Music City Mall Lewisville general manager Richard Morton unveils a stone tablet that displays the Ten Commandments on Dec. 29, 2017, in Lewisville, Texas. Photo courtesy of Music City Mall Lewisville

Ten Commandments monument attracts Texas shoppers, not protesters

(RNS) — Ten Commandment monuments erected in Alabama, Oklahoma and New Mexico have brought lawsuits and removals.

But when an 800-pound granite tablet engraved with "Thou shalts" and "Thou shalt nots" went up in a suburban Dallas shopping mall just before New Year's, not a protester was in sight.

The difference, of course, is location, location, location. The controversial tablets were originally placed on public land, while the Texas tablets are in a privately owned shopping mall.

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"We're not trying to make a statement or create a controversy," Richard Morton, general manager of the Music City Mall at Vista Ridge, told Texas reporters Friday (Dec. 29) as the block was unveiled. Instead, he said, the monument reflects the mall owner's "belief system and he is not afraid to share it."

A second biblical tablet at the Music City Mall Lewisville. Photo courtesy of Music City Mall Lewisville

The owner is John Bushman, a former Marine and businessman from Odessa, Texas, who has said he hopes people find "peace and love" in the Ten Commandments. A second granite tablet bearing two of what Bushman has called "the greatest commandments" — to love the Lord and thy neighbor — is on the second floor.

Several of Bushman's other businesses, including hotels and casual dining restaurants in Texas, Colorado and New Mexico, have similar Ten Commandment displays. He has told Dallas media he wants the Music City Mall to be "a community space."

A shopping mall operates like a public, community space where all are welcome. But it is actually a private space where church-state laws demanding a neutrality toward religion don't apply.

Local non-Christians have, so far, not objected publicly. Dallas is among the most Christian U.S. cities, with a population that is 78 percent Christian and with 18 percent who claim to have no religious affiliation, according to the Pew Research Center. Adherents of non-Christian faiths make up just 4 percent of Dallas-area residents.

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But the tablets have inspired numerous comments on the blogosphere. Hemant Mehta, an atheist author and advocate with the popular Friendly Atheist blog, wrote of owner Bushman: "He would’ve been better off just putting up a sign saying 'Thou shalt not steal' and leaving it at that. Instead, he used his faith to create a spectacle, to drum up publicity, to make more money. Just like Jesus wanted."

Gary Randall, who writes for the blog Faith and Freedom, praised the monument. "(I)t is the basis for the legal system in America, the most free, prosperous, blessed and exceptional nation in the history of the world, even though secularists claim the Commandments are 'not' the basis for our laws," he wrote.

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Some local shoppers say they love the monument. “I think it’s great, I’m excited,” Colette Franklin, a resident of nearby Denton, told Community Impact Newspaper at the unveiling, which kicked off with a Christian prayer. “I think it’s great we can get back to things that we used to have and make people aware of this foundation. We teach these values already to our kids, and this helps to enforce it.”

Comments

  1. It doesn’t belong on public property anyway. A shopping mall is a perfect place for it. A monument which is a sign of religious arrogance with a place which is a symbol for conspicuous consumption (Mammon).

  2. Those expecting atheist/secularist/church-state separation advocates to complain about this are sure to be disappointed. It is in some guy’s mall, not at a courthouse, police station, or public school.

  3. So much for the Ark of the Covenant approach. Personally, I feel like the monument is a de facto giant rabbit’s foot (feet) with the hope of bringing in lost of $ for Mr. Bushman.

  4. Open on a Sunday. Never mind. Do they follow temperance policy, I wonder? And is there a company policy on the subject of avarice or usury? I wonder how many people even notice it or if they do even bother to reflect on it, even for a moment?

  5. No! No! No!

    You’ve confused it with arc of the covenant

  6. The interior monument appears to me to be a bit homoerotic. You know . . . “and the two will become one flesh. So they are no longer two, but one flesh.”

  7. Love. Who can really complain about love one another.

  8. You know what I wanna shoot off my mouth at my brother in Christ John Bushman – spit & all – in the unlikelihood he’s reading this article? This:

    “From all things you could not be freed through the Law of Moses” (Acts 13:39), dummy I mean ‘bruh!

    So what’s all this for?

    Oh right – as in Christian Right.

