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How to be a virtuous person

The 10 commandments in the interpretation of an atheist.

Written for Quora: How do I be a good person as a teenager?

Step 1. Revise your vocabulary

What kind of meaning do you put in the words like “good man”,

What is a “friend”?

Most of them start to give long explanations. They try to find appropriate words, come up with some life examples and situations.

A friend is someone who is taking care of you.

That’s it. And then after I could expand on this definition:

A friend is someone who is sacrificing his own resource for the sake of yours.

By resource, I mean primarily time and secondarily money which are essentially the same thing as they are interconvertible.

  • Loving friends (the word that we have just defined)
  • A Mission — a way of service to others that also helps to sustain life on the level of wealth
  • Wealth — rich man is not who has a lot of money, it is the one who has enough.
  • Enough money— enough for food and shelter, enough for learning and traveling, enough for not being distracted from the Mission.

Step 2. The Ten Virtues

As we just defined virtue we can take a closer look at them. What virtues are there?

My Dad is turning 60 today.

Happy Birthday, Dad! I love you.

1. I am the Lord your God. You shall worship the Lord your God and him only shall you serve.

I will call this virtue more simply. I will call it

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2. You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain.

For this one I want to go back to the Bible:

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  • useful
  • pleasant to hear

3. Remember to keep holy the Sabbath day

This is the virtue that I would translate into

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4. Honor your Father and your Mother.

This virtue I would translate as

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5. You shall not kill

People kill because they lose control. Anger — this what makes people attack each other. This virtue can be put simply in one word:

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My religion is very simple. My religion is kindness.

Dalai Lama

Tenzin Gyatso, the 14th Dalai Lama writes about kindness: “The true essence of humankind is kindness. There are other qualities which come from education or knowledge, but it is essential, if one wishes to be a genuine human being and impart satisfying meaning to one’s existence, to have a good heart.

6. You shall not commit adultery

Adultery in a sense is a betrayal, a betrayal on the bigger scale can become a treason. The community will fail if it is sabotaged from the inside hence it should be preempted before happening.

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7. You shall not steal

Stealing is the result. The causality is the excessive desire that doesn’t match one’s financial capabilities. This virtue can be called:

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8. You shall not bear false witness

Back in the days, the language had to be simplified so that common people could understand the commandments. This particular commandment served to reinforce the justice and emphasized the importance of treating each other in an honest way.

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9. You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife

In the past, this commandment prevented people from fights. People needed an external rule to follow so that community doesn’t self-annihilate. In today’s age of “free love”, “friends with benefits” and “no strings attached” relationships, in the age of the high-speed Internet that delivers one-click-away porn, this commandment has to transcend and become internal. One willing to succeed in life must practice the virtue of

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The virtuous man contents himself with dreaming that which the wicked man does in actual life.

Chastity is a self-discipline and self-control.

10. You shall not covet your neighbor’s goods

By goods, we shouldn’t understand only material objects. Skills and talents that other people possess are also good things that we can desire. A virtuous man understands that the superiority of the other man is not a subject of jealousy, it is a subject of deep respect and high admiration. A virtuous man understands that he needs to foster his

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Step 3. Deploy.

Okay, let’s recap what we have. We have just walked through 10 virtues:

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