Sunday, May 6, 2012

Alternatives to the Ten Commandments

If God really existed, why wouldn't he give us more useful instructions, e.g., "thou shalt wash thy hands?"  A quarter of the Mosaic Ten Commandments deal with ridiculously useless things, such as not taking the name of the Lord in vain and keeping the Sabbath day holy.  Why didn't the Bible condem slavery?  How much unnecessary human suffering could have been avoided with a simple commandment -- "thou shalt have no slaves."  Religion always seems to lag decades or centuries behind the moral advancement of secular society, which is apparent in its "holy" writings.

Here are a few alternatives to the Ten Commandments proposed by some of my heroes.  Imagine if these were found on some ancient Christian scroll.  While it wouldn't prove the existence of God, it would, at least, make me consider the possibility.

Richard Dawkins:
  1. Do not do to others what you would not want them to do to you
  2. In all things, strive to cause no harm
  3. Treat your fellow human beings, your fellow living things, and the world in general with love, honesty, faithfulness and respect.
  4. Do not overlook evil or shrink from administering justice, but always be ready to forgive wrongdoing freely admitted and honestly regretted.
  5. Live life with a sense of joy and wonder
  6. Always seek to be learning something new
  7. Test all things; always check your ideas against the facts, and be ready to discard even a cherished belief if it does not conform to them.
  8. Never seek to censor or cut yourself off from dissent; always respect the right of others to disagree with you.
  9. Form independent opinions on the basis of your own reason and experience; do not allow yourself to be led blindly by others.
  10. Question everything
Christopher Hitchens:
  1. Do not condemn people on the basis of their ethnicity or their color.
  2. Do not ever even think of using people as private property.
  3. Despise those who use violence or the threat of it in sexual relations.
  4. Hide your face and weep if you dare to harm a child.
  5. Do not condemn people for their inborn nature. (“Why would God create so many homosexuals, only to torture and destroy them?”)
  6. Be aware that you, too, are an animal, and dependent on the web of nature. Try to think and act accordingly.
  7. Do not imagine you can avoid judgment if you rob people [by lying to them] rather than with a knife.
  8. Turn off that f$$cking cell phone.  (this could have been revealed by "modern day prophets")
  9. Denounce all jihadists and crusaders for what they are: psychopathic criminals with ugly delusions and terrible sexual repression.
  10. Reject any faith if their commandments contradict any of the above.
Bertrand Russell:

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