  9. The title is funny – perhaps Christians are so used to protesting private businesses when they do nothing wrong (e.g., Target) that they assume non-Christians will do the same. There is no reason nonbelievers would protest this. For the moment the mall just has an obnoxious statue in place. What’s to protest?

  10. Funny how the word love does not appear in the Ten Commandments.

  11. Highly appropriate. Owning a shopping center means you are rich man, and everyone knows that Jesus commanded us to love the rich and be conspicuously public in our prayer.

  12. Cecil B. DeMille would understand. Dolla dolla bill, y’all.

  13. I wonder if he puts duct tape over the “Remember the sabbath” commandment every Saturday?

  14. Filed under, we tried to generate outrage but no one cared.

  15. Re: “But when an 800-pound granite tablet engraved with ‘Thou shalts’ and ‘Thou shalt nots’ went up in a suburban Dallas shopping mall just before New Year’s, not a protester was in sight.” 

    I love how these good Chrishun folk were so disappointed that no one turned out to protest their Decalogue idol, thus preventing the poor little things from indulging their Chrishun martyr complex. 

    I also note that setting up this Decalogue idol, violates the Commandment against idolatry, and it’s in a mall which is open on Sundays, which violates the Commandment to keep the Sabbath holy. Two strikes against them, in one monument! It’s also a violation of Jesus’ prohibition of public piety (e.g. Mt 6:1-6), so that’d be strike three, but that’s almost beside the point. 

  16. How is a “temperance policy” even relevant to this topic?

  17. Where in the article do you find anything that would lead you to believe that Christians “were so disappointed that no one turned out to protest”? Nothing in the article supports that belief. Bushman is even quoted as saying “We’re not trying…to create a controversy”. Did you even read the article?

  18. This is so typical of believers–to pointedly get their ideas on religion in front of everyone.

    I wonder which version of the 10 Suggestions are shown–the Catholic version or the Protestant version? (Is there a separate Jewish version?)

  19. AMEN! Preach it, brother.

    What a hypocrite this guy is.

  20. Sabbath day shopping, 12 – 6 pm. Guess Ceaser gots to collect his silver.

  21. Re: “Where in the article do you find anything that would lead you to believe that Christians ‘were so disappointed that no one turned out to protest?” 

    In case you missed it, Father, the headline does a very good job of pointing out the lack of protesters. This is important, because it implies protesters were expected, but didn’t materialize. That headline makes no sense unless there was just such an expectation. 

    Re: “Nothing in the article supports that belief.” 

    … but the headline does. As I just explained. 

    Re: “Bushman is even quoted as saying ‘We’re not trying…to create a controversy’. Did you even read the article?” 

    Hell yeah, I read it. And I’m aware militant Christianists like Bushman don’t view their Decalogue as “controversial.” On the contrary … they think the 10C should be ubiquitous and shoved in everyone’s faces every moment of the day. That’s the very opposite of seeing them as “controversial.” 

    The sad thing is, by doing stuff like this, they’re actually disobeying one of the Commandments they claim to revere (i.e. the prohibition on idolatry), and are also violating Jesus’ injunction against public piety. 

  22. I did. Can you tell me how exactly he is remembering the Sabbath day, the DAY OF REST? How is he keeping it wholly holy, rather than wholly holey, by being open and demanding his workers work on the Holy day?

  23. Yes. There are 3 versions of the 10 Commandments… at least.

  24. The headline is generally a product of the author of the article,
    who is a freelance reporter from the San Francisco area specializing in atheism and freethought. The headline gives her viewpoint on the matter, which is not actually reflected in the comments of the relevant people in the article.

    I fail to see how an engraving of the Ten Commandments would be idolatry. Where the original tablets of the Ten Commandments idols? No. Is the page of the Bible where they are printed idols? No. Neither are they idols when they are etched on a stone (just like the originals weren’t).

  25. I cannot speak to the owner’s views on that, as I do not know them.

    I can speak to the fact that Christians are not bound to Sabbaths, sacrifices, dietary restrictions, etc., as the Apostles themselves indicated.

    Christians generally meet together on Sundays, the day of resurrection, as you no doubt know. I would be more concerned about him forcing Christians to work on Sundays if that prevented them from gathering together for the Eucharist on that day.

