I appreciate 10 commandments because they try to ensure law and order in the society. However, I have problem with introductory statements that say: “You shall have no other gods before[a] me… You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments.” (Exodus 20:3-6)
1) This contradicts the characteristics of God described in Mathew 5:44-48 where love is described as loving everyone without thinking whether others reciprocate or not. This also goes against the very definition of God in I John 4:8 where word used for love is agape (unconditional love).
2) This defies also the logic. If there is only one God, it would not have been possible for man to find another God to worship, hence prohibition of worship of other gods is unnecessary. If other gods exists, even then prohibition is unnecessary because other gods exists—a fact to be acknowledged.
When God makes a statement, He can’t make mistake. If mistakes occur, it means a thoughtless human being is behind the message.
In such a context, if at all God were to communicate, He would only say something like this: “I am source of all qualities, and have a fullness of them, hence I can only give, not receive, like the ‘sun’ that only gives, but never receives anything in return. (Psalm 84:11) By praising/worshiping Me, neither of us benefits. Instead, you become worship-worthy through your selfless acts. When people observe them, they would love you as worship-worthy, and would even feel inspired to behave like you—thus you both benefit.”