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“Now what exactly are you talking about?” asked Kevin while entering the apartment, closing the door behind him, and walking over to Josh sitting on the sofa “! think that maybe ! might be going nuts,” replied Josh in a "uiet tone# almost a whisper Kevin with a look of concern trying to mask a smile asked, “$hat do you mean?” “! was over at a friend%s house $ell, it was the parents of a friend%s house,” explained Josh, “&n the wall over the fireplace is a print framed containing the 'en (ommandments )he had to go to take her mother to work and *ust left me there $hile ! was sitting there in the "uiet of their almost empty apartment, ! *ust stared at the print and as ! stared at it, ! started to think ” “+nd?” prodded Kevin “! suddenly reali,ed something but it couldn%t be, it couldn%t have been that simple, could it?” “(ould what?” asked Kevin seriously wondering what his friend had seen “$ell, for the most part, ! think that most, if not all, people, including myself, *ust looked at it as rules from the -ord 'hat is, while they are looked at individually, but when viewed altogether, ! suddenly reali,ed that it is so much more than *ust a set of rules# it is a game plan# a game plan as in a lesson plan that is truly designed to create growth by challenging the character of a person 'ake .ammurabi%s (ode, it is a bunch of laws with the resulting penalties as with most other legal codes, but this is different, it is *ust a list of rules to follow with no threat ! know that you%re a professed atheist, but we%re talking about something that if it isn%t the words of the -ord, they are definitely the results of thousands of years of ancient thought, experience, and wisdom from a time when people weren%t distracted by shopping and entertainment, hell, money hadn%t even been invented yet and had an ama,ing amount of time to think, share, and discuss ideas ” Kevin *ust sat and looked at his old college chum with an expression as if he was really trying to workout something for Josh Josh was not making eye contact .e was *ust leaning forward with his arms resting on his knees looking down at the floor before him +fter a few seconds of considering Josh%s words and drawing a blank, Kevin asked, “.ow do you mean?” “$ell, it is difficult to explain, but try to stick with me,” responded Josh looking up but not at Kevin, but at the window across the room from him, “!magine you want to teach someone something, but instead of coming out and explaining it to them, you want them to really grow and develop !t is something that they need to discover themselves in order for the students to truly learn the lesson /ou set them off on a *ourney with limitations as learning aids to stop them from looking for easy answers but instead, real character development +nd, imagine that you want it to transcend generation after generation ” “+nd, you believe that this is what the 'en (ommandments are?” Josh turned and looked at Kevin silently while his mind searched for an answer and finally answered, “/eah, yes, that is exactly what ! think that it is ”
“(an you explain it# ! mean can you tell me how you think this0walk me through an example?” “&kay, ! guess the best way is to go through each of them and explain what ! think is the specific reason it is among the list ” “$hat is the first one?” “! thought all atheists knew them by heart?” asked Josh with a smile +fter taking a second to think, Josh says, “! am your -ord and you shall have no other gods before me ! think what is being set up here, is an idea for anarchy ” “$hat are you talking about?” “$ell think about it, another way of having no gods before the -ord, is that there is no one between you and the -ord# not a god# not a human# *ust you and the -ord 'hat makes each human an e"ual in that no one has any authority over another0it is *ust humans with the -ord above them ! mean imagine if people had learned to think and be responsible for themselves# you can%t have that with leaders !magine if people learned to think and be responsible for themselves instead of falling under the intoxicating effect of leaders such as .itler, Jim Jones, and 1obespierre, kings, "ueens, and Napoleon +ctually, it would be a lot as ! believe our government was supposed to have been under the original idea of our 2ounding 2athers, a forum to work out disagreements and problems, not the seat of leaders but representatives representing the wishes of thinking people 3od is essentially the only authority $ith no one between you and 3od, which is no leaders, we are all e"ual ” “!nteresting, ! would have never thought of that ” “!