    All in all, I much prefer his other monument, listing Jesus’ two greatest commandments, on the second floor.

  26. Re: “I fail to see how an engraving of the Ten Commandments would be idolatry.” 

    It’s a monument believed to have magical powers. In this case, Bushman explicitly said he believes it radiates “peace and love.” It supposedly bears text delivered from On High by a deity. It’s an idol, by almost any definition of the word. 

    Re: “Where the original tablets of the Ten Commandments idols? No.” 

    Well, yes they were. The Hebrews treated them as magically-powered and carried them around in a box they believed itself to have magical powers and to contain their deity’s essence. 

    Re: “Neither are they idols when they are etched on a stone (just like the originals weren’t).” 

    I don’t know which Bible you’ve read, but mine definitely mentions them having been inscribed on tablets. The first set was in Ex 31:18, where the tablets were magically given to Moses by YHWH. He broke those out of sanctimonious rage over the Hebrews sacrificing to a golden cow, and later etched a second set for himself after another conference with YHWH (Ex 34:28). 

    Did I miss something? Or are you saying the Exodus account is incorrect when it says the Decalogue were inscribed on stone tablets? 

  27. Does the hypocrisy of bit bother you at all?

  28. Private property or not religion is divisive. He has basically staked it out as a ‘christian mall’. Half our population are non christian, non believers, and non practicing, some of those won’t care and some will go elsewhere. As soon as you feel the need to put your religion in my face you become a person I won’t associate with.

    As far as the basis of our legal system our founders left us letters, papers, and notes as to how our constitution came together, what sources they used, and the bible is not listed. Not only that 4 of the commandments are not even illegal here, 4 would be unconstitutional to enforce, and 2 are common sense.

    This owner may only be comfortable around other christians, but from a marketing/public relations perspective he has divided and excluded parts of his customer base.

  29. The reason secularists claim the 10 Commandments are not the basis for our laws like the aforementioned Gary Randall does, is because we have facts/history on our side. The First Amendment alone blows away the first five commandments (no other gods, no graven images, no name in vain taking, remember sabbath, honor parents). Also, nothing about Commandment 10. I can covet all I want. That’s 60% of the 10Cs right there. The first 4 are how we’re supposed to treat God. If we were the Christian nation whose laws are based on the 10Cs, you would think those 4 would be somewhere. The actions in the remaining 4 have had laws against them in other, older societies long before Jewish/Christian culture ever came into being. They’re hardly unique.

  30. Let me guess none of the restaurants serve alcohol, no lingerie shops, no sex toys, no short dresses or skirts, covered arms, only faces showing for women (like here only 75 years ago), no cursing, christian music playing over loudspeakers……………….

    dividing his customers by belief is suicide in business.

  31. 4 of the commandments are not even illegal here, 4 would be unconstitutional to enforce, and 2 are common sense.

  32. US law based on the Ten Commandments? Has this guy actually read the ten commandments? Thou shall not kill and thou shall not steal are pretty much the only two things that US law and the TC agree on. The rest of the commandments are perfectly legal to break and in some cases, explicitly allowed and protected by US law (ie freedom to worship any God you please)

  33. In fairness, it would seem that the media is disappointed no one’s coming out to protest.

  34. If Christians aren’t bound to the Sabbath, why the 10C monuments? At best it should be the 9 Commandments.

  35. I think he’s saying the originals weren’t idols, not that they weren’t etched in stone.

  36. It’s not, but it is in Jesus’s two “Greatest Commandments,” which appear in the smaller, outdoor monument also featured in the article. These two commandments are taken verbatim from the Torah, although the monument, not surprisingly, only cites the Gospel.

  37. If I were reading The Ten Commandments for the first time, my knee-jerk reaction would be to assume they were written by Donald Trump. They certainly exhibit his extreme narcissistic personality disorder, although there are one or two assertions thrown in to apparently placate some special people.

  38. “It’s a monument believed to have magical powers”, because it radiates peace and love. I’ve know people who radiate peace and love. Does that mean I believe they have magical powers? No.

    It’s an idol, almost by definition of the word”.

    Definition of idol: “An image of a god used as an object of worship.”

    Is anyone worshiping that monument? No.

    Did I say the original Ten Commandments were not etched on stone? No.

