The Ten Commandments
A book by Joseph Lewis
Preface


Page ixPreface

"Some of the old laws of Israel are clearly savage taboos of a familiar type thinly disguised as commands of the deity." -- Sir James G. Frazer.

Is life a journey of enough importance to require help and assistance until our destination is reached? Is our mental equipment at birth all-sufficient to direct us safely and securely along the path of life? Is man a creature of predestination, or is he merely a temporary, animate being born to face the struggles of existence without the slightest help?

Was man given knowledge to face the difficulties he is sure to encounter, or is he but one of the myriad forms of life resulting from the ever-changing conditions of the universe, to be tossed helter-skelter upon the sea of existence?

Some say that he is; others, that he is not. Some say that we are specially created beings formed in the likeness and image of an all-powerful Creator; others, that we are but tiny insects too insignificant to be important enough to require special attention; others, that we are but the result of the conditions around us; while still others tell us that we are the masters of our own destiny.

Surely, with this vital difference of opinion concerning man's place on earth, we are justified in at least investigating this essential phase of life in an endeavor to learn the truth concerning our existence, and thus fortify ourselves for the struggles necessary to meet the difficulties of life.

If man has been furnished with a chart to guide him while on earth, it should be infallible, it should be flawless, it should be perfect.

To be perfect, a chart must be scientific in every detail. It must be in conformity with, and not in opposition to, Nature. It must tell us what to do as well as what not to do. Page x

If man has used false charts in the past, he should exercise the utmost care to be sure that he does not make the same mistakes in the future. If he has been deceived by false appearances, he should guard against future deception. Only stupidity will continually permit itself to be falsely led.

Would a captain of a vessel, no matter how much faith he had, rely upon a compass that violated every law of gravity, and instead of continually pointing to the north, fluctuated from one direction to another?

Human existence has often been compared to persons tossed into the sea. Some finally reach shore after bitter struggles, better for the experience and less fearful of future plunges; while others, yes, the great, great majority of others, despite heroic efforts, are unable to buffet the waves, and go down to their death, without seeing the land they tried so desperately to reach.

Would it not have been better, since all must plunge into the sea to get to "yonder" shore, that fewer lives be produced and to them given knowledge that would enable them to reach their destination, instead of producing a vast multitude to suffer the agonies of death in their struggle for existence?

How cruel must be that force which, if it knew the essentials of swimming, withheld such knowledge from the Niagara of lives that pour into the sea!

If a mere man possesses knowledge of danger and withholds it from his fellow man, either for profit or through indifference, he is held up to execration and scorn. How much more deserving of condemnation would be a "God" who possessed all the knowledge necessary for the health and happiness of the human race, but who because of some unknown and inexplicable cause withheld it! And if God manifests no more interest in human life than the meanest of selfish men, how utterly ridiculous to worship him for what in a man would be termed brutal selfishness, greed and indifference!

Reflect for a moment on the untold millions of pitiful and helpless creatures who have perished when only a little knowledge, just a little Page xi knowledge, would have enabled them to lift the cup of cool relief to their parched lips, saved them from indescribable sufferings, and stayed the hand of death!

The history of man may be written, his pleasures and joys recounted; but never, never, will he be able to record the misery, pain, sorrow, heartache and torture that he has suffered because of lack of available knowledge.

Life is beset with a thousand difficulties. On every hand man meets unexpected problems. When he thinks the goal has been reached, he finds that it merely opens the door to new problems. One mirage follows another. Either as an individual or as a member of society, he is in one continual conflict. He is forever perplexed as to what he should do, how he should conduct himself, and what is his mission, if any, on earth.

So difficult does the problem of living occasionally become that some, unable to cope with an agonizing situation, surrender the task and enter the door to the shore from which as yet "no traveler has returned." Others take up arms against "a sea of troubles" and prefer to battle the waves in a nightmare of existence rather than fly to "troubles that they know not of."

