Thursday, February 20, 2014

The Real Ten Commandments (Facts Instead of Traditions) – Part 1

For the past 10 blogs I have been writing about the “FourVersions of the Ten Commandments.” I have compared the Jewish, Catholic, Protestant and the BHC versions of the Ten Commandments that are recorded in Exodus 20. 

What would you do if you discovered that something you believe – and a lot of other people believe -- is wrong? I created the BHC Guideline to help us navigate through situations like this.

My belief system will be large enough to include all of the facts,
open enough to be tested,
and flexible enough to change when errors or new facts are discovered.

When I created this guideline over 25 years ago, I had one goal in mind – discovering the truth.  Beliefs are memesinformation in the mind of an individualthat are not sensory perceivable, unless a person reveals them to others. Facts are sensory perceivable and can be examined and measured by anyone. Beliefs are an essential requirement of life, because no one has all of the facts about everything. However, if we are committed to finding the truth, there will be many times that we uncover facts that prove some of our beliefs are wrong. It is at those moments we discover whether we are really committed to finding the truth or not -- we will either change our beliefs or ignore the facts. However, there is something that you must understand about the power of our belief systems. Our beliefs have the power to change what we actually see with our eyes.

At the Hanover Institute in Germany in the late nineteenth century, an experiment was conducted. Subjects were asked to put on goggles that had inverting lenses, which, when the subjects looked through them, the world appeared upside down.  The purpose of the experiment was to see how they responded to this unusual situation. Would the subjects respond by learning how to adjust to "upsidedownness?"  It would seem that these goggled subjects would have a great deal of difficulty trying to walk down steps or negotiate street crossings.

How did the subjects deal with the upside‑down‑vision problem?  Amazingly, even though some took a short time while others took many hours, they all who ultimately reported to the experimenters that the world was right side up. Their solution was simple: Turn the information right side up!  Somehow they were able to unconsciously search out the vision‑control mechanism inside their brains and "click the switch" that turned the information 180 degrees around! 

To put it another way, when confronted with the choice of creating new rules to deal with the upside‑down information or keeping the old rules and altering the images they saw, the subjects subconsciously kept their old rules and changed the data

This simple experiment is a very powerful demonstration of our subconscious ability to manipulate the physiological information coming into our minds.  Who would have guessed that memes (beliefs) could dramatically alter sensory input?  Memes are so powerful they can even make us even see things that are not there.

An avid scuba diver quite often dove to the depths of 100-150 feet to check out fish traps he had off the coast of Miami Beach.  Because that area is well trafficked by expensive yachts, lots of garbage is strewn along the ocean floor, especially beer cans.  His problem had been caused by the fact that when he saw Budweiser beer cans down at the 150‑foot level, he clearly saw their red labels. Why did that bother him?  According to the physics of light the color red cannot penetrate through 150 feet of water.  All that you have left at that depth are green and the few other colors far toward the ultraviolet end of the spectrum.  The color red cannot be seen at that depth!  That is what bothered him -- he knew he shouldn't be seeing red, but he was.  So, how was he able to see a color that could not be seen?  He saw the red label because he knew the correct model of the Budweiser beer can.  That is, he knew the color it was supposed to be, and, in order to make what he was seeing fit the rules, his mind literally added the unseen colors. 

In the two examples above, the people involved in the experiences had memetic models that produced a set of rules for how something should look. When the data from their own eyes didn’t agree with those models, their minds subconsciously altered the data to make it conform to their models. In other words, they literally saw their beliefs instead of the facts. Billions of Bible readers have done, and still do, the same thing. When they read the words of their Bibles they see belief models they have been taught, instead of what the words actually say – like the words of Exodus 20 being the story of the Ten Commandments or the serpent in the Garden in Eden being Satan.

What would you say if I told you that the Four Versions of the Ten Commandments I have been writing about are not “THE” Ten Commandments? I bet that triggered a lot BS alarms. Beliefs that have hardened into “traditions” over many centuries are very difficult to correct. Think about all of the books that have been written, stone monuments that have been made, Supreme Court cases that have been tried, etc. that claim the words of Exodus 20 are the Ten Commandments. As you read this series of blogs, don’t let your mind trick you by replacing the facts with the BS models you have been taught. In this series of blogs we are going to follow Moses up and down Mt Sinai until he receives two tablets of stone with the Ten Commandments. Or, to put it another way, we are going to let the Bible tell its own story – regardless of whatever BS we might have stuck in our brains.

