The atheists view of the 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?