George Carlin: Ten Commandments (06:39)
George Carlin explains his theory on the creation of the ten commandments.
Here is my problem with the ten commandments- why exactly are there 10?
You simply do not need ten. The list of ten commandments was artificially and deliberately inflated to get it up to ten. Here's what happened:
About 5,000 years ago a bunch of religious and political hustlers got together to try to figure out how to control people and keep them in line. They knew people were basically stupid and would believe anything they were told, so they announced that God had given them some commandments, up on a mountain, when no one was around.
Well let me ask you this- when they were making this shit up, why did they pick 10? Why not 9 or 11? I'll tell you why- because 10 sound official. Ten sounds important! Ten is the basis for the decimal system, it's a decade, it's a psychologically satisfying number (the top ten, the ten most wanted, the ten best dressed). So having ten commandments was really a marketing decision! It is clearly a bullshit list. It's a political document artificially inflated to sell better. I will now show you how you can reduce the number of commandments and come up with a list that's a little more workable and logical. I am going to use the Roman Catholic version because those were the ones I was taught as a little boy.
Let's start with the first three:
I AM THE LORD THY GOD THOU SHALT NOT HAVE STRANGE GODS BEFORE ME
THOU SHALT NOT TAKE THE NAME OF THE LORD THY GOD IN VAIN
THOU SHALT KEEP HOLY THE SABBATH
Right off the bat the first three are pure bullshit. Sabbath day? Lord's name? strange gods? Spooky language! Designed to scare and control primitive people. In no way does superstitious nonsense like this apply to the lives of intelligent civilized humans in the 21st century. So now we're down to 7. Next:
HONOR THY FATHER AND MOTHER
Obedience, respect for authority. Just another name for controlling people. The truth is that obedience and respect shouldn't be automatic. They should be earned and based on the parent's performance. Some parents deserve respect, but most of them don't, period. You're down to six.
Now in the interest of logic, something religion is very uncomfortable with, we're going to jump around the list a little bit.
THOU SHALT NOT STEAL
THOU SHALT NOT BEAR FALSE WITNESS
Stealing and lying. Well actually, these two both prohibit the same kind of behavior- dishonesty. So you don't really need two you combine them and call the commandment "thou shalt not be dishonest". And suddenly you're down to 5.
And as long as we're combining I have two others that belong together:
THOU SHALT NOT COMMIT ADULTRY
THOU SHALT NOT COVET THY NEIGHBOR'S WIFE
Once again, these two prohibit the same type of behavior. In this case it is marital infidelity. The difference is- coveting takes place in the mind. But I don't think you should outlaw fantasizing about someone else's wife...
in: Stand Up Comedy, Religions, George Carlin