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Posted by blimp on Tuesday, November 26, 2002 at 23:51:08 :
In Reply to: Re: Demise as a necessary consequent of Religion posted by Wordsmith on Saturday, November 23, 2002 at 23:27:08 :
: : : : : : Religion encapsulates nihilism in a nice seemingly cohesive set of ideas, void of objectivity, metaphysicial value, or any THING else with which beings gauge existence.
: : : : : Show me a religion without an eschatology, and I'll show you a white elephant.
: : : : : Wordsmith : )
: : : : And yet, many religions provide practical rules, codes of behaviour, belief systems which allow adherents to move through life with a level of certainty and a sense of meaning - which I would argue is the antithesis of nihilism.
: : : Your "And yet" confuses me. Eschatology in
: : : no way sanctions nihilism.
: : : Wordsmith : )
: : First, nihilism does not necessitate an eschatology, in any sense of the term.
: I didn't say "necessitate". "Sanction" is
: something else.
: By creating a Being who is 'above' human Beings (both metaphysically and perhaps physically), religion forces its believers to accept the notion that they cannot directly control their lives. That is to say, religion definitively creates a 'higher' Being to relieve human Beings of the obligation to be in total direct control. This is the most compatible aspect of religion with nihilism in that it does not allow human Beings to be in supreme control of Being.
: : Second, it is true that religion provides certain moral codes of conduct, but the reason for living by those codes of conduct lie not within those codes themselves, but rather on the threat that failure to do so will result in consequence. This is to say that one is not to sin because doing so will result in negative repercussions, most notably in the 'afterlife.' Moral codes are not followed for their own sake, but simply to avoid consequence. One word: Kant.
: I agree with you here. Good deeds acted for oneself and others should be done for their own sake. Motivation inspired by fear is a bad reason to act nobly. Virtue is it's own reward.
: Wordsmith : )
W: "And yet" was in response to the original proposition, not your point about eschatology.
Correct me if I am wrong, but nihilism is the opposite of faith: it is nonbelief, denial, and in its extreme form, destruction. While the narrow judeochristian interpretation of a religion given above may provide some argument for religion as a form of mind control or moral slavery (which is directed toward the expansion of the religion, not its destruction), it in no way equates with nihilism. For a believer, the faith in a "higher" being need not be a denial of control (consider the Hindu notion of dharma - not all religion and not all believers are fatalistic)but a celebration of hope and positivity.
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