I’m not a huge fan of the Ten Commandments as they are usually written and spoken about. Yes, I am non-theistic but that’s not why, really. Though I don’t believe the Bible’s statements about God are best taken literally, I still like reading the Bible and find a lot of good stuff in there. The 10 Commandments have a strangely inflated importance in the American Christian landscape, and since many folk hold them so dearly I’ve wanted to ‘stay in the conversation’ as it were. To help myself reconnect to them in a way that is more meaningful for me, I’ve reimagined them below.
You will notice that there is some ‘connection’ from the scriptural 10 and those I created here but I feel that there are important distinctions. I’ve tried to jump a few hurdles I have with the scriptural version: First off, they’re framed as negatives! “Do not–” I’ve found that positive frames of “Yes, do!” work better in decision making and acting. Secondly, they seem to aim a little low. Anywho, I would appreciate any input on how to improve this 10 from any perspective, religious believers, atheists, religious non-theists…

I. Devote yourself to your and your communities’ highest values. Showing a respect and devoting reflection upon the wisdom traditions and best practices of our past can provide illumination to avoid the trappings of egoism and narrow sightedness.

II. Speak of religions with humility and interact with religious people with patience. As a non-theist it may be easier to deride and castigate the religious sphere, but compassion and love will in the long run bring understanding of others and one’s self.

III. Sabbath economics: do work that is fair, environmentally sustainable and compassionate, create a world of just and equal pay and where worker’s have dignity and pride in their work.

IV. Honor the wisdom of your teachers, ancestors, traditions. Do learn as much as you can of your family and generational background. Knowing where you come from engenders self respect and celebration of other traditions, cultures, religions.

V.  Serve others and the environment towards the greater dignity of living things.

VI. Keep high standards of trust and transparency in your community and act daily in a way that you and marginalized and oppressed peoples can esteem.

VII. Give rather than take, be honest, respect possessions while never hoarding your own.

VIII. Speak truthfully and let your words reflect the best of yourself and others.

IX. Keep before you the full liberty of others, and actively combat the objectification, dehumanization or exploitation of others.

X. Find contentment in every moment and the full grace of the universe.