Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Ten for Our Time

Ted Turner, millionaire founder of CNN and TBS, declared in 1999 that the Ten Commandments were obsolete, "We’re living with outdated rules. The rules we’re living under are the Ten Commandments, and I bet nobody here even pays much attention to them because they’re too old. When Moses went up on the mountain, there were no nuclear weapons, there was no poverty. Today, the Ten Commandments wouldn’t go over. Nobody around likes to be commanded. Commandments are out!"

Of course, Turner was wrong when he declared that the Ten Commandments are outdated. They are as relevant and important as when Moses gave them to the Israelites. He was right, however, when he says that nobody likes to be commanded. God’s people have been breaking the commandments for as long as they have been around! Even sadder still is that modern society and culture often mocks God’s Commandments. We live in a time when right is classified as wrong and wrong as right. As Isaiah rightly declared so many years ago: “Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness…( 5:20)” As one jokester put it concerning the Ten Commandments in courthouses and legislatures: You cannot post "Thou Shalt Not Steal," "Thou Shalt Not Commit Adultery," and "Thou Shall Not Lie" in a building full of lawyers, judges and politicians...It creates a hostile work environment!

It’s not only Ted Turner who thinks the commandments are obsolete. Many believe that there are no "moral absolutes" and hold to a philosophy of "moral relativism." How many times have we heard statements like these: "What’s right for you may not be right for me. If it feels good do it. Anything goes. Nothing is right or wrong, there are just different opinions?" All of this is the result of a growing sense that there is no absolute truth. A recent poll found that 67% of Americans do not believe in moral absolutes. Even 62% of professing Christians said that there was no absolute standard of right and wrong. Contrast this attitude with that of James Madison, the 4th President of the United States, who said this, "We stake the future of this country on our ability to govern ourselves under the principles of the Ten Commandments."

God intended the commandments not to oppress us, but to enable us to live at peace and harmony with each other. Rather than constricting life and freedom, the commandments add joy to our lives! A life without boundaries is simply chaotic. Proper boundaries (God's commands) add harmony, peace, and security to our lives as we live in proper relationship to God and each other. What would this world be like without theft, gossip, murder, and people lived lives of integrity with each other and their Creator? Think about it.