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The New Commandments.

February 27th, 2005 | No Comments | Categories: Uncategorized |

Most of the time, I’m glad I don’t watch much TV. However, missing Channel 4s The New Ten Commandments was a bit annoying. I found out about it on Paul’s marvellous blog, and now really wish I’d seen it.

Shifts in what is perceived as ‘moral’ are fascinating, particularly in relation to Britain now having made the shift into being a ‘post-christian’ pluralist culture.

There are a couple of noteable quotes on the website, some really good, some nonsense.

Into the latter category comes this gem from Janet Street Porter –

‘The commandments can’t be very relevant,’ she says. ‘Otherwise people would repeat them every morning as a kind of mantra to live their lives by.’

Riiight – so everything that’s relevant becomes a mantra? OK…

Here’s the full list –

  • Be honest
  • Don’t kill
  • Look after the vulnerable
  • Respect your mother and father
  • Enjoy life
  • Nothing in excess
  • Be true to your own God
  • Treat others as you would like to be treated
  • Be true to yourself
  • Protect your family
  • Try your best at all times
  • Look after your health.
  • Don’t commit adultery
  • Live within your means
  • Appreciate what you have
  • Never be violent
  • Protect the environment
  • Protect and nurture children
  • Take responsibility for your own actions
  • Don’t steal

An interesting list, fairly predictable, and also clearly not a list that most people live by – Live within your means is obviously being ignored big time given the debt levels in the UK, parental respect is pretty low on the priority list, so is taking responsibility for our actions…

The one I’ve bolded up there (my emphasis, not C4’s) is the interesting one, given the ramifications of carrying it out – Treat others as you would like to be treated is such a huge thing to take on. To the point where Jesus reduced the whole of ‘The Law and The Prophets’ to two commandments – love God, love eachother – that’s what the second half of that means. We all want to be treated fairly, to be shown mercy, to be appreciated, protected, have time to enjoy ourselves, to feel safe… How much of our time is spent either trying to bring that about, or avoiding practices that cause the opposite? It’s interesting that most of them are very parochial – lots of things to do with the small stuff of life – family, personal responsibility etc. Very little to do with the big stuff of life – government, global issues, God/spirituality…

Anyway, the campaign is a chance to do just that – to give to other people the kind of fair deal that we expect for ourselves. None of us would wish the situation that much of the continent of Africa finds itself in now on our worst enemies, so why do we support a system which is making the poverty worse…?

Laziness, inertia, ignorance – I’m guilty of all three when it comes to the problems of people ‘over there’. But we need to make some changes. All of us.

Soundtrack – Zakir Hussain, ‘Making Music'; Carl Herring, ‘Azure’.

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