This is a very long article. I’ll post it by part.
Here’s the link to the full article.
III: The Ten Commandments
Some Christian lawyers—some eminent and stupid judges—have said and still say, that the Ten Commandments are the foundation of all law.
Nothing could be more absurd. Long before these commandments were given there were codes of laws in India and Egypt—laws against murder, perjury, larceny, adultery and fraud. Such laws are as old as human society; as old as the love of life; as old as industry; as the idea of prosperity; as old as human love.
All of the Ten Commandments that are good were old; all that were new are foolish. If Jehovah had been civilized he would have left out the commandment about keeping the Sabbath, and in its place would have said: “Thou shalt not enslave thy fellow-men.” He would have omitted the one about swearing, and said: “The man shall have but one wife, and the woman but one husband.” He would have left out the one about graven images, and in its stead would have said: “Thou shalt not wage wars of extermination, and thou shalt not unsheathe the sword except in self-defence.”
If Jehovah had been civilized, how much grander the Ten Commandments would have been.
All that we call progress—the enfranchisement of man, of labor, the substitution of imprisonment for death, of fine for imprisonment, the destruction of polygamy, the establishing of free speech, of the rights of conscience; in short, all that has tended to the development and civilization of man; all the results of investigation, observation, experience and free thought; all that man has accomplished for the benefit of man since the close of the Dark Ages—has been done in spite of the Old Testament.
Let me further illustrate the morality, the mercy, the philosophy and goodness of the Old Testament:
The Story of Achan
Joshua took the City of Jericho. Before the fall of the city he declared that all the spoil taken should be given to the Lord.
In spite of this order Achan secreted a garment, some silver and gold.
Afterward Joshua tried to take the city of Ai. He failed and many of his soldiers were slain. Joshua sought for the cause of his defeat and he found that Achan had secreted a garment, two hundred shekels of silver and a wedge of gold. To this Achan confessed.
And thereupon Joshua took Achan, his sons and his daughters, his oxen and his sheep—stoned them all to death and burned their bodies.
There is nothing to show that the sons and daughters had committed any crime. Certainly, the oxen and sheep should not have been stoned to death for the crime of their owner. This was the justice, the mercy, of Jehovah!
After Joshua had committed this crime, with the help of Jehovah he captured the city of Ai.
The Story of Elisha
“And he went up thence unto Bethel, and as he was going up by the way there came forth little children out of the city and mocked him, and said unto him, “Go up, thou baldhead.””
“And he turned back and looked at them, and cursed them in the name of the Lord. And there came forth two she-bears out of the wood and tore forty and two children of them.”
This was the work of the good God—the merciful Jehovah!
The Story of Daniel
King Darius had honored and exalted Daniel, and the native princes were jealous. So they induced the king to sign a decree to the effect that any man who should make a petition to any god or man except to King Darius, for thirty days, should be cast into the den of lions.
Afterward these men found that Daniel, with his face toward Jerusalem, prayed three times a day to Jehovah.
Thereupon Daniel was cast into the den of lions; a stone was placed at the mouth of the den and sealed with the king’s seal.
The king passed a bad night. The next morning he went to the den and cried out to Daniel. Daniel answered and told the king that God had sent his angel and shut the mouths of the lions.
Daniel was taken out alive and well, and the king was converted and believed in Daniel’s God.
Darius, being then a believer in the true God, sent for the men who had accused Daniel, and for their wives and their children, and cast them all into the lions den.
“And the lions had the mastery of them, and brake all their bones in pieces, or ever they came at the bottom of the pit.”
What had the wives and little children done? How had they offended King Darius, the believer in Jehovah? Who protected Daniel? Jehovah! Who failed to protect the innocent wives and children? Jehovah!
The Story of Joseph
Pharaoh had a dream, and this dream was interpreted by Joseph.
According to this interpretation there was to be in Egypt seven years of plenty, followed by seven years of famine. Joseph advised Pharaoh to buy all the surplus of the seven plentiful years and store it up against the years of famine.
Pharaoh appointed Joseph as his minister or agent, and ordered him to buy the grain of the plentiful years.
Then came the famine. The people came to the king for help. He told them to go to Joseph and do as he said.
Joseph sold corn to the Egyptians until all their money was gone—until he had it all.
When the money was gone the people said: “Give us corn and we will give you our cattle.”
Joseph let them have corn until all their cattle, their horses and their flocks had been given to him.
Then the people said: “Give us corn and we will give you our lands.”
So Joseph let them have corn until all their lands were gone.
But the famine continued, and so the poor wretches sold themselves, and they became the servants of Pharaoh.
Then Joseph gave them seed, and made an agreement with them that they should forever give one fifth of all they raised to Pharaoh.
Who enabled Joseph to interpret the dream of Pharaoh? Jehovah! Did he know at the time that Joseph would use the information thus given to rob and enslave the people of Egypt? Yes. Who produced the famine? Jehovah!
It is perfectly apparent that the Jews did not think of Jehovah as the God of Egypt—the God of all the world. He was their God, and theirs alone. Other nations had gods, but Jehovah was the greatest of all. Be hated other nations and other gods, and abhorred all religions except the worship of himself.