Saturday, September 24, 2005

The Hypocrisy of Sin

Have you ever asked somebody to follow a rule that you don't even try to follow? It's happened to all of us at one point or another.

Christians out there: Most of you probably consider the Ten Commandments a basic guideline of Christianity. But have you actually tried to follow it? Take a look:

The 3rd commandment:

"Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain: for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain."

Have you never said "Jesus Christ!" in you life? Many Christians haven't, I'm sure, but plenty have.

The 4th commandment:

"Keep the sabbath day to sanctify it, as the LORD thy God hath commanded thee.

Six days thou shalt labour, and do all thy work:

But the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, nor thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thine ox, nor thine ass, nor any of thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates; that thy manservant and thy maidservant may rest as well as thou."

How many Christians actually make an effort not to work on Sunday? Is this commandment less important than any of the others?

The 5th commandment:

Honour thy father and thy mother, as the LORD thy God hath commanded thee; that thy days may be prolonged, and that it may go well with thee, in the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee.

Have you ever dishonored your parents?

The 8th commandment:

"Neither shalt thou steal."

Perhaps some people have never stolen something purposefully in their life, but most people have. Stealing a pencil or a stick of gum is still stealing whether somebody notices or not.

How about the 9th?:

"Neither shalt thou bear false witness against thy neighbour."

Does any Christian never lie? You can’t accidentally lie, can you?

And the 10th?:

"Neither shalt thou desire thy neighbour's wife, neither shalt thou covet thy neighbour's house, his field, or his manservant, or his maidservant, his ox, or his ass, or any thing that is thy neighbour's."

Do Christians really have NO desire AT ALL for something they don't have?

It really isn’t difficult to follow the 10 commandments, though it might take a little bit of work. But wouldn’t it be worth it to enter heaven? Of course nobody wants to not lie, steal, covet or work on a Sunday. God doesn’t even want to. How many times has God killed somebody? (Hosea 13 is my favorite example) Does God ever lie? Does God really not work at all on Sunday?

You have to be a hypocrite to expect people to even TRY to follow the 10 commandments. But this is a post for the Atheists as well as the Theists: The next time you tell somebody to obey a rule, ask yourself if you have even TRIED to obey it. It’s not that hard. It just takes guts.

17 Comments:

Blogger EAPrez said...

Think you need to research the history of the calendar....the SEVENTH day in Biblical times was SATURDAY not Sunday...still is. I think if it was important enough to be a commandment (not a suggestion) then its important enough to get it right.

12:10 PM, September 24, 2005  
Anonymous Tanooki Joe said...

Second nitpick -- the commandment is actually "do not Murder".

Accusing Christians of hypocrisy won't phase them. That's because they already believe it. Christianity assumes that everyone is inherently bad, and that no one is good. Even people who don't do bad things are bad, because even thinking about sinning is a sin, because in the Christian worldview thought is equivalent to action. Only God's mercy can save you. If you say this to a Christian, they will probably say something like "Yes, I am a sinner, but God will forgive me, because He is loving."

That's why Christianity, especially the kind that believes in salvation by faith alone, is a completely bankrupt moral system -- it lets you think of yourself as a good person without actually having to be one.

1:51 PM, September 24, 2005  
Blogger Bobkul said...

You know me, pyro, how many of those things did you see me do in the years we have known each other?
Anyway, your interpretation can be seen from a standpoint from before you had the commandment explained to you with evidence.
"Thou shalt not kill.", by reference to the bible, means more of murder, which some texts have written because it is more precise. God killed those who, even after they were given the chance and proof to believe, did not believe.
"Thou shalt not steal." You're right, soem people might have stolen before, but if they genuinely ask for forgiveness and do not do it again are fine. I'll admit, I stole a game help booklet from a store when I was five, but it's not like I did it again after that.
"Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour." This does not mean lying, it means slander. It is still important not to lie, but it is covered in other parts of the Bible.
"Thou shalt not desire thy neighbour's wife, neither shalt thou covet thy neighbour's house, his field, or his manservant, or his maidservant, his ox, or his ass, or any thing that is thy neighbour's." This does not tell you not to want something that someone else has, it means essentially not to steal something that your neighbor has. You can want something, go out and buy it, it doesn't say not to buy something.

4:06 PM, September 24, 2005  
Blogger Pyro_Shark said...

Okay, I took out Thou shalt not kill. I wasn't aware of that.

Bobkul - You see, that's the problem. You can steal, lie, slander (however you'd like to call it) and as long as you repent, God forgives you.

"This does not tell you not to want something that someone else has, it means essentially not to steal something that your neighbor has."

No. That was covered it "Neither shalt thou steal." To covet something is to want it, not to steal it.

