Secular Ten Commandments

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.
Got this from http://life.nationalpost.com/2013/03/09/good-without-god-atheist-churches-offer-non-believers-community-and-ritual-without-faith/

Yes, I have always held that ethical and moral questions can be addressed without the need for a “higher authority”.
But in the secular list above are similar commands that can be found in scripture. Both are from Human Origin, except that scripture bears “false witness” as having Supernatural Origin.

My comments on the list of ten items above:

  1. Do not do to others what you (believe they )would not want (to have done to) them to do to you.
  2. Why should I?
    :lol:
    Occam

I think Gary’s posted them before and once again, I have no problem with any of them, especially number 6. that’s why I joined the forum in the first place. I learn something new practically every day here and not just knowledge but how to debate, frequently, how not to lose your temper and repost something you’ll later regret, how to edit your comments so you won’t sound like a peckerwood, how to let go of cherished beliefs if they prove to be innacurate or not supported with enough facts even if it is ego bruising, and how to read and absorb the info faster so you can use it effectively against trolls and the pretentious.
Cap’t Jack

These are OK but in some instances redundant. We can do better. Number one in particular is stated in the negative, which is much weaker than the affirmative injunction to treat others as we would like to be treated. Why turn this into a negative injunction only? That makes no sense. The second is very nearly a repeat of the first, and it too is in the negative.
Other candidates for my list include:
Cultivate and practice love.
Elicit the best in others and in yourself.
Seek and live by truth.
Push against your resistance; learn to recognize and resist the shortcomings of subjectivity.
Seek wisdom.
Be courageous.
Live with a Faith in the human capacity to bring about a better and more sustainable world.

The only problem with the list I have is that there is a list.

Live with a Faith in the human capacity to bring about a better and more sustainable world.
I don't like this at all. Mine would go like this: Learn what human capacities are to bring about a better and more sustainable world. Faith is a dangerous thing. The communists had the exact kind of faith you are reffering to here, Paul, and we all know how that ended.

Why stop at 10 commandments? The Bible didn’t.

EOC, you’re right. It’s a very long list.

George, you’re not paying the least bit of attention to what I’m saying. My conception of Faith - which is the same as you will find in Ethical Culture explicitly and throughout Humanism implicitly and in practice - is not the same as the “faith” promoted by the Communists. The Communists established a dictatorship, which is not consistent with Faith in the human capacity. The kind of Faith I refer to is found explicitly in Ethical Culture and is well described by John Dewey in his excellent book, A Common Faith.

No, it’s the same thing. I have been actually paying a lot of attention to what you have been saying here for years and I don’t like it one bit.

Live with a Faith in the human capacity to bring about a better and more sustainable world.
Learn what human capacities are to bring about a better and more sustainable world. PLaClair, what is for you the difference between yours and George's proposal? Is there for you something missing in George's formulation?
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. Got this from http://life.nationalpost.com/2013/03/09/good-without-god-atheist-churches-offer-non-believers-community-and-ritual-without-faith/
The problem is in calling them commandments. Who's doing the commanding? We should be able to agree on certain human behaviors making society better for all of us without "commanding" them.
The problem is in calling them commandments. Who’s doing the commanding? We should be able to agree on certain human behaviors making society better for all of us without “commanding" them.
Using the term "commandments" IMO was meant as a reference to the biblical Mosiac code and not as a set of strictures for an atheist to live by. They are an alternative list but anyone can create his/her own list at will. I don't have to live your way nor do you have to live mine, except under the law of the land. BTW, it's ludicrous to think that we can all agree on certain human behaviors. Look to this forum as an example. Personally I don't have any problem with any of them but I'll form my own"truths" and so will you. Cap't Jack
Live with a Faith in the human capacity to bring about a better and more sustainable world.
Learn what human capacities are to bring about a better and more sustainable world. PLaClair, what is for you the difference between yours and George's proposal? Is there for you something missing in George's formulation? George's formulation is missing the action component. It's not just about learning. It's also about doing, in fact creative Faith is mainly about doing. That is where Faith is at its most creative and its most powerful. There are plenty of times when we don't know the answer to something. Every scientist who ever made a discovery faced that problem. Every student who ever applied to a college or professional school; every person who ever started a new enterprise; every farmer who ever planted a crop; everyone who ever decided to have a child - they all faced uncertainty. Sometimes parts of the answer seem obvious, as in producing a child - but then what do you do with the little critter? For first-time parents who never spent much time around children, the problem can be frightening, and that is when Faith is most needed. Maybe George doesn't understand that because he hates that kind of talk. But offer this explanation to most people, theistic and non-theists alike, and most of them will know exactly what I'm saying. In situations like that, where uncertainty is at its greatest, especially when we are afraid, practically all we have is Faith: we go forward, even though we have no guarantee what the outcome will be and only limited information about what it might be. Sometimes we have almost no evidence that we can succeed, as was the case before many of the greatest advances in science. Other times, the likelihood of success, based on the evidence, may seem much stronger. In matters of science, we have scientific method to rely on but following scientific methods does not guarantee that we will find a cure for cancer; of course we could junk all the research because it relies on the dreaded "faith" that there might be a cure if we keep working at it. Sometimes a personal matter is involved; it is in times like that when Faith "rewarded" can seem like a miracle - and it is a miracle if we can just learn to see miracles as outcomes that we didn't think were possible. There isn't any supernaturalism in this conception; only the recognition that we don't know everything, and that new discoveries can liberate us and be exhilarating. George insists that he's listening but he isn't. We've been having this disagreement for years. George is one of those people Einstein described as lacking natural piety. Most people see this phenomenon within human behavior, and they know it mainly afflicts self-described atheists. That's not in any way a criticism of atheism but only of the myopia of some atheists. George and many others can't seem to abide that idea that Faith can lift people up to higher ground; or he wants to insist that we should put it another way. But this way is just fine. It's only a problem if you react emotionally to the words, which is essentially all George is doing today and all has been doing here for years. And that is supremely ironic because some of the people who claim they are all about reason are in fact coming straight from their emotional reactions - and not even to content but only to a word. It is one of the goofiest dynamics I've ever seen, and I might be nicer about it if I hadn't done it myself, for many years. I don't mean this as a personal attack but George and many other people in our communities react emotionally to certain words, and as a result they can't see the reality when they let the words get in the way. And then we get sidetracked away from the content of what is otherwise a productive discussion.

