The Ten Commandments for Atheists; A Deconstruction

The following Ten Commandments for Atheists has been popping up on the Internet for the past couple of days, and since I’m stuck waiting on a rendering video, I figured I’d give them a quick deconstruction.

Before I begin, my stance on the whole New Atheist movement: it can be summed up as “So you figured out there’s no god?  Good for you.  Have a cookie.” I typically refer to the hardline adherents as ‘Atheistkult’, as I find them to be naive and arrogant, no better than the ignorant hordes thumping “Muh Bible!” This isn’t a sweeping condemnation of all Atheists (or Southern Baptists, for that matter), just the noisiest and most poorly read of the group.

Disclaimer done; let’s begin.

Be open-minded and be willing to alter your beliefs with new evidence.

Mangan covered this well in his post:

Most atheists are completely unwilling to alter their beliefs in the face of new evidence. (To be fair, hardly anyone is, but atheists shouldn’t think they’re better than others this way.)

The irony just drips off of this commandment.

In Christianity and Judaism, the Ten Commandments are directed at the followers of said religions; in Atheistkult, this commandment is directed at everyone outside of the movement. “Open-minded” means open-minded to their particular set of beliefs, both metaphysical and natural – “alter” means switching over to their herd.

I honestly wish Atheists had the self-awareness to apply this commandment to themselves.  In my experience, they’re utterly close-minded to anything that doesn’t fit their pre-existing assumptions.  Just look at what’s happening to Dr. James Watson, one of the co-discoverers of DNA, and an un-person due to his stance on politically-incorrect science – he’s been reduced to selling his Nobel Prize thanks to the viciousness of the modern Left!  Lately the Atheist/Pro-Science Left has been celebrating Nikola Tesla, a genius ignored during his time – where are their voices when it comes to a modern day corollary, who doesn’t fit in to the accepted political mould?

The vast majority of Atheistkult are more interested in finding the Science!™ logo on their products and political beliefs than examining anything rationally, or admitting uncomfortable conclusions.  They fail to follow their First Commandment.

Strive to understand what is most likely to be true, not to believe what you wish to be true.

This is simply a variation of the first commandment, adding a positive prescription to actively seek out the truth.  Yet again, I sense an attitude of Atheists patting themselves on the back with this one, as they ridicule the rest of the world for being ‘primitive’, rather than internalizing its message.

Yes, there are exceptions, but the close-minded bigots who Fucking Love Science! are not amongst them.

The scientific method is the most reliable way of understanding the natural world.

This is not a commandment, but a metaphysical claim.  Furthermore, it is a claim presented without proof or argument, listed as if it an article of faith, a demand upon the True Believer.  I suspect the original phrasing was something like “Believe in the Scientific Method, for it is the Truth and the Way”, but the author noticed that they were creeping up on faith-based territory during the editing process, so they changed it to be less obvious.

You see why I call them Atheistkult?

For the record, I agree with this assertion, but I don’t view it as a fundamental article of faith which defines my existence; it’s a derived value, synthetic rather than analytic.  Be convinced of the scientific method doesn’t gain me membership in any particular group or grant me salvation, any more than my opinion on different motor oils does.

Every person has the right to control over their body.

Again, this isn’t a commandment, it’s an article of faith!

When the Founding Fathers laid out the basis of the American Experiment in the Declaration of Independence they acknowledged that all of them were articles of faith, founded upon Christian/Deistic principles and background:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed,

The Atheists are likewise appealing to God here, but failing to acknowledge it.  This is downright embarrassing.  But what makes it even worse is the motivation behind this commandment: this is nothing but a cynical political stance masquerading as existential truth.

This commandment is affirming a particular side of the Abortion Debate, placing pro-choice as an article of faith.  This wouldn’t have been included if this list were being written in, say, 1870 – it’s purely contemporary politics.  Furthermore, it states that you must agree with the Democrat stance on Abortion, or else you’re failing to be a True Atheist; there is no room for debate, you must conform!

God is not necessary to be a good person or to live a full and meaningful life.

Again, this is more of an affirmation than a commandment – it would have been more genuine to say “Live a good life, even without God” – but at least this one fits the format, sort-of, for a commandment that an Atheist should follow.

Be mindful of the consequences of all your actions and recognize that you must take responsibility for them.

Not bad – though, as with all of these, it begs the question as to why you should do these things.

Treat others as you would want them to treat you, and can reasonably expect them to want to be treated. Think about their perspective.

Now they’re stealing quotes from the Bible – almost as if there were a reason that books been kicking around for so long.

Matthew 7:12 “So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.

We have the responsibility to consider others, including future generations.

I’d prefer it if it were more KJV: “Be mindful of others, including the unborn.” – but I guess that would contradict the Fourth Commandment.

