Ricky Gervais lives by the Ten Commandments, and so should you!
Well, sort of. With a slightly generous interpretation of how they should be read, at least. I’d probably lose a point on the one about the Sabbath, and I confess to taking the occasional covet-break now and then. It’s one of my vices. Healthier than cigarettes.
Part of his point is that it’s not only possible for an atheist to live as a good person, but they can often do a better job of living as a good Christian than many Christians. And it’s certainly true that a good swathe of the Christians in the world would prove to be a very poor example of the love and kindness and compassion which are often touted as the fundamentals of their religion.
But it’s not just the people getting Christianity wrong who are making things unpleasant for everyone. There’s some appalling stuff in the Bible in between the nicer suggestions. And it wasn’t just the Old Testament which had all the fire and brimstone, before God went and got religion and sent his son down to peace everyone out. There’s a great quote from Christopher Hitchens (for which I can’t currently find a better source than reddit):
There’s no hell mentioned in the Old Testament. The punishment of the dead is not specified there. It’s only with gentle Jesus, meek and mild, that the idea of eternal torture for minor transgressions is introduced.
Sometimes we should count ourselves lucky that so many Christians are as un-Christ-like as they are.
(h/t The Friendly Atheist)