In article <1991Jul5.124140.21092@cetia.fr> tim@charon.Berkeley.EDU (Tim Bessie) writes: >

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In article <1991Jul5.124140.21092@cetia.fr> tim@charon.Berkeley.EDU (Tim Bessie) writes: >Just a question for all of you religion, society and culture buffs >out there... >In a continuing debate between myself and another guy here at work (me >being a godless heathen and he being a good recently converted christian), >he has stated the following: > "In all societies and cultures in the world, there is not > one that does not -- in its laws and morals -- contain the > ideas of the Ten Commandments." It is great fun to poke holes in this guy's doctrinal balloon. Let's look at some of the 10 Commandments. > "Worship no god but me [Yahweh]" Exclusivism is absent from many major traditions, such as Eastern philosophies and religions and Western pagan religions. If one worshipped Zeus, for instance, one was not thereby forbidden to worship Athena or Artemis or Apollo or Demeter or Dionysus, for instance. Furthermore, Catholic, Anglican, and Eastern Orthodox Christianity feature the "veneration" of the Virgin Mary and a host of saints. > "Don't make any sort of representations of deities." Rejection very widespread, even with the Christian churches mentioned earlier. As one Babylonian commented, "the statue is not the god." > "Don't work every seventh day because it would be sacrilege to do so". The Sabbath is absent from most societies, even among many that profess belief in it. It is partially revoked in the New Testament, for instance; Jesus Christ though it legitimate to work miracles and gather grain if one's hungry then. > "Do no commit murder." A straightforward prohibition of a destructive activity. However, the God of the Bible commands and performs genocide on a number of occasions. > "Do not steal." Same here also. But the Israelites plunder conquered towns, at least according to their own history book. > "Do not commit adultery." Extramarital sex is something one does not want one's partner to do, even if one likes to do it oneself. > "Do not desire any of a neighbor's property (a list of examples includes: land, wife, slaves of both sexes, domestic bovine, donkey, ...)" I doubt that many societies have made much of an issue out of this. >Also, he has said: > > "In all societies and cultures in the world, there is not > one that does not have as it's central spiritual structure > the concept of a devine being." [He later added "or power"]. And that is not to mention different conceptions of deities. The Greek ones were pictured as super people (leading to comments that cows and horses and lions would depict deities that look like cows and horses and lions, as the case may be). However, even they were subject to an impersonal Fate. The early Romans worshipped an abundance of insubstantial _numina_ (sg. _numen_) or divine spirits residing in various objects and circumstances. In many early religions, the deities were apparently some kind of nature spirits residing in various parts of the Universe; the idea of a single God outside the Universe is not especially common. One curious idea is that the individual self is part of a universal self that has forgotten about itself, and that this identity can be recognized after an appropriate search. This is a part of many Eastern philosophies, for instance (Atman == Brahman, etc). In addition, the idea of an impersonal natural order is central to Buddhism, Confucianism, and Taoism (if I understand correctly), and was put forth by several Greek philosophers. It is an integral part of the view of the world embodied by modern science. >Now, these statements, especially the first one, seem patently ridiculous >to me. All you religious scholars get your noggins working and let me know >what you think about all this. I'd do some research myself, but I'm stuck >here in France and have no access to an English-language library where >I could find the information I'd need. >Please help this dedicated greenie to fight against the whims of >whitewashed, sexless, dirtless Xtianity!!! Good luck. $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$ Loren Petrich, the Master Blaster: loren@sunlight.llnl.gov Since this nodename is not widely known, you may have to try: loren%sunlight.llnl.gov@star.stanford.edu

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