There is no one right way to live.

“These are the commandments of how thou must live; but also, you can live however you want.”

The commandments of Atheistkult literally tell you to ignore their own commandments.  This is what happens when you’re philosophically illiterate, I suppose.

Seriously, do we have an Electrical Engineer in the house?  Maybe he can explain the Philosophy of Logic to you, since you just short-circuited your logic board.

Leave the world a better place than you found it.

Define what that means!

Atheistkult is full of people of middling intelligence who want to lecture others as if they were College Professors (‘Professor’ as in ‘profess’ as in ‘professing God’s Truth’); they latch on to a few memes, share some photographs of stars, and start chortling and hooting like a bunch of teenage baboons who just discovered sex.  The echo the words of charismatic ‘scientists’ (most of whom are callow and unaccomplished) so that they can wear the pretense of being ‘smart’.

Atheistkult is more about the outfits than the ideas.

The students of both physics and metaphysics who advance the human race approach the topics with humbleness, awe, and even a little fear.  The immensity and beauty of this universe is overwhelming, and cannot be captured in pretty pictures or smug lectures.  Atheistkult could use a bit of humility – and rather than publishing this nonsensical list on the Winter Solstice, maybe they could sit down and ponder what it is about religion that brings people together in the objective world, and allows for celebrations like Christmas.

Meh, probably won’t happen.

Merry Christmas, everyone!

Neil DeGrasse Tyson Smug

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Davis M.J. Aurini

Trained as a Historian at McMaster University, and as an Infantry soldier in the Canadian Forces, I'm a Scholar, Author, Film Maker, and a God fearing Catholic, who loves women for their illogical nature.

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23 Responses

  1. Max says:


    Ed: Thanks

  2. Atheist groups act smug to all religions while simultaneously acting like one. I haven’t read much literature on the matter but I suspect that there is something quite natural in the way religions are created and organised, leading to Athiests natually and unwittingly recreating this behaviour.

  3. Darius says:


    Coming from someone who was raised catholic, and is now more Agnostic (perhaps Pagan who’s chosen Catholicism – sortof- as his path?) after a trip through Atheism….

    A whole shitload of atheists do not actually understand religion, and have never looked at the bible beyond the “gotcha” level, or metaphorically. Never read any Aquinas or ANY other deep thinking on the subject (I have yet to read Summa, so “guilty”).

    And never applied their own mental tools to their own beliefs, killed their own buddha.

    FWIW – The Irrational Athiest is a worthwhile read, and applies in spades to these athiestkult types.

    The least you’d think is that a book that has been around so long, regardless of who created the universe, may have some Truth – at least about people – in it.

  4. evilwhitemalempire says:

    I like how leftists are all for a godless universe……
    ……. until someone does or say’s something that pisses them off.

    Then suddenly, mysteriously, the universe acquires a creator.

    A creator that has endowed humans with moral agency.

    And the people that piss them off are all scum of the earth that CHOSE to do the things they did!

    God will surely punish.

    But after their enemies have been punished it’s time for God to go away now.

    Time for him to fade away into the shadows.

    To stay out of their social lives, their bedrooms, etc.

    The universe is once again a great, indifferent, void……
    ….until the next great transgression against their ‘enlightened’ sensibilities.

  5. JonadabTheRechabite says:

    Their ethical problem: What is good, meaningful, better or other ethical value? Is there one good or ,similar to other pluralist claims, only individual goods that are in conflict with another’s good. If there is not one good is anything intrinsically good? If there is no objective good are all things only subjectively good?

  6. Rei De Bastoni says:

    These are the atheists’ 10 commandments on the surface for all else to see… But their true commandments they do adhere to strictly, since there’s only one of them, and it’s an easy one to follow.

    Do what thou wilt; that shall be the whole of the law.

  7. Parajeet says:

    I’ll break my reply up into 3 parts.

    Head honcho of the New Atheists is Sam Harris who practices Buddhist meditation. Dawkins said of all spiritual ontologies, Hinduism makes the most sense. So they realize the importance of religion and spirituality. What they are against is the literal or historical interpretations of myths. Mythology has its uses, I would even say its important for human development and progress, but the key to it lies in its interpretation.

    The thing is, when you are dealing with the Abrahamic traditions you are dealing with mythos and ethos sans philosophy. The South Asian traditions provide the philosophy and that’s why New Atheists are more sympathetic toward them.

    I also got to hand it to Harris for bringing Jainism into the dialogue because few Westerners have even heard of it before he mentioned it in regards to the “not all religions are equal” argument, giving Jainism as one that is wholly dedicated to ahimsa/non-violent and thus not likely ever to kill in the name of their god (they don’t have a god), or in their case, in the name of their tirthankaras.

