Friday, September 17, 2004

Western Philosophers on Islam 1: Schopenhauer

Arthur Schopenhauer (1788-1860), in The World as Will and Representation, vol II, page 162:

"Temples and churches, pagodas and mosques, in all countries and ages, in their splendor and spaciousness, testify to man's need for metaphysics, a need strong and ineradicable, which follows close on the physical. ... Sometimes it lets inself be satisfied with clumsy fables and fairy-tales. If only they are imprinted early enough, they are for man adequate explanations of his existence and supports for his morality.

Consider the Koran, for example; this wretched book was sufficient to start a world-religion, to satisfy the metaphysical need of countless millions for twelve hundred years, to become the basis of their morality and of a remarkable contempt for death, and also to inspire them to bloody wars and the most extensive conquests. In this book we find the saddest and poorest form of theism. Much may be lost in translation, but I have not been able to discover in it one single idea of value."

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