by George Carlin -
Here’s my problem. Why are there 10 Commandments? You don’t need 10. The list of Commandments was deliberately and artificial inflated to get it up to 10. It’s a padded list.
Here’s what they did: About 5000 years ago, a bunch of religious and political hustlers got together to try and figure out how to control people and how to keep them in line. They knew people were basically unintelligent and would believe whatever they were told. So they announced that God had given them some Commandments up on a mountain.........when nooooooo one was around. But why did they pick the number 10? Why not 9 or 11? I’ll tell you why - because 10 sounds official, 10 sounds important. They knew if it was 11, the people wouldn’t take them seriously. What, are you kidding me? The 11 Commandments? Get the F*K outta here! 10 is the basis for the decimal, it’s a decade, it’s a psychologically satisfying number. The 10 most wanted, the 10 best dressed. So having 10 Commandments was really a Marketing Decision.
To me, it’s clearly a bulls@%t list. It’s a political document, artificially inflated to sell better. I’m going to show you how you could reduce the number of Commandments and come up with a list that’s more workable and logical.
We are going to start with the first 3 and I’ll use the Roman Catholic Version. It’s the version most of us know.
1 - I am the Lord thy God. Thou shall have not have strange Gods before me.
2 - Thou shall not take the Lord thy God’s name in vain
3 - Thou shall keep the Sabbath
Right off the bat, the first 3, pure bulls@%t. Sabbath day, Lord’s name, strange Gods. Spooky language designed to scare and control primitive people. In no way, this superstitious nonsense applies to the lives of intelligent humans in the 21st Century. So, we’ll throw out the first 3 Commandments. Now you’re down to 7.
4 - Honor thy mother and father
Obedience and respect for authority - just another name for controlling people. The truth is, obedience and respect should not be automatic - they should be earned and should be based on the parent’s performance. Some parents deserve respect; most of them don’t. PERIOD! Now we are down to 6.
In the interest of logic, something religion is very uncomfortable with, we’ll jump around the list a bit.
5 - Thou shall not steal
6 - Thou shall not bear false witness
Stealing and lying, these two both prohibit the same kind of behavior - Dishonesty. So you don’t need two of them. Instead, you combine them and call it: Thou shall not be dishonest. Suddenly, we are down to 5.
And as long as we are combining, I have two more that belongs together
7 - Thou shall not commit adultery
8 - Thou shall not covet thy neighbor’s wife
Once again, these two prohibit the same kind of behavior - Martial Infidelity. The difference, is coveting takes place in the mind and I don’t think you should outlaw someone fantasying about someone’s wife, otherwise what’s a guy to do when waxing his carrots? But, martial infidelity is a good idea, so we are going to keep it and call it: Thou shall not be unfaithful. Now we are down to 4.
But when you think about it, honesty and fidelity are really part of the same overall value. So in truth, you could combine the two honesty Commandments with the two infidelity Commandments and give them a simpler language, positive language instead of a negative and call them: Thou shall always be honest and faithful. So now we are down to 3.
9 - Thou shall not covet thy neighbor’s goods
This one is just plain FU*%King stupid. Coveting your neighbor’s goods is what keeps the economy going. Coveting create jobs. Throw out coveting and now we are down to 2.
10 - Thou shall not kill
WELL, when you think about it, religion has never really had a big problem with murder. More people had been killed in the name of God than for any other reason. All you have to do is to look at Northern Ireland, The Middle East, Kashmir, Inquisition and the World Trade Center to see how seriously the religious take “Thou shall not kill.” The more devout they are, the more they see murder as negotiable. It depends on who is doing the killing and who is being killed.
So here is the revised list of the 2 Commandments
1 - Thou shall always be honest and faithful to the person who gives you nuky
2 - Thou shall try real hard not to kill anyone
Two is all we needed and Moses could have carried those down the mountain in his pockets.
Online Reading List
- An Outline of Intellectual Rubbish by Bertrand Russell (1943)
- Bible Teaching and Religious Practice by Mark Twain
- God is Imaginary
- Is there an Artificial God? by Douglas Adams (1998)
- Skeptics Annotated Bible
- The Age of Reason by Thomas Paine (1795)
- Which Way? by Robert Ingersoll (1884).
- Why I Am Not A Christian by Bertrand Russell (1927)