Ten Commandments Monument Supplement

Ten Commandments Monument Supplement June 29, 2013

Hemant Mehta has shared some photos from the unveiling of an atheist monument in front of a Florida courthouse. It was set up in response to the failure of the court to remove a ten commandments monument from that site.

What I think is most interesting is that, in addition to quotes from a famous atheist, it also includes quotations from two Deists (see the recent discussion of Deism here), and a list of the punishments in ancient Israelite laws for breaking the ten commandments!

The second most interesting image is from a protester at the unveiling:

Apparently some have still not grasped that the South did not successfully secede from the Union. If it had, however, the statement above might well have turned out to be true. But which Christianity would have predominated, and what impact might it have had on the freedom of other Christians, to say nothing of atheists, in the South?

Here is a clearer illustration of the text on the monument, in case you can’t read some of it:

Any thoughts on the fact that this atheist monument quotes the Bible and non-atheists more than atheists?


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  • David Evans

    I think these atheists quote the Bible and the founding fathers because they are surrounded by Bible-believing Christians proclaiming loudly that the US is a Christian country. They are saying to those Christians “Pay attention to what your holy book and your heroes actually say”. If they were in a Muslim country (and brave or suicidal) they would presumably be quoting the Qur’an.

    Also they were probably brought up, as I was, with the Bible as part of their intellectual furniture. When such an atheist wants a sample of the opposition, the Bible is what comes to mind.

  • newenglandsun

    I always remind other Christians that they are not the only true Christians out there. O well. Any way, atheists tend to cite the Bible to point out the hypocrisy of the religious believers. I cite the Bible when debating over whether or not Islam is violent.

  • In my book deists back then would be atheists today. And the deist ‘god’ was certainly not the type of god atheists fight here in America anyway. I surprised you tried to make a big deal of that, actually. Maybe I misunderstood.

    • Michael Wilson

      Sabio, there were atheist back then too. I mean you maybe right, but maybe Moses would be an atheist too, so the ten commandments could be atheist commandments. Speculation.

  • Marta L.

    Personally, I’m not surprised they quoted the Bible – atheists groups do that all the time, but never in an approving way. The clear message of this quote seems to be: look at how crazy those penalties were, do you really believe that?

    What I do find interesting (though again not surprising) is the way the atheist group take such a literalist reading of the Bible. It’s almost like, as with Voldemort, they have selected their enemy and marked it as their equal, thereby assuring that the voice standing up for Christianity will be fundamenalist. This gives fundamentalism a lot more influence than it has to have. It also, incidentally, makes it harder to criticize the fundamentalist strands of Christianity because it sends the message that an attack on Christian fundamentalism is an attack on Christianity as a whole. I would be happy to see much less fundamentalism of all varieties Christianity included, but I am reluctant to criticize the whole religion to do that.

    • godlessveteran

      The message is that if the Dominionists gain total power, they WILL be instituting the death penalties listed, hence the warning.

  • Mark Moore

    Now that this atheist monument is done, I think we need to get the Jesus at Whitefish, Montana some company. That statue has been standing out in the snow for a while now. I think a statue of Satan would give him some warm company.

  • I’m honestly getting tired of this ‘monumental’ game of tit-for-tat. Let’s see some monuments that actually celebrate the freedom *of* religion, rather than passive-aggressive snarking in stone about particular *choices* of expression. It’s embarrassing to be an American when I hear about these things.

    I am only consoled by the fact that both loud-mouth fundamentalist Christians AND evangelical atheists are *both* minorities in the greater religious landscape of America.

  • Urbane_Gorilla

    I guess what fascinates me about religions and Christians in particular is that they do not worship the original 10 commandments as ‘inscribed by the finger of God”, but instead worship a hodgepodge generated by men later. In other words, Christians just pay lip service to their beliefs. The original 10, as carried down from the mount are as follow:

    I. Thou shalt worship no other god.

    II. Thou shalt make thee no molten gods.

    III. The feast of unleavened bread thou shalt keep.

    IV. Six days thou shalt work, but on the seventh day thou shalt rest.

    V. Thou shalt observe the feast of weeks, of the firstfruits of wheat harvest,

    and the feast of ingathering at the year’s end.

    VI. Thrice in the year shall all your men children appear before the Lord God.

    VII. Thou shalt not offer the blood of my sacrifice with leaven.

    VIII. Neither shall the sacrifice of the feast of the passover be left unto the morning.

    IX. The first of the firstfruits of thy land thou shalt bring unto the house of the LORD thy God.

    X. Thou shalt not seethe a kid [ie, a young goat] in his mother’s milk.

    (I particularly like #10….)

  • Chuck Farkley

    The majority of atheists have little beef with the progressive branches of Christianity insofar as it’s a free country and a live-and-let-live climate predominates. It’s the fundamentalists and particularly the Christian Reconstructionists and Dominionists that we take specific aim at as they are perceived as genuine threats to freedom of belief and to the constitution that guarantees it. Those are the people who insist that their version of the Ten Commandments be erected in the halls of justice. It is therefore no surprise we fight biblical literalism with bible quotes and “Christian nation” arguments with quotes from the Founding Fathers.

    We do also see the politics of climate change denialism as being, in part, an aspect of the fundamentalists’ existential threat as well.

    I leave the progressive Christans reading this with this observation: Google Christian Reconstructionism, especially with an eye to their leadership, their influence and their goals. They openly advocate for exactly the punishments we put on that monument. We may be at one end of the spectrum of religious thought, but that crowd has already manged to get many politicians in Congress to toe their line, and have made great inroads into the military. If they have their way with the atheists, the non-fundamentalist Christians will be next on their list.

    • Indeed, and I think that most progressive Christians are eager to make common cause with atheists on issues like combating Christian reconstructionism and other forms of religious extremism.

  • Michael Wilson

    From a literary and artistic stand point, I think the monument is a flop. Take a look at the list of punishments for broken commandments. There is no symmetry, there are nine bible verses and a footnote. And if this is supposed to illustrate the barbarity of the ten commandments, its ironic that it is displayed in the town were Florida keeps its death row inmates. And is it really that bad to ask for restitution and fine for stealing? Someone should put up another monument to the punishments that were used in the colonial America Jefferson lived in, particularly for slaves.