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Featured If thou shalt not covet, isn't 'thou shalt not steal' a redundant commandment

Discussion in 'General Religious Debates' started by ideogenous_mover, Nov 30, 2019 at 11:43 PM.

  1. ideogenous_mover

    ideogenous_mover Well-Known Member

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    Inspired from a Christopher Hitchens thing I had on a little while ago, though he didn't ask this question. But basically as he put it, coveting is something you do in your mind, and he interpreted it as a commandment about mind control. The physical act of stealing, it occurs to me, can really only follow the 'act' of coveting, though it be a mental one. Therefore, declaring that one cannot steal is logically redundant since you cannot covet. It might as well also have had a command that you cannot think about lying

    Coveting also is probably something that the human subconscious brings to the table, therefore it's probably impossible for our meager primate minds to avoid occasionally doing it, like as in the Jungian dream world where the ego's 'shadow' is, for example. Also, how do you not covet success at least a little bit in a western capitalist society? Divine mental laws are surely impossible to follow
     
    #1 ideogenous_mover, Nov 30, 2019 at 11:43 PM
    Last edited: Dec 1, 2019 at 1:58 AM
  2. Harel13

    Harel13 Active Member

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    Not all people steal because they covet something. Some people steal because they need money to support themselves or their families. Some are just kleptomaniacs - not really caring what they steal, they just do it. And so forth.
     
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  3. ideogenous_mover

    ideogenous_mover Well-Known Member

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    Ok, but surely there's a claim there that at some point, the depth of their desire precludes their ability to covet before they act
     
  4. ideogenous_mover

    ideogenous_mover Well-Known Member

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    So if it came from the subconscious, is it a sin. Do the acts of a kleptomaniac come from there? Coveting probably often comes from the subconscious, or at least that's how I might interpret things said by Jung or Freud...
     
  5. Harel13

    Harel13 Active Member

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    The sin would be to say "oh it's okay I'm having these thoughts, as long as I don't act on them" and not working on removing those thoughts.
     
  6. Harel13

    Harel13 Active Member

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    And maybe not. If a person has internalized well enough that stealing is bad, then they probably wouldn't even consider it, not even on a subconscious level.
     
  7. ideogenous_mover

    ideogenous_mover Well-Known Member

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    I see. Well that's a pretty tall order.. must be the hardest commandment, as it makes contemplation a sin. Most of the other commands seem to imply that you merely not act on what you think. (besides maybe in the kleptomaniac case & related) In any case, I think the 10th command complicates things quite a bit
     
  8. Harel13

    Harel13 Active Member

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    Yes. But there are other thought/emotion-based commandments, such as "And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might" (Deut. 6:5). How do you force love for something? Etc.
     
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  9. ideogenous_mover

    ideogenous_mover Well-Known Member

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    Thinking about that for a moment, I find it hard to believe that the act of stealing can be separated from every possible atom of desire that might contaminate it.. Also, If they stole for the sake of survival, survival itself represents desire. Where desire and covetousness meet is obscure. A need or desire, is surely almost always based on something externally observed to be in use in the world, and can often be represented easily enough by things in the possession of another, i.e. a better general state or physical material that one witnesses in human use
     
    #9 ideogenous_mover, Dec 1, 2019 at 12:37 AM
    Last edited: Dec 1, 2019 at 2:03 AM
  10. Tumah

    Tumah Veteran Member

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    According to Jewish Law, the prohibition not to covet is about where you want something someone else has, and you can't get it in through normal means, so you make plans to get it through abnormal means. So for example, planning to have that person's friends try to convince him to sell, or even offering an amount way above the market value. But the actual prohibition isn't transgressed unless you successfully retrieve the object. It can also be accomplished through stealing, but then you'll have transgressed stealing instead.
     
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  11. Jedster

    Jedster Well-Known Member

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    @Tumah @Harel13
    Do you consider that Christians have coveted the Torah(in their OT)? (I certainly did when I was religious).
     
  12. ideogenous_mover

    ideogenous_mover Well-Known Member

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    Huh. That's kinda different, so maybe it should read 'thou shalt not seek to gain what you covet,' / seek to gain things through the influence of desire when desire exceeds a certain threshold
     
  13. Tumah

    Tumah Veteran Member

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    Well, it's not an inherent meaning in the word. In Deut. 7:25, the prohibition is to not desire the idols of the Canaanites and take them. The Talmud/Midrash learns from there that "desiring" needs to have a "taking" in order to be transgressed (presumably because otherwise one would have already transgressed the prohibition of "desiring" before one had taken the idol, making the "taking" superfluous).

    On a slightly related note, the prohibition against stealing in the Ten Commandments, is actually understood to be about kidnapping and not stealing (which is a prohibition in Lev. 19:11).
     
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  14. ideogenous_mover

    ideogenous_mover Well-Known Member

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    wow that could have been something I never learned.
     
  15. Hockeycowboy

    Hockeycowboy Well-Known Member
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    Of those two in the list of 10, “Thou shalt not steal” came first. Then, came “Thou shalt not covet.”

    It’s like what someone might say today, “Don’t do it, don’t even think about it!”
     
  16. Tumah

    Tumah Veteran Member

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    We do that sometimes.
     
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  17. Harel13

    Harel13 Active Member

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    How so? They've rejected almost all of it. And our definition of Torah includes the Oral Tradition, which they've rejected entirely, including Oral Tradional understandings of the Written Torah.
     
  18. Rival

    Rival Noahide
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    Not necessarily, not for everything. They use it in places where they don't even know they do; mostly for translations and dates. They rely on it way more than many people think. There are Messianic Churches that have 'Rabbis' that wear a tallitot and celebrate Chanukkah, all while purporting to reject anything not Written Torah.
     
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  19. ChristineM

    ChristineM "Be strong" I whispered to my coffee.
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    ^^^ yeah, i would have said that

    I should add, whats wrong with longing?
     
  20. Harel13

    Harel13 Active Member

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    Fair point, I hadn't thought of that.
     
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