COMMENTS ON THE BIBLE
  Karl Arnold Belser
13 April2016



I am not a particularly religious person. but the Bible represents a codification of knowledge accumulated over a long period of time. Hence, there are likely many kernels of wisdom in its pages.

The book Sapiens: A Brief History of Mankind points out that the key turning point for homo sapiens was the invention of "fictions" such as God that have been instrumental in unifying groups of people. So God and Religion have been key to the advancement of civilization on Earth. See my post A Short History of Mankind.

Alexis de Tocqueville in his book Democracy in America points out that even though the US Constitution is brilliantly architected, it still needs the moral underpinnings of Christianity. See my post Democracy in America.

It seems to me that the Ten Commandments appear to have been one of the first drafting of rules of behavior between human beings in  order to promote a civilized society. The 10 Ccommandments are as follows from Wikipedia, normal Christian list):

1,  
I am the Lord thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage
1.  Thou shalt have no other gods before me
2.  Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image
3,  
Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain
4.  Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy

These first 4 Commandments define (architecturally) an institution.

5.  
Honor thy father and thy mother
6.   Thou shalt not kill
7.   Thou shalt not commit adultery
8.   Thou shalt not steal
9.   Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor
10.  Thou shalt not covet (neighbor's house)
10.  Thou shalt not covet (neighbor's wife)
10,  Thou shalt not covet (neighbor's servants, animals, or anything else

The last 6 seem pretty obvious and fundamental behavior, that if violated, will result in a lot of trouble.

Now, jumping to the end of the New testament, the Book of Revelations, which I admit makes little sense to me as a whole, does have one astute observation. This is the existence of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, which are named WAR, FAMINE, PESTILENCE and DEATH (failure to reproduce or adapt to changing circumstances). The famous historians Will land Ariel Durant point out in their final book the Lessons of History the these four things are responsible for controlling the population of the Earth.

The Durants also point out that the long history of life is simply: COMPETITION, SURVIVAL and REPRODUCTION. There is no intrinsic morality in "life". Morality, like the rules described in the 10 Commandments, had to be invented and maintained to promote the life of groups of people.
    
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