The Ten Commandments
Posted: 02 January 2005 12:45 PM   [ Ignore ]  
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Dear Editor,

I wanted to address an issue or two in what has become perhaps the great controversy of the age, at least in America, that being the place of religion in government. The intentions of The Founders are confusing at best. The one thing which seems to make sense to me, being one of those “educated elite liberals” (I also drive a Volvo, although I generally prefer expresso to latte) is that the first bunch of white folks to drop anchor here in North America, braved disease and uncertainty and The North Atlantic in big wooden tub because the government in England had decided that the religion they liked best would have to be the religion every Englishman would have to embrace or there were going to be nasty consequences. Some 150 years later, when it came time to make a nation of these colonies, there were many battles over the question of whether or not Christianity or some particular version of it would be institutionalized in our founding documents. Many arguments eventually led to a whole bunch of compromises which led to The Establishment Clause, which said that the government should not do anything which might look like an endorsement of any particular religion. Even the word “Creator” was used in The Declaration of Independence instead of the word “God” or “Jesus” or “Allah” and it was very much by design. These well intentioned people had sharp memories and remembered what had happened in England. Recall also that these same folks, with the best of intentions, said that it was ridiculous to suggest that a woman had the same right to vote that a man had and that it was perfectly all right for people to own other people and use them as they wished. There were many good Christians in The Old South who knew the truth of the matter, that the God they worshiped had endorsed their right to own slaves. When other people thought that did not seem quite right, it resulted in the death of several million young men in what was known thereafter as The Civil War. The Good Christians in The South continued the social slavery of their darker skinned neighbors until the 1960s. Many of those who sat in the front pew on Sunday felt it was their right to hang black men by their necks for speaking to a white woman and celebrated justice with a few bars of “Amazing Grace” round the old oak tree the night before. Even Jefferson himself, the man who penned those immortal words, “All Men Are Created Equal”, forgot to add the qualifier, ”except for the ones I own”.  As far as The Ten Commandments go, I am often perplexed at the contention that they are the strong and certain backbone of our laws. I wonder which of the ten pertain. The first one says that God will not allow any other Gods but himself. The second one says you shall not make any pictures or statues of any of these other Gods which God does not approve of. The third says you should not say the name of God in any nasty manner. The fourth says to make sure you keep the Sabbath holy, which I think any Jewish person could tell you, in their book, is Saturday. The fifth is to honor your parents. Thank goodness we don’t jail people for breaking that commandment or 98% of us would have been issued an orange jumpsuit as teenagers. The sixth is very important and orders that we not kill. Does that include things like “collateral damage”? Number seven is a real humdinger, No sex with someone if you are married to someone else. Ouch. The eighth suggests we should not steal. What of the man whose children are starving? Number nine tells us that one should not indulge in the spreading of nasty rumors. I’m at least happy I can report that I have never encountered this on Shelter Island. The last one on the list is that we should not wish for the things our neighbor has if we don’t have them. Boy, there goes Capitalism right. down the tubes. We have a national economy based upon everybody wanting what everybody else has. Time to turn in those new Nikes and fill in the swimming pool. Reflecting back on the bunch, eight of the ten have no connection whatsoever to any United States law I know. The Founders felt strongly that every person should have the right to see religious questions exactly as they please, without any impediment from anyone, especially the government. The greatest threat to Christians and any other religion is when the government starts telling them how to conduct their business but that can only be assured if religions of all kinds keep out of the business of the government as well. There can be no gray zone or we lose the benefits. We are not all Christians; we are not all Jews or Atheists or Muslims for that matter. There is enormous controversy even among Christians as to just what it means to be a Christian. The same for The Jews and Muslims. The one thing we all share is just this, we are all Americans and the rights of all Americans must be respected by all other Americans. If it makes people more comfortable to write that down ten times on the face of a big block of granite then I’ll be happy to bring the hammer and chisel. Amen.

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Posted: 02 January 2005 02:26 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]  
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I have heard that at the time this comandment only applied to women. Men could do as they pleased.

Moses probably got the idea of God from Amenhotep IV who decreed that there was only one god, Aten, who was portrayed as the disc of the sun.

Amenhotep IV changed his name to Akhenaten, which means roughly, “He who is useful to the Sun Disc,” and began obliterating the names of the earlier gods from temples and public buildings.


Akhenaten married Nefertiti and sired Tutankhamen.

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Posted: 02 January 2005 02:33 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]  
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Good stuff, Daniel.  Keep the pressure on.

Which paper did you send it to?  Maybe we can check their website and contribute to the debate.

Keep us informed.

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Posted: 03 January 2005 03:17 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]  
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[quote author=“lawrence”]I have heard that at the time this comandment only applied to women. Men could do as they pleased.

Moses probably got the idea of God from Amenhotep IV who decreed that there was only one god, Aten, who was portrayed as the disc of the sun.


***
Moses was not ever a real person.  He was a mythical figure.  Conversely the other Egyptians you mention were real people.

 

 

Amenhotep IV changed his name to Akhenaten, which means roughly, “He who is useful to the Sun Disc,” and began obliterating the names of the earlier gods from temples and public buildings.


