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You Shall Not Kill Has No Meaning in the Real World of Religion

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Message Dennis Diehl

One of the shortest and most simple of the Ten Commandments is "You shall not kill." Pretty simple. "You shall not kill." Any questions?

Well of course there are questions. Even Dirty Harry said "some people need killin'." Killing is what the religions of "the Book" do best when push comes to shove. Both say "You shall not kill," and yet both kill, often and with great enthusiasm at times. Actually all religions that have exclusive ownership of the Deity's truth are killers when they run out of ideas of just how to logically explain the Good News and spread it. What "You shall not kill," tends to mean is "each other," but that also proves, in fact, to be a joke.

The entire Old Testament is filled with the exploits of a god that demands that these special people "do not kill," and yet do nothing but kill all those that get in the way of them and their God. If your last name ended in "kites or ites," you were pretty much going to get anhilated sooner or later by the people of the God who said, "You shall not kill." If you were the wives, daughters, sons and babies of the same, you also had had it...oh and your animals too.

I know Christians, I guess that's what they call themselves, who say that we just need to kill all Islamics and turn Iraq and Iran into a smoking parking lot, for Jesus. These people really do have sh*t for brains when it comes to discerning the spirituality of their religious heroes. They sing Onward Christian soldiers far too often and with way too much enthusiasm. I hate that hymn. I do love the verse that says "Like a mighty army moves the church of God; Brothers, we are treading where the saints have trod. We are not divided, all one body we, One in hope and doctrine, one in charity." The fact is that "the Church" is far from not divided and they are about as one in hope and doctrine as the Taliban and Hari Krishnas. I'd say than the Baptists and the Taliban, but they are way too much alike in hope and doctrine. Maybe that's why they can't seem to get a grip on this "You shall not kill" thing.

When Moses went up onto Mount Sinai to receive the Ten Commandments (Exodus 19:20), he left the Israelites for forty days and forty nights (Exodus 24:18). The Israelites feared that he would not return, and asked Aaron to make gods for them (Exodus 32:1). The Bible does not note Aaron's opinion of this request, merely that he complied, and gathered up the Israelites' golden earrings. He melted them and constructed the golden calf. The calf came to mind and was worshipped because this was the time in history when Taurus the Bull was the sign of the zodiac that dominated the Spring Equinox. Religions tend to worship the animal that occupied this sign in terms of astro-theology. This would be around 2000 BC when Taurus was passing out of this position due to the procession of the equinoxes and Aries the Lamb was taking it's place. At any rate, Aaron makes an altar and they all have a party. Bad move.

God decides to kill the people, even though He just wrote "You shall not kill" with his own finger. Moses begged him to rethink this position. (Exodus 32:11); the Lord relented. Moses went down from the mountain, but upon seeing the calf, he too became angry. He threw down the tablets upon which God's law had been written, and broke them. Moses then burnt the golden calf in the fire, ground it to powder, scattered it on water, and forced the Israelites to drink it. After a bit of an interview with Aaron, Moses had "every man slay his neighbor and in that day about 3000 perished." He then picked up the Ten Commandments I suppose and told them "You shall not kill." Go figure.

Great stuff! Moses is standing there with the words "You shall not kill," in his arms and what happens? He goes ballistic, puts the tablets down and no doubt thinks, "we'll discuss this later," and orders the slaughter of 3000 or so people who were afraid after over a month, the man had gotten lost, died or went back to Egypt and forgot to mention it. To make it more personal, "every man was to slay his neighbor." Sure, easy enough.

It doesn't take a rocket scientist, as they say, to see why Fundamentalist Christians, Zionist Devotees and governments that swear they trust in God, get their ideas about what exactly "You shall not kill" means in practical fact. Here are several examples of how "You shall not kill" works.

Kill all who do not listen to their priests. Great idea! Even if they are wrong, no one is going to mention it.

"Anyone arrogant enough to reject the verdict of the judge or of the priest who represents the LORD your God must be put to death. Such evil must be purged from Israel." (Deuteronomy 17:12 NLT)

Kill Witches, which today means environmentalists, Wiccans and those who go to church by sitting on rocks in rivers and in the mountains to think quietly about what life means to them.

"You should not let a sorceress live." (Exodus 22:17 NAB)

Of course, Kill Homosexuals.

"If a man lies with a male as with a women, both of them shall be put to death for their abominable deed; they have forfeited their lives." (Leviticus 20:13 NAB)

Kill the nice lady who is a Fortuneteller. That's the job of the Priests and male Prophets.

"A man or a woman who acts as a medium or fortuneteller shall be put to death by stoning; they have no one but themselves to blame for their death." (Leviticus 20:27 NAB)

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Dennis Diehl is a former pastor of 26 years,  who outgrew the Literalism of Fundamentalism.  He writes about Pastoral and Church abuse and is available to speak on such topics or be helpful to any church suffering under abusive (more...)

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