X: Thou Shalt Not Bear False Witness

King James Bible New Living Translation Bible English Standard Bible
Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour. You must not testify falsely against your neighbor. You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.
  1. ‘False witness’ shall not be construed to include any of the following:
    1. Lies of commission
    2. Lies of omission
    3. Advertising or marketing
    4. Election campaigning
    5. Disinformation
    6. False promises
    7. Dating site profiles
    8. Misreporting of tax liability
    9. Any statement made in order to pursue one’s mission from God

IX: Thou Shalt Not Covet

King James Bible New Living Translation Bible English Standard Bible
Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbour’s. You must not covet your neighbor’s house. You must not covet your neighbor’s wife, male or female servant, ox or donkey, or anything else that belongs to your neighbor. You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his male servant, or his female servant, or his ox, or his donkey, or anything that is your neighbor’s.
  1. ‘Covet’ shall not be construed to include any of the following:
    1. Envy
    2. Jealousy
    3. Lust
    4. Use of pornography
    5. The obsessive creation of wish lists on retailer web sites
    6. The obsessive comparison of one’s own finances and possessions with those of others
    7. Queueing to get the new shiny thing before anyone else
    8. Boasting about owning the new shiny thing before anyone else

VIII: Thou Shalt Not Steal

King James Bible New Living Translation Bible English Standard Bible
Thou shalt not steal. You must not steal. You shall not steal.
  1. ‘Steal’ shall not be construed to include any of the following:
    1. Theft
    2. Robbery
    3. Fraud
    4. Embezzlement
    5. False advertising
    6. Phishing
    7. Eminent domain
    8. Usury
    9. Misreporting of tax liability

VII: Thou Shalt Not Commit Adultery

King James Bible New Living Translation Bible English Standard Bible
Thou shalt not commit adultery. You must not commit adultery. You shall not commit adultery.
  1. ‘Adultery’ for unmarried people shall not be construed to include any of the following:
    1. Kissing
    2. Heavy petting
    3. Oral sex
    4. Use of pornography
    5. Participation in pornography
    6. Exchanging of favours where sex is one of the favours
  2. ‘Adultery’ for married people shall not be construed to include any of the following:
    1. If you plan to divorce your spouse and have told them so
    2. If you plan to divorce your spouse and have not told them so
    3. If you no longer love your spouse (whether or not you’ve told them so)
    4. If the person you’re committing adultery with is really hot

VI: Thou Shalt Not Kill

King James Bible New Living Translation Bible English Standard Bible
Thou shalt not kill. You must not murder. You shall not murder.
  1. Neither ‘Kill’ nor ‘Murder’ shall be construed to mean any of the following:
    1. Any of the 41 different loopholes listed in the Bible
    2. Legally execute
    3. Summarily execute
    4. Kill in the course of a war
    5. Kill in the course of “freedom fighting” (however, killing in the course of “terrorism” shall still be considered killing)
    6. Kill pre-emptively in self-defemce
    7. Kill for looking ‘suspicious’
    8. Kill by denying health care or medical assistance

V: Honouring one’s Parents

King James Bible New Living Translation Bible English Standard Bible
Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee. Honor your father and mother. Then you will live a long, full life in the land the Lord your God is giving you. Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long in the land that the Lord your God is giving you.
  1. ‘Honor’ shall not be construed to include any of the following:
    1. Disparagement of differing religious or politcal views
    2. Inaccurate accusations of senility
    3. Patronising behaviour
    4. Anything that may be necessary to secure one’s inheritance.

IV: Keeping the Sabbath Holy

King James Bible New Living Translation Bible English Standard Bible
Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work: But the seventh day is the sabbath of the Lord thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates: For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the Lord blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it. Remember to observe the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. You have six days each week for your ordinary work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath day of rest dedicated to the Lord your God. On that day no one in your household may do any work. This includes you, your sons and daughters, your male and female servants, your livestock, and any foreigners living among you. For in six days the Lord made the heavens, the earth, the sea, and everything in them; but on the seventh day he rested. That is why the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and set it apart as holy. Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor, and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, you, or your son, or your daughter, your male servant, or your female servant, or your livestock, or the sojourner who is within your gates. For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.
  1. ‘Work’ shall not be construed to mean any of the following:
    1. Shmoozing
    2. Networking
    3. Politicking
    4. Ceremonial duties
    5. Emergency services
    6. Military services
  2. Also, due to the absolute impossibility of actually doing it, just go ahead and ignore the bit about livestock.

