REVIEW: The Ten Commandments: Still the Best Moral Code

I’m reading this 2015 book by Dennis Prager.

On page XIII, he writes: “If people lived by these Commandments, little else would be needed to make a world in which armies spent their time playing football; police would rarely be needed; the doors to our homes could be left unlocked; and women would walk anywhere at any time of day or night without fear of being sexually assaulted.”

I can foresee no time when a country won’t need an army, but all the rest of the characteristics of this utopia have been normal in homogeneous white and asian communities. In Tannum Sands, Australia, where I lived for a couple of years, people routinely left their homes unlocked when they went away on vacation.

On the other hand, I can’t think of any society that observed the Ten Commandments coming close to the achievements of Japan in creating safe society and yet few Japanese pay any attention to the Ten Commandments nor do they believe in monotheism.

Prager writes: “We live in a world filled with evil and moral confusion. There is only one way out: affirmation of a God Whose primary demand of us is that we treat our fellow human beings decently. Faith in any god who makes any other primary demand will ultimately fail to solve the problem of evil.”

I’m eager to find that Jewish or Christian country that comes close to Japan’s record of civility and law-abidingness.

How do the Japanese do it without monotheism, Bible, and Jews? If the Japanese excel all monotheist societies in goodness, then what does that say about the moral necessity of monotheism?

On page XVIII, Prager writes:

Imagine for a moment a world in which there was no murder or theft. In such a world, there would be no need for armies, or police, or weapons. Men and women and children could walk anywhere, at any time or day or night, without any fear of being killed or robbed. Imagine further a world in which no one coveted what belonged to their neighbor; a world in which children honored their mother and father and the family unit thrived; a world in which people obeyed the injunction not to lie.

Japan seems closer to this ideal than any other country. Also, as a group and wherever they are in the world, people of East Asian genes come closer to these ideals than do whites who in turn come closer to these ideals than do blacks (aka Rushton’s Rule of Threes). It seems to me that race is much more important here than religious teachings. If I wanted to find a community that by and large followed the ideals of Prager’s paragraph above, I would be better served by looking at racial composition than any other variable.

Eighty three percent of African-Americans are Christians (and 79% of American blacks say religion is very important) and yet they have the highest crime rate of any racial or religious group.

A third of Japanese-Americans don’t affiliate with any religion and another 25% are Buddhist (38% identify as Christian) and yet Japanese-Americans have a tiny crime rate. How do they do it?

About Luke Ford

I've written five books (see My work has been covered in the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and on 60 Minutes. I teach Alexander Technique in Beverly Hills (
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