    Yes, you definitely are missing something, namely an understanding of what I wrote. Let me spell it out for you in greater detail: Neither were they [the Ten commandments] idols when they [the Ten Commandments] are etched on a stone (just like the originals weren’t IDOLS).

    The ancient Hebrews never worshiped the Ten Commandments or the Ark of the Covenant. They venerated them as holy objects. Much like today icons are venerated, but never worshiped.

  39. Christians are not bound by the Old Testament laws, as the Apostles have taught. Many of them do, however, embody sound moral precepts.

  40. Well, as I said, it would if he forced Christians to give up their religious observances. That would indeed be inconsistent with the piety he seeks to portray in erecting the monuments. In this, I must say Chick-fil-a is at least consistent.

  41. Hey, what’s wrong with alcohol? “Wine to gladden the heart of man…” (Psalm 104:15).

  42. Maybe he should cover up the entire graven monument, since it prohibits graven images.

  43. And shopping malls exist only because people covet stuff, so that command is pretty much up a creek also. But 70% is a passing grade.

  44. If you are bound by the freakin’ commands, why do you insist on plastering them all over the place???

  45. Re: “Is anyone worshiping that monument? No.” 

    Believing it’s divinely ordained and carries divine magic power means it’s being “worshipped.” 

    Re: “Neither were they [the Ten commandments] idols when they [the Ten Commandments] are etched on a stone (just like the originals weren’t IDOLS).” 

    Bzzzzt! Wrong. They were treated as objects of veneration and worship. They were originally kept in a box which itself was an object of veneration and worship. Idolatry, idolatry, idolatry. All the way. 100%. 

    I get that you refuse to admit that. Really. I do! You don’t want to think you’re disobeying YHWH. That said, I really don’t care. What you’re doing is idolatry without regard to whether or not you’re mature enough to admit it. 

    Not to mention the whole thing also being a gross violation of Jesus’ explicit injunction against public piety — a point I made twice, but which (curiously) you failed to address. Hmmmmm. 

  46. I don’t live near there, but I would not patronize a mall that was blatantly “christian only.” I would not protest or officially boycott or criticize anyone for shopping there. But there are so many places to shop that I would choose to spend my money elsewhere.

  47. Actually, that’s what he said: “Neither are they idols when they are etched on a stone (just like the originals weren’t).” 

    He said they weren’t etched on a stone. 

    But even if you’re right, they were venerated and worshipped, inside the Ark of the Covenant, which was itself venerated and worshipped and was the object of religious rites. That’s idolatry. 

  48. Don’t forget “Thou shalt not bear false witness (as in spread lies and misinformation) about one’s neighbors.”

    That is my favorite. It isn’t any wonder it is one that is most often ignored by those that insist they must all be followed.

  49. Bzzzt! Bzzzt! Bzzzt! Like most Westerners, you conflate worship (Greek: latreia) with veneration (Greek: proskynesis). They are not the same. Worship is due to God alone. Veneration is the respect that can be shown to created things. I guess news about the Seventh Ecumenical Council (Nicea II) has been slow in reaching the West. After all, it was only in 787 AD!

    Yes, we should be humble and not show off our personal piety. On the other hand, we are called upon to proclaim our faith to the world. Crosses, monuments, etc., could conceivably fall into the latter category.

  50. Re: Like most Westerners, you conflate worship (Greek: latreia) with veneration (Greek: proskynesis). They are not the same. 

    Thanks for the lesson in Greek. Unfortunately, I have no need for it, being literate in that language myself. Effectively, these two are the same thing. Whether or not you wish to admit it. There’s a reason I say that, and your own attempt at distinguishing them reveals it:

    Re: “Worship is due to God alone. Veneration is the respect that can be shown to created things.” 

    What you’ve done here is to create a tautology. It’s “worship” if a deity is the object of reverence, but “veneration” it’s an object. But … what about when an object is seen as the deity? They can, and often are, the very same thing. What’s more, what about when someone believes the object was divinely-empowered, or the house of the deity (e.g. the Ark of the Covenant)? 

    In those cases, your tautological distinction collapses. In any event, it’s the verb I’m concerned with, and the act of viewing something (whether a deity, or an object, or whatever) as possessing and exerting magical powers. You’re creating a distinction without a difference. 

