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Essay on superstition is the religion of feeble minds
"The man in the moon (Osiris-Sut, Jehovah-Satan, Christ-Judas, and other Lunar twins) is often charged with bad conduct. . . . In the lunar phenomena the moon was one as moon, which was two-fold in sex, and three-fold in character—as mother, child, and adult male. Thus the child of the moon became the consort of his own mother! It could not be if there was to be any reproduction. He was compelled to be his own father! These relationships were repudiated by later sociology, and the primitive man in the moon got tabooed. Yet, in its latest, most inexplicable phase, this has become the central doctrine of the grossest superstition the world has seen, for these lunar phenomena and their humanly represented relationships, the incestuous included, are the very foundations of the Christian Trinity in Unity. Through ignorance of the symbolism, the simple representation of early time has become the most profound religious mystery in modern Luniolatry. The Roman Church, without being in any wise ashamed of the proof, portrays the Virgin Mary arrayed with the sun, and the horned moon at her feet, holding the lunar infant in her arms—as child and consort of the mother moon. The mother, child, and adult male, are fundamental."
Our natural hatred of tyranny, and we may safely add, the general test of history and experience, would dispose us to believe religious persecution to be necessarily and essentially baneful to the elegant arts, no less than to the intellectual pursuits of mankind. It is natural to think, that when punishments are let loose upon men's opinions, they will spread a contagious alarm from the understanding to the imagination. They will make the heart grow close and insensible to generous feelings, where it is unaccustomed to express them freely; and the graces and gaiety of fancy will be dejected and appalled. In an age of persecution, even the living study of his own species must be comparatively darkened to the poet. He looks round on the characters and countenances of his fellow-creatures; and instead of the naturally cheerful and eccentric variety of their humours, he reads only a sullen and oppressed uniformity. To the spirit of poetry we should conceive such a period to be an impassable Avernus, where she would drop her wings and expire. Undoubtedly this inference will be found warranted by a general survey of the history of Genius. It is, at the same time, impossible to deny, that wit and poetry have in some instances flourished coeval with ferocious bigotry, on the same spot, and under the same government. The literary glory of Spain was posterior to the establishment of the Inquisition. The fancy of Cervantes sported in its neighbourhood, though he declared that he could have made his writings still more entertaining, if he had not dreaded the Holy Office. But the growth of Spanish genius, in spite of the co-existence of religious tyranny, was fostered by uncommon and glorious advantages in the circumstances of the nation. Spain (for we are comparing Spain in the sixteenth with England in the fifteenth century) was, at the period alluded to, great and proud in an empire, on which it was boasted that the sun never set. Her language was widely diffused. The wealth of America for a while animated all her arts. Robertson says, that the Spaniards discovered at that time an extent of political knowledge, which the English themselves did not attain for more than a century afterwards. Religious persecutions began in England, at a time when she was comparatively poor and barbarous; yet after she had been awakened to so much intelligence on the subject of religion, as to make one half of the people indignantly impatient of priestly tyranny. If we add to the political troubles of the age, the circumstance of religious opinions being silenced and stifled by penal horrors, it will seem more wonderful that the spark of literature was kept alive, than that it did not spread more widely. Yet the fifteenth century had its redeeming traits of refinement, the more wonderful for appearing in the midst of such unfavourable circumstances. It had a Fortescue, although he wandered in exile, unprotected by the constitution which be explained and extolled in his writings. It had a noble patron and lover of letters in Tiptoft, although be died by the bands of the executioner. It witnessed the founding of many colleges, in both of the universities, although they were still the haunts of scholastic quibbling; and it produced, in the venerable Pecock, one conscientious dignitary of the church, who wished to have converted the protestants by appeals to reason, though for so doing he had his books, and, if he had not recanted in good time, would have had his body also, committed to the flames. To these causes may be ascribed the backwardness of our poetry between the dates of Chaucer and Spenser. I speak of the chasm extending to, or nearly to Spenser; for, without undervaluing the elegant talents of Lord Surrey, I think we cannot consider the national genius as completely emancipated from oppressive circumstances, till the time of Elizabeth. There was indeed a commencement of our poetry under Henry VIII. It was a fine, but a feeble one. English genius seems then to have come forth, but half assured that her day of emancipation was at hand. There is something melancholy even in Lord Surrey's strains of gallantry. The succession of Henry VIII. gave stability to the government, and some degree of magnificence to the state of society. But tyranny was not yet at an end; and to judge, not by the gross buffoons, but by the few minds entitled to be called poetical, which appear in the earlier part of the sixteenth century, we may say that the English Muse had still a diffident aspect and a faltering tone.
