I sort of like the idea of a defined creed to which one must adhere if they are to lead a just and noble life. However, I have a bit of a problem with this one, in that it’s a direct ripoff of the Ten Commandments. It’s cute and all, but invites religious people to claim that it’s impossible for us atheists to have morality without God, and see, look, we’re even using God’s laws save for number 1 and 2 which we heathens have corrupted!
Really, since the
Fifteen Ten Commandments comprise but ten of the 613 mitzvot of Jewish tradition, and those are likewise revamps of Hammurabi’s Code of Laws, why can’t we likewise take the kernel of truth codified in these commandments and distill them down to their essence?
For instance, the core of every one of the commandments, the one Jesus (if he existed) said all the other commandments hung upon — well, this, and “God’s the Only God For Me, And Better Be for You Too” — is “love your neighbor as you love yourself.” Every one of those commandments that matters, is predicated on treating others respectfully and in a manner befitting our species’ specialization as a social animal. In other words, we evolved to be social creatures, and if we act with disregard to the rest of our species, we are doing ourselves as much harm as we’re doing others. That we codified laws and a system of punishment (imaginary spiritual punishment or otherwise) tells me that the need for these behaviours is so great that then, as like today, we needed laws to enforce adherence to them, even when most people were content to adhere to them without the laws being delineated as such ahead of time. Basically, we needed a way to ensure everyone was playing by the then undefined rules, so we defined them, and said “if you break these rules, you’ll suffer these consequences”.
And I would contend that, because life is short, and it is all that matters (being that there is no afterlife, no big reward or punishment, no game over screen with continue option, and no high score list), not only should you treat one another as well as possible, but you should also do your utmost to enjoy the time you have on this mortal coil. It’s practically a truism to say that you should live life to the fullest, so much so that it seems trite — this is because we all know and understand this fact intrinsically.
If you’re paying attention, you’ll realize that I just boiled down the commandments to the following:
- Be excellent to each other.
- Party on dudes.
Now those are laws I can get behind.