The Ten Commandments psychosis
April 15, 2012 by Bill
I have a new mental illness for psychiatry. I call it “The Ten Commandments Psychosis.” We all know that there are a lot of wackos in the world. It is safe to say that the religious wackos are the wackiest of all.
They want the Ten Commandments in all schools, court houses, parks, ice cream parlors, hot dog stands, stadiums, tennis clubs, golf clubs, street corners and on and on into the dark ages of superstition. They never seem to understand that this nation guarantees freedom FROM religion as well as freedom OF religion. They keep violating the Constitution by putting up Ten Commandments monuments or signs on Federal or State property. They keep getting sued and having to go to all the trouble to take the Commandments down. Which would indicate being a little shallow above the neck. The City of Milwaukee had to move the Ten Commandments monument off the lawn of the Municipal building after being ordered to do so by the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago. You can safely say that the religious wackos are slow learners – very slow.
The Ten Commandments are factually, and simply, a primitive cultic code of taboos written for the Hebrew cult.
No one has put the Commandments in perspective better than the famous actress Ruth Gordon. She said to an audience, “There is one commandment I have never broken. I can assure you, I have never coveted my neighbor’s wife.”
Perhaps few other parts of the bible have been so misused, misinterpreted, misunderstood as have the Ten Commandments. They were a cultic taboo code written BY Hebrew men FOR Hebrew men. Nothing more. Nothing less.
Sir James Frazer in his classic “The Golden Bough” wrote, “These commandments of Israel are taboos of a familiar type in primitive religions disguised as commands of the tribal God.” Dr. Ernest Colwell, former Dean of the Theological Seminary, the University of Chicago, writes, “These were prescriptions written ONLY for the Hebrew cult. They acquired authority due to the rites of the cult.”
All “thou shalt not kill” meant is that thou shall not kill another Hebrew. The giver of the commandment, Moses, quite obviously totally ignored it with everyone but the Hebrews. And all with the jealous tribal God’s blessing. In the book of Numbers, Chapter 31, verse 17, Moses himself gives this order, “Kill every male among the little ones, and kill every woman that hath known a man by lying with him. But all the women children, that have not known a man by lying with him, keep alive for yourselves.” Could any command be more revolting to human sensibilities: kill every male and every woman not a virgin, but the virgins keep for yourselves? And in verse 7, it reads, “As God commanded Moses, they killed them all.” Obviously, “thou shalt not kill” was not understood either by Moses, or the Israelites or “God” to be any kind of an ethical prohibition of killing. And so today, we still hand out free bibles to our military people going into battle to kill.
According to Christian fundamentalists, at the same time they are extolling the virtues of the Ten Commandments, they claim that they would have been deprived of salvation if Jesus had not been killed. In other words, through the violation of the commandment not to kill, they claim that the human race was saved. What double talk and gobbledy-gook they live with.
The commandments that present-day, thin-lipped, sexual moralists like to quote had absolutely nothing to do with either sex or morality. Nothing could have been further from the writers’ minds. These were taboos based on rights of property. Women in that day were owned possessions. The man could sell or divorce them at will. The men could have both wives and concubines. King Solomon, we are told, had more than 700 wives and 300 concubines. Adultery would hardly have been a temptation. With 1000 women at his disposal there would not have been enough hours in the day or the years to have them all. A Hebrew man’s real estate, his cattle, his land, and his women were all owned property and please note that the wives came after the real estate.
Space precludes documenting each commandment.
To take a superstitious cultic code of taboos from a primitive people of 3000 years ago, and attempt to make it a divine code of morals for today is absolutely ludicrous. If we really lived by, and as, the Commandments were written, we would be buried in witchcraft, sympathetic magic, superstition, sorcery and taboos.
It may be right not to kill anyone, instead of just another member of your own race or ethnic group. It may be right to respect the feelings of your neighbor, but it is not the cultic taboo code of a 3000 year old primitive tribe with a violent God that makes it right and good.
Rather, it is your own innate, humane, moral, ethical sensibilities and sensitivities today that make it right and good, and that is quite enough.
The day is ahead in our moral and ethical evolution when we will look back upon this “Ten Commandment Psychosis” period of history with the same sense of disbelief as we now look back at the “witch” trials.