Recent discussions I've found myself in have caused me to consider the ten commandments, those delightful nuggets of joy that the christian Bible tells us to stamp onto everything that doesn't move for ten straight minutes. So I went to, seriously, don't laugh, tencommandments.org
I've listed the first two commandments as one because they're basically the same thing. It's almost like god had to stretch it because he'd already said ten before he realized there were only nine. Or maybe the stone tablets looked uneven with only nine written out, and he added the last one for balance.
I don't know. I grew up with these things, probably could even years ago have told you all ten from memory. Now I have to look them up online. Yes, I do have a Bible. It's on my shelf, labeled fiction. No I don't feel like getting up and finding it.
-You shall have no other gods/you shall create no idols-This is one doesn't have anything to do with law or justice. This is a straight up command not to believe in other gods/religions. As an atheist, I ignore these two completely. I'd go so far as to say the majority of people of any faith tend to allow plenty of things to come between their professed beliefs and how they live their lives.
-You shall not take the Lord's name in vain-see above, and you lovely people may not know this about me, but I practice cursing in front of a mirror to make sure I do it right. But that's just me.
-Remember the sabbath to keep it holy-There's our blue laws for you. The worst of these laws is that we too often forget to pick up our tequila before Sunday and can't get it. Oh, I can buy beer Sunday, but our liquor and beer retail is closed. Growing up in Georgia I remember the blue laws only extended to retail sales. I'm sure different counties treat the law differently, but it always seemed odd that I could get as drunk as I wanted in a bar, but I was unable from midnight to midnight Sunday to purchase beer to take home. Also see Tennessee's willingness to change Sunday purchase time for the Titans games.
-Honor your father and mother-I saw a story on the news yesterday about a very young girl whose mother had set up an appointment with a porn photographer (actually an undercover cop) and the mother even brought extra clothes as well as sexual aids. Should this child honor this mother?
-Thou shall not murder-Every society in the world has seen murder as wrong. To some ancient cultures though a human sacrifice to the gods was seen as completely natural. Joshua's army in the Bible not only destroyed the city of Jericho, but they also killed every man, woman, child and the animals. As if that weren't enough, they then burned the entire city to the ground. Our own president could be condemned of murder given what he has led our country into.
-You shall not commit adultery-This doesn't give us a lot to go on, so we tend to assume what it means based on modern expectations of marriage which often have very little to do with ancient marriage, see woman as chattel, see concubines, see King David.
-You shall not steal-another law that various cultures throughout the world have settled on with no outside help.
-You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor-Lying, perjury, again widely accepted as morally wrong with no outside christian influence.
-You shall not covet-here we have the Bible telling us how to think. It's wrong to want things you don't have. We could look at buddhist teachings and find the same sort of attitude, attempted elimination of desire for things. But we could also accept that this one is really impossible to keep for the most part.
It is my opinion that the idea that law is based on the ten commandments is a very new phenomenon. I don't see it as at all likely, but so many of us have heard this for so long we've accepted it as true. Of all the ten commandments, three of them have any bearing on what most of the world accepts as moral or ethical. The other seven could be specific to any religion but could only apply as law in a theocracy.