And Bob, I'm pretty certain that you work on a Sunday occasionally, or lie, or covet something somebody else owns.

5:26 PM, September 24, 2005  
Blogger Bobkul said...

I guesss I forgot to clarify. If you do something wrong, you will be forgiven, but if you continue doing it knowingly or you know you're going to do it again, you won't be forgiven.

A story in the Bible clearly shows that. In John 8:1-11 Jesus doesn't condemn the woman caught in adultry, but he forgives her and tells her to "Go now and leave your life of sin."

2:11 PM, September 25, 2005  
Blogger Shakespeare said...

My, my, my you have a lot of complaints. who knows? Mabey your breaking some bibical rule printing this post. Mabey I am too. I guess we'll find out when we die.

4:19 PM, September 25, 2005  
Blogger Morgaine said...

The thing that bothers me is that they want to post the big 10 everywhere when they obviously haven't understood them. The First Commandment goes into great detail about the idolatry of graven images. A framed print or a statue of the Commandments is a graven image. If they truly believed in the Commandments, this would never be an issue. If they don't believe it, why are our courts clogged with these nuisance cases about statues?

5:50 AM, October 03, 2005  
Anonymous Chad said...

We're all hypocrites and all break these commandments, but that does not invalidate the commandments themselves. It's not about following a list of rules. It's about a relationship with Christ and a heart change. A Christian should WANT to obey God because she loves God. (Similar to a child wanting to please a parent.)

So, Tanooki Joe, when you call Christianity a "completely bankrupt moral system," this makes no sense to me. Personally, I know that the closer I am to God, the more likely I am to be faithful to His commandments, and it has very little to do with fear of retribution.

Morgaine, you might want to be a little more careful when tossing about all those "they's". Followers of Christ are not quite as monolithic or naive as you portray or would like to believe.

1:12 PM, October 03, 2005  
Blogger Pyro_Shark said...

Chad - I would disagree. Christianity (at least from my perspective of it) seems to be a lot about following rules, 10 commandments or not. Love God, not be homosexual, be God's servant. Whether you WANT to do it or not is out of the question.

Besides, most Christians do it so they don't go to Hell. (Similar to a child wanting to please a parent- they do it so they don't get punished)

4:34 PM, October 03, 2005  
Anonymous Chad said...

Pyro-Shark,

I think the order of things makes all the difference in the world. For instance, if you start with loving God, then wanting to satisfy God follows naturally, as it would in a human relationship. To get back to the example of a child and her parents: if a child loves her parents and knows her parents trust her, she will want to please them and fear letting them down.

This is very different from the situation of a child obeying simply for fear of being punished. That mindset is more indicative of fundamentalist Christians who are more about rules and legalism than a love of God.

4:43 PM, October 03, 2005  
Blogger Pyro_Shark said...

Chad- I'm not a Christian, so you probably know better than me, but alot of the time it seems to me that Christians are following the rules to avoid Hell rather than to make God proud. As is with children.

6:33 PM, October 03, 2005  
Anonymous Chad said...

Unfortunately, I think you're right about that. An outgrowth of that is Christians acting in a judgmental manner and misrepresenting the faith. It's a big problem.

7:49 PM, October 03, 2005  
Blogger Pyro_Shark said...

I think Christianity is a great religion - in the most part. It's when the wacko fundamentilists use it to deny equal rights to people or whatnot, that I start to question it's worth. Sometimes it seems that more and more people are following the extremests, and its very reassuring to see that not every Christian is the same way.

7:16 PM, October 04, 2005  
Blogger Brandon said...

Pyroshark:

Your presentation of the 10 commandments is Fundamentalist and Sunday Schoolish. Realize that most Christians in the world are not North American Protestants. I do understand that your criticism is primarily directed towards NAPs so I will give you that many people you know of understand the 10 commandments the same way you do. I won’t go into every commandment you bring up, however:

The 3rd commandment:
"Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain: for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain."
Have you never said "Jesus Christ!" in you life? Many Christians haven't, I'm sure, but plenty have.


This does not mean what you say it means. Taking God’s name in vain primarily involves doing things for God that misrepresent his character. Cussing with the words “Jesus” and “Christ” “God” and for that matter “Yahweh” (the Jews feared that name so much they wouldn’t write it fully, let alone speak it. They preferred something along the lines of YHWH) has nothing to do with this commandment.


How about the 9th?:
"Neither shalt thou bear false witness against thy neighbour."
Does any Christian never lie? You can’t accidentally lie, can you?


No you can’t. Lying by definition requires intent to deceive. You can say untrue things but unless you intend to deceive you aren’t lying.

