CHRISTMAS IS near and I thought it would be an interesting task to investigate how the Ten Commandments relate to health issues. Our world appears to be so complex these days that it often seems difficult to see a path to improvement.
In this respect, as with health, the Ten Commandments (listed in Exodus 20) are a good point of reference for a simple and straight forward solution. Here are those that can be related to health:
‘You shall have no other gods before me’.
This is a very healthy rule in many respects. It could be interpreted as, focus on the essential, don’t get distracted. Do not let alcohol, drugs or today’s consumer society dominate you. Aim for a pure life with the highest ethical or religious standards.
‘Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. Six days you shall labour and do all your work. But the seventh day is a Sabbath day to the Lord your God’.
This is a very healthy instruction for us. We should find a good balance between work and leisure. We should keep one day totally free of the duties and distractions of everyday life, putting it aside for spiritual tasks and as a time to reflect. This is a very good method to escape the demands of our modern lives, giving us the opportunity of finding true peace in spiritual activities, rather than being consumed and distracted by everything else in our lives.
‘Honour your father and mother, so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you’.
It is known and proven that strong family bonds are better than Vitamin C, and the traditional family in general is a natural way for humans to exist. People with stable and positive family structures are on average much healthier and live longer. They definitely suffer less from depression and addictive behaviour, they also escape the plague of loneliness in their more mature years. Respect for our parents also prevents destructive, self-destructive and unhealthy behaviour.
‘You shall not murder’.
This is self explanatory and good advice, definitely promoting health.
‘You shall not commit adultery’.
If everybody would obey this command, a lot of damage and unhealthy behaviour would be prevented. Depression and self-destructive behaviour of those concerned, violence towards the guilty partner and the creation of disturbed children from broken homes could be avoided. Sexually transmitted disease would become almost unheard of and the 35 Portuguese women who were killed last year by their partners, mainly due to the fact that they had other relationships, would still be alive.
‘You shall not give false testimony against your neighbour’.
This is a clear attempt to stop the spreading of malicious rumours. Gossip is one of the great plagues in our modern world and it causes a lot of sadness, anxiety and confusion for the victims. Unhealthy!
‘You shall not covet your neighbour’s house. You shall not covet your neighbour’s wife …’
This is a very important rule – an attempt to encourage people to stop the never-ending cycle of wanting, wanting more and ever more. It is an initiative to encourage humans to be content with what they have got and to appreciate their life as the gift that it is.
So dear reader, as you can see, there is a lot of good medical advice in the Ten Commandments.
The Bible and other religious books contain a lot more interesting information with regards to health. As an example, take the custom of circumcising all men of certain religions. This also has a very simple practical background. A circumcised penis is much easier to keep clean and free from infections.
We now have statistical data that shows the rate of cervical cancer is lower among Jewish communities compared to the average European population.
Cancer of the cervix, by the way, is unheard of among nuns, and so it is clearly related to sexual activity. The rate of cancer is almost directly proportional to the level of promiscuity and early onset of sexual activity in women.
The Ten Commandments are thousands of years old. Despite that, they still provide very good advice, particularly in our brave modern world.
I would like to wish all the readers of The Resident a peaceful, happy and truly spiritual Christmas.
Dr Thomas Kaiser
• Dr Thomas Kaiser, General Practitioner, partner of Dr Robin Thomson in the Family Medical Centre in Quinta do Lago. Dr Kaiser has again taken on the position of the medical director of the Vale do Lobo Medical Centre, where he can be contacted on 289 398 096.