Excerpt from It\’s the Devil, Stupid
I don’t know if it’s the rosary beads on my rear view mirror or my (tasteful) “Pray to End Abortion” bumper sticker, but it seems like nice people are always trying to save me from the Pope. Now I’m a builder by trade which means that I have a great respect for tools, so when someone hits me with whatever quote from Thessalonians or Colossians that they just memorized the night before, I always give them the toolbox test.
Here’s how it goes:
First, I try to politely interrupt the proselytizing and then promise to listen to whatever they have to say as long as they’ve got a tool box.
Of course, they give me a funny look and say, “What do you mean…jerk?\” They don’t really say the “jerk” part, they’re just thinking it.
Then I say, “Well if I was broken down and a mechanic came to fix my truck with just a can of Copenhagen and his iPhone I’d first ask him if he had any tools. I mean, no matter how good he thinks he is, I wouldn’t pop that hood unless he had a wrench or a screwdriver. I really don’t need to know anything about trucks to know that you can’t fix them with an iPhone or a can of snuff, you’ve got to have some tools. So, if you can answer one question and show me some tools I’ll listen to anything you want.”
So they say something like, “Ok, what’s the question…jerk?“ They don’t really say the…
Oh, forget it.
Anyway, I then ask them if they can recite the Ten Commandments, in order. I’ll give them the 9 vs. 10 thing and a little juggling, depending on their religion. Well, by now the poor guy is really frustrated, because no matter how much highlighter is in that Bible, he either knows them or he doesn’t, you just can’t fake it, although I’ve heard some interesting commandments from those who try.
I can say with total honesty that I have never given the tool box test except in self defense, but in over twenty years of giving it, to at least fifty people, I have never had anyone who was trying to save me get it right. Not a single time. Now, I know what you are thinking, “Well you never asked me…jerk.” But try it the next time someone is stridently discussing their opinions about religion. I mean you obviously don’t want to embarrass someone, but you can just mention offhandedly that not many people can recite the Ten Commandments. Believe me, if they can, they’ll let you know.
Now, with that out of the way, consider some of the most egregious and important historical assaults on humanity, using the Ten Commandments as the baseline for Godly principles. I guess that the best place to begin is at the beginning so here they are:
The Ten Commandments
I am the Lord thy God, thou shalt have no false gods before me.
Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain.
Keep holy the Sabbath.
Honor thy father and thy mother.
Thou shalt not kill.
Thou shalt not commit adultery.
Thou shalt not steal.
Thou shalt not bear false witness.
Thou shalt not covet they neighbor’s wife.
Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s goods.
That’s it, 70 words! God’s entire directive to the hundreds of billions who have walked the earth for the last 5,000 years is 70 words. Countless martyrs have endured agonizing deaths without ever needing any more information than those 70 words. What a beautiful microcosm of the ordered perfection of the mind of the Creator. The directions for your TV were probably 70 pages, yet the directions for how to live your life took only 70 words. If we would completely embrace these 70 words, the world could literally entice Our Lord to come again and rule humanity as intended. Ironically, when He does so, there will be no further need for commandments, for we will then do for the sake of love what we do now for the sake of obedience.