Monday, August 20, 2012

Don't Teach Your Children Religion

I keep reading crazy results from surveys. Here is the graph of one (actually a composite of many) from Jon D. Miller, et al. in Science Magazine in 2005.

I'm sure you have come across many more. Typically, they are used to show the appalling state of scientific education in this country, but they also are commentaries on the appalling state of religious education in this country.

I don't trust surveys for a number of reasons, but the ubiquity of these results seem to indicate something is amiss. And don't get me started about the science versus religion debate. Why isn't there a science versus technology debate? Or a science versus fine dining debate? Religion definitely learns from science. Hopefully, science, or at least scientists, learn from religion.

Then, I ran across this from the New Oxford American Dictionary, 2nd edition:

I'm not kidding. If you have a Mac, open your Dictionary App and type "religion". (Snow Leopard ver. 10.6.8 so you mileage may vary)

I understand there's little hope in finding "the unending search for meaning", but this is so wrong in so many ways. We complain about the four horsemen of New Atheism being weakly schooled in religion, but I would bet they know more about religion than 90 percent of the public—and more than some of the clerics they debated. How can so many people—not just internet posters, but scientists, professors, clerics and dictionary writers—know so little about religion?

We could spend a lot of time trying to answer this question. I have a simple one. We teach religion to our children.

Religion is about meaning. What is our place in the universe? "What then must we do?" (from Luke, Tolstoy, and "The Year of Living Dangerously")

These are the most profound questions we can ever ask, and we want children to answer them? Religion is much too advanced for children. How can you teach someone about the search for meaning when they don't even know the meaning of meaning?

When we teach children about religion, one of three things can happen when they grow up. They can keep those same ideas, call them faith, and continue to assign importance to these child-like views. (Granted, some of these people can answer the question "What then must we do?" far better than others with sophisticated knowledge of religion. But it is also how we get people thinking a virgin birth is more important than condoms for birth and AIDS control.) Secondly, they can one day re-examine those teachings, realize they are child-like and reject them. Thirdly, they can re-examine them, reject them as child-like, but learn adult versions of those teachings. In two out of three cases they must first unlearn what they learned as a child. Why require unlearning?

I realize that many of you have formally taught children religion. You have first hand experience. What did you teach, or, more importantly, what do you think they learned? What will they have to unlearn? Do you think there is more benefit than harm?

Practically speaking, it's not going to happen—for many reasons. There are always people who need a comfort crutch. No one wants their kid teased in school for not knowing who God is, even though the kids' knowledge will have to be unlearned. Kids (and parents) aren't going to miss out on the psychic and commercial benefits of religious holidays. Religion is intricately tied to culture especially in the family.

Perhaps as a minimum, however, we could treat religion like sex. At least tell the children that it is very mysterious, and we can't really explain much about it until they are older.


Big Myk said...

Not too long ago, someone sent me a New York Times review of a book In the Valley of the Shadow: On the Foundations of Religious Belief by James L. Kugel.

The book is a lot about Kugel, a distinguished scholar of the Hebrew Bible and Harvard professor, facing his diagnosis of cancer and his own mortality. But in the course of the book, the author gets to talking about religion.

He imagines a small band of our primitive ancestors long before there was anything anyone would recognize as religion and recognizes how little control these primitives had over their lives: “This little group was endlessly overshadowed by all that was outside of them, forever on the receiving end of whatever You — immanent in the great Outside all around — happened to be dishing out. To say that their identification of You as an agent was the result of some "hyperactive agent detection device" is little short of ludicrous. What was the great outside doing if not endlessly causing things to happen, as only a doer can do? On the contrary, it would require some sort of extraordinarily twisted spirit to look up and not see You, Your hand gloved in cloud and sky, Your voice mingling with cricket song and crashing waves, doing all the things that impinged on the little band’s existence. You were practically everything, and You completely overwhelmed their own little reality.”

And so, for Kugel believing in God meant aligning yourself with the "You," the force of the universe, of humbly opening yourself up to its grandeur, more than it meant asserting faith in a particular deity.

I'm not sure how we teach kids that religion has nothing to do with beleiving in some deity but is all about aligning yourself with the force of the universe -- that, despite all hardships and sorrow one can decide to love one's circumstances. It's sort of like Bill Cosby's Noah, when he hears the thunder, wind and hard rain:

And you got it rainin'
It's not a shower is it?
Ok Lord, me and you right
'Cause I knew it all the time

James R said...