Superstition is the religion of feeble minds – Edmund …
The inference is by no means just, that because a system of religion has made no deep impression on the minds of a people, it must therefore have been positively rejected by all men of common sense, and that opposite principles, in spite of the prejudices of education, were generally established by argument and reasoning. I know not but a contrary inference may be more probable. The less importunate and assuming any species of superstition appears, the less will it provoke men’s spleen and indignation, or engage them into enquiries concerning its foundation and origin. This in the mean time is obvious, that the empire of all religious faith over the understanding is wavering and uncertain, subject to every variety of humour, and dependent on the present incidents, which strike the imagination. The difference is only in the degrees. An ancient will place a stroke of impiety and one of superstition alternately, throughout a whole discourse. A modern often thinks in the same way, though he may be more guarded in his expressions.
Arise betimes, while th' opal-colour'd morn
In golden pomp doth May-day's door adorn.
The "opal-colour'd morn" is a beautiful expression, that I do not remember any other poet to have ever used.The school of poets which is commonly called the metaphysical, began in the reign of Elizabeth with Donne; but the term of metaphysical poetry would apply with much more justice to the quatrains of Sir John Davies, and those of Sir Fulke Greville, writers who, at a later period, found imitators in Sir Thomas Overbury and Sir William Davenant. Davies's poem on the Immortality of the Soul, entitled "Nosce teipsum," will convey a much more favourable idea of metaphysical poetry than the wittiest effusions of Donne and his followers. Davies carried abstract reasoning into verse with an acuteness and felicity which have seldom been equalled. He reasons, undoubtedly, with too much labour, formality, and subtlety, to afford uniform poetical pleasure. The generality of his stanzas exhibit hard arguments interwoven with the pliant materials of fancy so closely, that we may compare them to a texture of cloth and metallic threads, which is cold and stiff, while it is splendidly curious. There is this difference, however, between Davies and the commonly styled metaphysical poets, that he argues like a hard thinker, and they, for the most part, like madmen. If we conquer the drier parts of Davies's poem, and bestow a little attention on thoughts which were meant, not to gratify the indolence, but to challenge the activity of the mind, we shall find in the entire essay fresh beauties at every perusal: for in the happier parts we come to logical truths so well illustrated by ingenious similes, that we know not whether to call the thoughts more poetically or philosophically just. The judgment and fancy are reconciled, and the imagery of the poem seems to start more vividly from the surrounding shades of abstraction.Such were some of the first and inferior luminaries of that brilliant era of our poetry, which, perhaps, in general terms, may be said to cover about the last quarter of the sixteenth, and the first quarter of the seventeenth century; and which, though commonly called the age of Elizabeth, comprehends many writers belonging to the reign of her successor. The romantic spirit, the generally unshackled style, and the fresh and fertile genius of that period, are not to be called in question. On the other hand, there are defects in the poetical character of the age, which, though they may disappear or be of little account amidst the excellencies of its greatest writers, are glaringly conspicuous in the works of their minor contemporaries. In prolonged narrative and description the writers of that age are peculiarly deficient in that charm, which is analogous to "keeping" in pictures. Their warm and cold colours are generally without the gradations which should make them harmonize. They fall precipitately from good to bad thoughts, from strength to imbecility. Certainly they are profuse in the detail of natural circumstances, and in the utterance of natural feelings. For this we love them, and we should love them still more if they knew where to stop in description and sentiment. But they give out the dregs of their mind without reserve, till their fairest conceptions are overwhelmed by a rabble of mean associations. At no period is the mass of