The more I think about them the more I think there are too many and they complicate life enormously. What I am referring to are the Decalogue or the Ten Commandments. I have pointed out that these are variable in that the first is no commandment but an advisory that the rest come from The Deity who brought the Hebrew slaves out of Egypt into freedom to wander the desert for forty years and then assigned them the status of a people who would then be bound to obey those Commandments and be a light unto the nations of the world. Believing in one God is a hard thing to do, much harder than running the world’s sole super-power, prosecuting a bogus war and messing in the internal affairs of other nations who want to have the same powers as the United States – such as weapons of mass destruction. You don’t see anyone coming to the U.S. and saying: Hey there, US. Get rid of your weapons of mass destruction. That is a silly idea, isn’t it?
But, to get back to the Commandments, I think that they are not REALLY to be observed fully and if anyone disobeys they will be put to death. I don’t think there is recorded one death for breaking any of the Commandments following their publication, particularly after moveable type was introduced. What I have noticed is that as “Commandments” they are more like advisories on how one SHOULD behave. This is because as anyone knows who has arrived at the age of consent, that following those Commandments gets to be a little hard to deal with since if you look around you, you find them being broken brazenly by people who are full of themselves as models of proper behavior for the rest of us.
Ten is a good number but it should not be considered to be the full and complete list of advisories. There are so many exceptions that all behavior should be taken on a case by case basis. That is the problem with Official Pronouncements: “That henceforth everyone will obey the following …” When you select for ALL time a particular list of dos and don’ts you get into trouble. At the beginning they might have been relevant but in the course of a couple of millennia, things changed a lot so much of what was important isn’t important anymore.
Just think of the old days – the really old days when more children died before reaching a year old than those who lived to adulthood. It would seem to me and has seemed to many others that the prescription for a full life was to Go forth and fill the world with your descendants so that they are as many as the grains of sands. That is a lot of people but if you take into consideration infant mortality, ordinary accidents and then a lot of wars it would seem that trying to obey all the Commandments, even just a few of the ten, isn’t worth the trouble.
Do unto others as you would have them do unto you is good advice.