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A Critical Look at the Ten Commandments

charleslb
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7/21/2011 8:04:33 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
The importance of the revival of the Decalogue, aka the Ten Commandments, for rescuing the morals of our society seems to be an obsessive theme and focus of the evangelical right these days. And let me just say that it's one of those religious-cum-social issues of hot contention on which I disagree with them wholeheartedly.

Well then, what possible perverse, morally seditious fault could even the most unregenerate nihilist (not that I'm either unregenerate or a nihilist) find with the time-honored Ten Commandments?

Aren't their moral soundness and wiseness thoroughly beyond even the most unreasonable and cantankerous reproach? Aren't they purely and undebatably commonsensical after all? If not God's ethical injunctions, relayed by Moses himself, aren't they simply obviously-right and good rules of human conduct that we all should respect and abide by? Isn't the case for the Ten Commandments as simple and prima facie as that?

Well, I, with apologies, beg to put forward here the once again contrary view that it is not. Not quite. I actually have a critique of the Commandments consisting of several points, which, in keeping with the stream-of-consciousness character of this composition I'll make not necessarily in order of importance.

To kick off my anti-Decalogue diatribe, I'll in a sense begin at the beginning, by pointing out their problematic legendary provenance. I.e., they supposedly originated celestially on high, in Judeo-Christian belief they were handed down to Moses and the Hebrew people by almighty God himself.

And no, we're not talking about the generic and strictly-benevolent Higher Power of modern, religiously liberal people who prefer to call themselves spiritual, rather than religious. No, the Commandments, along with the rest of the law of Moses, are reckoned, by literalistic believers at least, to have derived from a specific deity. Adonai, the God of Hosts, the God of Exodus. A God who in the Book of Exodus has just operated after the fashion of a terrorist.

Mm-hmm, in order to induce a political ruler to bend to his will, rather like a terrorist he victimizes the ruler's innocent subjects. Of course rather than crashing passenger planes into skyscrapers, or releasing anthrax, he inflicts several supernatural plagues on Pharaoh's blameless subjects.

This includes killing everyone in Pharaoh's realm whose only crime was to be the firstborn male of his family! Well, killing innocent civilians to coerce a government into obeying one's dictates is the very definition of terrorism. Isn't it?

If God was found to be operating this way today, he most certainly would be perceived as a transcendent terrorist. The supernal, cosmically sovereign, and Supreme Terrorist!

I know that liberation theologians like to view the God of Exodus as an archetypal liberator, but although I have great respect for liberation theology and its adherents, I'm afraid that a God who employs mass life-taking to gain the freedom of his pet people is no role model for the downtrodden. Yes, such a God discreditably fits more the description of terrorist extraordinaire, than compassionate liberator.

Now then, this is the same divinity who has given us a set of purportedly good rules to live by, one that somewhat morally-ambidextrously includes thou shall not kill. And just as I would consider any set of even otherwise flawless behavioral guidelines that traced back to Hitler, or any other mass murderer, to be thereby seriously flawed, and not something to be resorted to for the moral socialization of children, well, so too do I consider the Commandments for this tiny reason severely disqualified from the kind of esteem that they, in many, even nonreligious quarters, still enjoy.

Put simply, I would not think of teaching impressionable grade school children to do the right thing because a mass-killer God told them to (And don't forget, the Bible says that God "hardened Pharaoh's heart" so that the terror tactics would be necessary. God then, and not Pharaoh, bears full responsibility for the evil that ensued and befell the collateral Egyptian populace).

Such a God is simply not a legitimate or respectable moral authority. No ifs, ands, or buts about it. And the Ten Commandments therefore take a major hit to their claim to authority. If you don't think that deriving from such an odious source is a significant strike against them, well, just think about how the moral sensibilities of young minds might be affected by being taught to respect such a divinity and his laws. Would the effects be all that positive, morally, sociologically, and spiritually speaking?

Really, what kind of an ethically confusing mixed message does it send to the wee folk when parents, let alone public institutions, such as schools, instill their uncritical regard for the praxeological precepts of such a slaughterous Supreme Being? Perhaps the bloody history, religious and secular, of the Western world is in part an answer.

But then, like a good product of a post-Christian culture, maybe you think that all parents and schools need do is separate the Commandments from this unsavory source they've traditionally been attributed to. Hmm? Can't we tacitly turn them into stand-alone commonsense moral axioms? All we have to do is omit any mention of where they came from, right?

The only trouble with this desacralizing approach of course is that when you so denature them, well, they really cease to be the same old Ten Commandments. You can't really divorce them from the jealous and slaying Old-Testament God who bestowed them on his followers, not without unavoidably robbing them of the very provenance & authority that gives them purpose and stature in our culture.

Alas yes, without their supernatural provenance & authority the Commandments become pretty much superfluous. Since they then do become merely the same commonsense moral instructions that secular parents and other adults already routinely give to children.

So then, we can either continue to perfunctorily indoctrinate our posterity with a dangerous and dissonant belief in a death-dealing deity and his hypocritical moral commandments, or we can take a more enlightened and effective approach to socializing the young, i.e. we can actually model virtues!, such as honesty and compassion. But then of course that would require so much more of us than merely posting photo copies of the Decalogue on the walls of government buildings.

