By Mr. Curmudgeon:
A fascinating article appeared in Biblical Archaeology Review concerning the admission by Israel that a team of archaeologists discovered fragments of an ancient stone tablet inscribed with the Ten Commandments near a site considered a prime candidate for the Bible’s Mount Sinai. It was discovered two years after Israel occupied the Sinai Peninsula in the victorious aftermath of the 1967 Six-Day War. The admission has prompted Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood government to demand the artifact’s immediate return.
Meanwhile in New York, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad told reporters covering the 67th United Nations General Assembly “that Israel has no roots in the Middle East and would be ‘eliminated,” said the Reuters News Service.
That’s quite a dilemma for the Muslim Dark-Age invaders who transformed the dynamic Greco-Roman Near East into a barbaric, intellectual backwater.
Civilization is usually defined as the complex organization of societies that build towns and cities and trade with other cultures. The Old Testament describes the daunting task placed before the ancient nomadic Hebrews in conquering walled cities like Jericho. The twelve desert-wondering tribes lived in tents and tended flocks and herds. It would be hard to define them as the flower of Western Civilization if not for two things – ten laws carved upon two stone slabs.
The archaeological evidence suggests the “civilized” inhabitants within the stone walls of Jericho practiced child sacrifice and religious prostitution. Liberated from the slave-labor brick pits of pharaonic Egypt, the ancient Hebrews conquered the “civilized” towns and cities of what became the Holy Land and established a new moral order under the Asert ha-Dibrot (the “Ten Declarations” or Ten Commandments).
The majority of these declarations are negative injunctions: “Thou shalt NOT kill,” “Thou shalt NOT steal,” “Thou shalt NOT covet … anything that is thy neighbor’s.” I could be wrong, but I don’t think it is a coincidence that our nation’s Founders added 10 Amendments to the United States Constitution filled with negative injunctions that begin with the five most beautiful words in the English language … “Congress shall make NO law …”
Positive injunctions, on the other hand, tend to be authoritarian in nature. For example, the Quran’s Surah 9:29:
“Fight those who do not believe in Allah or in the Last Day and who do not consider unlawful what Allah and His Messenger have made unlawful and who do not adopt the religion of truth from those who were given the Scripture – [fight] until they give the jizyah [tax on non-Muslims] willingly while they are humbled.”
And there’s the positive injunction of the Quran’s Surah 4:59 that relieves the individual of his, well, individual sovereignty:
“O you who have believed, obey Allah and obey the Messenger and those in authority among you. And if you disagree over anything, refer it to Allah and the Messenger, if you should believe in Allah and the Last Day. That is the best [way] and best in result.”
In his speech to the U.N. General Assembly, Iran’s President Ahmadinejad noted that Arab Spring democracy “is certainly on its rightful path of creation, ensuring a promising future for humanity. A future that will be built when humanity initiates to trend the path of the divine prophets and the righteous under the leadership of Imam al-Mahdi, the Ultimate Savior of mankind and the inheritor to all divine messengers and leaders and to the pure generation of our great Prophet; of a supreme and ideal society with the arrival of a perfect human being who is a true and sincere lover of all human beings, is the guaranteed promise of Allah.”
The United States and Israel should hold to the just negative injunctions brought down from Mount Sinai and reflected in the U.S. Constitution that rejects positively barbaric injunctions with no roots in the civilized world.
Oh, and Israel should tell Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood it intends to keep the tablets of Western Civilization rescued in an archaeological Exodus from the tyrannical clutches of Islam’s would-be pharaohs.