  8. Parajeet says:

    Darius, you make some good points about atheists not really “getting” what religion is all about. But keep in mind there are also religions that are atheist, or lack the god concept, such as Buddhism and Jainism and others, and those religions are largely left alone by New Atheists, except as example of what could be if Westerners, like Sam Harris, adopt them, as he has indeed done with his regular practice and promotion of Buddhist meditation, as well as his endorsement of Jainism as a religion exemplary of ahimsa/non-violence when he makes his “not all religions are equal or equally harmful” arguments.

    You yourself said you were raised Catholic but are not an agnostic pagan or whatever. There’s a reason for that. Your issue lied not with the god concept per se but with the particular interpretation of it presented by the Catholics.

    You write, “The least you’d think is that a book that has been around so long, regardless of who created the universe, may have some Truth – at least about people – in it.”

    Well that right there is the issue with the Abrahamic traditions. They interpret the Torah, the Bible, the Koran literally and historically and make no room for other interpretations nor room for other religions to be “right” also.

    This is largely what I see New Atheists arguing against as well.

    Philosophy and a transpersonal practice are one thing, literal interpretations of myths and an insistence that one’s myth is “true” while others are “false” is an entirely different ball game.

  9. Parajeet says:

    .We Are All Hindus Now
    By Lisa Miller | NEWSWEEK
    Published Aug 15, 2009

    An excerpt:

    America is not a Christian nation. We are, it is true, a nation founded by Christians, and according to a 2008 survey, 76 percent of us continue to identify as Christian (still, that’s the lowest percentage in American history). Of course, we are not a Hindu—or Muslim, or Jewish, or Wiccan—nation, either. A million-plus Hindus live in the United States, a fraction of the billion who live on Earth. But recent poll data show that conceptually, at least, we are slowly becoming more like Hindus and less like traditional Christians in the ways we think about God, our selves, each other, and eternity.

    The Rig Veda, the most ancient Hindu scripture, says this: ‘Truth is One, but the sages speak of it by many names.’ A Hindu believes there are many paths to God. Jesus is one way, the Qur’n is another, yoga practice is a third. None is better than any other; all are equal. The most traditional, conservative Christians have not been taught to think like this. They learn in Sunday school that their religion is true, and others are false. Jesus said, ‘I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the father except through me.’

    Americans are no longer buying it. According to a 2008 Pew Forum survey, 65 percent of us believe that ‘many religions can lead to eternal life’—including 37 percent of white evangelicals, the group most likely to believe that salvation is theirs alone. Also, the number of people who seek spiritual truth outside church is growing. Thirty percent of Americans call themselves ‘spiritual, not religious,’ according to a 2009 NEWSWEEK Poll, up from 24 percent in 2005. Stephen Prothero, religion professor at Boston University, has long framed the American propensity for ‘the divine-deli-cafeteria religion’ as ‘very much in the spirit of Hinduism. You’re not picking and choosing from different religions, because they’re all the same,’ he says. ‘It isn’t about orthodoxy. It’s about whatever works. If going to yoga works, great—and if going to Catholic mass works, great. And if going to Catholic mass plus the yoga plus the Buddhist retreat works, that’s great, too.’

  10. Jose C Silva says:

    Since brother Aurini asked for an Electrical Engineer, and I used to be one:

    Consider a skeptic/atheist meet (online, offline, in thoughtspace). What kind of people want to get together just to mock and criticize those whom they believe to be inferior? (Because that’s what they do. They don’t discuss religion or science. Clips on YouTube.) What kind of mental biases are these people likely to exhibit?

    Those of us with a REAL skeptical temperament and a love of science and logic, even generally skeptical non-believers like me, are not the right personality for this kind of group. We’d rather spend our time constructively, learning, making, thinking about ideas and events, not about people. (Again, pay attention to what they do, it’s all about people, not ideas. With the occasional science term or slide to provide a fig leaf; at least in the old days before they expunged the patriarchal scientism of… scientists like — annoying as they are in their activism — Krauss, Dawkins)

    Therefore, by selection and iterative purification of the group, the group ends up with a mix of people and attitudes that are correctly described as a cult.

    (As a rule I ignore skeptic/atheists and people who profess to love science but never seem to take the time to learn any, but on this day when we celebrate the birthday of Isaac Newton and the symbolic beginning of one of the foundational pillars of Western Civilization, I’ll break that rule.)

    Merry Christmas,

  11. Retrenched says:

    “There is no one right way to live”

    This list of commandments is self-obviating. “These are the rules you have to follow!… Um.. Well okay, not really.”

  12. Sean L says:

    Some thoughts in response to Parajeet.

