Wednesday, 16 April 2008
Surprise: Jesus himself has backed my view
My remarks about the Ten Commandments, stating that atheism is compatible with them, have provoked a detailed reply by the Christian theology student Cory Tucholski at the Josiah Concept Blog, in two parts covering 1-4 and 6-10. I am going to review these replies in more detail later.
It's very interesting that even Cory, as a hard-boiled theist, agrees with me in four out of ten points. Hard-boiled means that he believes the Ten Commandments to be set up by God himself, and that violations of these Commandments are not mere offenses against humans but offenses against God: "They were designed to be absolute rules." (emphasis mine)
His reasoning is mostly consistent, as far as I can tell; the main point is that I cannot share his premises and he cannot share mine. Many arguments that he brings forward base upon theologic background and quotes of the Bible other than the Ten Commandments. I, for my part, have looked at the text of the commandments as it has been carved in stone, and nothing else. This is one major source of disagreement between us.
Jesus: "It is just the Golden Rule" (Matthew 7:12)
In my remarks about the Ten Commandments, I have come to the conclusion that their real content can be summarized as "Treat others as you would like to be treated by them", also known as the Golden Rule. Jesus, as quoted in Matthew 7:12, has put it like this: "Always treat others as you would like them to treat you, this is the law and the prophets." By the way, "law and prophets" means not only the Ten Commandments but all the holy scriptures of the Jews at that time.
Surprise, surprise. Was Jesus a freethinker? In the eyes of the Pharisees, he certainly was. Now compare his "law and prophets" statement with Cory's claim of the Ten Commandments as God's absolute rules that have to be followed word by word. He seems to contradict his own master in this respect.
Photo credit: flickr.com/photos/ultimorollo/166876408/