Religious Faith In Jean Meslier's Testament

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Is religious faith normal, natural, or desirable? Does it serve an important function in the life of man, or is it, rather, an aggregation of pernicious superstitions, designed to soothe timid souls and blind man to truth by retarding his development? A thousand treatises, setting sail on oceans of ink, have been penned in response to these questions. I personally have argued that religious faith is a necessary part of civilization, and an indispensable tool in the cultivation and taming of the wild individual ego. This view, however, is not shared by all. Jean Meslier’s Testament We will look at the life and writings of one such man, the dour Frenchman Jean Meslier (1678-1733). His Testament remains one of the most damning indictments of religion ever…show more content…
A man’s ideas are windows of his soul. We sense immediately the bitterness of a man resentful of a life wasted in a profession unsuited to him. This alone is a lesson to us, and a cautionary tale for the ages. Unable or unwilling to seek out his life’s passion, he resigned himself to secret rage, and finally, to despair. We must grant him his due regarding some of the absurdities found in theology. And yet, it escapes him that perhaps religious doctrines exist to serve subtle moral purposes, and that scientific fact is not their major concern. His opinions about religion epitomize all the myopia common to materialism and atheism. He forgets the profoundly inspirational qualities of faith; he ignores religion’s storehouse of literature, myth, and consoling rituals; and he entirely forgets the critical importance of religion in passing on a culture’s moral values. Had he understood the nature of man more deeply, he would have understood that only philosophers and saints can be induced to do good by appeals to reason alone; for the average man, only the fears of eternal damnation will keep his baser instincts in check. Religion is the best unsleeping sentry created by
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