The 10 commandments in the 21st century

ten commandmentsSpiritual or religious teaching have roots in the human psyche and can not go out of date. I have been meaning to write about the ten commandments and how they apply in real life. In this blog post, I will list the commandments and then talk a bit, from my point of view, how I see they still apply in the 21st century.

The 10 Commandments list can be found here Exodus 20:2-17

Let’s get started!

 1. You shall have no other gods before Me

I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. You shall have no other gods before Me.

I don’t know how this commandment applies in modern days. Being an atheist is an option these days.

One does not need a God or Gods to function in the world. It could be for comfort that people seek God in his/her/it’s various forms.

If anything, one can consider this commandments as a way to remember there is a creator and that the universe runs in order and intelligently. Be responsible and care for others around you.

2. You shall not make idols

You shall not make for yourself a carved image—any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; you shall not bow down to them nor serve them. For I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children to the third and fourth generations of those who hate Me, but showing mercy to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments.

Idols confuse people and make them more and more attached to the form rather than the essence.

For example, these days people make idols out of singers, news anchors, actors, super models, etc…

A take away of this commandment is not to worship idols and instead reflect about your own being and what you can accomplish in life and how to be useful and helpful.

Remember you are as unique as everybody else!

3. You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain

You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain, for the LORD will not hold him guiltless who takes His name in vain.

“God damn it!”, “Jesus Christ!”, etc…

This commandment also builds up on the previous two: establishing and making clear the authority of God from the Old Testament.

Like one does not take the name of his parents in vain, one should not take the name of a deity in vain (especially if one worships that deity).

For atheists, there’s no real take away from that, except that perhaps be mindful and respect those who are religious.

4. Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.

Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the LORD your God. In it you shall do no work: you, nor your son, nor your daughter, nor your male servant, nor your female servant, nor your cattle, nor your stranger who is within your gates. For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day. Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and hallowed it.

The spiritual dimensions of this commandment can be argued. The practical meaning makes more sense. I would not make it a commandment but rather a hint.

This commandment hints us to take some rest from work and reflect upon what life has to offer to us and what we can offer to others. A day where one can enjoy the fruits of others, family’s and friends’ effort. To come together, socialize, rest and share with others.

In modern life, people spend Sundays relaxing, hiking, visiting families, going to the Church, running errands, etc…

In my opinion, if you reflect about the blessings that life gives you and always remember your creator, then you fulfilled this commandment.

5. Honor your father and your mother

Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long upon the land which the LORD your God is giving you.

Having good parents, I have to say, is a matter of luck these days. Because of many unwanted child birth, adultery, divorce rates, etc…The offsprings grow into adults that hate their parents. In turn, if they also have their own children then their children won’t respect or love them….and the circle continues.

The least one can do to his/her family is to honor the parents. To serve them back as they served us when we were still kids. To call them, stay in touch and care for them.

I don’t believe this commandment only concerns one’s biological parents. I feel it applies also to those who we honor as our father and mother. Honor your teachers, mentors and who ever helped you in your life.

Never do the honoring out of selfish means, fear or to be manipulative!

6. You shall not murder

Luckily we live in a world where murder is not tolerated and is punishable by life time in prison or  in some cases execution.

Murder never solved a problem in the long term! Murder leads to more murder and revenge!

If you apply the “An eye for an eye” rule then “the whole world will go blind”

7. You shall not commit adultery.

That’s a very big topic! Adultery and promiscuity seems to be the norm in the 21st century.

After the sexual liberation in the 1960s and the pill, sex is no longer a taboo. People sleep around outside wedlock and many times they cheat while being married.

These days, the commercials, movies, stories and radio encourage people to have extramarital relationships, hooking up and what not.

It seems people forget that we are not animals and we should control our base urges and use them when appropriate: to procreate.

Be responsible and share yourself with the one partner that matters. After all, we become couples in order to fulfill our duty to earth (like other animals): to populate the earth and serve the community / make it a better place.

A good society is that which has healthy families, smart and educated kids and responsible individuals. When people start bringing bastards to the world, then crime and ignorance will prevail!

Be responsible!

8. You shall not steal.

You shall not steal.

Why steal? Only take what is yours or what you earned. For theft to happen, one has to take something from someone or somewhere. The theft will cause imbalance, problems and anguish for those who lost the item.

If you don’t like to have your stuff stolen from you, then don’t steal!

This commandment reminds me of the legal notice found in the open source SQLite software, and I quote:

** 2001 September 15
** The author disclaims copyright to this source code. In place of
** a legal notice, here is a blessing:
** May you do good and not evil.
** May you find forgiveness for yourself and forgive others.
** May you share freely, never taking more than you give.

9. You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.

You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.

It goes without saying that this is a very important rule!

Imagine yourself bearing false witness in a court. You can cause real damage if you’re falsely testifying or accusing someone.

Be honest and say the truth. Remember nothing goes unpunished. Even if no one sees, I am a firm believer of what goes around comes around.

10. You shall not covet.

You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, nor his male servant, nor his female servant, nor his ox, nor his donkey, nor anything that is your neighbor’s.

I would classify this as a good generic advise. Psychologists would agree on that one!

One should not yearn for others’ possessions or envy them. If your friend is married to a beautiful women, then respect that and don’t hit on his wife.

If your neighbor has a nice car, nice house, etc…it is okay. This is life, work hard and earn your stuff. While life may seem unfair, one has to be responsible and still control him/herself and his/her urges and lead a balanced life.

I hope you liked this article. Please leave your comments or questions in the comment box.

Related posts:

3 thoughts on “The 10 commandments in the 21st century

  1. Even if you’re not a creationist practically all rules apply.

    Question for atheists: Who or what caused all there is?

    Nothing is impossible.

    Great blog post of lallouslab

    • Hi Klaasv, thanks for your comments and kind words.

      Yes, all rules apply beyond and disregarding which religion you belong don’t belong to.

      It is a way of life that makes your life pleasant and harmonious.


  2. I would argue in atheism, you are your own God, while an atheist may not say this. Really a god is merely what governs what you do, not a “real” entity. In fact, this is what the 2nd commandment could be said to mean, you shall have no other god’s then mean. The bible says a lot about Idol, and self can certainly be an idol AKA another god.

Leave a Reply