Mention the 10 commandments and most people get a vision of Charlton Heston as Moses in the film of that name rather than the list of ‘Shalt not’s’ from the bible. Aside from the insistence of a thunderous deity that we worship him and only him, when we look at them in an historical context, the 10 commandments are actually very good rules on which to establish a society. Respecting your elders, not lying, stealing or killing are all precepts nobody should have problems with. And archaic language aside, while being told not to covet our neighbour’s ass may these days produce a snicker (however, your neighbour’s tight gluteals may be inspiration to hit the gym!), this message is timeless. Don’t get caught up in material pursuits. Even in biblical times there were people determined to keep up with the Joneses’ it seems.
Historians have argued that the original 10 commandments were just a means of social control. But without self-control we cannot progress or evolve. Now, writer and philosopher Alain de Button has published what he calls the 10 commandments for virtuous atheists or which might be better termed the spiritual 10 commandments for us all. What de Botton is attempting to do is give us a set of rules for the 21st Century aimed at making us a become a nicer human being – surely something nobody could argue with except perhaps Richard Dawkins as de Botton’s list is really about the Unselfish Gene.
Each of us is different with our own moral and spiritual compass. So, like Alain why not create your own 10 Spiritual commandments? Here are Alain’s followed by mine. Let me know what yours are!
The 10 commandments for atheists are:
1 Resilience – Keeping going even when things are looking dark.
2 Empathy – The capacity to connect imaginatively with the sufferings and unique experiences of another person.
3 Patience – We should grow calmer and more forgiving by getting more realistic about how things actually tend to go.
4 Sacrifice – We won’t ever manage to raise a family, love someone else or save the planet if we don’t keep up with the art of sacrifice.
5 Politeness – Politeness is very linked to tolerance, the capacity to live alongside people whom one will never agree with, but at the same time, can’t avoid.
6 Humour – Like anger, humour springs from disappointment, but it’s disappointment optimally channelled.
7 Self-Awareness – To know oneself is to try not to blame others for one’s troubles and moods; to have a sense of what’s going on inside oneself, and what actually belongs to the world.
8 Forgiveness – It’s recognising that living with others isn’t possible without excusing errors.
9 Hope – Pessimism isn’t necessarily deep, nor optimism shallow.
10 Confidence – Confidence isn’t arrogance, it’s based on a constant awareness of how short life is and how little we ultimately lose from risking everything.
- Empathy: I agree with Alain on this one Empathy makes the world a better place by connecting to others we heal the whole.
- Passion: Live life fearlessly as if every day were your last. We never know when we are going to return ‘home’ and each day is a miracle.
- Non Judgment: When judging ourselves or others we often make assumptions and experience pain. Let go of judgment but deal with situations which need dealing with coming from a place of love. Welcome difference in others.
- Kindness: Kindness is a secret super power! Kindness feeds our soul when we give it and makes the world a better place.
- Thoughts: Know the power of our thoughts. Our thoughts create our reality when we change our thoughts we transform our life and the life of others.
- Self-awareness: I’m with Alain on this one! Written above the temple of Delphi KNOW THYSELF. Within us is more mystery and magic than we can possibly know. Knowing ourselves allows us to take responsibility for our reality.
- Forgiveness: Forgiveness sets us free and enables us to move through life with fewer burdens.
- Unique Soul: Every human is a unique soul who has made the miraculous journey onto this Earth. Embrace your unique gifts, our contract is to be ourselves and follow our bliss!
- Be The Change: We are the change we want to see, when we change our own patterns and become the best we can be ALL of our relationships change.
- Unconditional Love: Love ourselves and others with compassion.
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