Super-Atheist Ricky Gervais on the Ten Commandments

Ricky Gervais on the Ten Commandments

Following all sorts of debate wherein Jesus, the disciples, and even the Old Man himself were subpoenaed to testify, the Rapides Parish, Louisiana Jury voted down a proposal to place a display of the Ten Commandments in the parish courthouse by a 2-to-1 margin Monday.  It seems they were upset when Jesus and family refused to honor the subpoena claiming executive privilege.  Said one juror: “If Jesus doesn’t care why should we?”

The motion to place the Ten Commandments in all courtrooms made it out of the jury’s committee meetings last week by an 8-1 vote, despite legal counsel Tom Wells advising against it. When the time came to pass the motion at the regular meeting Monday, though, several jury members considered the legal risk too great.

The motion failed Monday by a 6-3 vote, with District A Juror John “Buck” Lincecum, District C Juror Jamie Floyd and District H Juror Richard Billings voting for it.

The reporting staff at MadMike’sAmerica made an effort to contact God, Jesus, and the gang but their lawyer advised us that they would not be giving a statement at this time and that we should pray for guidance because we were nothing but a bunch of Atheist scumbags.  Well OK then!

Incidentally, while researching that story I came across the inimitable Ricky Gervais and his view of the bible, Jesus, and the ten commandments and realized this is definitely my kind of thinking man’s logic.

For your enjoyment and edification I offer you the ten commandments as understood by Ricky Gervais:

The 10 Commandments are found in the Bible’s Old Testament; Exodus, Chapter 20. They were given directly by God to the people of Israel at Mount Sinai after He had delivered them from slavery in Egypt:

“And God spoke all these words, saying: ‘I am the LORD your God.’”

So let’s take the test. How many of these have you broken?


‘You shall have no other gods before Me.’

I definitely do not. Excellent. I get one point.


‘You shall not make for yourself a carved image – any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth.’

This basically means don’t make or worship a religious statue or bow to it thinking that it’s holy. Tick. Another point to me.


‘You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain.’

I never do. But let me explain something. Most people think that The Third Commandment means that they shouldn’t use his name as a swear word, e.g. shouting, “Oh God!” when they stub their toe instead of, “Oh F—!”

This is not the case (although I love the idea that God would rather them shout “F—” than “God”. That makes him cool in my book. But no.)

The commandment could equally be, You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in “vanity” e.g. when your enemy is hurt or defeated saying, “that’s God’s wrath,” or when you win an award saying, “thank God.” This is using his name in vanity. It’s suggesting that you KNOW that God helped you win that award because you deserved it more, or because he was on your side. It’s always tickled me that God would have a favourite actor at The Golden Globes.

Anyway I get another point. I think most non-atheists will lose a point here.


‘Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.’

Before we score this we need to discover what it really means when God commands us to keep the Sabbath day holy. In understanding our answer, and the true intent of God’s word, it doesn’t matter what day of the week we celebrate the Sabbath. There were no calendars when God created the heavens and the earth so we don’t know what day he stated and ended. Don’t let the ‘day’ become more important than the ‘intent’.

If we look at the portion of The Ten Commandments which refers to this, Exodus 20:8-11, it seems to be very specific;

8 “Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. 9 “Six days you shall labour and do all your work, but the seventh day is a sabbath of the Lord your God; in it you shall not do any work, you or your son or your daughter, your male or your female servant or your cattle or your sojourner who stays with you. 10 “For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day; therefore the Lord blessed the sabbath day and made it holy. 11 “The Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.

According to the Bible, God commanded us to keep it holy. But what does that really mean? Work is basically referring to that which we do to earn a living, or in working around the house, or any labour we participate in daily. So, if we never worked at all would that mean every day was holy? No. This absolutely is not being holy. In various places in the Bible we are told of our need to work, for in our work we honor God. So… basically you have to work for the equivalent of six days a week with a day off.

I do this. I get another point.


‘Honor your father and your mother.’

I think I get a point if anyone does with this one.


‘You shall not murder.’

Nope. Tick.


‘You shall not commit adultery.’

Nope. Tick.


‘You shall not steal.’

Nope. Tick.


‘You shall not bear false witness against your neighbour.’

Nope. Tick.


