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In these wide-ranging essays, Darrow attacks beliefs in the inerrancy of the Bible, the immortality of the soul, miracles, and heaven as being completely at odds with human experience and science. The life best lived, Darrow contends, is one that is ruled by reason, uncluttered by dogmatism, and ...
In these wide-ranging essays, Darrow attacks beliefs in the inerrancy of the Bible, the immortality of the soul, miracles, and heaven as being completely at odds with human experience and science. The life best lived, Darrow contends, is one that is ruled by reason, uncluttered by dogmatism, and aided by compassion for our fellow human beings.
Essays include: "Why I Am An Agnostic," "The Myth of the Soul," "Absurdities of the Bible," "Voltaire," and "The Skeleton in the Closet."
The renowned lawyer Clarence Darrow 1857-1938 was also an impassioned defender of intellectual freedom, individual liberties, and social injustice. In these wide-ranging essays, Darrow attacks beliefs in the inerrancy of the Bible, the immortality of the soul, miracles, and heaven as being completely at odds with human experience and science.
Posted May 30, 2012
Skepticism: part of nature
Clarence Darrow, one of America's famous lawyers, writes five essays regarding to why he is an agnostic, and his belief to why it is the most appropriate to be an agnostic than to a devotee or an atheist. The book consists of five essays: Why I am an Agnostic, The Myth of the Soul, Absurdities of the Soul, Voltaire, and The Skeleton in the Closet. The book deals with an extremely heavy, controversial subject, but uses humor and wit to edge it off, making it is more of personal essays of his belief towards his reasons to sit between religion and practical science.
Throughout his five essays, Darrow mentions the nature of skepticism, the duality of nature, the dilemma possessed between faith and practicality. Personally, I thought this book was a difficult read because of the depth of Darrow's thoughts and reasons behind to Agnosticism and it took me a long time to finish the book and to understand it. Darrow says that everyone is an agnostic, because it is a nature for everyone to doubt; the term agnostic does not solely apply to religion, but anything: For example, Catholics are agnostic to Protestants. First off, Darrow claims that it is questioning to believe god when there is no proof of his existence, and there are many constraints to this. For example, if a man does not believe in extraterrestrial, but does believe in god, it does not make sense because the man believes in something other than human, but does believe it at the same time. And even if you decide to believe in something, there always rises further skepticism. For example, people have always questioned about the origin of the universe. Faithful devotees claim that the universe was made by god, and scientists claim that it was made by the Big Bang. Darrow says that if you believe that god made the universe, then there rises more doubts: Who made god, and did he always exist? Similar question rises for the soul: if soul exists, then where is soul, in which part of the body? As such, human doubts are endless, even if there are certain beliefs, and unless there is some exact proof and the belief is from some vague understanding, then it is best to stay in between. Throughout the entire book, he constantly asks how can you be so sure whether to believe so much on Bible, which is a human document? But how can you not believe it, when there is no proof? As I read his essays, I became more and more persuaded.
He claims that these kinds of skepticism and doubts are necessary in our own world. It is because of these skepticism that people tried new things and challenged themselves, thus developed the world. If no one doubted and accepted the nature as it is "shown", then the current world won't have its developed technology, medical skills, and other convenient things like railroads. According to the bible, when someone was sick it was a representation of an evil within the person, but will anyone believe in that, even if the person is a devoted Christian? Or would the person rather go to a doctor? These cannot be answered, and it will just remain as a doubt. Human doubts are endless, but they are necessary.
I believe that this book is highly one sided, but I recommend this book as a good read for a perspective of an agnostic, and the reasons behind why a person decides to stay as he is. He uses wit, and there aren't parts that are insulting. I think it's biased, but a compilation of essays that are personal, and if you want to understand Darrow's perspective, it is a good read.