East Bay View (a blog about several things)

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Thursday, June 01, 2006

Decalogue 1 and 2

I AM THE LORD THY GOD... THOU SHALT HAVE NO OTHER GODS BUT ME
(thunder, lightning etc.)

One thing I didn't know until yesterday is that different religions and denominations number the Commandments differently. So Catholics fold the graven image one into the first, while insisting that coveting deserves two Commandments. In total, the Commandments are the same, which hasn't stopped endless bickering over who's right. Since the Biblical passage isn't numbered at all, the reason the Commandments are counted as ten may just be marketing. (You can imagine test audiences saying "Fourteen Commandments? Yeah, like I'm gonna memorise all of those.") I just find it odd that something supposedly so central to Western morality is so arbitrary.

THOU SHALT NOT TAKE THE NAME OF THE LORD THY GOD IN VAIN
(Charlton Heston is awe-struck)

Jesus, why can't people deal with uncertainty? Maybe I have a stake in this: I deal with uncertainty for a living, goddamn it. But by Jove, people and their annoying questions: "So who's going to win the game?" "Is it going to rain tomorrow?" "Will my husband live or die?" And you have to hedge your answer in order to give a decent representation of reality, and there's a quiet moment, and then they ask you the question again, and you say to yourself "for Christ's sake", and you say to them "the Pistons, by six". And they bet the house on the Pistons and the Spurs win and they shout for the Lord to strike you down. This goes some way towards explaining the appeal of religion: both the theological and ritual aspects really do take some of the uncertainty out of (your) life. Uh, in Vishnu's name.

1 Comments:

  • At 12:08 PM, Blogger The Fed Ex of Funk said…

    Jews and Christians can't even agree on which day is the Sabbath. The differences in the versions of the 10 commandments probably arose due to small errors building up as they performed translations of already translated work. As a general policy, it seems best to work with the original.

     

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