Precisely! I don't know how either, so can we just stop. Like sex and high energy particle physics, it's best left until we get a little older.

Peter H of Lebo said...

Jim, you are sounding more republican everyday- don't teach sex and science to the easily impressionable lest we lose them to the dark side :)

James R said...

"Just say, 'Later'"

Big Myk said...

I was going to make the same comment, at least about sex. The prevailing view is that by Kindergarten, kids should at least know about the physical differences between men and women. Shortly thereafter, at least by age 10, they should know the technical aspects of sexual reproduction. Learning about technique can come later.

James R said...

What was the "same comment"? Love and the differences between inclusion and exclusion by kindergarten? The idea of God as that which destroys all we might ever want to use as cover or justification for our actions at least by age 10? Understanding the "You" in Universe by high school? And learning technique later. Let's say the Christian specialization would include Schillebeeckx, Barth, Bultmann, for starters?

I think you are correct in saying specific technique must come much later than childhood. That is what is causing all the trouble presently (and for a long time in the past).

Peter H of Lebo said...

Haha, I was just poking fun of 'later', republicans are all for teaching science and sex as long as the maturity level is there. I on the otherhand, believe in the resilience of a child's mind and ability to absorb different ideas. For instances, the benefits of multiple languages at a young age (though slower early development compare with single language child- good long term return), it would be beneficial to teach sex and science to kids, thus sex no longer taboo or understanding the world slightly differently than those that haven't grow-up knowing the world is mostly empty space. Maybe kids can mold their minds toward understanding the world in particle physics better than our already molded minds. We learn chemistry in 8th grade that was only comprehensible to the brilliant minds of 19th century.

So going back to religion, I don't think it matters when you teach it, or how much it is 'dumbed down'. Only that your parents should instil a critical mind of everything early on. To tell you the truth, the strongest fundamentalists I have met were in college or just post college when they met a world that is overwhelming, and regardless of the parents religious penchant, these 'mature' students felt lost, without purpose and end up finding on campus religious groups that are single-minded but filled with purpose. People find comfort in 'order' or viewing the world as black and white. I don't think 'dumbing' down religious or math or science etc. has any long term effect on your view of world since your views are ever changing up to your ~ 30s and refined thereafter. The biggest impact on your views is your loved ones teaching you to have an open and critical mind.

Big Myk said...

The purpose of writing is to make oneself understood. Either that or not to embarrass oneself. Anyway, I guess I fell down in the making-myself-understood department. What I meant to say in my comment above was that sex is in a different category than religion as far as its appropriateness for teaching to children. Teaching sex to children is easy enough; teaching religion is something else altogether. I'm reserving judgment on quantum mechanics. (However, "I think I can safely say that nobody understands quantum mechanics." Richard Feynman).

I think that one must teach his or her children religion, however imperfectly. Otherwise, they will end up learning it on the street --things like religion is a failed science -- and once implanted, these ideas so widely held will not be dislodged. (They'll never be exposed to James Carse: “Far from providing false or unverifiable answers to our questions, the religions provide no answers at all.")

But, Jim, your comment has added one more pithy saying about how to live. We already have:

There is no I in Team.

Keep the crisis in Christmas. (Bob Harvey)

If you meet the Buddha in the lane, feed him the ball.(Phil Jackson)

To these we add: There's no getting around the "you" in Universe.

James R said...

Yeah, I think we were all using sex with levity.

Pete, great points and I agree. I would modify some terminology. I'd use 'pliant' instead of 'resilience' (although they are synonyms in my dictionary). Children will soak up whatever you throw at them, hence the facility with language, without thinking about it. I would say, however, you can't instill critical thinking early on (kindergarten). Here is one cognitive development outline for children ages 4-7: (of course this is not gospel)

"Speech becomes more social, less egocentric. The child has an intuitive grasp of logical concepts in some areas. However, there is still a tendency to focus attention on one aspect of an object while ignoring others. Concepts formed are crude and irreversible. Easy to believe in magical increase, decrease, disappearance. Reality not firm. Perceptions dominate judgment.In moral-ethical realm, the child is not able to show principles underlying best behavior. Rules of a game not develop, only uses simple do’s and don’ts imposed by authority."

