Replace 10 Commandments!
It would be audacious on my part to suggest that rather than obeying the Ten Commandments, learning the ten lessons I propose in this book could be the way forward to create a harmonious life on Earth. As a matter of fact, just learning just 3 of the 10 lessons could dramatically change your life.
The Ten Commandments have not made the world a better place. Maybe it is time to try something new because the status quo is unsustainable and unhealthy for earthlings. According to Ronald Reagan, “status quo is Latin for the mess we are in!”
Commands are usually associated with military barracks or boarding schools. Commandments are coercive and they don’t induce insight, trigger imagination or cause transformation. Commandments are intended for compliance, not consciousness. They intimidate, but don’t inspire. So, obeying the Ten Commandments is not going to take you far spiritually.
Besides, only Christians consider them as rules for their lives. The same is true about the Five Principles of Hinduism, the Eight-fold Path of Buddhism, and the Five Pillars of Islam. They are all noble and useful, but they are also constrained by cultural limitations and contained in religious enclaves, thus lacking cosmic appeal.
The earthly lessons I propose are applicable to and relevant to the entire humanity — beyond nationality, race, region, culture, and ethnicity — which are mostly impediments rather than incentives for a peaceful co-existence on Earth.
In addition to thinking beyond specific religious tenets and traditions, what if we also thought about our identity, primarily as spiritual beings rather than weak humans?
What if we replaced the concept of original sin with original blessing?
What if we are not helpless creatures and hapless descendants of fictional characters like Adam and Eve, thrown out from a proverbial garden for having eaten an apple offered by a talking snake, but co-creators with the Creator of the Universe?
What if the stories of our being and our beginnings are symbolic stories rather than literal accounts of actual events?
What if we are willing to explore the deeper meaning of biblical stories by wondering more about their actuality and worrying less about their factuality?
In this age of social media and societal changes, millennials are leaving organized religion in droves. Surveys confirm that a high percentage of people identifying themselves as Nones — not associated with any organized religion — is going up exponentially.
Traditional religions with their focus on tribal thinking and emphasis on creed, code and cult are not appealing and useful to the younger generation. According to pastor Brian McLaren, “we cannot induct new generations of the young into a gerontocracy whose rocking chair is one rock away from tipping over the cliff.” What a visual that is!
I think that the election of an atheist as the head chaplain at Harvard University confirms this fast-moving trend away from organized religion.
In August 2021, Greg Epstein, an atheist, was unanimously elected as the Head Chaplain by forty of his fellow-chaplains from various denominations. Thousands of people who never met the guy berated him via Facebook comments and denounced the University as heathen. But those who knew him personally and had worked with him for 17 years must have sensed divinity in his humanity, perhaps? Is it possible that he is embodying faith without explaining it in words? “We have to put up a united front against the forces of inhumanity” said the atheist chaplain in a statement. If he fights against inhumanity in all forms and places, and facilitates the flourishing of full humanity in the population he serves, who are we to judge?
There are millions of people who consider the good news of the Bible as fake news because of the stories, especially in the Old Testament, and the Book of Revelation, belie logic and reason. Apologizing for his audacity to equate scripture with fake news, author Noah Yuval Harari writes:
“When a thousand people believe some made-up story for one month, that is fake news. When a billion people believe it for a thousand years, that’s a religion and we are admonished not to call it “fake news” in order not to hurt the feelings of the faithful (or incur their wrath).”
I think the author was referring to the 2015 terrorist attack on Charlie Hebdo in Paris, a magazine that published cartoons of the prophet Mohammed. Twelve people were killed and eleven injured in that attack.
(from Cosmic Kindergarten: Earthly Lessons for a Heavenly Life)