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Alain de Botton’s alternative Ten Commandments, resilience; empathy; patience; sacrifice; 
politeness; humour; self-awareness; forgiveness; hope and
confidence (your report, 4
February), fail to direct us away from evil.

Lists of virtuous character traits are valuable, but, without a clear moral framework, such qualities can be employed in the service of merely self-indulgent causes.

Along with atheist “church” services and “Bibles”, and Humanist choirs, this latest secular Ten Commandments serves to underline the fact that the atheist/secularist/humanist movement can only define itself in opposition to religion, appearing to be energised only by 
attacking or aping religions.

Richard Lucas