"If we believe that men make gods, and that they make them in their own image, then we are not looking at theology but an artefact of anthropology. The commandments are a window into the mind of a particular set of ancient barbaric tribes-people and are not due, and do not deserve, any especial reverence."
Agreed, why should "Not murder you", "Not steal you" "Not adultery you" (try engraving long flowing sentences of 'thou shalt nots' in divine cuneiform in rock with your finger sometime to discover why The Lord opted for tweets) should be worthy of any respect?
NB Note the 'original' (it isn't) speaks of 'murder' not 'kill'.
Basically6 -'So what!".
They comprise workable rules for a stable society.
Why be a smart arse.
Societies develop moral codes. The moral codes may help them prosper. ie societies that allow stealing will not succeed as well as societies that respect property rights. Moral codes will contain many elements. Some based upon superstition and habit and others that truly contribute to society.
I doubt anyone reading thinks murder, stealing, false witness is good. Coveting is frowned upon even though it occurs. We only recently began to tolerate adultery, although most people still think it wrong. The jury is out on whether the progressive undermining of the institution of the family is going to be a success in the long term. Hence, honouring parents is currently unfashionable in the west. The first four commandments are less moral code than brand reinforcement. The code may or may not have survived without the first four commandments. We might guess that "natural law" without a originating deity lacked conviction. Today, academics are split on whether natural law can exist without God.
At the end of the day we are (or we will ultimately be seen as) primitive peoples trying to establish moral codes. The rational people who 100 years ago thought Eugenics was the answer and thought their opponents foolish, even primitive, now look rather primitive themselves.
As an atheist myself I do not object to treating any and every set of beliefs without special reverence. However to pre-emptively describe a set of beliefs as belonging to 'barbaric' peoples is to prejudge the issue. Clearly we still think many commandments right.
I can't understand why you thought Flaxen Saxon was worth quoting.
"NB Note the 'original' (it isn't) speaks of 'murder' not 'kill'."
Indeed so. And it's 'the LOVE of money' that is the root of evil. That, and sticking an 's' on 'Revelation' are major crimes in my book!
"Why be a smart arse."
Why not..? ;)
"The first four commandments are less moral code than brand reinforcement."
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