ou shall have no other gods before me” (Ex. 20:3) is the first, and arguably most important, of the “ten words” Moses brought down from Mount Sinai on two stone tablets. The cultures that surrounded the ancient Israelites were notoriously diverse and superstitious. The deities they worshipped were by degrees violent, capricious, and petty. The very idea that one all-powerful Deity created the heavens and the earth and governed it with love, faithfulness, mercy, and compassion was surely a novel concept for that time and place (see Ex. 34:6, 7).
Now, some millennia removed from that mandate, people of practically every culture are creating and worshipping gods of their own making.
Take, for example, the religious extremists who strap explosives to their bodies or pack ... »