Alternatives to the Ten Commandments
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.
- 1 Examples
- 1.1 Penn Jillette
- 1.2 George Carlin
- 1.3 Christopher Hitchens
- 1.4 Richard Dawkins, as cited in The God Delusion
- 1.5 A. C. Grayling
- 1.6 Bertrand Russell
- 1.7 Bayer & Figdor - The Ten Non-Commandments
- 1.8 The Atheists' New Ten Commandments
- 1.9 Aleister Crowley
- 1.10 Georgia Guidestones
- 1.11 Ten Indian Commandments
- 1.12 Socialist Sunday Schools
- 1.13 Selig Starr
- 1.14 Pastafarianism
- 1.15 Ted Kaczynski
- 1.16 Summum
- 2 References
- 3 External links
Penn Jillette is an American magician, juggler, comedian, musician, inventor, actor, and best-selling author.
His book God, No! includes an atheist's take on the Ten Commandments:
- 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.
In 2001, in a bit in his twelfth HBO stand-up comedy special Complaints and Grievances, George Carlin after making fun of the Ten Commandments initially suggested two commandments, and then added a third additional commandment.
- Thou shalt always be honest and faithful, especially to the provider of thy nookie.
- Thou shalt try real hard not to kill anyone, unless of course, they pray to a different invisible man from the one you pray to.
- Thou shalt keep thy religion to thy self.
Christopher Hitchens was an English American author, columnist, essayist, orator, religious and literary critic, social critic and journalist.
- Do not condemn people on the basis of their ethnicity or their color.
- Do not ever even think of using people as private property, or as owned, or as slaves.
- Despise those who use violence or the threat of it in sexual relations.
- Hide your face and weep if you dare to harm a child.
- Do not condemn people for their inborn nature - why would God create so many homosexuals only in order to torture and destroy them?
- Be aware that you, too, are an animal, and dependent on the web of nature. Try and think and act accordingly.
- Do not imagine that you can escape judgment if you rob people with a false prospectus rather than with a knife.
- Turn off that fucking cell phone - you can have no idea how unimportant your call is to us.
- Denounce all jihadists and crusaders for what they are: psychopathic criminals with ugly delusions. And terrible sexual repressions.
- 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.
Richard Dawkins, as cited in The God Delusion
Richard Dawkins is an English ethologist, evolutionary biologist and author.
- Do not do to others what you would not want them to do to you.
- In all things, strive to cause no harm.
- Treat your fellow human beings, your fellow living things, and the world in general with love, honesty, faithfulness and respect.
- Do not overlook evil or shrink from administering justice, but always be ready to forgive wrongdoing freely admitted and honestly regretted.
- Live life with a sense of joy and wonder.
- Always seek to be learning something new.
- 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.
- Never seek to censor or cut yourself off from dissent; always respect the right of others to disagree with you.
- Form independent opinions on the basis of your own reason and experience; do not allow yourself to be led blindly by others.
- 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
His The Good Book, which is structurally organized similarly to the Bible, featured his own version of the Ten Commandments:
- Love well
- Seek the good in all things
- Harm no others
- Think for yourself
- Take responsibility
- Respect nature
- Do your utmost
- Be informed
- Be kind
- Be courageous
- 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."
These come with the post-thought that the reader "at least, sincerely try".
He formulated these ten commandments:
- Do not feel absolutely certain of anything.
- Do not think it worth while to proceed by concealing evidence, for the evidence is sure to come to light.
- Never try to discourage thinking for you are sure to succeed.
- 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.
- Have no respect for the authority of others, for there are always contrary authorities to be found.
- Do not use power to suppress opinions you think pernicious, for if you do the opinions will suppress you.
- Do not fear to be eccentric in opinion, for every opinion now accepted was once eccentric.
- Find more pleasure in intelligent dissent than in passive agreement, for, if you value intelligence as you should, the former implies a deeper agreement than the latter.
- Be scrupulously truthful, even if the truth is inconvenient, for it is more inconvenient when you try to conceal it.
- 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.
Bayer & Figdor - The Ten Non-Commandments
As detailed in the book "Atheist Mind, Humanist Heart: Re-writing the Ten Commandments for the Twenty-first Century" by Lex Bayer and the Stanford Humanist Chaplain John Figdor. The book is devoted to the subject of creating a secular alternative to the Ten Commandments and encouraging readers to formulate and discover their own list of beliefs.
- The world is real, and our desire to understand the world is the basis for belief.
- We can perceive the world only through our human senses.
- We use rational thought and language as tools for understanding the world.
