Posts Tagged ‘theft


The Real Ten Commandments

{Updated with an additional link.}

The Ten Commandments of GodStone‘ just didn’t appeal to most folks. Ohh, maybe that’s putting it a bit too diplomatically. Even my friends (yes, there are some) wouldn’t read it. That is, they wouldn’t admit to reading it. I gave my Pastor a copy, and he never had time to read it. For a year. So, I get it – folks don’t like the concept of re-writing The Big Ten. Or maybe they detected a degree of hubris in the title. Gee, it is my version – why not an eponymous title?

Some people simply could have been satisfied with the Bible’s original re-write: it’s either Exodus 20:2-17 or Deuteronomy 5:6-21. Don’t ask me which was first, much less which is closer to being ‘original’. And do not ask me to stick with exactly ten (10, diez, dix) items for my next version. If the Bible can have sundry versions, with miscellaneous numbers of specific shalts and shalt nots, then I can also.

A n d  h e r e  i t  i s .

We usually discuss religious doctrine (I am herein concentrating on my heritage of Christianity) in terms of its official scriptures and their formal interpretations. It’s time to look at the practical reality of Christianity. The following is The Real Ten Commandments – the rules that certain Christians (Lord bless the many for whom this does not apply) actually hold sacred. Well, sacred for application to others, if not for themselves. I also retained some of The Original’s sticky bits. You might want to follow along with one of the Original versions (some folks might be sufficiently lax to think that I am fabricating things), but a more general knowledge of the Bible and Christian behavior is most pertinent.

  1. God is a jealous, spiteful, vengeful god. Thou shalt have no other gods before me.
  2. Thou shalt not make idols. Building oversized mansions and driving overpowered cars doesn’t count.
  3. Thou shalt not worship the idols that you make. If you do, you’ll probably get away with it, but your kids will get screwed.
  4. If you love Me, a thousand generations will have it easy. If any of them crosses me, the deal’s off.
  5. Thou shalt not use the name of God in vain. If you can get some profit or manipulate someone by doing so, you’re golden.
  6. Observe the Sabbath Day, or whatever day that you feel like substituting, and keep it holy so the football game or round of golf will be guilt-free fun.
  7. For six days thou shalt labor, since you’re gonna count Saturday fishing as work. You, your family, visitors, livestock, and male and female slaves shall take it easy. You can decide whether the hermaphrodite slaves can participate.
  8. It was work for the Lord to create everthin’ in six days, so He rested on the seventh day and his slaves had better rest, too. They should consider it practice for Jubilee. They’ll get to return to the foreign country from which I permitted you to kidnap them. The wives which you took in conquest just get the Sabbath, not the Jubilee.
  9. Honor thy Father and thy Mother so that your brother or sister won’t take the inheritance that you so richly deserve.
  10. Thou shalt not kill unless the person deserves it or a Christian Governor or President says ‘it’s ok’. You shall satisfy your blood thirst with executions and unprovoked wars.
  11. Thou shalt not commit adultery, for serial monogamy is sufficient and wholly acceptable to thy brethren. Thou shalt also not divorce, unless a TV preacher says that it’s ok because your wife has Alzheimer’s.
  12. Thou shalt not steal, for connivance and manipulation will serve as well without the appearance of criminality.
  13. Thou shalt not lie about your neighbor, for gossip is equally effective.
  14. Thou shalt not desire thy neighbor’s goodies, or thy neighbor’s wife, or livestock, or male or female slave. As before, you can figure out what to do with hermaphrodite slaves. Your neighbor’s husband, and anyone else not proscribed, is fair game.
  15. Thou shalt not permit a woman, or anyone acting in a woman’s behalf, to decide her own sexual or reproductive behavior. Women shall know their place.
  16. Thou shalt not suffer the uninsured to live, or at least to live without suffering, for the uninsured and those not self-sufficient have not My favor.
  17. A man shalt not lie down with another man. Thou shalt interpret and extend this injunction in any way that suits your thoughts and fears. But lesbians are pleasing in My sight, and probably in yours, too.
  18. These Commandments shalt be sacred and inviolable until the Lord establishes a New Covenant. Thereafter, thou shalt enforce these Commandments selectively, as it pleases you. Definitely ignore all that Levitical stuff, like avoiding mixing nylon and cotton, unless it suits your purpose. Just don’t get carried away, like Thomas Jefferson did.

