Tuesday, November 11, 2008

My Version of The Ten Commandments

[Jack O'Neill and Sam Carter discuss the scriptures in the Stargate SG-1 episode "The First Commandment" - Image credit: Screenshot by Cujo359]

Dana Hunter is really busy these days trying to write a book that explains atheism to theists. That sounds like quite a challenge, and I wish her luck. While discussing her progress today, she referred to the Ten Commandments. She also mentioned that many Christians don't know what the commandments are, yet are willing to make us look at them in public buildings.

Since there still seem to be people who insist that the only way to morality is through their religion, I thought I'd have a little fun rewriting the Ten Commandments for a secular audience. As you may remember, I discussed the subject of how the First Commandment, "I am the Lord thy God and thou shalt have no other gods before me" could be applied to a secular understanding of morality. Of course, four of the Ten are about religion, including the First. So we'll deal with those first, in a suitably bold font:

1. You will worship no gods. Don't get the idea you should be worshipped, either. Above all, think for yourself.

2. Worshipping idols is just as bad as having gods. If you worship some thing more than your own life or the people you care about, get some counseling.

3. Take a day off once in a while. All work and no play is not a good lifestyle. If it's always Sunday or Saturday, that's OK by me.

4. Be careful what you say. Some words can't be taken back.

And now, what I often refer to as the Bottom Six, since those are rules that it would probably be a good idea to try to live by anyway. Since no one understands what "coveting" is, and "adultery" and "thy neighbor's ass" have a slightly different meaning than they did three thousand years ago, we need a little bit of updating:

5. Don't kill people or animals unless you have to in order to survive. If you have to, keep the carnage and pain to a minimum.

6. Don't steal from them, either.

7. Don't be envious of your neighbors or friends. They have their own problems. They're just not yours. If you borrow their stuff, give it back.

8. Someone who will leave their partner for you will probably leave you, too. Do you want to break up a friendship for a quickie?

9. Honor your mother and father. Call them once in a while.

10. The truth is often harder to speak than a lie, but it's also easier to remember. People will usually trust you more if you tell the truth. So start early. Make it a habit.

Let's see if Lynn Westmoreland is willing to put these up in the Capitol Rotunda. Bet he can't remember them, either.

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