Who knew? Valerie Tarico points out, in this post, that there is a second set of Ten Commandments a bit later in Exodus following the ones from Exodus 20 most often cited. According to Wikipedia, Ten Commandments (scroll down, and down), this second set is regarded as “The Ritual Decalogue”, in contrast to the familiar “Ethical Dialogue”.
My point here is that neither version of these 10 commandments demands very much respect in contrast to the many, many other ethical proscriptions that have been created over the centuries. Replace the traditional ten with “Do unto others….”, and you would have a more ethical, humane society.
I’ve blogged before about a couple other alternate 10 commandments, and the blogger here has how own, written in Biblical language…
1. This above all shall ye take as my first command: Thou shalt treat living beings as they want to be treated. And the second commandment is like unto it:
2. In as much as be possible, thou shalt avoid afflicting pain or sorrow, which shall be unto thee my signs of ill and evil.
3. Thou shalt honor and protect all of creation, for I the LORD have created it that thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee.
4. Thou shalt have sexual relations with neither human nor beast who chooseth not freely what pleasures thou mayest offer.
5. Thou shalt not beat the child, but by admonition and instruction with kindness shall teach both wisdom and skill.
6. Thou shalt do unto members of other religions and tribes as thou dost unto thine own.
7. I, the LORD your God, forbid thee to own other persons be they woman, man or child; neither shall ye subject any gender nor race one to another, but shall honor my image in all.
8. Thou shalt not destroy the lands of thine enemies, nor poison their well, nor salt their earth, neither shalt thou cut their shade tree nor burn their vineyard, nor wantonly slaughter the beast of their field.
9. Thou shalt wash thy hands before eating and shalt boil the drinking water that has been defiled by man or beast.
10. Thou shalt ask the questions that can show thee wrong, so that through the toil of many, from generation unto generation, ye may come to discover the great I AM.
These commands, she notes, might have “changed the course of history. Think Crusades, or the Inquisition, or Salem, or the American Holocaust, or the slave trade, or Northern Ireland, or the Iraq War.”
The 56 percent of Americans who think the Bible is “the actual or inspired word of God with no errors” are stuck, anchored to the Iron Age. Many, when they get trapped by the ugly contradictions inherent in this position, do whatever moral gymnastics are necessary to defend the Book.