Monday, 5 July 2010

Thought for the day

I don't have much to say on the topic of religion - except when it is used as a means to divide and foment hatred - because, as Karl Marx wrote, rational adults taking time to point out that they don't believe in God is like a child loudly declaring they aren't afraid of the ghosts and goblins any more (1). And what, moreover, would be the point in adding to the words wasted by the likes of Dawkins and Hitchens, with their pompous attempts to persuade people to rationally reject irrational beliefs?

But today, while reading If This Is A Man by Primo Levi at the moment, his account of his time in Auschwitz, a particular quotation struck me emphatically, following recent tragic events (2) in the all too frequently pain-wracked Democratic Republic of Congo:
Today I think that if for no other reason than that an Auschwitz existed, no-one in our age should speak of Providence.
One doesn't need a horror on the scale of Auschwitz to make one repudiate belief in any sort of benevolent God. A couple of hundred innocent African villagers being immolated while they watch football should be quite enough for most people.

Wouldn't even the most despicable God have thought these people have suffered sufficiently without visiting more horrors on them and their loved ones?
1 - the quotation referred to is "... if there is to be talk about philosophy, there should be less trifling with the label “atheism” (which reminds one of children, assuring everyone who is ready to listen to them that they are not afraid of the bogy man), and that instead the content of philosophy should be brought to the people" and occurs in one of Marx's letters to Arnold Ruge, from 1842. It is reproduced on marxists.org. (http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1842/letters/42_11_30.htm)
2 - "DR Congo fuel truck victims buried in mass graves," unattributed BBC report. Published by the BBC, 3rd of July, 2010. (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/world/10500068.stm)

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