Friday, August 17, 2007

"You shall have no other Gods before me." This is the first commandment, at least for Protestants. Apparently Catholics and Jews have slightly different lists. I was raised Protestant, so that's the list I'm going with. Besides, "I am the Lord" doesn't sound much like a commandment to me. So, I'm sticking with "you shall have no other Gods."
This is a pretty easy one for me to dissect. It's absurd. There, I'm done. I'll see you all next time when I talk about false idols.
It should be that simple, but it's not. The problem is that finding the statement to be an absurdity as a law depends upon the use of logic. It has to matter that there is no scientific proof of any God, let alone a specific one. It has to matter that a sixth grader who's been to his local natural history museum could prove just about any creation story to be nothing more than an ancient myth developed to explain what the unknown, some of which ain't unknown anymore. It has to matter that no one religious tradition is any more believable than any other one? It has to matter that the Bible was written by men years after Jesus, likely also a man, had died. It has to matter that the Bible sanctions slavery. It has to matter that we don't live in 1 A.D. or 700 A.D. The constitution has to matter. Today has to matter. Logic has to matter. Proof has to matter. Evidence has to matter. Context has to matter. We all have to be having the same conversation, and we aren't even in the same room. Nothing makes that more clear than this first Commandment. That's why, at least for number one, an argument on the merits is beside the point. The argument is all about procedure. This may sound blasphemous, but tough shit because it is the truth. The commandment has to be supported by more than it's label as a commandment. This one is out of touch with our societal mores. It is directly contrary to the freedom of religion that is one of America's core values. It is out of step with any reasonable shade of scientific opinion. It is intolerant, which would seem to be at odds with the emphasis on charity and compassion that is claimed by some to be the motivating force of Christianity. And, in a world with many many Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus, etc., it is out of touch with reality. Law that is out of touch with reality isn't necessarily absurd, but it is entirely beside the point.
There have been many Gods before Him, and a few after. So He's having an issue with enforcement. He's not a very effective God, is He?

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