One of the main arguments for religion is morality. Without God to watch over us, we'd all be murdering left right and centre....apparently. As well as being a rather appalling reason to be good, it is also ridiculous. We do not need a list of ten commandments to know how to be good. I have never been religious. Even as a child when I was being fed all the usual shit, I think I always questioned it, at least from an age when I was old enough to question it. Despite being an atheist, I still have morals. I would like to share my three rules for living. These are my version of the ten commandments I guess. Three rules which cover everything I need in order to be a good person.

 

  1. Do not harm anyone physically!

  2. Do not harm anyone mentally!

  3. Do not harm anyone financially!

 

These three simple rules cover everything from theft to bullying. They could be open to interpretation of course, especially number 2. They are just a guideline for how to treat others. I'm sure there are many situations which would require a more complex interpretation of the above rules. The point I'm making is, it's very simple to be a good person. It's just common sense. You know it's bad to hurt someone physically because you wouldn't want to be hurt yourself. You know it's wrong to hurt someone mentally because you wouldn't want to be hurt that way yourself. You know it's wrong to steal because you wouldn't want to be stolen from yourself. Why do I need religion to tell me this? Quite simply, I don't!

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Tags: atheism, atheist, blog, commandments, morality, religion, rules

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Comment by Rational-Thinker on June 8, 2011 at 8:09am
A very good point John, one that I had not really thought of.  Even with religion, where the rules are apparently laid out for us, people interpret them in their own way, (which is actually a great argument against religious morality).
Comment by John Camilli on June 8, 2011 at 8:09am
Comment by John Camilli just now
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I'm pro anarchy, which sounds horrible to most people, but I believe everyone in the world is already anarchic in that no one can ascribe to any truth but their own. Since I cannot have your senses, experiences and thoughts, I cannot come, by the same means, to the logical and moral conclusions that you come to. Many of us might come to the same end results, liiiike killing is bad, for example. But we will have reached that conclusion based on seeing or hearing different examples of killing, different resuls that it has caused, and by having different thoughts about it, even if we conclude in the same place. So really, our morality about killing will not be the same even if we all say it shouldn't be done because of the reasoning that went into it. If my reason for not killing is different than your reason for not killing, then we do not really have the same morality because different exceptions to that rule will apply to each of us.

 

People who ascribe to the same laws, be they theistic, atheistic or otherwise, are just people who have reached the same conclusions, but they will not have done so by the same means. Their reasons/ reasoning will be their own, which makes the rule their own even when it ends up being called the same. And to each have our own rules is the same as having anarchy.

 

Like your rules #2, since you nicely pointed out that that would be open to a lot of interpretation. You're right, and it would be interpretted differently by everyone, even if only to slightly different degrees in some cases, so it really would be a different rule for everyone. I think people could all agree on the idea of sparing other mental harm, but they would not agree on what constitutes mental harm, so would end up sparing each other from their own idea of mental harm, not someone else's idea of it. And when someone else's idea differed from theirs, they would simply say 'that's not a mental harm,' or think it at least. Same with the other two rules, really.

Comment by Loren Miller on June 8, 2011 at 7:55am

There may be an even simpler way to sum it up:

 

That which you would not have done to yourself, do not do to another.

 

I've always liked that phraseology better than "do unto others..."

Comment by booklover on June 8, 2011 at 7:13am
Those 3 rules are better than the 10 commandments.  We evolved and many of us figured out we need to have compassion and follow rules in order to live in a nice society.  Otherwise, anarchy.  Many of us don't need some stupid book to tell us how to be good people.

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