The big ten

In my Internet reading travels I came across a promotional site for a new movie just out on October 19 called The Ten Commandments. (Disclaimer: I did not include the link in this post to endorse the movie – I have not seen it or read any reviews on it, so I cannot do either.) My interest was piqued by these statistics from the site about general Biblical literacy – basically more people remember the complete ingredients of a Big Mac than the Ten Commandments. This is outrageous!! Give the Ten Commandments challenge to your kids and see how they do.

I think that the memorable acronym “I am the Lord” (each letter in the phrase standing for a commandment) shown on the site via the downloadable PDF bookmarks may also be a great way for kids to remember the Ten Commandments.


Filed under Bible memory, classroom, student outcomes

20 responses to “The big ten

  1. samantha weisfuss

    I intend to teach in a public school, so I do not see how this is applicable to me. I know the ten commandments, and I don’t know the contents of a big mac, as my boyfriend pointed out to me just last night (strange coincidence). It is a cute activity, but I would have no reason or venue in which to use it. Concidering that McDonalds is a multinational, boundry crossing establishment and the ten commandments are a strickly christian concept, It does not at all suprise me that more people know the content of big mac than do the ten commandments.
    Although this may not be terribly important to the topic, I do not see the neccesity to know the ten commandments. The concept of the letter of the law killing but the spirit giving life is applicable. The content of your character, and the way that you act are more important that what you know, or how many bible verses you can parrot. Your good standing as a citizen and willingness to seek social justice are more important than your ability to quote the declaration of independence

  2. Megan Casasanto

    I myselfelf had some difficulty reciting the Commandments and i have attended a catholic school my whole life. I find it disturbing to think that people know more about a big mac than how to live in the image of God. Today people are so caught up in what is not important in life that they forget about what really is. I also think much of society would rather go see a movie with violence and murder than one of th Ten Commandments. This is sad bit very true, this is what are society has become.

  3. Chad Fakkema

    I think that it is important for these movies to come out in theaters. If more people know the ingredients to the big mac than the ten commandments, then i believe that we should be pressing it in people’s heads what they are and why we should follow them.

  4. Katie Vander Ark

    While it is unfortunate that a majority of the United States can reproduce the ingredients of a Big Mac before they recall the Ten Commandments, I cannot say that I am surprised. Many people in America are not Christians and so they most likely would not have memorized or read the Commandments; how could they be expected to know them when most Christians cannot remember all of them. I really like the acronym that was given to help people remember all of the Commandments and I may even have to use it for myself as well as my future students.

  5. Lauren Zylstra

    I found these statistics to be sad, but not shocking. I think that the statistics would be more accurate if only Christians were questioned. Obviously, children who don’t have a religious background are going to have no knowledge of what the Ten Commandments are. However, I still feel that there are many Christian out there who have no knowledge of the Ten Commandments either. Our society has become focused on earthly things and doing whatever is best for the individual.

  6. Danielle Nelson

    I would like to respond to Samantha Weisfuss. I don’t agree that people have no reason to not know the Ten Commandments. Our entire governmental system is based off of the Ten Commandments and the Christian faith. We have laws against killing “thou shall not kill”, we have laws against stealing “thou shall not steal”, and though we lie everyday it is highly discouraged especially when dealing with law enforcement. I also believe that in order to be a good citizen and having good character many of the additional parts of the Ten Commandments; honoring parents, not committing adultery, and not coveting. I do however agree with you when you stated that “The content of your character, and the way that you act are more important that what you know, or how many bible verses you can parrot.”

  7. Megan Van Groningen

    An insight by a former teacher left a huge impression on me concerning this topic. He explained that the Ten Commandments were like safety rules. When your mom tells you not to touch the hot stove it is because she doesn’t want you to get hurt. The same applies with the Ten Commandments. Some are a little more difficult to see than others, but one example would be to see that adultery leads to broken relationships and hurt feelings. You can find a self-inflicting consequence in breaking each of these commandments. I hope that this movie will present the commandments as more than just a list of rules and present God as more than just a scary bossy judge. If people would see that the Ten Commandments are helpful spiritually like the Big Mac is helpful physically, then they wouldn’t be so opposed to them.
    I do agree with Samantha’s comment that it is not surprising that the Big Mac ingredients are more known than the Ten Commandments. McDonalds are available to everyone and the Bible is associated specifically with Christians. I do wish that this fact would change though. Also, a lot of people have been pushing to get rid of the Ten Commandments in public places like schools, but not too many people are fighting to get rid of a Big Mac. The Ten Commandments are being restricted and cut back while more and more McDonalds are popping up all over the world. The fact that the Big Mac is better known is not surprising at all.

