) "Thou shall have no other gods before me". This makes "GOD" into an insecure diva, but let's look at it realistically. How do you create unity, peace, and harmony? If everyone believes in the same ideas. So in order to maintain the peace it was beneficial to create one "GOD". Having dissenting "GODS" creates problems, leads to argument, anarchy, unrest. (Explains Constantine's reasoning for the switch, huh?)Makes logical sense. Maybe it's to stem chaos for all practical reasons, maybe this was to suppress argument from those of different vantage points and ideas. And that is "GOD" through oppression, not "salvation".

II) "Thou shall not make unto thee, any graven image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is the earth beneath, or that is the water underneath". So for all purpose "GOD" is to be image less, colorless, non race specific, even gender specific…technically. It’s presumed male but any who. But why? If you say "GOD" looks like this or that, people that will look different from this "GOD" will ask for conformation of some kind which you cannot give, so this avoids that whole question. Same with heaven, don't know what that looks like so if you do not describe, you cannot mislead unintentional or intentional. And if goes perfectly with the 1st commandment, if you begin to worship the something in the earth or water you run great risk of violating the 1st commandment.

III) "You shall not take the name of the LORD your GOD in vain" Some people would suggest that this means do not say "God damn" or anything like that. I do not think that was his aim. "Vain" means of no real value, idle, worthless, futile and unsuccessful. As well to be not conceited, narcissistic, vainglorious. Now to me this does not mean do not curse and say "GOD" at the same time, but do not engage in overly professing your belief in "GOD", do not excessively state your belief, your faith in "GOD", do not beat people with your achievement of believing in "GOD" be humble about it. Why? Because when boasting it leads generally to people feeling inadequate, and when people feel on is being preachy or full of themselves it alienates and causes discord. Of course this was not the intention of Moses, he was trying to quell unrest and bring together perhaps not through the most honest of means but the ends was going to justify in his logic I would gather.

IV) "Remember the Sabbath day, and keep it holy". Simply, remember to worship at some point on the 7th day. This could be Sunday or Saturday logically depending on how you count. It does ensure a day off, a day of relaxation more or less. It takes away worship from the "LORD" if one is always at work with tasks at hand, as well people whom are overworked lose interest, and you cannot further interest into "GOD" if everyone is too busy to listen.

V) "Honor thy mother and father" The most ambiguous of the commandments. What is honoring one’s parents and what is not? Let alone why is this inserted. Some would tell you it is because at the time children more or less do as many do now but to a lesser extent take their parents in their home whence they reach old age and provide for them. But it has to do with adulation. If one cannot respect one's parents that are their physically, how can they be called on to worship and pay homage to something which has to be found and cannot be seen? So if you can raise them to honor their parents first, surely they can at least find it almost equal to honor "GOD". Once again still maintaining societal control to "GOD" by other means.

VI) "Thou shall not kill". Basic enough. Even rational. Accept when it comes to defense, and threats. Of course you do not see an exception made to this rule till you get to the New Testament in Matthew when "Jesus the savior" says it is okay to kill as long as you have a reason. Matthew 5:21-22 "Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shall not kill; and whoever shall kill shall be in danger of judgment; But I say unto you, that whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment". As long as you kill for a reason "a cause" you are not in danger of "the judgment". Now if you connect that to the crusades, the holy inquisition, slavery, Salem witch trials…you can make the case this justified those from a Christian standpoint. But why place it in there? Simply, people like to live. And not quite ready to leave earth behind. Nothing inherently controlling about this commandment except it may allow for a threat to still exist when it is more rational the threat be neutralized immediately.

VII) "You shall not commit adultery". Adultery is a sexual unfaithfulness to a married person. But even broader than this specific definition it means honor your commitments. Which makes sense. You make a promise stick with it, do not welsh. Nothing wrong with that, someone makes a promise to us we expect them to keep it and honor the agreement. Just a reasonable expectation here. But aside from that, it cuts down on rampant sex with many different partners, which does cut down on disease. But since adultery can only logically apply to married persons it is designed to restrict married people's from "double dipping" into the pools of single people. Basically, you got yours let others get theirs. Do not be greedy, and selfish by doing this double dipping. Why is this a control? Well if you have married couples they in essence are off limits, but if they are not adhering to these rules, then how can you expect those whom are not married to not restrict themselves from their desires when for all purposes these married persons have someone to fulfill their human sexual desires? It becomes great hypocrisy and leads to great discord as well.