Like a weary traveler lost in a bewildering forest is man trying to grope his way to light and freedom. Each generation faces the same conditions and meets the same difficulties. The only ray of hope is to instruct those who are to come and to help them from committing the same mistakes made by the generation that is going.

Some piece together the experiences, the trials and the tribulations and, to the best of their ability, formulate rules and regulations for the guidance of others in the hope that they will take counsel and avoid the mistakes others have made. To bring a little happiness and a little joy without injury to others into this complicated world is all that they seek to accomplish.

Some find that even by living up to the best of intended rules they are not only unable to solve the problems of living, but are even unable Page xii to determine the proper conduct in life. Their best intentions often cause their own undoing.

There are some, however, who tell us that the efforts of those who labor to understand life and living are wasted in seeking to formulate their own code of conduct for the human race. They tell us that no one need make an effort to seek such knowledge; they tell us that it is already here in a special revelation from the "God of the Universe" in what is known as the Ten Commandments.

What are the Ten Commandments?

We are told by some that the Ten Commandments were written by "God" himself -- that they are divine, infallible and imperishable. We were told, while still upon our mother's knee, the story of how Moses was put into the bullrushes to be saved when the cruel Pharaoh ordered that all male children be destroyed; how Pharaoh's own daughter found him, saved his life and nurtured him; how afterwards he became the great leader of the Children of Israel; and how, when God wanted to reveal to his children his laws, he sent for Moses; and how, after Moses had fasted for forty days and nights on Mount Sinai, God gave him two tablets upon which were engraved this most priceless message for the guidance of human beings.

So firm is the conviction of those who accept the Ten Commandments as God's divine precepts, that they believe that all the ills and torments with which mankind is plagued are caused by not practicing the tenets of the Decalogue as revealed by God to Moses.

It has been variously contended that the Ten Commandments are so all-embracing that in addition to containing God's rules for the guidance of the human family and its mission while on earth, they contain also the very foundations upon which are based our laws and governments, and without which civilization could not exist!

It is also contended that if the Ten Commandments were universally accepted, all strife, discord, hatred, prejudice, misunderstanding and injustice would vanish from the earth. There would be no more deception, dishonesty or deceit. With the Ten Commandments as our Page xiii guide, the human race would live together as one perfect and harmonious family.

Throughout the history of the race we find that many things have been implicitly believed in by the great mass of people, but rarely has anything equaled the absolute faith accorded the Ten Commandments.

To show to what extent this belief may go, I need but mention that in January, 1938, United States Federal Judge John C. Knox, whose jurisdiction comprises the great City of New York, stated in a public address that the laws of this Republic were founded upon the Ten Commandments!

Alfred E. Smith, when Governor of the State of New York, stated that this government was founded upon the "Commandments of God." The late George W. Wickersham, noted attorney and Chairman of the National Commission on Law Observance and Law Enforcement, organized to help solve problems affecting law and the social fabric, asked in an interview (after admitting that the present age no longer accepts the Biblical view of a God who punishes according to his favor or disfavor): "Has there ever been a better code of morals formulated for the government of men than those which Moses delivered on the tablets of stone to the Children of Israel?..." When his final report was made public, it is significant that Mr. Wickersham made no mention of the use of the Ten Commandments!

That the Catholic Church still holds the Ten Commandments to be a vital part of its dogma is emphasized in an authoritative statement by the Rev. Charles E. Gurley, which is quoted in part:

"You often hear it said, generally by way of criticism, that the Church isn't very modern or up-to-date. Perhaps this is true. But what of it?

"If it is old-fashioned to respect the Ten Commandments and insist upon their observance today, then the Catholic Church certainly is old-fashioned. If belief in the Decalogue is a sign of decrepitude and decay, something to be associated only with ages that have passed, then the Catholic Church is an outmoded institution. For the Church still clings to God's law and continues to enforce it.... Page xiv

"The Ten Commandments given to the people in grand, awful solemnity upon Mount Sinai comprise all the duties and natural rights of man....

