Yet another weird SF fan

I'm a mathematician, a libertarian, and a science-fiction fan. Common sense? What's that?

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Yet another weird SF fan

Sunday, February 29, 2004

In Defense of Cafeteria Religion

Religious traditions are the accumulated experience of a community. Sometimes part of an early version of that experience didn't work out and a tradition is abandoned but still remains in the holy books. In that case, it makes sense for the community to ignore the tradition (e.g., the way the current Christians ignore the tradition of not eating shrimp or the way current Jews ignore the requirement of centralized worship). It still makes sense for the community to adhere to a “fundamentalist” attitude towards those traditions that did turn out to be important. (A century or two ago, part of the Jewish community decided to try ignoring the requirement to not eat shrimp etc. It looks like that isn't working very well. As far as Jews are concerned, God really does hate shrimp.)

In other words, it makes sense for a fundamentalist Christian to disapprove of homosexuality because it says so in the Bible but not to disapprove of shrimp and it makes sense for an Orthodox Jew to disapprove of shrimp because it says so in the Bible but not to insist on Temple worship.


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