The New Ten Commandments

The original Ten Commandments were pretty basic:

  •             Believe in God.
  •             Worship no one else.
  •             Don’t swear by His name because you never mean it.
  •             Worship and rest one day a week.
  •             Respect your parents.
  •             Don’t murder anyone.
  •             Don’t steal anything.
  •             Don’t commit adultery.
  •             Don’t lie.
  •             Don’t envy.

Any society where a substantial percentage of the citizens obeyed these rules was a stable and prosperous society. No one will ace all of the commandments all of the time, but for the sake of the health of the community, an honest effort by a lot of people made things better for everyone –- inconvenient from time to time, restrictive if one gets really angry, but not at all unreasonable. If few people steal, you’re more likely to get to keep your stuff. If people don’t cheat on their spouses and if kids respect their parents, you build stable families, which makes the whole community a success. If lying is verboten, then you can trust most people most of the time, which makes everyone prosperous. Theology aside, it’s an efficient, and time-honored way to live.

A society, however, that rejects God and prefers making up its own rules often finds itself in a state of confusing flux. For instance, last winter it was a virtuous thing to say, “All lives matter.” It showed a respect for all races. Now those are fighting words. Who knew? The whole racial fuss is confusing –- if I ignore a person’s race, I’m a racist. If I copy an ethnic behavior, I’m appropriating a culture and therefore a racist. If I note the differences or say something factually true -- like 80% of male prisoners are black, I’m a racist. Our society’s mores are turning inside out, in fact, it’s just gotten so confusing that I thought it might be useful to make a list of the Commandments du Jour:

1. Thou shalt wear a mask. Wearing a mask is now the epitome of social awareness and virtue. “There is no greater love than this, that thou apply one’s mask before going out.” There seems to be no concern about what kind of mask or how we wear it, or dispose of it, but wear one, we must. It shows concern for one’s fellow man, whether one has that concern or not – it’s handy that way. It is also handy as riot-wear so no one can identify you breaking into a jewelry store or kicking in a cop car.

2. Thou shalt stay home. unless there’s a riot going on nearby. Attendance at those events is mandatory for guilt-ridden millennials, and will earn an earnest rioter merit badge to wear on his/her Che Guevara T-shirt.  Bricks will be provided, but bring a personal shopping bag. Babies and young children are welcome. White people are welcome as well as long as they really hate being white and still live with their parents.

3. Thou shalt hate President Trump. Thou shalt hate all those who support him. Thou shalt hate any action he takes and shall claim that he lies and is a racist. Thou shalt also hate: men, police, capitalism, guns, the Constitution, freedom, in short -- America.

4. Thou shalt kill (or at least advocate for such killing) all unborn (or newly born) unwanted babies. Especially black babies. Black lives matter that much.

5. Thou shalt have any kind of sex one desires, when and where one desires it, with whom or with what one desires. Grooming of potential partners will be done by the local school, with help from the Boy Scouts and the public libraries.

6. Thou shalt not think logically, make an effort to become informed or knowledgeable, or develop a vocabulary beyond words like “oppressed” or “racist” or “f—k.”

7. Thou shalt destroy. Anything will do, but the more valuable the better. Statues and monuments are prime targets, private or public property works as well, especially if there’s lots of glass to break; police stations and federal courthouses are real prizes.  Thou shalt spray enough graffiti to poison the atmosphere for months and leave behind piles of plastic refuse.

8. Thou shalt steal in bulk -- on a wholesale basis –- Nikes, smart TVs, Rolexes, $5,000 handbags, exotic cars, whatever is expensive and can be fenced easily.  This will have the effect of righting all the wrongs in the universe.

9. Thou shalt strip the rich of whatever they have because if they have it, you don’t. When you see the world without God, the good stuff is hard to come by and the rich can’t possibly deserve it.

10. Thou shalt speak ill of –- or physically attack -- anyone who gets in the way, be they police, the elderly, mothers and children, clergy, one’s parents, or grandparents. Don’t let them get away with being normal and kind and happy. That’s some kind of privilege, but no one has identified exactly what kind.

If we scrupulously follow those rules, we can be in with the in-crowd. As a whole, the in-crowd seems pretty nasty, but if murder and mayhem appeals to a person then this is the way to go. Note that there are no rules against judging one’s neighbor, because we are encouraged to do so -- anyone not participating in demonstrations, not following the social distancing rules, deserves to be outed. We are also allowed to go naked, to shoot lasers, guns, mortar rounds, and throw Molotov cocktails, There are no rules against being rude because rudeness is one of the talents we’ll need in this Brave New World.

In this new world love and justice have no place. George Floyd wasn’t murdered -- we know this from the autopsy report, but the cops involved will still face trial and where will they find 12 objective jurors and judge with enough courage to play it straight? “Social justice” is an interesting term because the word “social” cancels the meaning of “justice.”

This new society sees no point in truth, in duty, in individual rights and responsibilities. It places no value on self-control, on objectivity, on gentleness, on righteousness. We’ve been educated to think that the world offers us an unlimited selection of belief systems, but that’s not true. There are only two options –- the one that works or the one that doesn’t. We can go with the divinely provided way to live our lives, or we can jumble together some cheap substitute -- but history has shown us over and over and over again that produces nothing but death and destruction.

We get to choose which concept we want to encourage. Shall we shut down churches or shut down riots? Here we are at the crossroads. “Two roads diverged in a yellow wood…”

Deana Chadwell  is an adjunct professor and department head at Pacific Bible College in southern Oregon. She teaches writing, logic, and literature.

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