III: Taking God’s Name in Vain

King James Bible New Living Translation Bible English Standard Bible
Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain; for the Lord will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain. You must not misuse the name of the Lord your God. The Lord will not let you go unpunished if you misuse his name. You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain, for the Lord will not hold him guiltless who takes his name in vain.
  1. ‘In vain’ shall not include:
    1. Exclaiming
    2. Swearing
    3. Cussing
    4. Invoking his name to support any course of action
    5. Praying insincerely
    6. Assigning his Vengeance as the cause of any event
    7. Insulting remarks about anyone else’s faith
    8. Insulting remarks about anyone else’s lack of faith

II: No Graven Images

King James Bible New Living Translation Bible English Standard Bible
Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the Lord thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me; And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments. You must not make for yourself an idol of any kind or an image of anything in the heavens or on the earth or in the sea. You must not bow down to them or worship them, for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God who will not tolerate your affection for any other gods. I lay the sins of the parents upon their children; the entire family is affected — even children in the third and fourth generations of those who reject me. But I lavish unfailing love for a thousand generations on those who love me and obey my commands. You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. You shall not bow down to them or serve them, for I the Lord your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing steadfast love to thousands of those who love me and keep my commandments.
  1. ‘Idol’ shall not be construed to mean any of the following:
    1. Anyone on ‘American Idol’
    2. Anyone on the ‘Idol’ franchise in any other nation
    3. Billy Idol
  2. ‘Likeness’ shall not be construed to mean any of the following:
    1. Image
    2. Picture
    3. Painting
    4. Photograph
    5. Motion picture
    6. Video recording
    7. Audio recording

I: No Other Gods

King James Bible New Living Translation Bible English Standard Bible
Thou shalt have no other gods before me. You must not have any other god but me. You shall have no other gods before me.
  1. Unless those gods are one or more of the following:
    1. The Baby Jesus
    2. Saint Mary
    3. Santa Claus
    4. Mammon
    5. The Free Market
    6. Political power
    7. Expediency
    8. Pride
  2. It is also quite acceptable to have other gods:
    1. After me
    2. Beside me
    3. Below me
    4. In addition to me, but in a clearly subordinate posiion
  3. It is also acceptable to blur the lines between 1 & 2, above

The Annotated Ten Commandments: an Introduction

I’m sure it’s occurred to many people that the Ten Commandments are honoured far more in the breach than in the observance. And understand, I’m giving all non-Christians and non-Jews a pass on this. If you do not profess a faith that in some way partakes of the dubious wisdom of the Pentateuch, it only makes sense that you would ignore the Ten Commandments. I mean, you probably still think that killing people isn’t such a great idea, but the other nine are likely more negotiable.

It’s just that it often seems to me that those who most loudly talk about the Ten Commandments seem to have a great deal of trouble understanding them – and even more trouble obeying them. But this doesn’t stop them from wanting to shove the Commandments down everyone else’s throats. Methinks they doth profess too much.

Starting tomorrow, and for the next nine weeks, I’ll be providing annotated versions of the Ten Commandments, each of them expanded to include the many, many apparent caveats, exceptions and loopholes that the Commandments seem to possess in actual practice. It should be a lot of fun (unless you’re a member of one of the relevant faiths, in which case, no, I’m sorry, it won’t be very much fun at all).

This work is dedicated to the two organisations that have done the most to inspire it: the Catholic Church of Rome, Italy, and the Republican Party of Washington, USA.

The Bible considered as a shared-world anthology

Despite what you may have heard from Robert Asprin’s press agent, there was a shared-world anthology that predated Thieves World by several hundred years. (It also outsold it not inconsiderably, although as in the case of Dan Brown, it should be remembered that popularity is not the same thing as literary merit.)

It meets all the criteria: it is the work of multiple authors all working within the premises of a single setting, published in a unified form.

It is, as the title has already spoiled for the more alert reader, The Bible. But, considered this way, the question must needs be asked: is it any good?

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