10 Commandments for atheists: a guide for nonbelievers who want to explore their values

Print More
"Atheist Mind, Humanist Heart," book cover courtesy of Goldberg McDuffie Communications

"Atheist Mind, Humanist Heart," book cover courtesy of Goldberg McDuffie Communications

Active RNS subscribers and members can view this content by logging-in here.

(RNS) The goal of the book is to encourage atheists and humanists to define what they believe so they can articulate it better, both to themselves and to a broader society that often regards atheists as immoral and untrustworthy.

  • Larry

    As an atheist, I take exception to a good deal of the assertions of these 10 non-commandments. Its a little too wishy-washy on some points, way too vague on others.

    But the great thing about being an atheist is that I am not compelled to accept these rather arbitrary statements as a basis of my own behavior. I can figure it out for myself and don’t need to defer to authority on such subjects.

    I certainly believe in absolute moral truths. I just derive them from something other than vague pronouncements in ancient literary/mythical texts. Making people happy is not a major priority for myself. Not being a malicious harmful person to others is more clear objective.

    Something tells me this is a rough draft.

  • Frank

    Hmmm this is hilarious yet I don’t think it’s a joke. Sad.

  • samuel Johnston

    I can see such lists as useful political platforms, but like Larry, I prefer to figure some things out myself and leave other important questions unanswered.When I was in Florence this Fall, I attended 11:00 mass in a beautifully constructed and decorated church. The organ was grand, the soloist, wonderful, and the attendance sparse (about 20). Happily I do not understand Italian, so the spoken propaganda was lost on me. My thoughts were my own and I began to think of the effect of beauty on our perceptions and moods. Presently I was jarred back to reality by the mean looking old priest who was, judging from his tone and gestures, giving a most stern lecture to these – mostly old women-in attendance. That disgusted me and broke the spell, so I left. Like Omar Khayyám, I left by the same door I had entered.

  • “No. 2 on the list: “We can perceive the world only through our human senses.”

    This is why we need the LHC to get indirect proof of the existence if the Higgs boson, right? And what about the existence of universes which can only be described mathematical terms? Could you spell non-euclidean geometries? I stop reading after number 2..

    “Viva Cristo Rey!!”

  • samuel Johnston

    @Deacon Harbey,
    You obviously stopped thinking as well.

  • Larry

    If you are describing something in mathematical terms, you are perceiving it through your senses. Mathematics don’t just pop in your head, they are represented on a page. 🙂

    “Could you spell non-euclidean geometries? ”

    Let me guess, HP Lovecraft fan. 🙂

    Don’t feel too bad, I thought it went off the rails by number 4.

  • Non Euclidian Geometries (NEGs) where first postulated by Gauss. They are derived by ignoring Euclid’s 5th postulate which states that parallel lines never intersect. They could be hyperbolic or elliptic. They only exist in the minds of Geometers.

    Larry said:”If you are describing something in mathematical terms, you are perceiving it through your senses.”

    This statement is false. Our senses are 5: Smell, taste, touch, sound and vision You do not need to engage any of these to describes NEGs, or any other cognitive construct which only exists in the mind. By this definition unicorns could be perceived by our scenes too.

    And before you say “yeah but unicorns do not exist”. Unlike unicorns which are just created for entertainment, non-euclidean geometries have found uses in cosmology and kinematics. Although they do not exist in creation they are as real as 2+2=4. So there is much more out in creation than what we can perceive by our “senses”, which invalidates commandment 2 of the original article.

    (Don’t get me started with Cantor’s Transfinite numbers 🙂 )

    “Viva Cristo Rey!!”

  • Larry

    I see the Lovecraft reference was a fail. Oh well.

    How do you perceive mathematical constructs? Does it just pop in your head? You see it on a page or screen. Through your sense of sight (or touch if you are blind). If you can represent thoughts to others, you do so through medium perceived through your senses.

    I know a mathematical construct can exist because I can see one and work out the details in some representation for others to perceive as well in a visual sense or through the sense of hearing as I explain it orally.

