The Pink Dress Analogy

Inspired by an exchange of comments with Gregory

A discussion, perhaps sparked initially by this comment by Gregory, developed between Gregory and me over apatheism, religious belief and freedom of conscience in a thread not intended for such discussions so I thought I’d start a separate thread. From some of Gregory’s remarks, I understood him to suggest I hadn’t made enough of an effort in understanding Christianity and if I were to make such an effort, I might begin to change my views. I seemed to be having trouble conveying my point to Gregory who was also taking offence and claiming I was insulting him. As in many of my disagreements, online and face-to-face, my best lines pop into my head some time after a discussion has ended. In mulling over the, in my view unfair, accusation that I was insulting him, an analogy that might have helped occurred to me. What if it were a pink dress?

What I was trying to explain to Gregory is that sometimes you just do not have a use for something, no matter how attractive, stylish, appealing it is to others. So, Gregory, I don’t need a pink dress. I would never wear a pink dress. I have no objection whatever to those who wish to get themselves a pink dress and wear it with pride. Pink just does not suit me.

Extending the analogy, I also object to the idea of a dress code. The wearers of pink dresses should be protected by law in going about their business pinkly clad. But they should not expect others who do not share their love of pink to join in. Pink dress wearers and non-pinks should be treated equally.

In the past, I’ve used an analogy with smoking, I realise now that was a bit pejorative in comparing religious belief to an addiction. I hope those of a religious persuasion will find this a better analogy. I am happy for anyone to follow their own conscience. I am utterly unable to see the attraction myself but I strongly support the right of those who do to be able to practice their religion of choice. I expect the reciprocal courtesy of not* being equally free to follow my own conscience.

However there are two issued (closely related) regarding religious freedom. Firstly, where religious groups have enough political influence for it to impinge on the freedom of others. Secondly, whether parents have an untrammelled right over how their children’s education treats religious belief. This is a hard conundrum for me and I’m not sure where legal lines should be drawn and safeguards introduced. Trying to indoctrinate my own child would be anathema to me but other parents appear to regard it as their mission. I’d be very interested to hear from others with a view on this and look forward to reading your comments.

ETA*

82 thoughts on “The Pink Dress Analogy

  1. This misrepresents the exchange, which isn’t a surprise. I did not claim Alan was insulting me. I said two words; that he “will insult”. Previously I have said that Alan “insults the conversation” because of his “apathetic” approach, his term, to certain important aspects & dimensions of the conversation that he simply misses out on or self-excludes from, perhaps out of little to no fault of his own.

    1 question. Are you required by law where you live to actually wear clothes? I mean, you can’t run naked on the streets, right?

    Assuming yes, then if the analogy is supposed to be to your own theology/worldview, then rather than “pink dress”, see theology/worldview as “clothing” in general. You have to wear it & can’t escape it any more than skin. A much more accurate metaphor than comparing “Christianity” to a “pink dress.”

    A person isn’t required by law, of course, to “have a religion”, “become religious”, explore theology, or even learn within their own (e.g. humanistic) worldview. They can remain shallow and under-educated their whole life voluntarily without any legal problem. A theology/worldview shallow &/or boring person is simply that. Nevertheless, the ‘law requirement’ of course is a point at which also the “theology/worldview as clothes” analogy breaks down.

    In short, stop going outside naked, skeptical & proud of it, Alan, as if you’re an Emperor! It just makes you an eternal critic of everyone else’s theology/worldview, excepting your own ‘worldview’ from scrutiny, yet which you can’t escape from anyway.

    Doubtful I’ll have more to add to this among skeptic majority here.

  2. I don’t like the analogy. It treats religious faith as an object that one happens to like or dislike, rather than the very heart of one’s existential commitments, needs, and identity.

  3. Kantian Naturalist: I don’t like the analogy. It treats religious faith as an object that one happens to like or dislike, rather than the very heart of one’s existential commitments, needs, and identity.

    Well, that was rather my point. I lack any propensity for a religious spin on my existence and identity. I don’t hear the music of the spheres. So the emotional need for a religious life isn’t there for me. I’m not complaining about it and I don’t find it a problem. I was just pointing out to Gregory that suggesting I might develop or create an emotional need for religion were I to spend some time discussing Christianity with Christians isn’t going to work.

    And I certainly don’t think this is a matter of liking or disliking. These emotions cannot be switched on and off at a whim. That is why I grant religious folks their personal space as well as demanding mine.

