Saturday, June 18, 2011

Classified Information

Now on the last leg of Carse's book, "The Religious Case Against Belief," I feel as though Carse is dancing around a simple resolution and solution for all of the questions posed and engendered by his book. Though I wouldn't be surprised if he has no answers, but rather abandons us to find our own. I would be alright with that ending as well. In the mean time, Carse's discussions connect with an idea I previously addressed. Two posts ago, I discussed how humans experience discomfort when dealing with ambiguities- at times so much so that we rearrange our beliefs in order to cope.

To play with a slightly different standpoint on this idea, I propose a discussion of evil. This is not a topic I like to discuss much, or even think about. For me, it's very hard to imagine an active good-opposing force that acts nefariously in our world. Carse allows me the option of letting evil be an inescapable byproduct of human intention rather than a superhuman force. He again plays with blurry boundaries in saying that it's very hard for us to define evil at all. He suggests that we can recognize instances of evil, and that is enough. I am a big fan of casuistry, so this made my heart happy.

I think it nearly impossible for us to write rules, especially ones tied to religion, that can be applied to everyone and every case- creating laws to prevent evil-doings and acts. Especially rules, that in Christianity, were created thousands of years ago. Times change- it happens. For those who would like to say that the rules never change because God never changes, I do not at all think it has to be that way. Humanity changes, so do our laws, social concepts, social constructs, languages, civilizations, etc. Why would laws NOT change? Yes I think they are important, yes I think continuity and a certain amount of stability need to exist to legitimize them, but at the same time, stagnancy of law can itself be evil. Until reading Carse, I had never liked the statement "The road to hell is paved with good intentions." I thought that it alluded to a delusional nature, the idea that we know so little that even that which we perceive to be good, is not. Reading Carse, I think a slightly less condescending spin on this might be that our intentions, our goals, as much good as they can produce, will have unintentional side effects. Side effects that could possibly be evil, without being an active force, or even actively achieved.

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