Worldview, the Supreme Court, and the Ten Commandments



The subjects we chose during telephone conversations with relatives and friends tend to change over time. If you or they have lived a relatively long healthy life, more time will inevitably be spent on the latest physical problems. The last time I talked to my sister on the phone, I mentioned to her that I was due for cataract surgery in a couple of months. She asked me to name my favorite prayer writer so she could pray for me. Not a question usually asked or expected. I usually am grateful that a prayer is offered and just assume that an appropriate one will be chosen. No need to ever think of mistrusting another’s judgement in such a generous moment.

My secret devilish side expanded in silence on this unusual moment. How does this work? Submit three choices and she will let me know!

My thoughts turned serious and I said, “The Our Father. Jesus was the greatest authority in everything. That was His answer when His apostles asked how to pray.”

She was pleased and not surprised at my answer. That was because she understood my worldview. She knew that I would answer her within our shared understanding of Christianity. I would not question the power of prayer. I would not belittle her for including me in her prayer life. I would not feign insult to further the now popular “war” on religion.

What is a Worldview?

“Worldview (Weltanschauung) was a buzzword in early twentieth century German culture. Life-philosophers and anti-rationalists used the phrase ‘Weltanschauung’ to designate the inherently elusive and obscure source of all cultural life and thinking.” (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy)

The exact source of one’s worldview can be elusive because there are many sources that feed our decision mechanism. What forces, incentives, and persuasions have exactly determined a person’s path towards or away from God is probably too complex a question to be answered simply. We only know that our progress through life is directed by our free will, but the result that our choices ultimately formulate is immensely important. The result is what we can identify as our worldview. It is a starting point for making decisions in our lives. It is our guide to what we include and reject when making decisions.

What Are the Influences?

It has become clearer to me in this 21st century that the sources of many people’s worldview is most strongly influenced by 19th and 2oth-century science and technology. The self-determination that science promises is mistaken as absolute truth in all areas of life. Technology through business and government gives us control over our world that we were once only able to manage with our hands and fingers. We once scraped a hole into the ground with cupped hands or shaped stone; now we dig massive tunnels for a roadway under the English Channel with sophisticated machines. What power we have! The material world can be accepted as all that exists because we get immediate tangible results for our efforts, and that thought keeps us occupied. We busy ourselves with digging, building and serving. Manipulating the latest tools of our jobs: computers, cars, cash registers, trucks, pumps, and assembly lines.  Always producing or serving. Do we take time to reflect on purpose or do we easily choose to accept whatever purpose we are given by another? Spirituality is seen as a tonic that exists for personal entertainment or for obscuring the source of pain.  God once lived. He died in 1966. Now, even more drastically, some are trying to kill the concept of God.

A Post-Post-Post-Modern Idea

Lately a unique idea has been bubbling closer to my consciousnesses.  The latest of the recent changes in our society has caused me to think that maybe I could contribute towards this Enlightenment-era idea of a powerful personal autonomy that our social and political leaders are promoting now. Same-sex marriage is an old fashioned idea. Done and done. We need a fresh cause to fight for. Something HUGE. Something that we can get excited about. One that will finally kill off that silly idea of a transcendent God. Something that would free us of the need for thought so we could really lower our heads and rush forward with our common goal: producing more goods and services.

Modernize the Ten Commandments!

Put the Ten Commandments back into the public square. Show them prominently on legislative grounds or courthouse entrances. Eliminate arguments over their presence. The approving majesty of the law will give legitimacy to this newly formulated morality. The law has always settled questions in America. Why can’t the commandments be attributed to our Supreme Court? After all, these lofty individuals are considered to be the final word when we have a problem. They tell us what is legal or not, and through that power we willingly adopt moral and ethical positions. We may lead the court or follow it in our thinking and beliefs, but they are the final word when actions are concerned. Speech and control over conscience are increasingly argued in the court. Why then are they not “The Word.” The other two branches of government have shown themselves to be so inept that it is necessary to subject their actions to the Supreme Court’s blessing or admonition. Why not go directly to the Court and allow them to create our moral laws?

We have slowly eliminated the 3rd Commandment: “Observe the sabbath day, to keep it holy.” The larger part of us already doesn’t honor the Sabbath, go to Mass, honor holy days of obligation, read Catholic writings, pray, or think of God daily. With Christ and His reminders out of the way we can work on eliminating unnecessary government and worship the court directly. It would be like a Board of Directors.

I would continue with the 4th that we have gleaned from Deuteronomy, “Honor your father and your mother.” As it was written, it is not representative of the latest social thought given to us by the Court.

I would change it to read Honor parent 1 and parent 2…and parent(n).

This gives the commandment a scientific, mathematical flavor adding to its authenticity. There is room for further expansion when archaic thinking changes and as more citizens realize that people should not be restricted from creating their own glorious future according to their own glorious ideas. They should be free to will the future as well as the present.

Of course, the court would have to approve–I’m not a social radical.

Is There Precedent for this Idea?

Yes: the history of the world.

I hope you don’t think that I seriously like the above idea. Our Father is much greater than that. I also hope that you will not discount this idea as something unthinkable, impossible, improbable, unlikely or incapable of becoming common thinking.

Just in my lifetime there has occurred tremendous social change world-wide. Change promoted by individuals and driven to reality by hundreds of thousands of followers. World-wide change that slaughtered persons and destroyed families. Change interior to the person that shifted the moral direction of entire nations.

  • The wars from WWII of world or national domination and genocide.
  • Racial segregation. We were once for it, then against.
  • Marriage: Judged to be unnecessary.
  • Sexual revolution: judged to be a pleasurable right not to be inhibited by the side affects of sex, such as babies.
  • Now, homosexual marriage and activity: once against, then promoting.

While remaining open to the contribution of other religions to our civilization, it is our conviction that Europe must remain faithful to its Christian roots. We call upon Christians of Eastern and Western Europe to unite in their shared witness to Christ and the Gospel, so that Europe may preserve its soul, shaped by two thousand years of Christian tradition.  (Pope Francis and Patriarch Kirill, Feb. 12, 2016)

Change is always with us. Without Christ in our worldview it can, and will, go in unexpected directions.

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5 thoughts on “Worldview, the Supreme Court, and the Ten Commandments”

  1. Just wondering how we got to the place where governments are seen as violating the establishment clause when they allow or even promote religious expression? For example, if there might be a nativity scene on government property, it has not been erected according to any law, and the establishment clause is about law. If there is a banner bearing the ten commandments hanging in the public school, it is not hanging there to comply with any known law. Nor is there any law that states we must read them.

    1. Ann,

      The logic here is that the Court over the decades has rejected law created for law revised by them. A function of the legislatures.

      Justice Scalia in 1993 wrote:

      “What a strange notion, that a Constitution which itself gives “religion in general” preferential treatment (I refer to the Free Exercise Clause) forbids endorsement of religion in general… It suffices to point out that during the summer of 1789, when it was in the process of drafting the First Amendment, Congress enacted the Northwest Territory Ordinance that the Confederation Congress had adopted in 1787—Article III of which provides: “Religion, morality, and knowledge, being necessary to good government and the happiness of mankind, schools and the means of education shall forever be encouraged.”


  2. So, this is what it looks like when someone ” rage(s) against the dying of the light”
    It could be worse, Howard, you could be typing this in Aleppo, Syria.

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