Helen Mar Kimball 
Member since Feb 6, 2013


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Re: “Alan de Botton's Ten Commandments for Atheists

As a list of universal virtues, it's fine. I wouldn't necessarily consider it an improvement on Benjamin Franklin's 13 Virtues, but I suppose Botton's version is a bit more modern.

The title is very problematic, however. Penn Jillette's Ten Commandments for Atheists is more apt. He takes the ten commandments and finds the universal principle in each in order to adapt them to nonbelievers.

By taking a list of higher order, universal virtues and framing it as a decalogue for non-Judeo-Christians, Botton is insinuating that religion is already teaching its followers patience, tolerance, respect for other beliefs, etc. and that atheists are lacking and in need of direction in that regard.

If anything it's the other way around. He should call this ten new and improved commandments for believers. Or better yet, refrain from judging whether its believers or atheists that are more in need of a reminder to be nice and just market his list to all society, as Benjamin Franklin did.

1 like, 0 dislikes
Posted by Helen Mar Kimball on 02/06/2013 at 9:23 AM

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