Penn Jillette’s 10 Commandments for Atheists

When Glenn Beck challenged Penn Jillette to prove Atheists are moral by coming-up with his own 10 Commandments, Penn Jillette gladly took the challenge. I think the list has more to do with simply living in society than being applicable to whether or not you believe in a higher being. It’s about believing in a higher cause. Here are his 10 Commandments of Atheism from his latest book “God No: Signs You May Already be an Atheist and other Magical Tales”:

1. The highest ideals are human intelligence, creativity and love. Respect these above all.

2. Do not put things or even ideas above other human beings. (Let’s scream at each other about Kindle versus iPad, solar versus nuclear, Republican versus Libertarian, Garth Brooks versus Sun Ra— but when your house is on fire, I’ll be there to help.)

3. Say what you mean, even when talking to yourself. (What used to be an oath to (G)od is now quite simply respecting yourself.)

4. Put aside some time to rest and think. (If you’re religious, that might be the Sabbath; if you’re a Vegas magician, that’ll be the day with the lowest grosses.)

5. Be there for your family. Love your parents, your partner, and your children. (Love is deeper than honor, and parents matter, but so do spouse and children.)

6. Respect and protect all human life. (Many believe that “Thou shalt not kill” only refers to people in the same tribe. I say it’s all human life.)

7. Keep your promises. (If you can’t be sexually exclusive to your spouse, don’t make that deal.)

8. Don’t steal. (This includes magic tricks and jokes — you know who you are!)

9. Don’t lie. (You know, unless you’re doing magic tricks and it’s part of your job. Does that make it OK for politicians, too?)

10. Don’t waste too much time wishing, hoping, and being envious; it’ll make you bugnutty.

See, being a good person and respecting others should have nothing to do with the fear of what could happen to you in an afterlife, it should just be within you. If you are being good to others to impress some deity and not for them, than you are doing it for the wrong reason.

  • This seems to be an obvious, yet no-win argument with religious people.  No matter how different they are in details, most religions agree with certain “how to get along and not be a bad person” rules, and those who are not religious also use those rules.  Those rules make sense for human beings to function together as the social creatures we are.  But try to explain that those rules did not have to come from an all-knowing greater power, and the devoted stop listening.