Critique of the law of Moses
To the editor:
Some comments on Ken Toth’s June 7 letter in the Mining Gazette.
The Ten Commandments (Exodus, chapter 20) are somewhat limited.
The First Commandment is an admission that there exists other gods, but the god of the Israelites demands to be the chief god.
Because of the second, there should be no paintings or sculpture, religious or otherwise. This would mean the end of art as we know it, but it’s ignored by most Christians. It’s a complete miscarriage of justice to punish the children for the sins of the parents.
In the third, the god of the Bible seems to be a little over-sensitive — unbecoming of a god.
In the fourth, why would an almighty god need to rest on the seventh day? Why impose no work on a foreigner who may not be of the same religion?
The fifth is a form of bribery: be good and get a reward. What if a person has abusive or murderous parents?
Because of the sixth, you shall not murder fellow Israelites, but you can kill people of other faiths and heretics. Just read the Bible. It’s full of murder and mayhem abetted or committed by the Judaic/Christian God.
Commandments 7, 8, and 9 are just common proscriptions and not unique to the Bible.
The 10th is not a crime and need not be in any written code.
But what about the other 603 proscriptions, directives, and commandments found in the Hebrew Scriptures? Better follow those also.
About James Madison:
An extensive internet search casts doubt that Madison ever stated “We have staked our future on our ability to follow the Ten Commandments with all our heart.”
It is highly unlikely that he ever said this, because it’s not in the spirit of his other sayings. However, he was somewhat religious in the vein of deism.
Consider the following quotes by Madison:
“The purpose of separation of church and state is to keep forever from these shores the ceaseless strife that has soaked the soil of Europe with blood for centuries.”
“During almost 15 centuries has the legal establishment of Christianity been on trial. What have been its fruits? More or less in all places, pride and indolence in the clergy, ignorance and servility in the laity, in both, superstition, bigotry and persecution.”
“Religious bondage shackles and debilitates the mind and unfits it for every noble enterprise, every expanded prospect.”