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Old 06-22-2013, 01:49 AM   #25
Randolph Dilloway
 
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Lucian. Roman poet (c. 120-180 A.D.):
National observances show better than anything else how vague religious theory is. Confusion is endless, and beliefs as many as believers. Scythia makes offerings to a scimeter, Thrace to the Samian runaway Zamolxis, Phrygia to a Month-God, Ethiopia to a Day-Goddess, Cyllene to Phales, Assyria to a dove, Persia to fire, Egypt to water. In Egypt, though, besides the universal worship of water, Memphis has a private cult of the ox, Pelusium of the onion, other cities of the ibis or the crocodile, others again of baboon, cat, or monkey. Nay, the very villages have their specialties; one deifies the right shoulder, and another across the river the left; one a half skull, another an earthenware bowl or platter. Come, my fine fellow, is it not all ridiculous?

The earthly navigator makes his plans, takes his measures, gives his orders, with a single eye to efficiency; there is nothing useless or purposeless on board; everything is to make navigation easy or possible; but as for the navigator [God] for whom you claim the management of this vast ship [the universe], he and his crew show no reason or appropriateness in any of their arrangements; the forestays, as likely as not, are made fast to the stern, and both sheets to the bows; the anchor will be gold, the beak lead, decoration below the water-line and unsightliness above. As for the men, you will find some lazy awkward coward in second or third command, or a fine swimmer active as a cat aloft, and a handy man generally, chosen out of all the rest to--pump. It is just the same with the passengers: here is a gaolbird accommodated with a seat next the captain and treated with reverence, there a debauchee or parricide or temple-robber in honourable possession of the best place, while crowds of respectable people are packed together in a corner and hustled by their real inferiors. . . . If there had been a captain supervising and directing, in the first place he would have known the difference between good and bad passengers, and in the second he would have given them their deserts . . . So too for the crew: the keen sailor would have been made look-out man or captain of the watch, or given some sort of precedence and the lazy shirker have tasted the rope's end half a dozen times a day. The metaphorical ship [of the universe] is likely to be capsized by its captain's incompetence.
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