  4. Kantian Naturalist:
    I don’t like the analogy. It treats religious faith as an object that one happens to like or dislike, rather than the very heart of one’s existential commitments, needs, and identity.

    Alan has said in the past (and as a materialist I guess it is really the only conclusion to be drawn), that belief in religion probably has a strong selective pressure, and that’s why the majority of humans in the world hold some religious belief. If we take all the humans who ever existed, its pretty much a landslide, most have held some belief in a God or Gods (I remembered you once questioned whether most people who ever existed believed in a God, but its not even close-humans since written history began overwhelmingly believed in a God)

    So as such, for Alan, its just a matter of an accidental* mutation, causing humans to believe in something that may or may not be true. As for him, he never got that accidental mutation, the “lucky one” so he is stuck with his weak genome, and its paltry lack of belief. Its a wonder how they survive at all really.

    So pink dresses, fat hippos, whether one needs them or not just depends on how fit your genome is.

    *Well, sorry, its your theory.

  5. Gregory:
    This misrepresents the exchange, which isn’t a surprise. I did not claim Alan was insulting me. I said two words; that he “will insult”. Previously I have said that Alan “insults the conversation” because of his “apathetic” approach, his term, to certain important aspects & dimensions of the conversation that he simply misses out on or self-excludes from, perhaps out of little to no fault of his own.

    It was this Apatheists are pretty much the scummiest pretenders in the roost. that I was taking issue with.

    1 question. Are you required by law where you live to actually wear clothes? I mean, you can’t run naked on the streets, right?

    I don’t run anywhere, these days. Do you know, I don’t know if there is an explicit national law in France against being naked in public. Apparently not.

    Assuming yes, then if the analogy is supposed to be to your own theology/worldview, then rather than “pink dress”, see theology/worldview as “clothing” in general. You have to wear it & can’t escape it any more than skin. A much more accurate metaphor than comparing “Christianity” to a “pink dress.”

    You can’t peel your skin off. I have heard stories of people deciding to reject religion and I have heard of people adopting a faith for the first time or changing to a new one.

    A person isn’t required by law, of course, to “have a religion”, “become religious”, explore theology, or even learn within their own (e.g. humanistic) worldview. They can remain shallow and under-educated their whole life voluntarily without any legal problem. A theology/worldview shallow &/or boring person is simply that. Nevertheless, the ‘law requirement’ of course is a point at which also the “theology/worldview as clothes” analogy breaks down.

    This is the courtier’s reply.

    In short, stop going outside naked, skeptical & proud of it, Alan, as if you’re an Emperor! It just makes you an eternal critic of everyone else’s theology/worldview, excepting your own ‘worldview’ from scrutiny, yet which you can’t escape from anyway.

    Is not wanting to wear pink a criticism of pink?

    Doubtful I’ll have more to add to this among skeptic majority here.

    Contributions are voluntary though much appreciated.

  6. phoodoo: Alan has said in the past (and as a materialist I guess it is really the only conclusion to be drawn), that belief in religion probably has a strong selective pressure, and that’s why the majority of humans in the world hold some religious belief.If we take all the humans who ever existed, its pretty much a landslide, most have held some belief in a God or Gods (I remembered you once questioned whether most people who ever existed believed in a God, but its not even close-humans since written history began overwhelmingly believed in a God)

    It’s a persuasive idea that social species like humans would have behavioural traits that reinforce the social organisation. It wouldn’t necessarily have to start with religion, just acceptance of authority and hierarchy, starting with parents “hey kids, stop that”!

    So as such, for Alan, its just a matter of an accidental* mutation…

    Don’t forget selection – the non-random element of adaptive evolution.

    ..causing humans to believe in something that may or may not be true. As for him, he never got that accidental mutation, the “lucky one” so he is stuck with his weak genome, and its paltry lack of belief. Its a wonder how they survive at all really.

    So pink dresses, fat hippos, whether one needs them or not just depends on how fit your genome is.

    Not really.

    *Well, sorry, its your theory.

    Nope. My version of the theory of evolution has two major elements: heritable variation and non-random selection

  7. Alan Fox: It’s a persuasive idea that social species like humans would have behavioural traits that reinforce the social organisation. It wouldn’t necessarily have to start with religion, just acceptance of authority and hierarchy, starting with parents “hey kids, stop that”!

    Don’t forget selection – the non-random element of adaptive evolution.

    Not really.

