I am currently about half-way through reading Richard Dawkins – The God Delusion (yes, i know…what the hell took me so long?!?!?). It is truly VERY well written and I am thoroughly enjoying it.
I’ve just recently gone through his section that talked about a ’10 commandements’ more suited for our modern society. Since, obviously, the biblical ones are not only VERY outdated, but also, not all encompassing and really rather narcissistic from ‘god’s’ perspective.
Anyway, I wanted to post the new list of 10 commandments (based on the list that Dawkins provides in the book) because I think they are really are more applicable to modern life. Here is the list, along with some of my own commentary in parentheses where applicable…
First Commandment: Do not do to others what you would not want them to do to you. (Ah yes…the golden rule. Applicable, I think through ALL ages)
Second Commandment: In all things, strive to cause no harm.
Third Commandment: Treat your fellow human beings, your fellow living things, and the world in general with love, honesty, faithfulness and respect. (A worthy, albeit challenging, goal)
Fourth Commandment: Do not overlook evil or shrink from administering justice, but always be ready to forgive wrongdoing freely admitted and honestly regretted. (this has an ‘eastern philosophy feel to it that I really like)
Fifth Commandment: Live life with a sense of joy and wonder. (this is a big one for me. I think when I was young, I HAD this sense of wonder. This amazement with the world and the universe. Though the years of my fundamentalism, a lot of that was taken away and lost. Now that I’ve shed that oppression, I can feel some of the sense of joy and wonder coming back, and it really has been awesome)
Sixth Commandment: Always seek to be learning something new. (yep…a daily pursuit for me)
Seventh Commandment: 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.
Eighth Commandment: Never seek to censor or cut yourself off from dissent; always respect the right of others to disagree with you. (another challenging rule for me personally. It’s hard, but getting easier, to take the mentality that other people are allowed to have opposing viewpoints. I guess it just comes down to the fact that I’ve always been passionate about my beliefs (that damn fundamentalism!).
Ninth Commandment: Form independent opinions on the basis of your own reason and experience; do not allow yourself to be led blindly by others.
Tenth Commandment: Question everything. (and then question it again!)
Leviticus 25: (New International Version)
44 ” ‘Your male and female slaves are to come from the nations around you; from them you may buy slaves. 45 You may also buy some of the temporary residents living among you and members of their clans born in your country, and they will become your property. 46 You can will them to your children as inherited property and can make them slaves for life, but you must not rule over your fellow Israelites ruthlessly.
2 “If you buy a Hebrew servant, he is to serve you for six years. But in the seventh year, he shall go free, without paying anything. 3 If he comes alone, he is to go free alone; but if he has a wife when he comes, she is to go with him. 4 If his master gives him a wife and she bears him sons or daughters, the woman and her children shall belong to her master, and only the man shall go free.
5 “But if the servant declares, ‘I love my master and my wife and children and do not want to go free,’ 6 then his master must take him before the judges. [a] He shall take him to the door or the doorpost and pierce his ear with an awl. Then he will be his servant for life.
7 “If a man sells his daughter as a servant, she is not to go free as male servants do. 8 If she does not please the master who has selected her for himself, [b] he must let her be redeemed. He has no right to sell her to foreigners, because he has broken faith with her. 9 If he selects her for his son, he must grant her the rights of a daughter. 10 If he marries another woman, he must not deprive the first one of her food, clothing and marital rights. 11 If he does not provide her with these three things, she is to go free, without any payment of money.
I found some apologists claiming that you can’t resolve our modern thoughts on slavery with the ‘world view’ that was in place in biblical times. I find this amazingly short sighted.
Thes laws came from ‘GOD’. The infallible, unchanging, all-knowing, omnipotent ‘GOD’. World view should have NOTHING to do with it. If God is unchanging and all-knowing, then those ‘LAWS’ still apply today in his eyes. And, as a result, I find ‘GOD’ amazingly immoral.
No-one! Not even ‘GOD’ (who I’m pretty convinced does not exist), has the right to take away the rights of another human being, and OWN them. There’s just no way for me to rationalize this in my head to find a way that this would be considered moral. All these Old Testament, biblical ‘laws’ sound to me like they were created by the people who considered themselves ‘elite’, in order to justify their elitism by claiming that ‘GOD said it is so’. In-sighting fear in the masses is a great way of controlling them.
This issue of slavery is just one of MANY topics in the bible that I find to be completely immoral. And to hear the claims of theist say that the bible or ‘word of god’ is our (human beings) only source of morallity is just beyond my capacity for credulity. If this is the book that our race bases it’s morality on, we are, indeed, in trouble.