%m not even reading anything into this0it says there is to be no other gods before the -ord 'hat is no one in any shape or form between the level of 3od and humans in this two tiered hierarchy 'hat means people thinking for themselves ” “)o what is the next commandment?” “!t would be the one about graven images 'his, to me, would be the use of icons or symbols Just look at the +merican flag and how people use it !n some cases it is demonstrated that the flag is far more important than the rights and ideas it represents &r even the National +nthem# ! think that in 4545 a sailor shot and killed a man at a baseball game for not standing during the playing of the +nthem and was cheered by the crowd for doing this heinous act against the very +merican right of expression the man who was murdered was exercising that the flag or +nthem are supposed to represent !con, graven images, anthems, flags are devices used to manipulate and control 'hey are easy things for people to cling to without really thinking# in fact, the thoughts are already created for them and can be manipulated by those who wish to be on top leading us back to no other gods before me ” “$hat happened to the sailor?” “Not sure, couldn%t find more info on it ” Kevin had perked up with Josh%s examples so far as he said, “! think that you might actually have something here 6lease, go on# what is the next?” “!t%s the one about taking the -ord%s name in vain ! think that it is pretty much self explanatory 'hink of the phrase, “Deus Vult!” which was the battle cry of 6ope 7rban !! at
(lermont in 4859 when he called for the beginning of the (rusades +nother good example is look at all of this is people like Jim Jones# feeding off of the fears, desperation, and ignorance of the people# using 3od to manipulate them and again, leading us back to the first one about no gods before me ” “:efinitely sounds like you did some real thinking about this :o go on, you have my interests ;y the way, what does “Deus Vult!” mean?” “!t means 3od wills it &h, by the way, an excellent example from our recent past would be the Na,is ” “$ait, ! thought that the Na,is were against organi,ed religion?” “/es and no, they had their own interpretation of (hristianity with a departure from the existing churches, especially, the (atholics, but ! think the hatred the Na,is had of the church was more of control, as in having to share control of the masses and influencing them, and distrust than it was from any actual spiritual enlightenment they might have thought that they had ;ut also remember that the Na,is had their own use of mysticism and rituals and a belief in a national spirit in the form of worshipping the 2atherland0another god before the -ord ” “Nice, well thought out,” conceded Kevin, “! think also that a keynote here is that the idea of things having meaning and being more important than human life ” “/eah, ! guess so,” responded Josh thoughtfully, “! haven%t "uite figured out the next one which is the one about keeping the )abbath a day of rest <ost ! can reason out is that it is a day to *ust rest, contemplate, and reconnect with others ! know that during the <iddle +ges the church tried to illegali,e warfare on )undays# actually four days a week known as the day of the -ord# if anything to cut down on the constant fighting which kept everyone on the edge of survival with fields and towns being destroyed ! do know that several generals including )tonewall Jackson preferred to fight on )undays thinking that the -ord would bless his efforts0 *ust how twisted and sick is that?” “<aybe, it has something to do with the fact that as we work, many tend to get lost in our work and this gives a mandatory timeout# a chance to step back from what you are doing and take it all in and re=evaluate the situation0you know, for a moment of clarity before proceeding,” offered Kevin “(ould very well be that and so much more as well,” said Josh, “Number five is a pretty easy one, ! think, honor your parents >ven if they aren%t the +lbert >instein of anything, they are still far more experienced in life than you are and chances are, they have made a lot of the mistakes you are going to make so it might be a very good idea to listen to them, learn from them and their mistakes, and improve on your life from their experiences Not to mention, they did take care of and looked out for you for all of your life# ! think that it would be imperative that you take care of and look out for them 'hen there is also the whole idea that if you have a disagreement with them and in order to honor them, you must become skillful at argument to tell them why you think that they are wrong while at the same time showing them respect which is a valued skill in any confrontation especially if you want the other person to listen and consider what you have to say /ou must learn to raise the "uality of your argument and not the volume of your voice ” “)ounds good to me,” replied Kevin, “)o what is next?”
