Archive for the ‘Voltaire’ Category

It is obvious to the whole world that a service is better than an injury, that gentleness is preferable to ange

September 24, 2009

It is obvious to the whole world that a service is better than an injury, that gentleness is preferable to anger. It only remains, therefore, to use our reason to discern the shades of goodness and badness.

Voltaire, in his Philosophical Dictionary (vol.6, 327), in, Voltaire’s Bastards, John Ralston Saul, p.31

It seems obvious to many that ‘gentleness is preferable to anger’ but it is less obvious that ‘reason’ makes us cognisent of this. It isn’t clear, for example, that reason places others before self, or even that it should. ‘Which Rationality?’ to quote Alasdair MacIntyre’s book title.

The sense of morality is because humans bear the image of a Moral Being to whom they are ultimately accountable. This Being, revealed in Scripture has stamped man with his image and a conscience that now accuses and now defends man’s own actions. The Enlightenment project failed to deliver the freedom and tolerance men like Voltaire hoped for.

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Idolatry – gods in man’s image

August 24, 2009

If God has created us in His image, we have more than returned the compliment.

Voltaire

(some attribute this to Pascal)

NB also Betrand Russell pointed out that:

Xenophanes observed that men make gods in their own image – ‘the Ethiopians make their gods black and snub-nosed; the Thracians say theirs have blue eyes and red hair: Yes, and if oxen and lions and horses had hands, and could paint with their hands, and produced works of art as men do, horses would paint the forms of gods like horses, and oxen like oxen and make their bodies in the image of their several kinds.’

History of Western Philosophy, originally in “Unpopular Essays” pp 161-187, Unwin Brothers.

All this is true. But the idolatry of man no more debunks the existence of the true God than does the existence of counterfeit notes disprove real money.