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Tuesday, September 28, 2004

Religion: Divine Treasure or Poisonous Bilge?

Christopher Hitchens v. Shmuley Boteach

This topic has always fascinated me, as the title of my blog should suggest.

Perhaps the greatest philosophical rule ever written is the Golden Rule. The rule can be summarized, "Treat others only in ways that you're willing to be treated in the same exact situation." Thinking like a lawyer, the obvious flaw in this rule is dishonesty in determining how you are willing to be treated. Once this premise has been perverted, back to doing whatever you wish to do.

Perhaps the greatest bit of 'religious' philosophy dealing with this problem comes from Shakespeare, to thine own self be true. As the first comment suggests, "sounds like a bunch of platitudes".

Maybe platitudes are the best we humans can do. If you are waiting for the divine hand to come down and force you to do the right thing, seek professional help. Other options include becoming one who deludes one's self, a socialist, totalitarian, statist, Communist, fascist, or theocrat.

Until then, it's all guess work. Freedom of thought and action are not ends to themselves. Freedom of thought and action merely allow us to make the effort to better ourselves, or the opposite.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

better:
Do Not do unto others what you would NOT have others do unto you.

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