The new Ten Commandments for the 21st Century announced!

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.

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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.

Democracy has so far failed to change the dysfunctional politics of the Philippines.

Democracy has so far failed to change the dysfunctional politics of the Philippines.

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.

81 Replies to “The new Ten Commandments for the 21st Century announced!”

  1. occurred to me you are still writing about the same dysfunctions of philippine society. things haven’t changed after all those years. have you considered doing things differently?

      1. Great blog, benignO: incisive, pithy and relevant, as hell. I am no expert on the Philippines. I am an outsider and have only lived here for 20 years. I have sponsored several young people in their educations. From what I can tell, students are rarely called upon to think for themselves and instead are are required to memorize massive quantities of historical trivia and social dogma. Many are ready to express their opinions; but do not seem to be aware that there assertions should be logical. Few seem to know what “reason” even is.

        1. So basically you wasted your money in sponsoring those young people. Your ROI is zero. Maybe it would have been better if you saved your money for a rainy day for yourself.

        2. @ Sea Bee, Only 20 years? that is an entire generation.the R.P. is not a ifficult place to understand and is a relatively quick study.I’d say it takes less than two years to understand the culture pretty completely and less than two days(hours actually) to understand that ,being a foreigner, you are a target and considered to be a walking talking ATM machine.ONLY 20 yrs.? LOL !

      2. @SeaBea: Thanks. I’ve been observing some of the discussion here and I think highlighting the need to decide whether there is a god or not or whether it is “Dawkins’s philosophy” or “Kant’s philosophy” or even “Jesus Christ’s philosophy” we should be comparing misses the point. The point is more around the use of these “new ten commandments” to evaluate ALL ideas and points-of-view whether these come from “believers” or “non-believers”. The ten seem to form a pretty robust and sound framework for modern thinking that is scalable and flexibile in its application and owes no hard association to any one philosophy or ideology.

    1. From what I’ve seen there are new dysfunctions cropping up in the Philippines almost every day; there really doesn’t seem to be a need to stop writing about them.

  2. There are many parts of my youth that I’m not proud of. There were loose threads – untidy parts of me that I would like to remove. But when I pulled on one of those threads, it unraveled the tapestry of my life.

  3. I’m not an atheist but I find these new commandments an improvement over the old and worn value system we Filipinos have. Very good job there benign0. It’s why I choose to read articles on this blog as often as I can.

    While I think that religion is a good thing as it forms the basis for a strong moral foundation, Pinoys tend to miss out on the spirit of the values they claim to follow. More often than not, our values system is contradictory or even outright hypocritical, especially when it comes to things like adultery and corruption.

    1. Whoops, I posted my comment below before I read this. But yes, I agree. It makes we wonder how public morals would have developed without religion. Perhaps they would still develop, but at greater cost to human life and dignity, an example of which would be the situation in communist Russia.

      1. @ChinoF
        ” ..It makes we wonder how public morals would have developed without religion”

        Bingo. The question now is which religion? There are man-made religions, and there is a true religion. If there is a God, would there be one true religion? If there is one, would it manifest itself in various forms, or just one form?

      2. Perhaps there is a need to question the idea that morality originates from religion or spirituality. There already is a body of work that draws insight from evolutionary psychology, game theory, economics, and sociology towards developing a theory on how morality and ethics evolved in human civilisations that does not use deities and supernatural influences as starting points.

        1. benign0,

          Why would there be any need to “question the idea that morality originates from religion or spirituality?” That seems to deny documented history.

          Atheists like Richard Dawkins put a lot of effort into repudiating the value of religion. Historically, however, religion, and the moral code derived from it, has been a source of social cohesion. It causes human beings to cooperate far more widely and confidently than they would if they relied on simple, rational self-interest as posited by game theory. In fact, religion REINFORCES the gains of social cooperation in this life by presenting a system of rewards and punishments beyond the here and now.

          As a practical example: consider how our present human civilisation has evolved. Our world is largely a product of a Judeo-Christian philosophy. It has transformed human society on this planet to the point where it is almost inconceivable to imagine a way of life without it. All our political, economic and religious systems are measured against it. That would never have happened if the Christian religion had not persisted for two thousand years.

        2. @JohnnySaint: Perhaps. Although there is mounting scientific evidence that morality is a component of an overall group dynamic that evolved in human communities independent of religion and that religion is just a ritualised tradition that evolved culturally that enforced this dynamic.

