Jun 3, 2018
Show 3072 Dennis Prager. The Ten Commandments: What You Should Know
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Still the Best Moral Code Humanity has everything it needs to create a good world. We've had it for 3,000 years. It's the Ten Commandments; ten basic, yet profound instructions for how to lead a moral life. If everyone followed the Ten Commandments, we would not need armies or police; marriages and families would be stronger; truth would be a paramount value. Dennis Prager explains how the Ten Commandments led to the creation of Western Civilization and why they remain relevant to your life today. This video course introduces a ten-part series.
God Wants Us to Be Free
Although the First Commandment ("I am the Lord your God") appears simple at first glance, it actually set into motion the most revolutionary idea in human history -- ethical monotheism, the belief that there is one God whose main wish is that people treat each other decently. Dennis Prager explains that without this commandment, the following nine mean little. With it, the Ten Commandments becomes world-changing.
There Are More Idols than Ever
Today, the idea of idol worship feels ancient and remote to many people. Thus, the Second Commandment, "You shall have no other gods," doesn't seem applicable in modern society. But the opposite is true. We have more false gods than ever -- art, education, fame, money, to name just a few. Over the past century the worship of false gods has led to massive evil; Communism and Nazism are just two examples. On a personal level, the worship of false gods leads to unhappiness.
The Worst Sin You Can Commit
Not all sins are equal. Some are worse than others. The worst of one of all? Committing evil in the name of God. This commandment is often misunderstood because it's mistranslated. It's not concerned with saying God's name "in vain" like "God, did I have a terrible day at the office." It's about using God's name in the commission of evil. We see this today when Islamists invoke God's name while they murder innocent people.
Is there such a thing as "the worst sin" -- one sin that is worse than all others? Well, there is. I am well aware that some people differ. They maintain that we can't declare any sin worse than any other. "To God, a sin is a sin," is how it's often expressed. In this view, a person who steals a stapler from the office is committing as grievous a sin in God's eyes as a murderer. But most people intuitively, as well as biblically, understand that some sins are clearly worse than others. We are confident that God has at least as much common sense as we do. The God of Judaism and Christianity does not equate stealing an office item with murder.
So, then, what is the worst sin? The worst sin is committing evil in God's name. How do we know? From the Third Commandment of the Ten Commandments. This is the only one of the Ten Commandments that states that God will not forgive a person who violates the commandment. What does this Commandment say? It is most commonly translated as, "Do not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain. For the Lord will not hold guiltless" -- meaning "will not forgive" -- whoever takes His name in vain."
Most people understandably think that the commandment forbids saying God's name for no good reason. So, something like, "God, did I have a rough day at work today!" violates the Third Commandment. But that interpretation presents a real problem. It would mean that whereas God could forgive the violation of any of the other commandments -- dishonoring one's parents, stealing, adultery, or even committing murder -- He would never forgive someone who said, "God, did I have a rough day at work today!" Let's be honest: That would render God and the Ten Commandments morally incomprehensible.
Well, as it happens, the commandment is not the problem. The problem is the translation. The Hebrew original doesn't say "Do not take;" it says "Do not carry." The Hebrew literally reads, "Do not carry the name of the Lord thy God in vain." One of the most widely used new translations of the Bible, the New International Version, or NIV, uses the word "misuse" rather than the word "take:" "You shall not misuse the name of the Lord your God." This is much closer to the original's intent.
Don’t Be a Slave
Setting aside a day of rest each week was a revolutionary concept when it was first introduced as the Fourth Commandment. But this Commandment does more: it extends that day of rest to slaves and animals and thus set in motion the slow process of ending slavery and the compassionate treatment of animals. As Dennis Prager explains, the power of the Fourth Commandment to change your life is no less real today than it was for our ancient ancestors. Just ask the spouse of a workaholic how she would feel if her husband took off a day each week to spend with family and friends.
Even if You don’t Feel Like It
Children owe their parents one thing. And no, it's not love. The Fifth Commandment understands that sometimes it's difficult or even impossible to love your parents. But it's almost always possible to honor them. Dennis Prager explains what that means and why it's so important. And consider this: if your children see you honoring your parents they are much more likely to honor you.
You Can Kill, but You Can't Murder
If asked to state this Commandment, most people would say "Do Not Kill." This is understandable because the classic King James Bible translates it this way. But the English language has changed since 1610. Furthermore, Hebrew has two words for killing just as English does. The correct translation, as Dennis Prager explains, is "Do Not Murder." Once you grasp this, the meaning of the commandment changes entirely.
The Best Way to Protect the Family
Why do the Ten Commandments single out adultery as particularly harmful? Because adultery can destroy the foundational unit of a society -- the family. If exposed, adultery leads to sense of betrayal. If hidden, it forces the offending spouse to lie. Children are often the unintended victims. This may be one of the most difficult Biblical laws to follow, but it's also one of the most important.
Keep This and You’ll Keep Them All
There is one commandment that, if followed by all of humanity, would instantly create a peaceful world: Do not steal. The Eighth Commandment implicitly prohibits murder (stealing a life), slavery (stealing a person's freedom), adultery (stealing a spouse), humiliation (stealing dignity), and so many other sins laid out in the Bible. If there is one Commandment that summarizes the other nine, this one is it.
Lying Is the Root of Evil
The most important ingredient to building a moral society is truth, both inside and outside a courtroom. The prohibition against "bearing false witness" does not only demand that truth reigns supreme in a trial, but that it is a societal value throughout the culture. Bad things happen when people believe lies. With truth, we can build a decent society. Without it, even the other nine commandments won't help.
The One Thought You Should Never Have
There is only one Commandment that prohibits a thought, and it is this: "Do not covet." Why does the Bible, which is preoccupied with behavior, legislate a thought? Because to covet, to want what belongs to someone else, is the root of the preceding four commandments and often leads to evil. Before someone murders, steals, lies, or commits adultery, the desire to take what is rightly someone else's usually comes first.
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