The Only One He Needed.
I don't like to write or talk about religion and the reason is simple: most people stop thinking when it comes to religion. They fall back on superstition or bible quotes. So, before you read this, keep in mind what religion is: It is the human process by which we endeavor to understand God. It is not God, which means it is not perfect or divine. And I know you may think the bible is the divine word of God, well, it just isn't. It's the interpreted word of men.
I watch The Ten Commandments every year in part because it's a good movie and in part because I love watching white people portray Egyptians. And I like how there are actual black people in the movie who are servants and not Hebrews. And then there's Edward G. Robinson, the Egyptian from Hoboken. But my favorite part is when God tells Moses The Ten Commandments and we listen to them counted out in spectacular fashion.
All of the Commandments are good but I think that most of us don't understand the first one. It seems simple enough. "Thou shall have no other Gods before Me." So think, this was the first thing God said, His First Rule of law. He gave us life and he just wants to be #1. Seems fair and easy to do.
Well, we all break this Commandment almost every day of our lives.
Now, I'm not talking about golden calves or snake-gods. I'm talking about the supplanting of our will and judgment before that of God using the very religion which supports the law.
"But how Gary? How am I breaking God's first law every day?"
Each day we decide which sins are acceptable and which are bad. We also condemn and place our earthly judgment over that of God, withdrawing from faith as if we don't even believe in him. We also pervert and bend His Will through earthly interpretation to our own convenience.
For example, men and women agree that murder and adultery are a sin and yet both men and women continuously fornicate and lie, which are also sins. We just decided that one set of sins was worse than the others, placing our judgment above that of God who says, all sins are equal.
Here's how that conversation will go on Judgement Day:
YOU: Hey, Pete I'm here to enter Heaven.
ST. PETER: Sorry but you fornicated hundreds of times and lied thousands of times.
YOU: Yeah but I never murdered anyone or slept with anyone's spouse. High five!
ST. PETER: Sorry, those are sins too.
YOU: Yeah but I decided that adultery and murder were worse because you know, I would never want anyone to do that to me.
ST. PETER: Uh huh. Go to Hell. It's that way. Fall in behind Congress and the reality show people.
Many Christians fight against sin in the name of God, even though these acts should be judged and forgiven by God, not men. But we decided that we should judge them because that whole "love thy neighbor and waiting for afterlife" thing doesn't make us satisfied that God's Will is being done right now while we can enjoy it. By the way, elevating the earthly realm over the covenant for the next life is also a violation of rule #1.
And then there is money, the actual god of man. We all worship money and even talk about it with the same reverence as God. Hell, God's name is on the damned money! This is the worst violation of the First Commandment. The fake money god has us all by the spiritual balls and won't let go because we won't admit it. We give money to fake ministers who build giant churches and fly around in private jets. We try to buy our way into Heaven with money and now, we are told that if we give the church money, God will give us more money, oh wait they never say that. They say you'll get "a blessing" which could be anything from money to your diarrhea going away.
Look at how money and God are the same to us:
1. You can't see God. You have to have faith. You can't see money either. The paper or the coin just represents the wealth that backs it.
2. God is powerful. Money is powerful too. Just ask any billionaire, Bank of America or the Supreme Court.
3. God is mysterious. So is money. I defy anyone to tell me what The World Bank, IMF or The Fed do and who runs it.
So some of you are all hot and bothered right now with a full clip of bible quotes ready to fire. Save it. Your bible quotes mean one thing to you and 8 billion other things to the 8 billion people on Earth.
In closing, I believe the answer to all spiritual questions lies in the First Commandment. The problem is, if we practice it literally, it would bind us to a very strict pattern of behavior which would nullify just about every fun and pleasurable thing in life. If we ignore it, then hypocracy looms. Somewhere in the middle, as usual, lies the right path. Putting God first really just means putting everything else second. In that sense, this was really the only law God needed. The other nine commandments could be easily interpreted from the first one. In fact, everything in the bible is kind of a subset of this first divine law.
Brilliant, right? Well, that's why God is God.
And if you are worried about your behavior and the First Commandment, don't. Remember, God will always forgive you.
Now excuse me while I go off to consider how coveting an Ox and donkey applies to the present.