  8. Christina Velderman

    I think that all students should learn about the ten commandments. I feel that if the students know th ingredients to a big mac better than the ten commandments then there should be something changed in the Christian schools. I grew up in a Christian school and I can honestly say that I don’t know teh ten commandments by heart. I remember learning about them but I really can not say them all. I feel that we need to teach it better and that the students should know the ten commandments like they know how to spell there own name.

  9. Mandi Horinga

    I am not at all surprised that many Americans have difficulty reciting the Ten Commandments. They are a religious concept, and since, in this country we have freedom of religion, nobody is required to learn the laws of a religion that they are not a part of. I also think that it is a little bit bias to judge Americans on their ability to spit out ten laws that they may or may not have grown up learning. Since being a Christian is about character, I would think that it would be most assuring to gather evidence on people’s morals. Most people, if asked, would affirm that killing is wrong, adultery is wrong and that it is respectful to honor your parents. But people still sin, and shoving The Ten Commandments down the throats of both believers and non-believers is not going to make a difference.

  10. Vinnie Adams

    I would hope, for a Christian, that the ingredients for a good life are more important than the ingredients for a good burger. Something I have learned over the years, though, is the importance of what Jesus was saying when He said the He was the fulfillment of the law. The ten commandments were certainly the rules for His people and should still be applied today, but it wasn’t the “thou shall’s” and “thou shall not’s” that Jesus preached about. He simplified it for us by saying, “Love God (first), and love your neighbor as yourself.” Rather than going through every list and every commandment, I find this “golden rule” extrememly helpful to living a Christian life every day. Before I make a decision, I (try to) think first, “Am I showing my love to God by doing this?” and then “Am I showing love to my neighbor?” It’s not always easy, and I am certainly not ruling out the Ten Commandments. They work hand in hand in living a holy life for the sake of the kingdom. So, yes, let us please keep the ten commandments known and applied because they help lay out guidelines of how to love God and love neighbor.

  11. Renae Vander Molen

    The 10 commandments is a topic the public school wants to stay away from. Samantha Weisfuss wrote, “the ten commandments are a strickly [sic] christian concept.” I beg to differ.

    The 10 commandments are split into two different sections. The first four commandments are those that help people worship God and keep his name holy (i.e. Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy). It is to help people keep their focus on God instead of themselves. These commandments (except for the concept of narcissism) are for God fearing people.

    The last six commandments are those that help keep order in society (i.e. you shall not steal). As far as I know, even people who aren’t Christians believe that murdering, stealing, adultery, lying, and greed are wrong. In fact, as citizens of the United States, if we commit some these crimes, we could end up in jail for a long time. I think most people will agree that these last six commandments are for society’s benefit. Somewhere, people know in their hearts, that stealing and murdering is wrong. These moral values are behaviors that are placed in every human being. So, I’m arguing that the ten commandments is not “strictly a Christian concept,” but something that every person knows from the time of birth. (To verify, I also believe that as a person grows up, their concept of “moral values” can change and become distorted).

    I think that the 10 commandments are a useful tool, even in public schools, to have students grow up into good, law abiding citizens. Even if the commandments aren’t being used for God’s full glory like they should be, I don’t think that anyone can disagree that the last six commandments are terrible rules that should never be followed. Actually, public schools do have some rules to “replace” the 10 commandments. It’s called “Character Counts.” In the research that I have done, I found that most of the “pillars” in this program are modeled after the 10 commandments. But since the program is called something different, it is apparently OK.

    These movies can benefit teachers all over the country. And whether teachers use them in a Christian school for God’s full glory, or use them in a public school to instill good citizenship, I think, overall, the 10 commandments should be used and learned.

  12. Leanne Koetje

    I believe that the Ten commandments should be taught in the Christian school system. if they are not taught there they should be taught in churches during sunday school class. Even though some people might not use the literal translation they are still important to know and to have the students in the classroom know them. I find that we are gettting away from studing the Bible more and more everyday and, and studying more about how to be a good person. This needs to change, we need to go back to the Bible and to study that rather then how to be a good person.

