Friday, July 4, 2008

Dialogues, paradox, and stuff

It took me a while, but I finally broke through to the end of David Hume's 'Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion'. This copy I read came from the library, but I have the piece in a big thick book I got when I took my 'Intro to Philosophy' course several years ago. I plan to revisit it in a little while. It would have taken me less time to get through had the Introduction in the book not been longer than the discussion itself. That's the trouble with in-depth critiques and observations in Philosophy. The Introduction is usually much longer than the real meat of the book. The Introduction was also much more confusing at times than the real meat of the book was. Philosophers. I don't really see myself as much of a philosopher, and this time, I'm glad I don't.
Hume, as some folks might know, did not have much faith in religion. He was raised a Calvinist, and I understand that a Calvinist house is very strict and forbidding. If there's anyone out there who can suggest otherwise to me, please do. Anyway, I really enjoyed reading 'Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion' for several reasons. One does not see the 'dialogue' method used much. Plato was very fond of this method; considering that was how he observed Socrates work, it stands to reason he would use this method. I admire Hume's use of the method.
I also was happy to get a look at what I call 'the major paradox in life and belief'. Evil and God are discussed in this paradox. If God is willing but not able to end Evil, He is impotent; If God is able but not willing, He is cruel; If God is both willing and able, why does Evil exist? Philosophers and theologians have been debating this paradox for millennia and they will debate it for millennia to come. I guess, in the end, everyone who comes into contact with this paradox has to accept that the answer can only come from within. We just have to accept it, I guess.
By the way, I might not have quoted the paradox correctly. If I got it wrong and someone would like to correct me, please do.
Happy Fourth of July to Americans around the world! That's all for me.

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