    Nope. My version of the theory of evolution has two major elements: heritable variation and non-random selection

    Right, the accidental part is the mutation. You never got it.

    The selection part is all you poor weak-gened non-believers slowly dying off. So now we have both parts of your formula satisfied.

    You always seem to struggle with both parts, always wanting to mix the two.

    So again, your not believing in God (or just not respecting authority as you theorize) is really out of your control. You have a weak gene, so how could anyone expect you to understand? You don’t need a pink dress because you are incapable of needing it. You are like a blind man who wishes he got an accidental mutation to see. Bad luck.

  8. phoodoo: The selection part is all you poor weak-gened non-believers slowly dying off. So now we have both parts of your formula satisfied.

    Is religious belief on the increase?

  9. Errr, environments change, and with them selection pressures.
    Being a witch in Salem is no longer disadvantageous the way it was in 1692.
    Apostasy would have been hazardous in Spain in the 1490’s, less so today.

  10. Alan Fox: Is religious belief on the increase?

    I know that in the U.S., “no preference” is the fastest growing “religion”. However, among those who do have a preference, Catholics and mainstream Protestants are declining, while evangelicals are increasing.

    In the Western World (aka the first world), in much of Europe, religious zeal is nearly extinct. In some countries, you’d have to look carefully to find any religious person (and those you find will be old, dying off, and not being replaced). I’m too lazy to search out religious trends in China, India, or Africa, but certainly affluence doesn’t seem to lead to religious enthusiasm.

    Not that I think there has been any change in human nature. Mostly, it seems that the fulfilled promises of affluence replace the “pie in the sky when you die” appeal of religion.

  11. DNA_Jock:
    Errr, environments change, and with them selection pressures.
    Being a witch in Salem is no longer disadvantageous the way it was in 1692.
    Apostasy would have been hazardous in Spain in the 1490’s, less so today.

    Oh yea, please do try to talk about evolution in terms of hundreds of years. Let’s do that.

    Now we can talk about all the evolution happening that we can witness, you know, like, well, um, you see, ah, ah, it takes a long time….

  12. The problem, Alan is that you DO wear a dress. Just not pink.

    Not only that, but you use all governmental power to FORCE others to wear your dress and stop wearing the one of their choice.

  13. phoodoo: Alan has said in the past (and as a materialist I guess it is really the only conclusion to be drawn), that belief in religion probably has a strong selective pressure, and that’s why the majority of humans in the world hold some religious belief. If we take all the humans who ever existed, its pretty much a landslide, most have held some belief in a God or Gods (I remembered you once questioned whether most people who ever existed believed in a God, but its not even close-humans since written history began overwhelmingly believed in a God)

    I agree with that, most people have been religious and believed in spirits, deities, and so on. I also think religious beliefs happen to have been evolutionarily advantageous in promoting cooperation. Though that is not exclusive to theistic god-beliefs, polytheistic or not.

    We also happen to have evolved to detect and interpret human facial expressions (which again facilitated communication and cooperation, hence survival and reproduction), and I often see them in clouds and noisy patterns of all sorts. But there aren’t actually human faces there.

    So as such, for Alan, its just a matter of an accidental* mutation, causing humans to believe in something that may or may not be true.

    For you too, you are just in denial of it because you strongly dislike the idea, and you make a lot of appeal to consequences and appeal to redicule-type arguments about it just as you are doing here. The idea being that we should not believe in some theory of our origins because of how it makes you feel or what societal or psychological consequences it might have if we do. In other words, you want to engage in make-believe rather than believe what is actually true.

  14. Alan:

    From some of Gregory’s remarks, I understood him to suggest I hadn’t made enough of an effort in understanding Christianity…

    What I was trying to explain to Gregory is that sometimes you just do not have a use for something, no matter how attractive, stylish, appealing it is to others. So, Gregory, I don’t need a pink dress. I would never wear a pink dress. I have no objection whatever to those who wish to get themselves a pink dress and wear it with pride. Pink just does not suit me.

    There’s a big difference between a) wearing a pink dress and b) understanding pink dresses and why they are worn.

  15. Nonlin.org: Not only that, but you use all governmental power to FORCE others to wear your dress and stop wearing the one of their choice.

    What? I can’t even vote where I live.

  16. Alan,

    Percentage-wise or sheer numbers?

    Both. Nones are increasing in number but declining as a global percentage.