‘You shall not covet your neighbour’s house; you shall not covet your neighbour’s wife, nor his male servant, nor his female servant, nor his ox, nor his donkey, nor anything that is your neighbour’s.’

Nope. Tick. Another point for me.

Not bad for an atheist.

I make that 10 out of 10.

How did you do?

Even if this doesn’t prove I am a good Christian it does prove that the Bible is a bit inconsistent, open to interpretation, and a little intolerant.

This is not peculiar to Christianity to be fair. And I like to be fair. Because unlike ALL religions, as an atheist, I treat ALL religions equally.

Speakeasy will be posting essays by Christian writers Tim LaHaye (co-writer of the “Left Behind” series) and Lee Strobel (author of “The Case for Easter“) in the days leading up to Easter. Please check back in for those articles.

What do you think of Gervais’s essay? Please leave your thoughts in the comments.

You can read this essay and much more from Gervais on his website.

Many thanks to our dear friends at the WSJ and of course the bible for the list.  Don’t forget to leave a comment and tell us what you really think.

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Posted by on April 15, 2011. Filed under atheism/agnostic/spiritual,Commentary. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry
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12 Responses to Super-Atheist Ricky Gervais on the Ten Commandments

  1. jenny40 Reply

    April 15, 2011 at 2:25 pm

    ROFLMAO….now this is the way to get into the ten commandments. Beats the heck out of the bible nonsense.

  2. John Barleycorn Reply

    April 15, 2011 at 2:48 pm

    Now this is the way to believe. I took the test and passed with 9 out of ten but I won’t tell you which one I missed. Great blog here by the way. Just stumbled, literally, across it, and I’ve bookmarked it. Keep up the great work!

  3. John Myste Reply

    April 15, 2011 at 3:04 pm

    I am proud to be a Christian today.

    I would love to hear a fundamentalist rebuttal, but I am not sure there is one.

  4. Four Dinners Reply

    April 15, 2011 at 6:14 pm

    Ricky was once in a ‘New Romantic’ pop band in the 80’s.

    His ability to survive that is – as you Americans are apt to say – awesome!!!!

  5. Lazersedge Reply

    April 16, 2011 at 2:23 am

    I like Ricky and I think his take on the Ten Commandments is great. I also remember the one by Mel Brooks’. “Here are the 15… er, oops,(as he drops one and it breaks) 10 Commandments from God!” Never knew what the other 5 were.

  6. MikeK Reply

    May 4, 2011 at 10:55 pm

    Unintentionally 10 for 10 also. I love your work. I’m just going to drop some trivial knowledge here and say that the 10 commandments were originally part of (I think about 87) ancient Egyptian laws.

    • Anonymous Reply

      May 23, 2011 at 1:40 pm

      yup, Egyptian Ma’at.

  7. Natalie Reply

    May 5, 2011 at 5:41 pm

    I like this…easy and simple..scored 10 out of 10…But I still would make a bad Christian….I just can’t be that unfair all the time…

  8. Steve Tod Reply

    May 9, 2011 at 1:19 pm

    I always enjoy the Juvenalian satire of Ricky Gervais. He really offends no one, perhaps tweaking the stiffness and superciliousness some zealots exhibit – while at the same time pointing out what is actually a deeper set of priorities which the cartoon illustrates simply and rather neatly: Do nothing bad. And be nice. Kurt Vonnegut said much the same thing all of his life, and Vonnegut had the ability to eviscerate with a gentle smile and even in a gentle tone of voice.

  9. Steve Tod Reply

    May 9, 2011 at 4:28 pm

    Horatian satire – not Juvenalian satire

  10. Dreamer Reply

    June 14, 2011 at 5:49 pm

    Regarding the 3rd commandment, “in vain” not only means “in vanity”, but also along the lines of “when not required”.

    However, “God” isn’t his name. “God”, and especially it’s compatriot “Lord” are derived from “Adonai”, the Hebrew word for “My Lord” that was used to replace His name in the Torah. Every time “Lord” is used in small capitals in the Bible, that’s where it’s a translation of “Adonai”, which was used to KEEP people from blaspheming. So long as you don’t say “Oh my YHWH” when you stub your toe, you’re scot-free regarding Commandment number 3 😉

  11. Pingback: The Ten Commandments (by Ricky Gervais) |

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