Monday, December 1

The True Believers!

When I came across the following, I thought, why not! If it made sense to me, it shall, I hope, make sense to you too! Just to let you know, David Hume, a major figure of the Scottish Enlightenment, “died calmly and quietly without any belief in the comfort of religion”.

An excerpt from “Of the Standard of Taste” by David Hume (1711-1776)

The admirers and followers of the Alcoran (The Koran, Qoran) insist on the excellent moral precepts interspersed throughout that wild and absurd performance. But it is to be supposed, that the Arabic words, which correspond to the English, equity, justice, temperance, meekness, charity, were such as, from the constant use of that tongue, must always be taken in a good sense; and it would have argued that greatest ignorance, not of morals, but of language, to have mentioned them with any epithets, besides those of applause and approbation. But would we know, whether the pretended prophet had really attained a just sentiment of morals? Let us attend to his narration; and we shall soon find, that he bestows praise on such instances of treachery, inhumanity, cruelty, revenge bigotry, as are utterly incompatible with civilized society. No steady rule of right seems there to be attained to; and even action is blamed or praised, so far only as it is beneficial or hurtful to the true believers.

The merit of delivering true general precepts in ethics is indeed very small. Whoever recommends any moral virtues, really does no more than is implied in the terms themselves. That people, who invented the word charity, and used it in a good sense, inculcated more clearly and much more efficaciously, the precept, “be charitable,” than any pretended legislator or prophet, who should insert such a maxim in his writings. Of all expression, those, which, together with their other meaning, imply a degree either of blame or approbation, are the least liable to be perverted or mistaken”.


No comments: