Biblical Guide

Friday, April 15, 2011

British philosopher and author, A.C. Grayling, discusses his new book The Good Book: A Humanist Bible (Walker & Company, 2011)  that borrows the form of the Bible and then distills the teachings of secular humanists into one text, organized by chapter and verse.


A.C. Grayling

Comments [13]

Joyce from Mountain Lakes, NJ

Do I have this right? A humanist is not another word for an atheist. A humanist doesn't believe in God but does have a strong moral and ethical belief system regarding fellow human beings and all of nature. An atheist doesn't believe in God . . . he may or may not be a humanist.

Apr. 15 2011 05:45 PM
Louis from Bayside

Why do people consider Buddhism a philosophy and not a religion? Buddha himself ordained a clergy of monks and nuns. He gave a body of canonical discourses or teachings. He taught many faith based views such as the existence of past and future lives, etc. He comissioned the construction of monasteries and temples. Sounds like all the components of a religion to me.

What is interesting is that the word religion has become a dirty word much like the word faith. Religion for many in our secular society has come to represent a mixing of religion and politics which magnifies all that is terrible in human nature.

Indeed this view of religion was expressed by A.C. Grayling when he said at the outset of the interview that had such a secular work existed in ancient times many tragedies could have been averted.

Apr. 15 2011 12:17 PM
Amy from Manhattan

The "*do* unto others" version is the Christian one. The way Hillel put it was, "What is hateful to you, do *not* do to your fellow person," which might be more to Mr. Grayling's liking (it is to mine, for the same reason!).

And the contradictions he mentioned in holy books are the source of volumes of midrash, stories that arose out of discussions about those very contradictions & attempts to explain or resolve them--a process that continues today. So they aren't something Jews are told not to think for ourselves about.

Apr. 15 2011 12:05 PM
DarkSymbolist from NYC!

Unlike the prior segment which was just right-wing anti-government propaganda disguised as something else, this segment was truly thought-provoking.

Apr. 15 2011 12:02 PM
Marjorie from Montclais

Brian, you got it slightly wrong. Hillel actually said "That which is hateful to you, do not do to your fellow man. This is the law; all the rest is commentary; go and learn it."

The distinction between the positive versus the negative phrasing of the Golden Rule is very important.

Apr. 15 2011 12:00 PM
Chris from Soho

Peter DeScioli Phd has written one of the most compelling solutions to the mysteries of morality published in the journal, Cognition. It seems that the main goal of religion is to furnish a moral code and format through which to solve moral conflicts. I am a secular humanist, myself, and really appreciate someone asserting an ethical framework consistent with atheist values.

Apr. 15 2011 11:58 AM
Jennifer from Rockville Centre

This is TERRIFIC! As a mother of four, I have struggled to pass along some religious/spiritual tradition to my children. They are being raised Catholic at my husband's bequest but they have LOTS of questions which I tend answer in a humanistic manner. I can't wait to read this! thanks

Apr. 15 2011 11:57 AM

I've often said I'm mad at Gene Roddenberry. He showed us this world where we've moved beyond a lot of today's pettiness but didn't tell us how to get there.

Perhaps this Bible is a first step on that journey.

Apr. 15 2011 11:56 AM
Kevin from Mamaroneck

"Thou shalt have no other God" can actually enable independent thinking since, of course, it means that one should not submit to the ideology of a priest, pastor, or other worldly representative of God.

Also - The Islamic tradition has it's own concept of independent thinking known as "Ijtihad." Your guest seems unfamiliar with such concepts, which permeate the world's religions and not simply secular humanism.

Apr. 15 2011 11:56 AM
tom from astoria

Take the "humanist" out of your Bible. Perhaps its time for human wisdom to expand. Your 'Respect Nature" commandment needs to be expanded upon. Let this human focus broaden to the environment and the capacity of animals to feel and experience full life cycles. We must do this to survive on the planet.

Apr. 15 2011 11:55 AM
Tony from red hook

Thanks for this. Important for atheists or cosmic uncertain-ists like myself to have affirmative source material.

Apr. 15 2011 11:52 AM
Joel from Nyack, Ny

Here is one commandment to live by:
Go placidly amid the noise and the haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence.....

Apr. 15 2011 11:51 AM
Alden from Soho

Stealing from Spider Robinson, who might have stolen it from someone else:
Joy shared is joy multiplied, pain shared is pain divided.

Apr. 15 2011 11:51 AM

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