Positive Atheism Forum
Countering Ten Commandments
With An 'Equal Time' Plaque?
Wednesday, March 21, 2001
Randy Leacock writes:
First, I deplore the notion of seeking "equal time" just because our opposition has succeeded in violating the law by getting certain government officials to endorse their specific religious advertisements.
That being said, I will respond to your real question, that of what to offer as this deplorable "equal time," by making a few suggestions and asking the list to submit other suggestions.
This problem is not going away, as the Oregon legislature, this very day, considers a bill to post the Protestant version of the first set of stone tablets of the Hebrew Decalogue in public schoolrooms. It appears that "equal time" is what we'll have to settle for, as the Fundamentalist Christians have gained a stronghold by whipping the masses into a frenzy. Let us work diligently, to prevent even that "equal time" from slipping away, by striving to retain government neutrality when it comes to religion. We all know what happens when one sect gains supremacy and is allowed to impose its will upon the rest of us. Let us work toward preventing this from happening, but let us meanwhile prepare for when it does happen, by gathering a collection of "historical documents" to offer as "equal time" alternatives to the inevitable posting of the Protestant Decalogue on public land.
1. Ingersoll's "The Creed of Science" (1895, excerpted from "The Foundations of Faith"):
To love justice, to long for the right, to love mercy, to pity the suffering, to assist the weak, to forget wrongs and remember benefits -- to love the truth, to be sincere, to utter honest words, to love liberty, to wage relentless war against slavery in all its forms, to love wife and child and friend, to make a happy home, to love the beautiful; in art, in nature, to cultivate the mind, to be familiar with the mighty thoughts that genius has expressed, the noble deeds of all the world, to cultivate courage and cheerfulness, to make others happy, to fill life with the splendor of generous acts, the warmth of loving words, to discard error, to destroy prejudice, to receive new truths with gladness, to cultivate hope, to see the calm beyond the storm, the dawn beyond the night, to do the best that can be done and then to be resigned -- this is the religion of reason, the creed of science. This satisfies the brain and heart.
2. The sign that was erected in Alabama during the Judge Roy Moore flap, and subsequently stolen -- twice:
3. Madalyn Murray O'Hair's testimony before the United States Supreme Court, when she was able to talk her attorneys into letting it be known that she opposed school prayer and Bible reading because she was an Atheist. Here is her 250-word description of an Atheist:
Your petitioners are Atheists, and they define their lifestyle as follows. An Atheist loves himself and his fellow man instead of a god. An Atheist accepts that heaven is something for which we should work now -- here on earth -- for all men together to enjoy. An Atheist accepts that he can get no help through prayer, but that he must find in himself the inner conviction and strength to meet life, to grapple with it, to subdue it and to enjoy it. An Atheist accepts that only in a knowledge of himself and a knowledge of his fellow man can he find the understanding that will help to a life of fulfillment."
"Therefore, he seeks to know himself and his fellow man rather than to 'know' a god. An Atheist accepts that a hospital should be built instead of a church. An atheist accepts that a deed must be done instead of a prayer said. An Atheist strives for involvement in life and not escape into death. He wants disease conquered, poverty vanquished, war eliminated. He wants man to understand and love man. He wants an ethical way of life. He accepts that we cannot rely on a god nor channel action into prayer nor hope for an end of troubles in a hereafter. He accepts that we are -- in a sense -- our brothers' keepers in that we are, first, keepers of our own lives; that we are responsible persons, that the job is here and the time is now."
Finally, I added this one after sending the response and dispatch: Thomas Jefferson's "Eternal Hostility" quote, in its proper context showing that he was speaking against "the clergy," and quoted properly with a lowercase "g" in the word god:
"The clergy [wishing to establish their particular form of Christianity] ... believe that any portion of power confided to me will be exerted in opposition to their schemes. And they believe rightly: for I have sworn upon the altar of god, eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man. But this is all they have to fear from me: and enough, too, in their opinion."
These are the ideas that come to my mind, and perhaps the list members can think of some others. I'll send it out and see what comes back.
"Positive Atheism" Magazine
Five years of service to
people with no reason to believe
From: "Love-Jensen, John"
To: "Positive Atheism" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: Positive Atheism, Cliff's Writings -- Which 10 Commandments.
Date: Wednesday, July 19, 2000 9:29 AM
Dear Cliff, re <http://www.PositiveAtheism.org/crt/whichcom.htm>
These 10 Commandments:
Solon (c 638-558 BCE)
Lives of Eminent Philosophers, 1.60 by Diogenes Laertius
1. Trust good character
more than promises.
2. Do not speak falsely.
3. Do good things.
4. Do not be hasty in making friends, but do not abandon them once made.
5. Learn to obey before you command.
6. When giving advice, do not recommend what is most pleasing, but what is most useful.
7. Make reason your supreme commander.
8. Do not associate with people who do bad things.
9. Honor the gods.
10. Have regard for your parents.
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