          The earlier was genetically-ingrained progressively arising, as the theories go, from accumulated incremental advantages conferred upon human groups that exhibited better abilities to work as a group to hunt down larger prey and defeat competing clans and tribes using superior organisational skills.

          Religion, the theories also suggest, developed to strengthen at a cultural level these increasingly advantageous predispositions towards group behaviour by further ritualising collective behaviours and enforcing conformity.

        3. Yes, that’s a question worth asking. Perhaps morality came from religion, or religion came from early musings about morality. Perhaps it’s a chicken and egg question. I wonder, what ancient civilizations did not use deities and supernatural influences as starting points? It seems hard to find that, but I’ll check that out in my spare time. I still have that view that the current substantial evidence points to religion being the source of much (note, much, not all) of morality, though it indeed does not have the monopoly of it.

        4. @Chino: It’s likely that religion is a cultural artifact that developed as a social manifestation (and then mechanism) to enforce the grouping/collaborative instinct at a cognitive level to further strengthen the behaviour genetically hardwired in our minds by evolution.

          Like ants and bees, for example. Their collective behaviour is instinctive. But if they somehow developed human intelligence, they’re altruism for one another within the colony and reverence for their queen could easily be interpreted as religion. So these animals present evidence that collective and altruistic behaviour (that look intelligent and religious to an observer) can actually evolve in social animals that lack human intelligence and culture.

        5. Interesting theory, Benign0. Although I would say, much of the dawn of civilization and early history of man is unknown to us, so I guess how religion developed may forever remain a mystery. I just think there are two explanations: either there is a cultural artifact, or there is a supernatural being that really led to religion being made. I would say, even today, with science, the latter could not be dismissed that easily. But I’m sure the crux of the matter is this: what’s the value of religion today? Would it make people more ethical, or more unethical? Or how would we define ethics, do we give religion a place in it or exclude it altogether? In other words, what makes us better? And in relevance to our situation in the Philippines, what makes us solve our problems here?

        1. It is hard to imagine history being any more brutal than it has been. There was a war in Europe that lasted a hundred years. It was fought by Protestants vs. Catholics.

        2. Religion or no religion, I’m sure humans will always think of a reason to be brutal. Perhaps religion is a result of that, or not, but I think humans will always be brutal.

    1. I think it proves one thing: religion, or spirituality at least, is one of the foundations of moral and ethical principles in this world. Without such, it would be less likely to have movements for equality and human rights in this modern world. Others should remember, some proponents of those were religious people. Like Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr.

      1. @ChinoF: Instead of focusing on what the new commandments have in common with the old; why not explore how they are different? One outstanding difference that I see is #9 above: “There is no right way to live.”
        Compare that with ” I am the Lord thy God and thou shalt have no gods before me.”

        Absolutism was challenged by the Age of Reason. In the Western, free world, it has been replaced by secular philosophy of relativism. Why are you afraid of choice? Why must we be compelled by a single authority? Revolutions were fought in order to over throw crushing, authoritarian rule. Why can’t humanism “go it alone?” This, I think, is one of the reasons that democracy in the Philippines is so dysfunctional. People seem unable to think in terms of abstractions. All they can do is imprint their own experience on the universe. “I have a father; therefore there must be a heavenly father.” As a people, you seem unable to conceive of a society that is not ruled by a datu, haciendero, or oligarch. You are afraid of the forces of the universe and you seem to want to seek shelter with someone stronger than yourself.

        1. But, is it good to have moral relativism? But, isn’t that just replacing God with Kant, Nietzche, Hobbes, Machiavelli, Russell, or Hegel? Or, do we further replace those fantastic philosophies with Dawkin’s half baked philosophy where he virtually installed “chance” the god, and trying to confuse the masses when he switches between concept of “improbable” and “impossible” at his convenience? (Or, should Dawkin just stay in biology — he has in hands full there already, as biologists are now intensely debating, thanks to him, whether evolution answers the origin of life question, or not?)

        2. Hi Seabee, neither do I like to compare the original 10 Commandments to the 21st century one. Obviously, they follow different premises. All I’m after is what is really valid. Or better put, what applies to me and helps me become a better person. Some may have forgotten or have not known in the New Testament that the 10 commandments have be replaced with, “Love the Lord your God” and “Love your fellow man,” which actually expand on the original 10 commandments. The old commandments are not even considered strict rules under the modern dispensation, they’re more of guides to help make you a better person today. Even today, you certainly should not steal, murder, lie or break up a marriage. Obviously, those make one more of a non-person.

