Hi Folks,


There seems to be some interest in the approach of religions, other than Islam, when it comes to issues that relate to human rights.


I thought the following lines, about Catholicism, which I have mostly taken from Bertrand Russell's “History of Philosophy”, to be of interest. BTW, the record of some atheistic schools of thought, such as Communism in the Soviet Block, on the same issues of human rights, is as bad as these religions.


I doubt it if one could find any religion or school of thought that has not been used for suppression of human rights.


Also I really believe Islam is as much part of the Iranian heritage, as Kourosh or Mazdak.  There are as many things in our Islamic heritage to be proud of, as there are things in our Ancient pre-Islamic heritage.


In fact, denying our Islamic heritage would be drawing a red line on many of our achievements in the last 1400 years.



- Sam Ghandchi

Feb 6, 1997



Notes on Catholic Church


In the Catholic Church, the ecclesiastical reform of the Eleventh Century, and formation of the General Councils, paved the way for scholars such as St.Thomas Aquinas  and William of Occam (do you remember Occam's razor in logic?) to grow.


Before then, the occupation of the Catholic fathers was issues of chastity of virgins and the prohibitions of married couples' intercourse before Sunday mass, or the sin of suicide.


For example, six centuries before the reforms,   St.Augustine in his "City of God" (410-412 AD) has a hard time to prove why suicide is a sin, when he is reminded of Samson's suicide. 


He finally says that Samson was an exception.   When the virgins in Rome, were raped by the Goths, St. Augustine did not know what to say about the guilt of the women who lost virginity, so he solved it by saying virginity is in your mind and if you did not feel pleasure when raped then you are OK.


St. Augustine also states that if you have had intercourse the previous night, you cannot enter the church.


At any rate, the works of the people like St. Thomas Aquinas and William of Occam put an end to all these  nonsensical occupations of the Catholic Church and the Church started to become more interested in more  interesting issues of natural and social sciences.


Of course their work was not easy and for example Occam was summoned by the Church for charges of heresy, etc.


Actually there are Catholic fathers today who follow the tradition of St Thomas Aquinas and they are great contributors to human thought.


For example, see Father Frederick Copleston's "A History of Philosophy" which is one of the best works in the field and Copleston is a Jesuit father.



My source has been mostly Bertrand Russell's “History of Western Philosophy” and Frederick Copleston's "A History of Philosophy" that are in a way written from two opposite viewpoints.



* The above article was first posted on SCI (soc.culture.iranian) Usenet newsgroup on  Feb 6, 1987


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