Ten Reasons Why the 10 Commandments Matter—We Need Them Now More Than Ever

Ten Reasons Why the 10 Commandments Matter—We Need Them Now More Than Ever
Ten Reasons Why the 10 Commandments Matter—We Need Them Now More Than Ever

There is a growing debate over the posting of the Ten Commandments in public classrooms and buildings. Many Americans feel this august collection of laws has a positive and much-needed effect on all who read them.

Those opposing the Ten Commandments claim the posting somehow represents the “establishment” of religion and not a list of rules for virtuous living.

However, the Ten Commandments have long been recognized as a universal moral code that could not be more contrary to our everything-goes culture as it barrels toward nihilism.

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America needs the Ten Commandments—now more than ever. They should be spread, posted and obeyed everywhere, not just in classrooms. If society is to flourish, we must have guardrails that ensure order reigns, not violence and disorder.

Here are ten reasons why the Ten Commandments matter.

1. Without them, we are not truly free.

The Ten Commandments established limits so that we might better exercise our moral freedom. By using the command, “Thou shall not,” they identify the sinful and harmful actions (like lying, killing and stealing) that enslave us to evil and vice and thus inhibit the practice of virtue, which is the foundation of ordered liberty. To be morally free, we need the Ten Commandments.

2. They have always been revered and respected in America.

The Ten Commandments are embedded in our laws, engraved on our public buildings, enshrined in our tradition, displayed in public places and intertwined in our history. They occupy a special place in the hearts of countless Americans and must not be wrenched from their exalted position.

3. They are our higher law and undergird the legal order of the Christian West.

Ten Commandments establish the existence of a supreme, just and benevolent Lawgiver—God. He is the source from which all law comes. The Commandments prevent the law from becoming subjective and capricious, where everyone establishes their own law based on personal whims, fantasies and passions. It prevents the tyranny of those who would impose their fancies on others without basis on principle or our human nature.

4. They summarize the moral law.

The Ten Commandments are rules that come from our human nature and help us reach fulfillment. Philosophers have long taught that the Decalogue is a summary of the natural law, which best governs our being, and we know it because it is written on the hearts of all (See Rom. 2:15).

5. They show all prodigals the way back to the Father’s Home.

Without the Ten Commandments, we might forget and abandon the practice of virtue. Vice obscures and distorts our vision of what is good and just and turns us toward evil habits. The display of the Ten Commandments is a constant and visible reminder of what we must do to lead virtuous lives in society.

6. They teach us to honor and respect legitimate authority.

By instructing children to honor their parents, the Ten Commandments teach us to honor and respect all who are invested with legitimate authority and whose duty it is to guide society to the common good. In this way, society secures harmony and unity. Without authority, we have hatred, discord and chaos.

7. By safeguarding the right to private property, they uphold order in society.

By their insistence that we not steal or covet what belongs to others, the Ten Commandments help safeguard the right of private property and good order in society. The left hates the Ten Commandments because they allow for the reward of human work through the accumulation of private property, helping to secure peace and harmony among all.

8. They protect the family.

The Ten Commandments safeguard the family and the moral order from the ravages of unbridled passions by insisting that we not succumb to adultery and licentious living. Thus, they are a source of stability, order, affection and fidelity for individuals and society.

9. They remind us of God.

The Ten Commandments remind us not to offend an infinitely benevolent and just God by violating His Law. Thus, they provide a higher reason and incentive to avoid sin since we avoid vice as a way of loving God and His wisdom. To do otherwise would be a sign of ingratitude and scorn.

10. They remind us to adore God, our Creator.

The Ten Commandments call individuals and society alike to the adoration of God. This is a natural duty of justice to the Creator for giving us existence, life and purpose. The fact that atheists exist does not negate the duty of all—individually and collectively—to honor God publicly.

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Atheists should not determine the norms of a nation because, regardless of their opinion, God exists, and we owe Him adoration.

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There are many other reasons why the Ten Commandments matter. The Commandments are a source of order in our days of disorder since they relate our duty to God and our neighbor. They are a guide for virtuous living that benefits everyone.

Those opposed to the Ten Commandments have the burden of proof to show how obeying them jeopardizes society and does not lead to freedom, harmony and human flourishing. Ten Commandments opponents must reveal their own anti-rules and by what authority they impose them on America. All societies must have rules and virtue if they are to have order. We suffer so much today because we have a culture that actively promotes free license and vice, which lead to anxiety, addictions and disorder.

Above all, the Ten Commandments matter because God matters. They are a constant reminder that God exists, even if some unfortunate people deny it. He gave us these rules so that we might live in peace, order and harmony, thus giving Him worship and glory.

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