10 Commandments for atheists

Two atheists got together recently to write the 10 commandments or “non-commandments” as they call them, for atheists. No. 1 on their list: “The world is real, and our desire to understand the world is the basis for belief.”

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.



27 thoughts on “10 Commandments for atheists

  1. The great aspect about them is that is those peoples personal thoughts.
    The really bad aspect is believers are attacking those with the balls to speak their own mind.
    Just look at what comes about from not being able to speak your own mind .
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Giordano_Bruno .
    Even more shocking the guy was perfectly correct .
    So if you believe those around you should be told and forces to “SHUT UP/
    how long before some comes a knocking at your door telling you to fall into line .
    The only difference between IS and those who killed Giordano Bruno is time .


    • Giordano stood on the shoulders of Copernicus and Copernicus stood on the shoulders of Islamic astronomers such as Naṣīr al-Dīn al-Ṭūsī and Ibn al-Shāṭir.


      • Don
        Fancy not giving credit to anyone who dares put their life on the line and losing it .
        Was Copernicus ,Naṣīr al-Dīn al-Ṭūsī and Ibn al-Shāṭirexicuted at the same line up .
        The only thing that upset the religions was the supposed importance of man .
        Religions are all about man that,s why there are so many versions of belief .

        If everyone had your attitude how much knowledge would there be ?today


      • I am giving credit where credit is due. Giordano gave up his life in the pursuit of knowledge but he got to his level of knowledge from giants before him. Before Muslims become like the froth of the sea with no substance (as predicted by Muhammad pbuh), they were pulling the world out of the dark ages.

        I see the hidden persuaders book has persuaded you to take a certain course in your life. Not an entirely bad way to be, questioning everything, as long as you question with empathy. I am curious to know what you think my attitude is ?


      • Yes, and Nasir al – Din al – Tusi worked from empirical evidence as opposed to his predecessors who were influenced by the astronomy of the greek philosophers.
        Christianity also had a problem with greek philosophy. Nowhere in the bible is astronomy particularly addressed, but because the Catholic Church was heavily influenced by pagan greek philosophy, it put Gallileo under house arrest and Giordano Bruno to death, because their works did not agree with greek pagan philosophy.


    • davinci,Don and anyone else :-
      The one and only reason the put him to death was his thought put man so so so way down in priority and significance.
      Religions are nothing more than clubs of “MAN IS GREAT” almost as great as what could have made every thing “JUST FOR MAN “


      • bryanpattersonfaithworks
        on November 25, 2014 at 16:15 said:
        AT, It’s DOM not DON
        “Aaaaaaaah ”
        What a catastrophe !!!
        A One finger typist and the other hand holding a magnifying lens pushes the “NEXT” button on the keyboard .
        Just how petty can you be !!
        Remove entire passages that highlight uncomfortable ideas or even not post them .
        Push the net button and it is if a ICBM had been launched .


      • Another person making sweeping judgement from ignorance.

        The universe we live in, is just one of seven. The comparison in size of this universe to the next universe is similar in comparison to the size of a dime in a desert. There are seven of these. Now God telling me that makes me feel small not great.


    • The most interesting of these ‘Commandments’ as far as I am concerned, is the tenth one. It appears to me like a unique open-minded scientific position, that will not be shared with most religious folk.

      I recall some few years back, in a debate with my Presbyterian minister friend (now retired) I finished by declaring quite cheerfully, that out of the two of us, it would always be far more likely that I might change my mind at some time in the future, than that he would. I dont really think that he got the point, when he agreed with me about it.

      To this day, I still leave things open to change. I can only be totally honest about things in the way that I see and experience them at the present. Heaven only knows just what my convictions might be in the several years that I have left. In the process of looking around at the people I get to know, I see strong convictions in most of them, and convictions that are many and varied in their religious and spiritual pursuits. Among them I see decency and good ethics, love and caring as well as strong efforts to help and improve the lot of their fellows. I can see the divine in them all.

      Cheers, Rian.


