Liberal ‘optimistic figments’

The doctrines of predestination; of original sin; of the innate depravity of man and the evil fate of the greater part of the race; of the primacy of Satan in this world; of the essential vileness of matter; of a malevolent Demiurgus subordinate to a benevolent Almighty, who has only lately revealed himself, faulty as they are, appear to me to be vastly nearer the truth than the “liberal” popular illusions that babies are all born good and that the example of a corrupt society is responsible for their failure to remain so; that it is given to everybody to reach the ethical ideal if he will only try; that all partial evil is universal good; and other optimistic figments, such as that which represents “Providence” under the guise of a paternal philanthropist, and bids us believe that everything will come right (according to our notions) at last.

Thomas Huxley, Life and Letters, vol.3, p.220, ed. L.Huxley, Macmillan, 1903

online source

There is a reason why these ‘faulty’ doctrines ‘appear’ to comport so well with our experience of the real world, Mr Huxley. They (except the mistaken idea of the vileness of matter – had he read Genesis 1?) are not faulty.

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