All in all, I do prefer Jesus’ answer regarding the two greatest Commandments. May it be so with you.


Plagiarism, Integrity, & Dialogue

Plagiarism, noun – the unauthorized use or close imitation of the language and thoughts of another author and the representation of them as one’s own original work. []

Most decent folks don’t need to be told that a misrepresentation, such as plagiarism, is wrong. Our parents gave us some general guidelines about lying, and we have understood most related issues ever since. Unfortunately, a few people feel that “the end justifies the means“. For them, ‘borrowing’ a few professionally-written sentences from a respected source is justified by the importance of either their message or their ego. So we occasionally find examples of such deviousness in school papers, literature, or even in readers’ contributions to a significant Ozarks newspaper.

In addition to the theft of intellectual property, such misrepresentation is dishonest because it misleads us about the writer’s personal feelings and attitudes. We are presented with a sort of chimera (a blend of two species) that purports to be an individual like us, perhaps even a trusted neighbor. We are mislead to believe that we are having an honest exchange of ideas with that person. We are not – we are actually being manipulated by someone who is more interested in achieving supremacy in argument than in having a dialogue with neighbors.

There is an insidious form of misrepresentation which many of us don’t recognize. In fact, many folks do it often. Wherever people have exchanges about politics, religion, and other sectarian topics, someone will do it. The pages of blogs, newspapers’ on-line readers’ opinions, and similar forums are filled with examples. Face-to-face discussions, even between family members, may be thick with these misrepresentations.

These misrepresentations are the myriad ways of engaging in polemics: disputing for superiority instead of seeking understanding. Propagandists, now our constant companions in public life, have taught us to respond to an incisive point with counter-attacks, not dialogue. A citation of fact is met with demonizing comparisons such as ‘That’s the same thing Hitler did!‘, or ‘Big Lies’ like ‘They will confiscate everyone’s guns!‘.

Even these techniques are sometimes overkill for avoiding honest dialogue. A writer in the Globe‘s Opinion section recently published his opinion that a certain federal law should be waived to allow a better response to the Gulf oil spill. Commenters pointed out the fact that the federal law was largely inapplicable, it had not impeded any foreign assistance, and it had not affected the clean-up at all. In a genuine dialogue, the original writer would have responded with either: facts supporting the original assertion; mitigating or special circumstances negating the commenters’ points; acceptance of the gist of comments, with an alteration of the point being made; or acknowledgement that the comments are fully correct.

What actually happened was that the writer ignored the comments. He even published another opinion, simply repeating his original false assertion. What could a person be thinking when doing this? Is this how any of us would have a discussion in person? I hope not. I fear that this example is, in fact, repeated too often. Such unresponsive exchanges are certainly common in opinion pages, where arguments are countered by changing the subject, by attacks on personalities, by use of ‘straw man’ arguments, and by numerous other disingenuous (and basically dishonest) rhetorical ploys.

Such exchanges are common in political, religious, and other discussions of a sectarian nature. Our democracy – which relies upon an informed electorate – is jeopardized by the vast number of folks who can only say what they have heard from their favorite polemicist. They blind themselves to their true feelings and attitudes by adhering to fearful commentaries and believing superstitious untruths. I doubt that our pioneering citizens could afford the luxury of believing in imagined enemies instead of the realities of a harsh and unexplored land. I doubt that they could afford to listen to purported experts while they could feel life’s facts in the wind, rain, and dust on their faces.

We are no less in need of intelligent, thoughtful, and honest dialogue than those pioneers. We need to stop parroting the words of pundits and favorite news sources. We need to honestly listen to each other, respond constructively, and pursue a dialogue that actually makes our nation progress.

♥ Help for Haiti ♥


Basic Understanding

A nation of sheep will beget a government of wolves.
- Edward R. Murrow

Intellectual Property Notice

All original material Copyright James R. Stone 2010, except where specifically noted. Some images licensed under Creative Commons, or GNU Free Documentation License, or unlicensed and public domain.

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