The Instigator
Pro (for)
16 Points
The Contender
Con (against)
0 Points

Each of the Ten Commandments is either unnecessary or incomplete.

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 2/7/2012 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 4 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,692 times Debate No: 20908
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (4)
Votes (3)




The full proposition that I will be defending is as follows: "Each of the Ten Commandments (as listed in the King James' Version of the Bible) is either unnecessary or incomplete for morally governing the lives of everyone." If my opponent can convince the audience that just one of the Ten Commandments is complete and necessary for every moral person to follow throughout each of their lives, he/she wins.

Unnecessary: not needed.
Incomplete: lacking something necessary or important.
Morally: for the betterment or sustainment of well-being.
Everyone: every person who exists.

1. Thou shalt have no other gods before me.
2. Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth: Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them.
3. Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain.
4. Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work: But the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates.
5. Honour thy father and thy mother.
6. Thou shalt not kill.
7. Thou shalt not commit adultery.
8. Thou shalt not steal.
9. Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour.
10. Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his donkey, nor anything that is thy neighbor's.

Round one is reserved for acceptance only.

For round two, I will present my cases against each of the commandments, and then we'll naturally take it from there. The structure is fairly loose on this one.

I thank my future opponent and the viewers for making this debate possible, and am looking forward to it.


It is needed. Today, the world is filled with hatred, murder, violence, wars, lying, cheating, and sexual perversion and promiscuity, yet most professing Christians claim that they are not required to keep the Ten Commandments. Few seem to realize that the problems of the world are a direct result of not keeping these laws. This study will prove that Christians today are still required to keep all of the Ten Commandments.

The question of commandment keeping has caused many heated arguments since the days of Christ. Some theologians have proclaimed that Christians no longer need to keep the commandments. Many claim that the sacrifice of Jesus Christ is the end of the law and has released Christians from any obligation to keep the commandments. Is this true? Did the laws of God cease to exist with the death and resurrection of Christ?

What does the Bible say about this subject? If a person professes to follow Jesus Christ and believes the Bible is the inspired Word of God, they should look to the Bible for the correct answer to these important questions.


Psalm 19 shows the full extent of the blessings of God's law:

"The law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul. The statutes of the Lord are trustworthy, making wise the simple. The precepts of the Lord are right, giving joy to the heart. The commands of the Lord are radiant, giving light to the eyes. The fear of the Lord is pure, enduring forever. The ordinances of the Lord are sure and altogether righteous. They are more precious than gold, than much pure gold; they are sweeter than honey, than honey from the comb. By them is your servant warned; in keeping them there is great reward" (Psa.19:7-11 NIV).

In our modern age of science, we have learned that there are laws which always function automatically: the laws of physics, chemistry, mathematics and all of the laws necessary to keep the solar system functioning and life continuing. If there is not conformity to these laws, disaster, death, and destruction will occur.

In exactly the same way, all of the laws of God are a point of reference to which all people should look as a standard of behavior toward God and their fellow humans. The Ten Commandments are empirical laws that result in benefits for obedience and penalties for disobedience (Deut.30:15-19).

God calls disobedience to these laws sin: "Everyone who sins breaks the law; in fact, sin is lawlessness" (1.Jn.3:4 NIV).

In Romans 7:7, Paul states that he would not have known what sin was if the law were not there to show him. Moreover, he indicates that he is talking about the Law that is contained in the Ten Commandments, by citing the tenth commandment, "you shall not covet." Because this law is a part of the Ten Commandments, Paul must be inferring that sin is the transgression of these ten foundational laws.

The Interlinear Greek-English New Testament makes the meaning of 1.John 3:4 very easy to understand:

"Everyone that practices sin also practices lawlessness; and sin is lawlessness."

Paul also says,

"So then, the law is holy, and the commandment is holy, righteous and good" (Rom.7:12 NIV). In verse 14 he states, "We know that the law [Ten Commandments] is spiritual; but I am unspiritual, sold as a slave to sin."

