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Ten Commandments Weekend Violates The Ten Commandments

“You shall 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.”

That’s one of the Ten Commandments. No graven images. No images of anything in the air, on the ground or in the water. It is, according to conservative Christians, a sacred command from God, a divine law of the universe for moral behavior, not just a mild suggestion.

Earlier today, I wrote about a congressional resolution that would an official federal government endorsement of Ten Commandments Weekend. The supporters of the resolution want the federal government to promote Ten Commandments Weekend, they say, because the Ten Commandments, including the ban on artwork, are fundamental to the preservation of the United States as a just society.

The resolution presumes, though, that the Ten Commandments Weekend actually is an effective tool for promoting the Ten Commandments. A look at the design of the Ten Commandments Weekend shows that it ain’t necessarily so.

including biblically banned likenesses

The most important thing to understand about Ten Commandments Weekend is that it is not a grassroots movement, and it is not a widely observed religious tradition. The Ten Commandments Weekend is a creation of one televangelist organization, the Three Angels Broadcasting Network. The Three Angels Broadcasting Network uses the Ten Commandments Weekend to promote itself, and to gather money, selling videos of the Ten Commandments Weekend events on a Three Angels Broadcasting Network EBay store.

Yes, they make and sell videos of the Ten Commandments Weekend event. Those videos show images – likenesses of things that are found on the earth.

world magazine and DVD on christian ebay

The images aren’t confined to the Ten Commandments Weekend videos, of course. They’re on the Ten Commandments web site, as well, and on the eBay web site, and in a printed catalog that the Three Angels Broadcasting Network sends out in the mail.

The Three Angels Broadcasting Network has other print publications as well, including World Magazine (not to be confused with National Geographic’s World Magazine). World Magazine is chock full of likenesses of things in the air, in the water and on the earth.

graven image coloring book

Oh, but it gets worse. The Three Angels Broadcasting Network is encouraging children to violate the Ten Commandments. They’re selling a coloring book entitled Is It Odd Or Is It God? This book exposes Christian children to pages and pages of immoral likenesses of things, and then invites children to practice making such likenesses themselves by coloring in the lines of the likenesses made for them. It’s a kind of childhood worship of images graven on the paper, if you think about it.

The Ten Commandments forbid Christians from making likenesses of things. Yet, the Ten Commandments Weekend is making likenesses of things. What’s the point of Congress passing a resolution to endorse the Ten Commandments Weekend if the Ten Commandments Weekend itself doesn’t respect the Ten Commandments?

It appears to me that the congressional resolution endorsing the Ten Commandments Weekend is more about encouraging followers of the Three Angels Broadcasting Network televangelist association to become devotees of Republican politicians as well.

23 comments to Ten Commandments Weekend Violates The Ten Commandments

  • Blake

    Hello Friend,

    I just happen to stumble across your post about the ten commandments. I would like to point out the following…

    If the portion that you quoted from the 2nd commandment was the entire commandment you might have a case. If you take a look at the entire commandment below…

    Exodus 20:4-6 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.

    …you’ll see that there is a clarification of the first part of the commandment. There isn’t anything wrong with making images, the problem comes in when people worship them. This was a big problem for the people of that day.
    You can see from other scriptures like…

    Ex. 25:18-20 And make two cherubim out of hammered gold at the ends of the cover. 19 Make one cherub on one end and the second cherub on the other; make the cherubim of one piece with the cover, at the two ends. 20 The cherubim are to have their wings spread upward, overshadowing the cover with them. The cherubim are to face each other, looking toward the cover.

    …where God commanded His people to make images. It always helps to get the context of things when reading the Bible.

    In reference to 3ABN trying to promote the passage of legislation… I’m actually quite familiar with their programming and they happen to teach the exact opposite. They are one of the few organizations that I’m aware of that do not mix religion and politics. One doesn’t have to look too far back in our own history to see the problems with mixing church and state.
    Interestingly enough the Bible actually teaches that the issue at the end of time will be over worship. Through the prophecies and symbols of Revelation you see the church of the dark ages joining forces with the United States and
    forcing people to worship or be killed…

    Rev. 13:11-17 Then I saw another beast, coming out of the earth. He had two horns like a lamb, but he spoke like a dragon. 12 He exercised all the authority of the first beast on his behalf, and made the earth and its inhabitants worship the first beast, whose fatal wound had been healed. 13 And he performed great and miraculous signs, even causing fire to come down from heaven to earth in full view of men. 14 Because of the signs he was given power to do on behalf of the first beast, he deceived the inhabitants of the earth. He ordered them to set up an image in honor of the beast who was wounded by the sword and yet lived. 15 He was given power to give breath to the image of the first beast, so that it could speak and cause all who refused to worship the image to be killed. 16 He also forced everyone, small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on his right hand or on his forehead, 17 so that no one could buy or sell unless he had the mark, which is the name of the beast or the number of his name.

    If you’d like more information I’d be happy to share with you.

    • Blake, the 2nd Commandment does NOT say that there’s no problem with creating likenesses. It says to not make any likenesses, and then it says not to worship them, as well.

      Also, you’re misreading Revelations. Clearly, the beast with two horns like a lamb that speaks like a dragon is the Three Angels Broadcasting Network. What other interpetation is possible?