  13. Samantha Weisfuss

    Danielle, I said the letter of the law kills but the spirit gives life. I have no problem with the ten commandments. I think that the concept (spirit) is perfectly good. I don’t think that memorization of them is more important than knowing them. That was my point, not that the ten commandments were wrong. If you understand and synthesis the knowledge of the bible without being able to quote it you are ten times better off than those that can repeat it, but don’t know it at their heart.

  14. Caitlin McCarthy

    I think that a handful of the ten commandments should be taught in public schools as well as private schools. Things such as “do not kill”, “do not lie”, and “do not commit adultery” are all good and moral things that would help make our society a much nicer place. There are only a few commandments that deal strictly with the Christian faith. I know that it is essentially impossible to implement these things in a public school, but if more people were aware of the ten commandments rather than the contents of a Big Mac or the characters on the Brady Bunch, our would would be a much better place.

  15. Tamra Cook

    God sent Moses to his people with this tablet of ten rules that we call the Ten Commandments. He sent these rules to his people to restore order to their lifestyles. These rules were a message to God’s chosen people to shape up and live a peaceful life.

    As previously mentioned the commandments are broken into two groups. The first four all Christians should strive to remember. The last six all people should strive to remember, because they are simple rules all citizens should follow in life. If public schools don’t want to teach the Ten Commandments, not that I condone that, fine! But they should be teaching the last six rules. Maybe, there wouldn’t be so much chaos in our world if people would remember these rules.

    I am not trying to sound “better than thou”, but I remember all ten commandments and I know my 20 month old daughter could name at least two for you already. If you ask her what the ten commandments say she says, “NO LIE” and “LOVE MOMMY AND DADDY”! It’s a start and I plan for her to memorize all ten. I am sad to say that if it wasn’t for me going to Reformed Bible College (Kuyper College) I probably wouldn’t remember all ten or realize the massive importance of all ten.

    Furthermore, the reason why people remember the ingredients of the Big Mac is because of the cool jingle! Maybe a jingle should be made for the Ten Commandments and the six rules to live by for non-Christians. I bet a better percentage of people would remember the commandments then!

  16. Taryne

    This topic did not come to me as a surprise, how most Americans can tell you the ingredients to a big Mac over the Ten Commandments. However, that just means that more people need to be exposed to it. Just like the movie Passion of the Christ, changed a lot of things in American’s point of views too. It gave them a visual of what it was really like. Christian or non-Christian, the perspective was something different than just what we were told or read from the Bible, you could actually feel the pain, and see how things were. I feel like it is something that needs to be more expressed or talked about.

  17. Bethany Hamstra

    I fully expect American’s to know more about the big mac than about the 10 Commandments. Our society has been so flooded with pictures, slogans, and all types of advertisement for McDonalds, but how often do they hear about something biblical such as the 10 Commandments? Although, our government has tried to base our basic laws around that of the laws given to us by the Lord.

  18. David Kreis

    I am a little surprised by the tone of the original post. The way I look at it is the people who want to live thier lives in the path of god are the ones that know, understand, and live by these commandments. Their are a great diversity of people and their beliefs. I understand the point the auther is trying to make. But I feel he has used a public concept of a BIG MAC with a very private matter of religion. As for the arguement of our government being based off of these ten commandments; I would argue that a vast majority of people know “right” from “wrong” but they don’t know the ten commandments, yet they still live by them.

  19. jg16475

    I know that when I was a kid growing up since I went to public school up to eigth grade the only bible memorizing I got was from church, but when I went to a christian high school things change and I started picking up on memorizing things from the bible easier becuase it was incorporated into my daily routine. I do think that memorizing things from the bible like the ten commandments can be a hard task for any child but, an important thing to know.

  20. Audrey

    Being a public school student the majority of my life, I did not before coming to my Christian College, know all the ten commandments. With my background it is not surprising to me that the small population of people interviewed were not able to say a majority of them. Although now I see the importance of the commandments becuase of where I am at school, without coming to a Christian College, I may have never seen that relevance. Now having been exposed to a more Christian lifestyle, I would use the commandments not only in a Christian setting, but also in a public setting. Planning to teach myself, the commandments can be introduced as simply good life lessons to follow and not as only christian guidelines.

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