[Lifted from the Humanist Network News as posted by Christian Hagen]
At a summit of Nobel Peace award winners in Warsaw, Polish Nobel Peace laureate Lech Walesa called for a “secular Ten Commandments,” a guide for universal values that transcend religious beliefs. The response has been a heated debate among secularists about what could constitute such a guide. And while some have criticized the idea for being too dogmatic, others have embraced the notion of a set of rules which might bridge the gap between evangelicals and nonbelievers.
Thus we propose herein to provide such a list, a Humanist Ten Commandments, that it might serve to aid those questioning the moralities of the universe regardless of their religious belief or nonbelief. Many of the ideas behind these commandments are inspired by the tenets of humanism, as outlined in the Humanist Manifesto, and by the Kochhar Humanist Education Center’s “Ten Commitments.”
First, though, it must be said that the idea of a secular Ten Commandments should best be viewed not as a set of rigid, unbreakable rules (for what punishment should a humanist fear from breaking them?). Rather, these should be read more as strongly-worded suggestions for living, the kinds of ideas that, if everyone followed them, might make the world a better place all around.