Alternatives to the Ten Commandments

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Several alternatives to the Ten Commandments have been promulgated by different persons and groups. These are intended to improve on the lists of laws known as the Ten Commandments that appear in the Bible.


Penn Jillette[edit]

  • The highest ideals are human intelligence, creativity and love. Respect these above all.
  • Do not put things or even ideas above other human beings. (Let's scream at each other about Kindle versus iPad, solar versus nuclear, Republican versus Libertarian, Garth Brooks versus Sun Ra— but when your house is on fire, I'll be there to help.)
  • Say what you mean, even when talking to yourself. (What used to be an oath to god is now quite simply respecting yourself.)
  • Put aside some time to rest and think. (If you're religious, that might be the Sabbath; if you're a Vegas magician, that'll be the day with the lowest grosses.)
  • Be there for your family. Love your parents, your partner, and your children. (Love is deeper than honor, and parents matter, but so do spouse and children.)
  • Respect and protect all human life. (Many believe that "Thou shalt not kill" only refers to people in the same tribe. I say it's all human life.)
  • Keep your promises. (If you can't be sexually exclusive to your spouse, don't make that deal.)
  • Don't steal. (This includes magic tricks and jokes — you know who you are!)
  • Don't lie. (You know, unless you're doing magic tricks and it's part of your job. Does that make it OK for politicians, too?)
  • Don't waste too much time wishing, hoping, and being envious.

George Carlin[edit]

  • Thou shalt always be honest and faithful, especially to the provider of thy nookie.
  • Thou shalt try hard not to kill anyone unless that pray to a different invisible avenger than the one you pray to.
  • Thou shalt always keep the religion to the self*

(*)Additional Commandments.

Aleister Crowley[edit]

  • Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law.[1]

Richard Dawkins[edit]

The alternative to the Ten Commandments cited by Richard Dawkins in his book The God Delusion[2] is:[3]

  1. Do not do to others what you would not want them to do to you.
  2. In all things, strive to cause no harm.
  3. Treat your fellow human beings, your fellow living things, and the world in general with love, honesty, faithfulness and respect.
  4. Do not overlook evil or shrink from administering justice, but always be ready to forgive wrongdoing freely admitted and honestly regretted.
  5. Live life with a sense of joy and wonder.
  6. Always seek to be learning something new.
  7. Test all things; always check your ideas against the facts, and be ready to discard even a cherished belief if it does not conform to them.
  8. Never seek to censor or cut yourself off from dissent; always respect the right of others to disagree with you.
  9. Form independent opinions on the basis of your own reason and experience; do not allow yourself to be led blindly by others.
  10. Question everything.

Dawkins uses these proposed commandments to make a larger point that "it is the sort of list that any ordinary, decent person today would come up with." He then adds four more of his own devising:

  • Enjoy your own sex life (so long as it damages nobody else) and leave others to enjoy theirs in private whatever their inclinations, which are none of your business.
  • Do not discriminate or oppress on the basis of sex, race or (as far as possible) species.
  • Do not indoctrinate your children. Teach them how to think for themselves, how to evaluate evidence, and how to disagree with you.
  • Value the future on a timescale longer than your own.

A.C. Grayling[edit]

The Good Book, compiled by A. C. Grayling, features Ten Commandments in The Good 8:11:

  1. Love well
  2. Seek the good in all things
  3. Harm no others
  4. Think for yourself
  5. Take responsibility
  6. Respect nature
  7. Do your utmost
  8. Be informed
  9. Be kind
  10. Be courageous
  • These come with the post-thought that the reader "at least, sincerely try".
  • Addendum (The Good 8:12):
"O friends, let us always be true to ourselves and to the best in things, so that we can always be true to one another."