One final note before we start following Moses. I will use transliterations of the two Hebrew words below when they appear in the text (transliterations are below each word). (See our How to Transliterate Hebrew Words -- Part 1 & Part 2)  ELOHIYM is the word usually translated God, god or gods. YAHWEH is the name of an ELOHIYM. One of the great disservices English translators have done is translating these Hebrew words “Lord God.” Its has created a tremendous amount of confusion and keeps readers from being able to see what the ancient text actually says.



Now let’s read 19:1 - 20:21.

In the third month after the sons of Israel had gone out of the land of Egypt, on the same day, they came to the wilderness of Sinai. For they traveled from Rephidim and came to the wilderness of Sinai, and camped in the wilderness. Israel camped there before the mountain. (Ex. 19:1-2)

Trip #1

And Moses went up to the ELOHIYMAnd YAHWEH called to him from the mountain, saying, “Thus you shall say to the house of Jacob, and tell the sons of Israel: ‘You have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and how I bore you on eagles’ wings and brought you to Myself. Now therefore, if you will indeed obey My voice and keep My covenant, then you shall be a special treasure to Me above all people; for all the earth is Mine. And you shall become for Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.’ These are the words which you shall speak to the sons of Israel.” (Ex. 19:3-6)

And Moses came and called for the elders of the people, and he put before them all these words which YAHWEH had commanded him. And all the people answered together and said, “All that YAHWEH has spoken we will do.” (Ex. 19:7-8a)

Trip #2

So Moses brought back the words of the people to YAHWEHAnd YAHWEH said to Moses, “Behold, I come to you in a darkness of clouds, that the people may hear when I speak with you, and may be faithful to you forever.” And Moses told the words of the people to YAHWEH. And YAHWEH said to Moses, “Go to the people and set them apart today and tomorrow; and let them wash their clothes. And let them be ready for the third day. For on the third day YAHWEH will come down upon Mount Sinai in the sight of all the people. You shall set boundaries for the people all around, saying, ‘Take heed to yourselves that you do not go up to the mountain or touch its base. Whoever touches the mountain shall surely die. Not a hand shall touch him, but he shall surely be stoned or shot with an arrow; whether man or beast, he shall not live.’ When the ram’s horn sounds long, they shall come near the mountain.” (Ex. 19:8b-13)

And Moses went down from the mountain to the peopleMoses set the people apart, and they washed their clothes. And he said to the people, “Be ready for the third day; do not come near your wives.” And it came to pass on the third day, in the morning, that there were thundering and lightning, and a thick cloud on the mountain; and the sound of shofar was very strong, so that all the people in the camp trembled. And Moses brought the people out of the camp to meet the ELOHIYM, and they stood at the foot of the mountain. And Mount Sinai was completely in smoke, because YAHWEH came down upon it in fire and its smoke went up like the smoke of a furnace, and the whole mountain trembled exceedingly. And it was the sound of the shofar long and became louder and louder. Moses spoke, and the ELOHIYM answered him by a voice. And YAHWEH came down upon Mount Sinai, to the head of the mountain. (Ex. 19:14-20a)

Trip #3

And YAHWEH called Moses to the top of the mountain, and Moses went up. And YAHWEH said to Moses, “Go down and warn the people, lest they break through to see YAHWEH, and many of them fall. And also, the priests, those approaching to YAHWEH, shall separate themselves lest YAHWEH burst forth among them.” And Moses said to YAHWEH, “The people cannot come up to Mount Sinai; for You warned us, saying, ‘Set boundaries around the mountain and set it apart.’” And YAHWEH said to him, “Away! Go down and then come up, you and Aaron with you. But do not let the priests and the people break through to come up to YAHWEH, lest He burst forth among them.” (Ex. 19:20b-24)


And Moses went down to the people and spoke to them. (Ex. 19:25)

The Giving of the Traditional Ten Commandments
Exodus 20:1-17

Make sure to note that Moses is standing at the base of the mountain with the people and is not on the mountain. Nothing is said about two stone tablets.

When the words traditionally called the Ten Commandments (Exodus 20:1-17) were given, Moses was standing at the base of the mountain with the rest of the people. There have been no references to two stone tablets or anything called the “Ten Commandments” in this context. Take another look at Exodus 19 & 20 in your Bible. The tablets of stone aren't there -- yet everyone projects them into that account! 

Our goal is to let the biblical texts tell their own stories, but to do this we must be aware of traditions like this one which have the power to make us believe that words are in the account that simply aren't there. We will continue our search for the real Ten Commandments in the next part of this account.

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