- All truth is proportional to the evidence.
- There is no God.
- We all strive to live a happy life. We pursue things that make us happy and avoid things that do not.
- There is no universal moral truth. Our experiences and preferences shape our sense of how to behave.
- We act morally when the happiness of others makes us happy.
- We benefit from living in, and supporting, an ethical society.
- All our beliefs are subject to change in the face of new evidence, including these.
The Atheists' New Ten Commandments
These are the ten winning beliefs of the Rethink Prize, a crowdsourcing competition to rethink the Ten Commandments. The contest drew more than 2,800 submissions from 18 countries and 27 U.S. states. Winners were selected by a panel of judges. 
- Be open-minded and be willing to alter your beliefs with new evidence.
- Strive to understand what is most likely to be true, not to believe what you wish to be true.
- The scientific method is the most reliable way of understanding the natural world.
- Every person has the right to control of their body.
- God is not necessary to be a good person or to live a full and meaningful life.
- Be mindful of the consequences of all your actions and recognize that you must take responsibility for them.
- Treat others as you would want them to treat you, and can reasonably expect them to want to be treated. Think about their perspective.
- We have the responsibility to consider others, including future generations.
- There is no one right way to live.
- Leave the world a better place than you found it.
- Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law.
- Maintain humanity under 500,000,000 in perpetual balance with nature.
- Guide reproduction wisely - improving fitness and diversity.
- Unite humanity with a living new language
- Rule passion - faith - tradition - and all things with tempered reason.
- Protect people and nations with fair laws and just courts.
- Let all nations rule internally resolving external disputes in a world court.
- Avoid petty laws and useless officials.
- Balance personal rights with social duties.
- Prize truth - beauty - love - seeking harmony with the infinite.
- Be not a cancer on the earth - Leave room for nature - Leave room for nature.
Ten Indian Commandments
The Bird Clan of East Central Alabama has the Ten Indian Commandments.
- Remain close to the Great Spirit.
- Show great respect for your fellow beings.
- Give assistance and kindness wherever needed.
- Be truthful and honest at all times.
- Do what you know to be right.
- Look after the well being of mind and body.
- Treat the earth and all that dwell there on with respect.
- Take full responsibility for your actions.
- Dedicate a share of your efforts to the greater good.
- Work together for the benefit of all man kind.
Socialist Sunday Schools
These are an alternative to Christian Sunday schools designed to teach the socialist view to children and youth.
Socialist Sunday Schools propagated a socialist set of ten commandments.
- Love your schoolfellows, who will be your fellow workmen in life.
- Love learning, which is the food of the mind; be as grateful to your teacher as to your parents.
- Make every day holy by good and useful deeds and kindly actions.
- Honour good men, be courteous to all men, bow down to none.
- Do not hate or speak evil of anyone. Do not be revengeful but stand up for your right and resist oppression.
- Do not be cowardly. Be a friend to the weak and love justice.
- 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.
- Observe and think in order to discover the truth. Do not believe what is contrary to reason and never deceive yourself or others.
- 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.
- 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.
Orthodox Jewish Rabbi Selig Starr's formulation of the Ten Modern Important Commandments was not intended to be an alternate to The Ten Commandments. Selig Starr's formulation of "Ten Modern Important Commandments:"
- Remember to embrace equally all the three fundamentally Jewish loves - love of God, Torah, and the Jewish People.
- Remember not to minimize any one of [the above] in any way whatsoever.
- Remember that time is the most precious element in your mental treasury; therefore, spend it very carefully.
- Remember not to spend your spiritual harvest time more on one crop than on the others.
- Remember that personal flattery is your worst enemy, while expert criticism is your best friend.
- 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.
- Remember that six million of American Jews are waiting for your spiritual Orthodox guidance. Do not disappoint them.
- Remember that you have been trained to fight two internal enemies, ignorance and confusion, the latter the greater.
- 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.
- 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).
In Pastafarianism, a social movement comprising the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, the "Eight I'd Really Rather You Didn'ts" are:
- I’d Really Rather You Didn’t Act Like A Sanctimonious Holier-Than-Thou Ass When Describing My Noodly Goodness. If Some People Don’t Believe In Me, That’s Okay. Really, I’m Not That Vain. Besides, This Isn’t About Them So Don’t Change The Subject.
- I’d Really Rather You Didn’t Use My Existence As A Means To Oppress, Subjugate, Punish, Eviscerate, And/Or, You Know, Be Mean To Others. I Don’t Require Sacrifices, And Purity Is For Drinking Water, Not People.
