May 2007

Hi, I’m an Atheist and I appreciate your site, but I wanted to comment:

1. Have no gods.

Well, of course, we are atheists.

2. Don’t worship stuff.

See above.

3. Be polite.

Politeness should be contingent. Otherwise it just feeds unwarranted aggressive behavior.

4. Take a day off once in a while.

Sorry, but this sounds like another “Self Help” platitude.

5. Be nice to folks.

See above 4 and 3. Nice should be contingent.

6. Don’t kill people.

Ever? Why? I mean, killing just because or out of rage is horrible and should never happen, but killing in self defense or in defense of freedom is often necessary.

7. Don’t cheat on your significant other.

What is this? “Cheat”? Like in “Don’t have SEX outside monogamous marriage?

8. Don’t steal stuff.

What stuff? From whom? When? Property rights are contingent upon local laws. Local laws have defended slavery, among many other horrors.

9. Don’t lie about stuff.

Again: When? To whom? I agree that to distort the truth is bad for everyone, but sometimes the truth is unethical (“Yes officer, the jews are hiding in my basement”) or plain dumb rude (“Yes honey, you do look fat and old”)

10. Don’t be greedy.

Yup, agreed. Greed is terrible.

Responding to a few of your responses (and keeping in mind that the point of the page in question is more about showing that atheists can be just as moral as theists, as opposed to actually dictating rules for atheists):

Politeness should be contingent. Otherwise it just feeds unwarranted aggressive behavior.

Politeness should be the default position, not one only used after it is earned. That is, I’ll hold a door for a stranger even if they don’t hold a door for me first. I disagree that being rude to rude people will help the situation (if that’s what you’re implying).

Sorry, but this sounds like another “Self Help” platitude.

Perhaps, but it’s still a good, generally accepted idea, and if I’m trying to parallel the Ten Commandments something needs to go in this spot.

See above 4 and 3. Nice should be contingent.

I disagree for the same reason as above. This does not rule out the possibility of self defense, of course.

Ever? Why? I mean, killing just because or out of rage is horrible and should never happen, but killing in self defense or in defense of freedom is often necessary.

I think we can define the atheistic “don’t kill” in pretty much the same way as the religious “don’t kill” – that is, vaguely.

What is this? “Cheat”? Like in “Don’t have SEX outside monogamous marriage?

This is “cheat” as in “don’t break the rules of a commitment.” So yes, if you’re supposedly in a monogamous marriage, you shouldn’t be having sex with someone else. But if you’re in an open marriage, that’s a different story.

What stuff? From whom? When? Property rights are contingent upon local laws. Local laws have defended slavery, among many other horrors.

I’d say that stealing is claiming for your own something that some other entity claims as private property, treating public property as private property, or acting to devalue public or private property for personal gain or entertainment. Yes, there have been immoral property laws in the past, and this country even fought a civil war based in part on whether not returning a slave is stealing, but I think that my definition is largely sound. I welcome other suggestions, of course.

Again: When? To whom? I agree that to distort the truth is bad for everyone, but sometimes the truth is unethical (“Yes officer, the jews are hiding in my basement”) or plain dumb rude (“Yes honey, you do look fat and old”)

I’d say that lying in this context would be telling an untruth (or allowing an untruth to be believed) for personal gain or entertainment.

Yup, agreed. Greed is terrible.

Actually, Randians and some Libertarians would disagree with this, but that doesn’t bother me too much.

Posted on May 25, 2007 at 9:19 pm by ideclare · Permalink
In: Criticism

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