Georgia Guidestones[edit]

The Georgia Guidestones are large granite blocks that are inscribed with an alternative set of ten commandments.[4]

1. Maintain humanity under 500,000,000 in perpetual balance with nature.

2. Guide reproduction wisely - improving fitness and diversity.

3. Unite humanity with a living new language .

4. Rule passion - faith - tradition - and all things with tempered reason.

5. Protect people and nations with fair laws and just courts.

6. Let all nations rule internally resolving external disputes in a world court.

7. Avoid petty laws and useless officials.

8. Balance personal rights with social duties.

9. Prize truth - beauty - love - seeking harmony with the infinite.

10. Be not a cancer on the earth - Leave room for nature - Leave room for nature.

Christopher Hitchens[edit]

Christopher Hitchens on the Ten Commandments[5][6]

  1. Do not condemn people on the basis of their ethnicity or their color.
  2. Do not ever even think of using people as private property, or as owned, or as slaves.
  3. Despise those who use violence or the threat of it in sexual relations.
  4. Hide your face and weep if you dare to harm a child.
  5. Do not condemn people for their inborn nature - why would God create so many homosexuals only in order to torture and destroy them?
  6. Be aware that you, too, are an animal, and dependent on the web of nature. Try and think and act accordingly.
  7. Do not imagine that you can escape judgement if you rob people with a false prospectus rather than with a knife.
  8. Turn off that fucking cell phone - you can have no idea how unimportant your call is to us.
  9. Denounce all jihadists and crusaders for what they are: psychopathic criminals with ugly delusions. And terrible sexual repressions.
  10. Be willing to renounce any god or any faith if any holy commandments should contradict any of the above.
  • In short: Don't swallow your moral code in tablet form.

Ted Kaczynski[edit]

Ted Kaczynski has proposed the Six Principles:[7]

  1. Do not harm anyone who has not previously harmed you, or threatened to do so.
  2. You can harm others in order to forestall harm with which they threaten you, or in retaliation for harm that they have already inflicted on you.
  3. One good turn deserves another: If someone has done you a favor, you should be willing to do her or him a comparable favor if and when he or she should need one.
  4. The strong should have consideration for the weak.
  5. Do not lie.
  6. Abide faithfully by any promises or agreements that you make.

He considers the Six Principles to be innate sense of fairness, present in all people even if they may be overrun by culture.

Socialist Sunday Schools[edit]

Socialist Sunday Schools propagated a socialist set of ten commandents.

  1. Love your schoolfellows, who will be your fellow workmen in life.
  2. Love learning, which is the food of the mind; be as grateful to your teacher as to your parents.
  3. Make every day holy by good and useful deeds and kindly actions.
  4. Honour good men, be courteous to all men, bow down to none.
  5. Do not hate or speak evil of anyone. Do not be revengeful but stand up for your right and resist oppression.
  6. Do not be cowardly. Be a friend to the weak and love justice.
  7. Remember that all good things of the earth are produced by labour. Whoever enjoys them without working for them is stealing the bread of the workers.
  8. Observe and think in order to discover the truth. Do not believe what is contrary to reason and never deceive yourself or others.
  9. Do not think that he who loves his own country must hate and despise other nations, or wish for war, which is a remnant of barbarism.
  10. Look forward to the day when all men and women will be free citizens of one fatherland and live together as brothers and sisters in peace and righteousness.

Selig Starr[edit]

Selig Starr's formulation of "Ten Modern Important Commandments:"[8]

  1. Remember to embrace equally all the three fundamentally Jewish loves - love of God, Torah, and the Jewish People.
  2. Remember not to minimize any one of [the above] in any way whatsoever.
  3. Remember that time is the most precious element in your mental treasury; therefore, spend it very carefully.
  4. Remember not to spend your spiritual harvest time more on one crop than on the others.
  5. Remember that personal flattery is your worst enemy, while expert criticism is your best friend.
  6. Remember that human behavior must be analysed and comprehended; some people are acting as spiders, while others [behave] like flies enwrapped in the deadly silken threads of the spiders. Avoid the company of either one of them.
  7. Remember that six million of American Jews are waiting for your spiritual Orthodox guidance. Do not disappoint them.
  8. Remember that you have been trained to fight two internal enemies, ignorance and confusion, the latter the greater.
  9. Remember that our spiritual Orthodox survival depends solely on the ability of our leaders to rescue the wine while the barrel is broken, to watch over our Torah inheritance while the ghetto walls have been eliminated.
  10. Remember that destiny has bestowed upon the incoming Jewish generation the greatest among the most precious blessings, and at the same time, imposed upon our selected Talmudic scholars the greatest responsibilities to be sincere servants of God, Torah, and Israel (as an independent state and everlasting people).


