What Would be the "Ten" Commandments of an Athiest?

Peter B. GiblettStarred Page By Peter B. Giblett, 2nd Apr 2015 | Follow this author | RSS Feed | Short URL http://nut.bz/ma_rvqg_/
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We have all been brought up to live by a moral code, for many that moral code comes straight out of the Torah, Bible, Qur'an, or other religious script. Yet the truth is we do not need to be guided by any religious code in order to be moral beings.

Ten Commandments: A Moral Code?

Many people, whether Christian or not, believe in the basic commandments, some form our basic morals of life:

  • do not kill
  • do not steal
  • do not lie
  • honour your elders
  • do not commit adultery
  • do not covet other people's property.

These six relate to how we live our lives and how we treat each other, the basics of life and have probably been a part of our belief system since time immemorial.

It is common sense that people should not kill or steal from each other, this would be the case even in the most basic forms of society, truthfulness is another cornerstone of decency, these three together are the foundation of criminal justice systems and are the basis of the law of all lands. It makes good sense to honour our elders, they brought us up and helped us become who we are.

Not committing adultery nor coveting other people's property are moral issues and hard to govern through laws, it could be argued that coveting the things other people have in some respects drives them to do better and achieve more, providing of course you do not take things belonging to another, which is of course stealing, and illegal.

The other four relate to religious beliefs and have no relevance to this discussion.

The Need for Moral Codes and Laws

We live in a society that relies greatly on the use of a moral code, it governs to a large extent how we live, interact with others, it impacts the laws which have grown over centuries and governs our legal code. Indeed moral codes operate irrespective of religious belief, so it is the task here to identify a non-denominational code, ensure it relates to modern world thinking and has real world relevance. Yet in pulling a modern moral code together as a set of commandments it is immediately clear there will be more than the magic number TEN.

Atheist Commandments

Over time I have considered other things as important for life (indeed many of these have been considered so vital to modern life) that many are a core part of Human Rights law, or are included in a "Bill of Rights/Freedoms" that possibly govern your country, assuming you obey the law these include:

  1. Respect every person's life, liberty and security of person and their right to control their own body.
  2. Every person is born equal and you should treat them equally.
  3. There is no one right way to live
  4. Treat others as you want them to treat you.
  5. Respect your elders.
  6. Consider the well being of others, including unborn future generations
  7. You shall not kill another person.
  8. You shall never hold another person in slavery of servitude.
  9. Every person has access to a free education irrespective of age, sex, race, or family belief.
  10. Parents have the right to choose the best type of education for their children.
  11. Respect each person's freedom of thought, conscience, and beliefs, especially those who oppose your view.
  12. Every person has the right of freedom of movement.
  13. Every person may peacefully associate and assemble with other people.
  14. You have freedom of expression.
  15. Religion is not necessary for a good person or to live a full and meaningful life.
  16. You have an unconditional right to criticise any belief held by any person or group.
  17. You should be encouraged to develop your mind and body.
  18. Be open-minded and be prepared to alter your beliefs on the basis of any new evidence discovered.
  19. Everyone, upon maturity, has the right to a job and shall not inhibited from earning because of their age, sex, sexual preference, race, or beliefs.
  20. Every person has the right to expect limited working hours and not be forced to work overtime.
  21. Every person shall have a minimum of one day per week (preferably more) of leisure, rest, or relaxation where work shall not intervene.
  22. Freedom to consensually marry, upon maturity, any person of your choosing (irrespective of sex, race, or belief) and irrespective of personal circumstances.
  23. No person shall be deprived of their property.
  24. You shall not steal, defraud or commit a crime against another person or their property.
  25. You shall not subject any person to torture, cruel, inhumane or degrading treatment.
  26. Every person has right of access to the law for remedy of a wrong.
  27. You shall not kill any animal other than as necessary for food and survival.
  28. Respect the natural world.
  29. Every person shall have the right to medically assisted suicide if they are terminally ill and will suffer a long term pain as a result of their condition.
  30. Leave the world a better place than you found it.

Human society has developed a lot over the last five thousand years, people have committed countless horrific acts of inhumanity and evil, yet we have created logical thought and reason, have the power of greatness. But for the bad we could not distinguish the good, we have a capacity to plot a path through to a greater tomorrow.

The concept of most of these commandments starts from the basis of doing no harm, respecting others and developing yourself and doing something to improve the world, or at the very minimum do no harm.

The only Evil that Exists is Man's Creation

Some philosophers state that evil exists all around us, and religious theologians use the concept of evil as a foundation for religious belief. The beasts of this world, such as the leopard, tiger, or grizzly bear, are not evil, they are merely living their own lives and do not wish to be disturbed, they may show their reaction to threats by the need to attack, yet that is purely a natural reaction rather than one based on any perception of evil. To a large extent religion enslaves mankind and limits people's ability to think

In the modern context the western citizen sees evil in the actions of the Islamic Jihadist fighter, who in turn sees evil in the actions of Christianity and imperialism, yet evil of this nature is entirely man-made and only proves one man's good can be another man's evil. Outside this we see Greece, Italy and other nations that are bankrupt, disease and starvation rampant across Africa, and other global problems which can also be seen as evil and the truth is it is greed and the need for profit that drives much of the modern world evils.