As you point out, even in science we really should change what we are teaching them early. In religion, what we teach children now is even worse, I believe, and more harmful.

The other terminology I would further discuss is what is meant by 'dumbed down'. If you taught, for example, about love and the differences between inclusion and exclusion (don't say grace and sin) I would think that is not dumbing down. You would be teaching profound ideas which would grow with experience.

Currently we teach things like the trinity, God as Supreme Being (who knows what kids make of that), sin, the soul, Bible stories, which are really techniques and give completely the wrong impression to children.

I completely agree with you about people who feel lost, especially young adults. I referred to "comfort crutch" in my post, which is not compassionate enough. I tend to agree that perhaps this group will always revert to a simpler world view.

However, there is also a huge group who stop "searching for meaning" because of what they were taught as children. You see this whenever someone compares their religious teaching to Santa Claus or when they were taught you can't believe in science because of some 'religious' doctrine. How many people think religion is a belief system? It often is because of what they were taught as children.

Myk, to make it even more of a corroboration, it might be "Always keep the 'You' in Universe"

James R said...

"Teaching sex to children is easy enough; teaching religion is something else altogether."
and this:
"things like religion is a failed science -- and once implanted, these ideas so widely held will not be dislodged."

Peter H of Lebo said...

I think you are giving religion too much credit ruining kids. Its like saying don't read Tolkien b/c fantasy is going to shape you as an adult. When I was a kid God was just a lamer santa claus. I wanted to be a priest when I was a kid but realize the priest I was talking to made up stuff from bible. And Jesus is super lame, a jewish dude that people idolized a 100 years after the fact. In essence I have no idea what you and myk term 'religion'. It sounds like existentialist bullshit based in pseudo-physics

James R said...

You making the perfect comment for the post, or you're being clever by invoking both Santa AND "religion like failed science" in the same comment.

If your comment is serious, then, …well, I don't know what to say, other than perhaps you've misread much of what has been on this blog for the past few years.

It's not just you, however, we all were taught fairy tales under the guise of religion when we were young. That is my point. And it is ruining us. As I say in the post, most never get beyond the child-like teachings.

And what do you have against existential bullshit?

Seriously, there is too much child-like 'religion' in all of us to correct in a single comment, but I'll give one little example.

I love the concept of 'original sin' (a religious concept)—not bullshit, but something important to help us through life—as Myk currently says, understanding the "You" in Universe. I recently found original sin defined. I found it when I watched the movie "A Separation". That movie is wonderful definition of original sin. Who would ever guess it would come from Iran?

However, I'll never fully expunge my memory of Sister Perpetual Motion showing a white chalk circle as my soul and the eraser as original sin. That is a fantasy I'll have to live with. Thankfully it has been mitigated by "A Separation".

James R said...

I keep thinking about your comment. It is an important one. And your experience with the priest and your childhood recollections are so common. Again it is the point of the post.

You ask what I mean when I say 'religion'. That is a very difficult question. In a sense it would involve the whole history of religion like a definition of science would involve the history of science. But that would be an existential definition. A simple one which we have using a lot is "the unending search for meaning".

You may ask what does that mean? Here is the best I can do at the moment:

Currently, you have many things which give your life meaning. I can't answer for you but would suppose they involve medicine and providing better quality of life for others. As you go through life you will compile more and richer ideas on what is meaningful in your life. Everyone, hopefully, does this, and you can do it all all by yourself. But people have been doing it for centuries. A few were incredible talented at articulating what they found meaningful.

Religion is the collection of different ideas of what makes life meaningful. Choose any you find true, helpful, and, of course, meaningful.

Big Myk said...

I hate to say this, Pete, but you could be on the warning poster for the religious education reform that Jim is advocating: "Here is the result of a poor religious education." My son, Tom, is in the same boat, in a sense. He just says that he doesn’t believe. But my view is that he has very little idea of what he doesn’t believe. I think that Jim’s point is that we should stop teaching “harmless lies” to children, and introduce them to the more profound aspects of religion.

I hate to keep going back to James Carse, but this is what he has to say about the “new atheism”: "It has an inadequate understanding of the nature of religion. These chaps are very distinguished thinkers and scientists, very smart people, but they are not historians or scholars of religion. Therefore, it’s too easy for them to pass off a quick notion of what religion is."

