wants to be one of those dunces who believes otherwise.

        We don’t do that here. Because we dare to be seen as stupid, we have a much better chance of being brilliant. And regarding neo-Darwinism in regards to macro-evolution, I don’t “believe” otherwise. I know. There is no good evidence for neo-Darwinism (mutation/natural selection) being able to create anything complex. None. Notta. Zip. Zilch. Zero. There is simply a big, ongoing lie saying otherwise, or as David Berlinski succinctly puts it, “a bunch of anecdotal stories.”

        God would appear to be alive and well, and the idea of atheists is taking a beating. But of much more importance is the moral outlook. I could care less if someone’s metaphysics is different from mine, per se. Who really knows for sure? But it’s the dark, anti-human, pro-state, pro-bad-morals outlook of naturalists/atheists that is the issue at hand. Of course, whether bad morals follows atheism because of a separation from god or not, I’ll leave to this site’s many theologians. But there is something rotten in Denmark on that side of the tracks.

        • Timothy — There’s another school of thought on this, one I didn’t get to in my article. Some Bible scholars see idolatry not as 1. an older, more primitive form of religion, nor 2. as make-believe cartoon gods, if you will, but rather as demonic manifestations. If the creation of the world was preceded by the angelic creation, as some passages would suggest (Job, Isaiah 14, for instance), and if a third of the angelic creation followed Lucifer in his insistence that he could be God, then the whole pagan thing becomes more meaningful. Are these the fallen angels taking the form of frogs, and golden calves, and angry bulls? If so, then the plagues in Egypt become far more important, and God’s anger over idolatry far more understandable. If this is in fact what happened, then you are partially right; these other nations had chosen super-natural beings to worship, and those beings are evil personified. No pagan god is benign, self-sacrificing, and capable of creation. No pagan god loves. Idolatry is at the heart of evil.

          • M Farrell says:

            Hi Deana– Your comment regarding the angelic creation brought to mind an argument that came up in Hebrew class about the opening words in Genesis — Catholic / Protestant translations consistently translate “בראשית” as “In the beginning” or “Ba Rashit”– However, the Jewish translations read “Be Rashit” (if you pay attention to the correct vowel pointing) meaning “in a beginning” or simply “in beginning”– This implies there could have been other beginnings (i.e.– the angelic creation)– This is the position of many reputable Rabinic scholars/critics– It also is an interesting tie-in for those who advocate the “gap” theory” of ultimate creation– that there was a gap period during which the universe/ world was in chaos that God brought to order in the Genesis account– Since God is not a God of chaos and darkness, how did this situation arise? Perhaps this is what was left after the Angels’ fall, and God started over in what we read as Genesis– I have always thought it fascinating that a possible misreading of one vowel, the 1st vowel in the 1st word of the 1st book of God’s word could make such a difference–

        • “Because we dare to be seen as stupid, we have a much better chance of being brilliant.” Great line, Brad. Yes. Yes. Yes.

  4. Anniel says:

    This forum has been such a wonderful teaching and learning tool. I love the thought that we need to become holy people to save our freedom and find our way home. Brad, thank you for this opportunity.

  5. Pst4usa says:

    Brad, you may have this one wrong, “We have to chisel the stone first to find out what’s in it.” I think that is correct, it is locked in stone before we even knew what was in it, before Moses brought it down off the mountain. I think it might be better mocked to say, “We must agree to follow them, before we get to know what is chiseled in it”
    Just my take. I did laugh out loud on that one, I was glad I was not trying to swallow a drink at that moment.

    • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

      “We must agree to follow them, before we get to know what is chiseled in it”

      I can go with that formulation, Pat. But it was a roaringly funny bit, right? Right? Yeah? Okay. I see you agree. 😀

  6. Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

    These are the gods destroyed by science, and good riddance.

    Actually, when I wrote the above, it was more a rhetorical device than a fact. The false gods were destroyed long before science and “reason” came on the scene. The Jews (Jehovah) destroyed the false gods thousands of years ago (perhaps forever bringing down the wrath of others upon them, I suppose). And the fact is, today it tends to be the atheists who are the most superstitious, dealing in things such as astrology and all sorts of weird stuff, proving again the Chesterton wisdom, “When a man stops believing in God he doesn’t then believe in nothing, he believes anything.”

    I kid you not that the same people who think the idea of a transcendent (greater than and outside of nature) is a stupid idea fall all over each other to believe the truly absurd idea of the multiverse (which posits 10500 unseen and unseeable universes that pop into existence at random). The problem with this multiverse idea is that it is inherently dishonest, for the multiverse solves nothing in terms of agency. It does not explain the thing that brings these universes into being and gives them existence and the characteristics they supposedly have. They try to solve this first cause by evading it, smudging it via sleight-of-hand with the word “random” connect to a whole butt-load of proposed universe. (Anything, anything to keep ours, and life itself, from seeing special…aka “holy”.)

    Acknowledging a transcendent (if mysterious, at least to me) Creator — while no small idea, I do admit — is more logical, more parsimonious, and more reasonable of an explanation than either a suite of gods and demo-gods or the atheistic equivalent which is 10500 unseen universes.

