Sunday, October 22, 2006

The ten commandments: "moral values" or common sense?

On another blog I was perusing, a religious conservative was bemoaning the dearth of so-called "moral values" in today's society. When pressed by another commenter, she defined "moral values" as some sort of ethical framework that she believed was instilled by the ten commandments. (Of course -- these people have so much difficulty thinking for themselves that they always have to refer back to the instruction manual.) I found it ironic that she cited the ten commandments. Of all the happy horseshit you'll find in the bible, the ten commandments is one passage that actually makes sense; it's also the one that seems to have the least to do with the current religious right worldview. You don't need to look far to find examples of the most pious and sanctimonious among us who fail the ten commandments at almost every turn.

The ten commandments are really just common sense guidelines that could probably make life easier if they were actually followed. Don't lie, don't kill anyone, respect your elders, don't swear and don't fuck around on your spouse. Don't be jealous of your buddy's stuff, and for sure don't steal it if you are jealous of it. Take Sunday off to relax, have a beer and BBQ and appreciate life. The worshipping of one god stuff I think was thrown in as a makework project: "god's coming, look busy" sort of thing. The "making of idols" is where christians really part ways with the ten commandments -- all those statues and dashboard jesuses? Yikes.

But nowhere in the ten commandments does it say that women have no reproductive rights. Nowhere does it say that two loving people, regardless of sex, can't be joined in matrimony. Nowhere does it say that we should antagonize and alienate people that are different from us. Those are the real "moral value" issues that religious conservatives whine about incessantly -- "values" they derive not from the common-sense ten commandments, but from a list of commandments of their own making. Commandments that have no common sense at all.