New research out today reveals that over a quarter (28 per cent) of 11 to 16 year old British children cant recite a single one of the Ten Commandments and only six per cent of British adults and children can recite all ten from memory.
Despite traditionally being viewed as the ultimate set of moral standards for society to live by, research conducted by computer game The Sims 3 reveals that many of the commandments are now seen as outdated and irrelevant to modern life in the UK, with the average number Brits can quote from memory only being four out of the 10.
To mark the launch of The Sims 3 on Friday 5th June, the British public has been invited to suggest a new modern day set of Ten Commandments to reflect the world we live in today.
The Ten Commandments Rewritten have been hand carved into two stone tablets (as referred to in the Bible when they were given to Moses by God on Mount Sinai) and will be offered to the Houses of Parliament this week as a benchmark of public opinion about the standards that we should all live by today.
The limestone tablets feature updated versions of six of the traditional commandments that Brits still find relevant to life today but replace the remaining four with the most common themes of over 1,000 suggestions of those polled. Each of the new Ten Commandments uses modern language to help make them more easily understood.
The remaining four new commandments act as a real sign of the times focusing around not being motivated by greed following the MPs expenses scandal, not committing acts of terrorism, respecting and protecting the planet, and respecting all people regardless of race, religion or sexuality.
Modernised Traditional Commandments (ranked in order of importance to the British public)
1. Do not kill
2. Do not steal
3. Do not cheat on your partner with another person
4. Do not envy others
5. Respect your parents
6. Do not accuse a person of something they did not do
7. Respect all people regardless of race, religion or sexuality
8. Do not commit acts of terrorism
9. Respect and protect the planet
10. Do not be motivated by greed
The Sims 3 effectively allows users to play God. Players become the creators of their own world and the characters that live (or die) within it. They control the lives, personalities and moral conduct of the characters they create. They can then decide whether they choose to play nice and give their characters (Sims) happy, prosperous life or to play nasty and make things difficult or dangerous.
With this in mind over 1,000 adults and 11 to 16 year olds were quizzed on their knowledge of the Ten Commandments and their opinions on their relevance to modern society, exploring which moral standards actually matter most to modern day Britain.
While the majority of Brits believe that six of the Ten Commandments are still relevant today (ranging from 61 per cent to 91 per cent), around two thirds of the population question the relevance of the remaining four (ranging from 62 per cent to 70 per cent).
Using both traditional and modern wording these four include:
Remember the Sabbath day and keep it holy / You shall remember and keep the Sabbath day holy (only 30 per cent of Brits believe this to still be relevant as people increasingly use Sunday as a day to work and shop)
Thou shalt have no other gods before me / You shall have no other Gods but me (only 34 per cent of Brits believe this to still be relevant as Brits increasingly adopt other religions and beliefs)
Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image / You shall not make for yourself any idol, nor bow down to it or worship it (only 34 per cent of Brits believe this to still be relevant as Brits increasingly idolise and worship celebrities)
Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain / You shall not misuse the name of the Lord your God (only 38 per cent of Brits believe this to still be relevant as the name God is so often used to express irritation or unfairness)
Many school children aged 11 to 16 also fail to understand the traditional wording of several of the Ten Commandments according to the research. These include:
Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image (only 16 per cent claim to fully understand the meaning)
Thou shalt have no gods before me (only 24 per cent claim to fully understand the meaning)
Thou shalt not covet thy neighbours wife. Thou shalt not covet thy neighbours goods (only 25 per cent claim to fully understand the meaning)
Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain (only 26 per cent claim to fully understand the meaning)
Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour (only 27 per cent claim to fully understand the meaning)
Remember the Sabbath day and keep it holy (only 29 per cent claim to fully understand the meaning)
Claire Ridley, UK Marketing Manager for The Sims 3 comments:
The Sims 3 is all about messing with life and making decisions that will affect the lives of each of the characters in the game. Whilst it is ultimately a game, a persons moral standards will quickly start to show through revealing what sort God they will play over their creations.
In line with The Sims 3, the research also asked what people would be most likely to do if they could play God for a day. While eight per cent said that they would help themselves first by making themselves more attractive or wealthy and four per cent said they were use their power to wreak revenge on someone who had done wrong by them in the past, 17 per cent would help improve the lives of friends and family.
However, the overwhelming majority of 65 per cent of Brits would choose to help the world as a whole, such as putting an end to poverty, bringing about world peace and stopping global warming.
While very few people admitted that they would be likely to break any of the Ten Commandments, the ones that people are most likely to break are keeping the Sabbath day holy (38 per cent) misusing Gods name (23 per cent), envying neighbours (19 per cent) and committing adultery (five per cent).
The Sims 3 launches on both PC and Mac formats on Friday 5th June. Photography is available on request.
For further information please contact Laura Bonney & Daisy Swan at Mischief PR on firstname.lastname@example.org or on 0207 100 9999.
To find out more about The Sims 3 visit www.gb.thesims3.com.
More information about EA's products and full text of press releases can be found on the Internet at www.electronicarts.co.uk/press
Notes to editors
The Sims 3 used the independent online research company Fly Research who surveyed over 1,000 adults and children in the UK, from across the country aged 11 and over, in May 2009.
When conducting the following wording of the traditional Ten Commandments was used:
Thou shalt have no other god before me
Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain
Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image
Remember the Sabbath day and keep it holy
Honour thy father and thy mother
Thou shalt not kill
Thou shalt not commit adultery
Thou shalt not steal
Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour
Thou shalt not covet thy neighbours wife. Thou shalt not covet thy neighbours goods