The bible is held out as a source of morality. Christians often point to Jesus sayings (e.g. "love your neighbor as thyself") as though he was the first to introduce morality into the human experience. He was not.
List of ancient legal codes
There were many ancient codes for living, all of which preceded Jesus's pronouncements:
See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_ancient_legal_codes for detail.
Assyrian laws / Code of the Assura (c. 1075 BC)
Babylonian laws (see Code of Hammurabi)
Code of Hammurabi (ca. 1790 BC)
Code of the Nesilim (c. 1650-1500 BC)
Code of Urukagina (2,380-2,360 BC)
Code of Ur-Nammu, king of Ur (ca. 2050 BC)
Codex of Lipit-Ishtar of Isin (ca. 1870 BC)..
Cuneiform law (2,350-1,400 BC)
The Gentoo Code
Gortyn code (5th century BC)
The Draconian constitution (7th Century BC)
Hebraic law / Hebrew Bible / Old Testament (see Mosaic Law) (later see Halakha)
Hittite laws (ca. 16501100 BC).
Laws of Eshnunna (ca. 1930 BC) .
Mosaic Law / Hebraic law - Ten Commandments.
Traditional Chinese law
Cuneiform law refers to any of the legal codes written in cuneiform script, that were developed and used throughout the ancient Middle East among the Sumerians, Babylonians, Assyrians, Elamites, Hurrians, Kassites, and Hittites. The Code of Hammurabi is the most well-known of the cuneiform laws, but there were a number of precursor laws.
Although they were written in several different cities and kingdoms, these early laws have a number of formulas in common. Most contain both an epilogue and a prologue, which usually explain the purpose of composing the laws, invoke divine authority, and command the reader to abide by them. They are always imposed or 'enacted' in the name of a ruler, be it a prince or king, and show no sign of being the result of legislative bodies.
Code of Hammurabi Example Law:
(see http://www.wsu.edu/~dee/MESO/CODE.HTM for all the laws)
If anyone steals the minor son of another, he shall be put to death.If anyone commits a robbery and is caught, he shall be put to death.
Confucius (September 28, 551 BCE 479 BCE) Says...
No other person in the entire history of the world has exerted a greater influence on a larger number of people over a longer period of time than has Confucius.
He wanted his disciples to think deeply for themselves and relentlessly study the outside world, mostly through the old scriptures and by relating the moral problems of the present to past political events.
In times of division, chaos, and endless wars between feudal states, he wanted to restore the Mandate of Heaven that could unify the "world" all under Heaven) and bestow peace and prosperity on the people.
(So interesting - he wanted ALL the world to live peacefully; unlike the god of the Old Testament).
The principles found in the Six Commandments* can be found in Confucius's sayings.Forget injuries, never forget kindnesses.To be able under all circumstances to practice five things constitutes perfect virtue; these five things are gravity, generosity of soul, sincerity, earnestness and kindness.What the superior man seeks is in himself; what the small man seeks is in others.To see what is right, and not to do it, is want of courage or of principle.
GET IT! Christianity did not invent morality.
* I say six commandments because four of the commandments deal with honoring god.
Only six deal with how to live a life.