View Full Version : Fundamentialist Christians and the Ten Commandments
01-29-2004, 02:21 AM
Why do Fundamentalist Christians distort the meaning of "Honor thy Father and Mother"? This commandment was originally understood to mean to support your parents in their old age. Why do Fundamentalist Christians want people to believe this commandment is supposed to be directed a young children to follow their parents rules?
Why do Fundamentalist Christians distort the meaning of "Honor thy Father and Mother"? This commandment was originally understood to mean to support your parents in their old age.
I'm not disputing this assertion, but have you any corroborative detail, cites, links to useful discussions or the like to support it? I'd be interested.
Why do Fundamentalist Christians want people to believe this commandment is supposed to be directed a young children to follow their parents rules?
I would have thought it's obvious why. I bet non-Fundamentalist parents wish they had a similar argument to make to their children.
01-29-2004, 02:53 AM
For an online cite you look here:
Maybe someone know of a better online cite?
For a better cite you can look it up in the Oxford Companion to the Bible (I don't know the rules about posting text from a book in regard to copyright):
Thanks for the cites, Pepsi Classic
Iím not a fundamentalist and I donít claim to know many, but I somehow doubt that they claim that the commandment is directed largely or exclusively at young children. I am sure they would agree that it applies equally to adult children, and furthermore that it requires them to acknowledge a responsibility not only for the material welfare of their parents but for their emotional welfare also; ďhonouringĒ is not just a matter of paying the retirement home bills. An adult child should not neglect his relationship with his parents, but should care for and foster that relationship.
I suspect they would say that, although primarily adressed to adults, the ten commandments nevertheless start to become relevant to everyone as soon as he or she reaches an age where he can begin to take moral decisions and start to accept responsibility for his own actions. Clearly a young child cannot be expected to accept resonsibility for his parentsí material welfare, but he can be expected (and educated) to attach some importance to his relationship with his parents, and to accept some responsibility for maintaining and fostering that relationship or, at any rate, not damaging it.
So far, I think, all this is uncontroversial and a similar view would probably be taken by many who are not Fundamentalist, or even Christian. From here, however, I start to appeal to stereotypes. If we assume that Fundamentalists view the parental role as (among other things) an authoritarian role, then if the parent-child relationship is to be fostered and maintained the parent must exercise proper authority (loving authority, naturally!) and the child must accept that authority. Hence, do as youíre told, kid.
01-29-2004, 09:23 AM
I'm not a fundamentalist or even a religious person, but I do expect my kids to both "honor" me and follow my rules. Not because God says it, but because I say it. It's easier this way because my existence is a lot harder to question. :)
To more directly address the OP, I'm not sure I agree with the premise. When I was a kid and attending church with my parents, I recall the interpretation of this commandmant to be much broader based than simply "follow the parents rules." Sure, that was part of it, but I would say a small part compared to the theme of basic respect and sense of responsibility one should have toward one's parents.
01-29-2004, 07:48 PM
This commandment was originally understood to mean to support your parents in their old age. Why do Fundamentalist Christians want people to believe this commandment is supposed to be directed a young children to follow their parents rules?
I'm afraid that I have to disagree with your premise as well. Jewish law, going as far back as the Talmud (and further) have strict definitions on exactly what "honoring" one's parents entails... and a lot of it has nothing to do with supporting them in their old age.
01-29-2004, 09:10 PM
I think the OP is skirting around the point he is really trying to make.
That some would have the commandment mean not only 'respect my rules' but believe what I tell you to believe or you're going to hell.
Or am I wrong, OP?
Duck Duck Goose
01-29-2004, 09:49 PM
Iím not a fundamentalist and I donít claim to know many, but I somehow doubt that they claim that the commandment is directed largely or exclusively at young children.Well, I am a Fundamentalist, and I've never heard anyone claim that the Commandment refers only to young children--we have "Children, obey your parents" (http://www.biblegateway.com/cgi-bin/bible?passage=EPH+6&language=english&version=NIV&showfn=on&showxref=on) for that.
And I've been teaching Fundie Sunday School for 10 years now, and when the curriculum gets to that commandment, it's focussed in the much broader sense, as Jammer said, of honoring your parents by respecting them, and especially when they get old.
Why do Fundamentalist Christians distort the meaning of "Honor thy Father and Mother"?Have you got any examples of Fundamentalists doing this?
I would guess that any examples would be connected to the fact that the "Children, obey your parents" passage in Ephesians does seem to be directed towards "young children", rather than "adult offspring", so some people's interpretations might extrapolate backwards to the Commandment and take that to mean exclusively "young children".
Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. "Honor your father and mother"--which is the first commandment with a promise--"that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth." Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.
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