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April 02, 2009

Comments

Nathan James

Taylor, this has to be, by far, one of the most powerful items you have ever posted on this blog. The implications of inculcating children in the ways of hatred and bigotry are staggering. To my mind, poisoning young minds is evil in its most basic form. The "Riddle Of Epicurus" recalls the age old problem of theodicy: God is all good/God is all powerful/Horrible things happen.

Training children to hate their fellow human beings is horrible, but alas, we forget too soon. We forget the Holocaust, the Middle Passage, Jim Crow, Harvey Milk, Rashawn Brazell, Teena Marie Brandon, Lawrence King, the Tuskeegee Experiment, the KKK's lynch mobs, ad infinitum. In teaching children how to hate (and in organized groups!) the adults are making sure that the evil they do lives after them.

I had hoped with the election of President Obama, that we had entered a new era of diversity and understanding. Alas, we've just taken one step forward and too many steps back...

Nathan James

Postscript: Religion is responsible for more death and conflict than anything else in all of recorded history.

That includes 9/11.

Even in the midst of good, there is unspeakable evil. To paraphrase James Luceno, "the brightest light casts the darkest shadow".

Greg

Powerful essay, Taylor. Thank you.

Wil Lavender

I have to say that sad but true you are not the only person that remembers it. The sad part or thing is that kids believe anything due to the fact that they know not. Parents don't realize or they do, that the cycle just continues. The worse part about life or history is this. Even if we were to kill all of the persons or people that started hate. KKK or people that wanted to kill homosexuals, they ideology of what they have always taught remains. The risk of another person starting it will always be there.

Taylor Siluwé

I like that quote, Nathan.
And its so appropriate.

Recently a woman in the news starved her baby for religious beliefs. Someone lashed out at me for calling her beliefs a CULT. My response was:

From Dictionary.com ~ CULT :

"a particular system of religious worship, esp. with reference to its rites and ceremonies."

Thats the very first definition, it goes on to others with the sixth being:

"a religion or sect considered to be false, unorthodox, or extremist, with members often living outside of conventional society under the direction of a charismatic leader."

This last one is the common imagery when we all think of a cult -- Kooky inbred freaks following a long haired guru who usually turns out to have screwed all the members, even the kids. However, like in most dictionarys, the first definition is the most useful and its true here.

That being said, not only is this kooky woman's faith clearly a cult, so is every other religion on the planet. Take offense if you will, but facts are facts.

Yes, the truth hurts sometimes, but it doesn't make it any less true. ~

Taylor Siluwé

So true, Wil, we just have to be there to SQUASH it everytime we see it.

Jason

I'm sorry, Taylor, but I failed to see these facts you are speaking of when you are referring to every religion. If you are referring to the first definition which is, "a particular system of religious worship," then of course you would HAVE to define every system of religious worship as a cult. I fail to see your point here, though. Let's say that everything we eat is, by definition, a nazi. Have I somehow made a valid argument that food is bad?

Now if you use the second definition of cult, by the definition itself all religion can't be a cult since in order for there to be false, unorthodox, or extremist views, there must be true, orthodox and moderate views.

So, if you would, repeat to me the point you've made.

Jason

If I may copy and paste a my own comment about this quotation from Epicurus...

This quotation is interesting because it points out the fact that in order for God to be worth worshipping, He must be both omnipotent and Good. While this argument is clever, it is fallacious.

1. God must be omnipotent.
2. God must be Good.
3. If there is evil, God is can’t be both.
4. Therefore if there is a God, He isn’t worth worshipping.

The fallacy lies in part 3 where the philosopher assumes that evil is something physical that, like all things physical, must have been created. If I asked the question: “What is darkness?” the only logical answer would be the lack of light. If I asked: “What is silence?” you would have to say the lack of sound. There is no way to measure darkness or silence but through the lack of their opposite, which does exist. I suggest a new (new to the modern non-thinker) argument formulated by St. Augustine which he derived from Socratic and Platonic philosophy.

1. God is all Good.
2. God created everything.
3. Everything is good (or at least aims to some good).

The problem with evil is that it is the good, perverted. Sex, drugs, and alcohol are good in the end they bring. There is nothing inherently wrong with pleasure. However, the means of obtaining that end are not aimed toward God. By aiming your actions away from God and toward yourself, the side-effect is what we call evil.

Taylor Siluwé

My point was that the woman who starved her baby for religious reasons was in a cult. Then I when on to point out that by definition (the first one), all religions were cults, which is true. So, could you repeat your confusion?

Mark White

Thanks, Jason. I totally agree with you.

Taylor Siluwé

My point with this post is that people's twisted, all-or-nothing belief systems are the greatest danger mankind has ever known. Personally, I feel religion itself is the most vile creation ever. And yes, its man's doing. The loving God of the Bible advocated slavery, genocide and all manner of destruction - all because, allegedly, a woman ate a piece of fruit. Millenuims of death and suffering, still ongoing, for that single ancient "alleged" incident. God still hasn't gotten over it yet? If I held a grudge that long I'd be douchebag. God is a fairytale, obviously created by sexually repressed old men who needed to control the ignorant masses. What better way to do that than to invent Heaven (if you listen those old men) and Eternal Hellfire (if you don't listen to those same old men)?

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