As a child I witnessed our family cat having his nose forcibly introduced to something in the house that he shouldn’t have deposited. Then, he was summarily tossed outside.

It was not a pretty picture.

The communist/fascist Left today rejoices at doing something similar to anyone who is religious, especially those who are politically conservative Christians and Jews. The Left revels in hurling ad baculum shouts of rage, hostility, and aggression, which Laird Wilcox has so aptly identified as “ritual defamation.”

And, to continue the analogy of “tossing outside,” leftists try to get anyone who challenges them, or disagrees with their mantra, silenced or fired—for example, YouTube’s restricting of Prager University’s five-minute videos for violating “community guidelines” and the sacking of political commentators Glenn Beck and Bill O’Reilly, plus several others.*

Full disclosure before continuing: I am an atheist and have been since I was sixteen. Around that time, in 1963, I watched a television show called “The Defenders,” starring E. G. Marshall and Robert Reed, father-son attorneys who represented an atheist high school teacher. I did not know the meaning of the word “atheism,” so I had to look it up. Hmm, I said to myself, that sounds interesting! Soon after, I read Ayn Rand, majored in philosophy in undergraduate school, and never looked back.

Be that as it may, dear leftists, I did attend a Protestant church and Sunday school for those first sixteen years—and our culture is decidedly Judeo-Christian and has been for at least five thousand years, give or take several centuries or millennia. Our cultural history is part of our cultural identity. It cannot be denied out of existence.

I do disagree with a number of religious issues, including the not insignificant one about the existence of a god. I also disagree with the concept of sin, the emphasis on self-sacrifice, and abortion. (See the second footnote in my earlier post about the insincerity of both pro- and anti-abortionists and what both should be fighting for.)

On the positive side, I relish watching Prager University’s five-minute videos, which are highly polished and highly essentialized, often with strong messages defending free speech and free markets. I don’t agree with all of them—this usually includes those of founder Dennis Prager, himself a Jewish conservative and biblical scholar. His videos usually concentrate on religion and the assumption that morality can only come from God. Socrates, Ayn Rand, and many other philosophers throughout history disagree.

Nonetheless, Prager’s little book (110 pages, with study questions) on The Ten Commandments is illuminating. The general (and, to me, surprising) thrust of Prager’s commentary is that the commandments are what have driven the development of civilization and are therefore necessary for its continuation.**

The word “commandment” in Hebrew, Prager points out, is correctly translated as “statement,” thus the Ten Commandments should be referred to as the Ten Statements. If true, this significantly demotes the deontological, duty-based interpretations of the Judeo-Christian ethics.

Other insights: the sixth commandment, “You shall not kill” (Exodus 20:13), as worded in my 1953 Revised Standard Version of the King James translation, should be “Do not murder.” That’s because the word “kill” in 1610 also meant “murder.” If the commandment literally meant “kill,” Prager emphasizes, we would all have to be vegetarians.

The tenth commandment, “do not covet,” says Prager, is the only one that “legislates thought,” as opposed to behavior. And this is significant, he continues, because it underlies and motivates the previous four—murder, adultery, stealing, and perjury. The thief’s coveting of my wallet or computer eventually causes him to help himself to both.

Equally illuminating is the book Killing Jesus by Bill O’Reilly and Martin Dugard. The two Catholic writers have convinced me that Jesus, a middle easterner, did not look like those white Anglo-Saxon Protestant movie actors of the 1950s!

The book is about the historical Jesus with fascinating detail, but not overly detailed like many scholarly histories. Indeed, I would describe all of the books in the authors’ Killing Series as masterpieces of essentialization. They are page-turners.

The most significant new detail, to me, is the shape of the Roman cross. It was a capital “T,” with no ascender extending above the horizontal crossbeam. The vertical beam was left permanently in the ground, so the crossbeam and prisoner had to be lifted up to be put into position.

What Jesus and other prisoners carried to the killing ground was the horizontal beam. And that would be after a vicious whipping by a couple of Roman soldiers, who were watched carefully by their superior officer to ensure that they gave no leniency, nor did they kill the prisoners. This last would deprive the prisoners of their ultimate humiliation by crucifixion.

As a historical portrayal, the authors handle Jesus’ alleged miracles by writing “people say” or “it was said” that such and such occurred.

A considerable part of the book portrays Jesus’ integrity and independence against the Pharisees, Temple elders, and others who felt threatened by him. The Pharisees were experts on the 613 commandments or laws of the Torah (the first five books of the Old Testament, which also include the more familiar ten). The Pharisees repeatedly tried to trap Jesus so they could have him arrested and executed.

Jesus frequently responded to the entrapment schemes with parables that puzzled his tormentors, or he answered their questions with his own question. The latter part of the book becomes something of a thriller with the various parties to his demise struggling to come up with a justification for his execution.

Pontius Pilate, for example, could not go against Jewish law to order a crucifixion, unless Jesus posed a clear threat to Rome. The threat to Rome Jesus finally admitted to was that he was king of the Jews, therefore a sovereign. To Pilate, though, Jesus was essentially still a preacher, so Pilate’s solution was to offer a choice to the Temple parishioners, who in fact were shills of the elders and Pharisees. They, of course, chose Barabbas; Jesus was sent to his death.

So . . . communist/fascist, rabid leftists, you hate religious people so much that you cannot find anything of value in their cultural heritage, including the above, which, of course, is also your heritage? You hate them so much that you must treat them like dehumanized scum??

Get a life, leftists. Or, rather, get some ideas, based on reason, logic, and objective reality that can be discussed in rational discourse.

Your envy, cynicism, and malevolence are defeating you. What’s that Christian virtue? Ah, pity!

I’m starting to pity you.

I think I’ll go have a discussion about the Ten Commandments and Jesus with a devout Christian or Jew.

 

* Unfortunately, because of today’s epistemological chaos, Prager University is mistakenly calling their treatment by Google, owner of YouTube, “censorship,” which it is not. Censorship is an act only performed by the government. . . unless Google has been blessed with crony governmental handouts and other favoritisms, as in the “renewable” energy and electric car industries. If so, censorship would be the appropriate term. Otherwise, I have to acknowledge that Google seems to be exercising its property rights.

** “The Ten Commandments,” says Prager, “are the greatest list of instructions ever devised for creating a good society” (p. 79). And a good society that the commandments establish, Prager says earlier, is a free society (p. 6).