Wednesday, November 7, 2018

No Neutrality

Window Sculptures
Chinese Garden of Friendship
Darling Harbour ~ Sydney, Australia
"It is wrong always, everywhere, and for anyone, to believe anything upon insufficient evidence . . .

"It is not only the leader of men, statesman, philosopher, or poet, that owes this duty to mankind. Every rustic who delivers in the village ale-house his slow, infrequent sentences, may help to kill or keep alive the fatal superstitions which clog his race. Every hard-worked wife of an artisan may transmit to her children beliefs which shall knit society together, or rend it in pieces. No simplicity of mind, no obscurity of station, can escape the universal duty of questioning all that we believe."
William Kingdon Clifford
(May 4, 1845 – March 3, 1879)

from his essay The Ethics of Belief

Thanks to my son Sam McCartney
for this enlightening reference.
Posted previously on Guy Fawkes Day, 2010


"Moral means that everything can be used for someone's good or for someone's ill, to bring about life or to cause death, to help or to hurt. Moral means that nothing is neutral. Moral means that nothing exists apart from its purpose, apart from the will that participates in it. All actions, feelings, and thoughts become creative or destructive when combined with our intentions, shaped by love or hatred. All power is moral; all conversation is moral; all work is moral. Everything either builds up or tears down. As human beings we can choose love or hatred. We can choose building up or tearing down. As Christians we cannot choose to be neutral."
The Rev. Eugene Hoiland Peterson
(November 6, 1932 – October 22, 2018)

from his book As Kingfishers Catch Fire

Quoted by The Rev. John Denson, D.Min
Rector St. Paul's Episcopal Church, Indianpolis


Chinese Garden of Friendship ~ Sydney

1 comment:

  1. Tantalizing ending to the quote from Clifford; for if we question everything, are we to never reach conclusions? Are we to "know" nothing? Having questioned, would Clifford then allow belief?

    Since he is gone, I can't ask him; but I'm guessing that he would say, "Yes, believe; but continue to sustain that belief with evidence of its truth. Don't be complacent in your beliefs." That would be good advice indeed.