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Meditation 1354
What Could Be the Harm?

by: Manny

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In a recent rereading of Will Durant’s book The Story of Philosophy, I came across a passage that has come to have a totally different meaning for me than the first time I read the book in 1979:

“Plato believes that a nation cannot be strong unless it believes in God. A mere cosmic force, or first cause, or elan vital, that was not a person, could hardly inspire hope, or devotion, or sacrifice; it could not offer comfort to the hearts of the distressed, nor courage to embattled souls. But a living God can do all this, and can stir or frighten the self-seeking individualist into some moderation of his greed, some control of his passion. All the more so if to belief in God is added belief in personal immortality: the hope of another life gives us courage to meet our own death, and to bear with the death of our loved ones; we are twice armed if we fight with faith. Granted that none of the beliefs can be demonstrated; that God may be after all only the personified ideal of our love and our hope, and that the soul is like the music of the lyre, and dies with the instrument that gave it form: yet surely (so runs the argument, Pascal-like, of the Phaedo) it will do us no harm to believe, and it may do us and our children immeasurable good.”

Ironically, this book was instrumental in leading me to break away from organized religion in the first place. Readers of this page don’t need reminders of the atrocities that have been committed in the name of various “gods” and religions Do us no harm to believe? Do us and our children immeasurable good? Watch the documentary Jesus Camp if you think children benefit from organized religion. Giving supernatural sanction to our baser impulses allows the most horrific actions to be justified in the minds of the perpetrators. The big question to me is:

“Why must there be a so-called Supreme Being in the first place?”

Do we need a cosmic daddy to make us feel protected? Or do we need a cosmic scapegoat upon who to hang the blame for our actions because they are ordained by "god?" (remember the “Divine Plan”?)

In the end, my friends, we do not need “God,” the way his adherents tell us he doesn’t need us. Although according to his "chosen" representatives here on good old Earth, he needs our money. 

 

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