If The Ten Commandments Really Were The Basis Of Our Legal System

I wrote a fuller exposition of the point that uniquely Christian beliefs and values are not at all to credit with the most cherished American political and legal ideals about two years ago, if you could use a handy go-to link when that canard is raised.

Your Thoughts?

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About Daniel Fincke

Dr. Daniel Fincke  has his PhD in philosophy from Fordham University and spent 11 years teaching in college classrooms. He wrote his dissertation on Ethics and the philosophy of Friedrich Nietzsche. On Camels With Hammers, the careful philosophy blog he writes for a popular audience, Dan argues for atheism and develops a humanistic ethical theory he calls “Empowerment Ethics”. Dan also teaches affordable, non-matriculated, video-conferencing philosophy classes on ethics, Nietzsche, historical philosophy, and philosophy for atheists that anyone around the world can sign up for. (You can learn more about Dan’s online classes here.) Dan is an APPA  (American Philosophical Practitioners Association) certified philosophical counselor who offers philosophical advice services to help people work through the philosophical aspects of their practical problems or to work out their views on philosophical issues. (You can read examples of Dan’s advice here.) Through his blogging, his online teaching, and his philosophical advice services each, Dan specializes in helping people who have recently left a religious tradition work out their constructive answers to questions of ethics, metaphysics, the meaning of life, etc. as part of their process of radical worldview change.

  • Hitchslapper

    I prefer to call them the Ten Suggestions………….

  • http://www.fidesquaerens.org/ Marta L.

    I’ve always found it ironic, when Christians say the law should mirror the ten commandments. It just doesn’t fit with the whole you have heard it said… I say unto you… teachings that make these commandments about motives and thoughts, not just actions. This move to legislate them simply traps these teachings at a more superficial level than Christian teaching requires. (It’s also, obviously, really crappy approach to govt for secular reasons.) So yeah, I’m pretty much against this approach.

  • Lightsleeper

    Which ten? Exodus 34 (the only set with any claim to the name) would make for some weird jurisprudence.

  • Hilary

    In Hebrew, they are the 10 suggestions, or the ten words.

    I’d go for having the Noahide laws as basis for our legal system. That’s the short list the rabbi’s came up with as a minimum requirement for al human beings to be considered righteous. Yes, I know that first two are to awknowledge God and not blaspheny God, but those are relatively negotiable. The other five would make a good start to base our national laws on:

    1. Don’t murder
    2. Don’t steal
    3. Don’t commit sexual violence
    4. Limit animal cruelty (do not eat the meat of a limb torn from a living animal)
    5. Set up and support honest courts of law.

    I think these are a good starting base, not cast in stone – details are always up for debate.

    Although to be fair, the wiccan rede “And it harm none, do what you will” isn’t half bad either.


    • http://nfactor.ca mikmik

      Yeah! I had a girlfriend that was Wiccan (a source of much conflict, I assure you), and she showed me ONCE and I have never forgotten that. I thought it was “Do what you will, if it harms none,” but it was 30 years ago.
      It is even better than the Golden Rule. For instance, I like to be corrected if I am mistaken, but if I went around correcting that I figure, key word ‘figure,’ are mistaken, well, sooner or later I am going to correct someone that suddenly decides that they like being slapped, LOL.

  • http://shiracoffee.tumblr.com Shira

    Love the comic! It is always an unexpected delight when a stupid idea gets cut down to size by a perfect bit of schtick!