Several years ago, I had a bit of a heated conversation with my grown son about “religion”.
He was going on about how religion was to blame for almost all the wars that have ever
happened and how a lot of religious people are such hypocrites.
This was at a time when there
was a big push to remove the 10 Commandments from all “public” buildings. My son agreed with the idea of not having them displayed in public buildings. I said to him whether you agree with them or not you have surely benefited from them. I explained that throughout history until recently anyone growing up in a Christian country knew of and about the 10 Commandments even if
they could not name them all they could name some of them and they knew they were a set of moral standards that came directly from God. I listed the commonly known ones: Thou shall not kill, steal, covet, commit adultery, bear false witness, and to honor your parents.
I then asked him even if you
remove the ones pertaining specifically to God are these really such bad tenants to have a society follow
to establish laws and standards to live by? He was quiet for a minute and since he is capable of
reason he had to admit that ok yes, I see your point I have benefited from them. I went on to
explain how the ideas of the other 4 could still benefit him as well. I said what if we rename
them the “10 ways to get along with others", and we removed the God reference and made some
substitutions? The remember the sabbath commandment was intended as a day of rest and to
give thanks to God – what is wrong with having a day of rest and reflecting on what you have to
be thankful for I said. Regarding not taking the Lord’s name in vain, I said is this really so
bad? Is showing respect to a higher cause by not disrespecting it really such a hardship? Then
we come to the first and second commandments, “the God” commandments of thou shall have no other gods before me and thou shall not make false idols before me. I told him that you could substitute anything here for God If it raises to the level of worshiping something
above all else.
It could be money, sex, food, the environment, work, or any number of things people can think of that raise to the level of obsession and thus be considered as idols. You might think of some things that could actually be considered worthy of obsession, but anything taken to
the extreme could be unhealthy and possibly even dangerous. So, is having 1 God who is the creator
of everything and everyone who is merciful and loves us dictating a way of life that hinges on
these 10 good ideas really such a bad thing?
Otherwise, the alternative is if we do not have God as
the higher authority every man can come up with his own set of ideals, which would be just his personal
opinion and subject to change at any time or upon any whim.
God created us in his image to have a relationship with him but there were rules. These rules were meant
for our protection and guidance, by following them they would free us from the consequence of sin. The first
4 commandments are meant to be viewed vertically in how to have a personal relationship with God. The
second 6 are meant to show us how to have a relationship with God’s other children here on earth.
They are the laws for God’s people on how to behave towards him and others. They are God’s moral law commanded to us for our own good!
It’s been a slow process, but I think my son is coming around. He has come to church with us a few times
and he asks more questions now. Mostly I think he has just seen such craziness in the world that he may
be coming to the conclusion that we all need a little more 10 commandments in our lives and by design a
lot more God… I’m praying for it.
1. Thou shall have no other Gods before me
2. Thou shall make no false idols
3. Thou shall not take the Lord your God’s name in vain 4. Keep the Sabbath day holy
5. Honor your father and your mother
6. Thou shall not murder
7. Thou shall not commit adultery
8. Thou shall not steal
9. Thou shall not bear false witness against thy neighbor
10. Thou shall not covet thy neighbor’s goods