News from the Tennessee Valley Religion

Moses lifts his staff to God in a scene from the new animated movie 'The Ten Commandments.'
Courtesy photo
Moses lifts his staff to God in a scene from the new animated movie "The Ten Commandments."

Can you name all 10?
More know Big Mac ingredients than Ten Commandments, finds survey linked to new animated movie

By Melanie B. Smith · 340-2468

Can you name the ingredients of a Big Mac?

Stop before you read further and see how you do. (Hint: There are seven ...)

Did you remember two all beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onion and sesame seed bun?

Twenty-five percent of Americans surveyed recently could remember all of them.

Thirty-five percent could recall the names of all six children in "The Brady Bunch" TV show.

Compare how many people could name all Ten Commandments — 14 percent.

Sixty-two percent of the 1,000 people surveyed knew that pickles are on the Big Mac. Less than 60 percent knew the commandment "Thou shalt not kill."

The Ten Commandments Commission set up the survey in conjunction with the release of a new animated movie, "The Ten Commandments," which is playing locally.

TV's McDonald's ads and sitcoms from the 1970s apparently communicated well.

It seems churches, synagogues and families have not been as successful teaching the biblical laws the Bible says Moses received from God. Many call the Ten Commandments foundational for Western society.

Maybe people don't know the commandments because they aren't familiar with the Old Testament, said the Rev. Terry Greer, who is preaching a sermon series on the commandments. Ministers tend to preach more from the New Testament, said Greer, senior pastor of First United Methodist Church, Decatur.

The 10 laws in Exodus 20 and in other places in the Old Testament, or Hebrew scriptures, apply as much today as ever, the pastor said. Congregations should be teaching them, Greer said.

The pastor said he memorized them as a youth because a Sunday school teacher stressed them.

Concern for priorities

The producer of "The Ten Commandments" said in a phone press conference that she hopes the movie will help Americans get their priorities right.

"The idea here is that people knowing Big Macs and the Brady Bunch more than they know the Ten Commandments speaks to how bad a shape we are in as a nation," said Cindy Bond, president of Promenade Pictures, producer and distributor of the film.

She said the Ten Commandments are the backbone of society.

Elliott Gould, who is the voice of God in the movie, added his concerns. He said that as a father and grandfather, he hopes strengthening ethics and morals can lead to more peace and harmony in the world.

Exposure lacking?

Alabama's best-known Ten Commandments supporter, former state supreme court chief justice Roy Moore, said people cannot recite the commandments because they are not exposed to them enough.

"I am more optimistic that people are being exposed to them. We see displays going up everywhere," he said.

A state judicial ethics panel removed Moore from office in 2003 after he did not obey a court order to remove a Ten Commandments monument he placed in the state Supreme Court building.

  • ow chairman of the Foundation for Moral Law in Montgomery, he continues to promote his message that government should acknowledge God.

    Moore said the commandments list is easy to memorize and important to know. However, everyone fails to keep them perfectly and needs salvation, Moore said.

    Moore helped promote "The Ten Commandments" movie through a phone linkup with pastors. He said he recommends the film, especially for children.

    'Write on hearts'

    Screenwriter Ed Naha, who also wrote "Honey I Shrunk the Kids," said he hopes the film will prompt people to read the Bible story.

    "Many people who think the know the story of the Ten Commandments actually know the (1956) Cecil B. DeMille movie as opposed to what's in the Bible," Naha said.

    Promenade picked the Exodus story as first of 12 "Epic Stories of the Bible" because it is pivotal in the Bible and relates to three world religions, Bond said. The Quran, Islam's holy book, includes verses similar to the Ten Commandments, and the faith honors Moses.

    In Greer's opening sermon for his Ten Commandments series, available on the church's Web site, he said government isn't to blame for any erosion of God's word in public life.

    People should be less concerned about writing the commandments on plaques and more interested in writing them on their hearts, Greer said in an interview.

    Do local young people know them?

    Teri Dube, director of children’s ministry at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, surveyed 32 young people Wednesday night using the list above.

    She found that:

  • Every high school student correctly picked at least nine of the 10.

  • More than 75 percent of middle-schoolers knew all 10; the rest picked nine of the 10.

  • 75 percent of children in fourth and fifth grades correctly identified five or more.

    Dube said younger children will not study the commandments in Sunday school until November.

    She said her goal as a children’s director is to equip parents to fulfill God’s plan to pass along the faith, as stated in Deuteronomy: “These commandments ... are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children.”

    Melanie Smith

    Want to see the movie?

    “The Ten Commandments” animated movie is playing in Decatur at Carmike 8 and in Athens at Cinemagic. It is rated PG for mild peril.

    On the Net

    Do you know all the Ten Commandments?

    Without looking at Exodus 20, can you choose the Ten Commandments?

    __You shall not act rudely.

    __You shall not talk back.

    __You shall not hurt each other’s feelings

    __You shall have no other gods before me.

    __You shall not be disobedient.

    __You shall not worship false gods.

    __You shall sleep eight hours per night.

    __You shall never take my name in vain.

    __You shall be nice.

    __You shall keep the Sabbath day holy.

    __You shall not overeat.

    __You shall not hit each other.

    __You shall not be angry.

    __You shall not be lazy.

    __Honor your father and your mother.

    __You shall show mercy and kindness.

    __You shall not argue.

    __You shall not murder.

    __You shall not commit adultery.

    __You shall not be treacherous to one another.

    __You shall not be slothful.

    __You shall not steal.

    __You shall not lie.

    __You shall be perfect.

    __You shall never want what belongs to someone else.

    __You shall not be a burden to one another.

    (The quiz is slightly adapted from

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