And then he adds, "To be an atheist, you have to be very clear about what god you’re not believing in. Therefore, if you don’t have a deep and well-developed understanding of God and divine reality, you can misfire on atheism very easily."

It doesn’t take a lot of esoteric thinking to see how complex and, in some ways, how mysterious religion is. For one,it is unmatched in length and breadth over any other human organization is history. Hinduism is over 4,000 years old. Judaism is estimated to be about 3,000 years old; Buddhism 2,600; Christianity 2,000. Islam has been with us for 14 centuries. No institution, empire, country, ideology or even culture has lasted this long. (The closest I can come is that British parliament has lasted about a millennium.) Nor has any other human phenomenon grasped the imagination of so many people. Christianity has some 2 billion followers; Islam one and a half billion followers; Hinduism has close to a billion; Buddhism some 400 million; Sikhism 23 million and Judaism 14 million.

So, given this length and breadth, it should not surprise anyone that religion itself or any single religion is not monolithic. Frankly, one never knows quite what one might find. A mosque recently opened just down the street from us by the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community. This particular sect of Islam rejects all violence including any use in self-defense. The motto of the Ahmadiyya Community is “Love for All, Hatred for None.”

Or, let’s take Jesus. Over the centuries a mountain of material has been written about him, much of which cannot be reconciled. Read what Irenaeus, Augustine, Anselm, Thomas Aquinas, Luther, Calvin, Kant, Hegel, Kierkegaard (just a drop in the total sea of literature) have to say about Jesus and you will wonder if they are all talking about the same person. The endless attempts to explain Jesus suggest that people still believe that we haven’t quite got him right yet. The most desperate attempt at trying to “get Jesus right” was Karl Barth. His 12 volumes of Church Dogmatics totaled almost 8000 pages and, with his other writings, it comes out to over 10,000 pages on Jesus, 500 times the length of the Gospel of Mark.

Carse claims that this inability to reach agreement about what religions believe is what keeps them alive and irreplaceable: “If we could agree on what Oedipus Rex is about we could focus on the agreement and ignore the play. But the play defies replacement by anything besides itself.” The same is true of religion.

So, I’m not altogether sure what religion is, but it’s certainly more than a formula of beliefs. So, having no universally accepted beliefs, a religion can't be rejected based on its beliefs. There have been some stabs at defining religion. Alfred North Whitehead said that religion is what “we do with our solitariness.” Kierkegaard called it “an act of passionate inwardness.” Jim defines it as "the unending search for meaning." I’m not so sure that we can reduce religion to a simple definition. My plea is simply for people to know something of the vastness, the complexity, the mysteriousness and contradictions of religion before they reject it.

Ted said...

So many possible paths to choose here to comment on! I'll only pursue a few.

In Myk's latest comments he notes the results of poor religious education at the beginning of the post and ends with a plea for "people to know something of the vastness, the complexity, the mysteriousness and contradictions of religion before they reject it." I am trying to reconcile these two points and I am having trouble. If religion is so vast and frankly undefinable (besides the possibility that it might be the unending search for meaning - although I would argue that this is a simplistic definition and we should also take into account the importance of faith and tradition, in many circumstances a far more accurate definition of practiced religion, and we haven't even brought up moral teaching yet), then learning even a fraction of what religion is seems like as good as most people are going to get - which seems to meet Myk's plea for a basic understanding of religion. So if people reject religion (or belief in god, because isn't that what atheism is?) based on their limited knowledge of religion, I don't understand the issue. Of course, I am assuming rejection of religion (in the atheist "I do not believe in god" view) does not in turn lead to rejection of the search for meaning, or the rejection of tradition or faith (in something). That is an entirely different argument.

The overarching question of teaching children religion is a good one, particularly now that I will sooner than later be faced with that "decision." Every so often I suddenly feel the draw to start bringing Jackson to church (we currently do not attend services, although we did try the the Congregational Church and the Unitarian Universalist church - on a side note, for those in the religion-as-the-search-for-meaning camp, the Universalists are the way to go) I'll admit, more than once the draw of the Catholic Church has been ominous. In this case it is the tradition, not the search for meaning or the moral teachings (as I disagree with a number of their moral teachings). But I very quickly remember the teachings from my youth, religious, moral, scientific and otherwise, and I cannot bring myself to take my son to a Catholic service. Tradition is a powerful force (and important) and as Myk notes the traditions of religion have persisted for thousands of years. But I can't bring myself to teach Jack that the Catholic Church has the monopoly on how to find meaning in the world and that is one of their tenants. I disagree with enough of their teachings and beliefs that I find only tradition keeps me contemplating a return. In this case, tradition is not enough.

