Tuesday, February 10, 2009

The New Ten Commandments

The so-called Ten Commandments, which may in fact be 11, or 9 commandments depending on who's counting, are derived from a couple of places in the Bible but were not actually original with the god, Yahweh or his servant, Moses. They are a refinement of previous ancient Near Eastern legal codes, such as the one attributed to Hammurabi.

But, hell, nobody except for some christianist right wingnuts cares about the Ten Commandments these days, anyway. I mean, who takes the prohibition of sculptured images literally, and lots of people put their hand on a bible and swear falsely all the time, and except for Orthodox Jews, not many folks bother to keep the Sabbath holy.

It is interesting to note that the Hebrew verbiage relating to the Decalogue is better translated "ten words," or "ten statements," than the traditional "ten commandments." Notice how that puts the whole business in another context - less legal, more instructive.


It's time for something NEW, something more relevant, more instructive, less legal, less religious. It's time for a new set of "commandments," or "words," or "statements."

Fortunately, my friend, Ken, at Fergie's Dribble has come up with such a list!

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.

Richard Dawkin's in his book, "The God Delusion" adds a couple or [sic] more which I also like:

11. Enjoy your 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.

12. Do not discriminate or oppress on the basis of sex, race, or (as far as possible) species.

13. Do not indoctrinate your children. Teach them how to think for themselves, how to evaluate evidence, and how to disagree with you.

14. Value the future on a timescale longer than your own.


Having said all that, it's time to watch one of Mel Brooks' funniest videos which tends to put things in perspective.

1 comment:

Denise said...

I like that listing. :)

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