The 10 Commandments Failed Christianity

The 10 Commandments Failed Christianity

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I expect every member of a predominantly Christian or Jewish community to be very familiar with the 10 commandments given to Moses. They have never made any sense to me, today or back in the day when they were first given. They just seem rushed and pointless.

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Sometimes when I think of the 10 commandments, they seem like a plan that the Jamaican governments of our independence would have developed to fix some known problem in the country. All 10 sound good, make no sense and therefore cannot be applied practically to make the society any better.


I believe Simon Sinek would have done a much better job if he was given the responsibility of crafting the ten commandments. Simon would start with why and that alone would make it 10x more effective. With the exception of about 3 of the commandments, they all are pretty much what to do, without much clarity and have no reference whatsoever as to why they should be done.

The 10 commandments missed the mark because they lack clarity and purpose.

#1 – Thou shalt have no other god.

Right off the bat this indicates the possibility of the existence of more than one god, along with the level of jealousy that exists in the god who brought them out of bondage. Is he trying to say there is another god who created them, or another god that put them in bondage in the first place?

All the Israelites are now indebted to god for freeing them. What about the whole concept of doing things for others and not expecting anything in return? Thought this was a Christian principle…

Hold on a second, what about free will?

#2 – No graven image

Stating the obvious again – a very jealous power seeking (and violent) individual.

“But you shall destroy their altars, break their sacred pillars, and cut down their wooden images 14 (for you shall worship no other god, for the Lord, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God)” Exodus 34: 13-14 (NKJV)

If all he did was free the people from bondage, why so jealous if they want to worship another god? For example, the god that made the people who kept them in bondage.

The Roman Catholic Church tends to have a lot of statues and people bow down before the symbol of the crucifix, or cross, etc. Doesn’t this contradict this command?

#3 – Not take the name of the lord in vain

I personally don’t know his name. I know it is not Allah, Krishna, Vishnu or any of the many Hindu god names. Is his name love or jealous?

Feels like a waste of a commandment, there is nothing more important for the children of Israel to worry about? How about something related to growing their children to love each other so another Abel/Cain relationship doesn’t develop?

#4 – Remember the Sabbath day

Not only must the people worship him and him only, he has designated the exact day they must do so. And they cannot do anything else on that day but worship him. The debate will continue forever as to which day is actually the “seventh day”.  The first churches (for example Roman Catholic) usually worship on a Sunday.

Also, now there is some hinting that it was he who also created everything in six days but no explanation as  to how/why the Israelites ended up in bondage in the first place so he had to free them.

#5 – Honor thy mother and thy father

This is one of the biggest failed commandments. Would it not make more sense in the top 10 commandments, to stress the importance of good parenting and the role of the mother and father in the upbringing of the child? And people look down on the current generation like it is their fault they were not brought up properly.

Psychologically, what do you think happens to parents when god has commanded their child to honor them with no conditionality on whether or not the parents played their role? Do parents even need to love their children?

#6 – Thou shalt not kill

… I think this is incomplete. Who shouldn’t I kill? What shouldn’t I kill? Is there a certain time I am not supposed to kill? Moses was probably too scared to ask god to repeat or complete the statement.

I wonder if this commandment was a continuation of honor thy parents. Maybe it was thou shalt not kill thy own child or better yet thou shalt not kill thy own parent. Who knows?

#7 – No adultery

Finally, a commandment that makes sense. I hold marriage very highly so I get this. No why needed. Only thing I would have loved differently is if he focused more inward and stressed the importance of making thy partner happy.

The divorce rates are currently off the charts. According to the American Psychological Association, “about 40 to 50 percent of married couples in the United States divorce”.

And for many who remain married, Harville Hendrix, Ph.D. and Helen LaKelly Hunt, Ph. D (and many others) have stressed that only 10 – 30 percent of marriages are actually happy, healthy and functional. Dr. Hendrix and Dr. LaKelly have written multiple books on the topic of relationships; “to help couples, singles, and parents achieve thriving relationships”.

Regarding the multiple wives practices of some cultures and religions, I have no comment at the moment.

#8 – Thou shalt not steal

After an improvement in #7, we are back to square one with the pointless statements – or statements that the church chooses to ignore if it furthers their aims. The church has taken this commandment so seriously they have never stolen anything, they just take it by force!

Land, resources, people, no matter what, Europe (a.k.a. Christianity back in the day) never stole anything. Stealing would mean they took something without the owners knowing. So Europe just took whatever they wanted out of the hands and mouth of their owner, and hardly ever in a peaceful manner.

#9 – No false witness against thy neighbor

This would be nice if neighbor meant every human you could possibly meet, anywhere in the world, at any time. Neighbor in general focuses on proximity. Which means it’s alright to bear false witness against people from another town or country (or race depending on how you look at it).

#10 – Not covet thy neighbor

Again, a decent command, but only limited to thy neighbor. It is good to live well with those nearby but I think it’s better to live good with all.

Europe coveted everything they saw everywhere they went. Indians, Africans, Americans and even Asians were not considered their ‘neighbors’.

Unclear, incomplete, ambiguous commands cause chaos

With more clarity I can see how history could have been a whole lot better for those who followed the ten commandments. Orders that are not clear are almost impossible to carry out accurately. This applies in business, military, and life in general.

Someone could probably equate the commandments to setting up an advanced manual bucket system to address a leaking roof. Bigger and better buckets and managing the bucket system but no effort to stop the actual leak (again another reference to the Jamaican governments).

This is a quick overview of my thoughts on the 10 commandments. What say you?

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About the Author

Allistair

I am a Freelance Web Developer with a passion for the human experience. I was born, raised, and currently live in Jamaica so my experience is highly impacted by the Christian faith. With the encouragement of some friends, this blog is for me to share my views, feelings and thoughts on the subject of Christianity.

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