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Wednesday, September 07, 2005

God Says 10 Commandments Outdated

God told me to post an update.

The ten commandments need revision. Everybody knows it, but nobody likes to talk about it. They worked fine for herders back in the day, but this is the 21st century, and nobody’s really coveting anybody else’s manservant nowadays. Well, excepting a few roleplaying leatherboys I suppose, but let’s just leave that one be.

God Himself has done a bit of image refinement since those days; instead of the whole ‘jealous God’ thing, He moved onto ‘turning the other cheek’ some 2000 years ago. In short, our moral textbook is woefully out of date, and He was shocked to learn that nobody had taken the initiative to do some basic revision.

Why I was chosen, only He knows. Maybe it was because I did such a good job saving everybody’s breasts. In any case, there I was on the bus this morning listening to my ipod shuffle when the music cuts out and He starts talking.

“MercerMachine,” He said, “You’ve got some copywriting and editing experience. I want you to do a line edit on the ten commandments.”

“But God,” I said, “I’m not exactly a pillar of morality. Wouldn’t you rather a minister, or maybe the Pope do this?”

“Oh, Me no! Nope nope nope.”

“Okay. What revisions would you like the world to take note of?”

“I thought I’d leave that up to you,” he said.

“Uh, not to question Your wisdom, but—”

“I gave you a brain, right?”

“Yes.”

“Use it. Time for you and everybody else to grow up and take some responsibility.”

“But what if I screw it up?” I wailed.

“Then I’ll send your soul to eternal torment in a lake of fire. No, hey, calm down little buddy! Just kidding! You’ll do fine.”

“God? God?” But He was gone.

* * *

I have to admit, I wasn’t even sure what all the Ten Commandments were anymore. I mean, I grew up in Texas, which is the buckle of the Bible Belt, and I even went to Catholic school for six months, but it just didn’t stick. I can barely remember my own phone number, much less ten rules I have to follow if I want to go to heaven.

A quick Wikipedia search provided this:

I am the Lord thy God
1. Thou shalt have no other gods before me
2. Thou shalt not make thyself any graven images
3. Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain
4. Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy
5. Honor thy father and thy mother, that thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee
6. Thou shalt not kill
7. Thou shalt not commit adultery
8. Thou shalt not steal
9. Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor
10. Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s house
10.1. Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s wife, nor his manservant nor his maidservant nor his cattle nor anything that is thy neigbor’s.

As you can see, we’ve got some problems here. First, why is no killing only number 6? Using God’s name as a curse word is worse than murder? Second, you neighbor’s house ranks higher than you neighbor’s wife, which is on the same level as your neighbor’s cattle? Third, who has cattle anymore? And who, if they were interested in worshipping graven images, would bother to grave their own? Much easier to just buy one. And really, there are more than ten, did you notice?

So without further ado and with a distinct lack of necessary pomp, here are the revised ten commandments in accordance with God’s will:


21st Century Decalogue

I am God, the Prime Mover, That which lies on the other side of the Big Bang. I am, by definition, unknowable, so don’t worry your pretty little head about it overmuch.

You will have no other gods before me—because I don’t get hung up on names and labels. All rivers eventually lead to the ocean.

You won’t make yourself any graven idols because, really, you’re just too damn lazy. If you put in that kind of effort nowadays, they call it sculpture.

You will not take my name in vain, because it is not possible to take my name in vain. I’m not that petty anymore. Just be sure to mind the company you are in before you start with the profanities, all right?

Remember the Sabbath day, because if you let them, your employers will have you working 24-7 and you will not have time for the important things like family and community and football.

Honor your caregiver, which would usually be your father and mother, but might well be a maid or a grandparent or a babysitter. Whoever was there to give you comfort, who gave of themselves selflessly to bring you up, honor them, because chances are you were a real brat.

You really, really shouldn’t kill, but if you have to, make sure you do it right. I leave it to you to decide when you have to kill; I gave you a brain and the faculty to determine right from wrong.

You will not go screwing around on your spouse, especially in this age of deadly communicable diseases. If you don’t want to be with this person anymore, get a divorce why don’t ya? If you’re in an ‘open marriage’, why did you bother getting married at all?

You will not steal unless not stealing means you or your family starves. You will not steal from anyone who has less than you. If you are caught stealing, you will not whine about it, especially if you are a politician.

You will not lie unless telling the truth will cause more trouble than it’s worth. You will not lie just to cover your own ass. Especially if you are a politician. Again, I gave you a brain. Use it.

You will not covet your neighbor, their spouse, their material possessions or their life in general, because, really, what does that get you in the end? Go out and make your life into something somebody else would covet.

Ok God?

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

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Mickell said...

Revelation 22:18 - For I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: If anyone adds to these things, God will add to him the plagues that are written in this book.

Mickell said...

John 14:6 - Jesus said to him, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.

Proverbs 14:12 - There is a way that seems right to a man, But its end is the way of death.

MercerMachine said...

Thanks Michael. However, the Revelation quote is referring specificaly to the book of Revelations, which I have not added to (dodged that bullet).

As for the John quote, that particular line is the main bone I have to pick with Christianity; the thing that has, more than any other, turned me away from fundamentalist Christian demagoguery. If God is consigning all moral, ethical buddhists, jews, muslims, animists, etc. to hell (including the ones who never had a *chance* to hear the word of God), then I'd just as soon go to hell with them than to be in heaven with that kind of God.

But you see, I don't believe God could be that petty. It's far more logical and likely that, since the Bible has been revised by (fallible) men no less than 13 times (13 ecumenical counsels), WE got it wrong, not Him.

But thank you for your input.

HellsBel said...

Didn't all religion stem from one God (ok.. just judaism, islam and christianity) so in theory, God can't really condem, Jews, Muslims etc to hell because they are his children? But if you're talking about Jesus.. then it's a whole different ball game.. :P

Tym said...

This reminds me of Joan of Arcadia, not just with the whole "God put you on a mission while you were listening to your iPod Shuffle" scene, but especially because your God, Mercer Machine, sounds a lot like the version of God that's in that TV series.

If you haven't read it already, check out also John Scalzi's excellent What My Jesus Would Do.

MercerMachine said...

hellsbel- hiya! I'm coming from a catholic/protestant tack, because that's my background and that's where most of the nonsense about the ten commandments comes from.

hi tym- I never actually watched Joan of Arcadia... maybe I should eh? Or maybe He speaks to the scriptwriter there as well...?

Anonymous said...

Your comments are absolute hogwash
no wonder it is in black. 1 + 1 will always make 2 no matter how you try and change it. Individuals who think I can't do that it is too hard, that is what your comments lead up to.