    Re: “I guess news about the Seventh Ecumenical Council (Nicea II) has been slow in reaching the West. After all, it was only in 787 AD!” 

    Yes, I’m aware of that Council. It was an attempt to use a tautology, of the sort you employed and I just explained, to resolve the iconoclastic controversy. If you understand Christian history at all, you’d realize why this council had little effect on Latin Christendom; that region generally wasn’t preyed upon by the iconoclastic controversy. For the most part, only eastern Christians beat each other up, and destroyed others’ property, over iconoclasm. That, of course, isn’t surprising. Lots of Christian controversies only played out in the East … e.g. Nestorianism, Monophysitism, etc. Eastern Christians really ate that stuff up and loved coming to blows over stuff like the Three Chapters, the Henotikon, etc. 

    Yeah, what a great time and place to have been a Christian, eh? 

    Re: “Yes, we should be humble and not show off our personal piety.” 

    So why do you keep doing it? 

    Re: “On the other hand, we are called upon to proclaim our faith to the world.” 

    Well, I guess you’ve picked yourself a contradictory religion to follow, then, haven’t you? 

  51. Like I thought, your comments are indeed based on the failure to distinguish between veneration and worship. No wonder you consider the Ark, the Tablets, and no doubt the Holy Icons, to be idols!

    I am sorry if you think replying to your comments constitutes showing off personal piety. And I thought we were just having a discussion. Silly me!

  52. Our Dear leader has admitted to adultery, and in being married to his third wife, is apparently living it, assuming he wasn’t divorced form his second wife due to adultery, or his first wife. It gets so confusing.

  53. If I walked into a mall that had the 10C’s [posted, I would walk right and righteously out. When I was in the south a few years ago, the ONLY place to eat for miles was Chik-n-Krap-A. I skipped dinner rather than give them a dime of my money.

  54. I would agree.
    But remembering the Sabbath day, and keeping it holy, would not qualify as a dietary restriction, and barely a ceremonial one. But it would seem to be a moral one.

  55. If it is all the same, PsiCop, worship is more specific than veneration.

    Worship is made up of these elements:

    (1) You must believe that the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob created us humans with a plan in mind.

    (2) You must take pleasure in the belief that the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob created you with some plan in mind. This is how Tillich explains the meaning of the phrase “meaning of life”. To say that your life has meaning is another way of saying that you take pleasure that the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob has created with you with some specific plan in mind.

    (3) On a recurrent basis, express your thanks to the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob about Items (1)-(2).

    (4) When you express your thanks, as mentioned in Item (3), you must do so in the manner that the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob revealed through Jesus. You cannot express your thanks in any way you please. Sticking to the proper manner (that was revealed through Jesus) will keep you safe from Satan. Satan, you see, wants to misguide you into doing, say, Hindu rituals.

    You can see that the word “veneration” is so non-specific that it is worthwhile to create a separate word “worship” for Items (1)-(4).

  56. Re: “If it is all the same, PsiCop, worship is more specific than veneration.” 

    The only thing different is the object of the verb. Not the verb itself (i.e. the reverential act itself). Why are you trying to convince me this tautology is something other than it is? 

  57. Re: “Like I thought, your comments are indeed based on the failure to distinguish between veneration and worship.” 

    Like I thought, your comments are based on the presumption of a distinction without a difference, and as I explained, a mere tautology. I can see through your tautology, however, and am not fooled by it. 

    Re: “No wonder you consider the Ark, the Tablets, and no doubt the Holy Icons, to be idols!” 

    That’s because … now, stay with me here! … that’s what they are! It’s not rocket science — really! There’s no need to get in the business of cooking up weird, illogical rationales to get around Biblical prohibitions on idolatry in order to justify one’s idolatry. Stopping the idolatry will solve the problem. 

    Re: “I am sorry if you think replying to your comments constitutes showing off personal piety.” 

    I never said that, nor implied it. I said that putting up Decalogue monuments, which Christians love to do and which you support them doing, is an expression of public piety, which Jesus explicitly prohibited. I said nothing about your comments per se, but I admit, by extension of the above principle (which I did state), your advocacy for Decalogue monuments constitutes tacit support for public piety by Christians — which, again, is forbidden them. 