Moreover, socializing the citizens of tomorrow with rules is also an inherently authoritarian approach. Which perhaps explains its appeal to the right. As I've observed elsewhere, they do have a pronounced authoritarian streak. But not only is what I'll call a virtue approach preferable because it's more progressive, it's also more profoundly effective. That is, it transforms the inner man and woman, while the right's rules approach is often rather external, often only restraining and repressing bad behavior, and giving a person a superficial appearance of goodness.

The approach of nurturing inner virtue in children is also preferable because it steers clear of a serious and obvious drawback of the authoritarian approach, the inculcation of an authoritarian mindset. It's quite impossible to teach children that they should behave themselves because there are rules, without at the same time teaching them to think in authoritarian terms. And even the most cursory, slipshod reading of history will indicate the dangers of authoritarian thinking. Yes, in large part, we in the West have the Ten Commandments, and the whole rules approach, to thank for much of the authoritarian repression in our political history.

Continued below
Yo, all of my subliterate conservative criticasters who find perusing and processing the sesquipedalian verbiage of my posts to be such a bothersome brain-taxing chore, I have a new nickname for you. Henceforth you shall be known as Pooh Bears. No, not for the obvious apt reasons, i.e., not because you're full of pooh, and not because of your ursine irritability. Rather, you put me in mind of an A.A. Milne quote, "I am a Bear of Very Little Brain, and long words bother me". Love ya, Pooh Bears.
charleslb
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7/21/2011 8:05:01 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
Moving on, of course not all of the Commandments even have to do with morality and good conduct. There are also what I'll call the theological Commandments, such as "Thou shalt have no other gods before me (YHVH-Elohim)". This one not only doesn't encourage any particular form of good conduct, it actively promotes a great moral evil, intolerance. In this regard it actually significantly worsens character! That is, it can make people not better in the sense of kinder and more accepting of others of differing beliefs, but rather more bigoted, unsympathetic, and exclusivistic.

Not only are the first four theological Commandments quite useless for moral socialization then, they're even downright counterproductive. As for the remaining six that do concern interpersonal conduct, they suffer from another shortcoming common to all sweeping moral dicta, excessive broadness.

Broadness to the point of vagueness and ambiguousness, and therefore a need for extensive commentary. By themselves, without extensive commentary, they aren't really all that helpful as guidelines. Guidelines are perhaps by definition broad, but the Ten Commandments are simply too broad.

What am I talking about here? Well, consider the commandment that prohibits lying. It's strict application wouldn't really help one to do the right and humanly decent thing in the classic scenario in which a desperate-looking man runs by you, and moments later a couple of murderous-looking thugs come running along, inquiring of you which way the fellow fleeing them went.

Your ethical dilemma is an obvious one, but if you're going by the commandment against lying it's solution isn't quite so obvious. Let's look at your options. If you tell the truth, you may be condemning an innocent man to a violent death. And if you refuse to answer, well, the pursuing thugs might simply take a guess, guess correctly, and catch up with their intended victim, once again inflicting a horrific death upon him. In this scenario you will again have failed to save a life.

The only pro-life action to take seems to be lying, lying to send the thugs with murder in their eyes in the wrong direction. Unfortunately, the particular commandment that enjoins honesty doesn't really make any such exceptions, doesn't provide any such loopholes for common decency.

But perhaps you think that it's an ethical no-brainer that the ole Thou-shalt-not-lie commandment implicitly contains escape clauses for saving lives and telling "little white fibs"? Well it isn't, even the brilliant eighteenth century philosopher Immanuel Kant didn't think that escape clauses are tacitly built into God's laws. Yep, Manny Kant was of the view that if one is going to answer at all in such a situation that the commandment requires him/her to answer honestly, even if this would certainly eventuate in a brutal homicide! Obviously some amount of commentary is needed to make such a broad commandment useful in real-life situations!

And the same of course goes for the other moral commandments. "Thou shalt not kill" doesn't tell us if God looks askance on participation in war. Or if lethal self-defense is under certain circumstances permissible.

"Honor thy father and mother" doesn't tell children who've been incested whether or not it's alright to feel and express their anger toward their perpetrator.

"Thou shalt not commit adultery" doesn't mention conceivable extenuating circumstances, such as the soap opera scenario in which a woman who has been emotionally and physically brutalized by a cruel and unloving spouse turns to another man for comfort, and gradually and genuinely falls in love with him. Nope, the commandment makes no distinction between "adultery" in such a mitigating scenario, and adultery commited out of abject lust.

"Thou shalt not steal" also doesn't take any possible extenuating circumstances into account. Another textbook scenario not covered, a mother is watching her beloved and helpless children starving to death, is she to allow them to perish through inaction, rather than bravely steal food from a neighbor with more than he needs. The commandment doesn't say, doesn't explicitly speak to such a situation.

And finally "thou shalt not covet". Well, what does this really mean? Is the man who wishes he had a snazzy sports car, or a pricy plasma TV like his better-off neighbor really such a sinner. Perhaps he's a bourgeois materialist, but a contemptible sinner? Perhaps all of the folks exerting themselves to keep up with the Joneses are banausic fools, but are they guilty of the sin of covetousness?

This is one that our capitalist culture of course wouldn't want us to confront too conscientiously. For if we all really began resisting the usually harmless covetousness in our human hearts, well, in rather short order that would bring the whole consumerism-driven capitalist system down, crashingly! But the commandment just isn't sufficiently clear about what kind and degree of covetousness is being condemned. (A traditional interpretation would have it that "covetousness" actually refers to plotting in your mind to take the valuables of another, but, again, this is a matter of interpretation, it isn't spelled out for us.)

