George Carlin and the 10 Commandments

Here’s the full transcript…Why we don’t need ten commandments!

This (script) is from George Carlin’s HBO show, Complaints and Grievances (2002)

 PhilosopherPoet
;)

Here is my problem with the ten commandments- why exactly are there 10? 

You simply do not need ten. The list of ten commandments was artificially and deliberately inflated to get it up to ten. Here’s what happened: 

About 5,000 years ago a bunch of religious and political hustlers got together to try to figure out how to control people and keep them in line. They knew people were basically stupid and would believe anything they were told, so they announced that God had given them some commandments, up on a mountain, when no one was around.

Well let me ask you this- when they were making this shit up, why did they pick 10? Why not 9 or 11? I’ll tell you why- because 10 sound official. Ten sounds important! Ten is the basis for the decimal system, it’s a decade, it’s a psychologically satisfying number (the top ten, the ten most wanted, the ten best dressed). So having ten commandments was really a marketing decision! It is clearly a bullshit list. It’s a political document artificially inflated to sell better. I will now show you how you can reduce the number of commandments and come up with a list that’s a little more workable and logical. I am going to use the Roman Catholic version because those were the ones I was taught as a little boy.

Let’s start with the first three: 

I AM THE LORD THY GOD THOU SHALT NOT HAVE STRANGE GODS BEFORE ME

THOU SHALT NOT TAKE THE NAME OF THE LORD THY GOD IN VAIN

THOU SHALT KEEP HOLY THE SABBATH

Right off the bat the first three are pure bullshit. Sabbath day? Lord’s name? strange gods? Spooky language! Designed to scare and control primitive people. In no way does superstitious nonsense like this apply to the lives of intelligent civilized humans in the 21st century. So now we’re down to 7. Next:

HONOR THY FATHER AND MOTHER

Obedience, respect for authority. Just another name for controlling people. The truth is that obedience and respect shouldn’t be automatic. They should be earned and based on the parent’s performance. Some parents deserve respect, but most of them don’t, period. You’re down to six.

Now in the interest of logic, something religion is very uncomfortable with, we’re going to jump around the list a little bit.

THOU SHALT NOT STEAL

THOU SHALT NOT BEAR FALSE WITNESS

Stealing and lying. Well actually, these two both prohibit the same kind of behavior- dishonesty. So you don’t really need two you combine them and call the commandment “thou shalt not be dishonest”. And suddenly you’re down to 5.

And as long as we’re combining I have two others that belong together:

THOU SHALT NOT COMMIT ADULTRY

THOU SHALT NOT COVET THY NEIGHBOR’S WIFE

Once again, these two prohibit the same type of behavior. In this case it is marital infidelity. The difference is- coveting takes place in the mind. But I don’t think you should outlaw fantasizing about someone else’s wife because what is a guy gonna think about when he’s waxing his carrot? But, marital infidelity is a good idea so we’re gonna keep this one and call it “thou shalt not be unfaithful”. And suddenly we’re down to four.

But when you think about it, honesty and infidelity are really part of the same overall value so, in truth, you could combine the two honesty commandments with the two fidelity commandments and give them simpler language, positive language instead of negative language and call the whole thing “thou shalt always be honest and faithful” and we’re down to 3.

THOU SHALT NOT COVET THY NEIGHBOR”S GOODS

This one is just plain fuckin’ stupid. Coveting your neighbor’s goods is what keeps the economy going! Your neighbor gets a vibrator that plays “o come o ye faithful”, and you want one too! Coveting creates jobs, so leave it alone. You throw out coveting and you’re down to 2 now- the big honesty and fidelity commandment and the one we haven’t talked about yet:

THOU SHALT NOT KILL

Murder. But when you think about it, religion has never really had a big problem with murder. More people have been killed in the name of god than for any other reason. All you have to do is look at Northern Ireland, Cashmire, the Inquisition, the Crusades, and the World Trade Center to see how seriously the religious folks take thou shalt not kill. The more devout they are, the more they see murder as being negotiable. It depends on who’s doin the killin’ and who’s gettin’ killed. So, with all of this in mind, I give you my revised list of the two commandments:

Thou shalt always be honest and faithful to the provider of thy nookie.

&

Thou shalt try real hard not to kill anyone, unless of course they pray to a different invisible man than you.

Two is all you need; Moses could have carried them down the hill in his fuckin’ pocket. I wouldn’t mind those folks in Alabama posting them on the courthouse wall, as long as they provided one additional commandment:

Thou shalt keep thy religion to thyself.

9 responses to this post.

  1. PhilosopherPoet,
    This is a good read, and I really haaad to laugh. That’s one of the reasons I think you might get a kick out of my post “The Harm That They Do.” http://2bites.com/2009/12/03/the-harm-that-they-do/
    Sincerely, Rushhumble

    Reply

  2. Posted by Harsha on August 18, 2010 at 9:21 am

    Old wisdom, well put..

    Reply

  3. Cashmire = Kashmir. Try reading a map sometime…

    Reply

    • I’m afraid I’m not the one who wrote the script for the Monologue, so apologies for the bad spelling. I got this script from another website and the spelling wasn’t intentional.

      Reply

  4. Posted by JoeShmoe on June 2, 2011 at 9:01 pm

    Now, this is a great monologue. In the interest of logic, if you wish to call it a transcript, then it must have the exact words that were spoken. But upon following with the dvd, it is not identical. It has been edited to exclude some words and phrases. So, if you wish to see the original, then go watch the DVD. Not only do you get the whole story, but you also get the unmistakable Carlin body language and tone of voice. Neither of these can be replicated in any transcript, regardless of the amount of editing going on.

    Reply

  5. Thou shalt keep thy religion to thyself.
    While I agree with the statement, Atheists always seem to have the hardest time with keeping atheism to themselves.

    Reply

    • Well the same could be said for extremists of any other religion. Christians for one are infamous for times such as the Crusade, where promoting the name of god meant killing as well. I find the single message of Atheism (doing away with God, and developing ourselves on the inside), isn’t such a bad idea considering these religion-fueled people of our time.

      Reply

  6. Posted by vic on July 8, 2013 at 3:36 pm

    someone noticed the misspelling of kashmir a fact 70% of the people reading this wouldn’t realize or find on a map and 20% would think he misspelled the name of a popular hand soap .10% would see the mistake and intelligent enough to understand the intent and not be anal retentive enough to point it out.

    Reply

    • Haha, You’re damn right Vic.

      If you’re a Grammar Nazi all the time, you fall into a similar trap the Christians do with the stringent 10 Commandments.

      Preach it, Brother! :P

      Reply

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