I was thinking about this question of teaching kids religion recently as the summer comes to a close and the fall and holiday seasons descend. One issue I am continually trying to reconcile is the idea of Christmas and why we should keep that tradition but not, say, weekly attendance at church. In the past I have found it difficult to reconcile the two. Then I started thinking about how we celebrate Christmas and I realized our celebration, while based on the tradition of celebrating Christ's birth, really is more strongly tied to the traditions set out much later by Charles Dickens (and Jean Shepherd of course). This is the Christmas of MY tradition, and while we celebrate the birth of Christ, the celebration (in my view and tradition) has little to do with the birth of of the son of god but everything to do with the much more universal ideas of love and charity, kindness and hope. Of course I realize that these are the same ideas people who believe that Christ is the son of God have, but I have found that I am able to separate the two and in essence have no need for the Christ as divine piece.
So, never fear, Christmas will go on in the Massachusetts Harvey household, with much feasting, merrymaking and always with an eye towards adding a little kindness to the world.

James R said...

This is why I mourn the loss of more people commenting. I'll have to read it over a few more times.

Big Myk said...

Ted, I am a bit puzzled as to your question about the point of my comment. Again, it may be because I don't express myself clearly enough. All I was trying to say is don't create a straw man, call it religion and then tear it a part. And if one considers religion as a failed science or the passionate unwillingness to consider new evidence or new arguments, as Sam Harris once described it, he has created a straw man.

How does this criticism, for example, apply to Buddhism? According to Wikipedia, hardly a particlularly profound source, "Gautama Buddha explicitly denies that the universe had a start by the act of a creator deity, refuses to endorse any views on creation and states that questions on the origin of the world are worthless." It goes on to say that in Buddhism, "No dependence of phenomena on a supernatural reality is asserted in order to explain the behaviour of matter."

Recently, I read an article by a fundamentalist about a debate between Karen Armstrong and Richard Dawkins in the Wall Street Journal. Dawkins argued that science has made God redundant, and Armstrong rejoined that the notion of God never had anything to do with providing scientific explanations to begin with. She said that religion is more of an art that a science, and argued for a God beyond all gods (or I might say, a God beyond human grasp). Dawkins called Armstrong just another atheist, who was unwilling to accept the fact, and this fundamentalist agreed: "Dawkins knows a fellow atheist when he sees one. Careful readers of The Wall Street Journal will come to the same conclusion."

The problem is, if Armstrong is an atheist, so is Mr. Catholica himself, Thomas Aquinas. Aquinas says, “We cannot grasp what God is, but only what he is not.” This, to me sounds a lot like the God beyond all gods, and not some really powerful human.

Of course, Nicholas of Cusa, 15th century Cardinal, bishop, theologian, mathmatician and scientist, goes one beyond Aquinas. He says that was can't know the final truth about anything. "For a man -- even one very well versed in learning -- will attain no greater perfection than to be thoroughly aware of his own ignorance. The more he knows that he is unknowing, the more learned he will be."

"The real nature of what exists, which constitutes its truth, is therefore never entirely attainable. It has been sought by all the philosophers, but never really found. The further we penetrate into this ignorance, the closer we come to the truth itself. …"

Atheists like to criticize their own charaterizations of religion. Its easy to tear down something of your own invention.

Ted said...

Ah, Myk, I understand your point. My confusion is cleared up. However, to your ending point, I don't think you can necessarily say atheists (or any other critics of religion) like to simply criticize their own characterization of religion. Certainly some of their critiques are based on their characterization of religion, but in the same vein, people who are cheerleaders for religion (cheerleaders is not the right word - I don't mean to sound dismissive, I just can't think of another word right now) base their beliefs on their characterization of religion. Beyond that, criticism targets the many negative manifestations of religion (for example so-called holy wars, suppression of women, adherence to one creed, etc.) I understand these are not tenets of your beliefs or many other people's beliefs, yet very well-learned people, who actually might know a lot more about religious doctrine than we give them credit for, maintain that such things are permissible if not mandatory. With all that being said, religion is not a divine thing, it is fully a human "invention." I think when we accept that, it is easier to understand the benefits of teaching your children (returning to the main point of this blog post) religion. It's like teaching your kids about political ideas or philosophy or science. Religion, whether we like all of its ins and outs or not, is part of the human repertoire.

