Valerie Tarico asked a bunch of prominent atheists, including many of my friends, what their favorite verse in the Bible is. There were some good choices, several from Ecclesiastes, unsurprisingly. Hemant Mehta and Dale McGowan chose the same verse from that book:
I like Ecclesiastes 9:10: “Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might, for in the realm of the dead, where you are going, there is neither working nor planning nor knowledge nor wisdom.” Context aside, it’s a message to just live passionately and make the most of the time we have. Those are values any Humanist could get behind.
—Hemant Mehta, editor of the Friendly Atheist
Hemant and I chose the very same verse. Ecclesiastes is the best book of the Bible by far—such a genuine, honest human cry—and 9:10 is the best of many good passages. Doesn’t get more humanistic than that.—Dale McGowan, author of Atheism For Dummies
I was a little surprised that no one offered up my favorite verse, Matthew 25:40.
Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.
I have always found this to be a powerful statement of human compassion. It is the core of all moral reasoning, the idea that we must treat others well because we wish to be treated well.