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The atheists view of the 10 commandments

August 25, 2014

AFA view of 10 commandments

I recently found this photo the Atheist Foundation of Australia Facebook page. I found their commentary on the 10 commandments quite interesting and revealing

Egotistical and ‘disturbing’

It was unsurprising that atheists rejected the first four Commands as egotistical and ‘disturbing’. If they reject the concept of God, then it is unsurprising to reject any claims that that this ‘God’ might make on his creatures. Yet this rejection by the AFA seems to overlook the theological concept of creation. If God didn’t make his creatures then he would have no claims on his people and there would be no imperative to worship and follow this god. Yet the clear Biblical story is that people are the creation of God and we hence ‘owe’ him for our very life and being. Hence idolatry is a serious problem. It’s not egotistical, it’s just what is due.

A similar case could be made for copyright law. If a person is the creator of a song or music, they have power over it. If someone rejects that concept and wants to pass the work off as their own, the owner of the copyright would be rightly angry would they not? They want proper acknowledgement (and payment). You might accuse them of being egotistical, but if they made it then they deserve to be acknowledged don’t they?

Adultery ok with abuse?

I did find it interesting that the AFA rejected adultery but said that murder was wrong. They are saying that it’s ok to cheat on your partner if they are abusive. It seems like strange logic: because my partner is doing something really bad to me, I can then betray and be faithless to them! It doesn’t seem like a particularly constructive way to build a caring society.

It’s also interesting why they didn’t use the same logic to reject ‘you shall not murder’. What if your neighbour is abusive to you? Why is it not then ok to murder them?


Why is adultery in the top 10?

There was puzzlement at adultery’s presence in a top 10 list. I wonder if this could be because marriage and sex is actually really important – the foundation of society? Relationships really matter and the best way to build a society is through monogamous and faithful marriage. By diminishing adultery diminishes relationships and faithfulness and trust.

Similarly, I think this was why honouring the parents is also in the top 10 – family and relationships matter. I also think that the concept of honouring parents is not abrogated through abuse. It may be harder to find ways to honour them – but to reject the concept outright seems a little unnecessary.

In terms of coveting, the root of coveting is dissatisfaction. The 10 commandments are encouraging faithfulness and trust in God and his provision (and not to want what others have). To reject this concept overlooks the fact that most evil in the world first stems from ideas in our heads. Usually these bad ideas involve some form of coveting, the most obvious being theft which first begins with coveting. Furthermore coveting makes it very difficult to have a fruitful relationship with someone when I just want what they have! So I’m puzzled why they think this is a bad idea. Surely if everyone were content we would have far less friction and greater harmony? 

What the 10 Commandments reveal

The 10 Commandments reveal what God really wants and values. He values people treating him as God, he values relationships, faithfulness, and people loving each other. The AFA commentary on the 10 commandments also tells us what values and concepts they think are foundational to their concept of society e.g. godless, self-determining, and letting abuse justify just about anything.

So what should be in or out?

If you were to put together a 10 commandments – what would be in and what would be out? 

From → Comment

  1. For me I guess even after considering that the author was deliberately trying to provoke, the key message is that for the atheists at AFA, not believing in a god is actually a minor difference between them and Christians – their difficulties with Christianity are more to do with their concept of humanity and their understanding of individuals versus groups in society. I suspect that this is true of many atheists – not believing god is less than half of it.

    • Yes, I tend to agree. There is a very different view of ‘society’ operating here isn’t there?

  2. There is. It’s something I’ve noticed when Atheists and Christians argue – each side sells ‘features’ of their belief system that the ‘other side’ regards as ‘bugs’ and vice versa.

  3. Steven Carr permalink

    ‘Yet the clear Biblical story is that people are the creation of God and we hence ‘owe’ him for our very life and being.’

    Name three people alive today that your god is supposed to have created.

    Let me tell you how people are actually created….. When a man loves a woman , and they get married….

  4. Steven Carr permalink

    ‘There was puzzlement at adultery’s presence in a top 10 list.’

    Why were atheists baffled by adultery being in the top 10?

    Did they honestly expect slavery to be banned in the 10 Commandments?

  5. Steven Carr permalink

    Just out of curiosity, where does the phrase ‘Ten Commandments’ appear in the Old Testament, and what commandments does that phrase refer to?

    I believe the words of the covenant that the Israelite god said had to be written on two tablets are referred to in Exodus 34 as ‘The Ten Commandments’, and Duet 4 also claims that the Ten Commandments , written on two tablets are indeed the Ten Commandments.

    Here are some of what the Bible clearly and unequivocally refers to as ‘The Ten Commandments’ – accept no substitutes.

    “Do not make any idols.

    “Celebrate the Festival of Unleavened Bread. For seven days eat bread made without yeast, as I commanded you. Do this at the appointed time in the month of Aviv, for in that month you came out of Egypt.