I agree with Lois. Let’s call them suggestions. As far as #1. being in the negative, I suggest: Do unto others as they would wish you to. I can’t understand how so many people think that what they want is the same as what others want.
And, similarly, it seems that my response of “Why should I?” to #10 doesn’t seem to be understood.
Occam

The problem is in calling them commandments. Who’s doing the commanding? We should be able to agree on certain human behaviors making society better for all of us without “commanding" them.
Using the term "commandments" IMO was meant as a reference to the biblical Mosiac code and not as a set of strictures for an atheist to live by. They are an alternative list but anyone can create his/her own list at will. I don't have to live your way nor do you have to live mine, except under the law of the land. BTW, it's ludicrous to think that we can all agree on certain human behaviors. Look to this forum as an example. Personally I don't have any problem with any of them but I'll form my own"truths" and so will you. LL. I realize why they used the term "commandments." I simply think its a bad term for an atheist to use. Why use their nomenclature? We might as well talk about atheists' god or atheists' bible. IMO we should be trying to get away from religious terms and ideas. Using them gives them credibility, and they have no credibility. LL. Cap't Jack
I agree with Lois. Let's call them suggestions. As far as #1. being in the negative, I suggest: Do unto others as they would wish you to. I can't understand how so many people think that what they want is the same as what others want. And, similarly, it seems that my response of "Why should I?" to #10 doesn't seem to be understood. Occam
Or we could call them principles that many atheists agree to. "Suggestions" also implies a suggester. Lois

I give up. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gOaCD_JNgkA

PLaClair,
Thanks for your elaborate answer on my question.

George's formulation is missing the action component.
I agree with this, but on first sight I am missing this in your formulation too; until I read a little about Dewey] (as you referred to him in another posting above). I recognise your use of concepts is building very strong on Dewey's ideas. Those who do not know anything about him might be lightly confused when you use his terminology without explaining. I am glad you did here. I think I understand both of you (but maybe I am wrong in believing that...). It seems I take some kind of middle position. I understand George's allergy against 'Faith', especially if you write it with capital 'F'. A long time ago you and me already had a discussion about it. The concept of 'Faith' suggests some fixed body of values and rules, and such a body of ideas always has the risk of dividing people along the lines of those who (think they) follow them, and those that don't, and are therefore 'dissidents' ('heretics' in relation to traditional religions). Depending on how groups are organised around such a body of ideas, it might lead to inclusion and exclusion of people (not necessarily leads to). On the other hand, I see that if we would like to live in a humane society, we somehow must believe in humanistic ideals, and try to act according to them. The problem with traditional religions is that they (if they try at all) build their value systems on supernatural metaphysics, and that often this metaphysics becomes more important than the values they are supposed to support. Now I think science is not a source of values: science itself is based on values, just look in your 'commandments' or in those of garythehuman ('Seek and live by truth', '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', 'Form independent opinions on the basis of your own reason and experience; do not allow yourself to be led blindly by others'). George sticks to values behind science alone, for reasons I do not understand. Truth matters, humaneness doesn't. (At least theoretically. I am pretty sure that in reality George is not inhumane at all.) But humaneness and striving for truth are both values, and its obvious that you strive for both. If you criticise others for being allergic to concepts of 'Faith', 'spirituality' and others, then I would say to you that you possibly love those concepts too much. You should know by now about the reactions that such words cause. So if you would like to argue for your position you might try to do without, even if for you those concepts express for you so perfectly what you mean. I think it is just a question of strategy, not of content. As a personal note: you probably know I am practicing Zen meditation. I also notice that it is difficult to explain how I can declare myself 'religious', without believing in anything supernatural (God, soul, miracles). For me Zen is a method, not just to know that I am a function of my bodily processes, but to actually live from this realisation and develop an ethical stance from this, to strive for humaneness, and not to fall into nihilism. The awe and wonder about the universe one gets via science is one great source for support, the realisation that we are very precious in this universe another, and that we all feel better if we treat another humane a third. The believe that we can increase humaneness, and we should actively try to promote it, is probably what you mean with 'Faith'?