The apostle James also says the same thing: "For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it" (Jms.2:10). What he points out here is that the Ten Commandments are a part of a larger body of law and if just one part of the law is broken, the entire law has been violated.

These scriptures leave no doubt as to what God says is sin! Sin is the violation of these spiritual laws, and these laws are summed up in the Ten Commandments. From the beginning, the penalty of sin has been death (Rom.6:23). But, through the blood of Jesus Christ, forgiveness of sin is possible.
Debate Round No. 1


Thank you, DebateLD, for accepting this debate and for your rather passionate response. I did, however, specify that round one would be for acceptance only, but I'll let that slide. Now I shall present my arguments for why each of the Ten Commandments is either incomplete or unnecessary for morally guiding the lives of everyone.

1. Worshipping one particular deity over another in no clear way benefits to your well-being. You could be an atheist who worships no gods, or a pagan who worships them all; it is simply unrelated to physical and mental health.
And, of course, we can think of examples where this commandment is actually detrimental to well-being. For instance, if I had been born in certain places in the Middle East and worshipped Jesus instead of Allah, I could suffer horrible consequences such as execution.

Revised version: "You shall have freedom of religion, and you may worship whichever gods please you, or none at all."

2. This one also seems greatly irrelevant to physical and mental health. There is no clear connection at all between not creating a likeliness of things in the ocean and well-being. In fact, by this standard, Finding Nemo is quite sinful.

Revised version: "You shall have freedom of press, and you may make images of whatever you like, be them real or constructs of the imagine, to educate or entertain or anything in between or for no reason at all."

3. Screw this commandment and screw God. There. I feel no physical or mental harm from having typed that. In fact, I feel a little better.

Revised version: "You shall have freedom of speech to say whatever you want."

4. For those who do not know, the sabbath is from sundown on Friday to sundown on Saturday. This means no one at all is allowed to work during this time. It is prohibited for teachers to educate, for the police to respond to calls, and for doctors to perform surgery.
If you can't see why this is detrimental to our overall well-being, then I don't know how else to convince you.

Revised version: "You shall have freedom to work whenever you want to or need to. Do not neglect your duties just for the sake of neglecting them."

5. Now we're past the silly ones. This commandment seems to be a good one on the face of it, but what of a child who's been abused (physically and/or sexually) by his parents? Should this child still honor his/her abusers? No; almost anyone can have a child, from pedophiles to sociopaths. This does not automatically place them on a high pedestal to be honored.

Revised version: "You shall honor whomever you feel is deserving of your reverence."

6. This one appears to be solidly virtuous, yet is very much incomplete. I think we can all agree that killing people is generally not a good way to promote health. But what if someone attacks you or a loved one first? It should be within your right to defend yourself as necessary.
Ideally, you would be able to stop your attacker without killing him, but that is not always a viable option. What if a rapist breaks into the apartment of an eighty-year-old woman who happens to keep a loaded gun by her bedside? I don't know what kind of grandmothers you've encountered, but most of the ones I've met have been, at the very least, unable to expertly perform mixed martial arts in such a way as to demobilize an attacker.
Even more obviously, this ambiguous commandment completely rules out the very basic practice of hunting or killing for survival. Should we all follow this, we would have to mimic vultures and wait for our prey to die on its own.

Revised version: "You shall not kill another human, unless it is necessary for your survival."

7. Again, another one which, on the surface, appears virtuous, but is incomplete. What if, for instance, you lived in a foreign country and were forced into an arranged marriage with someone who you've never even met. This would make you and the one who you actually love victims to a terrible scenario. Would cheating on your stranger of a spouse for the one you actually love be the appalling act this commandment would have you believe it is? I assert not, and this should be obvious to any morally-driven human being.

Revised version: "You shall have freedom to sexually express yourself as you please with whoever is of age and consent."

