Friday, March 05, 2010

10 commandments a la Hitchens

Christopher Hitchens proposes a revised Ten Commandments, in a new Vanity Fair article. After several pages of his usual snark and deliberate mis-understanding of modern Christian thought, he comes up with a pretty good decalogue:

"It’s difficult to take oneself with sufficient seriousness to begin any sentence with the words “Thou shalt not.” But who cannot summon the confidence to say: Do not condemn people on the basis of their ethnicity or color. Do not ever use people as private property. Despise those who use violence or the threat of it in sexual relations. Hide your face and weep if you dare to harm a child. Do not condemn people for their inborn nature—-why would God create so many homosexuals only in order to torture and destroy them? Be aware that you too are an animal and dependent on the web of nature, and think and act accordingly. Do not imagine that you can escape judgment if you rob people with a false prospectus rather than with a knife. Turn off that f***ing cell phone—you have no idea how unimportant your call is to us. Denounce all jihadists and crusaders for what they are: psychopathic criminals with ugly delusions. Be willing to renounce any god or any religion if any holy commandments should contradict any of the above. In short: Do not swallow your moral code in tablet form."

Thanks, Cal.

4 Comments:

At 9:18 AM, Blogger Cynthia Landrum said...

Way too much emphasis on the cell phone and not what it represents. Attention to racism, but not sexism, heterosexism, and several other isms that have huge negative effects in our world. The rest seems pretty good.

 
At 2:15 PM, Blogger Robin Edgar said...

"Denounce all jihadists and crusaders for what they are: psychopathic criminals with ugly delusions."

This *is* the same Christopher Hitchens who is strongly in favor of the Iraq War and condones torture during interrogation. Right?

 
At 9:11 PM, Blogger Steve Caldwell said...

I remember hearing Bishop Spong several years ago talking about the Ten Commandments being an immoral ethical code:

Next he discussed those sacred icons, the Ten Commandments. "I don't believe in them because they consider women to be the property of men," he says. "How moral is that? The tenth commandment states that you must not covet your neighbor's wife or his ox. It doesn't say 'don't covet your neighbor' cause we're talking about property here."

"And what about the Sixth commandment, about adultery? How do we interpret adultery when Solomon had a thousand wives and when a man could have as many wives as he could afford? Clearly it means that you should respect your fellow tribesman's property. Obviously the commandments needed updating. Which, incidentally, Jesus did when he said that a more important commandment was to 'love thy neighbor as thyself.'"

http://secweb.infidels.org/article318.html

So ... an atheist like Hitchens and a liberal Christian like Spong both have issues with the Ten Commandments. Maybe it's time to look at them critically.

 
At 5:57 PM, Blogger kimc said...

In Building Your Own Theology, as I remember, we had to write our own Commandments. I was the only one in my class who included "Don't lie, don't cheat, don't steal, don't kill", which I think are the important parts of the old version. Many people came up with commandments that seemed to me to be way too specific to be general rules.

 

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