Commandments then do require commentary. As stand-alone precepts they're actually worse than useless. They're subject to excessively strict, or lax, or otherwise dangerous interpretations. In real-life situations, after all, it's our interpretations, more than the bare-bones wording of the commandments, that guide our actions.

It's actually quite impossible to apply commandments without interpretation, so perhaps what we should be cultivating in our children, and ourselves, is the moral intelligence necessary to apply our morals in practical situations, rather than a robotic adherence to rules. Arguably, the best and most reliable guides to right action are an intelligent mind, and a compassionate heart. But, again, it takes a good deal more work to cultivate these qualities than it does to instill dutiful obedience.

Make no mistake about it, rules certainly can aid us to develop moral qualities, and serve as useful crutches until we do. But eventually, ideally, we should all reach a stage in our personal moral growth and development at which we are able to finally and resolutely kick our crutches aside, and continue walking a moral path with an internal moral compass to steer us.

That is, eventually everyone should quite outgrow the need for rules. Rules are for children, and the morally immature and stunted. They certainly aren't the best way to make human beings moral. And without moral and life-wisdom we're often at a serious loss as to how to properly apply them. On the other hand, with enough moral and life-wisdom, well, we no longer really have practical need of them. This of course goes for all rules, from the Biblical Ten Commandment to the secular laws of society.

And lastly, but quite arguably most damning of all, the Ten Commandments are actually merely the core of an unlofty in-group morality. The same moralist God who enjoins such righteous conduct within the ethnic-religious in-group of his chosen people, not only permits, but in a number of instances in the Bible expressly condones and even cruelly commands rather ghastly behavior. I mean behavior that flagrantly contravenes certain commandments. But it's supposed to be different and okay, because this behavior is to be directed at other peoples, at auslanders such as the Canaanites and Phoenicians.

Continued below
Yo, all of my subliterate conservative criticasters who find perusing and processing the sesquipedalian verbiage of my posts to be such a bothersome brain-taxing chore, I have a new nickname for you. Henceforth you shall be known as Pooh Bears. No, not for the obvious apt reasons, i.e., not because you're full of pooh, and not because of your ursine irritability. Rather, you put me in mind of an A.A. Milne quote, "I am a Bear of Very Little Brain, and long words bother me". Love ya, Pooh Bears.
charleslb
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7/21/2011 8:05:58 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
Specifically what kind of behavior am I talking here? How about the massacring of entire populations by his God's people during their wantonly hostile takeover of ancient Palestine. No, it seems that "thou shalt not kill" wasn't at all meant to prevent the Israelites from butchering their enemies. Nor did "thou shalt not covet" oblige them to refrain from coveting the lands of the Canaanites.

And of course in a selective fashion favoring the Christian in-group and justifying violence toward heathens is also the way, historically, the Commandments have usually been applied by Christians as well. The Commandments have always governed our conduct toward our own, the people we consider "us", better than our treatment of the other. In theory perhaps, but far from consistently in practice, have they functioned as universal precepts, to be applied in our interactions with all people. Yes, disappointingly, the Ten Commandments have always been inclined to be a mere in-group morality, they've always distinctly lacked a noble universality.

The question we need to ask ourselves, then, is whether this is really the kind of morality we wish to perpetuate by continuing to imprint it on the brains of public school kids? Speaking for myself, I should say not. No, a moral code that reserves decency and kindness for "us", and sanctions our heartless cruelty to "them", should no longer be morally acceptable in our advanced day and age. And also no longer practicable in our interdependent world today.

Conservative Christians really do need to make more of an effort to remember the world we now live in, to remember just how out-of-their-time in our 21st century world the Ten Commandments truly are. That is, they need to remember that the Ten Commandments do not, I repeat do not mean what our modern, Western, middle-class, self-proclaimedly enlightened interpretations of them would have them mean. They are, in unwelcome point of fact, the archaic, more than 2500 year old, supposed moral mandates of the tribal deity of an ancient, sometimes barbaric-behaving Afro-Asiatic people (an Afro-Asiatic people, by the way, whom you-all on the religious right, mildly infected with anti-Semitic stereotypes as you are, ordinarily view unfavorably).

Oh sure, the ancient Israelites were a people who sometimes, in some ways, rose measurably above some of the other peoples surrounding them, but then again most of the time and in most ways they conducted and deported themselves at the same by-modern-standards inhumane level as their neighbors. Trust me, they certainly did not have the same advanced exegetical take on their divinity's edictal dos and don'ts as some modern folks do.

An example, the seemingly laudable mitzvah "Thou shalt not commit adultery" had nothing much at all to do with our contemporary elevated beliefs about the sanctity of marriage and the moral importance of fidelity. Nor did our priggish disapproval of extracurricular lust and our compassionate objection to the emotional heinousness of betraying one's spouse factor in. No, in ancient sexist Semitic societies, in all early and nakedly male-dominated cultures for that matter (there's zero legitimate reason to single out the Semites, it just happens that the originators of the ethical commandments I'm considering were of that much maligned ethnicity), women were insensitively regarded as physical property, to begin with of their daddy dearests, and of course after marriage, of their proprietary hubbies.

Difficult though it may be for enlightened moderns to genuinely believe and fathom, a married female's social and legal status really was little if at all better than that of being her mister's private property – or should I say his privates' property. Not to crassly make light of the brutish premodern patriarchal mentality, and its properly disgusting reduction of female human beings to mere sex objects, brood mares, and domestic servants, i.e. helpmates, to use the euphemism.