"Although the Ten Commandments were given at first only to the people of Israel, yet it would be absurd to imagine that they were not also imposed upon us. For Christians as well as for Israelites this holy law was written, our divine Saviour repeatedly telling us that He came not to abolish the law but to fulfill and perfect it. Moreover, He expressly bids us to obey His commands. His words are, 'If thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments.' Far from revoking these divine commandments, Our Lord gave them a new force and a new authority. We can attain heaven, He declares, only by walking in the way of these commandments." [*1]

Martin Luther put it very frankly when he said:

"Thus we have in the Ten Commandments a summary of divine instructions, telling us what we have to do to make our whole life pleasing to God, and showing us the true source and fountain from and in which all good works must spring and proceed; so that no work or anything can be good and pleasing to God, however great and costly in the eyes of the world, unless it is in keeping with the Ten Commandments." [*2]

In an editorial in the White Plains (N. Y.) Reporter, this statement is made:

"No man in more than two thousand years has been able to improve upon the Ten Commandments as the rule of life. To no other origin than to Divine Revelation can they be ascribed. Man constantly improves upon his own handiwork. There never will be a need for an Eleventh Commandment. The Ten contain all there is to guide human conduct in the proper channels." [*3]

This is only another instance of how an apparently educated man can make statements without the slightest foundation in fact when he Page xv accepts religious doctrines on faith. If his conclusions were true, how would this learned gentleman account for the ever-increasing number of "Ten Commandments" that are continually being promulgated by business men, educators, social workers, editors, judges, wives, husbands, sweethearts, lawyers, doctors and even ministers? They are proof of the inadequacy of the Ten Commandments to meet all problems of life. The following are examples of what constantly appears in the public press: "The Ten Commandments of Natural Education," issued by the Parents' Association; "The Ten Commandments of Love," by Helen Rowland, noted newspaper writer; "The Ten Commandments on How to Be Happy and Married," by Miss Dorothy LaVerne Backer, of East Orange, New Jersey, on the announcement of her engagement.

Even Judge Sabath, of the Chicago Superior Court, who at the time of his statement had handled more than 24,000 divorce cases, issued a set of Ten Commandments for happy marriages. Judge Joseph Burke, of the Court of Domestic Relations of Chicago, Illinois, who handles more than 35,000 marital complaints each year, issued a list of Ten Commandments for both husbands and wives. Certainly the experience of these two judges must indicate that the Ten Commandments of Moses were not sufficient to accomplish the desired result in the marital state, and an Eleventh Commandment on this particular phase of life would certainly not be superfluous.

Mussolini issued Ten Commandments for his Fascist supporters.

The Nazis prepared "Ten Commandments for the German Soldier."

Joseph Stalin issued Ten Commandments for the Bolsheviks.

Llewellyn Legge, Chief Game Protector of the New York State Conservation Department, issued what he terms "The Ten Commandments for the guidance of those who go into the woods to hunt."

Norman Daly, a magazine writer, issued a set of Ten Commandments for girls engaged to be married.

Miss Minnie Obermeier, Assistant Superintendent of Schools, New York City, gave a new set of "Ten Commandments for Mothers." Page xvi

Mrs. Herbert Lehman, wife of the former Governor of the State of New York, issued the "Ten Commandments of Democracy."

The Rev. Christian F. Reisner issued a special set of "Ten Commandments for Successful Wives."

Lieutenant E. F. John, U.S.M.C., issued a set of "Ten Commandments for the Police."

"I. P.," a cook, issued through Gretta Palmer a set of "Ten Commandments to the Housewife Who Has Servants."

The National Better Business Bureau issued a set of "Ten Commandments Designed to Hold Customer Good Will."

The Rev. William L. Stidger, of the Linwood Methodist Church, Kansas City, Missouri, issued a new Decalogue for Modern Youth.

