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Why the Ten Commandments are for atheists, too

The First Commandment

     There is a natural divide between the first three and the last seven commandments.  While seven through ten take aim at how people should treat each other, the first three are much more concerned with humanity's relationship with God. Because of this, these are commandments that atheists and agnostics would typically have little interest in.  However, after some reflection (even prayer), it becomes clear that these three can help lead anyone, believer or nonbeliever, in a positive direction.
     Let's have a look...

I, the Lord, am your God… You shall not have other gods besides me.
I live in Wilmington, Delaware. About ten years ago, there was a frightening pattern of violence in our city that had been sparked by drug deals and territorial strife. I opened the newspaper one Sunday and read an interview with a terribly depressed woman who had lost several of her relatives to the violence. Her words stunned me. “I don’t know what we can do,” she said. “Maybe Oprah will save us.”
As believers, we often look to the first commandment for guidance on avoiding superstition or putting too much faith in money or material things. We even sometimes extend this idea to remind ourselves that we should not put too much faith in people, who are flawed by nature. These may be celebrities, politicians, even family members. So can’t this same idea apply to nonbelievers as well? Can’t an atheist see the tragedy that afflicted the poor woman who was actually hoping for a talk show host to swoop in and help her? Of course, an atheist will tell me that I am equally naive for believing that God could do the same thing. I can live with that.
I come from an Irish American family that loves baseball, so superstitions abound: don’t spill the salt; don’t exit a home from a different door from the one you entered; never say the word “no-hitter” before the ninth inning. You get the idea. Sometimes superstitions are fun and can be used as a security blanket. But they can also get in the way of real worship. Should I put my faith in a rabbit’s foot or a strange ritual, or should I put it in the hands of the Almighty?
I should also note that, as a Catholic, I have often been chided by some of my Protestant friends for worshipping saints, especially the Virgin Mary. Some people fail to understand the difference between reverence and worship, and I can’t help that. As a Catholic I simply believe that there are certain holy men and women - I call them saints – that have a special relationship with God and that praying to them, and asking them to pray for me, can be extremely helpful. Not all Christians believe this; so be it.
As for my agnostic and atheist brothers and sisters, I think they can see the dangers of putting faith in the wrong place. And that is what that Commandment is all about, in my opinion.


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Why the Ten Commandments are for atheists, too
The Second Commandment: You shall not take the name of the Lord, your God, in vain. "Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will make me go in a corner and cry by myself for hours." -Eric Idle  
             Words matter. A man is hanging a picture.His hand slips and his finger shifts in front of the hammer.Instead of hitting the nail, he hits his thumb.“Jesus Christ!” he shouts. He could have said a lot worse.I have actually had this discussion with nonbelievers who see absolutely no reason why they should refrain from using such expressions.Their attitudes usually soften when I point out that such language might offend people.They also usually concede that such expressions should not be used around children. But can we look beyond expressions of anger or surprise?A friend of mine who is a Catholic priest would routinely use expressions with the Lord’s name, explaining that this is a form of prayer.Whatever you say, Father.

Ten Things You Didn't Know About the Catholic Church

1.Secret Cardinals The College of Cardinals is made up of about 120 senior bishops from around the world whom the Pope has chosen to elect his replacement.Upon the death or resignation of the Pope, they meet in Rome to elect a new one, almost always from among their own ranks.Only cardinals under the age of 80 may vote.However, what most people don’t know is that there are a handful of bishops throughout the world whom the pope has secretly chosen as cardinals.For a variety of reasons, usually out of concern for security, the Pope chooses not to reveal their names, sometimes even to the men themselves.This is most common when the cardinal resides in a country where he may face reprisals from his government or face other types of persecution.The late Pope John Paul II secretly elevated four bishops to cardinals.One of them was from China, another from Latvia, and one from Ukraine. Their identities were revealed near or after their deaths.The fourth remains secret.
2.  Catholics of Nagas…