Adultery was biblically criminalized and prohibited then simply because a cheating wife was damaged goods, violated personal property, to use the customary clichés. Her sexuality was deemed the privileged possession of her earthly lord and master, i.e. her husband. It was certainly not hers to freely share with another. For another gent to infringe on the usufructuary rights of a married man to monopolize his wife's sexuality was tantamount to theft, theft of her reproductive value – for he could never again be confident that any children she bore were truly his.

Such infringement then indeed constituted not a betrayal of intimacy, but rather a grievous disrespecting of property. It was an outrageous trespass of a husband's primitive sense of procreative privilege, and of his exclusive enjoyment of his wife's fleshly favors.

Well, to get rather biologically blunt, this was quite some time before DNA paternity testing, so one could not very well be sure that a cheating woman's offspring were flesh of one's flesh. Or, as sociobiologists might say, carriers of one's own genes. The disinclination to expend one's hard-earned economic resources, one's lifeblood to raise children who perhaps didn't carry any of one's precious genes, made female adultery a rather appalling idea to the males of antiquity. Ergo its biblical forbiddance.

Quite simply, the seventh commandment was crassly designed to reign in women's libido and sexual liberty, and religiously interdict behavior that made men feel sexually and reproductively insecure. It was property law, pure & simple. No, there was nothing terribly morally lofty about it. It merely served to restrict the amatory accessibility of fillies to their studs, who claimed such an entitlement out of their own selfish-genetic imperatives. And who were self-serving enough to nervily enshrine their selfish-genetic imperatives in "God's law".

No, I'm not simplistically saying that the authors of the Ten Commandments were guilty of collectively conspiring in a cynical and blasphemous fashion to invent an injunction in God's name to serve their own ends. But then human beings are quite adept at unmindfully and unconsciously securing their various selfish ends. So much for one of the all-time favorite commandments of moralists, prudes, and old biddies! Well, but how about "Thou shalt not kill" then, the indubitably irreproachable interdiction of homicide? This one has, after all, served somewhat efficiently to regulate our destructive and bloody-minded animal impulses.

Well, in disillusioning truth, it was hardly intended to give the force of God's law to a Hindu-like ethic of noninjury to all living things. It absolutely didn't mean that one couldn't slaughter animals for food, or one's enemies just for being Other with a capital O. Or even members of one's own group, for a host of offenses that most modern folks in their right minds no longer think merit death as a punishment. Again, it didn't at all mean what present-day people idealistically interpret it to mean. It was not at all a morally excellent blanket proscription of life-taking.

I could go on, and I could quite easily similarly critique the rest of the ethical Decalogue, but I think you get my drift. A really strict-constructionist, retrogressively faithful to original intent approach to understanding the Commandments, one thankfully not taken by even the most stupidly literalistic fundamentalists, would render them horrifyingly anachronistic. We've quite reinterpreted them beyond any and all recognition to their original authors. And that's a very, very good thing indeed. Quite necessary for our continuing moral-spiritual evolution. Otherwise we'd still be at the social-moral level of the Iron Age!

The conclusion is located directly below
Yo, all of my subliterate conservative criticasters who find perusing and processing the sesquipedalian verbiage of my posts to be such a bothersome brain-taxing chore, I have a new nickname for you. Henceforth you shall be known as Pooh Bears. No, not for the obvious apt reasons, i.e., not because you're full of pooh, and not because of your ursine irritability. Rather, you put me in mind of an A.A. Milne quote, "I am a Bear of Very Little Brain, and long words bother me". Love ya, Pooh Bears.
charleslb
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7/21/2011 8:06:42 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
Conslusion

It's hardly such a monumental next step in humanity's development then to dispense with these old wineskins for our ethical thinking, to resolutely junk these readymade but dangerously demoded, offensively outdated formulations of morality , i.e. the Ten Commandments. It's a genuinely intrepid step that of course many progressive thinkers have already taken long ago and quite decisively. But I begin to digress ever so slightly. The sacrilegiously salient point here is that the real, traditional, primordial meaning of the moral commandments is not morally high-flown at all. They do not actually codify all of the probity, virtue, and spiritual beauty that Man at his best has proven himself capable of. They are all-too human inventions of all-too limited enlightenment.

To recap & sum up, the Aseret ha-Devarim, i.e., the good ole Ten Commandments can be exceedingly unhelpful, something true of all unexplicit moral prescripts. Which is precisely why a sage fellow like Confucius frowned somewhat on the use of moral prescripts. And worse than useless, they can be positively pernicious. They certainly shouldn't continue to be forced into the naïve noggins of defenseless schoolchildren. And, even if I were to concede, for argument's sake, the validity and worthiness of the "ethical Decalogue", lest we conveniently forget again let me reiterate that there's a good bit more to these religiously decreed ordinances than merely being the Holy One's benevolent injunctions to be nice boys and girls. They also train our minds in an intolerant form of religious thinking.

The simple salt of the earth may for millennia have taken the unmitigated goodness of the Commandments for granted. But then once upon a time, in the same simple fashion, they also took it for granted that slavery was God's will for the African, and that their world was pancake flat. An intellectual rule of thumb: simple does not always equal profound!

