I am the Lord Your God, Useless but Demanding.
As verbose as I tend to be, I’m reluctant to admit that the following discussion of the Ten Commandments could be boiled down to a simple sentence. “I am the Lord your God. Thou shall not piss me off.” In fact, this adequately sums up the essence of the entire Old Testament. Being a lowly Boilermaker and having been steeped in a culture of sexual one-up-man-ship for years, I think I prefer the crude vernacular for the displeasure of God by the mere act of being human. “Piss God off, and he’ll rip your dick off.” Of course, that’d be for those of you who currently have one. If not, I’m sure that there are other crucial anatomical items you’d miss greatly, so ladies, don’t think you’re off the hook here. Let’s just see them inscribe that on a monument and place it in front of a courthouse.
In all honestly, I think either of those two statements sums up these first four commandments so well that those of you without much time on your hands could skip the rest of this post and await the next one. The details are tedious, and it may be easier on your delicate little constitutions not to read my wrath-filled scribbling. If you’re insufficiently alarmed to back off now, consider yourself warned. So stock up on your favorite headache remedy, and let’s press on.
These first four bits of written goodness and charm are the God commandments, those glorifying the almighty because sometimes, as we all know, being omnipotent, omniscient and omnipresent just isn’t enough. Every so often the Lord of the Universe needs something more, abject obedience for instance. Isn’t that funny though, the most powerful being in all of creation (and I use the term metaphorically), infinitely wise and endlessly loving, undefeatable and relentless, the indefatigable all-thing needs to protect his feelings with the first four of the ten most important laws in existence? Really? Exactly what part of omnipotence doesn’t he understand? The very word implies that you need nothing and no one. To throughly mangle the wisdom in Jerry Maguire, you complete yourself. You are all-powerful, completely self-contained, both the unstoppable force and the immovable object, the end all and the be all, both the butter and the bread, the peanut butter and the jelly, yet it bothers you when someone says your name in vain, a painful stab through your oh-so-perfect heart. Goddamn it all! I swear merely thinking about religion gives me a headache. Someday I’ll learn to take my own advice. Yeah, yeah, I know! Not bloody likely!
Let me get another couple of Tylenol and we’ll dip into the nitty-gritty of God’s law.
All in all, the God commandments are the most useless and nonsensical of the lot. I know many theists today say that these laws are not to protect God but to keep us close to him and therefore away from harming each other. I’m sure you’ve heard variations on the theme where if you have the Lord in the very depths of your heart, you’re incapable of or at least unlikely to sin unto others. These are the ideas I had hammered into my head by, amongst others, the Catholic church and Curly Thornton, the traveling evangelist my parents were enthralled with in my youth who cast invisible demons out of writhing and screaming people, lonely people who for the first time were the center of attention. Keep God utmost in your heart and you’ll find yourself unable to sin against others. I wonder what the Incas and the Aztecs would have thought of this, or the African slaves, or the Native Americans, or the Arawaks of Hispanola, or any other extinct or oppressed group here. Having been ridden down by Yahweh-hearted Christians, they’d have a decidedly different point of view. Historically, putting God first has never kept his followers from murdering millions and taking their stuff. In fact, it has generally given people a rational for doing the very things it supposed to protect against. God Commandments = Fail!
Commandment number one. Obviously, this is the supreme commandment taking up the coveted first spot on the roster, the big kahuna, the alpha law. This is Optimus Prime in a written form. And what does it say? What bit of incredible wisdom does the proclamation hand down to mankind? Don’t rape women? A prohibition against child molestation? The scientific method? The germ theory of disease, perhaps? Tsk, tsk, you naive little ones. Those mere “human” ideas aren’t important enough to be number one. Hell, they’re not even listed at all. As we have said, Commandment Uno has nothing to do with protecting people. It protects God… and God’s little helper, of course. Don’t forget about him. He most certainly hasn’t.
Moses is unquestionably an evil genius of the first caliber. As humans, we always tend to discount the genius of selfishness, to belittle its intelligence as if we cannot stand to acknowledge any virtue in our enemies. This is a mistake. The genius of evil is real. Moses’ command of the art of manipulation is unparalleled in his time and perhaps, even today. As a cult leader, he planned his strategy well, and it has been incredibly effective. He maintained an iron control over a people using nothing but fear, superstition and his unbendable will. These God commandments do nothing more than protect Moses’ position at the very peak of Hebrew society. He’s the only speaker for God, therefore, he is protected when his God is protected. Like I said, frakking Genius! Damn, if he’d only put that to good use.
“I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. “You shall have no other gods before Me.”
So we now know that the most important rule in the entire universe is that God is God and don’t even try to raise to any first chair status one of those lesser gods who seem to be lying about in great abundance. Thou art God’s bitches now. Thou shall not be bitches to any other God! Yahweh demands complete loyalty in his prostitutes. He’s a firm-handed pimp.