Dr. Shirley W. Wynne, when Health Commissioner of New York City, issued a set of "Ten Commandments for Wintertime Health."

Hollywood, the great moving-picture colony, not to be outdone, also issued a Decalogue.

Otto H. Kahn, the banker, gave the students of Princeton University a set of Ten Commandments to guide them in their banking careers.

The Federal Bureau of Education at Washington issued "Ten Commandments for the American School Teacher."

Rabbi Jerome M. Lawn, of Beth Israel Temple, New York City, offered a set of Ten Commandments for a successful marriage.

The American Medical Association advised the physicians of the country to "Give your patients the Ten Commandments of Good Posture."

The men of the White Methodist Church of Chicopee, Massachusetts, issued Ten Commandments for their wives. And the following week the wives of that church issued a similar Decalogue for their husbands.

The Department of Health, of Clarke County, Georgia, issued "Ten Commandments of Health."

Rabbi Israel Goldstein, of the Congregation B'nai Jeshurun, New York City, in his Rosh Ha-Shanah sermon, issued Ten Commandments Page xvii for "The American Jew," which would certainly indicate an inadequacy in the original Decalogue. He also issued a new "1942 edition" of the Ten Commandments.

The Northern Illinois Methodist Clergyman issued a Decalogue for the Methodist Episcopal ministers, one commandment of which prohibited stealing sermons from colleagues.

Mr. Kenneth Wishart, of Aberdeen, Mississippi, formulated a set of Ten Commandments concerning the cow.

The Federal Council of Churches of Christ in America issued a set of "Ten Commandments for Social Justice."

Preaching in the Episcopal Church of the Heavenly Rest, New York City, the Rev. Dr. Henry Darlington suggested "Ten Commandments for the New Year."

Frau Ida Bock, an Austrian writer, alarmed at the constantly increasing number of divorces in her country, issued "Ten Commandments for Husbands."

The Rev. David Rhys Williams, seeking to interpret the advance of the day, issued what he called the "Decalogue of Science."

Then there are the famous "Sailors' Ten Commandments."

Albert Payson Terhune, the celebrated writer and lover of dogs, issued on behalf of the canine family a set of "Ten Commandments for My Master."

Miss Anna Green, bitter, disillusioned, disconsolate, issued Ten Commandments for other young girls so they would avoid the mistakes that she had made in the realm of love.

Last but not least, an editorial in the White Plains (N. Y.) Reporter, but three months later, almost to the day, since the appearance of the editorial previously mentioned, states:

"Were Moses to come down from the Mount today with the Commandments beneath his arm, in all likelihood there would be another tablet, and on it would be inscribed: 'Thou Shalt Be Tolerant!'"

justifying, though a contradiction, the statement that "there never will be a need for an Eleventh Commandment." Page xviii

Literally thousands of such sets of Ten Commandments are formulated every year for the guidance of people, from that of the Ten Commandments of advertising to a Decalogue on the feeding of pigs.

An appeal to the Ten Commandments is always impressive and effective. When in doubt about a subject, reference to the Ten Commandments will always command attention. But if you should ask those who proposed following the Ten Commandments to repeat them, hardly one in ten thousand could do so correctly.

Even Rudyard Kipling implies, in his celebrated poem "Mandalay" --

"Ship me somewheres east of Suez
Where the best is like the worst,
Where there ain't no Ten Commandments,
And a man can raise a thirst" --

that without the Ten Commandments no civilization could exist, that there would be no restraint on primitive impulses, and lust, drunkenness and debauchery would be rampant. If "there ain't no Ten Commandments," Kipling would have you believe that man would trample his weaker brother underfoot, rob him of his rights and privileges, and commit acts of injustice without compunction or consideration.

