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Sunday, February 22, 2004

 

From Cara Remal, at whoknew, A Letter to Anti-war Friends Everywhere:
Way back when, the prevailing traditional idea was that individuals are born into original sin, meaning people are born bad and have to learn, through religion, to be good. The revolutionary idea that people are born good and must learn to be bad was a definite improvement over the oppression of original sin. [Emphasis added]
Psychologically, maybe - ontologically, not a chance. How can discarding an uncomfortable truth for a belief that's factually untrue possibly be an improvement? (All pomos who reject the existence of objective reality, move along. Nothing to see here.) And no, religion wasn't the way to learn to be good so much as to learn what being good means; making that manifest was (and is) the work of an entire life.

Maybe the real objection should be to the unspoken "utterly:" born utterly bad vs utterly good. If you phrase it that way, without even noticing, then choosing to believe "good" makes sense, as well as provides comfort and consolation in a hard world. What it doesn't explain is how people born predominately good yet have a stubborn stain of selfishness and grasping pride, and take pleasure in the suffering of others that is more than relief at dodging the blow oneself. Original sin accounts for inconvenient facts like these.

But don't let a little uninformed foolishness distract you from the overall value. Especially useful is the distinction between the anti-colonial left and the anti-fascist left, and they way this divides anti-war from pro-war liberals. (Although I think she underestimates the apparent influence of the anti-adult left in the movement.)

posted by Kelly | 12:42 PM link
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