    “The first offspring of every womb belongs to me, including all the firstborn males of your livestock, whether from herd or flock. 20 Redeem the firstborn donkey with a lamb, but if you do not redeem it, break its neck. Redeem all your firstborn sons.

    “No one is to appear before me empty-handed.

    “Six days you shall labor, but on the seventh day you shall rest; even during the plowing season and harvest you must rest.

    “Celebrate the Festival of Weeks with the firstfruits of the wheat harvest, and the Festival of Ingathering at the turn of the year

    “Do not cook a young goat in its mother’s milk.”

    Then the Lord said to Moses, “Write down these words, for in accordance with these words I have made a covenant with you and with Israel.” Moses was there with the Lord forty days and forty nights without eating bread or drinking water. And he wrote on the tablets the words of the covenant—the Ten Commandments.

    The Bible is such a mess it can’t even get straight the story of what is in the Ten Commandments As everybody knows, there are zero mentions of any words resembling ‘Ten Commandments’ in Duet 5 or Exodus 20.

  6. Andrew permalink

    I do not like arguing about the Bible just simply ask these questions to yourself. 1. Who will take you after you leave this world? 2. And where will you go? 3. Are you sure, and can assure your answers? Your heart will not remain silent. Your heart will say loudly and unequivocally who you really are and where you stand now continuously. If your heart does not say anything and just silence means your heart is dead.

  7. Andrew permalink

    This is like what bible say, try to be looked wise, but actually fool (romans 1:18~). These 10 commandments became 2 laws. First 4 commandments became love your God, and the rest became love your fellow humans. If you love God and your fellow, you will do your best to make God happy, and you will be blessed. In christianity, there is no reason to revenge or protect yourself with martial art or physical counter because abusive matter. God say, cursed for them who depend in his own strength. The God’s way is He take you away from trouble (ex. death threat) before it will be happened to you (this is avoid-threats God’s system). If you still facing it, it means, God knows your capacity to face trouble, and there is purpose for that, is to make you as witness to prove He is God in front of people. There is no situation for His people without His permit. Some people thought, why God allowing war? (This context is a bit different about the journey of Israel when against non-israel people in bible, there are secret spritual-meanings in it). People doing war because their ego, and they rebelled to God because of their ambition (new testament says, Our enemies are not flesh and blood/human but evil spirits). Why God allows death sentence? To show His justice and to protect the sin will be not spreading and influence others. So, why I still facing these all troubles? Ask yourself, are you follow God’s plans or not? Or you followed your ego? God already gave signs (if you follow Him wholeheartedly and without ending), so you to avoid trouble or threat, and not to follow your short-minded. Why you prefer follow your ego, and then meet trouble, and fight, and blaming God??? Are your mind ok? Now Other case. A girl got raped by his father or sibling (this was also happened in king David’s family). Is there explanation for it? Yes! It maybe because his ancestors sins, so the next generation got the consequences. Read bible. ‘Consequences’ of sin cant be erased, only sin. Or other answer, maybe this family was not follow Jesus whole-heartedly, so the devil had chance to destroy them. But why you keep blaming God? So becareful on what you sow and your daily life. And then, what about that girl. You know?, to end this curse, the only way is forgiveness. Hard? Of course! But its not impossible! If the girl let Jesus entering her heart, her life will be changed, bright future and eternal peace already belonged to her. All answers are in bible! Seek Jesus and He revealing all the secrets in bible. Why people tried to turn the bible facts? Because they werent came to Lord with humble heart, so they misunderstood The Word, then try to change the bible with their mind! Their minds and hearts blinded and couldnt understood bible, because they tried interpreting bible with logic, not by Holy Spirit! The bible has a lot of secrets. And it has already translated so its looks like has contrary meanings. But sometimes its good, it could enrich your knowledge for bible teachings. If you study the whole bible, you will enjoy because you will find the what behind the secrets and undeniable truth. I born as christian, but i know Jesus by study and experiences, not because followed my parents religion. Already 29 years in this earth, and learned bible since below teen. I know the difference between christian with others. And i know what is mean christian. I could confess, The Bible is truth, but the problem is to do what was written inside. Thats why we need much praying. Because we are from flesh, but the Words is life-giving spirit.

  8. Andrew permalink

    The last part. I know some people will try to deny my statements. I faced this many times. The answer is because their fearful and worry. In christianity, there is no fear. If you scared to live, you are guilty and have done sin. Because it means you denying God’s sovereignty, divine power, and wisdom. Apostle Paul said, life means to be fruitful, and death is profit. Why we can say like him? Because if we really lived in Jesus, we dont have to fear facing all trouble, because we knew, if we are going to death, we will meet Jesus surely. And if we live, God works with us everyday.

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