  4. Humanism cannot go alone. Humanism, spirituality and Science can go hand in hand to advance our civilization. There are still many frontiers, that we have not gone. Many natural laws to be discovered.

    Religions were twisted by self serving “religious leaders” and so called:prophets. This is the reason we have these problems: radicalism and fundamentalism.

    I still believe in a Creator, because “Big Bang” Theory , nor the : Higgs’s Boson or Higg’s Field cannot satisfy my human curiosity. I cannot understand why creation are orderly…or understand many medical miracles. “For those who believe, no explanation is needed. For those who do not believe, no explanation is possible.”

    Whatever you believe; Go for it…

    1. Just because something is a belief, is no guarantee of its validity or relevance. If you are truly curious, you would be willing to suspend your own beliefs; instead of using “god” as an explanation for anything that you cannot understand. See Commandment #1, above. Spirituality and Science do not go hand in hand. Only one of them relies upon evidence. The idea of a spiritual world occupied by invisible god is a stone-aged way of comprehending the universe. Let it go. It is just magic.

      1. I believe it can go hand in hand…Science is not God…it is a tool to learn about: creation; laws of nature; the invisible world; the universe and galaxies, planetary system, etc…

        I don’t believe that intelligent creation have existed, without a creator…

        The Helix of the DNA alone, is too complicated to be formed in an accidental way…Even this Planet Earth, which sustains human life. The Beauty of the Unknown is too much to contemplate…
        our body functions is too much to contemplate, also…life/death itself is still a mystery…

        1. To pitch in, politely: I’ve always heard about this logic that the complexity of DNA could only have been brought about by divine intervention. From my perspective, its just an everyday chemical reaction. The “accident” happens more often than you think, several million times in your own body, as natural as a magnet will bond to metal or salt will dissolve in water.

          Regarding the logic about morality as an exclusive product of religion – morality, spirituality and all enduring memes have a physical basis in the way our neurons are “wired”. There’s nothing mystical about trout instinctively swimming upstream to spawn even though it never received any formal esoteric education about it – its all “wired” in, dictated by DNA.

          Ascribing something complex as mystical is a lot easier and more “elegant” than actually having to figure it out. I think this is a vicious fault being propagated and abused by the pinoy version of catholicism, or every other religion for that matter.

        2. @SeaBee
          Truth can not contradict truth. That is not pointless sophistry. Faith without reason is superstition, reason without faith is idolatry of man.

      2. @SeaBee
        Why should evidence be the only basis? If your wife, or girlfriend, tell you she loves you, would you ask for evidence first before you proceed with your relationship, or do you proceed first with your relationship, evidence or no evidence, but just the belief on her love first?
        Why can’t spirituality and science not go together? If it is real spirituality, should it not be in search of truth? Science is in search of truth too, so both are in search of truth, why can’t they go together?

        1. @Add: What if the two truths contradict one another? Religion is one type of language and science, another. Both have different definitions of the truth. Scientific truth can be demonstrated as valid by producing evidence and can be replicated again and again. Religious truth is revealed by god. It requires no proof. Are you searching for a hybrid between the two views? Or are you trying to find a scientific or logical way to prove that god exists? Why? To me, it seems like pointless sophistry. We do not need god. Like nationalism, it is an outdated and dangerous mindset.

        2. @ Sea Bee, Religious ‘truth’ is called ‘faith’. You either have or you do not.The assertion that ‘divine intervention’ is the ‘only way’ that the complexity of DNA could have come about is simply untrue. Sorry but NO. Given all the elements and variants of elements as well as combinations of the two come down to a mathematical probability.It is a fact that the combinations in a strand of human DNA can be replicated every 8,125,000 times (the adenine,cytocene,gaunine,thiamine combinations on 23 pairs of chromosomes) in nature alone,nevermind when the laboratory gets involved.
          That said: people are funny when they say that you either believe in God or evolution BUT how about God created evolution,eh?

  5. The worse scenario that humans did was: use religion in politics. The Aquinos did this; the Islamic radicals is doing this in our time. Religious fundamentalists of every color, are doing this, to get into political power…

    1. Religion has always been political. It is a tool used by the few to convince the many that they and their friends deserve to live in wealth and comfort, while the rest of us toil as slaves. Do you think it is a coincidence that churches look like palaces?

