Monday, December 19, 2011

Re-chiseling the Ten Commandments

The late Christopher Hitchens thought that the Laws of Moses, the Ten Commandments, were seriously overdue for a re-write. "It’s difficult to take oneself with sufficient seriousness to begin any sentence with the words 'Thou shalt not,' ” he wrote in a piece for Vanity Fair last year. In fact, he asked, why not toss the Tablets and simply state the obvious in their stead? To wit:
"Do not condemn people on the basis of their ethnicity or color. Do not ever use people as private property. Despise those who use violence or the threat of it in sexual relations. Hide your face and weep if you dare to harm a child. Do not condemn people for their inborn nature—why would God create so many homosexuals only in order to torture and destroy them? Be aware that you too are an animal and dependent on the web of nature, and think and act accordingly. Do not imagine that you can escape judgment if you rob people with a false prospectus rather than with a knife. Turn off that fucking cell phone—you have no idea how unimportant your call is to us. Denounce all jihadists and crusaders for what they are: psychopathic criminals with ugly delusions. Be willing to renounce any god or any religion if any holy commandments should contradict any of the above."
"In short," Hitchens wrote, "Do not swallow your moral code in tablet form." Amen.

(Illustration credit: Edward Sorel / Vanity Fair.)

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