    As for non-euclidean geometries those exist and can be perceived as well. Non-Euclidean merely means changing or replacing basic axioms of a geometry system. Plenty of people have done this. Like all forms of mathematical constructs, one perceives it visually mostly.

    You are simply trying to find the most obscure point to take issue with. There are far more substantive things to criticize this list for.

  • “How do you perceive mathematical constructs? Does it just pop in your head? You see it on a page or screen.Through your sense of sight (or touch if you are blind).”

    Larry, let me stop you right there. (I suspect you are way beyond our depth here) Take it from an engineer with a degree in mathematics. That is not the way math works. Math is a language we use to describe the universe and how it behaves, nothing more and nothing else. The Roman numeral “V” symbolizes the same quantity as the ASCII symbol “5”. They describe the same quantity which is an idea in our minds.

    Let me give you another example. Transcendental numbers such as Pi (the ratio of a circle’s circumference to its diameter), “e” (Euler’s number), or “i” the (square root of -1) do not exists in nature. The symbols we use are approximations for these ideas. You can not say look the length of this ruler is precisely “PI”. (Actually if you state this in any mathematical forum, you might end up sent back to grade school!) Transcendental numbers exists in our minds as concepts and can not be perceived by our senses since they are infinite sequences of numbers, or in the case of “i” are an impossibility.

    “Viva Cristo Rey!!”

  • “You are simply trying to find the most obscure point to take issue with. There are far more substantive things to criticize this list for.”

    Not at all. The article states that:

    “We can perceive the world only through our human senses.”

    “Only” excludes any other ways of perceiving the world. I provided a few examples of entities which are part of our world but can only be perceived through the power of our mind and not through our senses.

    “Viva Cristo Rey!!”

  • Larry

    “(I suspect you are way beyond our depth here)”

    No Harbey, I just know a spurious argument when I see one and I am not taking you seriously in the slightest.

    You miss the point in an effort to sound stenorian. One perceives mathematics and can communicate its meaning, through representation in medium perceived by our senses. Yes much of it is in your head and requires conceptual thinking. But like all ideas it requires being reduced to a sensory dependent medium to get it from your head to that of someone else.

    Math is a language, you said so. Language is a form of communication relying on sensory reception.

    Of course the point of “non-commandment 2” is to say (in a rather in a rather inartful and hamfisted fashion) is to refute the necessity of metaphysical ruminations. Asserting what many refer to as Materialistic Naturalism.

    Again, your point is not even remotely the most relevant criticism that the list has.

  • Larry

    Out of all the things that list can be criticized for, that has to be the most silly and least important.

    Yes you can have thoughts running around in your head like an epileptic hamster on an exercise wheel, but how are you going to get them out of there and show others what you mean? How do you transmit them?

  • I don’t like these Non-Commandments.
    I especially don’t like this one:

    V. “There is no God”

    That is a claim. And I don’t see how you can prove it.
    And it therefore may not be true.
    I don’t accept claims unless they can be demonstrated to be true.

    It is much better to say,

    “There appears to be no god, no good reason to believe in gods and no good reason to think there is any harm in ignoring gods.”

    I’ll take the $10,000 now.

    For Peace, Love and the Separation of Church and State.
    Question Religious claims.

  • samuel Johnston

    Back to the article:
    “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 object to term “belief”. It is far to strongly associated with the Christian notion
    of allegiance to a set of speculative propositions, which they demand that “believers” accept as “true”, in the most absolute sense. I have no such allegiance to any idea or set of premises. Nor do I want any.
    Take the notion that their god loves you. I think the jury is still definitely out on that one. (Hi Max).

  • dmj76

    You mean people who are not religious may not use the word believe?
    It is an old, convenient word we have been using in non-religious ways for a long time.
    I believe if I had been an English major I would have been more articulate.
    I believe my parents wanted to do the right thing for their kids.
    I believe the people who think Obama is an agent of the Devil are mistaken.

  • Doc Anthony

    Question for you: On what rational basis do you say “there appears to be no god”?