- I’d Really Rather You Didn’t Judge People For The Way They Look, Or How They Dress, Or The Way They Talk, Or, Well, Just Play Nice, Okay? Oh, And Get This Through Your Thick Heads: Woman=Person, Man=Person. Samey-Samey. One is Not Better Than The Other, Unless We’re Talking About Fashion And I’m Sorry, But I Gave That To Women And Some Guys Who Know The Difference Between Teal And Fuchsia.
- I’d Really Rather You Didn’t Indulge In Conduct That Offends Yourself, Or Your Willing, Consenting Partner Of Legal Age AND Mental Maturity. As For Anyone Who Might Object, I Think The Expression Is Go Eff Yourself, Unless They Find That Offensive In Which Case They Can Turn Off The TV For Once And Go For A Walk For A Change.
- I’d Really Rather You Didn’t Challenge The Bigoted, Misogynist, Hateful Ideas Of Others On An Empty Stomach. Eat, Then Go After The Jerk.
- I’d Really Rather You Didn’t Build multi million-Dollar Churches/Temples/Mosques/ Shrines To My Noodly Goodness When The Money Could Be Better Spent (Take Your Pick): A. Ending Poverty B. Curing Diseases C. Living In Peace, Loving With Passion, And Lowering The Cost Of Cable. I Might Be A Complex Carbohydrate Omniscient Being, But I Enjoy The Simple Things In Life. I Ought To Know. I AM The Creator.
- I’d Really Rather You Didn’t Go around Telling People I Talk To you. You’re Not That Interesting. Get Over Yourself. And I Told You To Love Your Fellow Man, Can’t You Take A Hint?
- I’d Really Rather You Didn’t Do Unto Others As You Would Have Them Do Unto You If You Are Into, Um, Stuff That Uses A lot Of Leather/Lubrication/Las Vegas. If The Other Person Is Into It However (Pursuant To #4), Then Have At It, Take Pictures, And For The Love Of Mike, Wear A CONDOM! Honestly It’s A Piece Of Rubber, If I Didn’t Want It To Feel Good When You Did It I Would Have Added Spikes, Or Something.
- Do not harm anyone who has not previously harmed you, or threatened to do so.
- 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.
- 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.
- The strong should have consideration for the weak.
- Do not lie.
- Abide faithfully by any promises or agreements that you make.
He considers the Six Principles to be an innate sense of fairness, present in all people even if they may be overrun by culture.
Summum contradicts the historical Biblical account of the Ten Commandments by claiming that prior to returning with the Commandments, Moses descended from Mount Sinai with a first set of tablets inscribed with seven principles they call aphorisms.
- SUMMUM is MIND, thought; the universe is a mental creation.
- As above, so below; as below, so above.
- Nothing rests; everything moves; everything vibrates.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Gender is in everything; everything has its masculine and feminine principles; Gender manifests on all levels.
- Hitchens, Christopher, "The New Commandments", Vanity Fair, April 2010
- "Christopher Hitchens reading the Vanity Fair piece in video format". Commonsenseatheism.com. 2010-03-08. Retrieved 2012-12-10.
- Dawkins, Richard (2006). The God Delusion. Boston: Houghton Mifflin. p. 406. ISBN 0-618-68000-4.
- "The New Ten Commandments". Retrieved 2009-03-30.
- Bertrand Russell (1951). "A Liberal Decalogue". Panarchy – A Gateway to Selected Documents and Web Sites. Retrieved 2014-12-29.
- Kimberly Winston (November 20, 2014). "10 Commandments for atheists: a guide for nonbelievers who want to explore their values". The Washington Post. Retrieved February 15, 2015.
- "Atheist Mind, Humanist Heart". Retrieved February 15, 2015.
- Daniel Burke (December 20, 2014). "Behold, atheists' new Ten Commandments". CNN. Retrieved February 15, 2015.
- "The Rethink Prize". Retrieved February 15, 2015.
- "The Law of One Category People, Subcategory Aleister Crowley". Lawofone.info. Retrieved 2012-12-10.
- Randall Sullivan (April 20, 2009). "American Stonehenge: Monumental Instructions for the Post-Apocalypse". Wired. Retrieved June 30, 2011.
- The Ten Indian Commandments
- Ohr Shmuel. Hebrew Theological College. Skokie, IL. 1996
- "Theodore J. Kaczynski. The Road to Revolution. Ripped by: TOTAL FREEDOM, 2009" (PDF). Retrieved 2012-12-09.
- The Aphorisms of Summum and the Ten Commandments
- Seven Summum Principles