      1. Prophets and Men of God, did not lived that way. It was the Political Leaders, who hijacked religion, as a “tool” to impose their will on people. So that; they can get power; grow rich; grow famous; and other self serving ulterior motives…

  6. ..”5. God is not necessary to be a good person or to live a full and meaningful life.”
    If God does not exist, is there a need to state whether he is necessary or not? If God exist, is there a need to state whether he is necessary or not.
    Or, is it sufficient to say: “be a good person”?
    If God does not exist, what is the objective parameter by which “good” is determined? Is it by law, by consensus of a community, a nation? What will be the philosophical foundation of the law or consensus? Will it be John Stuart Mills’ utilitarian system, where it is alluded that useless men have to be discarded? Will it be based on Darwinian’s natural selection — the survival of the fittest? Is what is natural (as in natural selection), without the supernatural, amoral, or not? Will the law and consensus be based on economic terms, a good man is the one with the most wealth; or on political terms, the one with the most power? What is the basis of saying that all men are equal, or do we accept Plato, the first one who proposed that men are inherently not equal? Where do we derive our freedom or liberty, or is there boundary to it if men are not equal? What is a full and meaningful life — is there an objective parameter for such? Or, do we leave this to subjective determination, which could make men more unequal?
    If God exist, what is a good person? What is a full and meaningful life?

    “4. Every person has the right to control of their body.”
    If God does not exist, of course? If God exists, do we have full autonomy, or do we first consult a manufacturer’s manual as when we send our Mercedez or Rolex for maintenance check-up since man is better than any of these brands?

    “1. Be open-minded and be willing to alter your beliefs with new evidence.”
    If God does not exist, is this enough? If God does exist, is this enough, or should we not only be open-minded and flexible, but exert every effort to seek what is true?

    “3. The scientific method is the most reliable way of understanding the natural world.”
    If God does not exist, of course? If God exists, should we only be interested in the natural world?

    “6. Be mindful of the consequences of all your actions and recognize that you must take responsibility for them.”
    If God does not exist, why? What for? If God does exist, why? What for?

    ” 2. Strive to understand what is most likely to be true, not to believe what you wish to be true.”
    If God does not exist, of course? If God does exist, the more it should apply?

    “#7 thru #10
    If God does not exist, does following these rules gain more significance than if God does exist? If God does exist, does following these rules gain more significance than if God does not exist?

    1. @Add: Which would you prefer: common values reached through a free discussion and debate of ideas…or stone tablet handed to one of you by a dictator in the sky?

      1. @SeaBee
        Common values on the basis of what? Humans, or above humans? If we can think of values above us, doesn’t that give a hint that there must be something super-human? Where and how do we get that notion? Why do all humans ask for objective ruling and not a subjective one? What is ultimate then that which is objective?

        If there is a God, of course, he will appear as a dictator? That God would have to be infinite, isn’t it? So, how could you compare that which is finite with that which is infinite? Will He not really appear as a dictator? Or, is there good denying the infinite, so that the finite could have its way? Or, is that laziness because the infinite strains, boggles the mind?

        “To exist”, one has “to be” first, correct or not? But, how can we “be”, if there was not a cause? By chance? But all evidence show that something cannot come from nothing, or is this a presupposition that we can not accept? All existence that we see are caused, all universe seemed to be caused, all within the universe are contingent. Where then did they get their essence “to be”, if their “to be” is not their essence? Or, is there validity in thinking that there has to be one whose very essence is “to be”, and we call that notion god? Isn’t it that if we go ad infinitum to trace back the final cause, it would be absurd if finally in the end there is no final cause? Hawking tried to answer this by saying that gravitation has been there “infinitely”. But, how can we think of gravitation’s “to be”. Does gravitation have “to be” by essence?

        1. @Add: My mind is swimming trying to follow your train of thought. You are obviously better read than I am. I know this is simplistic, but, imagine a dozen people getting together in a neighborhood meeting. They are not going to agree on everything; but there are some standards they all can agree on. They can formulate a set of rules that apply to their neighborhood without a priest or bible being used as a reference. Just because these rules do not apply to all neighborhoods on earth, does not mean that they have no value and are of no use. The shared lives and experiences of humans in relation to another is basis enough for developing a moral code.

        2. @SeaBee
          Agree, communities can get together to formulate their rules. But, we are talking of a “ten-commandment” which is supposed to have universal application.

          “My mind is swimming trying to follow your train of thought.”
          You are probably referring to my 3rd paragraph. Aplogies for that, I should not have, it is a brief (very brief) ontological argument for the existence of God.

