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There Is No One Right Way to Live': Atheists Unveil a Radically Different Set of Ten Commandments


"The entries brimmed with compassion, empathy and caring for humanity, while endorsing science, reason and critical thinking."

Atheists who reject the Ten Commandments as detailed in the Bible and revered in Judeo-Christian tradition have unveiled their own secular version of life's dos and dont's.

Lex Bayer and John Figdor, authors of the book "Atheist Mind, Human Heart," recently organized a crowdsource contest to determine the 10 best atheist commandments and to modernize Old Testament ideals, creating an inclusive value set that they say is applicable in the modern era.

Bayer and Figdor's book, which is said to guide "readers through their process for establishing and testing principles for living a reasonable, ethical, and happy life without God," was the basis for the quest to find an alternative set of regulations; they released these ideals on Friday morning.

"There is often a misconception that nonbelievers don’t share strong ethical values," Fignor, who is a humanist chaplain at Stanford University, said in a statement. "In reading through the thousands of submissions in the contest it’s very clear that is not the case."

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He said that he believes there is overwhelming overlap as it pertains to moral values that can be found among the masses regardless of one's faith tradition.

The public submitted their ideas in recent weeks for alternative secular commandments, with a panel of 13 prominent atheists and secularists weighing in to pick their favorites.

"The entries brimmed with compassion, empathy and caring for humanity, while endorsing science, reason and critical thinking," Blumner proclaimed in a press release touting the results. "It goes to show how closely linked these values are."

Ten people collectively won the Rethink Prize, which was granted for their efforts in re-imagining the traditional Ten Commandments; they will share a collective $10,000 prize.

Below, see their new set of commandments:

  1. Be open-minded and be willing to alter your beliefs with new evidence.
  2. Strive to understand what is most likely to be true, not to believe what you wish to be true.
  3. The scientific method is the most reliable way of understanding the natural world.
  4. Every person has the right to control over their body.
  5. God is not necessary to be a good person or to live a full and meaningful life.
  6. Be mindful of the consequences of all your actions and recognize that you must take responsibility for them.
  7. Treat others as you would want them to treat you, and can reasonably expect them to want to be treated. Think about their perspective.
  8. We have the responsibility to consider others, including future generations.
  9. There is no one right way to live.
  10. Leave the world a better place than you found it.

These were chosen among 2,800 total submissions. What do you think of them? You can read the original Ten Commandments here.

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