  17. keiths,

    Well, that surprises me. Presumably there is later research than this.. Not that belief, per se, is an issue for me. It’s tolerance (or lack of it) that is and always has been the issue. Tolerance equates to weakness (eh phoodoo?).

  18. phoodoo: Oh yea, please do try to talk about evolution in terms of hundreds of years.Let’s do that.

    Now we can talk about all the evolution happening that we can witness, you know, like, well, um, you see, ah, ah, it takes a long time….

    ??? But he wrote nothing about evolution. He spoke about social selection pressure, aka peer pressure, and that peer pressures vary quite rapidly (and regionally). Nobody equates social preferences or beliefs with biological evolution, unless you do.

  19. phoodoo: If we take all the humans who ever existed, its pretty much a landslide, most have held some belief in a God or Gods (I remembered you once questioned whether most people who ever existed believed in a God, but its not even close-humans since written history began overwhelmingly believed in a God)

    A multitude of different Gods to explain what happens when you die. Strange that if the need for worship is built in why so many Gods, weird design choice.

  20. Alan Fox,

    I am just saying you have bad genes. That is why you can’t understand belief.

    Even Rumraket agrees, its your genes problem, not a dress problem.

  21. @Alan
    I am with KN on this one. The pink dress analogy has a condescending ring to it. You are not creating a discussion on equal footing this way.

  22. phoodoo: Certainly not.

    Epigenetics don’t work on a whim!

    If you you believe in an unconstrained designer, everything that exists could be the result of a whim

  23. Alan Fox: Well, that was rather my point. I lack any propensity for a religious spin on my existence and identity. I don’t hear the music of the spheres. So the emotional need for a religious life isn’t there for me. I’m not complaining about it and I don’t find it a problem. I was just pointing out to Gregory that suggesting I might develop or create an emotional need for religion were I to spend some time discussing Christianity with Christians isn’t going to work.

    And I certainly don’t think this is a matter of liking or disliking. These emotions cannot be switched on and off at a whim. That is why I grant religious folks their personal space as well as demanding mine.

    I think by classifying religious faith in terms of “emotions” or “emotional needs” you are adopting a condescending or dismissive tone, and so I worry that your claim that you’re trying to treat people of faith as your peers and co-citizens can strike them as disingenuous.

  24. Kantian Naturalist: I think by classifying religious faith in terms of “emotions” or “emotional needs” you are adopting a condescending or dismissive tone, and so I worry that your claim that you’re trying to treat people of faith as your peers and co-citizens can strike them as disingenuous.

    Would they thank me for tiptoeing around their sensitivities? Would they rather I were dishonest? I’ve been on the receiving end of condescension and abuse for expressing my personal views. I don’t get what it is I’m not supposed to be condescending about. I’m not setting out to offend anyone.

  25. Corneel: The pink dress analogy has a condescending ring to it. You are not creating a discussion on equal footing this way.

    Perhaps I’ve over-restored the balance after a considerable period of tongue-biting!

  26. Let me put my point more bluntly. I get nettled by being preached at. I am pointing out I am happy to tolerate people with religious views on the reciprocal understanding they tolerate mine. For them to exercise tolerance they may need to know what those views are.

  27. Alan Fox: @ KN and Corneel

    Condescension attempt?

    Of course, that is the only arrow in nonlin’s quiver. Cornell and KN are just pointing out that while emotional appeal of religious belief is important , there are other aspects.

  28. Alan Fox: I have no idea what this means.

    Justifying actual voter suppression because of unsupported claims of illegal voting.

  29. newton: Justifying actual voter suppression because of unsupported claims of illegal voting.

    Ah, I try and keep with events across the pond but a link might help.

  30. Alan Fox: Would they thank me for tiptoeing around their sensitivities? Would they rather I were dishonest? I’ve been on the receiving end of condescension and abuse for expressing my personal views. I don’t get what it is I’m not supposed to be condescending about. I’m not setting out to offend anyone.

    I did not think you were intending to offend anyone. Nevertheless, for people of faith, their faith is far more than an emotion or feeling.

    Paul Tillich has a rather nice definition of faith as “one’s object of ultimate concern”. I would combine that with Hagglund’s distinction between “religious faith” and “secular faith”. The question is whether one’s object of ultimate concern is transcendent — in an existence radically different from one’s embodied and finite life — or immanent — in this finite and embodied existence as we find it.