  7. You cannot define : “Good” without God. God and Good is the same. You cannot define: “Evil”, also without God…Evil is against all that is the goodness of God…

      1. @SeaBee
        Of course it is begging the question if the POSSIBILITY of god is immediately discounted. But, is that the way we seek knowledge, But I thought #1 and #2 in above essay were essential.

    1. God and good is the same? So, the ISIS god is good?

      Evil is against all that is the goodness of God?

      Don’t you think that evil is also the creation of God?

      1. ISIS has a wrong way of defining “good”. It is a “baluktot” way. Killing Infidels to them is good. Enslaving women to them is good. Taking hostages and cutting their heads, to them is good.

        What I mean is goodness , in terms of the Judeo-Christian tradition…or any other religion that defines “good” in the proper way.

        1. @Hyden Toro 7oj: LOL….Let me guess: the proper way is “your” way. Right? I do not think this debate is about what is good or evil. Or whether or not god exists. Instead, it is the danger that the “true believer” mindset poses to the world community.

    2. @Hyden Toro ui7
      “..You cannot define: “Evil”, also without God.”

      I don’t remember whether it was CS Lewis or GK Chesterton who said “I believe there must be a god because there are atheists. You cannot have a negative, without first having a positive.”

      Of course they were not saying that atheism is evil per se, if it is an idea. We should welcome all ideas. It is just that we are all in different stages in our search for truth. Hopefully, we all seek the truth, that was their point.

  8. No…just my opinion…if agree with me, it’s okay, if not it’s okay , also. I have struggled with the belief in God, in my work in the Technical Field…my blogs just coming from my heart…
    Anyway…Merry Christmas to all!!! May you have a good year in 2015!!! “Gumagalang Po…Hyden”…

  9. From a Christian or at least a theistic perspective, most of these items are all right. I just don’t know if atheism can actually justify these, especially, as “commandments”, suggestions perhaps? But that isn’t binding on anyone and hardly objective.

    1. Be open-minded and be willing to alter your beliefs with new evidence.

    -No problem. From a scientific point of view, the evidence still points to a transcendent, powerful and personal creator of the universe. I don’t know if atheists are willing to alter their beliefs on this though. As they say, religion (a belief system) is pretty much deeply ingrained.

    2. Strive to understand what is most likely to be true, not to believe what you wish to be true.

    -Yes, this is same as 1. It is more likely that since the universe began to exist 13.7 Billion years ago, it had a cause that transcends space and time, is personal, and unimaginably powerful. So many ideas cumulatively point to the necessary existence of God. This includes, the fine tuning of the universe, objective moral values, laws of logic, mathematics, biodiversity, the origin of life, the origin of information, uniformity of nature, rational intelligibility of the universe, the resurrection of Jesus Christ, the possibility of a maximally great being and others – all this cumulatively points to the existence of God, more so, a Christian God is “more likely” to be true.

    3. The scientific method is the most reliable way of understanding the natural world.

    -Yes. It seems God made the universe in such a way that it is rationally intelligible. The applicability of mathematics in the physical world has continued to baffle scientists such as Wigner, Einstein, and has always been assumed by others in the past such as Newton and Gallileo. The scientific method assumes, but cannot justify, preconditions of intelligibility, the laws of logic, mathematics, and the uniformity of nature. Historically also, only with a monotheistic worldview that science has actually flourished.

    4. Every person has the right to control of their body.
    -I agree with this too, even the right to poison one’s body is one’s right. But a case cauld also be made that whatever one does with one’s body often have consequences to other persons, animals, the environment and the community at large (Commandment #6) i.e., drugs, etc. I understand that this doesn’t directly and necessarily invalidate the main principle, so generally I am okay with it.

    5. God is not necessary to be a good person or to live a full and meaningful life.
    -*Belief* in God isn’t necessary (moral epistemology), but God is actually necessary for objective, universal and binding moral values (moral ontology). “Without God, everything is permissible.” (Dostoevsky), persons are the only bearers of intrinsic worth (made in the Image of God) and are the only ones that can recognize such. In a materialistic universe, there is nothing that tells us that we are special, nothing that differentiates persons from animals, paramecium and even non-living things such as atoms. “We are all stardust” as most would like to put it, as if that is really something poetically beautiful in reality which is ultimately lifeless, meaningless.