    Have you accessed all possible avenues of knowledge concerning the existence of God, AND have you demonstated that each possible avenue does NOT contain even an inferential indication of the existence of God?


  • samuel Johnston

    @ dmj76
    “A man has to believe in something- I believe I will have another drink!”
    – from an old T-shirt
    Words have meanings in context. Do you “believe in God’s Grace?”. “Do you swear to tell the truth?” and so on, are serious matters- to some.
    In a trivial context, all words are trivial. If nothing matters to you, then you have no values, and likely no strong feelings either. In such case, one is almost dead anyway.

  • Doc Anthony

    Your last sentence is correct Larry. Everything from #4 on down to #10, can be rationally demonstated as a FAIL in one way or another. This book is NO good for rational truth-seekers of any label.

    Just as an appetizer, Commandment #4 is a clear FAIL,

    For example, the claim that life on earth originated via evolving from non-living chemicals — (commonly taught to science students as “prebiotic chemical evolution”) — not only suffers from massive lack of evidence, but also from science evidences that actually CONTRADICT the claim itself (such as huge numbers of destructive chemical cross-reactions that would produce tons of tar and goop, killing the “warm little pond” process all by itself, thus ensuring that the first living cell NEVER evolves into existence.)

    It also doesn’t help that geologists have searched for “Primordial Soup” traces in Pre-Cambrian rocks and have NEVER found any at all. No Soup means no luck baby.

    Yet prebiotic chemical evolution is taught as truth to high school science students every day, even though the actual searched-out evidence is ZERO. Hence Commandment #4 is refuted.

    We all want to deal in truth, deal in facts, as much as humanly possible. The fact is that this new Atheist book is NO GOOD. That’s a fact !!!!

  • Larry

    Well I wasn’t expecting YOU to like it. I was thinking in terms of philosophical truth. Obviously you missed the point.

    Given your tendency to engage in the fiction known as creationism, I will just characterize your take on science as dishonest bullcrap from someone uninterested in facts. Stuff slung by someone who feels the need to deny their faith in public in order to support their religious belief in a quixotic fashion.

    Does God like it when you make stuff up?

  • Larry

    Got evidence for the existence of God? Nope.

    That is why your religious belief depends on faith. You just got to believe. Even when you have no sane or rational reason to.

    I can see why the fiction of creationism is so popular with some people. Faith alone is unsatisfying for immature types. They don’t like being kept in suspense or having to rely on so little for something they value so much. So in turn they feel the need to make crap up and spin lies to pretend their religious belief doesn’t require faith. Religion for the retarded.

  • @Doc,

    “Have you accessed all possible avenues of knowledge concerning the existence of God”

    I have accessed enough to say that i do not believe a god is real.

    It is not my responsibility to produce evidence for a god – it is your responsibility to produce that evidence.

    If I claim a Leprechaun stole your car, I have to produce evidence why I said the word “Leprechaun”. Was it green? Did it wear a little hat? did it have a little beard? That sort of thing.

    If you say “God”did it – I need to see why you used that word ‘God.’ Because YOU are the one using that word, you are the one who must explain what told you it was a GOD.

    People such as yourself keep refusing to explain why you use the word God to explain things. Then you pretend it is my job to look for the god!
    Just prove your god. It shouldn’t be difficult to prove the biggest, most amazing, most perfect Creator in the universe exists!

    Yet you never have succeeded.

  • Regarding #1 there is nothing under belief. Beliefs are attempts to fill the void, the emptiness ‘Adam’ discovered when ‘Eve’ asked “Why am I?”. Nothing can. The only thing this entire new list does is create more conflict. http://www.thelastwhy.ca/poems/2007/9/2/beliefs.html

  • Hi Atheist Max
    In reply to who’s responsibility is it to prove there is a God, I believe it is the atheist who should.
    In order for atheists to believe, there has to be evidence to support that fact; you need data ( ones and zeros) and for religious people, we only need faith to believe. So for you to say there is no God, then shouldn’t you have data (ones and zeros) to support such a claim? As your ‘belief’ is based on scientific evidence?