    To me this is comical. If I weren’t so impolite and willing to make fun of stupid ideas, I would just say “To each his own” and kumbaya out of respect. But I really think people do need to look at the ideas of the atheists and see them for being the ridiculous (worthy of being ridiculed) ideas that they are. And then we can get on with things. Atheism has to be one of the largest false gods of all time and should be seen as such.

  7. Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

    What I Learned About The Ten Commandments

    First off, I learned that there are some very pleasingly orthodox Christians out there. With a tip of the cap to all participants, I couldn’t help admire the smooth, clear, and forthright orthodoxy of many of the essays. That’s not to say that other approaches aren’t useful. One reason we do these things is to shine light upon an idea by taking different angles. And angles are good. I usually have nothing but an angle.

    But ultimately The Ten Commandments are straightforward. “Thou shalt not steal.” There’s nothing in that about what the meaning of the word “is” is.

    I so tire of dealing with people these days because your average person is so dishonest. Human deceit thrives in the murky pool of fuzzy edges. Prevarication needs the slippery, not the concrete. And so, at least for me, a bold and clear statement of “thou shalt not” is a . . . well, a godsend. This is not the stuff of trickery. There’s nothing slippery or two-faced about them.

    And if that is a dark view of humanity, then I’m sorry. But I think most people here understand that the Left (along with other influences) is creating a dishonest people. People are being kept in the mode of children. And although children are charming, their ethics are something to be desired. We know why there are so many lawyers now. It’s because all children are natural lawyers. They may not be able to do their times-ten tables, but they are experts at rationalizing and giving slippery arguments for why they should do this or that, or didn’t in fact do this or that.

    Man is a natural deceiver until shown the value and importance of honesty and good behavior. Yes, to be an honest man means giving up some things (easy things). But you also (through hard things, including discipline) gain some good things. And the gain of those good things requires looking ahead. But the child will tend to choose the immediate easy things, rarely if every delaying gratification.

    And this is the culture we live in. I think most here would agree. And The Ten Commandments are like a lighthouse built of the thickest slabs of granite next to, or just offshore, a steaming sea of deceit. Those who follow these Commandments are at a disadvantage in this culture. They are often outcasts, even inside their own churches. Why go against the grain? Why stick out in a culture that doesn’t tend to value wisdom and virtue?

    I don’t know. But I think many do it not for a heavenly reward, per se, but because once you’ve seen and done something better, it would be a repellant thought to do otherwise. Once you’ve had filet mignon, who wants Spam?

    The Ten Commandments are a fine cut indeed. And out of the mouths of most of our politicians, entertainers, and celebrities comes Spam. Certainly our inbox is full of it. But here, at StubbornThings, if only for a moment, we have otherwise. And a big thanks to all participants.

  8. Timothy Lane says:

    Kung Fu Zu’s item reminds me of “Little Willie” pastiche that I read in Boy’s Life half a century ago:

    Little Willie was a chemist,
    But Little Willie is no more;
    For what he thought was H20
    Was H2S04.

    • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

      I learned something similar in grammar school. I had to find out what H2SO4 was though. It impressed my sick mind. That’s why I can still remember it.

      • Timothy Lane says:

        There’s also a scene in House of the Long Shadows in which a woman makes use of a water basin only to learn too late that it’s full of a corrosive that merely looks like water (it might be sulfuric acid, though it could just as easily be hydrochloric or perhaps some other acid).

  9. Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

    There is even some discussion as to if there are 6 or 7 or 7 or 8 as there seems to be some overlap.

    Let’s see, Mr. Kung, I think the deadly sins are:

    1) Brussel’s sprouts
    2) Laverne and Shirley
    3) Genders 3 through 57
    4) Steak sauce on a good steak
    5) Styrofoam greek columns
    6) Pulling that tag off the mattress
    7) And, of course, tattoos

    • Timothy Lane says:

      Well, let’s see. I’m no great fan of any green vegetable (except asparagus), but brussels sprouts are all right and a good source of vitamin K. My mother liked Laverne and Shirley, and I was exposed to it enough to become familiar with (and like) their theme song. I also like steak sauces, which I first encountered at a restaurant on Crete (they brought out a tray with a whole bunch of sauces, and I probably tried them all). And I gather that the law about not pulling the tag off a mattress applies only to the original seller.

      But you definitely hit a home run on the other 3.

    • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

      1) Brussel’s sprouts

      I admit it. Especially when my wife cooks them with real bacon bits.

      As to steaks, these days I’m tending toward horse radish sauce, but A1 will do in a pinch.

    • Pst4usa says:

      I’m not sure #6 is deadly, but I agree completely with the rest Brad. How about a new #6. Voting for any progressive (Republican or Democrat)/socialist. That is definitely a deadly sin.

      • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

        Knowing you’re a red-meat man (both political and gastronomical), I knew you were with me on the steak sauce thing. Your #6 would work as well. That would almost make not voting a virtue the way things are going these days.

