Sunday, July 17, 2011

Facebook Apologetics: Numbering the Ten Commandments, Pt. 2

My opponent, "Kenneth" began his response to Part 1 by providing the Protestant and Catholic lists of the Ten Commandments:


    1. I, the Lord, am your God. You shall not have other gods besides me.

    2. You shall not take the name of the Lord God in vain

    3. Remember to keep holy the Lord's Day

    4. Honor your father and your mother

    5. You shall not kill

    6. You shall not commit adultery

    7. You shall not steal

    8. You shall not bear false witness

    9. You shall not covet your neighbor's wife

    10. You shall not covet your neighbor's goods


    1. You shall have no other gods but me.

    2. You shall not make unto you any graven images

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

    4. You shall remember the Sabbath and keep it holy

    5. Honor your mother and father

    6. You shall not murder

    7. You shall not commit adultery

    8. You shall not steal

    9. You shall not bear false witness

    10. You shall not covet anything that belongs to your neighbor

This was very helpful, and I'm sorry now that I did not thank him for it. At any rate, after that he launched into his response to my arguments. Here are his words and my rebuttal:

  • Apparently this whole misunderstanding comes down to editing God for "wordiness" and the desire by the RC Church to correct for God's political incorrectness being representative of an earlier age.

    Since the Bible IS the gift of the Roman Catholic Church in the same way forest rangers determining that an object is a tree, gift it to the lumberjacks, the Bible is the Catholic Church's to edit. But lo and behold, it hasn't edited the Bible -- YET.

    Instead, they have edited its extrabiblical listing of the 10 commandments by deftly removing the second one altogether and splitting the tenth into two parts. The Roman Catholic Church worships (wait "venerates") statues and objects like relics, and the crown of thorns Jesus wore, clearly making them guilty of not only making such objects, but "venerating" them also! Would a reasonable person suppose that the Catholic Church did this relocation out of convenience to alleviate the consciences of them who have fallen in love with the pantheon of saints and Mary whose only desire is to have an image of them to which to pray?

    This is where my face gets really red. I made this same assumption. Instead we have been wrong, who thought this.

I'm sorry, but this conspiracy theory of yours is absurd. Why would the Catholic Church try to hide her idolatry by removing a commandment when all a Catholic has to do is open his Bible to see the injunction against creating idols right there in plain sight?

  • The second commandment was dropped because it was redundant, God in His majesty became a little two wordy. You know how He is always saying things twice, many times in different ways, but He is redundant. Since God already SAID there were to be no other Gods worshiped, wouldn't that INCLUDE these statues? So why have two commandments which say the same thing. What was God thinking?

No one is saying God himself is being redundant. The Commandments in the Bible aren't numbered. The summary and enumeration was created by man as a teaching tool, so that the faithful may more easily learn them. Just b/c our #1 says "You shall worship God and Him alone" that doesn't mean we stop there and move on. Any time the commandments are ever treated, whether it be in a catechism or any other method of instruction, the injunction against creating images or idol worship is ALWAYS included. Each Commandment is a jumping off point from which we explain in detail everything that falls under that commandment. If the Church didn't want anyone to know about that idol worship part, why do we go to such lengths to TEACH ABOUT IT? Look up the Catechism of the Catholic Church online and just read how much is covered under one Commandment (here is Commandment #1).

Furthermore, it's very hypocritical to accuse Catholics of editing and removing parts, when Protestants do the same thing. Look at the Protestant list that you provided and compare it to Exodus 20:2-17. Your #2 says, "You shall not make unto you any graven images" whereas Exo 20:4-6 goes on to say, "... or 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 or 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 the fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing steadfast love to thousands of those who love me and keep my commandments." Since you edited out the part about bown down to them, should we assume that Protestants are hiding that aspect of idol worship so that they can provide cover for those who wish to bow down to images? If we use your logic, we would have to come to that conclusion.

  • So, it was fortunate that God made a second mistake, in the tenth commandment! He had almost made it through without another mistake, but this one wasn't as innocuous as the earlier faux pas, simply repeating Himself. In this one He portrayed Himself as being chauvinistic! His commandment grouped things and women together as being covetable. They made haste to correct this one. They separated the one about coveting a woman from the one about coveting things. These became the ninth (ladies first) and tenth commandments. As Nick Hardesty so eloquently put it [I took liberty to edit for the protestant reader]:

    • Catholics separate these two commandments b/c we believe that [but not God,] coveting a person’s wife and coveting his goods are two entirely different sins. Coveting a man’s wife is lust and adultery. Coveting his goods is envy and greed. The implication with the Protestant [and God's] enumeration is that a man’s wife is just another piece of property! The Catholic enumeration, in my mind, makes much more sense. [than God's]

    Jeepers, I hope this clears things up!

Perhaps you can explain to me then how coveting a man's wife is the same thing as coveting his car or house. Either coveting a man's wife is adultery or it's not. If it is -- and Jesus says that it is -- then it is a very different sin that coveting his car. But, I await your wisdom on that point.

- - - - - - - - - -

After 5 days went by without a response, I reminded him of our debate. Here was his response:

  • I am perfectly willing to let your arguments stand where they are. Others can clearly judge whether your arguments are cogent. I see nothing in your response to be answered that isn't self-evident in its evasiveness and legerdemain. Oh, and when a Roman Catholic reads her Bible, I would like to be there to record the event. It would be a huge milestone in the ecumenical efforts of the RCC.

It's obvious that he either doesn't know how to respond to my arguments, or he's no longer interested in trying. I found the charge of "evasiveness and legerdemain" particularly ironic, considering that he was the one avoiding my arguments. But it's whatever. No one else in the group has bothered to respond either.


  1. "Oh, and when a Roman Catholic reads her Bible, I would like to be there to record the event. It would be a huge milestone in the ecumenical efforts of the RCC."

    Feel free to tell "Kenneth" that THIS Catholic has read her ENTIRE Bible 4 times (and by entire, I mean ALL the books, not just the abbreviated 66 book version) and some of the books I have read much more than that.

    I have read 3 copies of soft-bound Scriptures to the point of falling apart (I tend to replace them about the point that I have only half of Genesis and half of Revelation left...). I'm now on my 4th.

    And if he thinks this is a "she's a convert (I am), and it's post Vatican II", when my husband's then 90-yr-old grandmother (Cradle Catholic) found out this fact her response was "Well, that's as it SHOULD be."

    Sorry, but the notion that Catholics don't read their bibles when usually they've read more - and certainly HEARD (at Mass) more - Scripture than most Protestants is just a pet peeve with me.

  2. I always get a chuckle out of Protestants who point their fingers at Catholic statues while they ignore the Nativity scenes they set up every Christmas. I guess THOSE statues are OK, but all the others are breaking a commandment. Oh the irony...


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