|Series Theme: Difficult Questions|
Title: 18. Do the Ten Commandments still apply?
A series that helps consider difficult questions of the Christian faith
When people ask this question, the best answer is simply to ask, what are the alternatives?
What do the Ten Commandments say?
Look, first of all at just what the Ten Commandments say. Here is a simplified list:
1. Have no ‘gods' before the one true God
2. Don't make idols to try and represent God
3. Don't misuse God's name to demean him
4. Keep one day a week to remember God's greatness
5. Honour your parents
6. Don't murder.
7. Don't commit adultery.
8. Don't steal.
9. Don't speak falsely about your neighbour.
10. Don't desire what belongs to your neighbour
Alternatives to the first four:
The first four are about maintaining a right attitude towards God, so what are the alternatives here?
1. Have lots of ‘gods' - lesser beings that you trust.
2. Limit ‘God' to man made figures and worship them.
3. Demean God in your thinking so He is of no importance.
4. Forget or ignore Him.
Well when you look at those, immediately the first two are clearly nonsense to any intelligent modern westerner, just as they were to God's prophets in the Old Testament. As they say, what's the point of worshipping ‘little gods' created by human ideas, what's the point of worshiping a chunk of wood you've just made?
As for the third and fourth ones, this is like saying, just pretend there isn't a God. Well this site is given over to showing why that is a foolish approach, but for the moment let's think about it in the context of ‘laws'. What few people seem to realise is that if you remove God from human belief you actually have NO logical reason for suggesting that ANY laws or rules should be followed. You can follow this through on some of the other pages on this site if you can't see that, but it IS true.
Alternatives to the remaining six:
Let's do the same thing and suggest what the alternatives are:
5. Dishonour your parents.
6. It's OK to murder anyone.
7. It's fine to steal someone else's husband or wife.
8. It's fine to steal from others.
9. It's fine to denigrate your neighbour and get them into trouble.
10. It's fine to plot taking that which belongs to your neighbour.
Put like that, you've got to admit it's a sick person who would prefer this sort of society. Perhaps ‘sick' is a wrong word, perhaps ‘lost' is a better word. A lost person would be one who has lost hold of reality, lost hold of the distinction between good and evil, lost hold of the ability to decide rationally what makes for goodness, what makes for civilisation.
In the West, large numbers of people have abandoned the first four commands and now find they have no anchor to hold onto the remaining six, which is why those six are being eroded.
Do the commands still apply? Do we have to follow them? The choice is yours, but please be aware of the alternatives. Is that the sort of world you want?