If The 10 Commandments Were Written For A Modern Audience
The other day, while hiking in the mountains, I came across a bearded man screaming things. But what would normally be a pretty dicey situation turned into something else entirely when the man patiently screamed at me that he was, in fact, God.
"What a scoop!" I was heard to remark.
God explained to me that he was disappointed in the faults of man and had descended to rain untold damage upon us. "But God," I said calmly, "not all humans are wicked. Consider the good people at Cracked.com, who are constantly trying to give the people interesting facts about science and celebrities."
After a little more screaming, I realized that God was mainly angry about how people were ignoring the Ten Commandments he had once given Moses. I wondered aloud if this might be a problem of language and explained the importance of tailoring one's words to suit the needs of his audience. As the people of today have far different cultural experiences than the Hebrews of Moses' era, it stands to reason that they might find the words of the Ten Commandments confusing and hard to follow. A simple editing job might be all that is needed to pull our Commandment-obeying KPIs back out of the red.
God screamed his agreement with my plan, and after we scratched out some ideas in the dirt, I set down from the mountain to provide you, His People, some updated Commandments for your obeying pleasure.
The Original: You Shall Have No Other Gods Before Me
I didn't really see the point of this one, thinking it was more of a problem back in the old days, when paganism was a lot more common. But God explained that he was also annoyed by our habit of worshiping things aside from Gods. In particular, he strongly disapproves of certain aspects of fandom, our celebrity-focused culture, and also, obviously, the Kardashians.
The Updated Version: Keep Up With God
I pointed out to God that this might be an issue of branding, and by copying a proven format he might increase the buzz surrounding him and steal market share from other, lesser deities. By designing this Commandment to mimic a certain well-known reality show, it will encourage the world to "keep up with" God as he goes about his daily activities, like sitting in a room or starting a new clothing business.
Also, arguments with his wacky family.
The Original: You Shall Not Make Idols
The intent of this Commandment was that we should worship God and only God. And even though we're not worshiping golden calves anymore, our consumerist culture has made a real mockery of this concept. Just watch some unboxing videos on YouTube if you need an example of what modern idolatry looks like.
The Updated Version: Your Art Sucks
I suggested to God that we might try something that really grabs the attention, like an insult. God seemed really excited by the idea and screamed many insults that were unfortunately of little use, mainly because they used letters not pronounceable by the human tongue. We eventually settled on this simple solution, and I think it works. It reminds us that all of our greatest books, movies, and Pokemon are naught but ash compared to the limitless beauty of His Presence.
God also wants us to be a lot more ashamed of Fuller House.
The Original: You Shall Not Take The Name Of The Lord Your God In Vain
The point of this one was to remind us that God is mighty and powerful and generally far more important than we are. So when we dare mention His name in a discussion of our own earthly exploits, the comparison insults him.
The Updated Version: Stop Involving Me In All Of Your Bullshit
This gets right to the point, and again uses strong, attention-getting language. It helps remind us that the very greatest thing we've ever done in our lives is bullshit in God's eyes. He excitedly screamed this word many times when we drafted this one up.
"Your bridge is bullshit, idiots."
The Original: Remember The Sabbath Day, To Keep It Holy
The world is full of people who are nominally Christian but don't pay attention to all the details so well; only 20 percent of Americans attend church each week. Which understandably has God annoyed, and he screamed many hurtful, unsanitary things about you on the mountain that day.
The Updated Version: Church Is On Sundays. Or Saturdays. PICK ONE.
I pointed out to God that this might be a question of vocabulary, that many people simply don't know what the Sabbath day is. Maybe you're confusing it with Flag Day or something? I suggested that a simple rephrasing might do the trick. God asked if he could maybe include screaming in the Commandment as well, so we went with some all-caps text.
Screaming seems to be God's main move.
The Original: Honor Your Father And Your Mother
I suggested to God that this was one of the more dated-sounding Commandments, and that given the widely ranging competence of parents, it isn't unreasonable for someone to not want to entirely honor their father or mother. However, God still felt it was important to maintain the family, the foundational unit our society is built on, and the only thing we'll have to rely on during The Troubles that he's not threatening are coming soon.
The Updated Version: Just Shut Up And Let Mommy And Daddy Think
This is basically the same thing, but boiled down to what today's parents really need. Just shut up. Just for one damned second. Just ... just do it.
"I will turn this car around right now, and then we'll all be pillars of salt!"
The Original: You Shall Not Murder
God was pretty insistent that this one not be changed, and I had to agree. Essentially every religious and moral framework known to humankind has this basic rule in it. It's a good one.
The Updated Version: YOU SHALL NOT MURDER
So, again, we just went with some all-caps text. God asked if flashing letters were possible, and I said those weren't supported by our stylesheets, and he said OK, and that was basically it.
Seriously, stop murdering, guys.
The Original: You Shall Not Commit Adultery
This is one of those Commandments that has trucked along with a good but not great adoption rate for thousands of years now. Way back in the day this was primarily intended to stop the spread of STDs, although like the "honoring mom and dad" thing, it's also useful for keeping the family unit together. The problem historically -- and now -- has always been that this Commandment is easy to forget, because many of our neighbors are incredibly busty.
Even -- even especially -- the dudes.
The Updated Version: Please Stop Hurting Each Other With Your Genitals
This again grabs the eye with modern, uncompromising language. And not only does it encapsulate the previous intent of the Commandment, commanding us not to hurt via disease, emotional torment, or violence, but the "please" makes it seem warmer.
The Original: You Shall Not Steal
This is another classic that shows up in most moral and religious systems around the world. Again, God didn't really see much need to change it, until I pointed out that many people seem to be getting around this Commandment by pretending that what they are doing isn't "stealing."
The Updated Version: You Shall Not Steal Or Cheat Or Defraud Or Swindle Or Scam Or Make The Jerk-Off Motion Or Upper-Deck
By expanding the scope of the Commandment a smidge to include activities related to stealing and also a couple other sins God wanted to officially disapprove of, we should cut down on crime and disgusting cleaning jobs significantly.
God just hates watching you do this, guys.
The Original: You Shall Not Bear False Witness Against Your Neighbor
God and I agreed that this one was written poorly and could be interpreted as anything from "We shouldn't lie ever," right down to "We can lie all we want, except in court cases involving our neighbor."
The Updated Version: You Shall Not Lie Unless You're Really Sure It's OK
God hate, hate, hates liars. But then I pointed out that an outright ban on lying could cause problems in the many cases where lying is genuinely the best, most moral thing to do. From small matters like national security, all the way up to conversations with your spouse, lying sometimes is the best policy, and we feel this new Commandment reflects that.
Basically, God's asking you to use your best judgment. Don't let Him down.
The Original: You Shall Not Covet
Both God and I still really liked this one. Our natural inclination to want what our friends and peers have lies at the root of a lot of the unhappiness in the world. Theft and busty neighbor seduction, obviously, but also more subtle things, like needless purchases and the hollowness of our consumer culture.
The Updated Version: Having More Will Not Make You Happy, And Also Stop Staring At Women When They're Jogging.
The only real problem with the original is that not many people know what "covet" means, so we got rid of that. Also, apparently God has gotten into some trouble in the past staring at women in the park, so we added that in here too.
What a beautiful, multifaceted deity we have.
Chris Bucholz is a Cracked columnist and has met lots of great people in the mountains. His first novel, Severance, is incredible and available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or Apex Books. Join him on Facebook or Twitter.
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