On January 21, 2010, magician and showman celebrity Penn Jillette tweeted: "Glenn Beck asked me to write "The Atheist Ten Commandments." He's not the boss of me, but I decided to do it anyway. It's pretty fun."
It goes without saying that Penn is a serious atheist, libertine, liberal, and opposed to God and the idea of God. I have no idea of the backstory concerning the challenge from Beck to write an Atheists' Ten Commandments, other than the mention that there was a challenge and I've looked. I only found the tweet. But Penn did write a book on it and it's out. The book is called "God NO!"
The moral standards for atheists that Penn thinks people should live by are on the left, which are suspiciously similar to, you know, God's? His are on the right. Click the image to go larger.
The failure of atheists is to understand what Christians know: we are rotten. We are no good. There is no good in us, not one of us does good. (Romans 3:12, Psalm 53:3). We are full of deceitful desires (Ephesians 4:22). We are bad trees bearing bad fruit. (Matthew 7:17).
You may balk, and say, "I do good! I give to the homeless and I volunteer in a hospital and I mentor an at-risk young boy!" Those are good things to be sure. But we are not looking at what is good based on a barometer like Penn's that goes no higher that the most intelligent person. Comparing goodness of one person to another may certainly get you Goodness points on Penn's scale. But who is Penn? Goodness is compared against the Holiness of God. Compared to THAT, none of us even come close. It is like a gnat saying they are stronger, smarter, better than a Mack Truck. It is like a drop of water challenging the Tsunami. And even those are puny analogies. God's holiness is so bright and strong that if any man were to see it he would explode on the spot. (Ex 33:20). Every man who saw the glory of God unveiled - even a split second of it - fell on His face and wished he were dead, or fell down as he were dead, because he knew his sin was filthy compared to God's holiness (Isaiah 5:21, Rev 1:17, Luke 5:8, Dan 10:5-9, Mark 4:41). If they didn't fall down they became terrified.
And Penn, and atheists in general, elevate man's intelligence to higher than a glory so great men can't absorb it for a nanosecond? In Penn's wrongful elevation of man to the top of the heap, he places man's intelligence as the star on the Christmas tree. Thinking that there is no higher intelligence than man's is foolish. "Do not deceive yourselves. If any one of you thinks he is wise by the standards of this age, he should become a "fool" so that he may become wise.' (1 Corinthians 3:18).
"Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes and clever in their own sight." (Isaiah 5:21).
Here is the bottom line: we cannot be good but God is good. The reason we can't be good is that we are sinners. We're born that way. We're born to sin. It is why we can't know God, literally and figuratively. Man is SO craven that his blinded mind simply can't even conceive of Godliness. It is literally not in his nature to think that way. So God draws us to Him. When we refuse Him, as Penn has ("God, NO!") it is after wrestling with the conviction of the Holy Spirit, a hard-won, blatant refusal despite the grip the Spirit has on us all to draw us from sin toward forgiveness and then glory.
This rejection has eternal consequences. God first says 'OK'. He then gives the person over to his desires, his degrading passions, and his sin. When that person dies, he has his wish granted to be separate from God forever, finally. He goes to hell, where God is not.
Penn's moral rules are good. But without God in them, authoring them, molding us to them, they are only ashes in the mouth of a dying man.
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