It seems our state legislature has never read the Ten Commandments. They are by no means the basis for the morals or law of our country and it is a lie that they (the legislatures) are interested in displaying them because they are part of our heritage. In fact the Jews/Christians do not even agree on exactly what the 10 are so it is impossible to truly even list them. Looking in detail at the most common version.
Commandments 1-4 are clearly religious in nature and therefore irrelevant to law or morals (for any non Christian)
Commandment 5 (honor thy parents) is not reflected in our legal system and, in the case of some abusive parents, not the correct moral action.
Commandment 6 (thou shalt not kill) is simply not true as a blanket statement. Centuries of common and established law is required to clarify the situations when our society accepts and rejects killing. In the context of the Bible this commandment clearly applies to Jews only which is clearly immoral. Furthermore, the fact that indiscriminate killing is bad for a culture predates the commandments.
Commandment 7 (thou shalt not steal) is part of our legal and moral systems, and as mentioned above, did not originate with the Torah.
Commandment 8 (keep the Sabbath day holy) is of course not part of our law (anyone old enough to remember ‘blue’ laws?) an in fact is violated by almost all of the most religious protestants. As you may recall the 10 were written by Jews so the Sabbath is undoubtedly Saturday not Sunday!
Commandment 9 (no lying) is barely our legal system (only when under oath in court) and coveting (10) is realistically the basis of our entire economy.
At best 1 (steal) and maybe part of 9 (lying) are even in our culture at all. A weak 1.5 out of 10 is all anyone can claim. So please, please, stop saying these 10 are anything but part of the doctrine and commandments of religion. If individuals or groups want to venerate and follow these instructions in their private spaces, that is their privilege but they are currently and have never been the primary basis for our or any modern nation.
(link to letter in Tennessean)
Homo Sapiens(us peoples) is the most successful current animal species. While there are many reasons for this, I believe that the most significant is our drive to find patterns in our world. It is this which has allowed us to learn, pass that information down through the generations, and control our world. As with any trait that enhances survivability, this is encoded in our genes as a basic drive and is enforced through the emotions. We naturally feel very uncomfortable when we cannot understand or at least identify what we encounter.
A child is largely a pattern black hole and will accept whatever is presented to it as truth. These early imprints are basic to the child's sense of well being and will be ever present. It is however, the deniers (Holocaust, Evolution, Moon Landing, 9/11) and cults who have learned to effectively apply this to adults. I have noticed that the same method is used regardless or the belief. There is no difference if the goal is to get, Patty Hearst to participate in a bank robbery, a captured US soldier to fight for the North Vietnamese, Intelligent Design to be taught in our public schools.
Step one, Remove the person’s previous beliefs on that subject
For example show that the level of poison gas residue in the gas chambers was less than that required to even de-louse the prisoners so it could not have been a death chamber for humans. Perhaps point out that the Piltdown man was a fake, or that we still do not know exactly how the pyramids were constructed. The key here is in the breaking down of the patterns that the individual previously held to be true. Because no one is an expert in everything it is relatively easy to come up with reasonable sounding factoids that imply an existing pattern is incorrect. It is easy easy to nibble at the edges of science because at the edges there is much speculation that is latter found to be false. The imprinter can even generally accomplish their goal without directly lying. Thus the ID’rs can show that some of the concepts of Darwin were not correct and evolution is fake (since the Piltdown man was) and the Holocaust denier can use the facts about the gas ovens without mentioning that it actually takes much more poison gas to kill a louse than a human.
Step two, provide replacement patterns
Now provide an explanation that makes some kind of sense for primarily emotional reasons (the Jews inflated the numbers killed in order to get more sympathy, since we do not know every detail about Evolution it must be that God Did it). The person subjected to this treatment will be driven to accept the new ideas by their basic need to understand and VOILA! the concept is now accepted as correct.
What these people are doing is simply brainwashing and it works. It works because it uses one of our most basic drives. Inoculation against this technique is available. It is called information. Equip yourselves with the all facts you can afford and use those who have a larger budget. Listen to the experts who have the time and training and believe them even if their information does not make you comfortable. Just as we take bad tasting medicine for our long term benefit, we sometimes must accept that the truth is under no obligation to make us comfortable. Please do not allow our strong natural need to understand to be used to your disadvantage.