The ten commandments can be divided into two groups: one group consists of the core commandment plus its variations, and the other is bullcrap. So what's the all-important "core commandment?" Thou shalt not steal. It should be fairly obvious why: theft is theft, everywhere in the world. Were it acceptable, the social system would quickly degenerate into one where "Might makes right" is the only rule. Not good for a civilization. The only other commandments worth obeying are actually just variants on the prohibition against stealing. For example, when you murder, you steal someone's life. However, at the same time you're also stealing somebody's child, and perhaps somebody's parent and/or sibling. If your murder victim has a large family, you're committing multiple thefts with just one act. No wonder it's a serious crime. "Thou shalt not commit adultery" is another variation, because an adulterer is stealing the integrity of at least one marriage, and possibly two. Similarly, when you bear false witness, you are stealing people's right to the truth. Now let's take a look at the six in the other group. "I am the Lord thy God" and "Thou shalt not make graven images" are nothing more than rituals designed to force obedience. They have nothing to do with moral or ethical behavior, and clearly go onto the bullcrap pile. Same with "not taking the name of the Lord in vain." In fact, if uttering the occasional "Goddamit" will let off enough steam to keep you from doing something violent, it's probably a good thing. And why "remember the Sabbath and keep it holy?" Sure, most people need time to take a break from work each week to relax and think deep thoughts, but why the Sabbath? There's no need to be that arbitrary. "Honor thy father and thy mother" is slightly less stupid, because there are fathers and mothers in this world who genuinely deserve to be honored. Most, however, do not. So the rule certainly doesn't deserve commandment status. On the other hand, "thou shalt not covet" is about as ridiculous as saying "thou shalt not sleep." Not only is it this basic to human nature, but it's also the basis for all economic growth. Very few people could stay in business without customers who want something just because their neighbor has one, too. So there you have it: "Thou shalt not steal" is the only commandment you need to remember. -------------------------- Background Note: I put this together based on a George Carlin monologue combined with the views of one of the characters in "The Kite Runner." And yes, I think both of them are absolutely correct.