June 21, 2006

How many commandments do you know?

Colbert's interview with Westmoreland is positively hysterical. This guy is just not with it...

Now, clearly Westmoreland doesn't know the ten commandments. Do you? Seriously? Exodus actually has a godzillion commandments, one of the most important (repeated several times) is that you can't work on sunday, on penalty of death. Don't see too many religious Americans asking Walmart to close on sundays.

Anyway, just for your handy reference, here they are:

1. Exodus 20.3 "you shall have no other gods before me". A corrolary to this one is explained a bit later: you shall not make a covenant with the inhabitants of the (promised) land. Which means, to keep the religion pure, you have to kick all non-believers out of Israel, you can't marry them, trade with them or even be at peace with them. If you wonder why the Jewish-Palestinian conflict just keeps going on, remember that one side is religiously obliged to keep fighting.

2. Exodus 20.4 No false idols. Reason given: "for I the Lord your God am a jealous God, punishing children for the iniquity of parents,to the third and the fourth generation of those who reject me."

3. Exodus 20.7. Don't take the name of the Lord in vain. Remember, you can cuss as much as you like, as long as you don't drag God into it. "Dog-shit Taco" is a perfectly acceptable turn of speech. Religiously speaking.

4. Exodus 20.8. "Remember the Sabbath day and keep it holy". Even the slaves aren't allowed to work (hear that, Walmart?), and alien residents can't work either. Next time you see a Christian shop on sunday, ask him why he is angering God. If he says he's not Christian, say that you are and repeat the question. Pick people that don't look like they're armed.

5. Exodus 20.12. "Honor your parents."

6. Exodus 20.13. "You shall not murder."

7. Exodus 20.14. "You shall not commit adultery." Polygamy was allowed though. For future research: when was polygamy no longer acceptable. Was polyandry really ruled out?

8. Exodus 20.15. "You shall not steal." See .here for complications with that one.

9. Exodus 20.16. "You shall not bear false witness against your neighbour". This is NOT the same as "don't lie". It only pertains to judiciary proceedings. You can lie your ass off unless you're under oath.

10. Exodus 20.17. "You shall not covet your neighbor's house, wife, male or female slave, ox, donkey or anything that belongs to your neighbor". What? Can't even covet the slaves?

Now, the only thing that is special about these 10 commandments is that they were written in stone. But Exodus is positively piled with commandments, all straight from God. I don't see why we would forget the others? Some of them are quite amusing, such as Exodus 22.2. Some are positively scary (Exodus 22.28). But there are some really great ideas too. My favourites: Exodus 22.21 ("You shall not wrong or oppress a resident alien, for you were aliens in the land of Egypt") and Exodus 22.25 ("If you lend money to my people, to the poor among you, you shall not deal with them as a creditor; you shall not enact interest from them").

All in all, Exodus shows that modern interpretation of the Bible is highly selective. It shows that religious people do feel that they can pick and chose what they believe, at least if they lend any credence to the Torah. Religion is very malleable.


Blogger Sothis said...

Whoa there! Wal-Mart close on Sundays? No way! Would have to be Saturday (the Old Testatment Sabbath is the Jewish Sabbath). Silly Belgian, Trix are for kids!

So now I can lie as much as I want and be right with the Lord (as long as I'm not in court)! Glory, Hallelujah, Emmanuel! (OK, I had to find out out to spell Hallelujah...)

9:30 PM  
Blogger Endorendil said...

Okay, give everyone two days off. Or let every business pick either one or the other.

9:49 PM  
Blogger Callooh said...

okay okay if I just mess around with, but NOT covet - does THAT count? and how do we define neighbour? is this done by distance? can I covet the single guy down the block? clarification please.
really looking for one I don't break on a daily basis....

12:54 AM  
Blogger Callooh said...

oh wait - I CAN lie my face off, just not lie with my neighbours ox....

12:55 AM  
Blogger Endorendil said...

Luscious callooh. Fortunately the Lord forgives much. Especially to those who bear him priests...

10:26 PM  
Blogger Alice said...

apologies for the long comment, but this is a perennial fave of mine!

an open letter to Dr. Laura

J. Kent Ashcraft

May 2000

Dear Dr. Laura,

Thank you for doing so much to educate people regarding God's Law. I have learned a great deal from your show, and I try to share that knowledge with as many people as I can. When someone tries to defend the homosexual lifestyle, for example, I simply remind him that Leviticus 18:22 clearly states it to be an abomination. End of debate.

I do need some advice from you, however, regarding some of the specific laws and how to best follow them.

a) When I burn a bull on the altar as a sacrifice, I know it creates a pleasing odor for the Lord (Lev 1:9). The problem is my neighbors. They claim the odor is not pleasing to them. Should I smite them?

b) I would like to sell my daughter into slavery, as sanctioned in Exodus 21:7. In this day and age, what do you think would be a fair price for her?

c) I know that I am allowed no contact with a woman while she is in her period of menstrual uncleanliness (Lev 15:19-24). The problem is, how do I tell? I have tried asking, but most women take offense.

d) Lev. 25:44 states that I may indeed possess slaves, both male and female, provided they are purchased from neighboring nations. A friend of mine claims that this applies to Mexicans, but not Canadians. Can you clarify? Why can't I own Canadians?

e) I have a neighbor who insists on working on the Sabbath. Exodus 35:2 clearly states he should be put to death. Am I morally obligated to kill him myself?

f) A friend of mine feels that even though eating shellfish is an Abomination (Lev 11:10), it is a lesser abomination than homosexuality. I don't agree. Can you settle this?

g) Lev 21:20 states that I may not approach the altar of God if I have a defect in my sight. I have to admit that I wear reading glasses. Does my vision have to be 20/20, or is there some wiggle room here?

h) Most of my male friends get their hair trimmed, including the hair around their temples, even though this is expressly forbidden by Lev 19:27. How should they die?

i) I know from Lev 11:6-8 that touching the skin of a dead pig makes me unclean, but may I still play football if I wear gloves?

j) My uncle has a farm. He violates Lev 19:19 by planting two different crops in the same field, as does his wife by wearing garments made of two different kinds of thread (cotton/polyester blend). He also tends to curse and blaspheme a lot. Is it really necessary that we go to all the trouble of getting the whole town together to stone them? (Lev 24:10-16) Couldn't we just burn them to death at a private family affair like we do with people who sleep with their in-laws? (Lev. 20:14)

I know you have studied these things extensively, so I am confident you can help.

Thank you again for reminding us that God's word is eternal and unchanging.

Your devoted disciple and adoring fan.

12:53 AM  
Blogger Granny said...

I just borrowed the letter to Dr. Laura for isamericaburning. I dropped a note to lukku cairi thanking her.


10:30 AM  

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