    With that said, I think we should respect our choices when it comes to religion, or lack there of.

    There is no prove that God doesn’t exist and therefore cannot say He doesn’t exist.

    There are things in life that we ALL believe in but we can never materially hold nor prove.

  • I think the most interesting thing is that one version of atheism has started an apologetics tradition.

  • Larry

    No evidence exists for the existence of God. No evidence can produced for the existence of God. Therefore no need to bother proving God’s lack of existence.

    You rely on faith for your belief for a good reason. because you can’t prove ever that God exists. Faith is belief in the lack of evidence. Requiring others to disprove the existence of God is to dishonestly deny the necessity of your own faith.

    Unlike Max I really don’t care what choices you make concerning religion. I care how people act in accordance with it.

  • Pingback: Artists Beware; the Philosopher ain’t square … continued | SPIR()

  • St. Thomas Aquinas would agree with I., II., and III. What are these guys, closet Thomists??? Aquinas says that we know about the world through the evidence of our senses. We acquire knowledge by inspecting reality—things as they actually are. It is, therefore, most important to pay rigorous attention to the world around us, to make sure we perceive it accurately, and to think about what we see and hear. It’s our duty to observe the world and learn about it. Why? Because it is real and God is in the real. Because we infer the nature of God by looking at the world around us. Aquinas starts by centering God in the known universe and derives his thought from the evidence of life. His thought is grounded in what we can perceive and about which we can reason.

    He would disagree with IV., V. (obviously!) and VII. The others, agree, but stipulate it’s not the whole story.

    “To know something with the mind is to understand what it is; so the mind is fulfilled to the degree to which it knows what things are. … We call it wonder and it drives us to investigate until we are satisfied with our understanding of what that cause is. For complete happiness then the mind wants to know the nature of the first cause of everything.”
    – Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologica, 1a2ae. 3. 8

    “We should state quite simply that every act of will against reason, whether in the right or in the wrong, is always bad.”
    – Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologica, 1a2ae. 19. 5

  • Doc Anthony

    Oh, so I made up something there, Larry? Please demonstrate.

    Show me that a single sentence — just one — of what I said about the current situation involving prebiotic chemical evolution, is “Made Up.”

    Take your time, of course.

  • @Thandeka,

    I didn’t say “God does not exist”.
    I said “I DO NOT BELIEVE it exists.” I am not claiming a God to be impossible.

    There is clearly no reason to believe in your god if you can’t provide a good reason for it to other people.

    Explain the God you claim exists. The assertion that “God Exists” is coming from you. You are making the claim.

    I don’t say your claim is not true – I say I SEE NO REASON TO BELIEVE YOUR CLAIM.

    If you tell me a Leprechaun drank my coffee, I have to know why you used the word “Leprechaun” to describe what you saw. The burden is on you because you used the word “Leprechaun”.

    Same with God.
    If you say “God” did it. I need to know why you used the word “God” – how do you know it was a god who did whatever it is you are talking about?

    If the wind blows over a tree and you say “God” did it – I need to know why you can’t say “The Wind” did it!
    I need to know why you say God when there is no demonstration for it.

    The burden of proof is always on the person who makes the claim.
    I made no claim. I just do not believe YOUR claim.

  • Ben in Oakland

    I. The world is real, and our desire to understand the world is the basis for belief.”

    The world is real, indeed. Our desire to understand the world is the basis for belief, also indeed. But the two have very little, if anything to do with each other. Reality is not required for belief, else there wouldn’t be 10,000 dead religions. Belief isn’t required for reality, other than to believe it’s real.

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

    Nonsense. Half of theoretical physics is inferred from what we can experience. Science is a process of abstraction form what we can observe. If I find a star, and describe its magnitude, size, distance from the earth, color, etc., have I described the star? Or have I abstracted it to the point where I can understand it? If I remove those qualities, what’s left? Seems a contradiction of #1.