Come now, really, given all of the above, how could anyone but an intolerant, overweeningly righteous "true believer", or the most strident culture war warrior still advocate posting the Commandments in public places? That is, how could anyone who trumpets the ethical values embedded in the Commandments as being good for our waning Western civilization, hope to justify also foisting the "ritual Decalogue" on non-Jews & Christians (and although it may be an annoying little fact for conservative Christians, we do live in a pluralistic society today, in which a good many of us are neither Jews nor Christians)? As traditionally understood, the Ten Commandments are something of a package deal after all.

Of course we could always break with tradition and readily enough delete the "ritual Decalogue" altogether, but then we'd have a rather less round number. Nope, the Six Commandments just wouldn't have quite the same ring of tradition and authority, would they? And certain significant problems would still remain unresolved with the ethical portion.

But then, when we cut through the religio-moral-sociological BS, for many the desire to display God's commandments in public schools has precious little to do with a sincere & genuine concern for public morals. Rather, it's really all about control, and/or the good feeling of righteousness and moral superiority that one gets from imposing ones personal morals on society.

This holds especially true for the folks called "conservatives". What they truly, anxiously, and authoritarianly yearn to conserve is their relentlessly slipping control of our culture. Whether or not this unattractive shoe approximates a good fit for any specific conservative, I'll leave to an examination of his/her own conscience to answer.

But to conclude by getting quite personal with religious rightists, I've always found your high esteem for the Commandments rather naïve. Your conviction that their rote infixing in juvenile minds is essential, nay, the main thing to bring about effective moral socialization, is, frankly, unsophisticated. Not to mention, again, dangerously authoritarian!

Oh, I know that being a staunch, staid, and slightly stuffy booster of the culturally-celebrated and time-hallowed Ten Commandments can indeed make one feel pleasingly right-minded and righteous. Which goes a long way indeed to explain why even folks who fail to consistently practice all of them still verbally endorse them. But, in starkly stripped-down reality, the Commandments are largely a primitively antique moral code. One that can't compete with values such as tolerance and compassion as a guarantor of good social behavior.

If, at the end of the day spent reflecting on and debating the issue of the Ten Commandments, we sincerely wish to instill anything in the younger generation that will effectively ensure they grow up into nicely-behaved citizens, it's not a bunch of hackneyed thou shalts, a crock of coercive commandments (whose temporary usefulness we should all outgrow by late adolescence!), it's love, pure & simple. Do we really prefer instead to take a stuffed-shirt stand for the good ole Commandments because it makes us feel so darn traditional and upright? Hmm?
Yo, all of my subliterate conservative criticasters who find perusing and processing the sesquipedalian verbiage of my posts to be such a bothersome brain-taxing chore, I have a new nickname for you. Henceforth you shall be known as Pooh Bears. No, not for the obvious apt reasons, i.e., not because you're full of pooh, and not because of your ursine irritability. Rather, you put me in mind of an A.A. Milne quote, "I am a Bear of Very Little Brain, and long words bother me". Love ya, Pooh Bears.
jat93
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7/21/2011 11:39:43 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 7/21/2011 8:54:02 PM, Rockylightning wrote:
Please write a book.

Because you agree with what his views or because the way he expresses them is simply too lengthy for a forum? Or both? Or neither?
charleslb
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7/22/2011 1:36:42 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
Regarding the sixth commandment, I'd just like to add the following. Of course the Tanakh, the Hebrew scriptures, aren't quite as ambiguous on the anti-killing prohibition. The Hebrew scriptures use the word "ratzach", which has the distinct connotation of "murder". However, this is one of those frequent cases in which something is definitely lost in translation, i.e. clarity. The English word "kill" is simply not as clear and specific in its moral signification as is "ratzach", bringing us back again to the need for commentary to accompany moral prohibitions and commandments.
Yo, all of my subliterate conservative criticasters who find perusing and processing the sesquipedalian verbiage of my posts to be such a bothersome brain-taxing chore, I have a new nickname for you. Henceforth you shall be known as Pooh Bears. No, not for the obvious apt reasons, i.e., not because you're full of pooh, and not because of your ursine irritability. Rather, you put me in mind of an A.A. Milne quote, "I am a Bear of Very Little Brain, and long words bother me". Love ya, Pooh Bears.
Rockylightning
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7/22/2011 3:41:06 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 7/21/2011 11:39:43 PM, jat93 wrote:
At 7/21/2011 8:54:02 PM, Rockylightning wrote:
Please write a book.

Because you agree with what his views or because the way he expresses them is simply too lengthy for a forum? Or both? Or neither?

The latter.
innomen
Posts: 10,052
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7/22/2011 3:51:17 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
You've outdone yourself, seriously, i mean i haven't seen you do one this long ever, must be a DDO record or something. Most words written that will never be read by anyone. You should be proud.

I hope it was good for you though.
PARADIGM_L0ST
Posts: 6,958
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7/22/2011 5:02:27 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 7/22/2011 3:51:17 PM, innomen wrote:
You've outdone yourself, seriously, i mean i haven't seen you do one this long ever, must be a DDO record or something. Most words written that will never be read by anyone. You should be proud.

I hope it was good for you though.:

Seriously... what a waste of time and effort.
"Have you ever considered suicide? If not, please do." -- Mouthwash (to Inferno)
charleslb
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7/22/2011 7:45:56 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 7/22/2011 3:51:17 PM, innomen wrote:
You've outdone yourself, seriously, i mean i haven't seen you do one this long ever, must be a DDO record or something. Most words written that will never be read by anyone. You should be proud.