Or as Ingersoll would say, they would have us believe, "that, had it not been for the Ten Commandments, larceny and murder might have been virtues." [*4]

Like the others, Kipling is lamentably wrong, because leading anthropologists have found that primitive people are inherently good. In writing of the social status of the tribe of Veddahs, which happens to be "east of Suez," Professor Hobhouse says:

"The Veddahs consist of a mere handful of scattered families, living sometimes in trees, in the rainy season often in caves; though they are capable of making primitive huts. They are hunters, and each Veddah, with his wife and family, keeps his hunting ground for the most part scrupulously to himself. These very primitive folk are strictly monogamous, and have the saying that nothing but Page xix death parts husband and wife. Infidelity among them is in fact rare, and is generally avenged upon the paramour by assassination at the hands of the husband. Though the husband is master in his own cave, his wife is well treated, and is in no sense a slave. The Veddahs are credited with affection for their children, and with attachments to their parents after they have grown up." [*5]

Dr. Charles Hose, in a general reference to a long series of investigations of primitive tribes "east of Suez" and other parts of the world, finds them

"peaceful, happy, good-natured, faithful and kind to their wives, and indulgent and considerate to their children; they have a natural sense of right and justice, are truthful and honest. Having no property, they are free from the temptation of greed and envy. Being on terms of equality with their fellows, causes of jealousy are rare. But they are quick and able to resent injury or injustice.... They think it perfectly inconceivable that any person should ever take what does not belong to him, strike his fellow, or say anything that is untrue." [*6]

Paul L. Hoefler, leader of the Colorado African Expedition, who returned to the United States after making a painstaking investigation of the social customs of a pygmy tribe in the Belgian Congo, writes that "a man's family is his only source of boasting and pride, and these little men and women of the forest marry only for love"! [*7] He observes another significant condition when he says:

"When a young man loves a girl and she loves him, they ask the father for permission to marry. If he consents they go to the chief, who must also give consent. He then makes them man and wife by giving one to the other, but only after a long talk on the duties of a married couple. They now live together for a while and, if both are satisfied, report to the chief, who seals the bonds by some mystic rite. The couple must now live together as long as life lasts. There is no polygamy among them, and I was told by Page xx the chief that his people were very moral that very few were untrue to their mates. If infidelity occurs, the chief may sever the bonds and release the innocent party, in which event the culprit meets an untimely end, unless he is quick enough to fade into the jungle and keep hidden away from the clan." [*8]

Mr. Hoefler's conclusion is summed up in these words: "I wonder if all the thousands of intervening years have brought the measure of happiness to some of us that these little people enjoy. And there is no evidence to prove that they ever received a revelation from God as to how they should conduct themselves." [*9]

Dr. Robert H. Lowie, Professor of Anthropology, University of California, records his observation of the Plains Indians. In his introduction, he states:

"The so-called savage tribes of the world are not like undisciplined hordes of apes. They do not live only to gratify their animal instincts. On the contrary, all their behaviour is regulated by strict standards. The aborigines of Australia are among the simplest people on record, but neither in hunger nor in love do they act like the wild beast of the forest." [*10]

He was forcibly impressed by the code of morality and ethical conduct that existed among these Plains Indians of North America, observing:

"These rules of conduct surely make Indian family relations different from ours. But odd as they appear to us, they show refinement rather than brutality. They prove that social intercourse was not left to instinct, but was strictly regulated by social norms. The Plains Indian was a stickler for the proprieties as he understood them. Neither as a lover nor a spouse nor as a parent was he anything like the savage of popular fancy, but rather a human being like ourselves who happened to work out somewhat different standards of behavior while displaying much the same sort of human sentiments." [*11Page xxi

This is attested to by the noted anthropologist, G. Elliott Smith. After an exhaustive study, he concludes: "The evidence that is now accessible for study establishes the fact that man is by nature a kindly and considerate creature, with an instinctive tendency to monogamy and the formation of a happy family group bound together by mutual affection and consideration. This is the basis of all social organization. The old theories of primitive promiscuity and lack of all sexual restraint are now shown to be devoid of any foundation, and to be the very reverse of truth." [*12]

The charge that primitive peoples that know nothing about the "glad tidings of great joy" and never heard of the Ten Commandments are sexually promiscuous and completely without a workable social organization, has now been proved to be without the slightest foundation.

