The Ten Commandments and Modern Psychology
I saw an interesting segment on Fox last night. Stossel did a show on how some of the things we 'know' prove to be untrue. He interviewed a psychiatrist who had written a book about dishonesty (the thesis being that everyone is to some extent - I can think of another Book that made the same claim 2000+ years ago... ).
One of the experiments they tried was to pay people per math problem solved. The grader would return the paper which the person was then to shred (trick shredder but they didn't know that). The test was unfair in that there wasn't enough time allowed to actually solve all the problems. A researcher would pretend to be taking the test as well but would claim to have finished in an impossibly short time. Others would follow suit and would lie about how many problems they solved when asked.
They repeated the experiment after asking participants to name the Ten Commandments. They found that few could name all ten - but a strange thing happened. Where the first group had cheated outrageously, the group that had simply named the Commandments (well, the one's they knew, anyway) didn't cheat at all. It didn't matter if the were Christian or atheist - merely reflecting on moral principles was enough to change 'human nature' - actually human behavior - in the short term.
Other experiments showed the same thing. Kids and adults both controlled the tendency to cheat when confronted by the Ten Commandments even in the mildest form.
The Law teaches us that we are flawed - that it's our nature to sin. It took a few thousand years but modern psychology is coming around to the same conclusion. But the Law also teaches us what is good - how to be good. Our nature fights against us - but God provides us with the tools to fight back. One of them is reflecting - just as Paul teaches us - on what is good. It does more than make us feel good - it helps us be good, to live up to the principles we believe in.