I hope it was good for you though.

And are you proud of needling someone with the fact that you have popcorn brain?

Popcorn brain is, btw, not a put down of one's intelligence. Rather, it's a neologism that refers to the way modern minds have been conditioned by technology, i.e. texting on cellphones, twittering, internet surfing & chatting, TV viewing with the remote in hand, etc. Apparently all of this has conditioned our minds to be constantly popping about, to be averse to dwelling anywhere for longer than it takes to get the gist of a soundbite. Indeed, the very idea of being expected to follow a train of thought that lasts more than two or three sentences is coming to feel like a downright rude imposition to many of us.

Alas you, dear innomen, and the others who've responded to this post solely to sarcastically remark on its above-average length, do rather seem to have a bit of popcorn brain. Again, it doesn't mean that you're dumb – I'm not saying that, so don't get all offended – but it does cause you to dumbly resent what you consider to be the rude prolixity of my writing. As a result you lash out with snide little comments, such as "I hope it was good for you though", and with criticisms of my verbosity and vocabulary.

Oh well, nothing I can do about the way your brain has been conditioned. But neither am I inclined to cater to short attention spans. It's your prerogative of course to not read my posts if you find them to be overlong, but you needn't respond just to taunt and insult, it won't motivate me to modify my style of self-expression. Any feedback from you with some substance to it is always welcome (you've proven yourself capable of giving such feedback in the past), but ridiculing replies that make no contribution to the thread and that merely give you a bit of malicious satisfaction are, frankly, beneath you and boring. Yes, please do try to acquit yourself better next time.
Yo, all of my subliterate conservative criticasters who find perusing and processing the sesquipedalian verbiage of my posts to be such a bothersome brain-taxing chore, I have a new nickname for you. Henceforth you shall be known as Pooh Bears. No, not for the obvious apt reasons, i.e., not because you're full of pooh, and not because of your ursine irritability. Rather, you put me in mind of an A.A. Milne quote, "I am a Bear of Very Little Brain, and long words bother me". Love ya, Pooh Bears.
charleslb
Posts: 4,740
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7/22/2011 7:48:09 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 7/22/2011 5:02:27 PM, PARADIGM_L0ST wrote:
At 7/22/2011 3:51:17 PM, innomen wrote:
You've outdone yourself, seriously, i mean i haven't seen you do one this long ever, must be a DDO record or something. Most words written that will never be read by anyone. You should be proud.

I hope it was good for you though.:

Seriously... what a waste of time and effort.

PARADIGM_L0ST, please see the reply to innomen that I just posted, it also applies to you.
Yo, all of my subliterate conservative criticasters who find perusing and processing the sesquipedalian verbiage of my posts to be such a bothersome brain-taxing chore, I have a new nickname for you. Henceforth you shall be known as Pooh Bears. No, not for the obvious apt reasons, i.e., not because you're full of pooh, and not because of your ursine irritability. Rather, you put me in mind of an A.A. Milne quote, "I am a Bear of Very Little Brain, and long words bother me". Love ya, Pooh Bears.
belle
Posts: 4,113
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7/22/2011 7:54:36 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 7/22/2011 7:45:56 PM, charleslb wrote:
And are you proud of needling someone with the fact that you have popcorn brain?

charles... i can't speak for anyone else, but i love to read. i really do. i go through about a book a week, give or take. i can sit down and read several hundred pages if they have something of substance, or at least something interesting, to say. you can't blame it all on other people's short attention spans. the ratio of substance to word count in your posts is just too high.
evidently i only come to ddo to avoid doing homework...
darkkermit
Posts: 11,204
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7/22/2011 7:56:59 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
charleslb, the reason why nobody reads your posts is because they have no value to anybody. Since reading your posts comes at an opportunity cost, nobody bothers to read it, just like you don't usually bother to contribute to any other discussions unless its based on something you wrote.
Open borders debate:
http://www.debate.org...
belle
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7/22/2011 8:00:42 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
lol of course i meant too low. feel free to construe it as a freudian slip if you wish :P
evidently i only come to ddo to avoid doing homework...
jat93
Posts: 1,440
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7/22/2011 8:45:23 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 7/22/2011 7:56:59 PM, darkkermit wrote:
charleslb, the reason why nobody reads your posts is because they have no value to anybody. Since reading your posts comes at an opportunity cost, nobody bothers to read it, just like you don't usually bother to contribute to any other discussions unless its based on something you wrote.

Now I wouldn't say that they have no value to anybody. Charles certainly has a very interesting vocabulary and often comes across as quite eloquently witty. He is definitely a thinker (using the term loosely) and is clearly of decent intelligence. The truth is though that, as belle said, there's just not enough substance - too much fluff, not enough factual information, too many unsupported conceptual ideas that can often neither be proven or unproven. By fluff, by the way, I refer to pretty wording and phrases at the risk of no real concrete ideas. No offense Charles, but your posts are often in need of more facts in place of fluff and could most certainly be cut in half, at least, in order to really stimulate optimal intellectual discourse.
jat93
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7/22/2011 8:49:40 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
By the way, from what I read I agree with most of what you said. But you could easily fit all the content in that first post in one paragraph or two short ones with maximum info and less fluff and rhetoric...
Wnope
Posts: 6,924
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7/22/2011 9:34:03 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 7/22/2011 7:45:56 PM, charleslb wrote:
At 7/22/2011 3:51:17 PM, innomen wrote:
You've outdone yourself, seriously, i mean i haven't seen you do one this long ever, must be a DDO record or something. Most words written that will never be read by anyone. You should be proud.