Summum is an esoteric religion that claims Moses originally walked down from Mount Sinai with the Seven Aphorisms containing the principles of creation. Because the Israelites were not yet capable of understanding them, he walked back up the mountain and returned again with the "lower law" of the Ten Commandments. The original Seven Aphorisms, according to Summum, are:

  1. The Principle of Psychokinesis: "SUMMUM is MIND; the universe is a mental creation."
  2. The Principle of Correspondence: "As above, so below; as below, so above."
  3. The Principle of Vibration: "Nothing rests; everything moves; everything vibrates."
  4. The Principle of Opposition: "Everything is dual; everything has an opposing point; everything has its pair of opposites; like and unlike are the same; opposites are identical in nature, but different in degree; extremes bond; all truths are but partial truths; all paradoxes may be reconciled."
  5. The Principle of Rhythm: "Everything flows out and in; everything has its season; all things rise and fall; the pendulum swing expresses itself in everything; the measure of the swing to the right is the measure of the swing to the left; rhythm compensates."
  6. The Principle of Cause and Effect: "Every cause has its effect; every effect has its cause; everything happens according to Law; Chance is just a name for Law not recognized; there are many fields of causation, but nothing escapes the Law of Destiny."
  7. The Principle of Gender: "Gender is in everything; everything has its masculine and feminine principles; Gender manifests on all levels."[9][10]

Bertrand Russell[edit]

Bertrand Russell formulated these ten commandments.[11]

  1. Do not feel absolutely certain of anything.
  2. Do not think it worth while to proceed by concealing evidence, for the evidence is sure to come to light.
  3. Never try to discourage thinking for you are sure to succeed.
  4. When you meet with opposition, even if it should be from your husband or your children, endeavour to overcome it by argument and not by authority, for a victory dependent upon authority is unreal and illusory.
  5. Have no respect for the authority of others, for there are always contrary authorities to be found.
  6. Do not use power to suppress opinions you think pernicious, for if you do the opinions will suppress you.
  7. Do not fear to be eccentric in opinion, for every opinion now accepted was once eccentric.
  8. Find more pleasure in intelligent dissent that in passive agreement, for, if you value intelligence as you should, the former implies a deeper agreement than the latter.
  9. Be scrupulously truthful, even if the truth is inconvenient, for it is more inconvenient when you try to conceal it.
  10. Do not feel envious of the happiness of those who live in a fool's paradise, for only a fool will think that it is happiness.


  1. ^ "The Law of One Category People, Subcategory Aleister Crowley". Retrieved 2012-12-10. 
  2. ^ Dawkins, Richard (2006). The God Delusion. Boston: Houghton Mifflin. p. 406. ISBN 0-618-68000-4. 
  3. ^ "The New Ten Commandments". Retrieved 2009-03-30. 
  4. ^ Randall Sullivan (April 20, 2009). "American Stonehenge: Monumental Instructions for the Post-Apocalypse". Wired. Retrieved June 30, 2011. 
  5. ^ Hitchens, Christopher, "The New Commandments", Vanity Fair, April 2010
  6. ^ "Christopher Hitchens reading the Vanity Fair piece in video format". 2010-03-08. Retrieved 2012-12-10. 
  7. ^ "Theodore J. Kaczynski. The Road to Revolution. Ripped by: TOTAL FREEDOM, 2009" (PDF). Retrieved 2012-12-09. 
  8. ^ Ohr Shmuel. Hebrew Theological College. Skokie, IL. 1996
  9. ^ The Aphorisms of Summum and the Ten Commandments
  10. ^ Seven Summum Principles
  11. ^

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