A not so atheistic Liberal Decalogue

I came across the following excerpt from "The Autobiography of Bertrand Russell". This section is titled "A Liberal Decalogue". Russell, a lifelong atheist, seems to have (maybe unknowingly) lifted many of these ideas from the teachings, ministry and life of Jesus Christ. Here is the text replete with my commentary in italics.
Perhaps the essence of the Liberal outlook could be summed up in a new decalogue, not intended to replace the old one but only to supplement it. The Ten Commandments that, as a teacher, I should wish to promulgate, might be set forth as follows:
  1. Do not feel absolutely certain of anything.
    Jesus confronted (so-called) 'intellectual' religious leaders who were absolutely certain that they were right.
  2. Do not think it worth while to proceed by concealing evidence, for the evidence is sure to come to light.
    Jesus said "There is nothing concealed that will not be disclosed, or hidden that will not be made known."
  3. Never try to discourage thinking for you are sure to succeed.
    Unlike the religious leaders of his day Jesus was the most radical thinker of his day and maybe of history.
  4. When you meet with opposition, even if it should be from your husband or your children, endeavor to overcome it by argument and not by authority, for a victory dependent upon authority is unreal and illusory.
    Jesus seemed to challenge authority every time he ministered.
  5. Have no respect for the authority of others, for there are always contrary authorities to be found.
    Jesus understood this like no other. His confrontation with authority led to his death.
  6. Do not use power to suppress opinions you think pernicious, for if you do the opinions will suppress you.
    At every turn religious leaders unsuccessfully tried to suppress the teachings of Christ.
  7. Do not fear to be eccentric in opinion, for every opinion now accepted was once eccentric.
    Jesus was considered to be crazy by some of his day but he himself changed the world.
  8. Find more pleasure in intelligent dissent that in passive agreement, for, if you value intelligence as you should, the former implies a deeper agreement than the latter.
    Jesus never ran away from a debate. Religious 'intellectuals'  consistently tried to trap him.
  9. Be scrupulously truthful, even if the truth is inconvenient, for it is more inconvenient when you try to conceal it.
    The truth of Christ's resurrection is the most inconvenient truth of all of history.
  10. Do not feel envious of the happiness of those who live in a fool's paradise, for only a fool will think that it is happiness." || Jesus had much to say about the 'intellectual'  religious and atheistic fools of his day.
Perhaps atheist Russell was influenced by the radical thinking of Jesus Christ a bit more than he ever imagined. :)


  1. While reading this it struck me how often people, believer and unbeliever, trip over many of these.

    1. So true Mike. It has taken me a long time to get past (in part anyways) number one on the list.

  2. Did Bertrand Russell become a Christian in his later years? I think I heard that somewhere.

    Wow...this was really interesting to read with your commentary!

    Did I tell you I start working at a church next Thursday?

    1. Great news about the job Barbara! What will you be doing?

      Cannot find any place that speaks of Russell becoming a Christian. It would be amazing as he did not consider Jesus Christ to be a historical figure.


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