James R said...

Well said!

However, I still say a, if not the, principle reason why so many think religion is divine dogma, or is lame fantasy of made up stuff or is what Dawkins, a biologist, says it is and not Armstrong, a religion scholar, is because of what we are taught as children.

Can someone convince me that children can be taught about religion and not, later when grown up, think it fantasy? I haven't heard anything yet. Ted mentioned ethics with sounds good, and I just read a piece by Karen Armstrong explaining how every major religion has the Golden Rule. That seems acceptable. But every catechism being taught now-a-days and for hundreds of years seems to promote the fantasy: the divine, not the human repertoire.

I wish elder Pete would chime in (I alerted him of the post), because he taught religion this past year. I suspect he did an imaginative job, but I'm not sure whether it helped the children or not.

Big Myk said...

This doesn't quite answer Jim's question ("What's the use of all your damn books? If they don't tell you that, what the hell do they tell you?"), but I have two good friends who are Protestant ministers (one of them married Tom and Cookie), and I've discussed with them how does a single-story-universe cleric preach to a two-story-universe congregation. My one friend once told me that all his sermons are some version of God loves you. (or, put another way, it's good that you are here). The other friend says he stays away from theology altogether and focuses on the moral issues -- love of neighbor, justice for the poor, the empty promise of material things, not passing judgment on others, for some examples -- which he claims is the important part of Christianity anyway.

So, perhaps Ted is right. Christian moral teaching may be the place to begin. In this light, I think that children -- at least the older ones -- should be able to handle St. Basil the Great's famous sermon on greed (given in 369):

Who, then, is greedy? The one who does not remain content with self sufficiency. Who is the one who deprives others? The one who hoards what belongs to everyone. Are you not greedy? Are you not one who deprives others? You have received these things for stewardship, and have turned them into your own property! Is not the one who tears off what another is wearing called a robber? But the one who does not clothe the naked when he was able to do so – what other name does he deserve? The bread that you hold on to belongs to the hungry; the cloak you keep locked in your storeroom belongs to the naked; the shoe that is moldering in your possession belongs to the person with no shoes; the silver that you have buried belongs to the person in need. You do an injury to as many people as you might have helped with all these things!

James R said...

[I received this from Peter and post it with his consent]
You had talked about teaching religion to kids. I'm not sure the best approach, but here's what I'm pretty sure you don't want your final product to be. This in an excerpt from Parade Magazine talking about Mike Singletary (line backer) and his Christian faith.

Having spent years sending players back to the huddle babbling incoherently [from hard hits], Singletary found himself at a crossroads: Could he be the Christian he aspired to be and still play the game he loved? “I was thinking, Lord, I love You so much, and I’m out here hurting people, and I don’t want to do that. Am I wrong in what I’m ­doing? Is this sending the wrong message? I was really wrestling over whether I wanted to continue playing the game.”

In the end, he decided it was his responsibility to God to play as hard as he could and make the best of the talents the Lord had given him. “What it came down to,” he says, “is that this is my gift. I didn’t want to hurt anybody. I was playing the game as hard as I could to honor the Lord. I always said, Lord, every play I’m going to give You everything I have. From the bottom of my feet all the way to the top of my head, every tackle, every block. If the ball was thrown a hundred yards away, I was going to run as hard as I could run to get there. I thought about one thing, and that’s giving God what ­Jesus Christ gave for me on the cross—everything. That’s how I was going to play. And I was at peace with that.”

I would suggest this guy check out the second commandment.

Big Myk said...

But which second commandment should he check out?

The Jewish second commandment? Thou shalt have no other gods before Me. Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me; And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments.

The Latin Catholic and Lutheran second commandment? Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain; for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain.

Or the Greek Catholic, Orthodox, non-Lutheran Protestant second commandment? Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me; And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments.

James R said...

I think I can answer for Peter here:
Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth.

Although not being guiltless for taking God's name in vain (i.e. a conceited, narcissistic view of "honoring God") works just as well.