In the beginning was the word and the word was… good? Four hundred years after the publication of the King James Bible, philosopher AC Grayling has written a book which offers atheists a “bible” of their very own.
In The Good Book, Professor Grayling attempts to whisk together in one tome the wisdom of Ancient Greek philosophers, Confucian sages, medieval poets and the discoveries of modern science.
Without any reference to gods, souls or afterlives, it aims to give atheists a book of inspiration and guidance as they make their way in the world.
In place of the more well-known Ten Commandments, his atheist principles are: “Love well, seek the good in all things, harm no others, think for yourself, take responsibility, respect nature, do your utmost, be informed, be kind, be courageous.”
Professor Grayling, the president elect of the British Humanist Association, is unambivalent about the biblical mission of his work.
“The point about the religious bible is that it purports to give us some direction. It contains the commands of a divinity wishing us to live a certain way,” he says.
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Grayling’s humanist version of the Ten Commandments: “Love well; seek the good in all things; harm no others; help the needy; think for yourself; take responsibility; respect nature; do your utmost; be informed; be courageous.”