In November 2014, a contest was held to re-think a set of non-commandments for the 21st century. After 2,800 submissions, here are the winning non-commandments:
1. Be open minded and be willing to alter your beliefs with new evidence.
Why: It is essential in order for us to be able to collaboratively work together to find common solutions to pressing world problems. -Jeremy Jimenez
2. Strive to understand what is most likely to be true, not to believe what you wish to be true.
Why: We’re more likely to believe what we wish to be true over what we wish not to be true, regardless of veracity. If we’re interested in learning the truth, then we need to actively separate our beliefs from our desires. -Matthew M.
3. The scientific method is the most reliable way of understanding the natural world.
Why: Every time humans have questions this method is used to solve them. If we don’t know, we don’t know but instead of making up the answer we use this method to reach a conclusion/answer. -Zay Jackson
4. Every person has the right to control over their body.
Why: This includes a person”s right to not be murdered, raped, imprisoned without just cause (violating another person’s rights), kidnapped, attacked, tortured, etc. This also protects a person’s freedom of speech and freedom to dress and represent themselves as they so choose. -Chris Lager
5. God is not necessary to be a good person or to live a full and meaningful life.
Why: When one does a good deed it isn’t because God tells one to do a good deed, but because one simply wants to be good person. As Human beings we are capable of defining our own, different, meanings for our lives, with or without a god. -John Roso
6. Be mindful of the consequences of all your actions and recognise that you must take responsibility for them.
Why: It may sound obvious, but negligence and refusal to take responsibility are an immense source of harm in the world, from interpersonal relations to Global issues. -Jamie Andrews
7. Treat others as you would want them to treat you and can reasonably expect them to want to be treated. Think about their perspective.
Why: If everyone did their best to carry this out as far as it can go, everyone would get along much better. -Carol Fly
8. We have the responsibility to consider others, including future generations.
Why: As human beings, we have great power. As Voltaire noted “With great power comes great responsibility.” To not consider others would be selfish and petty. We have demonstrated the ability to be magnanimous, are rapidly becoming more so, and will be even more so in the near future. -Michael Marr
9. There is no one right way to live.
Why: If you look, even a little, you find many cultures living in moral societies that are fundamentally different, with only a few very basic principles being adhered to between them. Just because one group is different, does not mean they are wrong. -Eli Chisholm
10. Leave the world a better place than you found it.
Why: The Japanese concept of Kaizen teaches that small incremental improvements can have a profound effect over time. We should all strive to leave the world better than we found it be it through relieving the suffering of others, creating works of art, or passing along knowledge. -Maury McCoy