    III. We use rational thought and language as tools for understanding the world.

    Sometimes we use intuition. But we’re getting closer. And of course, a lot of people don’t use rational thought, facts, logic, or experience, and they are absolutely certain that they have described reality.

    IV. All truth is proportional to the evidence.

    Seems like you just contradicted #5.

    V. There is no God.

    Maybe there is, maybe there isn’t. Maybe it’s the Christian God, maybe it isn’t. According to the testimony of 2/3 of the world, it isn’t. #4 just got contradicted. Or maybe the question just doesn’t matter. If god is the omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent deity that Christianity postulates– though he isn’t, because even he has rules he must follow– or if he doesn’t exist, the world would be exactly what it is right now. Not a sparrow falls, but the Lord knows it. but the sparrow still falls.

    VI. We all strive to live a happy life. We pursue things that make us happy and avoid things that do not.

    This isn’t even close to true, not without defining happiness to include dysfunction, addiction, mental illness, self hatred, and a host of other human conditions which people deliberately choose, even knowing that the choice will make them unhappy.

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

    Maybe, maybe not. The closest I’ve been able to come is “do as you would be done by”, “strive to harm no one, and make amends if you do”, and “good is better than evil because it’s nicer.”

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

    Too many qualifications to count.

    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.

    Only if IX is true. Only if actual evidence is preferred to belief. Only if we know what constitutes evidence, and apply the same standard across the board.

  • Ben in Oakland

    ““We should state quite simply that every act of will against reason, whether in the right or in the wrong, is always bad.”

    Well, so much for this :”Greater love has no man than this: that he lay down his life for his friends.”

    It’s a great argument against the existence of the Christian god.

    This is why I don’t take ancient Christian philosophers seriously.

  • Ben in Oakland

    You misunderstand atheism entirely. I’m not an atheist because I BELIEVE there is no god. I am an atheist– well, strictly speaking, an it-doesn’t-matterist– because I have no belief that there IS a god. I haven’t seen any evidence for a god, other than the belief of the believers. There is a world of difference between the two statements.

    But 2/3 of the world thinks the Christian story is nonsense. So, on the basis of the evidence of 2/3 of the world, your belief is not based in reality.

  • Larry

    You did not make something up. You made EVERYTHING up.

    First off is that EVOLUTION HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH THE ORIGINS OF LIFE. So anything you stated about how life began could never be a criticism of evolution.

    Plus there is not one assertion you made which could be considered an accurate description of current scientific knowledge. You obviously don’t think your alleged scientific assertions are from sources anyone would consider credible, hence, lack of a link.

    As a Creationist you are automatically a liar. Its the nature of such assertions.

    You allegedly accept the premise that your Christian belief can be proven to be true in an objective, scientific manner. However you just railed against scientific methods. Ones that demand evidence as proof (# 4). So that was your first part of your lie.

    The other part of the lie is that if one honestly claims their Christian belief can be proven by scientific methods, they would also be willing to claim their Christian belief can be disproven by such methods. We both know you would never accept such a claim.

    So obviously there was never going to be a way to present a Creationist view in an honest fashion. One always has to assume a Creationist is a liar before they present anything.

  • ben in oakland

    Actually, WC Fields.

  • “Unlike Max I really don’t care what choices you make concerning religion. I care how people act in accordance with it.”

    Larry, Just to clarify.
    I don’t mind if people have religion. I also don’t care what choices people make within the law.
    I just insist that the US laws of separation be followed.

    Religion must stay out of our laws, away from our schools and away from other places it does not belong.

    In the meantime, yes, if someone is teaching unsupportable claims to children about Hell, Creationism or any other dishonesty, in my opinion they are contributing to ignorance and superstition.
    I respect their right to do it – but I’ll give no respect to the religion itself which compels them to preach this garbage.

  • samuel Johnston

    My apologies to Mr. Fields, a true philosopher. I had no intention of cheating that honest man.

