The benefits of illegal proposals

James Smith jsmithjamessmith at YAHOO.COM
Tue Feb 29 16:16:52 UTC 2000

--- "James E. Clapp" <jeclapp at WANS.NET> wrote:

> And while I'm at it, a further thought on James
> Smith's remark to the
> effect that one should learn about the Ten
> Commandments to be enlightened
> about our culture:  Having learned a good deal about
> the Ten Commandments
> now, I can see how monumentally irrelevant they have
> been for most of
> western culture for at least a couple of millennia
> now.  The ones that
> aren't truisms (murder and thievery are generally
> condemned in all
> cultures) are just ignored.

But why they have been (and are) ignored, and by whom,
is part of the cultural heritage I'm speaking of.
Governments and individuals have embraced them, or
have twisted them or rationalized ways around them to
their own ends.  Our society is as much a result of
deliberately disobeying them as it is of deliberately
following them.

> No wonder the Sunday Times of London, in an article
> entitled "Holy Moses!
> It's the Nine Commandments say vicars" (January 26,
> 1997), reported that
> in a random survey of 200 [presumably reasonably
> enlightened] members of
> the Anglican clergy, a "mere 34% of those asked
> could cite all Ten
> Commandments."  Unfortunately, the article is so
> badly written that it is
> impossible to tell with what degree of precision the
> vicars were called
> upon to recite them.

Although this is surprising, the rote recital of them
(any version) is not the important concept.  It is the
ideals they represent, which I would hope the vicars
could express.

> Nevertheless, it is clear that
> Canon Peter
> Goodridge of Truro Cathedral was speaking for many
> of his enlightened
> brethren when (as quoted in the article) he said:
> "The Ten Commandments
> are not terribly important for Christian living
> today. They do not answer
> the real moral problems affecting modern society."

This is a puzzling commentary on the ethics of modern
society.  Is Fra. Goodridge saying that murder,
adultery, greed, theft, neglect and abuse of the
elderly, and dishonesty (I'll just quietly tiptoe
around impiety and idolatry for this discussion) are
not problems affecting modern society ? ...I doubt
that is what he meant.  Granted, the 10 Commandments
do not explicitly cover everything, but they cover a
lot!  If Goodridge did mean the 10 C's are not
terribly important, it would be interesting to know
what he considers the REAL moral problems in society,
which I could infer from his statement are totally
unrelated to the evils covered by the 10 C's!

James D. SMITH                 |If history teaches anything
SLC, UT                        |it is that we will be sued
jsmithjamessmith at     |whether we act quickly and decisively
                               |or slowly and cautiously.
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