Values are, of course, about what we regard as important in our relationships with others. Values arise from important ideas attached to reciprocity, sharing, cooperating, honesty, factuality, responsibility, integrity, justice, credibility, empathy, compassion, reputation, fairness, kindness, dignity, tolerance and verisimilitude. Morality is about how we apply those ideas, and similar others, within our social interactions. (My Values, verse 11 in the book, NOTES TO MYSELF (AN ATHEIST’S PERSONAL BIBLE), available from Amazon.
Whatever Christianists claim about atheist amorality, immorality, or complete absence of moral guidance, those secular words, and the ideas they represent, were not combed from the Ten Commandments, the other different Ten Commandments, nor from any useful instructions anywhere in my King James Bible.
They are not ‘commandments’, but carry within our understanding of their meanings the commands to be applied and the consequences we may face for shirking. Nature is, of course, not a god but a guide, so we learn thru experience, wise parental instruction, warnings and, in a nod to hedonism, thru pain. Let us evaluate the list as Merriam-Webster defines it:
reciprocity: the King Of The Hill, reciprocity teaches us how to deal with and treat each other in kind. To stray away from “kind” is not reciprocal. As soon as you notice a decoying tactic, call it out: “That has nothing of relevance to the topic. Intentional or not, that sort of tactic gets used to lure an opponent away from a dangerous subject. It is very effective because most people watching us don’t have a clue about rules of debate. But, now they have been alerted, and will be watching to see how many times I let you sneak one past me.
1 : the quality or state of being reciprocal; mutual dependence, action, or influence.
Derived rule: Those who tell lies may well have justifiable lies told about themselves. Those who teach love may themselves be loved. But, they who preach love and practice hatred will be despised. We make friends by helping people to feel good, and enemies by causing bad feelings. We learn while watching others what we can expect from them; others learn while watching us.
1 : to divide and distribute in shares : APPORTION usually used with out <shared out the land among his heirs>
2 a : to partake of, use, experience, occupy, or enjoy with others b : to have in common <they share a passion for opera>
3 : to grant or give a share in often used with with <shared the last of her water with us>
4 : to tell (as thoughts, feelings, or experiences) to others often used with with.
1 : to have a share used with in <we all shared in the fruits of our labor>
2 : to apportion and take shares of something
3 : to talk about one’s thoughts, feelings, or experiences with others
—a list of synonyms will often convey more understanding than any dictionary.
synonyms SHARE, PARTICIPATE, PARTAKE mean to have, get, or use in common with another or others. SHARE usually implies that one as the original holder grants to another the partial use, enjoyment, or possession of a thing <shared my toys with the others>. PARTICIPATE implies a having or taking part in an undertaking, activity, or discussion <participated in sports>. PARTAKE implies accepting or acquiring a share especially of food or drink <partook freely of the refreshments>.
Derived rule: While modern humans tend to regard sharing as a contributor to loss and cost, failure to find a role for reciprocity makes sharing an unbalanced activity. The increased stress that has resulted requires that we learn to live fully balanced lives for health’s sake.
1 : the action of cooperating : common effort
2 : association of persons for common benefit
Derived rule: cooperation exemplifies the application of reciprocity.
2 a : fairness and straightforwardness of conduct b : adherence to the facts : SINCERITY
synonyms HONESTY, HONOR, INTEGRITY, PROBITY mean uprightness of character or action. HONESTY implies a refusal to lie, steal, or deceive in any way. HONOR suggests an active or anxious regard for the standards of one’s profession, calling, or position. INTEGRITY implies trustworthiness and incorruptibility to a degree that one is incapable of being false to a trust, responsibility, or pledge. PROBITY implies tried and proven honesty or integrity.
Derived rule: avoiding corruption in our dealings with others, always requiring the same from them, will enhance your good name, but one slip can undo years of effort, often for all our remaining years.
1 : of or relating to facts <a factual error>
2 : restricted to or based on fact <a factual statement>
Since all the dictionary did was point to “fact”, we’ll take the hint:
2 archaic : PERFORMANCE, DOING
3 : the quality of being actual : ACTUALITY <a question of fact hinges on evidence>
4 a : something that has actual existence <space exploration is now a fact> b : an actual occurrence <prove the fact of damage>
5 : a piece of information presented as having objective reality
— in fact : in truth
Derived rule: since facts pertain to information about reality/actuality, and we commonly recognize the three forms of information as lies, opinion, and facts, we must stay mindful to accept and trust only information from trustworthy sources.
1 : the quality or state of being responsible : as a : moral, legal, or mental accountability b : RELIABILITY, TRUSTWORTHINESS
2 : something for which one is responsible : BURDEN <has neglected his responsibilities>>>><
Derived rule: the burden of proof lies in the arms of those who make positive assertions, for they can can lie, lie, lie, and lie with the Devil without that barrier against injustice.
