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"In the city of my birth, I had a dream..."
Quote of the Day 
3rd-Dec-2007 12:37 am
Atheists have as much conscience, possibly more, than people with deep religious conviction, and they still have the same problem of how they reconcile themselves to a bad deed in the past. It’s a little easier if you’ve got a god to forgive you. - Ian McEwan, "A Sinner's Tale," The New York Times
3rd-Dec-2007 06:19 am (UTC)
No, it isn't.
3rd-Dec-2007 06:21 am (UTC)
*laughs* Guess you didn't like McEwan's Atonement, huh?
3rd-Dec-2007 07:09 am (UTC)
::grins:: I never read it (though if I didn't have to study for the Master's exam this winter, I'd put it on the list), I just object on principle to anyone who thinks that ability to be forgiven for something can negate the feeling of guilt. It's nice to know that God forgives, but that doesn't take away the idea/feeling that you've done something wrong.
3rd-Dec-2007 07:52 am (UTC)
It's nice to know that God forgives

But that's how I read the quote, actually: that people who are religious can find a measure of comfort in their belief when they feel guilty (don't need to feel forgiven by god in the first place if you don't think you've done anything wrong), but atheists feel *entirely* alone in the universe with their guilt.
3rd-Dec-2007 08:01 am (UTC)
Ah! Then perhaps my reaction is because I'm taking the quotation out of context? Because I saw it more in the vein of 'Christians don't feel the same measure of guilt in the deep and abiding way that atheists do, because they know they can be forgiven'?
3rd-Dec-2007 05:41 pm (UTC)
It's possible he meant that...but from what I've read of Atonement, I think it's more about the existential alienation of being utterly alone in guilt.

Your interpretation is more a Dawkins argument; Dawkins thinks being religious allows one to be immoral in certain contexts i.e. Israeli children overwhelmingly think a historical episode of genocide is okay provided that it's Jews doing the killing.

Edited at 2007-12-03 05:42 pm (UTC)
3rd-Dec-2007 01:03 pm (UTC)
I think it’s far worse than that, God frequently seems to convince true believers that their deeds aren't bad to begin with.. Most especially when it comes to atrocities of a grand scale…
3rd-Dec-2007 05:42 pm (UTC)
See my latest comment to missmollyetc.
3rd-Dec-2007 05:45 pm (UTC)
Yup, that’s what I mean ^^
3rd-Dec-2007 05:28 pm (UTC)
I don't know. I think it works with both saids of the coin. On one hand, it could be easier to have a God to forgive you, but on the other. Said God (At least in the Cathlic Faith) is always saying humanity is inhertnrly evil, and that they need to be forgived, and there's alot of guilt issues steming from the concept of "Orgianl Sin"
3rd-Dec-2007 05:37 pm (UTC)
Baptism washes away Original Sin; if you're a Catholic, the "Catholic guilt" has to do with any personal bad behavior subsequent to getting your clean slate as a baby. But all you have to do is confess and repent (on your deathbed), and up to heaven you go.
3rd-Dec-2007 05:43 pm (UTC)
To a degree I can agree with you. But still, Catholicism loves to drill teh concept of guilt in your head. If not in the bible itself, in alot of the teachings and other such things.

"Humanity is bad and can only be saved because of. . ."

I just don't agree with that concept. Regardless, if you want to continue this discussion we can, but for now i'm taking a npa so it'll be a while before I respond.
3rd-Dec-2007 05:54 pm (UTC)
I don't think you understand McEwan's use of guilt in this context. He doesn't mean the Catholic sense of guilt, which requires being vigilant against sin and ever-repentant for transgressions. He's talking about (in the context of his novel Atonement) the gnawing guilt of knowing that you have personally wronged another person (and not on purpose!), and that you can't personally correct the way it has ruined that person's life.

And, um, Catholics believe that Jesus redeemed humanity. Which is supposed to inspire awe and humility and love, NOT guilt. Guilt is when you don't demonstrate sufficient of the former. (You probably don't want to argue the content or nature of American Catholic dispositions with me; remember my family background. ^^;;;; )

Edited at 2007-12-03 05:55 pm (UTC)
11th-Dec-2007 04:36 pm (UTC)
But Catholic Guilt, from my own experience, is not about sin and personal conviction, but rather about cultural expectations, about rules in the society you live in, about how others perceive you. Some of that is tied in to the concept of sin but the guilt stems not from religion, not from personal convictions but from what amounts to an effort by a group to control a larger group through peer pressure.

And I've heard non-Catholics in the Midwest pretty much describe Catholic Guilt only they called it the Midwestern mindset which endows you with similar guilt for similar things.
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