    I don’t think that the difference between religious faith and secular faith is a difference between emotions or feelings that one happens to have. I think that is lies at the very center of what it means to live a human life. Moreover, I agree with contemporary existentialists like Hagglund and Todd May to this extent: there is no point to morality without mortality. As May puts it, “mortality offers meaning to the events of our lives, and morality helps us navigate that meaning.”

    Secular faith is an existential commitment, a way of orienting oneself in the world, based on the following idea: the fact that we will die, and that death is the end of our existence, is the very condition for the possibility of a meaningful life at all.

    By contrast, for religious faith, life would be meaningless if death were the end — for people of religious faith, the whole meaning, point, and purpose of life is that it points beyond itself. This is why they think that secularists are nihilists.

    In other words, what is really at stake in this quarrel (if you will) between religious faith and secular faith is this: which path leads to nihilism — the path of immanence or the path of transcendence?

  31. Alan Fox: @ KN and Corneel

    Condescension attempt?

    How could he be condescending to you? You lack the lucky accident that makes it even possible for you to understand his point of view, so even if he was, you wouldn’t know it.

    Your unfit genome is simply not going to be capable of discussing religion with any knowledge at all. You are just too unfit.

    I am not allowed to comment here about how they may affect some of your other actions on this site, so I will just have to save that for another thread.

  32. phoodoo: How could he be condescending to you? You lack the lucky accident that makes it even possible for you to understand his point of view, so even if he was, you wouldn’t know it.

    Your unfit genome is simply not going to be capable of discussing religion with any knowledge at all. You are just too unfit.

    I am not allowed to comment here about how they may affect some of your other actions on this site, so I will just have to save that for another thread.

    LOL. Another phoodoo meltdown over fitness.

  33. phoodoo: You lack the lucky accident that makes it even possible for you to understand his point of view, so even if he was, you wouldn’t know it.

    And yet atheists become religious and (more often) theists become atheists. So it seems there is more than genes at play.

    phoodoo: I am not allowed to comment here about how they may affect some of your other actions on this site, so I will just have to save that for another thread.

    Sure you can, you can say what you like.

    You just are pretending you have something to say, nobody is stopping you saying anything you like.

    Or is it perhaps that you know anything you have to say in that regard is mere lies and insults? Then it’s true you are not ‘allowed’ to say that. But pretending that you’d say something other then lies and insults fools nobody, we all know what you are.

    So say those things you are not “allowed” to say by all means. Show us the substance, finally, after all these years of hiding your true thoughts. Then you can concern troll some more about how theists get a raw deal here. But are you even a theist? You seem to worship people like Uri Geller, not old testament gods. The fury on display if anyone even questions Uri’s PSI ability is something to behold. And that thread asking you to support your claim that the FBI uses PSI all the time was just perfect. A perfect illustration of your inability to put your money where your mouth is. Make a claim, refuse to defend it. It’s ID 101.
    Keep up the good work, if you did not exist I’d have to sign up an sock account and pretend to be you….

  34. Rumraket: LOL. Another phoodoo meltdown over fitness.

    I find it amusing how he (like Dembski) has to admit that evolution is real and works in order to critique it. Now, suddenly, phoodoo is talking about genes and evolution and all sorts.
    And realistically, adopting the language of your enemies is the first step towards being assimilated by them. Ever noticed the lack of talk on UD about actually intelligent design?

    It’s all about how evolution cannot do X not how ID can do X. Eventually phodoo will realize that evolution actually provides answers and ID never does.

    After all, what is the ID ‘explanation’ for thesists and non-theists? Phoodoo claims it’s genes for evolution, but what is it for ID? Does the designer like to witness a good religious war? Is that why there are so many religions _and_ atheists too in the mix?

    Or does the designer prefer a death match of all religions and none with the victor owning the universe? Is that it perhaps? It seems absurd on the fact of it but it’s literally the most detailed ‘explanation’ I’ve personally heard from the ID point of view as to why the designer created such a diversity of religious belief.

    phoodoo, according to ID what is the value in all the deaths in all the religious wars? Is there an intelligent designed purpose to that?

  35. OMagain,

    What are you talking about, I already offered you 1 million dollars to prove you are not a retarded badger being bounced by a three year old off a smelly keyboard.

    Go ahead, just prove you aren’t. 1 million dollars. I guess you can’t.

    Hey, you want some earthworms?

  36. phoodoo: What are you talking about, I already offered you 1 million dollars to prove you are not a retarded badger being bounced by a three year old off a smelly keyboard.