      • I interupt this programme for a commercial. Well actually, I want to mention a book I just read that is very instructive as well as fascinating. I must advise that it is NOT a book by or for atheists or dissenters. It is by Ian Bradley, a reader in Church History and an Anglican Chaplain. A paperback and I bought it from Book Grocers, a chain of discount booksellers, of which there are a few in Melbourne. I first found their shop in Russell St. All their books sell at $10 each or less. Loads of great historical books are a speciality with them.

        The title is The Call to Seriousness (The evangelical impact on the Victorians.) It describes the profound influence during the first half of the 19th century that Evangelicalism had in England. Accounts of men like Wilberforce, Shaftsbury, Raikes etc., along with the many social reforms they brought about. Very scholarly, and a great read. Christians in this forum will find it valuable and inspiring.

        (Bryan, hope you dont mind me advertising here. But as my friends all know, I’m an enthusiast who’s always recommending books that I’ve been reading. And I’m not connected with the book shop!)
        Cheers Rian.


  2. II. We can perceive the world only through our human senses.

    Where does conscience fall into this commandment. Is it seeing, hearing, touching, or feeling?


    • davinci,
      Conscience is not of ‘the world’ surely. It develops via our experiences and preferences, as well as from the principles we are taught by our parents and instructors. It can of course go completely awry because of this. Observation of the people in the world soon convinces one that conscience can vary enormously among folk.


      • davinci,
        further to my last comment, I would remind you that there are Psychopaths and Sociopaths around the world who exhibit no conscience whatsoever. so much for any idea that conscience is universal. actually too, I recall reading some Evangelical writers who made the specific point that Conscience is not at all absolute or universal in the principles is appears to inspire in people. The things that disturb the conscience of old time Catholics would never bother the conscience of old time Protestants, etc.


      • Rian,
        Coming from a part of the world where Christianity was persecuted by atheists (under communism) I can testify to the fact that many people were quite happy to persecute Christians in the beginning due to their learned experiences, the political environment, and indoctrination against Christianity. But then when they had to do it themselves, conscience magically appeared and tended to take over putting the person who was perpetrating the persecution in conflict with his learned experiences. If that persecutor gave in to his conscience, he became a Christian. If he didn’t, he became a psychopath.

        A strong example conscience kicking in despite learned experiences and environment is seen in the movie documentary “At the end of the spear”.

        God said in the beginning to Adam and Eve that He would put enmity against the seed of the woman and the serpent. We believe that this is what is called conscience, and this leads us to resist evil despite environmental, cultural or any other learned experiences. This is wholly of God and does not occur naturally.


      • Rian,
        Jesus made it clear that the sin against the Holy Spirit is unpardonable. Why? Because it is the role of the Holy Spirit to convict the world of sin. The best way of sinning against the Holy Spirit is to wilfully reject the enlightenment that one has received, until there can be no mediation by Christ for one, there can be no use of the Sacrifice of Jesus to cover and forgive one’s sin.

        I dare say that many things that used to bother the conscience of the Old Time Catholics and not Protestants stemmed from this rejection of scriptural light, until the Holy Spirit left them to their own perverted devices. And vice versa.


      • hi davinci,
        Tell you what. You have a go at answering my earlier question the other day about whether or not a person who converts from Islam to Christianity, can be described by you as a traitor to Islam. And then I’ll answer your little piece there about Conscience. Is it a deal?


  3. VII. There is no universal moral truth. Our experiences and preferences shape our sense of how to behave

    Are you as an atheist absolutely sure of that?


  4. VIII. We act morally when the happiness of others makes us happy.

    Really? Have a look at this example and tell me who is moral and who isn’t:

    Masochist – Hurt meeee! Pleaseeee hurt meee!
    Sadist – Hehehehehe! Nope!


    • Dont think it’s anything to do with morality there, davinci.

      Those cases of the Sadist and the Masochist are merely matters of neuroticism, and developed tricks of the mind gained over many years. Incidentally, that is quite a good old joke you quote.



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