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Harold Percival [excerpt]

Dec 11, 2004 06:25 PM
by Andrew Smith

Religions as beliefs, systems and institutions are both good and bad. This depends on the people who practice them. When a religion is practiced to lead or to allow its devotees to develop reasoning and understanding and to grow into a higher and more enlightened state, it is good. It is bad, when by means of it people are kept in ignorance and darkness, and when vice, crime and cruelty flourish under it. Usually the beginning of a new religion is promising. It comes to meet a demand. It starts out of a decaying religion. It is usually born out of tumult, confusion, dissension and war. It attracts enthusiasts and the changeable crowd. It fails to school the mass of adherents to a higher life, and soon suffers from theology, institutionalism, officialism, hypocrisy, bigotry and corruption. So one religion after another appears, disappears, and reappears. The reason is twofold: the mass of re-existing doers whose religion it is get it because it exteriorizes their thoughts, and the actions of those who figure as its priests and officials reflect and embody the aims of the adherents.

On the whole it is better that there should be even such a religion than none. It keeps the believers from doing worse than they do.

Al-Hallaj Kabir Ali
"May you live in interesting times!"

[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]

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