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Re: [Death To Religion] (unknown)

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    Mr. Durant s book was published in 1968. He died in 1981 at the ripe age of 96. I wonder what he would say about those religious fanatics who seek to hasten
    Message 1 of 273 , Jan 11, 2009
      Mr. Durant's book was published in 1968. He died in 1981 at the ripe age of 96. I wonder what he would say about those religious fanatics who seek to hasten the end of the world. He did not live long enough to witness the rise of fundamentalists in Islam, Judaism, or Christianity. These people present a clear and present danger to all of us. Since he is not here to comment, I would like to know what you think. If these people are stopped, will it be moderates in their own faiths who do it?
      A discouraging example was the cartoonist in Holland who had his life threatened over the Mohammed political satire. Christian churches were either silent or sympathetic to offended Muslims.

      --- On Fri, 1/9/09, Jack Musser <gladflyweather@...> wrote:

      From: Jack Musser <gladflyweather@...>
      Subject: [Death To Religion] (unknown)
      To: deathtoreligion@yahoogroups.com
      Date: Friday, January 9, 2009, 11:51 AM

      Maybe, you will pay a little more attention to the opinion of an agnostic who
      has written a ten volume study of civilization.�� Will Durant in his� Lessons
      of History wrote

      Even the skeptical historian develops a humble respect for religion, since he
      sees it functioning and seemingly indispensable, in every land and age.�� To
      the unhappy, the suffering, the bereaved, the old, it has brought supernatural
      comforts valued by millions of souls as more precious than any natural aid.� It
      has helped parents and teachers to discipline the young.� It has conferred
      meaning and dignity upon the lowliest existence and through its sacraments has
      made for stability by transforming human covenants into solemn relationships
      with God.�� It has kept the poor (said Napoleon) from murdering the rich.�
      For since the natural inequality of men dooms many of us to poverty or defeat,
      some supernatural hope may be the sole alternative to despair.� Destroy that
      hope, and class war is intensified.� Heaven and utopia are buckets in a well:
      when one goes down the other goes up; when religion declines Communism grows.�
      P. 43

      Religion does not seem at first to have had any connection with morals.��
      Apparently (for we are merely guessing, or echoing Petronius, who echoed
      Lucretius) �it was fear that first made the gods� 25�fear of hidden forces
      in the earth. �Religion became the propitiatory worship of these forces through
      offerings, sacrifice, incantation, and prayer.� Only when priests used these
      fears and rituals to support morality and law did religion become a force vital
      and rival to the state.� It told the people that the local code of morals and
      laws had been dictated by the gods.� It pictured the god Thoth giving laws to
      Menes for Egypt, Shamash giving Hammurabi a code for Babylonia, Yahveh giving
      the Ten Commandments and 613 precepts to Moses for the Jews, and the divine
      nymph Egeria giving Numa Pompilius laws fro Rome. �Pagan cults and Christian
      creeds proclaimed that earthly rulers were appointed and protected by the
      gods.�� Gratefully, nearly ever
      state shared its lands and revenues with the priests.� P 43-4

      Some recusants have doubted that religion ever promoted morality, since
      immorality has flourished even in ages of religious domination.� Certainly
      sensuality, drunkenness, coarseness, greed, dishonesty, robbery, and violence
      existed in the Middle Ages; but probably the moral disorder born of half a
      millennium of barbarian invasion, war, economic devastation, and political
      disorganization would have been much worse without the moderating effect of the
      Christian ethic, priestly exhortations, saintly exemplars, and a calming,
      unifying ritual.� The Roman Catholic Church labored to reduce slavery, family
      feuds, and national strife, to extend the intervals of truce and peace, and to
      replace trial by combat or ordeal with the judgments of established courts.� It
      softened the penalties exacted by Roman or barbarian law, and vastly expanded
      the scope and organization of charity.p. 44

      In regard to his statement about religion and utopias, he suggests that when
      religion wains, men look to utopia ideas, e.g., communisim.

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    • Clint
      ... So sayeth the xian to the atheist in an atheist group, Begone infidel!
      Message 273 of 273 , Feb 26, 2010
        Richard Godwin wrote:
        > Again, give it up and go peddle your wares elsewhere.

        So sayeth the xian to the atheist in an atheist group, Begone infidel!
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