Akhenaten married Nefertiti and sired Tutankhamen.

***
And this first attempt at monotheism was rightly rooted from ehe AE society.  But, it would eventually be taken up a millenia later.

JL

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Posted: 03 January 2005 04:22 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]  
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[quote author=“exploded-planet-god”][quote author=“lawrence”]

Moses was not ever a real person.  He was a mythical figure.  Conversely the other Egyptians you mention were real people.
JL

It is quite likely that many ancient historical figures were not one person but an amalgamation. Aesop may or may not have lived as well. More than likely ‘Aesop’ collected many stories similar to the way the brothers Grimm did and, as has been speculated about, Shakespear.

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Posted: 03 January 2005 04:31 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]  
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[quote author=“lawrence”][quote author=“exploded-planet-god”][quote author=“lawrence”]

Moses was not ever a real person.  He was a mythical figure.  Conversely the other Egyptians you mention were real people.
JL

It is quite likely that many ancient historical figures were not one person but an amalgamation. Aesop may or may not have lived as well. More than likely ‘Aesop’ collected many stories similar to the way the brothers Grimm did and, as has been speculated about, Shakespear.

***
Moses was NOT a real person or based on any real person.  He was a deity.

JL

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Posted: 03 January 2005 06:53 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]  
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[quote author=“exploded-planet-god”]
Moses was NOT a real person or based on any real person.  He was a deity.

JL

de·i·ty
n. pl. de·i·ties

  1. A god or goddess.
  2.  1. The essential nature or condition of being a god; divinity.
      2. Deity God. Used with the.

any supernatural being worshipped as controlling some part of the world or some aspect of life or who is the personification of a force

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Posted: 03 January 2005 10:50 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]  
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Dear Editor,

I wanted to address an issue or two in what has become perhaps the great controversy of the age, at least in America, that being the place of religion in government. The intentions of The Founders are confusing at best. The one thing which seems to make sense to me, being one of those “educated elite liberals” (I also drive a Volvo, although I generally prefer expresso to latte) is that the first bunch of white folks to drop anchor here in North America, braved disease and uncertainty and The North Atlantic in big wooden tub because the government in England had decided that the religion they liked best would have to be the religion every Englishman would have to embrace or there were going to be nasty consequences.


Daniel, yours is a well-thought-out letter, and I agree completly with most of it.  However, whenever I see someone write something like this concerning our first settlers, It curls my toes.  The Puritans were not victims of religious persecution, they were the persecuters!  They were kicked out of both England and the Netherlands prior to coming to New England as a last resort.  After terrorizing the natives, and burning a few witches, they became some of our founders.  This is not the story they tought me in grammer school, but it is the truth nevertheless.

Pete

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Posted: 03 January 2005 11:17 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]  
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Pete,
  Thanks for your kind words. We were all taught a lot of fairy tales dressed up as history. I think that The Puritans were just as awful as the people who chased them out of Europe, in some ways, worse. The letter I wrote to my local paper was enough for people to wrap their heads around and in an effort to make a point and not seem like I was swinging a sledge hammer, I decided to not toss too many spears at a time. I read recently that the model Hitler used for the extermination of Jews and others they deemed undesirable was the American treatment of the natives they found here. How many Americans would be willing to accept that unfortunate and most horrible reality. Hitler was apparently a good student. American knowledge of history is often fantasy based. I completely agree that The Puritans began the systematic extermination of the Native American. The invention of the slot machine will secure their revenge.

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Posted: 03 January 2005 01:36 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]  
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[quote author=“dan”] We were all taught a lot of fairy tales dressed up as history.

Dan,

I read your letter this morning and spent the rest of the day trying to remember what I had learned about the origins of our country.  Unfortunately, all I could remember was Columbus, the Mayflower, and 1492, and I don’t think that I heard the term “Founding Father” until I was an adult.  I confess that my education has a large cavity surrounding the start of this nation, now I must hit the books in order to fill in the spaces that my bible-belt education left out.  Be certain, that my child will know the premise of the start of the nation, the atrocities that occurred when “discovering” it, and knowing my kid…he will put the history teacher on the spot when the lectures don’t tell the truth.  (I look forward to visiting the principal.)

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Posted: 03 January 2005 01:58 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]  
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[quote author=“dan”]Pete,
I read recently that the model Hitler used for the extermination of Jews and others they deemed undesirable was the American treatment of the natives they found here. How many Americans would be willing to accept that unfortunate and most horrible reality. Hitler was apparently a good student. American knowledge of history is often fantasy based.

As a descendent of an indigenous American Indian, possibly more than one, that walked the ‘Trail of Tears” I find American Imperialism to be one of the most contemptible and corrupt actions that have ever occurred on this Earth.

First wipe them out with nasty disease (smallpox) and then herd the few survivors onto ‘reservations’. Reservations far from home- in which knowledge of the local environment is lacking. (Good method to reduce existing indigenous American ‘indian’ population).

(Aside: It is so cool that syphilis is making inroads into white European’s genetic structure with antibiotic resistant strains they deserve everything they get! Just kidding!

To wish genetic deconstruction might be the same as declaring - every first born son must die!

Lawrence Turner

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