  58. “The owner is John Bushman, a former Marine and businessman from Odessa, Texas, who has said he hopes people find “peace and love” in the Ten Commandments.” – Peace and Love? Seeing the penalty for breaking any of them is death I’m just not feeling it.

  59. Normally, a reverential act does not require the actor to go over theory. The act of worship, however, does require the worshiper to go over theory, the theory being Items (1)-(4).

    Another way of understanding the difference is to look at two things that offer a contrast to worship.

    The first is the word “anomie”. Tillich explains this word arose when Westerners started to become agnostic or atheist. An agnostic person (or an atheist) cannot have a meaning of life in the sense of Item (2). Yet, having a meaning of life is one of of the cultural commons (or memes) of the West. (You can’t wipe off the residual DNA of the Vatican overnight.) Consequently, an agnostic person (or an atheist) feels that he is in a bind. This bind is anomie. In this very website, you see that Christian posters ask the agnostics and the athesitsts “How do you generate a meaning for your life, when you have removed God from the picture? You can only feel anomie.”

    The second thing that offers a contrast to worship are the rituals of the Indian traditions. The “gods” of the Indian traditions do not have a plan for any individual. Therefore the rituals of the Indian traditions are considered (by Christian missionaries) as false worship. Because of the adjective “false”, there is a doctrinal opposition between Christianity and the Indian traditions. This doctrinal opposition has many consequences, e.g.,:
    (a) Our dislike for the US Commission for International Religious Freedom
    (b) Our dislike for Christian proselytization
    (c) Our sensitivity when a motley crew of Christian missionaries + social science professors discusses environmental impacts of our festivals.

  60. Re: “Normally, a reverential act does not require the actor to go over theory.” 

    A reverential act is a reverential act. “Theory” has nothing to do with it. 

    Re: “Another way of understanding the difference is to look at two things that offer a contrast to worship.” 

    There is no meaningful “difference” except for whatever is the object of reverence. As I’ve pointed out several times already, you’re using tautology to create a distinction that has no basis in reality. 

    Re: “An agnostic person (or an atheist) cannot have a meaning of life in the sense of Item (2). Yet, having a meaning of life is one of of the cultural commons (or memes) of the West.” 

    Being in the occidental world does not — contrary to the second sentence there — require me to think there’s a “meaning of life.” I reject that notion out-of-hand; a meaning of life can only be arrived at based on subjectivity, interpretation, extrapolation, and speculation. And I dare you to force me to choose a meaning of life — because I will never do so. 

    What’s more, being religious doesn’t mean that one thinks there is a “meaning of life.” There are religious folk who likewise don’t accept such a thing. Among the more obvious examples is Søren Kierkegaard, a 19th century Danish philosopher (now said to have been of the “existentialist” sort) who also was a deeply devout Christian. He believed that any attachment to an individual “essence” was unfounded and illusory. Humans are, as he saw it, individually unmoored. For him the only solution for the “fear and trembling” of humanity’s unmoored nature was a religious experience. That, in turn, resulted from embracing humanity’s “un-essential” nature and turning to a supernatural force. 

    Re: “Consequently, an agnostic person (or an atheist) feels that he is in a bind.” 

    I’m an agnostic, but by no means am I in any kind of “bind.” You can say I am all you like — but it’s just not true. If anything, I’m free of the bonds of metaphysics and subjectivity that enthrall religious believers. It’s actually theists who are “in a bind.” 

    Re: “In this very website, you see that Christian posters ask the agnostics and the athesitsts ‘How do you generate a meaning for your life, when you have removed God from the picture? You can only feel anomie.'” 

    My answer as an agnostic is that I don’t “generate a meaning for [my] life” at all! The very notion is inherently absurd, having no objective basis. None of us has any reason to believe life (generally) or our lives (individually) have any “meaning.” A “meaning of life” can only be woven, as I said, subjectively, based on interpretation, extrapolation, and speculation. It can only lead to self-deception. 

    Re: “The ‘gods’ of the Indian traditions do not have a plan for any individual.” 

    Whether or not this is so, what does it have to do with this discussion? 

  61. “I can see through your tautology… and am not fooled by it.”

    Neither am I fooled by the heresy of iconoclasm.

