The Ten Commandments
1 And God spoke all these words:
2 "I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery.
3 "You shall have no other gods before  me.
I saw this posted in another thread (plus I've read it in the bible as well) However, below is an article published in the LA
Times last year.
Doubting the Story of Exodus
Many scholars have quietly concluded that the epic of Moses never happened, and even Jewish clerics are raising questions. Others think it combines myth, cultural memories and kernels of truth.
By TERESA WATANABE, Times Religion Writer
It's one of the greatest stories ever told: A baby is found in a basket adrift in the Egyptian Nile and is adopted into the pharaoh's household. He grows up as Moses, rediscovers his roots and leads his enslaved Israelite brethren to freedom after God sends down 10 plagues against Egypt and parts the Red Sea to allow them to escape. They wander for 40 years in the wilderness and, under the leadership of Joshua, conquer the land of Canaan to enter their promised land.
For centuries, the biblical account of the Exodus has been revered as the founding story of the Jewish people, sacred scripture for three world religions and a universal symbol of freedom that has inspired liberation movements around the globe. But did the Exodus ever actually occur?
On Passover last Sunday, Rabbi David Wolpe raised that provocative question before 2,200 faithful at Sinai Temple in Westwood. He minced no words. "The truth is that virtually every modern archeologist who has investigated the story of the Exodus, with very few exceptions, agrees that the way the Bible describes the Exodus is not the way it happened, if it happened at all," Wolpe told his congregants.Wolpe's startling sermon may have seemed blasphemy to some. In fact, however, the rabbi was merely telling his flock what scholars have known for more than a decade. Slowly and often outside wide public purview, archeologists are radically reshaping modern understanding of the Bible. It was time for his people to know about it, Wolpe decided. After a century of excavations trying to prove the ancient accounts true, archeologists say there is no conclusive evidence that the Israelites were ever in Egypt, were ever enslaved, ever wandered in the Sinai wilderness for 40 years or ever conquered the land of Canaan under Joshua's leadership. To the contrary, the prevailing view is that most of Joshua's fabled military campaigns never occurred--archeologists have uncovered ash layers and other signs of destruction at the relevant time at only one of the many battlegrounds mentioned in the Bible.
Today, the prevailing theory is that Israel probably emerged peacefully out of Canaan--modern-day Lebanon, southern Syria, Jordan and the West Bank of Israel?whose people are portrayed in the Bible as wicked idolators. Under this theory, the Canaanites who took on a new identity as Israelites were perhaps joined or led by a small group of Semites from Egypt--explaining a possible source of the Exodus story, scholars say. As they expanded their settlement, they may have begun to clash with neighbors, perhaps providing the historical nuggets for the conflicts recorded in Joshua and Judges....
The article continues..but I figure if you've stuck around this far..you get the point.
It didn't take reading this article to question what the problem was here regarding 'god', Moses and the rest. Being one fascinated with American and world history and the plight of man..and the history he creates made very clear to me the problems with the wholesale selling of 'faith' and religious beliefs. I personally believe people are entitled to believe what ever they choose. But I am put off by when my intelligence is insulted by mindless stunts like Pat Robertson's recent 'god spoke to me and told me G.W. Bush will be re-elected' and the in your face god squad tactics being played out in every media forum. Islamic fundamentalist/fanatics such as the ass clowns running Iran (and many other nations) at the moment and their vile attempts to keep people as ignorant as possible via fear and intimidation.
But regarding the above, long ago I did the simple of math of -- If god lead his people out of slavery in Egypt...wouldn't the 1st, 2nd or at least the 3rd or at least after 'Thou shalt not kill' commandment would have been 'Thou shalt not practice slavery?' The only thing that trumps owning another human from cradle to grave --slavery (or at any point in their life)--- is murder. But when god handed down these laws (through the burning bush to Moses on Mt. Sinai. He appeared to have forgotten all about what these people had been through. He elected to warn them of jealous, envy or their neighbors possessions or his wife. Children to honor their parents. Telling lies (bearing false witness) against one another and so on. These laws are so 'subject specific' it's impossible to overlook such a travesty as slavery.
