(As in: “My goodness! Where did theirs go?”)

KURT VONNEGUT ONCE OBSERVED, “FOR SOME reason, the most vocal Christians among us never mention the Beatitudes. But, often with tears in their eyes, they demand that the Ten Commandments be posted in public buildings. And of course that’s Moses, not Jesus. I haven’t heard one of them demand that the Sermon on the Mount, the Beatitudes, be posted anywhere.” Vonnegut was pointing out the basic immorality of society’s self-proclaimed moral custodians. Hate the sin but love the sinner? But that opens to a possible debate on what is sin.

“The Grand Inquisitor” by Manuel L. Quezon III, published on page A15 of the August 14, 2006 issue of the Philippine Daily Inquirer.

I stumbled upon that quote elsewhere; after some backtracking, I found Kurt Vonnegut’s original commentary.

While Quezon moved on to focus on a whole other matter and Vonnegut only mentioned this as part of a larger whole, isn’t anybody else bothered by Kurt Vonnegut’s logic here (and consequently MLQ’s, for agreeing with it)?

To point out the obvious, those Commandments were spoken and written by God. They were only brought down by Moses. Did Vonnegut read a different Bible? Perhaps. Some say there is no proof that they were written by God Himself.

It’s clearly implied that the Beatitudes are positive and encouraging words speaking through the humanity of Jesus. On the other hand, the Ten Commandments are feared, some daresay negative, laws that the all-powerful God sent down to Earth. It sounds appealing to favor one who is more encouraging than fearsome, but that is an either-or fallacy. That, or you’re assuming God is such a one-dimensional being. Yes.

There is no reason to pit two sets of “guidelines” against each other—much less because one was allegedly said by a mere “self-proclaimed moral custodian.”

I am no model citizen, neither am I a devout Catholic (I try!). And I never imagined posting anything like this. But this is such a silly religious debate that people have tossed around only because of its implications, not its founding logic.

Update: a somewhat offbeat metaphor lies in the current Firefox versus IceWeasel issue. See reason #3: “You’re only pitting FLOSS against FLOSS

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