  62. Re: “Neither am I fooled by the heresy of iconoclasm.” 

    That iconoclasm was subsequently condemned as “heresy” does not mean that Emperor Leo III wasn’t wrong about icon veneration. It just means that, after the dust settled and some rationales were cooked up, the Church decided icon veneration wasn’t idolatry after all. In other words — and as I already explained — they used a tautology to justify icon veneration (and the same principle was applied to relic veneration, too, even in Latin Christendom). 

    Look, when one is dealing with metaphysics, which all religions are, pretty much anything is possible: It’s all just made-up crap with no objective referent. So tautologies, and other forms of invalid logic, work in the realm of metaphysics. They just don’t work anywhere else, and they don’t fool me. 

  63. Re: “Does Kierkagaard’s Christianity have Satan?” 

    Yes, but I have no idea what the relevance of that is, to what’s being discussed here. You’re wandering far into left field. 

  64. Pretty evident that nobody cares as long as it is on private property. I am amused, however, by Gary Randall’s contention that the Ten Commandments are the basis for our legal system. Funny, no law books seem to mention that.

  65. Some denominations explain that Satan teaches people to carry out reverential acts. For example, Satan has taught some people to wade into the River Ganga as a reverential act. But a reverential act that Satan has taught is not worthy of respect, in these denominations.

    Here is another way of putting it. In a previous post you wrote “A reverential act is a reverential act.” The denominations would disagree; they would rather say, “There are reverential acts and there are reverential acts.”

    Still another way of putting it is this: It is Satan that made theologists coin the word “worship.”

    Hence the question about Kierkegaard. If his Christianity had room for Satan, he must have also felt the need to coin the word “worship.”

    This also gives rise to another question. What is your attitude about Satan? As an agnostic, do you subscribe to Satan? Do you see all reverential acts equally?

  66. Just remember the Ten Commandment are the instructions that GOD gave to the Jewish people.
    Long before there was a Christian religion.

    Exodus 20 King James Version (KJV)

    20 And God spake all these words, saying,

    2 I am the Lord thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.

    3 Thou shalt have no other gods before me.

    4 Thou
    shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing
    that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in
    the water under the earth.

    5 Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the Lord
    thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the
    children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me;

    6 And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments.

    7 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.

    8 Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy.

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

    10 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, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy
    stranger that is within thy gates:

    11 For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the Lord blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.

    12 Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee.

    13 Thou shalt not kill.

    14 Thou shalt not commit adultery.

    15 Thou shalt not steal.

    16 Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour.

    17 Thou
    shalt not covet thy neighbour’s house, thou shalt not covet thy
    neighbour’s wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox,
    nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbour’s.

    18 And
    all the people saw the thunderings, and the lightnings, and the noise
    of the trumpet, and the mountain smoking: and when the people saw it,
    they removed, and stood afar off.

    19 And they said unto Moses, Speak thou with us, and we will hear: but let not God speak with us, lest we die.

    20 And
    Moses said unto the people, Fear not: for God is come to prove you, and
    that his fear may be before your faces, that ye sin not.

    21 And the people stood afar off, and Moses drew near unto the thick darkness where God was.

    22 And the Lord said unto Moses, Thus thou shalt say unto the children of Israel, Ye have seen that I have talked with you from heaven.

    23 Ye shall not make with me gods of silver, neither shall ye make unto you gods of gold.

    24 An
    altar of earth thou shalt make unto me, and shalt sacrifice thereon thy
    burnt offerings, and thy peace offerings, thy sheep, and thine oxen: in
    all places where I record my name I will come unto thee, and I will
    bless thee.

    25 And
    if thou wilt make me an altar of stone, thou shalt not build it of hewn
    stone: for if thou lift up thy tool upon it, thou hast polluted it.

    26 Neither shalt thou go up by steps unto mine altar, that thy nakedness be not discovered thereon.

    See Leviticus Chap 10 through 25. Instruction for living!

    Why do So called Christians believe the 10 Commandment are just for Christians?

    I believe you could find the “same positive thoughts for a successful life” in many different religious groups.

    Why do we limit these positive thoughts to the 10 commandments when there are so many more?

  67. Re: “Some denominations explain that Satan teaches people to carry out reverential acts.” 

    True, but to the person doing the reverential act, it’s still a reverential act. That someone else disapproves of it, or dismisses it as being “of Satan,” cannot and will never magically make it anything other than a reverential act. 

