The Title Of My Paper Is "Religious Superstition And Prejudice".

1182 words - 5 pages

During the first class session, we were introduced to a trio of philosophical quotations. One of the quotes was roughly, "What if truth is a monster?". This immediately came to mind when I read the essay question concerning religion and prejudice. Honestly, I don't consider myself to be completely "open-minded". I lack the ability (or willingness) to confront my own beliefs, especially when it comes to religion. As horrible as it sounds, I've grown comfortable with my current views and opinions concerning religious matters. So, it goes without saying that I was a little reluctant to elaborate on this particular subject. However, more than any of the others, this specific question caught my attention. There must be a reason why I found it to be interesting. With that in mind, I decided to take on the challenge to the best of my ability.On the surface, prejudice is a collection of false opinions one holds against a group that is unlike him. These prejudgments are formed without due knowledge or examination and result in irrational hatred of a particular group. The most known prejudices are grounded on the basis of gender, race, nationality, sexual orientation, and age. Such groups are regarded as sub-human, people who are not worthy to receive full human rights. Simply put, prejudice is the abrupt opposite of the "Golden Rule".Because man naturally fears things he does not understand, it is sensible to draw the conclusion that prejudice is an ultimate product of fear. Take for instance, the prejudice many of us hold against tribal communities. Tribes sacrifice animals and mutilate their own bodies in the name of religion. They obviously hold different views from our own and, because we don't understand their way of life, we often consider theminhuman, maybe even ruthless in their practices. We even have organizations that devote their time to trying to change, to "Americanize" these groups of individuals. We find it hard to accept their unique customs as their own. Although it's not as obvious as, say the racial discriminations of the '60s, this is an example of brute prejudice.For Spinoza, the primary cause of prejudice is man's "doctrine of ends". On page 439 of Ethics, Spinoza writes, "All the prejudices I here undertake to expose depend on this one: that men commonly suppose that all natural things act, as men do, on account of an end...". Men suppose that all natural things act on account of some end directed by God. Spinoza believes this takes away the perfection of God, "For if God acts for the sake of an end, he necessarily wants something which he lacks." (Ethics page 442).In accordance with this, I think men seek only to know the final causes of what has been done and are satisfied after hearing them. They have no need to doubt further. Man believes everything that happens, happens on his account. We classify things as important and useful, perfect and imperfect, in the accordance of how we are affected by them. For Spinoza, cause doesn't...

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