Saturday, December 29, 2007

Religion and individualism

What I actually mean to get at in the previous post was that religion is insufficiently individualistic for my taste (or at least the religion that I see, which I assume isn't true religion). A response to the problem of evil is that suffering allows people to display higher gifts, like empathy. So John's being tortured to death gives me the chance to be honourable.

The Bahia religion says that we're moving in a definite direction. We're moving towards a kind of utopia where unity reigns. Of course we're all dying before we get there, but some of us will turn out ok anyway. If this utopia is really worth fighting for then in some objective sense it is better to live in than the world we see. So why are we denied this better world? And if living in this kind of world is fine, why bother, why is this future state of affairs better?

It's also a problem I have with movie and books. Minor characters are often ruthlessly dispatched as a way of making hour hero's ultimate triumph more glorious. Its fine to kill off characters as a way of illustrating why the baddie is bad, not telling us how hardcore the goodie is.


Swart Donkey said...

Did you enjoy American Gangster?

Good Guy/Bad Guy?

Stuart said...

I didn't think the film suffered especially badly from this problem, though I do have quibbles.

I very much enjoyed the movie.