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article imageAtheists write their own Ten Commandments

By JohnThomas Didymus     Dec 22, 2014 in World
Atheists now have their own version of the Ten Commandments, or more precisely, what the organizers and judges of the Rethink Prize crowdsourcing project to codify statements summarizing the beliefs of atheists called "Ten Non-Commandments."
The Atheist Mind Humanist Heart’s crowdsourcing project to write the atheist "Ten Commandments" was conducted under "The Re-Think Prize" contest, and the final set of atheist commandments was chosen from submissions to the Atheist Mind Humanist Heart's website.
The submissions for the Atheist Ten Commandment contest were reviewed by 13 judges, including Mythbusters' Adam Savage.
The judges chose from over 2,800 submissions from 18 countries and 27 U.S. states, only those they thought best represented the atheistic worldview. Ten submissions were finally selected from 10 writers who split the contest prize of $10, 000.
A sample of submissions that failed to make the cut include:
Law of nature renders god superfluous. (Andishe Azadi)
If space and time are infinite then there should be a reality where space and time are not infinite. (Dennis Kunichoff)
The strong should protect the weak. (Curtis Cole)
Every human being has the right to a dignified life. The job of government and society is to protect life and maximize human dignity. (Peter Katzenfisch)
Don't anthropomorphize the spirit of goodness. Personify it in yourself. Let goodness thrive in you, & serve its personification in others. (Donald Kronos)
The submissions that were finally codified as the Atheist Ten Commandments are:
1. Be open-minded and be willing to alter your beliefs with new evidence. (Jeremy Jimenez)
2. Strive to understand what is most likely to be true, not to believe what you wish to be true. (Matthew Main)
3. The scientific method is the most reliable way of understanding the natural world. (Isaiah Jackson)
4. Every person has the right to control of their body. (Chris Lager)
5. God is not necessary to be a good person or to live a full and meaningful life. (John Roso)
6. Be mindful of the consequences of all your actions and recognize that you must take responsibility for them. (Jamie Andrews)
7. Treat others as you would want them to treat you, and can (3) reasonably expect them to want to be treated. Think about their perspective. (Carol Fly)
8. We have the responsibility to consider others, including future generations. (Michael Marr)
9. There is no one right way to live. (Eli Chisholm)
10. Leave the world a better place than you found it. (Maury McCoy)
The decision to hold the contest followed publication of a book titled "Atheist Heart, Humanist Mind," by AirBnB’s Lex Bayer and John Figdor, a humanist chaplain at Stanford University. In the book, the authors spelled out their own ten atheist "non-commandments."
According to Bayer, writing the book gave him the opportunity to clarify his own beliefs and after the experience, he thought that a contest for atheists would benefit others in the same way that writing the book benefited him.
"A lot of atheists' books are about whether to believe in God or not. We wanted to consider: OK, so you don't believe in God, what's next? And that's actually a much harder question," he said.
In an article published in Time, Bayer and Figdor wrote:
"While there are hundreds if not thousands of books about what atheists don’t believe in, including religion, God, and supernaturalism, there has been comparatively little attention paid to what atheists and humanists do believe. We wrote our book in hopes not only of educating people about the positive beliefs and values of the nonreligious, but also of inspiring other nonbelievers to come out and share their beliefs and values."
The two authors also explained in a post to Reddit the need for atheists to state clearly their beliefs to avoid religious people spreading wrong information about atheist:
"Did you know that polling shows forty-five million Americans consider themselves non-religious? This number is on the rise, with a third of adults under the age of thirty self-identifying as non-believers. With atheism replacing religion for so many, the question arises: what do atheists believe in?"
Crowdsourcing the project for the Atheist Ten Commandments appears to make the process antithetical to that through which the biblical Ten Commandments was derived. But the old Latin saying, vox populi, vox dei, expresses the essential equivalence of the two acts. Secularist scholars have long held that claiming that the biblical commandments came straight from God was a traditional culture's way of legitimizing what, in fact, were man-made laws that reflected the best and most enlightened of the social, ethical and moral standards of ancient Hebrew culture.
But the Atheist Ten Commandments could be seen as expressing the fact that not believing in God or the divine should not be equated with lacking a sense of moral-ethical standards, as religious people have claimed for centuries, even though history is replete with evidence that religious morality and ethics are susceptible to catastrophic failure in crusade orgies of horrific cruelty and wanton bloodshed ostensibly sanctified by God.
Only last week, a group of crazed God-loving, God-inspired Boko Haram militants filmed themselves shooting unarmed elderly civilians because they were "infidels."
Their leader proclaimed proudly to the world:
"We have made sure the floor of this hall is turned red with blood, and this is how it is going to be in all future attacks and arrests of infidels. From now, killing, slaughtering, destruction and bombing will be our religious duty anywhere we invade."
An alternative approach to morality and ethics appears long overdue. Religious morality has demonstrated a capacity for undiluted evil.
More about Ten Commandments, Atheists, rethink project, Ten NonCommandments, Atheist Mind Humanist Heart
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