    Re: “In a previous post you wrote “A reverential act is a reverential act.” The denominations would disagree; they would rather say, ‘There are reverential acts and there are reverential acts.'” 

    What they would rather say is illogical, since it’s predicated on a distinction without a difference, and it carries no weight with me. 

    Re: “Still another way of putting it is this: It is Satan that made theologists coin the word ‘worship.'” 

    So? 

    Re: “Hence the question about Kierkegaard. If his Christianity had room for Satan, he must have also felt the need to coin the word ‘worship.'” 

    I’m going to stop you in your tracks right here. You obviously missed what I was saying when I mentioned Kierkegaard. I don’t know why, but you did — perhaps deliberately. Here’s how it went: 

    You said religion, especially Christianity, provides followers with “meaning of life.” I not only dismissed that for myself (since as an agnostic, I know there’s no such thing as a “meaning of life,”), but also pointed out that there are religious believers, including Christians — with Kierkegaard being merely one example — who also reject the notion of a “meaning of life.” 

    That’s the entire reason I mentioned him. 

    I do not intend to discuss the relationship between Satan and Kierkegaard with you. I could, of course, having studied Kierkegaard extensively, and existentialism as well, but will not do so … because it’s totally irrelevant to our discussion. You’ve embarked on a completely irrelevant tangent, and I refuse to indulge that. At all. 

    Re: “What is your attitude about Satan?” 

    I have no “attitude” regarding Satan, per se. “Satan” is a literary, mythical, mythological, character from Abrahamic religious tradition. You may as well ask me what my attitude is about Santa Claus, or Bilbo Baggins, Zeus, or Hari Seldon, or Captain Kirk, or any other such character. I couldn’t answer that of any of them, either. 

    Re: “As an agnostic, do you subscribe to Satan?” 

    How could I “subscribe to” something I know to be a literary, mythical, mythological, character? 

    Re: “Do you see all reverential acts equally?” 

    Why, of course! Don’t you? Aren’t all reverential acts — stay with me here! — reverential acts? What else can a reverential act be, but — stay with me here! — a reverential act? 

  68. Gary Randall has written spurious and inaccurate right-wing crap designed to confuse people.
    Here are the FACTS:
    l. It is true that part (not all) of the basis of our statutory laws and the constitution derive from natural law as was set forth by Pres. Jefferson in the Declaration of Independence which he wrote. Natural law, in elementary terms, posits that there are fundamental laws enunciated by our creator to which human beings are entitled and which can not be abrogated by government and if government seeks to abrogate them, its citizens are entitled to overthrow that government.
    2. Natural law incorporates some..but NOT ALL, of the Ten Commandments and does NOT have a specific religious/theological application, which means that America is NOT a “Christian nation” or a “Judeo-Christian Nation” although we certainly can be accurately described as a mostly Christian society…which is not the same thing as the former.
    4. While natural law..not the entire Ten Commandments, form part of the basis of our statutory laws and of the Constitution, they do not supplant much less trump the Constitution and the statutes.
    That is where right-wing liar Randall goes off the track.
    In this country the Constitution is the supreme law of the land and if in some respects it is interpreted as rejecting certain religious claims, that is our supreme law nor is that a rejection of the natural law base of some (not all) of the Constitution’s provisions.
    5. IN THIS COUNTRY ALL PUBLIC OFFICIALS SWEAR AN OATH ON THE BIBLE TO SUPPORT THE CONSTITUTION. THEY DO NOT SWEAR AN OATH ON THE CONSTITUTION TO SUPPORT THE BIBLE.

  69. Where that come from, the Hebrew writer said “For ye are not come unto the mount that might be touched, and that burned with fire, nor unto blackness, and darkness, and tempest, And the sound of a trumpet, and the voice of words; which voice they that heard intreated that the word should not be spoken to them any more:” Even Moses, the best of them said, I exceedingly fear and quake.

    Well the more than 20 copies of the exact replica are still there in those nearby states in the Bible belt. They also happen to have more whirlwinds and recently more quakes than other states. Turn from old covenant to new covenant. You cannot put old wine in new wine skin. Turn to Jesus. Mixing the two is an insult to Christ.

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