    I did not realize that the New Atheists practiced non-theistic Eastern religions. It certainly explains why they reserve their vitriol for the Abrahamic faiths, and makes a bit more sense to me than Davis’ theory that they are some bizarre breed of non-theistic Christian- sorry, Davis!

    I will quibble with the statement that all Christians interpret the Bible literally. Catholics have never assumed that the events of the Bible happened word for word- Augustine of Hippo would’ve laughed at Seven-day creationists. And most Christians accept that the “historical” events of the Bible are a mixture of folklore and embellished history: did the story of the farmer seeing Washington praying for victory in Valley Forge really happen? Probably not, but he probably prayed for victory many times throughout the war.

    I don’t think the idea of “many paths lead to God” is terribly new to Christianity. But I don’t think it’s a case of people saying, “Many paths can lead to salvations.” I think it’s more like, “Only God can give salvation, but many paths can lead to God.”

  13. Parajeet says:

    Sean, thanks for the reply.

    “I did not realize that the New Atheists practiced non-theistic Eastern religions.”

    They don’t. Probably not most of them anyway, but Harris does.

    The thing is, “atheist” can mean many things. I know a lot of non-believers and its not that they don’t acknowledge the possible existence of gods and supernatural beings, its just that because they’ve not been given evidence, they have no reason to believe. That does not however mean they don’t practice some form of spirituality or transpersonalism. I know several who are into meditation. They don’t label themselves “New Atheists” or anything. They are just regular people who practice meditation and have not been shown any evidence for the existence of gods, deities and what not.

    Some wrote this;

    “Sam Harris is not an atheist as that term is popularly understpod. He overwhelmingly preferences Buddhism and “Eastern” spiritual paths. Religion to him is ideally the search for what Otto calls the “mysterium tremendum.” The journey – to him – is both “rational” and “verifiable.” Read the final chapter of his book “The End of Faith” and especially the footnotes therein, where he praises Mahayana Buddhism (and also Advaita Vedanta) and declares that the West has not produced a philospher as great as Nagarjuna.
    What he’s really after is the Abrahamic God.”

    I’m pretty sure Harris rejects the fantastical myths of Buddhism as there is no evidence for again, the super natural beings and events that those myths claim. But Buddhism offers a very concrete philosophy and transpersonal experience via meditation and that is what most Buddhists focus on.

  14. Nathan Metric says:

    This is why I also don’t have a lot of patience for heavy metal nowadays. They have an idiotic obsession with how bad Christianity is. The only ones they really have to worry about are the sinful ones. The real Christians are no threat.

  15. Nathan Metric says:

    By the way, “Atheistkult” is a term invented by FringeElements (aka Ryan Faulk).

  16. Yankee Sean says:

    @ Nathan

    I don’t think the anti-Christian sentiment in metal is universal. I think it’s mostly restricted to the death metal crowd. Many of the bands I listen to don’t bash Christianity, or call out the hypocrisy of all those who practice a peaceful religion yet use violence.

  17. Parajeet says:

    Christianity has bashed other religions and those who didn’t drink its Kool Aid for 2,000 years now. Time for it to put on its big girl panties and get back as good as it once gave.

    What goes around comes around.

  18. Geoarrge says:

    It’s kind of interesting to note that, compared to the less-controversial last six of the Ten Commandments (Protestant enumeration), these don’t hold any special regard for property rights. Nothing comparable to, say, “Thou shalt not covet… anything that belongs to your neighbor.” Or even “Thou shalt not steal.” I don’t think I’m being too hyperbolic saying there’s a loophole big enough to drive a bus full of socialists through.

    True, there’s a Golden Rule clone in #6, but it’s tempered by the phrase “…and can reasonably expect them to want to be treated.” Any time a written law is qualified by the word ‘reasonable,’ it is functionally self-nullifying as it offers an easily exploitable escape clause. See #7: “We have the responsibility to consider others…” You might say that it’s ‘reasonable’ to enforce a certain amount of ‘responsibility to consider others,’ and therefore ‘unreasonable’ to expect your property rights to be regarded as inviolable when you make greater than 200 grand a year and there’s still a War on Poverty to be fought.

    As a general formula for prosperity, this code falls distinctly short.

  19. Jeff Jones says:

    Some folks are missing the forest through the trees. A religion that claims there is an invisible, all powerful being who created the universe, and that He became “Man” and died, was buried and rose from the dead, and that if you accept this idea you live forever in paradise, but if you reject it you burn forever in hell…I could go on…this is just too silly to be considered. Doesn’t matter how “modern” you are or that maybe you don’t believe literally, this is just sick nonsense. If there were a little more honesty, if people said, “Hey! We know this is bunk but life is tough and it makes us feel better to get together and sing songs and all pretend and wish that it were so….” that would be different and I’d have some respect. As it is, this shit need to be attacked.

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