“/ou shall not commit murder,” answered Josh, “! think this one is a bit on the tough side because you look at it and take it at its surface value very easily ! think that you have to think of the reasons people do kill or murder and when you consider that the ma*ority of reasons are covered by the other commandments, this is almost redundant ;ut then there is one ma*or reason why people kill or murder when it has nothing to do with possession or envy and that is fear, mistrust of others and their ideas Now, if you aren%t allowed to kill them, you have to deal with their difference of opinion &nly through challenges do we grow0there is nothing bad about learning you are wrong about something# ! think that it is worse to go on through life believing what is wrong +nyone can kill and many do because it is easier to silence a difference of an opinion than it is to deal with it or even learn from it 'hink about it, most of >instein%s great revelations were genius and the biggest reason he was able to see what he did was simply that instead of following the same old ways of thinking, he looked at the science from a totally different angle ” “!%ve heard that,” responded Kevin casually “(ommitting adultery is the next one,” started Josh, “No relationship is perfect in the beginning 'here are always slight differences and pretenses ;est you can hope for is to find someone who has similar interests and likes that is willing to work with you because that is what it takes0a lot of work and in that work, you can only grow and develop +gain, it is easy to run away instead of challenging yourself and growing ” “! would add that it is a matter of being able to be a master of your urges instead of those urges being the master of you +re you an empty headed being or are you a human?” “'o me, there is no reason to cheat !f you are not in love, why torture both of you by putting on a show?” added Josh “-et%s see, the next one is 'hou shall not steal 'o me if you are living in a truly functional community, why would there be a reason to steal +gain, there is no reason why people can%t work things out for one another ! mean when you think of it, the challenge is to eliminate the reasons to steal in a community0biggest one ! can think of is does everyone have what they need and if not, what are the solutions 'hen again, in our society, we have a massive apparatus to create desire in for things in people0capitalism can only thrive through constant demand and consumption &n one hand we tell people to live within their means yet on the other, we dangle all sorts of things in front of the people and tell them that they need this or else they *ust aren%t anyone because we measure success with a ruler that is marked with things, power, and money ” “Not to mention again, here we are with the worship of things or the obsession of things &h, and ! almost forgot, ! can%t tell you how many relationships ! have seen fail because it was easier to run away than to face a challenge together and grow0whether you like it or not, you will never grow without interacting with another person ” “.ow many relationships have you%ve seen that have fallen apart that easily?” asked Josh “&ne is one too many 'hat is a sad fact of human existence# most people would rather take an easy answer than seek real growth through a true challenge no matter what or who the easier path will cost ” “3ood point,” agreed Josh "uickly, “Next, we have the one concerning bearing false witness against your neighbor ” Josh paused and took a deep breath then continued, “2irst step in
developing a functional community is trust and how can you trust is the community is filled with lies? .ow can anyone trust you enough to want you to be part of a team and let%s face it, we have the freedoms we have because members of a community fill niches which and do the tasks they do which frees you up to do what you want 2or example# a doctor can only do the studies and the practice because someone else is building the roads and buildings or farming the food or providing the energy !f doctors had to do all of that on their own, they wouldn%t have time to be even half the doctor they need to be to be of service .owever, if there are lies, how can you trust the other members to do that for you while you do what you are doing?” “)o, ! guess this brings us to number ten which if ! remember correctly is the one about coveting ” “/eah, here again you have the obsession of things !nstead of measuring success with things, money, power, we should measure it with relationships and accomplishments -earn to control your urges and desires &nly a truly twisted person would worship a thing, a possession over a relationship with your neighbors 1elationships are far more important than possessions in any community ! think that there is a tinge of the teaching of ;uddha here in that people torture themselves over things that they think that they want and do not possess ” 1eali,ing his friend was still working on this one, Kevin helped interrupting, “$ell, think about it this way# instead of wasting your life worrying and agoni,ing over what others have, you should spend it building your own life /ou are not your neighbor, stop trying to be them 3row up and mind your own business 6lus too, on the other hand, you are talking about what economists call, ?conspicuous consumption% which in a way is a form of defining yourself according to the things you have instead of your inner substance !t is a situation where someone buys something to gain the envy and respect of others such as a flashy car, a big house, and name brand clothes !f no one coveted, how possessed by things and their consumption would people be?” “.mmm, ! like it,” thoughtfully replied Josh “)o, what are we talking about here community wise?” “;asically, you have a highly functional, classless society of thinking, sharing, caring people which is constantly evolving (ompared to the backstabbing, narrow focus on profits, immature, pettiness we have now, ! think it sounds like a recipe for paradise on earth ” “@ery interesting indeed, Josh, very interesting and worth a lot more consideration,” responded Kevin, “.ey, where are my manners, can ! get you a drink?” “/eah, definitely,” answered Josh perking up with a smile, “'hink about it, in our current community we are paying taxes which are used to take care of those who are lost by institutionali,ing, imprisoning them and having to pay for the security# what if the effort to do all of that was used instead to help them stand on their own two feet? $hat heights could be reached by people truly challenging themselves to grow and evolve?”
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