    6. Be mindful of the consequences of all your actions and recognize that you must take responsibility for them.
    -Of course, we ought to love our neighbors. But this is hardly binding on the Nihilist or just about anyone who just doesn’t agree. See commandment #5, #9.

    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.

    -Again, we ought to love our neighbors. But this is hardly binding to the Nihilist or to those who would rather disagree. See commandment #5, #9.

    8. We have the responsibility to consider others, including future generations.

    -based on what? Who tells us what we are responsible for? Survival of our species which will eventually die off anyway, say, when the Sun exhausts its energy etc, the Nihilist will always say, this is all ultimately pointless. What about those who are saying that we just have to “eat, drink and be happy (whatever that means to them, imagine pedophile priests saying that), for tomorrow we shall die.”

    9. There is no one right way to live.
    -This just undercut commandments #1-#8 and the basic premise of this list. There is neither right nor wrong and so all ways of living are equal including the Jihadist way of living, I guess. Or is that objectively wrong? Wait, is this a “commandment” too?

    10. Leave the world a better place than you found it.
    -Also, not binding unless you give up #5, #9 (on moral ontology). Why and what for, if the grander scheme of things is meaningless, as Alex Rosenberg says such quest is “deep, heroic, and FUTILE”.

    The implications, it seems, of most of these, are simply dire. Far from being a “positive” worldview, atheism still has to justify its claims. Secular Humanism is not actually a default moral position. To be a successful position, not only does it need to demonstrate that Theism is wrong, but also has to show that Nihilism is wrong too. But commandment #9 seems to be in the way of that too.

    1. Like any belief system, these ‘commandments’ are binding insofar as we humans (regardless of philosophical persuasion) imbue them with intrinsic meaning and value. Being self contradictory has never bothered anyone determined to hate ‘organised religion.’

      1. What you just said is true, that “being self contradictory has never bothered anyone determined to hate ‘organised religion.’” That position itself would be in violation of their commandment #2, they seem to “wish to be true” that the claims of ‘organized religion’ are all false, also against commandment #9, if there is no right way to live, how can they say that the ‘organized religion’ way is ‘wrong’? This is bunkin.

        1. In my experience, the use of the term ‘open-mindedness’ in to-day’s society is an oxymoron. It’s often professed by hypocrites who maintain that they are tolerant but cannot abide anyone who does not share their assumptions. Then they proceed to devolve into rabid fruit loops and scream for the most horrific violence to be inflicted on the people they perceive to be their ‘enemies.’

        2. Oh yes, I see that myself quite often online. Right you are! I also find that most online atheists insist on what agnostic philosopher/neurologist Dr. Raymond Tallis calls “The Aping of Mankind: Darwinitis, Neuromania and the Misrepresentation of Humanity” -that everything (especially morality, religion, I guess) can be explained in, more often than not, a simply unwarranted extrapolation of Darwinian evolution and brain-scanning techniques. Here’s one of his good talks: This is fallacious on at least two grounds (1) On Dr Tallis’ critique and (2) Even if true, ethicist William Sorely said “the fundamental error of all these approaches is that they confuse the subjective origin of our moral judgments and the objective value to which the judgments refer. Just because the origin of our moral judgments can be historically or sociologically [socio-biologically, culturally] explained does not mean there are no objective, corresponding values in reality.” Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year, man!

        3. The author of this blog has characterized the book as the “New Ten Commandments.” This is inaccurate. The title of the book is:
          “Atheist Mind, Humanist Heart: Rewriting the Ten Commandments for the Twenty First Century.” In the text, they call them “Ten Non-Commandments.”

          I may be leading a sheltered life, but the only people I have seen acting like rabid fruit loops, who scream for horrific violence to be inflicted on people are the fundamentalist Islamic clerics and Christian Evangelists of the far right. I haven’t seen any prophets of the open mind strapping on any suicide vests.

    2. Let me chime in with my own interpretation of these modern commandments.

      1. Be open-minded and be willing to alter your beliefs with new evidence.
      – Even the Bible says “test everything” and “test the spirits whether they are from God.” Also, “everything is permissible, but not everything is beneficial,” and so on. There is still a spirit of inquisitiveness and questioning in the Bible. It does not encourage blind obedience to an autocratic deity, rather it requires you use the faculties given you (or evolved in you) to think.