The truth is that this notion wearies me. If God were real, why not simply come down every Tuesday (Or any other day. Our schedule’s pretty open) and walk about talking with those people his followers claim he adores. After a few weeks of that, it’d be a simple matter of believing in him. Following him? Well, that’s a separate entity entirely, but at least you could believe in him. In every religion on Earth, why does the onus of belief and faith always fall on us, the mere mortal. For the lack-of-God’s-love, will someone tell me with the multitude of gods who are claimed to exist why none of them ever take any responsibility here. Why is it alway some deity-based fashion statement to be mysterious and invisible? Without exception, gods demand so much of us and give so little of themselves. Why is faith a virtue? What logical reason could there be?
In commandment number two, we have a further prohibition against making idols. Not only are you not to raise any existing other Gods before Yahweh, you can’t make any in your workshops either so Aaron, put down the Goddamned Skilsaw, and step away from that Golden Calf! Is the great and powerful Oz really concerned with some powerless carving of a goat, or man or ox? Or is Moses just keeping all of the power and influence exactly where he wants it, namely, in his own hands.
“You shall not make for yourself an idol, or any likeness of what is in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the water under the earth. “You shall not worship them or serve them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children, on the third and the fourth generations of those who hate Me, but showing loving kindness to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments.
This commandment comes before murder or rape or child molestation. Oh wait, those last two aren’t even commandments, are they? Does this mean it’s more of a crime to carve a fertility goddess to carry in your pocket that it is to brutally rape innocent women? Biblically, the answer to that would be… yes. Sigh.
You also have to be fascinated by the injustice of carrying out divine retribution on the children of sinners. If I worship another God or let’s say for the sake of argument, none, then not only will I suffer the wrath of God, but so will my great-great grandchildren. Wow! Now there’s a system of justice we can all get behind, don’t ya think?. Children of murderers should be… murdered? Children of rapists should be… ? This is just sick! C’mon people! These bits of “judiciousness” are the source of all western law? WTF??
“You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain, for the Lord will not leave him unpunished who takes His name in vain.”
I have only one thing to say here. Is there truly a way of using the name of a nonexistent deity that is not in vain? By scientific standards any prayer to the great and powerful Yahweh is completely and utterly useless, hence in vain. God cannot be happy about all these useless callings on his name, and by the Bible’s own writings, he will not leave unpunished any who do so. In my very humble point of view, Christians who call their God’s name to no avail more than anyone else on the planet are in big trouble. It’s not going to be a Rapture. It’ll be an apocalypse!
Last and likely least of the God Commandments is the one protecting the Sabbath.
“Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. “Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a sabbath of the Lord your God; in it you shall not do any work, you or your son or your daughter, your male or your female servant or your cattle or your sojourner who stays with you. “For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day; therefore the Lord blessed the sabbath day and made it holy.
Because God rested on the seventh day, we must also. As I write this, on a Sunday no less, I’m struck by the irony of it all. There are so many nonsensical ideas to wander through with this single paragraph. What does an omnipotent being do when he rests anyway? The question may sound absurd but think about it some more. Perfection and omnipotence means you’re never weary or tired. You can create stuff with mere thoughts alone. So what did God do when he rested? Sit around and stare at shit all day? Take a hot bath and revel in his greatness? Nap? If I’d created the universe in six days, I’d be shit-assed exhausted and need some rest! But then again, I’m hardly omnipotent. Just ask my wife! On second thought, never mind. No sense getting her started there.
The truth is that very concept of perfection and omnipotence stands strong against the necessity of a creator. Ask yourself how “Perfection” fucked up so bad as to create us, genital warts and Paul Anka in the same day? What in the hell was he thinking? If I’d screwed up that bad, I’d take a day of rest also, but I’d hardly demand everyone else do it. I’d try very hard keep the whole sordid affair quiet.
So do we have an answer to the mystery of why omnipotence demands obedience? To read the Bible, you’d have to say because he can! Does absolute power corrupt absolutely? Yes, Virginia! It sure the hell seems that way.
The theists love to file this entire group of questions under the “mysterious ways” heading, but goddamn it all over again, that drawer is getting full. You can’t just continue to shove every cussed bit of nonsense that you stridently claim is reality into some sort of password-protected file and then insist further that all of humanity is incapable of understanding it, and shouldn’t even try. Shake your head all you want, but isn’t this the very essence central to every belief system based on utter garbage. As human beings we are lowly and small with brains only capable of higher thought when we can get them to disengage from the ever present quest for sex. Even so, we are fully capable of eventually understanding any legitimate series of patterns or factors to any equation. True, it’s often only after years of painful and exhausting work. It may even take decades or centuries, but we will get it. What we are not able to comprehend in any amount of time is the type of manufactured nonsense so prevalent in most religions. This is not because they are too difficult, not by far. It’s an illegitimate pattern, one manufactured that leads no where. Patterns like this are a door but only one that’s painted on the wall, a window to a fantasy landscape. We can’t find answers to the riddles of religion because there are none, only a couple of layers of cracked and peeling paint. You can’t peel back the layers surrounding the mystery for once you tear off the first few flakes, nothing remains. Religion is a vulgar mural not a livable landscape, a crude sculpture not a viable world, yet millions look on this manufactured view and demand that we all believe it rather than reality.
I’ve said it before, but it bears repeating. Theists see the world how they want to see it rather than how it actually is.
Quite frankly, in a world tottering on the brink, this scares the hell out of me!