vulgar mediocrity in poetry marked by more formal gallantry, by grosser adulation, or by coarser satire. Our amatory strains in the time of Charles the Second may be more dissolute, but those of Elizabeth's age often abound in studious and prolix licentiousness. Nor are examples of this solemn and sedate impurity to be found only in the minor poets: our reverence for Shakspeare himself need not make it necessary to disguise that he willingly adopted that style in his youth, when he wrote his Venus and Adonis.The fashion of the present day is to solicit public esteem not only for the best and better, but for the humblest and meanest writers of the age of Elizabeth. It is a bad book which has not something good in it; and even some of the worst writers of that period have their twinkling beauties. In one point of view, the research among such obscure authors is undoubtedly useful. It tends to throw incidental lights on the great old poets, and on the manners, biography, and language of the country. So far all is well — but as a matter of taste, it is apt to produce illusion and disappointment. Men like to make the most of the slightest beauty which they can discover in an obsolete versifier; and they quote perhaps the solitary good thought which is to be found in such a writer, omitting any mention of the dreary passages which surround it. Of course it becomes a lamentable reflection, that so valuable an old poet should have been forgotten. When the reader however repairs to him, he finds that there are only one or two grains of gold in all the sands of this imaginary Pactolus. But the display of neglected authors has not been even confined to glimmering beauties; it has been extended to the reprinting of large and heavy masses of dulness. Most wretched works have been praised in this enthusiasm for the obsolete; even the dullest works of the meanest contributors to the "Mirror for Magistrates." It seems to be taken for granted, that the inspiration of the good old times descended to the very lowest dregs of its versifiers; whereas the bad writers of Elizabeth's age are only more stiff and artificial than those of the preceding, and more prolix than those of the succeeding period.Yet there are men, who, to all appearance, would wish to revive such authors — not for the mere use of the antiquary, to whom every volume may be useful, but as standards of manner, and objects of general admiration. Books, it is said, take up little room. In the library this may be the case; but it is not so in the minds and time of those who peruse them. Happily indeed, the task of pressing indifferent authors on the public attention is a fruitless one. They may be dug up from oblivion, but life cannot be put into their reputations. "Can these bones live?" Nature will have her course, and dull books will be forgotten, in spite of bibliographers.
Superstition is the religion of feeble minds - Search …
"SUPERSTITION" SAID Burke "is the religion of feeble minds." These are deep rooted and irrational beliefs which have no profanity. It is belief that has no basis in reason. It is the daughter of ignorance and fear.
How do Deists view God? We view God as an eternal entity whose power is equal to his/her will. The following quote from Albert Einstein also offers a good Deistic description of God: "My religion consists of a humble admiration of the illimitable superior spirit who reveals himself in the slight details we are able to perceive with our frail and feeble minds. That deeply emotional conviction of the presence of a superior reasoning power, which is revealed in the incomprehensible universe, forms my idea of God."
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Who said superstition is the religion of feeble minds?
Massimo Pigliucci"Humanity has the stars in its future, and that future is too important to be lost under the burden of juvenile folly and ignorant superstition."
— Isaac Asimov"I expect death to be nothingness and, for removing me from all possible fears of death, I am thankful to atheism."
— Isaac Asimov, "On Religiosity" in "Free Inquiry""When I die I won't go to heaven or hell; there will just be nothingness."
— Isaac Asimov, on Bill Moyers' TV series "A World of Ideas""Imagine the people who believe such things and who are not ashamed to ignore, totally, all the patient findings of thinking minds through all the centuries since the Bible was written.
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