Monday, June 25, 2007

god is not only my co-pilot, but he also teaches my driver's ed class

I missed this news story before: Vatican issues 10 Commandments for drivers.
Cardinal Renato Martino, who heads the office, told a news conference that the Vatican felt it necessary to address the pastoral needs of motorists because driving had become such a big part of contemporary life.
Following the same reasoning, I wonder if the Vatican will issue 10 Commandments for Internet users sometime around 2043. The commandments, incidentally, are:
1. You shall not kill.
2. The road shall be for you a means of communion between people and not of mortal harm.
3. Courtesy, uprightness and prudence will help you deal with unforeseen events.
4. Be charitable and help your neighbor in need, especially victims of accidents.
5. Cars shall not be for you an expression of power and domination, and an occasion of sin.
6. Charitably convince the young and not so young not to drive when they are not in a fitting condition to do so.
7. Support the families of accident victims.
8. Bring guilty motorists and their victims together, at the appropriate time, so that they can undergo the liberating experience of forgiveness.
9. On the road, protect the more vulnerable party.
10. Feel responsible toward others.
What kind of commandment is #3? It reads more like one of those declarative advice statements you sometimes get inside a fortune cookie. It even passes the "in bed"-suffixable criterion for fortune cookies, as do several of the others.

6 comments:

Mary said...

I'm not really sure why this is so prone to mockery.

Every day (if you read the newspapers daily) you read a story about deadly road rage. Why, here's one:

http://www.startribune.com/462/story/1265385.html

If anyone steps up to the plate -- religion or secular -- and reminds drivers that their actions can kill, and acknowledges that road rage is deadly, doesn't that help things? If some Catholics, or other religious or non-religious people listen, what's the harm in a bit of daily guidance, a reminder that such normal human actions as impatience and being vengeful (for "getting back" at someone for cutting you off, etc.) have no place in the car?

I know you're a big anti-religion fan -- Xmas posts and all -- and this is a good quick laugh. But it's actually spot on.

If you start driving again in any metropolitan area, you might come to benefit from these simple rules. Let me help you better understand #3, since I sometimes can't tell when you're serious or trying to be funny:

It means, leave some space between you and the driver ahead as "prudence will help you deal with unforseen events". By extending courtesy -- if someone cuts you off -- you minimize the consequences of unforseen events -- such as the person pulling a gun, or just maneuvering his/her vehicle as a deadly weapon. Being "upright" to me means not blabbing on your cell phone, letting the DVD players in the back seat or stereo distract you. Prudence means properly maintaining your vehicle -- checking tire pressure, staying up on maintenance guidelines to keep the vehicle running safely and efficienctly, etc. So, employing "courtesty, uprightness, and prudence will help you deal with unforeseen events." Does that help any?

I wonder if there's much application of sociology in the field of driving these days, and how their work could trickle down to have an immediate impact on vehicle "accidents" and road rage deaths. I for one don't mind religion stepping in for guidance like this. I suspect once you get your car back and start driving daily in Chicago, you'll understand a little bit better what these "commandments" mean in real life, and how it might be kinda funny at first glance, but there really is more there. Who knows? Some folks might actually listen and try to alter their behaviour which could save their, and maybe even your, life someday. Imagine that, heh.

jeremy said...

As a syntactic matter, it is not worded as a commandment. And driving has been a big part of contemporary life for 50 years. That is all.

sara said...

The first chapter of Jack Katz's book, "How Emotions Work," is about road rage in Los Angeles...

Ang said...

I love that chapter! (And the book...)

Spam said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
MetalPhil said...

They did a funny bit on this on the Daily Show if you're interested.