If you have ever been involved in a bible study group I’m sure you have heard at least once “How is the bible relevant in modern times”, and that is actually a very good question and one that is not as easy to answer as one might think. I remember when I was much younger and not as attuned to my faith, I asked that very same question, which I asked to the person I thought best suited to answer it, my Priest. Of course the first direction he pointed was to Exodus 20. We all know or at least most of us should know the Ten Commandments of God to His people, those pesky Israelite’s, you know those folks He delivered through Moses from the bondage of Egypt to go in search of the Promised Land where flowed milk and honey. Except they ended up taking a forty-year detour through the desert because they kind of ticked off the Big Guy. You have heard that story, yes?
Those Ten Commandments of God were the foundation of which God intended His people to live their lives (though He added a few more in Deuteronomy which make us wonder even more their pertinence in today’s world. We won’t quibble over freeing servants and clean and unclean food because we as Christians don’t tarry with them, however in all fairness those of the Judaic faith still do so I will not besmirch the practices spoken in the book of Deuteronomy.
Throughout the Bible the reference to the Laws or Commandments of God are seen and spoken of many times, they were pertinent then, and they are pertinent now. Here’s why;
One might say, “Why do I even need God”? Well I guess the quick answer would be in the form of a question, do you need your father? Your biological father I mean. I believe the answer to that for let’s say 95% of us would be yes, right? Why? Well because our fathers and I will add mothers in here too, but for now we’ll just talk about fathers were the ones who set our moral compass in the right direction. They were fundamental in teaching us right from wrong, that stealing was wrong, not to hurt others, killing is wrong and as we grow that when we are in a relationship with someone we should stay loyal to that person. Also we learned from our parents how to be kind to one another, not to lie, not to be jealous of other people and the things they have. I know where my parents were coming from. Exodus 20!
Our fathers along with our mothers of course are the two people who created us which I really don’t need to tell anyone, yet if we keep this in the context of fathers, God is considered the Father of all creation and this doesn’t only refer to Christianity. Many religions believe in creationism with God in what ever form they personally believe created the universe and everything in it. In the book of Genesis for we Christians God created Adam (Genesis chapter 2 v7) and then Eve (Chapter 2 v 21-22) as Adams partner until verse 24 when they were married. Thus creating the first mortal parents. A Mortal Father and Mother who gave birth to the first mortal children Cain and Able, (we know how that story turned out right?) So from day 1 we humans needed a father figure to keep us in check as it were in teaching us right from wrong, but as the Israelite’s we keep missing the mark.
Having been born in the tail end of what is called the Baby Boomer generation 1946-1964 I was raised in church, Missouri Synod Lutheran to be exact until my confirmation at 15, at which time as I had been working on the farm for some time and chores got in the way of going to church every Sunday, but I still kept the Ten Commandments in my heart, as I kept my fathers teachings to heart. It was much easier than, it isn’t so easy now as I am sure you have figured out for yourselves. Let me see if I can explain it a little.
In the 1940’s and 50’s the church was the social gathering place for over 63% of Americans. A major reason for this was war. From 1940 -1945 the entire world was at war (WWII) with those left behind with a need for community and the solace which was found in church (being with the Father). People went to church to pray, to eat, to socialize, for sports etc. Then in 1950 there was the Korean war or conflict as some call it. Those left behind sought once again solace, community, food, etc. but what was different then from now? Well, there was no internet, no Nintendo, television was just getting started with few viewing options. radio was still big and was in the home the gathering place for families (other than the dinner table) and there was church which had more things on average to do that were fun. But I think the biggest difference between then and now is our moral compass seems to be broken, we seem to have shy’d away from the right and wrong that our Father had instilled in the generations before this i.e. the Greatest Generation 1910 -1924, The Silent Generation 1925 -1945, and of course, The Baby Boomers which I belong. We didn’t have access to that which Generations that followed had and have.
My personal belief is that television and subsequently computers and the internet have played a major role in the moral decline of not only the United States, but the entire world with perhaps countries such as North Korea, Iran and most Muslim countries. However in the Muslim countries from what I have seen Islam is more forced upon the people than freedom of choice. Since the beginning of the television and internet age there has been a very noticeable decline in moral standards. It would seem as though we have turned into an anything goes society with little to no scruples.Other causes of this might be attributed to; the growing divorce rate and children coming from broken homes, growing murder rates, growing depravity (which is another topic I’ll cover at a later date), growing disrespect from our youth towards their parents or any authority figure for that matter, and yes the lack of religion. Do any of these things ring a bell?
Exodus 20! That moral compass that the Father of all creation set down for His people, His children. As a society if we are to survive, we need that moral compass or else we will end up in chaos, lawlessness, wanting everything yet deserving nothing so we take it, right or wrong society doesn’t want to be told what to do, what is right or wrong. We want what we want, regardless of the outcome. Luckily, a growing number of Gods humanity is saying enough! We realize that we need as a whole, that moral compass to bring us back from the brink of destruction. Humanity needs that moral compass or we will become extinct, we will kill each other off until nothing is left but the dregs of humanity. We need that moral compass that the Father set down 5000 years ago. Those stories in the Bible such as Sodom and Gomorrah, Cain and Able, Jericho, and many others seem to be repeating themselves.
The Bible should be a great learning tool for us, a tool that tells us that we don’t want a repeat of Sodom and Gomorrah that we want something better for ourselves. Ever wonder why some of the laws God handed down were adopted by man into mans laws? Because they’re good laws, reasonable laws. That is why the bible is pertinent that is why we need the Greater Father, that is why we need God, to keep our moral compass working smoothly, so that as a people we can survive and thrive.