Only human error could commit such an egregious omission. A perfect god would not. And therein lies my point, the flawed hand of man is all over the place in the bible, the Quran and the Torah! It's a great ensemble of parables allegories and that's about it. Over this last christmas period, there was a religious special on the History Channel titled 'Banned from the Bible'. It showcased 'books of the bible' that were seriously considered for placement among the known scriptures but deemed to controversial or caused more questions than a providing of answers thus ruled as not worthy of inclusion.
One was a written account of the boyhood life of Jesus, which read of a tempestuous child who lashed out and used his powers against bullies and 'smart mouthed' his teachers (the 1st Dennis the Menace if you will) but was helpful with his brother James and Mary and Joseph. He carried water for drink from a well in his robe. With the touch of a seed..he grew fields of grain. Whoa...why didn't he just take a drop of water and place a lake or a stream near the house..that would eliminate the need of trekking back and forth water.
Regardless of these 'what ifs and shouldas' and couldas'..the point is this stuff was crafted by some very clever people. Firstly, it had to be crafted by those who could write. Literacy at the time was dismal and scant at best..certainly restricted to higher and ruling classes (who had the luxury of 'time' for learning). The temples and places of worship of the day only existed with the consent of the powerful and ruling classes. Infact, it had to be a symbiotic existence of sorts between the two. If the alliance was between the poor and the temple....that would never work...the powerful would have eliminated them both (and they did). Sure there have been kings/rulers at odds with spiritual leaders and this is noted..but for the most part you'll see that in most civilizations, recorded history shows the church/spiritual centers and seats of power pretty much respected each other and gave deference when it was advantageous to one or the other or both. Since the days of Julius Ceasar few gov'ts have been at odds with the Vatican. The Vatican had 'interest' in the Slave Trade of between Europe, Africa and the Americas. The Vatican quietly supported the South in the US Civil War. The Vatican was silent during Hitler's reign and did nothing to help fleeing oppressed jews. The reach of the Vatican is global and when and if you go to Rome you can almost touch it's influence. Today American politicians quickly invoke 'god' (and the flag) to gain ground with 'middle America'. And middle America is foolish enough to fall for it at every turn.
Peaceful Islamic forces aren't doing anything notable today in trying to dissuade young arab boys/girls/men and women from becoming suicide bombers. Because they themselves fear retaliation from their neighboring Islamic fundamentalist.
But in it's defense I'll admit that the bible and such writings lend hope to those who have little else (and that's exactly who it's target audience is). It gets those in despair to happier surroundings or through trying times. These writings do point the way to an order in which to live life however they usually come with caveats and restrictions. The same writings came into America to save the heathen savage indians and virtually destroyed their existence, into savage Africa and the place is still a mess, into China and cased a massive upheaval of a existence that thrived steadily for centuries (I used 'savage' because this is how missionaries chose to characterized the regions). It seems it causes as much bedlam and chaos as it proves relief for. It has a long and proven history as the best tool to managing the masses. It has the same efficacies as a 'reign of fear and terror'..producing a society of like thinking people. After all..the fear of going to a hell or and afterlife consequence is what keeps most believers in check. Perhaps what's even more difficult for most is to really sit and ponder....what if there is no god...then what? Then the very cause of existence comes into question...and for a lot of people..that's more than they can handle.
And until that day comes (if we don't kill ourselves first) and that day being one where enlighten peoples far out-number those who are too impressionable and easily swayed by fear and terror..we will remain questioning who's god is right and who's is wrong. We are after all malleable beings, but progressive thought advancement and technological innovation is brought us to the point where we have to let go of some of the things that have got us where we are today. I believe religious text and such beliefs have a limited place if we are to become a better world. Whether the bible likes it or not, change is coming, knowledge yet to be availed to us does exist here on earth and beyond (perhaps not Mars) and the bible will have no way to address the issues to come with such new revelations and situations. Someone once said that 'one's religious beliefs places limitations on one's achieved level of intelligence' meaning that when knowledge reaches a certain point..it begins to challenge and threaten the very foundations of a taught faith. And you faithful...are taught faith..you don't come out of the womb with it. That's when you must ask yourself that question 'do I go with god or do I go with science?' Painstaking efforts have been underway to attempt to join the two..but it'll never work. Sooner or later, the 'adult' children will have to be told at an earlier and earlier age that Santa isn't real after all and he never existed.
"Home of the Brave, made by the Slaves..Land of the Free, if you look like me.." T. Jefferson