Ten Better Commandments?

Richard Dawkins has made the point that if God were so perfect that he could have come up with ten better commandments than the ones in the Bible. Depending on your particular flavor of the Judeo-Christian-Islamic religion (singular as always for me), the ten commandments may differ slightly. Here are the ten commandments on wikipedia with a good write up, including the original text of the Bible, which is either 16 or 15 paragraphs, depending on whether you prefer to take the version from Exodus or the version from Deuteronomy. That there are two versions and that they differ should immediately strike any thinking person as signifying that the Bible just may not be quite as perfect as many people assert anyway.

Anyway, Dawkins makes the point that most of us could do a better job in a few minutes coming up with ten better commandments than the ones in the Bible. Here’s my attempt. Please feel free to post either your opinion of my commandments or your own version. Let’s see whether we can do better then Moishe did.

  1. Thou shalt not breed like rabbits thus overwhelming the limited resources of the one planet you have.
  2. Thou shalt take all reasonable care to avoid causing unnecessary suffering or death to either humans or any other species.
  3. Thou shalt respect the peaceful views of others though they may differ from your own.
  4. Whenever possible, thou shalt avoid waging war.
  5. Thou shalt not muck up thy planet with toxins and substances that outlast a human lifespan. Thou shalt also be careful with other waste products, even when they will not outlast a human lifespan.
  6. Thou shalt respect the rights of others to peacefully seek happiness in their own way.
  7. Thou shalt respect the basic life and health sustaining needs of all.
  8. If thou chooseth to eat of the flesh of any animal of the land, sea or air, take care to have the utmost respect for that animal in life and ensure that his/her death is swift and with minimal suffering. Thou shalt avoid eating and should take extra precaution to avoid killing any animal whose numbers will not rebound swiftly.
  9. Thou shalt always maintain a long term view of thine actions as well as a short term view and remember that long term is defined in many times the lifespan of a human, preferably as long as millions of years, or even longer when possible.
  10. Sex between consenting parties is never sinful. Enjoy sex consensually, leaving others to do the same in their own way.

Extra credit goes to anyone who can provide an adequate explanation of why any putative supreme being would need to create subjects and then spend a third of the text of his/her commandments on demands for external validation. As a programmer, I do not feel the need to write code that spins off many processes displaying messages to me telling me how great I am as a programmer. That would be silly. Any god who creates billions of subjects for the primary purpose of telling him/her how great s/he is, is equally silly.

Please note that Dawkins has his own list of commandments in The God Delusion. This is merely my attempt at creating a sample list that would work better than the existing 15 or 16 ten commandments. I welcome all suggestions and corrections for improving this list. The more important point of this post though, is to show that the Bible is not only not the best source for morals, but that most of us can do better with a few hours of serious thought on the subject.

Please also note that I added the tenth of my commandments partly as filler. I think that if it were not there, it would still be implied by the others. I wanted to stick to the traditional ten for my commandments as well.

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18 Responses to Ten Better Commandments?

  1. bobbo says:

    Well, by design, these commandments have nothing to do with god and everything to do with worshiping the earth or the human species rather than the Prime Mover?

    Something like “Think for 10 seconds before taking my name in vain. Think of something more original to say, something that might even avoid the provoking issue in the first place. In other words—just think!”

    But so tedious. The infant tyrant.

    I’ll join back in when we rewrite the Bill of Rights.

  2. Misanthropic Scott says:

    bobbo,

    Once it was updated to updated to stop calling “Indians” non-human and black slaves as 1/3 of a human, non-voting, the Bill of Rights (with a few of the newer amendments) became quite decent. I doubt I could do much better on that doc. I’m not that smart.

    The only reason I can (or believe I can) do better than the 10 commandments is because the first several of those are wasted on telling our supposed creator that we think s/he is great and the others are based on a moral zeitgeist that is millennia out of date.

    ‘Thou shalt think’ may be a better commandment number 10 than I have, given that, as I stated, my number 10 can easily be inferred from the other 9. The only problem with a commandment to think is that so many people, even when well intentioned, are incapable.

  3. Higghawker says:

    Just a tidbit of scripture, I know how scripture is adored here: Scott, what are you so angry about? These 10 commandments your bashing are not even binding today. Those 10 rules were for the Israelites. Of course, man thought he knew better, so the Jews added some 600 traditions to these 10 rules. They considered their rules better, sort of like what you’re doing here. Romans 1:

    20: For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:
    21: Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.
    22: Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools,
    23: And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things.
    24: Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves:
    25: Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen.

    Higghawker

  4. Misanthropic Scott says:

    Higghawker,

    As long as you’re quoting scripture, why not quote the line where Jesus says fuck the ten commandments?

    As for me being angry, what in this post makes you think so?

    I happen to be very angry for all the damage religion has done to humanity. On this post, however, I am simply stating that the 10 commandments, while not particularly horrible, are hardly the product of divine intervention.