      • Jon

        Peregrim, you are stunningly dull witted and obtuse. Go back to sleep.

        • mike

          nice ad hominem there, jon

          • jon

            An ad hominem (Latin: “to the man”), short for argumentum ad hominem, is an attempt to link the validity of a premise to a characteristic or belief of the person advocating the premise.[1] The ad hominem is normally described as a logical fallacy,[2] but it is not always fallacious; in some instances, questions of personal conduct, character, motives, etc., are legitimate and relevant to the issue.[3]

            The philosopher Charles Taylor has argued that ad hominem reasoning is essential to understanding certain moral issues, and contrasts this sort of reasoning with the apodictic reasoning of philosophical naturalism.[4]

            • I’m pretty sure philosopher Charles Taylor wouldn’t include “you’re dumb” in his category of admirable “ad hominem reasoning”.

              When a person tells you to trust him, then his character is at issue. But when the truth value of an assertion or the logic of an argument does not depend on the character of the person uttering it, then ad hominem appeals are pointless at best at manipulative at worst.

  • What I’m enjoying, in a dark way, about the apologies for this archaic, pro-censorship Commandment is that right wing Christians say that the 2nd Commandment is okay because it’s only demanding a lack of religious freedom…

    … as if that’s a good thing.

    8)

  • Stefan van den Elzen

    Hey man I have to agree with Blake. If you had used the whole sentence instead of taking a small piece out of it (one verse lol) I woiuld have listened to your argument and maybe agreed with it. I’m a full atheist but what you’re doing here is amazingly stupid. You are doing exactly waht Christians do: take a small piece of the whole and blow it up into massive proportions for your own stupid agenda.

    Make concise, clear, and reasonable arguments; and I will gladly agree with you. Make hypocritical, biased, foolish arguments and I’ll call you biased, hypocritical fool.

    The intent was there, the execution fell far short.

    • mike

      The thing is that, although he could’ve included it in the larger context, it doesn’t affect the meaning of the commandment as quoted by Blake, which, in a nutshell, says “Don’t make graven images, and don’t worship them.”

      Maybe the real problem here is trying to wring semantics out of something that was written between 2300 and 3000 years ago, and was translated though several different languages before it finally made it’s way to English

      • Jacob

        It was translated through several different languages? Which history book are you reading? Most translations are from the original Hebrew.

        • Craig

          actually, all of the “original” Hebrew texts were lost a long time ago. The oldest texts of the Bible that are in existence today are in Greek. The Hebrew texts that are around today were retranslated from them. And just so no one gets the bright idea of trying to use this as an argument to say that the Bible has been translated over and over again through all these various languages and therefore it is untrustworthy, knowledge of Hebrew has always been around, just like Greek for the most part.

      • Craig

        It doesn’t matter how old something is. If it is eternal, then it always applies. The way things are stated may have a bit more bearing to the time period in which it was written, but the heart of the matter is always true if the message is of an eternal nature.

  • Ralph

    How do you read “Thou shalt not make thee any graven image…” followed by “Thou shalt not bow down myself to them…” as saying that it’s OK to make images as long as you don’t bow down to them? It doesn’t stand to reason?

    The logical structure is clear:
    Do not do X. Do not do Y.
    You simply can not conclude from this that it is OK to do X as long as you don’t do Y.

    By the way, where does it say that this is the second commandment?

    • Blake

      Hello Ralph,

      I think the context is pretty clear, but if there is any doubt you can see clearly from the rest of scripture that they were not forbidden from making a likeness of something. The key again is worship…

      Lev. 26:1 “You shall not make idols for yourselves; neither a carved image nor a sacred pillar shall you rear up for yourselves; nor shall you set up an engraved stone in your land, to bow down to it; for I am the LORD your God.

      …as mentioned in the previous post God commanded them to make carved images and embroider images in connection with the temple.

      This question highlights the importance of context. You can imagine the confusion that would result from just pulling random verses from scripture and failing to look at the larger context.

      How do we know this is the second commandment?
      Ex. 34:28 So he was there with the LORD forty days and forty nights; he neither ate bread nor drank water. And He wrote on the tablets the words of the covenant, the Ten Commandments.

      You can see from Ex. 34 that there are ten commandments being referred to. Its pretty clear where each commandment starts.

  • Steve

    This somewhat illogical discussion is similar to the millions that have taken place between intelligent people since the writing of the Christian bible. There are many verses that contradict others, provides “quotes” from people that obviously weren’t real quotes, and simply make ridiculous/impossible claims. It will continue to plague the small portion of humanity that still clings to this ancient superstition.

  • Heidi

    Hi everyone,
    I have to agree with Blake because I seems obvious when a verse is taken out of context. One must read before and after the text to understand what it’s being said and find other texts relating to that issue. All I have to say is: Irregular times, be true to yourself and be true to God and you won’t go wrong. By the way did you even review what those Ten commandment Weekend videos are about. Sometimes we are too quick to judge. Let me know what it is about. Thanks for listening. By the way, I just happened to stumble upon your site. Have a great day gentlemen!!

  • t ball

    I think the bigger problem here (whatever your view on the interpretation of this commandment) is that an organization purported to uphold the ten commandments reduces them to a fundraising tool for itself. TV churches spend most of their time and energy raising enough money to perpetuate themselves.

  • charlie mae atmosfera

    that’s was great !

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