Sunday, November 27, 2005

The Atheists' Code

Via ambivablog, at whose site a hearty discussion has occurred in the comments, but originally from I Am An Atheist:

As an atheist you have a number of rights and responsibilities. These include (but are not limited to):

  1. Have no gods.
  2. Don't worship stuff.
  3. Be polite.
  4. Take a day off once in a while.
  5. Be nice to folks.
  6. Don't kill people.
  7. Don't fool around on your significant other.
  8. Don't steal stuff.
  9. Don't lie about stuff.
  10. Don't be greedy.
Remember, theists will condemn you for living by this code because you are doing it of your own free will instead of because you're afraid that if you don't a supreme being will set you on fire.

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At 9:46 AM, Anonymous Winston said...

Did you catch the lively discussion threaded thru the 17+ comments at amba's post? Bet she didn't count on that...

I had already commented over there, but wish to repeat it here:

"I am not an atheist and I do not like using labels that bound or restrict or stereotype. Having said that, if you call me "agnostic" I would not argue because you would be quite close.

Since we've been out of the caves and standing upright, we have evolved social constructs to minimize chaos, protect the individual, and strengthen the tribe. The rules or commandments or laws vary little from culture to culture, which would seem to indicate a more or less universal settling point for societal behavior that is independent of religion...or lack thereof.

Sure, the 10 rules for atheists sound quite familiar and were probably developed by someone or a group of someones using the 10 Cs as a starting point. No matter... they could have started "tabula rasa", or with ancient Bhuddist or Hindu scrolls and arrived at quite close to the same point."

At 10:33 AM, Blogger Jude Nagurney Camwell said...

I enjoyed this one, Jane. I believe that compassion and ethics do not have to be drawn from sacred Scripture. At the same time, it's respectful for atheists to recognize that many individual values are, indeed, formed through the vehicle of faith formation. Respect is the key - without respect for one another, there is an absence of a capability to find what is good and common to us - faith notwithstanding.

I've been facilitating a book club discussion at the (Senator John Edwards) One America website on the Jim Wallis book - "God's Politics." As we (of diverse spiritual - or atheist - backgrounds) talk to one another, we find that we have core common values. Some of us derive those values from what we have learned and experienced from our faith while others have had no attachment to faith at all.

When we have respect (which is a common value that most of us recognize and cherish), we can learn to trust one another, regardless of our faith. We can each - and all - spot an common ethical concept when it hits our hearts' target. We can also enrich our friendships by learning more about how we individually came to believe what we believe - if we are truly interested in one another.

Keep up the great blogging. You're one of my favorites.

At 10:43 AM, Blogger melinama said...

What I liked about this list is the idea that we can arrive at right places using many different paths. No one religion has a patent on any value system. We can find what is right inside us.

That's what I like about Judaism, too - it tells us to do the right thing, that we needn't be perfect (or maybe even good) people or even necessarily have deep understanding - we just - must - do the right thing.


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