8. Surely, this must be a perfect law, right? No one likes to have their stuff stolen, so therefore, no one should steal other people's stuff. Right?
Not quite. I shall call the problem faced by this commandment the Aladdin Dilemma, and anyone familiar with the film may understand why immediately.
Imagine you are homeless, and have been for awhile. You're hungry so you beg for change, but no one will give you even a nickel. There are no homeless shelters nor soup kitchens in the entire town. You could, perhaps, travel to a city that has one, but in which direction? Everyone is either unable or unwilling to point the way. You could dumpster dive for old scraps, but that might be even more harmful to your health than remaining hungry, considering the bacteria that certainly would have made the scraps their home by now.
Your only option, then, is to steal food so that you don't starve to death. Is this, though, morally right, even if it is necessary for your own survival? After all, you are taking away food from potential customers who would have bought it. And the grocery store you stole from would not gain profit.
It should be evident, though, that preventing your stomach from devouring itself does, indeed, have more benefit than harm. The potential customers who would have bought whatever you stole will not suffer nearly as much, as they can simply buy something else. Equally, the owners of the grocery store may take a small financial hit, but they will not suffer nearly as much as you would have by letting yourself starve to death.
Now let's look at another dilemma presented by this commandment: what if someone broke into your home, stole all the money in your secret hiding place (say, six-hundred dollars), and made off with it without leaving any evidence for the police to prosecute him. You, however, knew the robber personally and knew that he had done this. He even admits it to you in conversation.
I assert that, without any other option (as the police are unable to help you), it is not morally wrong to steal back the money that was rightfully yours to begin with.

Revised version: "You shall not steal something that should not belong to you, unless it is necessary for your survival."

9. To "not bear false witness" is a particularly vague phrase (much of the reason why this commandment is incomplete). Many people interpret it to mean "not lie". However, we can think of a thousand or more examples where lying gives only benefit to any parties involved. Little white lies, such as "No, that doesn't make you look fat" or "Your baby sure is cute", are obvious examples.
A more serious example could be when an atheist nurse is care-taking a very religious and elderly patient who begins to doubt her faith. "Do you think there's a Heaven," she asks on her deathbed. It is not morally wrong to lie in this situation, as it only makes the patient feel better in her final moments with no negative repercussions to well-being at all.

Revised version: "You shall not lie, unless lying does more good than harm."

10. This commandment may be as silly as the first four. It states that if your neighbor has nice things, you shouldn't yearn to have them. I must say, I'm relieved the United States doesn't get its legal inspiration from the commandments, for capitalism would surely crumble quickly under a law such as this.

Revised version: "You shall strive to get the things you desire, to move up in life if it so pleases you."

In conclusion, I have shown that each and every one of the Ten Commandments is either incomplete or unnecessary for morally guiding the lives of everyone. Unless my opponent can show why just one of my revised versions is not better than the original, your vote should go to Pro.



DebateLD forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 2


Unfortunately, my opponent has forfeited this round. I was looking forward to a solid debate on the topic, but perhaps I had my hopes too high.


DebateLD forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3


Extend previous arguments.


DebateLD forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 4


Extend previous arguments. Vote Pro. Anyone want to actually debate this topic now?


DebateLD forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 5
4 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 4 records.
Posted by Maikuru 4 years ago
When I saw this in my mini-feed, I thought this debate had just begun and got excited. Those forfeits are very disappointing. I'd like to see this debate completed.
Posted by MikeyMike 4 years ago
lol at Dakota's shrewd choosing of definitions.
Posted by DakotaKrafick 4 years ago
I apologize to the audience for having to resort to memory or my first round or something to know which commandments I am debunking in my second round. I originally had re-quoted each one in the list before presenting my arguments for them, but I was ~1,500 characters over the 8,000 character limit.
Posted by The_Fool_on_the_hill 4 years ago
complete ??
3 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Vote Placed by MikeyMike 4 years ago
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Total points awarded:50 
Reasons for voting decision: Accepting the debate meant accepting the definitions Pro put forth. This spells out almost certain death.. Oh and Con forfetited
Vote Placed by Maikuru 4 years ago
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Total points awarded:70 
Reasons for voting decision: Full forfeit by Con.
Vote Placed by BlackVoid 4 years ago
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Total points awarded:40 
Reasons for voting decision: FF