In sunday school, I was taught that God had given humanity a handful of non-negotiable laws that must be obeyed. These laws were the Ten Commandments, of course. In my adolescence, I had believe these ten laws were reasonable and if the adults in my life had insisted I follow them uncritically, I quite naturally did so without question. Incidentally, this is the exactly the type of faith that is often encouraged today -- the faith of a child -- obedience without question. We were praised for our child-like faith.
As I matured, I began to question the Ten Commandments. I began to understand the contradiction in the Ten Commandments to what we were told of Jesus' "sacrifice." It was said to us that no one could ever keep all these laws and that doing so we will commit sin in the future. Although, these Ten Commandments were immutable, paradoxically, we could pray to God and Jesus for forgiveness if we should sin against them. I had thought to myself why bother keeping the commandments, if Jesus was there to amend for them anyway.
Above all, however, we were taught to honor and keep the first -- since it was the first after all. The following two commandments were of almost equal importance because it was how you kept the first. I learned that not honoring God or making idols was a greater sin than killing a fellow human. God's primacy was above all other concerns.
I was taught that God is the creator of everything -- he who I owe my life too. From the simple bacteria to the laws of physics, God is also said to be in anything and everything. Not only that, he is the party responsible for knowing every second of not only your life, but of everyone else's. Christians, endlessly inform us that he has a plan for you and that no matter what happens you should trust in that plan as if some giant invisible puppeteer was pulling the strings. We were also taught that God knew exactly the number of hairs are on your head to demonstrate his power. Being a child, I was amazed by this "fact" every single time.
In rereading Exodus 20:23 we find the same prohibition against making "gods of silver or gods of gold" as in the Ten Commandments. Today, I have to ask myself what kind of God is this if it is so threatened by minerals mined and refined from the ground? Here is a God who proactively cares to know how many hairs on your head, yet with all that power finds infidelity to himself a concern. Apparently, he can be so easily rivaled by the misplaced devotion to other gods.
This god character is petty and has his priorities all wrong. He puts himself as the most urgent concern to where praise of itself eclipses murder.
And this was the God that I was taught to honor and obey. If the Ten Commandments are alleged to be a founding document of ethical behavior, then they are ethics I can easily option out.
Ethical behavior that centers around ego is neither ethical nor behavior I wish to emulate.