The atheist believes that man has free will and that the things we perceive as evil in this world come, on the whole, as a direct result of man's inhumanity to man; not at the behest of any presumed omnipotent being, even if any rational proof of their existence is possible. From this perspective the relationship between the twin perceptions of good and evil were pure inventions of man-made religions and do not exist in reality, because even the evil men do can be scientifically explained.

Image Credits

  • Ten Commandments from mercyworlds.wordpress.com
  • Bowing in respect by IMSI (part of a royalty free image collection purchased by the author).
  • Chains of slavery from memoirsofanurbangentleman.com
  • Problem of Evil by 123rf.com

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Tags

Atheist, Commandments, Developed, Development, Do Not Kill, Do Not Steal, Greater Tomorrow, Human Society, Logical Thought, Man Has Free Will, Moral Code, Reason, Seen As Evil, Ten Commandments

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author avatar Peter B. Giblett
Author of "Is your Business Ready? For the Social Media Revolution"

Social media consultant, with C-Level background.

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Comments

author avatar Sherri Granato
2nd Apr 2015 (#)

Good question. I would hope that the rules are followed by anyone who is living. Killing, stealing, cheating, lying, etc.... are not acceptable in society, yet everyone does it regardless of religious beliefs.

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author avatar Carol Roach
2nd Apr 2015 (#)

yes the 10 commandments are also a good legal and social system.

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author avatar Sivaramakrishnan A
3rd Apr 2015 (#)

Good points Peter. We should find our own levels that we are comfortable with in our beliefs. There is no one person or group that can dictate to others. We come with an inner awareness that guides us. Once we lead a guilt-free life we are doing well for ourselves and others too.

We have created too many artificial barriers over time and it is time to break them down one by one. I have a borderless take on life and see the entirety of creation as one and I am just blessed to be part of it - so it does not matter what happens afterlife - siva

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author avatar Peter B. Giblett
3rd Apr 2015 (#)

It is what happens in our life that matters.

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author avatar Retired
3rd Apr 2015 (#)

That's an interesting list of 30! You might find that some could be subsumed under others, and that there might be some clashes in places (1 and 6 for example on the subject of abortion). However, it's a move in the right direction - and I particularly agree with 15.

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author avatar Peter B. Giblett
3rd Apr 2015 (#)

1 and 6 are not inconsistent in respect of abortion, an unborn baby is a foetus and has no rights of its own - it is the mother who has the right to control her own body. 6 is about future generations in general, not unborn children.

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author avatar Retired
3rd Apr 2015 (#)

You would need to define 6 a bit more closely then.

I am always a bit ambivalent on the abortion issue anyway, given that I would almost certainly never have been born had abortion been widely available in 1951.

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author avatar pohtiongho
3rd Apr 2015 (#)

Very interesting Commandments. They are millions of pretenders who carry holy books, and yet they think only people from their own religion have the right to live!!!

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author avatar Peter B. Giblett
3rd Apr 2015 (#)

Pohtiongho that is the reason for number 3 - There is no single correct way to live.

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author avatar Retired
3rd Apr 2015 (#)

The title is vEry catchy. I like it.

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author avatar Mark Gordon Brown
4th Apr 2015 (#)

A truly good person does not need a book to tell them right from wrong.

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author avatar Peter B. Giblett
5th Apr 2015 (#)

Mark, Very true.

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author avatar Grant Peterson
5th Apr 2015 (#)

These commandments are highly commendable and more meaningful that the biblical ones. Well researched. It all starts from "Respect every person's life, liberty and security of person and their right to control their own body" my favorite.

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author avatar Ptrikha
6th Apr 2015 (#)

Quite a thouht-provoking article.

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author avatar Ptrikha
6th Apr 2015 (#)

*thought

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author avatar Peter B. Giblett
6th Apr 2015 (#)

Thanks Grant and PTrikha.

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author avatar Reni Sentana-Ries
14th Apr 2015 (#)

Very good..!

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author avatar Yvette van Niekerk
15th Apr 2015 (#)

Wow great write .... hmmm

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author avatar chrysolite
4th May 2015 (#)

Great thought provoking article, Peter! I guess many of us know that religions are a business as any other.

Morals are always changing, but decency doesn't. What shall we tell the younger generation when they see the 10 commandments violated every day by millions of people?

Do we need to be told what's right or wrong? I don't think so, I think we KNOW.

A confused society as we see it right now can never be a truthful, decent society and so we have to live with it.

Times will change again and the survivors will know how to live a good life.

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author avatar Peter B. Giblett
4th May 2015 (#)

Times certainly are changing Chrysolite and sadly not everyone is as moral as you or I.

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author avatar peachpurple
5th Jul 2015 (#)

well these commandments are different from the bible but realistic especially the last one

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author avatar Peter B. Giblett
5th Jul 2015 (#)

We have three and a half thousand years additional experience over the original commandments.

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