And the 10th?:
"Neither shalt thou desire thy neighbour's wife, neither shalt thou covet thy neighbour's house, his field, or his manservant, or his maidservant, his ox, or his ass, or any thing that is thy neighbour's."
Do Christians really have NO desire AT ALL for something they don't have?


This is one of the curses of materialism and hedonism in our culture. It is very easy to want things when there are so many things around, and when it is expected that you buy many things (Christmas, birthdays, advertisements just as examples). Coveting involves degree, but as soon as it crosses the line from “that would be good to have” to “I want that (and cannot have it)” then it becomes coveting. At the root, coveting is primarily an issue of pride. There is a sense of entitlement or false greatness of the self that accompanies most any unfulfilled or unfulfillable desire. Pride most often motivates the self to yearn for other-than. That is why humility is trumpeted so strenuously in the Bible. More than most any other commandment, most good can be done and most evil quashed when this commandment is followed.

You have to be a hypocrite to expect people to even TRY to follow the 10 commandments.

That is true. But why is that necessarily bad? I think I know where you are coming from…. The bible thumping preacher who rails against sodomy Sunday in the morning and that night goes home to his wife after leaving, his passion sated, from his appointment with the local man-whore (ha, prostitution and homosexuality is one go. Pretty good, eh?). Am I correct? But look at it this way. Say you have a group of people who want to be better. They think the best way to do this is to follow the 10 commandments and Jesus’ words. Since they are, by definition, sinners, they will all be hypocrites as you say. But say that they encourage, teach and work with each other and actually begin to sin less and less. Why was hypocrisy bad in that case?

12:40 PM, October 07, 2005  
Blogger Brandon said...

Tanooki:
Christianity assumes that everyone is inherently bad, and that no one is good. Even people who don't do bad things are bad, because even thinking about sinning is a sin, because in the Christian worldview thought is equivalent to action.

No, Calvinism assumes that everyone is inherently bad. Other stances within Christianity believe people can be good, though they do evil things, etc.

That's why Christianity, especially the kind that believes in salvation by faith alone, is a completely bankrupt moral system -- it lets you think of yourself as a good person without actually having to be one.

I think you are on to something here, though I think “completely bankrupt moral system”: is a hyperbole. Most people who believe in salvation by faith alone are waiting to die so they can “go to heaven”. There is no sense of urgency to do good on this earth because, frankly, good can’t be done. Creation groans under the weight of sin, they think. And they think nothing can be done about it. Of course, most of them do not do wildly evil things. There is still a sense of duty to the rules, even though they don’t put a lot of effort into following the rules. Their moral system is thoroughly deontological.

12:40 PM, October 07, 2005  
Anonymous badger3k said...

Sorry I saw this so late, but I had to comment:

" "Thou shalt not kill.", by reference to the bible, means more of murder, which some texts have written because it is more precise. God killed those who, even after they were given the chance and proof to believe, did not believe. "

Did the author of this mean to imply that the murder of "unbelievers" is actually good, or at least OK? I know a lot of Christian (and other) fundamentalists who believe that killing unbelievers is perfectly acceptable, but by most human moral standards it is not. Is it the oft-quoted fact that "God did it" mean that it is OK for "him", but not for humans?

Sorry if I misunderstood, but I recently finished a three-month long forum discussion on death in the bible with a fundie who believes that genocide is ok if god tells you to do it. I always find such relative morality funny in a system that is supposedly absolute.

12:35 PM, October 09, 2005  
Blogger Lucy said...

It is obvious that Christians are going to have an awful lot to answer for one day. I imagine that we've driven more people away from Christianity than we'll ever attract to it. We categorize sin like one is worse than the other. It's all rebellion from God, regardless of what form it takes. We think that membership into the local church is going to reserve our seats in Heaven, regardless of what we do or don't do the rest of the week. We forget that sitting in a church doesn't make us Christians anymore than sitting in a garage makes us a car. We argue scripture, rather than applying it to our lives. We make ourselves feel better by saying, "At least I don't...(you fill in the blank)". How many Christians are sitting in church pews every single Sunday struggling with sin issues, but sit and struggle alone because they know that to confide in a brother or sister in Christ would only invite judgement and ridicule, because "their sin" is "one of the big ones"......like there's such a thing as a small sin. And we wonder why half the church pews will be empty tomorrow morning. They gave up. It was easier to face the world.

Before I became a Christian, I deserved hell. Now that I have become a Christian, I deserve hell. It's not about what I did or will do. It's about what Christ has done. Yes, there are a lot of people who use their "Christianity" as a license to sin. Yes, Christianity has more than it's fair share of hypocrites. It always has, always will. Do not put your faith in Christians. Put your faith in Christ.

2:42 PM, November 12, 2005  

Post a Comment

<< Home