A collaborative exercise organised by Silicon Valley technology entrepreneur Lex Bayer and Stanford University humanist chaplain John Figdor, authors of the book Atheist Mind, Humanist Heart has come up with a new set of Ten Commandments for the 21st Century.
According to the “Winning Beliefs” page of the authors’ website, 13 judges selected the ten from 2,804 submissions from survey respondents across 18 countries and 27 U.S. states. More than 6,100 votes were cast online to create a shortlist for the judges to vet.
1. Be open-minded and be willing to alter your beliefs with new evidence.
2. Strive to understand what is most likely to be true, not to believe what you wish to be true.
3. The scientific method is the most reliable way of understanding the natural world.
4. Every person has the right to control of their body.
5. God is not necessary to be a good person or to live a full and meaningful life.
6. Be mindful of the consequences of all your actions and recognize that you must take responsibility for them.
7. Treat others as you would want them to treat you, and can reasonably expect them to want to be treated. Think about their perspective.
8. We have the responsibility to consider others, including future generations.
9. There is no one right way to live.
10. Leave the world a better place than you found it.
The obvious atheist underpinnings of this work and the exercise that led to it (as well as the likely profile of Netizens who participated in it) may be off-putting to people in the mainstream who might want to seriously consider these as an alternative or even replacement for the standing de facto Ten Commandments issued by the Hebrew prophet Moses thousands of years ago. But the people behind Atheist Mind, Humanist Heart assert that “atheism need not be reactionary (against religion and God), but rather, offers a clear set of constructive principles to live by that establish atheism as a positive worldview.”
Indeed, Third World countries like the Philippines have the most to gain from re-thinking their core beliefs and morality frameworks. Filipinos, for one, have become weary of the emerging long-view dynamic of their society, one they perceive to be deeply-flawed, immune to reform, and subject to the influence of a tiny elite clique of oligarchs that has left their country desperately impoverished. Included amongst this small class of opinion-shapers are the country’s religious leaders, many of whom agressively apply long tried-and-proven persuasion methods to induce mind-crushing groupthink and exact lemming-like collectivism in their adherents, often in close collaboration with their counterparts in politics and big business.
Long traditionally thought to be the empowering silver bullet to chronic poverty and ignorance in the Philippines, “democracy” and the “freedom” it supposedly “gave back” to Filipinos following the 1986 “people power revolution” has so far failed miserably to embed much-needed change at a profound enough level in Philippine society. Observers have long asserted that the missing ingredient for democracy to work in the Philippines lies in essential thinking skills that are lacking in ordinary Filipinos. Indeed, despite almost three decades of “democracy”, Filipinos continue to suffer the same — if not worse — sort of patronage politics that results in the widespread banal injustice and thievery that their country is world-renowned for today.
Perhaps it is high time that Filipinos ditch a way of thinking and a way of life that has so far delivered zero results. As Raquel Welch was once said to have said:
Insanity is expecting different results while doing the same things again and again.
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