The Paltry Cause

Scraps for the scrappy

The New Oxonian

Iwill always write about religion because that is what I was trained to do.  My field is the study of religion.  It is an interesting and important field.  It deserves to be treated seriously because religion has been influential in shaping ideas and society since before there were alphabets and wedges to tell us its story.  Like science– like everything, as Nietzsche and common sense tell us–it is antinomous:  that means  it has opposition built into it– good and bad, beauty and ugliness, right and wrong.  The Persians may have been the first to see this, but I am not sure.  The Chinese saw it too, the Greeks certainly did, and the Manicheans of Augustine’s day–and Augustine himself.  The primal choice is a choice about the way in which something beautiful—a fruit, let’s say, symbolically—can be used for good or bad. When religion has talked about good and evil…

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