I hope it was good for you though.

And are you proud of needling someone with the fact that you have popcorn brain?

Popcorn brain is, btw, not a put down of one's intelligence. Rather, it's a neologism that refers to the way modern minds have been conditioned by technology, i.e. texting on cellphones, twittering, internet surfing & chatting, TV viewing with the remote in hand, etc. Apparently all of this has conditioned our minds to be constantly popping about, to be averse to dwelling anywhere for longer than it takes to get the gist of a soundbite. Indeed, the very idea of being expected to follow a train of thought that lasts more than two or three sentences is coming to feel like a downright rude imposition to many of us.

Alas you, dear innomen, and the others who've responded to this post solely to sarcastically remark on its above-average length, do rather seem to have a bit of popcorn brain. Again, it doesn't mean that you're dumb – I'm not saying that, so don't get all offended – but it does cause you to dumbly resent what you consider to be the rude prolixity of my writing. As a result you lash out with snide little comments, such as "I hope it was good for you though", and with criticisms of my verbosity and vocabulary.

Oh well, nothing I can do about the way your brain has been conditioned. But neither am I inclined to cater to short attention spans. It's your prerogative of course to not read my posts if you find them to be overlong, but you needn't respond just to taunt and insult, it won't motivate me to modify my style of self-expression. Any feedback from you with some substance to it is always welcome (you've proven yourself capable of giving such feedback in the past), but ridiculing replies that make no contribution to the thread and that merely give you a bit of malicious satisfaction are, frankly, beneath you and boring. Yes, please do try to acquit yourself better next time.

Feel free to call me a popcorn head, but considering the complexity of ideas that are discussed as well as how succintly they are discussed, there is absolutely no way you need that much room to make an OP. That's why people aren't reading it.

I could explain general relativity to a high schooler in the amount of space you are taking up.

If your goal is to communicate to others, then you should be able to explain yourself without turning it into a manifesto. Otherwise, as has already been suggested, this is just you enjoying the sound of your own voice.
Rockylightning
Posts: 2,862
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7/22/2011 9:48:26 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
I am not reading it, not due to its length, wordiness, or my "short" attention span, but more that I have to stare at a screen for a long time.

When I said you should write a book, it was in all seriousness. People would enjoy what you have to say if its not on a petty internet forum, but rather out in the world. Karl Marx didnt share his writings at a local bar, no he published them.
popculturepooka
Posts: 7,924
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7/22/2011 10:16:28 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 7/22/2011 7:54:36 PM, belle wrote:
At 7/22/2011 7:45:56 PM, charleslb wrote:
And are you proud of needling someone with the fact that you have popcorn brain?

charles... i can't speak for anyone else, but i love to read. i really do. i go through about a book a week, give or take. i can sit down and read several hundred pages if they have something of substance, or at least something interesting, to say. you can't blame it all on other people's short attention spans. the ratio of substance to word count in your posts is just too high.

This. I read more than almost anyone I know but I just can't bring myself to read more than the first couple sentences.
At 10/3/2016 11:49:13 PM, thett3 wrote:
BLACK LIVES MATTER!
jat93
Posts: 1,440
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7/23/2011 1:19:00 AM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 7/22/2011 9:48:26 PM, Rockylightning wrote:
When I said you should write a book, it was in all seriousness. People would enjoy what you have to say if its not on a petty internet forum, but rather out in the world. Karl Marx didnt share his writings at a local bar, no he published them.

Really Charles, you should. You could literally copy and paste a dozen of your long posts that have some common thread between them and try to get publish or worst comes to worst self publish. Come on, you might actually pick up some cash for ad hom attacks on libertarianism while shamelessly promoting communism! I jest; you should go for it.
DATCMOTO
Posts: 6,160
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7/23/2011 4:46:33 AM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 7/22/2011 1:36:42 PM, charleslb wrote:
Regarding the sixth commandment, I'd just like to add the following. Of course the Tanakh, the Hebrew scriptures, aren't quite as ambiguous on the anti-killing prohibition. The Hebrew scriptures use the word "ratzach", which has the distinct connotation of "murder". However, this is one of those frequent cases in which something is definitely lost in translation, i.e. clarity. The English word "kill" is simply not as clear and specific in its moral signification as is "ratzach", bringing us back again to the need for commentary to accompany moral prohibitions and commandments.

You have WAY too much time on your hands; those of us who actually HAVE a life are never going to read all this.. keep your posts short and snappy!

The Law is for JEWS and JEWS alone, and because it was given to dead people it WAS dead; ONLY in Jesus Christ is it fulfilled.
The Cross.. the Cross.
charleslb
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7/23/2011 10:48:50 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 7/22/2011 8:49:40 PM, jat93 wrote:
By the way, from what I read I agree with most of what you said. But you could easily fit all the content in that first post in one paragraph or two short ones with maximum info and less fluff and rhetoric...

Thank you for your feedback. I can at least concede that you're sincerely trying to be constructive in your criticism, and not just mean-spirited like certain others. For that at least, I say thank you.
Yo, all of my subliterate conservative criticasters who find perusing and processing the sesquipedalian verbiage of my posts to be such a bothersome brain-taxing chore, I have a new nickname for you. Henceforth you shall be known as Pooh Bears. No, not for the obvious apt reasons, i.e., not because you're full of pooh, and not because of your ursine irritability. Rather, you put me in mind of an A.A. Milne quote, "I am a Bear of Very Little Brain, and long words bother me". Love ya, Pooh Bears.
charleslb
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7/23/2011 10:50:25 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 7/22/2011 9:49:12 PM, FREEDO wrote:
I'm going to read this just because I feel like no one else will and someone has to.