  • Larry

    Another instance of the appalling “holier-than-though” atheistic attitude. Atheism is errant folly.
    1. Physicists are finding and more and more concluding that the world’s reality is not what it seems ( 2 dimensional; holographic; time illusion; and etc).
    2. Human senses, unlike human nonsense, is very to extremely limited: field of vision; range of vision and hearing relative the whole spectrum and continuum.
    3. Rational thinking is one of multiple ways of thinking and is not only thus limited but in itself is a limited tool for apprehending anything as it is subject to a multitude of errors and fallacies (rationalization, etc.). The short-comings of language are well documented. And language in itself changes reality ( e.g. the numerous Eskimo words for snow describe and open up a reality unseen by non natives).
    4. Truth is a standalone reality. It is not subject to beliefs of any kind. It is not subject to facts and/or even evidence. Certainly, all of these contribute to our comprehensive understanding of the truth. (Many people believe what they see and some do not. Many people see what they believe, and some do not. Some will always believe and some will never believe.)
    5. In the history of the peoples and societies of this planet, this is somewhat dated, but likely has not changed, only 1 society/people did not have a word or idea for god. The preponderance of evidence across peoples, lands, history and time points to a universal appreciation and belief for/in god(s). In addition this statement is a logical fallacy. Foolishness.
    6. Most animals will do similarly – seek and value pleasure and attempt to avoid pain and harm.
    7. Odd aren’t these 10 ‘non-commandments’ an attempt to universalize atheistic morals and values? This statement is also a logical fallacy. Experiences are the most convincing and often the most easily misunderstood occurrences (we can all readily think of examples of this). Preferences are often chosen but sometimes the preferences are gone past in favor of something more pressing or similar; and sometimes preferences are just whimsical. Behavioral commitment is necessary. Behavior based on experience and preferences will often make a mess of things (think trauma or prejudice for eg.).
    8. How happy can an atheist be making others happy! There are so many unhappy people in you building, or neighborhood, or community, or region, or state or land. This is a cliche’-filled and platitudinal position.
    9. Agreeable. You do benefit from our ethical society (strict Islamist would cut your head off). A reminder that most attribute the origin of ethics to some form of god(s) or God.
    10. Changed beliefs not based on apprehending/comprehending objective truth is a subjective exercise in instability (when the Islamic attackers come you can simply change what you believe, what you stand for, and who you are – and thus save your neck).

    To summarize post review: these 10 things are what I call “dribble-speak”.

  • JJ

    The real question is why these apply universally? They might be ok for the authors to believe by convention, but what makes them universal commandments? They are simply the opinions of two men among billions, and it needs to be recognized that there is NO reason why all people are bound by these “commands”.

  • Fitzhugh McGillicuddhy

    Mimes act from within mind boxes. Gurus build boxes for our minds.

  • Eric

    I don’t think that many atheists are looking for self-proclaimed “leaders” to tell them how to live a “proper atheistic life”.

    That’s religion.

  • Rich G

    As a Christian, I quite agree with Larry here. I see several of the “non-commandments” to be unsupported faith (or non-faith) statements. Neither the existence, nor the non-existence of God can be proven conclusively, and even the assertion that the only reality is what we can experience through our natural senses can’t.

  • Dawn

    I can get behind a lot of it but a code that is built solely on preferences and experiences leaves open the possibility of the violation of someone else. There needs to be clear components of right and wrong in our interactions with other other for a sound society with as much harmony as possible within it. I look forward to updates!

  • Rambo Tribble

    These “non-commandments” are, for the most part, simplistic, flaccid, and devoid of perspective. Pity those counselled with these insubstantial reflections.

  • Larry (the atheist one)

    @The other Larry

    Its amazing how dishonest religious people will get in their attempt to attack atheists and aggrandize themselves.

    1-3 Without the observation of your senses and rational thought you would not have the device you use to attack such things. There is nothing in science which can provide evidence of God. 🙂

    4 Truth as a standalone entity nothing more than an assertion. If it is not subject to belief and faith, then it has to be subject to evidence. No evidence can possibly exist for God. Because evidence requires the reliance of those senses and rational thoughts you were decrying earlier.