      • Timothy Lane says:

        Will Mrs. Major Go to Hell? by Aloise Buckley Heath.

  10. Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

    This has been said many times by others in this symposium, concerning this commandment and the previous one. But thick heads require constant pounding.

    When I take a look at the lay of the land — particularly the variability (and arbitrariness) of culture and thought — you come to realize that only in a bad sense is man a “blank slate” as the Left would prefer to believe. Denying the elements of human nature (such as gender) is never smart, good, or wise.

    But our brains, aside from the bits that are indeed pre-programmed (human nature, if you will) are blank enough to become just about anything. And as they say about an open mind, it tends to collect garbage. More pertinent to the matter at hand, if we leave it to other men and to the culture at large to fill our minds, what are we? What is real? Isn’t this like plunging into a deep abyss of arbitrariness? What is man if his mind is a mirror of movies and TV advertisements?

    Anyone who has debated on the internet (or in person as well) has likely noted that the human brain falls easily into arbitrariness and relativism — both of which are helpful devices for rationalizations. And rationalizations are useful as intellectual and political weapons against others, if only because a lie can indeed travel around the world twice before the truth has even put its pants on. Rush says “Words mean things.” But for those who use thought and reason as weapons, the integrity of the truth is a restraint. Lies are useful. Bamboozling with jello logic even more so.

    So if man is created, and there is a Creator, in order to be something more than whatever is vomited out of arbitrary and often degenerate culture, he must be plugged into AC (Abbas Creator) rather than DC (dumb culture). And if this is so, it makes perfect sense that there should be no false gods and no idols. We need to plug into the real thing. Yes, of course, this is another way of saying what Deana, in particular, has already said. But like I said, I’m not always a quick learner.

  11. Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

    FYI, John Kirke’s essay has just been added to page two.

  12. Pst4usa says:

    Deana has a great line, “But how can we fear God if science says He doesn’t exist?” How can we believe science anymore, if their conclusions are sold to the highest bidder. The left is willing to invest heavily in this area because this is the point of the left, in every way. The left does not want any fear or pain for anyone, (except conservatives), they are the ultimate Mommy. If the left,(who, I am sure are tools of Satan), can remove fear of the Lord, than they can also remove all wisdom, all truth, all morality, and for the left, doesn’t that fit their agenda?

    When we let the left start adding the word science to the end of various fields of study such as political science, social science and the list goes on, we destroyed the meaning of science. It is no longer the search for the evidence of truth, it is the search for way to support an agenda, or to fund themselves by supporting those doing the funding. It all leads back to the statement “You shall have no other gods before Me”, money is one of those other gods we put before Him, or they think, we can be gods ourselves, either way, I don’t think it will work out very well for them.

    • Timothy Lane says:

      I have no idea whether the Left is responsible for coming up with the concept of “political science” (as distinct from politicized science, which is what we get all too often). On the other hand, someone I knew at Purdue was a history major who started as a political science major but switched because all the political science professors “were communist or stupid or both”. I can readily believe they were.

      • Pst4usa says:

        Timothy, I use the left as the very definition of the idea, that we can be like God. It has been around for a long long time, since the garden as far as I am concerned. But the left can also be the church, as seen in some of the attacks in history by the church on science, or today by the Pope and his support for leftist causes and the junk science of Gore-Bull Warming.

    • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

      Great points about science, Pat. I see what you’re saying.

  13. Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

    I suspect the Germans or French are responsible for coming up with the concept “political science.” Max Weber or some phony French aristo comes to mind.

    • Pst4usa says:

      I believe that it goes back further than that Mr. Kung. But you are right I did not make it clear that I was not just talking about the modern leftist. Although, they have the ball right now.

  14. Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

    The link is to an article about the Israeli government “reneging” on an agreement have a mixed “men/women” praying section at the Wailing Wall.

    The article is a good example of the subtle way leftists use language to pass judgement on religious practices they disagree with. The article, dishonestly, throws out the term “religious equality” as if it is some magic incantation. But “religious equality” has nothing to do with this. Both men and women are allowed to pray at the Wailing Wall, but there are different sections for each sex. So the sexes are treated equally in this case, but not in a way the left approves of.

    I suspect that many more Orthodox Jews pray at the Wailing Wall than atheist Jews so I don’t see why the Orthodox Jews shouldn’t stand up for their beliefs. After all, for atheist Jews, the Wailing Wall is not a religious symbol, it is a historical one.

    And I say this as one who is neither Jew nor Israeli and has no particular stake in the argument. I just prefer people who go around squawking “equality, equality, equality” like a scalded parrot would stop lying and say what they really mean.

    The point of those pushing this is to weaken Orthodoxy in Israel, not equality.

    https://www.yahoo.com/news/netanyahu-under-fire-reneging-western-wall-deal-112622060.html

    • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

      Don’t look to me for a touchy-feelly solution. If I were God I would deport every Muslim, ban socialism in Israel, and take dynamite to the Dome of the Rock. I would be an Old-Testament wrathful God.

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