    So, again, please cite the location where Jesus states that the ten commandments no longer apply. Then please explain why Christians keep trying to put them up in courthouses around the country.

    BTW: Matthew 5:17: Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets. I have come not to abolish but to fulfill.

    AFAIK, that law that Jesus came to fulfill was the Torah.

  5. Higghawker says:

    The 10 commandments were given to the Israelites, as a kind of test. Through their obedience, sacrificing, etc. their sins were rolled over, not forgiven. They would recognize their need for a saviour, which is what the Old Testament (Old law) taught. When Jesus comes, he would be their saviour, and their sins would be forgiven thru His death on the cross. This was what an obedient Jew had to look forward to. Obey these 10 commandments until Jesus comes and be forgive their sins. But……..they were puffed up, added many traditions to these 10 rules, and made their rules more important than the 10 God gave them.

    When Jesus died on the cross, the sins of all those before who had been obedient to the Old Law (10 commandments) their sins were forgiven.

    Col. 2:14 14: Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross;

    Today, all people are subject to the New Law (the New Testament). By studying, hearing, one has the choice to believe what he hears, and then acts upon what they have learned.
    Rom. 10:17 So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.
    This faith should produce action, or obedience to the Gospel.
    You can become a Christian by believing that Jesus is the Son of God, repenting of your sins, and being baptized for the remmission of those sins. Acts 2:38.

    Scott, the damage you speak of in the world, is because of lack of knowledge of the Bible. A common mis-understanding of the 10 commandments is why you always hear about the courthouse portraying them etc. Although there is nothing wrong with obeying those commandments, they are not binding upon us today.

    Higghawker

  6. Misanthropic Scott says:

    Higghawker,

    If true that all of the violence caused by religion is due to a lack of understanding of religion, a premise I reject wholeheartedly, then why is religion and the bible so unclear on the subject that so many people over the millennia have made exactly the same mistake? Why are there so many instructions in the bible to kill? Why is god so incapable of clearly and concisely stating the correct name by which s/he should be called? Why is god so incapable of expressing the rules clearly, concisely, and unambiguously so that all will understand? And, why is your god so caught up in worship of him/herself? Your god has the manners and morals of a spoiled child. Your god is not worthy of my worship. That your god requires worship and belief in him/herself is the ultimate sign of a supremely insecure and ineffectual god.

    The only sin lies in deliberately and unnecessarily hurting others.

    And, oh by the way, it really is time for you to do a little soul searching into why exactly you are such a severe anti-Semite. I’m guessing it’s another of the wonderful effects of a religion of hate. You couch it in the sweetest of terms, but really do show a tremendous amount of scorn and disrespect for the Jewish people as a whole and Jews individually, not to mention your lack of respect and tolerance for anyone who does not accept Jesus. If you truly loved your fellow human being, you would likely find it abhorrent that so many would be burning in hell for eternity for a simple lack of belief. That this doesn’t bother you means you either do not believe in this fate or are a heartless amoral individual. Think about it for a while. Or, better yet, think.

  7. bobbo says:

    Scott–are your concerns “a bit dated?” Name the last large scale war that was justified by the bible?

    Now, lots of small scale, one on one type stuff as when gays are attacked and such but national wars?

    Higghawker–by your minority view of “the correct” interpretation of the bible, what kind of book is it that “most” people interpret wrongly? And so forth.

  8. Misanthropic Scott says:

    bobbo,

    Actually, the current war is a religious war for at least one side, though it is justified by a different flavor of the Judeo-Christian-Islamic religion. In fact, just about everything going on in the middle east is religion justified, including sharia law.

    You’re right though about the bible and current wars. But, why limit to wars? What about summing up the deaths from the following?

    clinic bombings
    doctor shootings
    IRA
    A commander in chief of this country attempting to cause Armageddon
    Sending preachers instead of condoms to Africa where AIDS is killing millions
    Cutting funding for life-sustaining assistance to countries that fund abortions

    Got any more to add? Don’t think these are in the name of religion?

  9. bobbo says:

    clinic bombings, doctor shootings–mental illness and very rare. Probably leading to fewer abortions and more unwanted/ill raised kiddies.

    IRA–95% political

    Aids policy==I thought Bushco got credit for helping aids victims? – – – – thinking- – – – NO, he has funded medication for aides sufferers and YOU are right, actually promotes the causes of Aides. I’ll give this a toss up. Bush doesn’t thump the bible, he’s just an idiot with an idiots minimum belief structure per his own cafeteria philosophy?

    Anit-abortion foreign policy==on the face of it, is pro-life?

    Just because we both disdain religion, we need to be strong and not overstate the case===But yea, the Koran as opposed to the bible is a big killer.

  10. Misanthropic Scott says:

    bobbo,

    clinic bombings, doctor shootings–mental illness and very rare. Probably leading to fewer abortions and more unwanted/ill raised kiddies.

    Perhaps. But, many lead ordinary lives outside of this. They probably have adequate or even hyperactive morals processing centers in their brains. These morals are twisted by religion.