Man's conduct in society is self-regulatory. He soon learns that the rights that he wants for himself must of necessity be granted to his neighbor. If a man steals from his neighbor, his neighbor will steal from him. If a man indiscriminately kills, his own life will not be safe. His sexual life is governed by the same rule. Laws for human conduct arose as a protection. Not only would Kipling have been disappointed not to find unrestricted license among primitive and untutored tribes, but he would have had to go much further than "east of Suez" to find that laxity of human conduct that he implies exists "where there ain't no Ten Commandments."

Miss May Mott-Smith, writer and artist, announced that after being "exposed to the perils of New York," she was going back to the safety of Africa, "where there ain't no Ten Commandments" and "'white gorillas' roam the streets."

"Armed with nothing but a camera," she said, "I lived for eighteen months among a score of African tribes. Neither insult nor assault was ever offered me. Since I have been here, synthetic gin has corroded my stomach. The only thing that savagery cannot give me is good dentistry. In fact, only an uneasy tooth Page xxii brought me back to New York this time. Now that the molar has been repaired, I'm off for the peace and beauty of the jungle for another two or three years." [*13]

In his study of the social life of animals, Ernest Thompson Seton found that "one is hampered by the fact that association with man has always been ruinous to the morals of animals." [*14] He states that the morality of the animal squares most favorably with that of the human, and he finds that "there is a deep-rooted feeling against murder in most animals"; that filial devotion "is purely instinctive -- which means that the law of obedience has been a long, long time in successful operation." He observes that "promiscuity was doubtless the mode when sex first appeared in the animal world," but that now "monogamy is their best solution of the marriage question, and is the rule among all the highest and most successful animals." Again and again he gives illustrations of strictly monogamous animals that have been forced against their will into promiscuous sexual relations by man to satisfy his vanity in using the animals' fur. And yet, so strong is the high moral sentiment of some animals that they will not violate their standard even under brutal treatment. He finds that animals have a sense of property rights and often protect their neighbors' belongings from marauders. "All the highest animals profit by each other's knowledge through intercommunications. Falsification would certainly work dire disaster," says this student of animal life regarding lying among the animals.

In addition to the important fact that animals observed high ethical rules of conduct without the aid of an animal Moses, Mr. Seton's most significant discovery was that he "could find nothing in the animal world that seemed to suggest any relation to a Supreme Being"! The fact that without "divine assistance" animals have attained the high level of moral behavior that man with his "divine" blessings and guidance is struggling to achieve, suggests the serious question as to whether man would not be better off without God's help! Page xxiii

Prince Peter Kropotkin, noted scientist in the realm of animal life, amassed an abundance of evidence to prove the prehuman origin of morals. He found not only a high moral sense in all types of animals, but that "life in societies is no exception in the animal world; it is the rule, the law of Nature." [*15]

He speaks of "the high development of parental love in all classes of animals, even with lions and tigers," and that among the carnivorous beasts there is one general rule: they never kill one another. [*16] He states that "compassion is the necessary outcome of social life ... it is the first step towards the development of higher moral sentiments." Kropotkin particularly stressed the high sense of sociability, common action, mutual assistance and protection among all species of apes and monkeys. His conclusion, based on his exhaustive studies, is as follows:

"It is evident that life in societies would be utterly impossible without a corresponding development of social feelings, and especially of a certain collective sense of justice growing to become a habit. If every individual were constantly abusing its personal advantages without the others interfering in favor of the wronged, no society life would be possible." [*17]

Charles Darwin stated that "besides love and sympathy, animals exhibit other qualities connected with social instincts which in us would be called morals," [*18] and that "man and the lower animals do not differ in kind, but degree." [*19]