    Dissemble much?

    phoodoo: Go ahead, just prove you aren’t. 1 million dollars. I guess you can’t.

    phoodoo: The FBI use psychics all the time, fool.

    phoodoo: Unfortunately you don’t know what you are talking about regarding this. I do.

    Sure you do. We all believe you.

    phoodoo: Hey, you want some earthworms?

    Why, do you and J-Mac have spare?

  37. Kantian Naturalist:

    Alan Fox: Would they thank me for tiptoeing around their sensitivities? Would they rather I were dishonest? I’ve been on the receiving end of condescension and abuse for expressing my personal views. I don’t get what it is I’m not supposed to be condescending about. I’m not setting out to offend anyone.

    I did not think you were intending to offend anyone. Nevertheless, for people of faith, their faith is far more than an emotion or feeling.

    Paul Tillich has a rather nice definition of faith as “one’s object of ultimate concern”. I would combine that with Hagglund’s distinction between “religious faith” and “secular faith”. The question is whether one’s object of ultimate concern is transcendent — in an existence radically different from one’s embodied and finite life — or immanent — in this finite and embodied existence as we find it.

    I don’t think that the difference between religious faith and secular faith is a difference between emotions or feelings that one happens to have. I think that is lies at the very center of what it means to live a human life. Moreover, I agree with contemporary existentialists like Hagglund and Todd May to this extent: there is no point to morality without mortality. As May puts it, “mortality offers meaning to the events of our lives, and morality helps us navigate that meaning.”

    Secular faith is an existential commitment, a way of orienting oneself in the world, based on the following idea: the fact that we will die, and that death is the end of our existence, is the very condition for the possibility of a meaningful life at all.

    By contrast, for religious faith, life would be meaningless if death were the end — for people of religious faith, the whole meaning, point, and purpose of life is that it points beyond itself. This is why they think that secularists are nihilists.

    In other words, what is really at stake in this quarrel (if you will) between religious faith and secular faith is this: which path leads to nihilism — the path of immanence or the path of transcendence?

    None of us has unlimited knowledge and so we all have faith in some shape or form.

    Here is an excerpt from the introduction of Hagglund’s book linked to above:

    Accordingly; I will seek to show that secular Faith lies at the heart of the sense of responsibility. Let me take a basic example: the Golden Rule. To treat others as you would like to be treated is a Fundamental principle in both secular and religious moral teachings. The Golden Rule, however, does not require any form of religious faith. On the contrary, a genuine care for others must he based on secular faith. If you follow the Golden Rule because you believe it is a divine command, you are motivated by obedience to God rather than by care for another person. Likewise, if you follow the Golden Rule because you believe it will yield a divine reward (e.g., the release from karma), you are acting not out of concern for the well-being of others but rather out of concern For your own salvation. If your care For another person is based on religious faith, you will cease to care about her if you lose your religious Faith and thereby reveal that you never cared about her as an end in herself. As with all the arguments in this book, I address here both religious and secular audiences. I invite the readers who identify as religious to ask themselves if their care For others is actually motivated by Faith in a divine command or divine reward. Moreover, I encourage both religious and secular readers to recognize their commitment to finite life as the condition of responsibility. The Golden Rule does not depend on a religious sense of eternity. On the contrary it depends on a secular sense of finitude.

    To treat others as we ourselves would like to be treated requires that we recognize our shared finitude, since only finite beings can be in need of mutual care. An infinite being is never in need of anything and cannot care about how it is treated.

    As I see it Christianity as it is practised in the various denominations and sects is no different from any other religion in which its followers are required to obey certain rules. The difference is not in the fact that Christianity became a religion because of the events leading from that time, it is in that the appearance of Christ was an event that changed the course of earthly evolution. Christ is never reported as having said that He wished to instigate a new religion. His message was simply to “love one another”. Simple to say, much harder to follow. It doesn’t matter whether someone has any particular faith, either religious or secular, what matters is developing this love.

    Even if Christianity had been obliterated before it took root this event two thousand years ago would still have its far reaching consequences. I may be called a Christian but my faith is not in Christianity, it is in the deeds of Christ.

    Hagglund advice to follow the Golden Rule is his interpretation of this message of love. I would like to think of it as Golden Advice rather than the Golden Rule to be strictly followed. Ever individual case should be judged on its own merits.

    He makes an excellent point about our motives for action. Are we looking for reward, either consciously or unconsciously, or are we acting out of the pure love of the deed? “Know thyself”

    Thanks KN for drawing attention to this book.

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