    IRA–95% political

    Agreed.

    Aids policy==I thought Bushco got credit for helping aids victims? – – – – thinking- – – – NO, he has funded medication for aides sufferers and YOU are right, actually promotes the causes of Aides. I’ll give this a toss up. Bush doesn’t thump the bible, he’s just an idiot with an idiots minimum belief structure per his own cafeteria philosophy?

    Actually, the U.S. does also send condoms to Africa, but could send more if the money used to send preachers was diverted to condoms that actually work. Whether bible thumping or not, the policy of sending preachers and preaching abstinence in third world countries is horribly misguided and guided solely by religion.

    Anit-abortion foreign policy==on the face of it, is pro-life?

    But, only on the face of it. Actually, it ends up killing thousands of adult human beings to rescue fetuses that are then left, by the same politicos, with no health care, no welfare, no food, and poor parenting. Roe v. Wade is what stopped the crime wave of the early 90s. Read Feakonomics. It explains this well with a wealth of data backing the claim.

    Just because we both disdain religion, we need to be strong and not overstate the case===But yea, the Koran as opposed to the bible is a big killer.

    It’s a tough case to overstate. Throughout history, religion has had a huge deleterious effect on humanity. The Koran is not really different in kind, just in magnitude. It is merely the most virulent form of a deadly disease. Read Deuteronomy and Joshua for some really long passages of genocide made to look acceptable because an ancient desert war god ordained them. After that, let’s see if you still think the Koran is different in kind, or just in magnitude.

  11. bobbo says:

    After that, let’s see if you still think the Koran is different in kind, or just in magnitude.

    Oh, its different in kind. Higghalker instructs us in what I suspect is more common than we know==many very religious christians don’t accept the old testament. The vengeful vs the loving god.

    The Koran not the Bible is used TODAY to oppress/make war on people. Yesterday is history, today leading to tomorrow is what is important and distinguishing in kind. I guess that “in the name of” more people have been killed under the bible than under the koran but the koran is killing folks today while the bible has been interpreted to its more peacefull ways.

    Course, history shows, it could all flip-flop as both books champion a fairy tale where humans are meant to serve something else.

  12. Misanthropic Scott says:

    bobbo,

    Many, probably most, very religious Muslims do not accept the violent interpretation that the extremists do either. So, again, different in magnitude, not in kind, IMNSHO.

    The fairy tale of serving something else is not where the violence comes from. The Jains have many gods, similar to the Hindu gods (possibly the same ones) and will not even kill an insect.

    The problem is with the desert war god Yawweh/Jesus/Allah. And, when you say that the new testament is more peaceful than the old, don’t forget the passages I pointed out in Thou Shalt Kill. The new testament is only peaceful by comparison to the old, not by comparison to anything else. And, Jesus affirmed that the O.T. in its entirety still stands. So, the violence is carried through just from that alone.

    Luke 19:27 is always my personal favorite of the N.T. though. ‘Now as for those enemies of mine who did not want me as their king, bring them here and slay them before me.'”‘

    Tell me how difficult it would be to take that line and start a holy war.

  13. bobbo says:

    “Tell me how difficult it would be to take that line and start a holy war.”

    I might make better arguments if I had ever read the bible? Beyond about 20 sentences, I can’t stand reading the gibberish.

    So–yes. I don’t know where “devout true believers” get off not killing everyone who doesn’t believe the same way they do. Does seem like an affront to gawd. Must be something in morality, practicality, or energy levels that religious folks “allow” blasphemers to live their private lives?

    I bow to your greater erudition, and have no wish to equal it.

  14. Mr. Fusion says:

    In the movie, there were 15 commandments. Ya, ya, so Moses dropped one of the tablets. But I would have thought “gos” would have back up the hard drive.

  15. Mr. Fusion says:

    Ooopps, that should have been “god”.

    My stitches itch and I’m getting a cold. Will that pass for an excuse?

  16. Misanthropic Scott says:

    Hey Fusion,

    I can fix that for you if you’d like. Or, should I let it stand?

    Either way though, too bad the first tablet wasn’t the one that dropped. Why waste so many commandments to tell us that there are other gods but we are not allowed to worship them, or at least, not first?

    If you’re only going to give out 10 commandments, make them all count. At least half of the ones Moishe wrote really suck. What a putz!

  17. Mr. Fusion says:

    Ok, but what if the dropped tablet actually had the worst commandments? Say, along the lines of:

    Thou shalt not wear corrective lenses if your poor eyesight was caused by excessive masturbation.

    Thou shalt not pick your nose on the subway.

    Thou shalt not wear underwear with a miniskirt. It is OK to wear underwear with a kilt.

    Thou shalt not bow down before me if your butt crack shows.

    Thou shalt not kill others in my name.

    I say the worst because I can’t think of anyone these wouldn’t apply to.

  18. Misanthropic Scott says:

    Underwear with a kilt should be mandatory!

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