Fear And Religion In Lucretius Essay, Research Paper
Religion is one of Lucretius favorite topics to argue against in his poem On the Nature of Things. What religion does to man and the fear of the life after death that is instilled on the living is unjust per Lucretius. For while the nature of the gods must necessarily of itself enjoy immortality, the life of men lay foully groveling, crushed beneath the wait of a Religion. Throughout the texts I find Lucretius to be very harsh towards religion.
Religion, brought down under our feet is bruised in turn; and his victory sets us on a level with heaven. Epicurus is the savior that gave many the ability to see the soul and the truth. This famous crime fighter and conqueror of evil is the example Lucretius follows whenever he writes. For the Romans who were reading this, sacrilege would probably be on the tip of their tongues, however Lucretius is wise enough to point out the crimes of religion as a counter for the reader. He goes even further and describes the death of Iphegenia at the hands of Agamemnon, her father, solely for the ability to carry out his plans for war against Troy. Iphegenia s death was required by Agamemnon s religion to proceed with the war. Herein lies the evil that Lucretius is trying to show us. If we look at other tragedies or comedies, the same theme is present through them all. If we really wanted to we could find examples of religion and the evils it brings to our children and ourselves today in modern times. Just look to the Middle East and the Muslim terrorists using Allah against America. There are many other examples to show in support of Lucretiu s ideas on religion, but lets move on.
Religion, according to Lucretius, is an unnecessary evil; for did men but know that there was a fixed limit to their woes, they would be able, in some measure, to defy the religious functions and menaces of the poets. So, there is a way out for the man and his soul. Even though death may claim man and the soul might disappear into nothingness, at least you had a good time and lived well while you were alive. The pursuit of happiness is the Epicurean way.
However, I fully disagree with Lucretius and his ideas on the soul and where you end up after death. Being transient and existent only within this lifetime just doesn t cut it for me. If the soul is to dissipate, then where did you get your soul from when you were born? I believe there is an after life and that our souls continue to a higher plain. Religion is not an evil, but an example of proper living and morals to help guide us on a path towards the end goal, a good life.