Oct. 23rd, 2014 03:21 pm
rubrquun: (Default)
[personal profile] rubrquun
"Death, therefore, the most awful of evils, is nothing to us, seeing that when we are, death is not come and when death is come, we are not." -- Epicurus, Letter to Menoeceus

"Live a good life. If there are gods and they are just, then they will not care how devout you have been, but will welcome you based on the virtues you have lived by. If there are gods, but unjust, then you should not want to worship them. If there are no gods, then you will be gone, but will have lived a noble life that will live on in the memories of your loved ones." -- attributed to Marcus Aurelius; actual source unknown, probably The Internet

As I put it to the kid I was just debating with on Reddit... even if there is an entity who's going to judge us according to its moral authority, how do we know it's not the cosmic equivalent of the Kid Who Drinks Tranya? Why would the real Prime Mover need to threaten its own creations? What could a genuinely omnipotent being have to be jealous about?!

No, if I'm gonna go and be spiritual, I'm gonna look for the critter behind the curtain. The real Prime Mover is probably as confused, apologetic, and overwhelmed as we are, if it's even noticed us yet. Do you take a keen personal interest in what the ants underfoot are saying about you? In whether the bacteria on your eyelid are whispering blasphemies about you? Would you trust a god who did the equivalent? (If I thought such a ludicrous thing were real, I would worship it fervently, pray it couldn't read minds, and plot all day and night to kill it.)

Date: 2014-10-23 10:53 pm (UTC)
mmsword: (Default)
From: [personal profile] mmsword
What's amusing to me is that Epicurus and Marcus Aurelius were pretty much considered philosophical opposites, with Marcus Aurelius being considered a poster boy for Stoicism. I've also always found it odd how Epicurus and his philosophy of enlightened hedonism ended up being distilled to a word for food lovers.

Date: 2014-10-24 01:00 am (UTC)
indicoyote: (Default)
From: [personal profile] indicoyote
Nicely put. :) That's been my answer to theodicy et. al. for over a decade, really. It's a wonder how many of the philosophical problems about deity go away when you don't expect your god(s) to be omniscient, omnipotent, and omnibenevolent.

Date: 2014-10-28 09:38 pm (UTC)
davv: (Corvid)
From: [personal profile] davv
The usual divine suspects act very alike the people that originally worshipped them. The standard response to this is that the god made man in his image. But given how easy it is to fool oneself, and how the gods are like very particular groups of people, I suspect there was quite a bit of anthropomorphization going on, and the relation is mostly the other way around.

So revelation is probably a very lossy process. If it weren't, there would be much less disagreement on religion in general, and on whether revelation even exists. And if revelation is lossy, we shouldn't be surprised when the pieces don't really fit.


rubrquun: (Default)

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