Some years ago agitation was started to have the Ten Commandments read in the public schools of New York City. The writer was present at a hearing held before the Board of Education of that city, and opposed the measure on the ground that the Ten Commandments were a religious rather than a moral code, and as such had no place in Page xxiv a public educational institution. Some other opponents of the measure sought to prove their contention by reading the Ten Commandments and commenting on each one separately to show its religious character. This was stopped on the ground that the procedure was not only irrelevant to the issue but was likely to cause dissension! Why? This action provoked Heywood Broun, noted columnist of his time, to comment:

"A group of adult educators was not able to hear the Ten Commandments through without rowing, and so it seems that there is reason to withhold the Decalogue from the public-school curriculum. Apparently the advocates of the plan were surprised at the opposition developed, for they proceeded on the assumption that practically all the varying religious groups could unite on this particular code of ethics. These optimists overlooked the fact that the selfsame words may mean several things, not always similar, to several persons." [*20]

Professor Harry A. Overstreet, formerly head of the Department of Philosophy of the College of the City of New York, admonished a congregation of ministers meeting in the city of Chicago not to "teach little children the Ten Commandments.... Children are too young to understand." [*21]

The confusion and dissension aroused by reading the Decalogue recall to my mind the story I heard some time ago about an English scientist who was traveling through Africa. He came upon a native eating figs. Examining the figs with his magnifying glass, the scientist observed that they were swarming with maggots. He told the native of the danger of disease that would result from eating the decayed fruit. The native stopped for a moment, listened to the scientist, looked at the figs, but saw nothing to warrant his not eating them. The scientist then took his magnifying glass and held it before the eyes of the native. The latter, ignorant of the nature of the magnifying device, and of the virulence of the disease caused by the decayed Page xxvfigs, broke the glass, thinking that by doing so he would also destroy the germs -- and continued to eat the figs. He died in agony shortly afterwards.

By the same token, I am led to ask: Do the people want the truth about the Ten Commandments? Do they want them analyzed? Do they want to see them under the magnifying glass of investigation? Or are some people like the native of Africa who believed that by destroying the instrument which revealed the maggots on the figs he would, at the same time, destroy the germs? Are some people like the proverbial ostrich who thinks that when he puts his head into the sand, the storm has passed?

At one time, most people were like that. Any new idea, any new proposal, was met with determined opposition. Anyone who dared question conventional beliefs was stoned or otherwise put to death. One need but recite the long list of martyrs to understand the brutal ignorance and stupidity of the great mass of people who were unable to comprehend things that were to their own advantage, and who fought to retain those that were inimical to their welfare.

It is one of the strangest inconsistencies of the human being that he will invent reasons and struggle to maintain conditions that are detrimental to his own welfare, aye, that even enslave him.

I, for one, do not believe that the Ten Commandments are too sacred to be investigated and analyzed, despite the fact that there are some who believe that if all else in the Bible were rejected, the Decalogue would be sufficient to convince them of the Bible's divine authorship. Neither do I believe that the Ten Commandments should be blindly accepted, despite the fact that there are some who maintain that they were written by the finger of God on tablets of stone and handed to Moses for the guidance of the human race. I do not accept these premises of the sacredness of the Decalogue, premises which would automatically preclude challenging both their divine origin and their moral and ethical value.

Once it was believed that the historical data in the Bible were infallible; that science, as biblically recorded, was absolute, and that Page xxvi the morality of the Bible was most exemplary. Yet these beliefs have been exposed as without truth and without foundation.

Will the Ten Commandments, as an ethical and moral guide, when subjected to the same investigation and analysis as have the other portions of the Bible, meet the same fate? Will they likewise be found to be falsely labeled, their injunctions negative in value, and their influence distinctly and incontrovertibly harmful and detrimental to human conduct?

A picture of an angry God pointing his menacing finger and shouting "Thou Shalt Not" has been man's greatest stumbling block in his heroic endeavor to emancipate himself from the fear, ignorance, superstition and savagery of his primitive past.


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