Gee, thanks, I think. Please feel welcome to post your feedback after you do so.
Yo, all of my subliterate conservative criticasters who find perusing and processing the sesquipedalian verbiage of my posts to be such a bothersome brain-taxing chore, I have a new nickname for you. Henceforth you shall be known as Pooh Bears. No, not for the obvious apt reasons, i.e., not because you're full of pooh, and not because of your ursine irritability. Rather, you put me in mind of an A.A. Milne quote, "I am a Bear of Very Little Brain, and long words bother me". Love ya, Pooh Bears.
mongoose
Posts: 3,500
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7/23/2011 11:31:46 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 7/23/2011 10:50:25 PM, charleslb wrote:
At 7/22/2011 9:49:12 PM, FREEDO wrote:
I'm going to read this just because I feel like no one else will and someone has to.

Gee, thanks, I think. Please feel welcome to post your feedback after you do so.

He probably still isn't done. Give him another day or two.
It is odd when one's capacity for compassion is measured not in what he is willing to do by his own time, effort, and property, but what he will force others to do with their own property instead.
medic0506
Posts: 13,450
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7/24/2011 12:31:01 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
Just reading a few paragraphs into this diatribe brings up a few questions. First, you will not let the bible stand as proof of God's existence because that reasoning is circular, right?? So why can you now let it stand for your own purposes, to show that He doesn't exist?? Isn't it both contradictory, and circular, for you to use it?? We can't use it as proof of His existence, but you can use it as evidence for His non-existence, seems to me to be a case of special pleading.

So is the bible acceptable as proof, or isn't it??

If it isn't, then you're entire case is null as it is based on something that can't be accepted as fact. There is no proof for your claims.

You can't logically use the bible to prove the bible's inaccuracy, and disprove God's existence, as you are trying to do. How can you logically claim all the following statements to be true, simultaneously??
a) God does not exist.
b) God comitted atrocities.
c) The bible is not accurate, or acceptable as proof.
d) The bible says God comitted atrocities so He is immoral.

The only way your argument has any shot at being logically acceptable, is if you concede that God exists, and that the bible is accurate and acceptable as proof.
charleslb
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7/24/2011 2:06:41 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 7/24/2011 12:31:01 PM, medic0506 wrote:
Just reading a few paragraphs into this diatribe brings up a few questions. First, you will not let the bible stand as proof of God's existence because that reasoning is circular, right?? So why can you now let it stand for your own purposes, to show that He doesn't exist?? ...

Say what?! I think that you need to read the entire post, perhaps then you'll realize that I'm not at all attacking God or people's faith in God. Rather, I'm criticizing the deplorable conceptualization of the Divine that we find in the backstory of the Ten Commandments, and elsewhere in the Bible. And I'm making a larger case against the way that conservative Christians attempt to consecrate the Decalogue, with the force of law, as a moral cornerstone of our civilization's social foundation. If all you've taken away from your reading of a few paragraphs of my "diatribe" is that I'm trying to disprove the reality of God, well, then perhaps reading a little of my post is worse than reading none at all.
Yo, all of my subliterate conservative criticasters who find perusing and processing the sesquipedalian verbiage of my posts to be such a bothersome brain-taxing chore, I have a new nickname for you. Henceforth you shall be known as Pooh Bears. No, not for the obvious apt reasons, i.e., not because you're full of pooh, and not because of your ursine irritability. Rather, you put me in mind of an A.A. Milne quote, "I am a Bear of Very Little Brain, and long words bother me". Love ya, Pooh Bears.
charleslb
Posts: 4,740
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7/24/2011 2:08:38 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 7/22/2011 9:48:26 PM, Rockylightning wrote:
I am not reading it, not due to its length, wordiness, or my "short" attention span, but more that I have to stare at a screen for a long time.

When I said you should write a book, it was in all seriousness. People would enjoy what you have to say if its not on a petty internet forum, but rather out in the world. Karl Marx didnt share his writings at a local bar, no he published them.

Okay, you make some good points here. Thanks.
Yo, all of my subliterate conservative criticasters who find perusing and processing the sesquipedalian verbiage of my posts to be such a bothersome brain-taxing chore, I have a new nickname for you. Henceforth you shall be known as Pooh Bears. No, not for the obvious apt reasons, i.e., not because you're full of pooh, and not because of your ursine irritability. Rather, you put me in mind of an A.A. Milne quote, "I am a Bear of Very Little Brain, and long words bother me". Love ya, Pooh Bears.
Wnope
Posts: 6,924
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7/24/2011 2:08:55 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 7/24/2011 2:06:41 PM, charleslb wrote:
At 7/24/2011 12:31:01 PM, medic0506 wrote:If all you've taken away from your reading of a few paragraphs of my "diatribe" is that I'm trying to disprove the reality of God, well, then perhaps reading a little of my post is worse than reading none at all.

That's how you respond to one of the first people willing to read your post?

And your hope is that people will now read it ALL?

FYI, if medic can read several paragraphs and not gain any sense of your thesis, the problem is probably on YOUR side.