is the Ultimate Religion
validity of the Ten Commandments comes from their
Wisdom rather than the Authority of God.
“Who is Einstein to tell The Lord what
Judaism there are 10 concepts so
intensively institutionalized in the religion that they are known as the 10 Commandments. Despite their overwhelming authoritarian
tone, they each have a very empirical
basis thanks to the wisdom of the
human committee which compiled them.
1. I am the Lord
thy God, who brought thee out of the
Judaism's historic respect for education, when the 10 Commandments were
originally codified Jews were overwhelming illiterate. As with dealing with a very young child,
the most efficient way to impose behavior guidelines on someone childish or
uneducated is not as "suggestions" supplemented with a rational
social benefit or statistical validity, but to impose them as authoritarian
"Commands." And the most
efficient way to give those Commands authority is to claim their authorship
from the Ultimate Authority. That
Authority also then serves as the basis for all of the other religious
requirements and traditions.
irony is that there is within the core of Judaism, as exemplified by Abraham,
a search for an empirical explanation for how the world functions, and a
unifying belief that there is a unifying and constant and consistent and
eternal and omnipotent concept that governs it. With the quantification of natural forces
we call that concept “Science” which used to be called the “Laws of
Nature.” The difference is that
Science now quantifies those Laws, and that anything that supposedly violates
those Laws is actually NOT a reflection of God, but is more likely a result
of misinterpretation, misinformation, or misrepresentation.
shalt have no other gods before Me. Thou
shalt not make unto thee a graven image, nor any manner of likeness, of any
thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in
the water under the earth; Thou shalt not bow down unto them, nor serve
them; for I the Lord thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the
fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that
hate Me; And showing mercy unto the thousandth generation of them that love
Me and keep My commandments.
the time of its inceptions and the codification of the Bible, Judaism was
surrounded by other religions with their cultural God or gods. Religions predating Judaism tried to
simplify causality by isolating specific events rather than proscribing an
underlying unity. Thus, the references
to the god of fertility, the god of the sea, the god of war, etc. One might vie this as similar to describing
the properties of chemical atoms (which of course was inconceivable at the
time to those cultures) but it also was inadequate in explaining the
underlying nature of those atoms.
the God of Judaism is incorporeal. The
necessity of a God that is constant and consistent and eternal and omnipotent
requires that IT cannot be described or represented in any specific physical
form. No matter what that form may
take. When we put physical
supernatural powers on any object, even a Torah, we are turning that object
into a “graven image” and violating the basic concept of God. What makes Torah sacred is NOT the words it
contains, but rather the wisdom it represents and the questions it
inspires. When those words are
ossified as being the “word of God” the very function of the Torah becomes a
violation of the Second Commandment rather than a guide for its application.
3. Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord
thy God in vain; for the Lord will not hold him guiltless that taketh His
name in vain.
You cannot have a stable society or stable relationships based
upon deceit or misrepresentation. To
use the “Name of God” serves as the ultimate authority to proclaim honesty
and integrity. While there still might
be circumstances where a lack of total openness might be disruptive or
destructive, open deceit or misrepresentation will always be disruptive and
Viewing the Torah as a “sacred object” rather than as a
representation of historic wisdom and a vehicle for learning violates the
basic concept of God and, in turn, is “taking the name of the Lord in vain.”
4. Remember the Sabbath
day to keep it holy. Six days shalt
thou labour, and do all thy work. But the seventh day is the Sabbath in
honour of the Lord thy God; on it thou shalt not do any work, neither thou,
nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant nor thy maidservant, nor thy
cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates; For in six days the Lord
made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested
on the seventh day; therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day, and hallowed
Recognition of time as a factor of human behavior was basic
because of the concept of the day.
Recognition of units of time of multiple days (as well as quantifying
units of time down to milliseconds) was a breakthrough.
But “work” is an emotional concept as well as a physical
concept. Physical concepts of work
5. Honor thy father and thy mother; in
order that thy days may be prolonged upon the land which the Lord thy God
Survival as a
species requires reproduction of the next generation. The actions of parents serve as role models
for their children. Honoring parents
has a dual function in that it not only recognizes that role model
relationship, but it encourages the parents to be worth of that honor. Notice that the Commandment does NOT say
“obey your parents.” Blind obedience,
to parents and/or to God, becomes potentially destructive of both the
individual and the relationship due to misinterpretation or misunderstandings.
6. Thou shalt not kill.
Killing is an
overt act of taking the life (as implied as taking the life of another
human). Someone who is capable of that
act is also not capable of having a symbiotic relationship with other people,
and therefore is destructive to those individual in close proximity as well
as to society at large. Primitive
cultures and societies tended to have its leadership based on killing those
who threaten the leader as a primary method of maintaining that leadership
position. As humans, however, survival
of a society and the economic benefits of being in that society are
frequently based on symbiotic rather than on predatory relationships. Discouraging killing as a means of settling
disputes or determining leadership tends to be counter-productive as to
growing the wealth and skills of society as well as providing the next
generation of its leadership.
7. Thou shalt not commit adultery.
societies, female members of that society were often regarded as property of
the males. Adultery has two
complications: one, it becomes “theft of property” and two it confuses the
origin of offspring as to inheritance.
There is another factor in that adultery leads to jealousy and
rivalries whose emotional impact might lead to one or more of the parties
trying to kill the other members to resolve those adultery conflicts and emotions. See Commandment number six as to why this
is not advisable and can be counter-productive.
8. Thou shalt not steal.
functions best when there is symbiosis and trust among its membership. Stealing destroys that symbiosis and
becomes counter-productive as to increasing the wealth of that society.
9. Thou shalt not bear false witness
against thy neighbor.
Witness is not just “lying” but “lying under oath.” Again, it is counterproductive to the
symbiosis of society since that is based on trust.
10. Thou shalt not covet thy
neighbor’s house; thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s wife, nor his
manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that
is thy neighbor’s.
assets of your neighbor (even where the neighbor’s wife is NOT regarded as
property) may lead to actions where an individual’s actions leads to stealing those assets or killing in order to
acquire those assets. That behavior is
also counterproductive to the stability and growth of a symbiotic society.
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