Quite some time ago, when I first started blogging, on that other platform, I decided not to discuss religion. It can be an intense stimulus for argument and evangelistic discourse. Yet recently I came across an article on CNN about the Atheist Non Commandments, that I knew I would eventually have to explore. I had decided back then to write a post about this, but had put it on the back burner. We all know what happens when you do that, it gets pushed aside and shoved out of the way, until the importance fades. Today though, I’m going to pull that little item back up to the front burner, and turn up the heart some while I stir it up to see what flavors come forth.
Tonight, while perusing my feed reader, I stumbled across a new find. Just Plain Ol’ Vic, had done an article on this very subject, Ten Non – Commandments. I liked the way he had written his post, and decided it was time for me to explore my own ideas.
I have never been a religious person. As a matter of fact you could almost say I’m anti – religious. What I mean is that organized religion, any of them, has shown me far too much greed, double standards, and hypocritical behavior. I spent a good number of years wearing a badge and gun, enforcing the law, a story for another time. What my time as an L.E.O. showed me, was that some of the worst offenders of all laws, both written and moral, were the same people that got up in church on Sunday morning, proclaiming their righteousness. This, along with several other reasons turned me away from religion.
My personal beliefs are not in a single deity, creator of all, but more along the lines of a paganism belief. Not a series of gods, but the spirit of all things. Trees have a spirit, the wind has a spirit, all things have a spirit, and at times it can be felt. At the same time, I believe in evolution and the progression of life along that path, science. Ok, enough with my belief structure, that is not what I’m writing about. I just thought it pertinent to put it out there for examination.
The CNN article stated that there had been an increase in atheism, or non believers, nearly 40 percent increase. Atheists and Agnostics have created their own “church” where people of similar mind can gather and congregate. This movement has become so prevalent that a college professor and a humanist Chaplin, Lex Bayer and John Figdor, wrote a book to try to define the basis of beliefs for this grouping of people. Atheists Mind, Humanists Heart, The Huffington Post calls it
a kind of philosophical roadmap to essential beliefs for nonbelievers.
I like article from the Huffington Post because it has their first draft of the Non Commandments. The one they wrote prior to creating a competition that resulted in the latest rendition. They wrote the book because
“There are lots of books out there about why you should not believe in God,” Bayer said. “But there aren’t any about what do secular people believe in. I think that’s the question John and I felt hadn’t been adequately addressed.”
I’m going to include both lists, I’m curious to see what reactions and comments I’ll be getting from this post.
The original Ten Non Commandments
I. The world is real, and our desire to understand the world is the basis for belief.
II. We can perceive the world only through our human senses.
III. We use rational thought and language as tools for understanding the world.
IV. All truth is proportional to the evidence.
V. There is no God.
VI. We all strive to live a happy life. We pursue things that make us happy and avoid things that do not.
VII. There is no universal moral truth. Our experiences and preferences shape our sense of how to behave.
VIII. We act morally when the happiness of others makes us happy.
IX. We benefit from living in, and supporting, an ethical society.
X. All our beliefs are subject to change in the face of new evidence, including these.
And the revised, after competition, Ten Non Commandments.
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.
Each one is unique and interesting in its own light. I feel like there are parts of each that I appreciate, and parts of each that don’t conform to my personal beliefs. I tend to veer away from ones that impose a steadfast “belief” that feels non negotiable. It makes me feel like I’m pushing a belief system on other people. That is one thing I can’t stand being done to me, so I would never do it to others. Both lists have valuable concepts, and are worth digesting and viewing from many different vantage points. Just Google Atheist Non Commandments, and you’ll have plenty of views to examine.