    5.Religion always served a social function divorced from the necessities of belief. There is no universality of religious belief anywhere. Outside of religions derived from other ones, there are virtually no common beliefs between ideas of God (or Gods). Claims to the contrary are more assertion than fact and almost entirely wishful thinking of someone pushing a particular vision of their religious belief.

    6. No relevance whatsoever

    7. There is nothing universal about the 10 commandments. Only 3 laws common to every society before and after their existence. The ones necessary for general social order and interaction. At least 3 of them are blatantly specific to Abrahamic belief to the exclusion of all others. Religious moral concepts have more to do with keeping social order than actual moral thinking. One does not require religion for morality. If anything religion mucks up the concept and cheapens it.

    8. How can atheists make people happy, by not being a raging d-bag to others. How hard is that?
    [Please don’t make me defend these atheist 10 commandments, I find them badly written and half-baked]

    9. Couldn’t help throw in a bit of sectarian jibes in there. Typical Christian nonsense.
    10. Again, sectarian nonsense thrown in with a side order of word salad. Ever notice that the people with the “least changed beliefs” are the ones causing the most mayhem right now.

  • Myriad

    I would have called them The Ten Conjectures.

  • judy

    I am a Christian, after rebelling and trying to do things my way for several yrs. I was an alcoholic and stayed in trouble. I beleived in God but also got angry with him bc of how my life sucked. I got saved yrs later and the reason I believe in God, is bc He lives within me. He gives me peace, when I’m upset or worried. He gives me strength to keep going when I feel I can’t. I lost a very very dear sister and was devastated, but a peace that surpasseth understanding came to me. I can deal with it. My mom died in a nursing home and the attendants thought she was sleeping. She reached her hand out and mumbled words. I was told she looked like an Angel when she passed and I believe she reached her hand out bc the Angels came to get her.I often wonder what makes our hearts beat without batteries? Man or scientist can’t and won’t ever make anything with a living, breathing form, without something to keep it living. Man can not plant a seed and make a huge flower come from it, or make an ocean or clouds.

  • Tom

    Why is it hilarious?

  • Dear Deacon,

    We are creatures constrained by our senses. This is why we innovate technologies to enhance those senses (maths are a technology as well as the LHC).

    It is startling how you so quickly divorce the mind from the body when the teachings you follow insist that the two cannot and should not be separated. Even from earliest life, experience is one of physical stimuli as well as cognitive processing.

    A human mind in isolation without any sensory input (including the input of ideas-through writings, spoken/heard words, remembered interactions as well as environmental stimuli observed through the nervous system) is incomprehensible–it is an abstraction, (and a rather hideous one).
    This basic understanding of human experience is foundational for sacramentals and iconography.

    Even the Catholic conception of G-d does not envision a disembodied, purely spiritual deity. “Christ came in human form.” “We are his hands.” “He is the head of the body, the Church.” “There are some people so famished that G`d can only appear to them in the form of bread.” (That last one was from Gandhi but it rings true for those who believe in transubstantiation).

    You would not follow the faith if someone had not taken the time and consideration to transmit it to you. And your love affair with the Church is a sensory, not simply a spiritual, practice. This is how you can make personal sacrifices for your community, because “the burden is light” and G`d gives back in increase what we give to G`d. Your experience as a leader is emotionally, socially and materially rewarding. There should be no shame in this…only shame if you let the privilege accumulate and distort your vision. Follow the example of Francis.

  • Billysees

    From Atheist Max, I find his simple comment one of the best attitudes to have —

    ” For Peace, Love and the Separation of Church and State.
    Question Religious claims.”

  • Billysees

    From Judy —

    “I often wonder what makes our hearts beat without batteries?”

    Interesting thought and comment.

  • Colleen

    This is an interesting attempt, but falls far short of what society needs. If it makes one happy to take another’s wife or goods, or life for that matter, then these non-commandments say, “go for it.” There is no positive living among other’s directive. The ten commandments and similar religious behavioral directives give a society a strong fabric for one to control one’s more base human feelings – like the seven deadly sins – greed, jealousy, sloth, and so on. Without that fabric we cannot be safe, feel our families are safe and feel that what we have achieved in life, be it economic or emotional is safe.

