The Ten Commandments figure in the books of Exodus and Deuteronomy, they are emblazoned on the synagogue wall or above the Ark, and everybody thinks they are important but hardly anybody takes them too seriously any more.
No. We’re too clever for that.
This is what we clever people say:
“I am the Lord your God” - but whoever invented God had a problem that we don’t. He (or she) did not known how to explain life and the world, so they needed a genie and they called it God.
“Have no other gods before Me” - God, you want a monopoly? But monopolies are not a good thing and we need a range of options.
“Do not take the Lord’s name in vain” – why not? People do it all the time they talk of “acts of God” and no one seems to mind.
“Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy” - who can cope with this “holy” business? It’s too restrictive. How can I be myself if I can’t do this and I can’t do that and I have to spend the whole morning in Shule?
“Honour your father and mother” - all right, they’re nice people but their ideas are so outdated that they have no credibility any more.
“Do not murder” - really? Some people are so hard to live with, and their colour (or ethnicity or religion or other things) are so different: we’d be better off without them.
“Do not commit adultery” - don’t be so straitlaced! Who wants to commit so narrowly any more when there’s other talent available?
“Do not steal” - what do you mean? They all do it, the tax cheats, the commuters that don’t buy a ticket, the plagiarists that use other people’s intellectual property, and they get away with it.
“Do not bear false witness” - hold on! Telling the truth doesn’t always get you anywhere and what they don’t know doesn’t hurt.
“Do not covet” - what? Be a stick-in-the-mud without ambition or the dream of bettering myself? Why shouldn’t I have what my neighbour has?
… The Ten Commandments are in trouble. We have to admit it. But the funny thing is that the world doesn’t seem to be a happier or safer place.
Maybe we should try again.