PERSPECTIVErnThe Ten CommandmentsrnI. OTHER GODS AND IMAGESrnby Thomas MolnarrnThe Ten Commandments, and many other bibhcal texts,rnused to be for me pious, nondescript, and rather gratuitousrnstatements. That was youth. With maturity and age,rnthey began to reveal (the right word) an immeasurable depthrnof wisdom, whose exploration occupied the life of a Pascalrnand a Chesterton. Our contemporary “culture” (various paganisms,rnabortion/euthanasia, inclusive language, overall politicization)rnhas demoted these texts to the level of bored clichesrnor outright mystifications. Hence the need to focus on themrnagain.rnAmong the commandments, perhaps the first has fared thernworst. The ones about stealing, adultery, or respect for parentsrnhave retained a kind of corrupted referential value; they are atrnleast “issues,” subject to discussion on TV panels and in newspaperrneditorials. Indeed, according to the counter-commandments,rnstealing (looting) is economically justified; adultervrnis still a valid notion in reverse, since about 50 percent ofrnall couples do not divorce; and filial sentiments are at least indirectlyrna topic of debate when children’s rights, incest, andrnadoption by homosexuals come up for legislation.rnBut things like “do not defy me by making other gods yourrnown,” “do not carve false images,” and “love me and keeprnmy commandments” to moderns sound incomprehensiblernand look like fossils from a sunken phallic period, elucubrationsrnof an opinionated God. What is more, we have been told byrnLudwig Feuerbach, Pastor Eugen Drewermann, and somernNotre Dame theologians that “God” himself is but a projectionrnof man, derived from the image-making and myth-tellingrnareas of the brain. The Ileideggerian philosopher Jean-LucrnMarion recently devoted a book to God Without Being andrnasked the printer to put a canceling “X” over the word God inrnthe text, since the biblical God is an idol before whom Davidrnused to sing and dance.rnThe point I wish to make is that the Ten Commandmentsrncontain in a nutshell all that we must know of man, society,rnand the world. The remaining question—why is the FirstrnCommandment first?—is historically evident. The Hebrewsrnhad exited an idolatrous land but carried with them the culturalrnhabits of that land, much like German-Jewish refugees inrnthe 30’s and 40’s who were marked by Goethe, Schiller,rn14/CHRONICLESrnrnrn