Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy god in vain; for the Lord will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain. – Exodus 20:7
Sounds pretty scary, huh? Pity nobody knows what it means (this writer included). Unlike “Thou shalt not kill”, this commandment is clear as mud. When this writer was a Born-Again Protestant Christian, I was taught that the third commandment meant “thou shalt not speak swear words.” But I think it should mean that interperting God’s will and forcing it on others is the actual crime committed here. And that’s not the actual interpertation, then that SHOULD be the interpertation.
Think of all of the crimes committed in the past or in the present all done in the name of God. Rape, slavery, animal sacrifice, jihads, fatwas ‘” the list goes on. We could ask the Guanches of the Gran Canaria about this issue ‘” oh, whoops, that’s right, we can’t. The Guanches were wiped out by followers of Christian manifest destiny by 1600. What’s a few swear words compared to genocide?
We Swear In Vain
There have been many speculations that this commandment has nothing to do with swearing, but everything to do with bearing flase witness. “The Westminster Larger Catechism”, for example, teaches that if one made a contract and invoked God’s name but then went on to break that contract, that was the actual sin committed. You swore to God that you’d do A but then didn’t. Apparently God does not any part of verbal or written contracts.
Judaism, the religion that the commandments was originally for, claims both interpertations. But you had to swear repeatedly in order for it to be a sin. Dropping a stone tablet onto your foot and firing off one of the names of God in the heat of the painful moment apparently didn’t count.
Because there were so many different interpertations of scripture, many wars broke out. Yes, back in the fifth century, you could lose your life for not believing in the Trinity, even though you belived just about anything else. By the time of the 1100s, things had gotten so bad that people were desperate enough to let just one man decide to be the sole interperter of God’s will ‘” the Pope. To this day, Catholics (just one denomination of Christianity) still think of the Pope as infallible when it comes to biblical interpertations.
Conversation With God
On Mother’s Day, May 9, 2003, Deanna Laney repeatedly bashed the heads of her three sons, the oldest of which was eight Two of the boys died. Her explanation? God told her to do it because the world was going to soon end.
We may dismiss Laney as mentally ill, but what about others who have killed in order to further God’s will? The folks responsible for the Inquisition probably thought they were doing God’s will by setting peple on fire or crushing them with rocks. They were thoroughly sure they knew the will of God better than anyone else, so you better pay attention to them, else all hell will break loose (literally or metaphorically).
People who claim that God told them to do something just want attention. They do not care about the results of their actions, as long as they get to be a large fish in a small pond. They also really hold other people in contempt because they will not tolerate any questions. Not tolerating questions is definitely a diabolical trait and not a divine one and so should never be emulated or condoned.
Anyone who claims to speak for God should be recognized as needing prompt medical attention. If God is suppossedly omnipotent, He can speak for Himself and needs no middleman or interperter.
For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ. ‘” 1 Corinthians 2:16
Judaism 101. “Aseret ha-Dibrot: The “Ten Commandments”” Tracey R. Rich. http://www.jewfaq.org/10.htm
Gran Canaria Info. “The Guanches.” http://www.gran-canaria-info.com/guide/history/the-guanches
Liberals Like Christ. “The Papal Infallibility Myth.” Peter De Rosa. http://www.liberalslikechrist.org/Catholic/papalinfallibility.html
CNN. “Attorney: Woman thought God told her to kill sons.” March 29, 2004. http://articles.cnn.com/2004-03-29/justice/children.slain_1_deanna-laney-insanity-defense-luke-laney?_s=PM:LAW
All Bible verses are from the King James Version.