      2. Strive to understand what is most likely to be true, not to believe what you wish to be true.
      – This statement is merely because people want their version of reality to be followed by others. “I reject your reality and therefore substitute my own” has to be dropped as an attitude. This statement also still depends on one idea: that there is still something that IS absolutely true. For example, if you see the sky is blue, you can’t say the sky is pink, or you’d be lying. So this commandment is not about WHAT is true, but HOW to get there.

      3. The scientific method is the most reliable way of understanding the natural world.
      – No complaint here, that’s a way to “test everything.”

      4. Every person has the right to control of their body.
      – God certainly doesn’t come down to hold a stop sign in front of you or pushes you back. We have free will for that purpose.

      5. God is not necessary to be a good person or to live a full and meaningful life.
      – This may be subjective. I for one hold that my belief in God makes me a better person, but I will remember that being that better person is the goal.

      6. Be mindful of the consequences of all your actions and recognize that you must take responsibility for them.
      – That is what my religion (or personal belief, at least) teaches me.

      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.
      – Matt. 7:12 – Do to others what you would want them to do to you.

      8. We have the responsibility to consider others, including future generations.
      – For Christians, Jesus says the 10 Commandments are actually replaced by two commandments that embody the spirit rather than the word of the law. Aside from loving God with all your heart, you are to love your fellow man with all you heart to. For me, this eighth commandment is part of this second “new commandment” of Jesus.

      9. There is no one right way to live.
      – This again refers to people who want impose their will on others. Yes, we Christians believe that there is no other way to salvation than through Christ… but that’s for salvation. If you want to be a better person, of course, there are many ways to do that.

      10. Leave the world a better place than you found it.
      – Obvious thing to me.

      I just see the common theme in the modern comments is that it is against trying to control another person. That is obviously something that is wrong and violative of God’s creation of free will in us. Or it just violates what our real nature is. I don’t see much of a conflict between this and my belief system.

  10. My comments comes from a Christian perspective.

    1. Be open-minded and be willing to alter your beliefs with new evidence.

    This is only applicable to scientific theories and things that are not yet 100% fully certain.

    The first Biblical commandment:
    You shall have no other gods before Me.
    Is a logical command for men to follow from a creator who is one. There is no such a thing as other gods besides the creator, in the Biblical revelation of who is God.

    2. Strive to understand what is most likely to be true, not to believe what you wish to be true.

    This is also applicable to atheists when they engage in debates of God’s existence.

    2nd commandment:
    You shall not make idols.
    There are so many idols, in carved figure, images, etc. Anything that grabs your attention or devotion to the most worthy one is an idol.

    3. The scientific method is the most reliable way of understanding the natural world.
    3rd Commandment:
    You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain.
    If God exists, then it would be understandable that he will not allow anyone to use his name for any evil purposes. As well as we cannot allow others to use our name for evil purposes.

    4. Every person has the right to control of their body.
    These are the reference of verses in the bible with regards to body mutilation:

    1 King 18 notes that self-mutilation is often ascribed to the worshipers of idols(eg. Baal) in the ancient world.

    4th commandment:
    Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.
    With Jesus Christ as my spiritual rest, this will not be taken literally, unless you are a Jew or one of the SDAs.

    5. God is not necessary to be a good person or to live a full and meaningful life.
    In a godless society, you should expect worst and not roses. I think, the author should also be aware that in the U.S., the Christians living there now were persecuted by new laws and policies with regards to how one will exercise his religious rights while doing business.

    5th commandment:
    Honor your father and your mother.
    Destroy the family, and you will end up destroying the whole society.

    6. Be mindful of the consequences of all your actions and recognize that you must take responsibility for them.
    But how can one be fully aware that his actions will not end in catastrophe given in the context of the previous commandments? See #1 and #4.

    6th Commandment:
    You shall not murder.

    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.
    A repeat of the golden rule.
    Love your neighbor as yourself. Much, much better.
    Think about their feelings.

    7th commandment:
    You shall not commit adultery.

    8. We have the responsibility to consider others, including future generations.
    So, atheists need also to consider the rights of Christians to exercise their faith. In the U.S. this was already violated.

    8th commandment:
    You shall not steal.

    9. There is no one right way to live.
    There was a time, when there is only one right way to live. And that time is now. A repentant heart and turning away from sinful ways. This commandment does not follow of what was stated in #8.

    9th Commandment:
    You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.

    10. Leave the world a better place than you found it.

    10th commandment:
    You shall not covet.

  11. Atheism is laying the groundwork for a Vatican announcement in 2016 that: “man was not created by God and that man has no soul”.

