There are, of course, charges from the religious right that atheists are immoral. After all, how could we atheists possibly know the difference between right and wrong without the Ten Commandments? Well, to put their good god-fearing minds at ease, it is my objective – as a Catholic school graduate (pre-K through law school) – to educate the atheists of the world on the Ten Commandments and what they mean. Atheists, generally being reasonable people, should follow most of these Commandments not out of fear of a vengeful god, but because, well… breaking most of these rules just means you’re a dick. Here is the Atheist’s Guide to the Ten Commandments.
Commandment I: “I am the LORD your God who brought you out of the land of Egypt, from the house of slavery. You shall have no other gods before Me…”
Well, I’ve never even been to Egypt, so this is a tough one. But essentially, this commandment is interpreted as meaning that if you don’t believe in this particular god, you’re a damned sinner. And if you worship any other god, you’re doubly damned. If you worship Lord Vader, you’re triply damned. We atheists can’t avoid breaking this commandment, so let’s move on.
Commandment II: “You shall not make wrongful use of the name of the Lord your God, for the Lord will not acquit anyone who misuses his name.”
This commandment is interpreted to mean you should never take the name of God in a vain, pointless or insincere oath. You should not curse or swear to god while lying. You definitely shouldn’t say things like “goddamn it!”
Commandment III: “Remember the Sabbath day, and keep it holy.”
This means you should take the day off. Hey, no problem there. Most religions add that you need to attend religious proceedings, too. Hey, they gotta earn! But the Bible doesn’t say you need to wake up early and go to Mass. It just says you should not work. Oh yeah, it also says you should give your slave the day off.
Commandment IV: “Honor your father and your mother.”
Don’t be a dick to your mom and dad. This seems enough like common sense. Unless, of course, your mom or dad has been a dick to you.
Commandment V: “You shall not murder.”
(Gasp!) Unjustifiable killing is wrong. Who would have guessed?
Commandment VI: “You shall not commit adultery.”
Your husband or wife probably could have told you this.
Commandment VII: “You shall not steal.”
Don’t take shit that isn’t yours. Yes, that also means when you borrow something, return it.
Commandment VIII: “You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.”
This commandment is interpreted as meaning you should not perjure yourself in a court of law or other proceeding. Don’t lie, okay?
Commandment IX: “You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife.”
Well, I’d say that all depends on who your neighbor is. It’s a hell of a lot easier in some neighborhoods than others.
Commandment X: “You shall not covet your neighbor’s house.”
In addition to his wife, your neighbor’s house is off limits. So is his field, his male or female slave, his ox, and his donkey. Yeah, we all know you’ve had an eye on that donkey since the day you moved in. Don’t deny it.
Well, there you have it, the Atheist’s Guide to the Ten Commandments. You would think God would have had the forethought to weigh in on whether sharing downloaded music and movies was wrong. But he didn’t. Then again, I’m sure he had hoped that people wouldn’t need this ridiculous set of rules thousands of years later. I’m sure he had hoped people would have been able to determine what was right and wrong on their own by now.