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Anne Carson

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My religion makes no sense
and does not help me
therefore I pursue it.
--
"My Religion", Glass, Irony, and God, New Directions (New York, NY), 1995

 
Anne Carson

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The intensive love that humanity has ever known has come from religion, and the most diabolical hatred that humanity has known has also come from religion. No other human motive had deluged the world with blood so much as religion; at the same time, nothing has brought into existence so many hospitals and asylums for the poor; no other human influence has taken such care, not only of humanity, but also the lowest of animals, as religion has done. Nothing makes us so cruel as religion, and nothing makes us so tender as religion.

 
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So you can't take credit for your talents, but it really matters if you use them. You can't really be blamed for your weaknesses and your failings, but it matters if you correct them. Pride and shame don't make a lot of sense in the final analyses. But they were no fun anyway. These are isolating emotions. What does make sense are things like compassion and love: caring about well-being makes sense; trying to maximize your well-being and the well-being of others makes sense. There is still a difference between suffering and happiness, and love consists in wanting those we love to be happy. All of that still makes sense without free will.

 
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Man can hardly be defined, after the fashion of Carlyle, as an animal who makes tools; ants and beavers and many other animals make tools, in the sense that they make an apparatus. Man can be defined as an animal that makes dogmas. As he piles doctrine on doctrine and conclusion on conclusion in the formation of some tremendous scheme of philosophy and religion, he is, in the only legitimate sense of which the expression is capable, becoming more and more human.

 
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In any discussion of religion and personality integration the question is not whether religion itself makes for health or neurosis, but what kind of religion and how is it used? Freud was in error when he held that religion is per se a compulsion neurosis. Some religion is and some is not.

 
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I don't think that people accept the fact that life doesn't make sense. I think it makes people terribly uncomfortable. It seems like religion and myth were invented against that, trying to make sense out of it.

 
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