1 : firm adherence to a code of especially moral or artistic values : INCORRUPTIBILITY
2 : an unimpaired condition : SOUNDNESS
3 : the quality or state of being complete or undivided : COMPLETENESS
synonyms see HONESTY.
Derived rule: to maintain high integrity is the only way to earn others’ trust.
2 a : the quality of being just, impartial, or fair b (1) : the principle or ideal of just dealing or right action (2) : conformity to this principle or ideal : RIGHTEOUSNESS c : the quality of conforming to law
3 : conformity to truth, fact, or reason : CORRECTNESS
Derived rule: The principle of equality is based on the idea that all citizens deserve fair treatment under the law. We must carry that practice forward, under the same reasoning, to our treatment of each other for protection against loss of our rights.
1 : the quality or power of inspiring belief <an account lacking in credibility>
2 : capacity for belief <strains her reader’s credibility — Times Literary Supplement>
Derived rule: to gain and maintain credibility, practice those traits that develop integrity.
2 : the action of understanding, being aware of, being sensitive to, and vicariously experiencing the feelings, thoughts, and experience of another of either the past or present without having the feelings, thoughts, and experience fully communicated in an objectively explicit manner; also : the capacity for this
Derived rule: Having our own feelings enables us to imagine the suffering we see others enduring. Empathy then works with compassion to prod us, often at some risk, to offer help. We all know we will eventually need help and “pay it forward”.
: sympathetic consciousness of others’ distress together with a desire to alleviate it
synonyms see PITY
1 a : overall quality or character as seen or judged by people in general b : recognition by other people of some characteristic or ability <has the reputation of being clever>
2 : a place in public esteem or regard : good name <trying to protect his reputation>
Derived rule: a reputation that takes years to attain can be lost in seconds through hasty or thoughtless actions.
6 a : marked by impartiality and honesty : free from self-interest, prejudice, or favoritism <a very fair person to do business with> b (1) : conforming with the established rules : ALLOWED (2) : consonant with merit or importance : DUE <a fair share> c : open to legitimate pursuit, attack, or ridicule <fair game>
synonyms FAIR, JUST, EQUITABLE, IMPARTIAL, UNBIASED, DISPASSIONATE, OBJECTIVE mean free from favor toward either or any side. FAIR implies an elimination of one’s own feelings, prejudices, and desires so as to achieve a proper balance of conflicting interests <a fair decision>. JUST implies an exact following of a standard of what is right and proper <a just settlement of territorial claims>. EQUITABLE implies a less rigorous standard than JUST and usually suggests equal treatment of all concerned <the equitable distribution of the property>. IMPARTIAL stresses an absence of favor or prejudice <an impartial third party>. UNBIASED implies even more strongly an absence of all prejudice <your unbiased opinion>. DISPASSIONATE suggests freedom from the influence of strong feeling and often implies cool or even cold judgment <a dispassionate summation of the facts>. OBJECTIVE stresses a tendency to view events or persons as apart from oneself and one’s own interest or feelings <I can’t be objective about my own child>. synonyms see in addition BEAUTIFUL. NA
Derived rule: a reciprocal rule of fairness would acknowledge that others expect us to behave the way we think they should, limited by shared parameters. More common, however, is the expectation that visitors should conform to established standards wherever they go. That is the fairest option, and wise travelers will know they have the greater foreknowledge of where they will appear, and the greater ease of adjustment. That makes the latter the fair choice, with invading armies and missionaries the only apparent exceptions.
1 : a kind deed : FAVOR
2 a : the quality or state of being kind b archaic : AFFECTION
Derived rule: we must be kind to others to expect them to be kind to us.
1 : the quality or state of being worthy…
Derived rule: Maintain your dignity; respect that of others.
1 : the capacity to bear something unpleasant, painful, or difficult <had always had a high tolerance to pain>
Synonyms endurance, stamina, toleration
Synonyms FORBEARANCE 2, clemency, indulgence, lenience, leniency, mercifulness, toleration
Related Words liberality, liberalness, open-mindedness, permissiveness
Contrasted Words narrow-mindedness; prejudice; dogmatism; bigotry
Derived rule: Intolerance begets intolerance, and shows reciprocity to be a natural rule.
the appearance of truth; the quality of seeming to be true.
1 : the quality or state of being verisimilar
2 : something verisimilar:
1 : having the appearance of truth : PROBABLE
Derived rule: maintain verisimilitude by following the trails of verifiable evidence wherever possible, being first to acknowledge your own ignorance, and staying within the range and scope of your knowledge. When others use arguments of questionable merit to lure you into uncertain grounds, tell them, “That’s outside the range of my studies”; then “I don’t see how that is possible. Explain it for me, please.” Always be polite. With some smarts and diligence on your part, those who come to argue will lead you to become the best kind of fully rounded atheist.
Written entirely with OPEN OFFICE.