Archive for the ‘A.C. Grayling’ Category

A wretched creature who can yet apprehend perfection

September 7, 2009

…man is in no sense perfect but a wretched creature who can yet apprehend perfection.

T.E. Hulme (1883-1917)

Irrational faith

August 17, 2009

Faith is a negation of reason. Reason is the faculty of proportioning judgment to evidence, after first weighing the evidence. Faith is belief even in the face of contrary evidence. Soren Kierkegaard defined faith as a the leap taken despite everything, despite the very absurdity of what one is asked to believe. When people can doggedly choose to believe that black is white, and can, in the utter certainty, go so far as to shoot you because you do not agree, there is little room for debate. ‘Faith, fanatic faith, once wedded fast to some dear falsehood, hugs it to the last,’ says Thomas Moore’s ‘Veiled Prophet of Khorassan.’

A.C. Grayling in The Guardian, date unknown

Some of us have reasons for our faith. Some of us believe it’s wrong to shoot those we disagree with (on the basis of our faith). But I can’t see why a Naturalist thinks shooting people who annoy us is wrong. I’m glad for their inconsistent practice.

Religious Belief as Cause of violence

August 17, 2009

Religious belief, meanwhile, whatever it might do in comforting the fearful in the dark, has always and everywhere brought war, intolerance and persecution with it, and has distorted human nature into false and artificial shapes.

A.C. Grayling, in The Guardian, date unknown

Of course, he’s right to a point (allowing a little for hyperbole). But ‘religious belief’ is vague (Humanism, Buddhism, Scientism included? Why not?) And the abolition of religion brought more ‘war, intolerance and persecution with it’ (Soviet Russia, Maoist China, Pol Pot’s Cambodia etc.)