  • Atheists really have an uphill battle. Having rejected The Way, The Truth and the Life they seek to replace God and Jesus with “human wisdom”. Good luck with that. God is real, Jesus died for our sins, and The Holy Spirit is alive and well in the hearts of millions of believers. The Christian knows The Way, The Truth and The Life and is therefore blessed with Peace, Joy and Purpose. God Bless

  • garafulaar

    The existence or non-existence of god is not a 50/50 proposition. Based on available evidence, scientific theory, and man’s propensity to make up stuff, the likelihood that any one god really exists not zero but it is vanishing small.

  • Frank

    Since the author of this article is being dishonest (isn’t that a sin? ) I will show you the ACT AL new ten commandments. Please take note of number five.

    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 over 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.

    Read more at http://www.inquisitr.com/1692212/atheists-rewrite-ten-commandments-mythbusters-adam-savage-judged-new-commands/#2HxbH4l4cSmxum1j.99

  • Frank

    Just in case you were unaware, “the way , theven truth and the life” was used to describe the Egyptian god Horus long before your jesus was even thought of.

  • Zoe

    Thanks Frank! I was hoping someone would point out that the ten commandments the author posted are entirely inaccurate.
    I do love the Atheist’s version!

  • Dan

    The phrase “essential beliefs for non-believers” is itself an indicator of where many people are. Some “something” in us not to believe anything, so we find ourselves inside a vacuum, and in our soul we’re crying out for something to believe. We’re scared to believe anything. We correct ourselves if we even try. The soul looks up with miniscule hope, thinking it sees a dim light and we snarl, “Down, boy, down!”
    My heart goes out to you, all of you. (Thank God, you got saved, Judy). Here’s where
    we find ourselves, allegorical speaking. Someone kidnapped us, knocked us out, took us out into the middle of a desert and left us. When we wake up, we find we have no map and no compass. Many want to leave the place, but some are content to stay in this lost condition. Some try to follow their instincts of the right direction, while others even try to lead others out of the wilderness. These are laughed at, scorned, ridiculed, mocked, and some even killed, all because they want a particular direction to go, i.e., something to believe. Well nonbelievers, I found a map, and a compass, and I left the wilderness, long time ago. You don’t need to envy me, you can come too. You can stay if you want, or you can leave if you want, but you’ll never find your way with a map you made up on your own, or that someone else made up. If you don’t have a map, don’t call me a liar because I DO have one. We don’t want to JUDGE you for staying in the wilderness. We (believers in a God that created us and loves us) simply know what you’re going through, as you lay dying of thirst. Stay there if you want. My advise to you is go get a map; a real one (remember the Donner party?)

  • Dan Rust

    It’s not a rough draft, it is them taking the real ones and “rephrasing” them to make them say what they want them to say… In most of the cases, I read the real ones and their version and say “…. Huh?”.

    Here is the real list for clarity and lack of bias::

    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.

  • Bernard Curtin

    Actually, I’m perfectly fine without all the mental gymnastics needed to follow along with your fairytale. There have been 2500 or so gods that man has created throughout our existence. You believe you have the right one?
    At least we agree on the other 2499.

  • I am going to say this. There have been about 4200 religions in the world. All which claim to be the absolute truth. What makes your religion any more valid than the vast majority of them?

    The same untested and unverifiable belief is not suddenly more valid by numbers. Then we have to show that religions such as Christianity have several thousand different denominations. They have the same book but are teaching it a different way. So again who is the correct one?

    Everyone wants to say the atheist commandments are horrible and trash but these aren’t even the real ones.

    These are the real ones: http://www.atheistmindhumanistheart.com/winners/

    If you even begin to argue that these are bad or are appalling then i begin to fear for the future of our world.

  • Pete

    It always intrigues me when religious people point to the second-guessing nature of rationalists as support for their religious perspective. Which, of course, is completely contrary to the totality of the evidence.