VIII) "You shall not steal" Simple enough as well. Logical. Even helps promote public safety. But if you have any knowledge of mosaic law is was not stealing if you were stealing food, or something in someone’s fields because you were hungry. Stealing was stealing basically for the sake of it, this brand if you will of stealing was problematic, this kind would not be tolerated at all. A necessary control perhaps, helpful? No question. But the broader point it still connects to greed, envy. Greed, and envy someone would call it economy others say it leads to a negative place. I would argue the concept of value leads to that negativity not stealing in of itself.

IX) "You shall not bear false witness against your neighbors". Basically, do not lie. Once again nothing wrong with this as well. No logical problems. But lying causes a good deal of harm for others, but more importantly why do people lie? To make themselves seem more important than what they are, to place focus on themselves. To draw worship away from the "LORD" and that goes against the 1st commandment which from which all the others after it flows.

X) "You shall not covet your neighbor's house; you shall not covet your neighbor's wife, nor his male servant, nor his female servant, nor his ox, nor his donkey, nor anything that is your neighbor's". Well like I said this is called economy. Now does having possessions make people angry, resentful? Yes to an extent. To covet is to extremely desire, like I really have to have what they have. This is not to be confused with seeking your own and creating a good economy, but jealousy of all things, having disaffection for your own life and accomplishments and that turns the focus from "GOD" once again to you the individual and that is wrong in the eyes of Moses and these commandments. Now maybe this was said so people would have the attitude of not feeling envious, feeling like losers, being appreciative of their lot in life. Or perhaps it was said in order to keep people to "GOD".

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You missed an important point:

X) "You shall not covet your neighbor's house; you shall not covet your neighbor's wife...

Why wife and not husband? To me this is evidence enough that men, and only men, were supposed to abide the Commandments. It should be liberating for women to realize that.
Yeah, but it is our responsibility to keep women in the house doing "women's work" and to forbid them from leaving the house for seven days while they are on the rag. Oh, wait, that's one of the rules we don't have follow anymore because Jesus' death arbitrarily invalidated some of the rules.
these are all fine and dandy minus the sabbath pagan crap but when you get older and understand the error of the commandments there's one 11th they forgot; or mosses for that matter

- thou shalt not believe in bullshit
I) Makes more sense if you think about it in the context of the times. Christianity had to compete with Roman polytheism.

II) The Romans commenly brought offerings to statues of their favorite god or goddess. Again, I believe this was done to seperate the Christian faith.

III) Meh, I don't agree with your interpretation, but I don't have anything to add either.

VII) The commandment about adultery actually has to do with heirs. Fathers wanted to keep their possessions, their property, passed down through the male side of the family, and if there was a possibility a son was concieved by another man that caused problems for inheritance.
I & II) The Commandments predate Christianity by at least a few centuries. Actually there's solid evidence that Hebrews were polytheists by 8th century BCE. It has be often suggested that they borrowed monotheism from Mazdeism when they were captive in Babylon.
Ah, of course! Don't know what I was thinking there.

I'm interested in hearing more about Mazdeism. =) I've always suspected that the Hebrews were polytheists because of all the mythology surrounding god and his angels.
Typo- that should have been Mazdaism (aka Zoroastrianism), the dominant religion in Mesopotamia when Hebrews were held captive in Babylon.

If you want to learn more about the polytheistic roots of Judaism, this article is a good starting point.

Someone on A|N posted an interesting picture a few months ago, but I can't locate it. It was a photograph of an old carved stone (dated ~800 BCE if I remember correctly) depicting "the Yahveh of Samaria and his Asherah", i.e. his wife and consort. More on Asherah here.


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