  12. Hey, Can somebody fucking address the philippines patriotic textbooks. pre-school, elementary, AND Highschool. After I fucking read some of the paraghraphs, Filipino, Science, and Ofcourse CLE It’s mind controlling. Turning goddamn filipInos into patriotic pieces of shit. If I were in school I might go to the principals office. Because you can’t have your own beliefs. And just to let you know, When you whine you’re being called a ‘little b1tch’ yeh, many filipinos do that.

    1. @fuckingpatrioticbOOks: The author presents an analysis of two books currently in use for social studies in the first year of high school:
      “Filipino Images- Culture of the Public World” by Niels Mulder
      (New Day Publishers, Quezon City, Philippines, 2000

      1. @Sea Bee

        Proper way to me, is my way…of course. It is my way, not your way…
        It is my belief and opinion.

        If your proper way is the:enslaving of women; taking of hostages for ransom;cutting the heads of people, sowing war, hate, religious bigotry, prejudices, etc…

        Then, I will not subscribe your way…

        1. @Hayden Toro uh8: Dig deeper. What you believe is not in question; but rather the nature of “belief” itself.

  13. In fairness to all; with malice towards none; it was a good discussion about , if God exists, or not. I rest my case with the following arguments, as a Technical man:

    How about those : radio waves; cyberwaves/space; RADAR waves; atoms; Higgs field; Higg’s Boson; photons; DNA; etc…Did humans created them? Or Humans just discovered them? Who put them there in proper working order?

    The distance of this Planet Earth from the Sun, is just the “right” distance. Too far from the Sun; we would had frozen to death. Too near; we would had been fried by Solar Flares.
    Who placed this Planet Earth in this proper (right) distance?

      1. Sea Bee

        There are still many mysteries, that we cannot comprehend. Our brains are to small to comprehend them.

        If we know , who made this maker…then, we would be Gods…miracles happen, and we cannot comprehend them. Prayers are answered, and we cannot understand , why they are answered…in life; there are:joy, sorrow, failures, success, tribulations, etc…we don’t know why they are there.

        I would have told you, if I know the reason for this…

  14. Filipinos are not very rational but rather emotional. And these are the educated bunch… which rather disappoints me. Getting them to follow these new commandments will be tricky since they want to follow their traditions and superstitions to the letter despite it being a cause of intense failure each and every time.

    The video below is from a videogame, but it illustrates the point very well.

  15. I am just wondering (not for the first time) if there will ever be a perfect world (an utopia?) without killing?
    Will there be the perfect world when we all are (roman) catholic; when we all are atheists? Or will there be a moment of perfectness when we just all accept each other, having all kinds of religions?

    There will always be envy and or jealousy as long as people earn different income (regardless of religion)
    There will always be envy and or jealousy as long as one person looks prettier (more beautiful) than the other.

    Personally, I dont believe in a communist system where each and everyone earn the same salary. It will hinder innovation and progress. And there will be no more ambition anymore.

    1. Killing is normal. Animals do it to each other all the time.It is only the human species that projects onto its environment and ‘determines’ what that environment is (and not the other way around ) which is actually what reality is.Humans are one screwy bunch.

      1. Animals are part of the food chain and need to kill to live and to survive. Human beings are not part of the food chain and therefore need not to kill (to live and to survive).

        1. WELL,it was not very long ago(in terms of how old mother earth is reported to be) that human beings had to hide in caves because they were very much a part of the food may also be a fact that today Lions seem to be not too picky when it comes to consuming meat, human or otherwise.Your point being what?

  16. How about these are ‘amendments’ to the original 10 commandments and make these 10 commandments #’s 11 through 20, and keep everybody happy !!!!

  17. Like any game (soccer, basketball..), life, I suppose, has rules. But, life being more complicated, I suppose the boundaries cannot just be defined by a 4-sided rectangular playing field as that of soccer, but by a ten-sided boundary that is not plain, but multi-dimensional. And, if we try to imagine this boundary, we will see a ten sided object more like a ball. And, if we try to imagine the original ten commandments as the boundaries of life, then the playing field would be outside of the ball, here the inside of the ball is hell, or the out of bounds play.

    If we suspend anything religious, and think just as a plain humanist, then the ten rules of the above essay may be pictured as tickets to get back in the game, or using our earlier image, a way of getting from the inside of the ball, or hell, to the outside where freedom can be found, and where life should be. Hahaha.

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