Many, not all, follow rules


Let us consider the perfect symmetry contained in the order of the Ten Commandments. The first three prescribe for the believer, in this life, one’s obligations to God as the Creator of all things.

The last six prescribe one’s obligations toward one another in this life. Thus, one does not kill or steal or covet what is our neighbors’ and so on. The fourth commandment is the bridge between God the Creator and we who are alive at any moment in time, for it asks us to honor those who created each of us, our mothers and fathers. We dishonor them by violating either the first three and/or the last six.

In this form, the Ten Commandments is a unique and powerful system of social control. As such, it requires no coercive mechanisms to keep people focused on what is right conduct. Were all people in this life to follow the commandment not to bring dishonor to our parents, then we would need no courts and prosecutors or police and prisons.

Is this nonsense? Perhaps, but I think all of us follow these rules some of the time and most of us follow them all the time.