Saturday, February 11, 2006

Reflections On the Second Commandment

Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain.

This has nothing to do with swearing, dammit. (I just threw that last in for effect.) Bad language is hardly ever mentioned in the rest of the Bible, so why would people think that God would make it #2 on the Big Chart and then forget about it? Even making promises with oaths -- the other swearing -- gets very little play, Old Testament or New.

False prophecy, now, that subject comes up a lot, with many variations played on the Carillon of Scripture (that metaphor didn't work out as well as I'd hoped). And that, my friends, is what is referred to as taking the Lord's name in vain is here. It means no forging God's signature under your own ideas. It means being very cautious and considered about making any claims that what you teach is The Gospel, or The Authentic Gospel.

Teaching is of course not only allowed, but encouraged. Check up on the penalties for false teaching before you start blathering, however. Liberal Christians rightly criticize conservatives for stepping way over the line in making claims about what God does and doesn't want in law and politics. Then they do the same thing themselves -- and worse, because they will often get together and put a denominational stamp on it. They just claim to speak for God in more elegant terms -- which is what God really wants, right?

Anyway, everyone just cut it out, y' hear me?


jw said...

Oh how right you are!

The church as it is ... filled with people oh so sure that they, and only they, know God.

I joined a group which advertised itself as supporting Jim Wallace in trying to bring the Christian right & left together. Bah! It was just another far left group. The right are no better.

What has happened to the honorable and decent church?

Ymarsakar said...

The path of righteousness is a road, leading to Hell only if you think it goes to Heaven. Because the Path of Righteusness and the Way do not lead anywhere at all. Or, to be more accurate, the scenery and the destination is created on the spot sort of like cgi, as you walk and run and stop and pay a visit.

Too many people are concerned about the risks and the rewards, of the destination. Too many think they know the Answers to the Questions, and not enough who just walk the path.

One step at a time. The Answer is what you make it out to be, trust no one else who offers it, take no solace from the Answers of other people, for each person is different and their fate leads to different places from yours.

For there are companions on this journey, whether your voyage is through the Valley of the Shadow of Death or the Valley of Paradise. Those who share your path shall be your boon companions, until such a time as you depart and say goodbye. They will help, but in the end, it is the strength of your own legs and mind that will sustain you in your time of need.

The honorable and decent church no longer teach Ancient Greek logic and are no longer connected to the core of power. It is unfair to expect them to understand spirituality in light of this.

Old Wacky Hermit said...

I heard an interesting take on the 2nd commandment (can't remember for the life of me where, though). In my religion, when you become a member, you take the Lord's name upon you (in a figurative sense) and you become a sort of representative of the Lord. People will look at your actions, whether in your capacity as a member of the church or not, and impute them to the Lord you claim to represent. Therefore when you act in a manner inconsistent with what the Lord would have you do, you are taking the Lord's name in vain: you are misrepresenting yourself as a disciple of the Lord.

Anonymous said...

Wacky Hermit: I think that's one of the few things I agree with the Mormons on. If you are an openly religious person, all your actions will be interpreted in light of your religion.

This has become a problem for Catholicism (digression: I used to be Catholic but I don't go to church any more; as Lenny Bruce would say, I left the church and went back to God). The widespread perversion and dishonesty that has plagued the Catholic clergy in America has ruined the good name of the sect; I've heard all sorts of nasty insinuations about the priesthood e.g. If priest are God's representatives, and some priests are pedophiles, does that mean that God condones pederasty? To which the obvious answer would be: No, you dumb fucks, it just means their place in hell will be much more painful for having ruined the name of God on earth.