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Read the excerpt from Peter Kreeft on p. 310 in your text.
SCOUTING THE TERRITORY: The Impact of Religion
Love and anger, guilt and ecstasy, humor and solemnity, optimism and cynicism, peace and doubt, hope and despairâreligion seems capable of evoking a response corresponding to every peak and valley on the spectrum of human emotional life. Why is this? In the follow- ing passage, philosopher and theologian Peter Kreeft attempts to assess the impact of the idea of God.
AFROM PETER KREEFT
-Does God Exist?
The idea of God is either a fact, like sand, or a fantasy, like Santa.If it is a fantasy, a human invention, it is the greatest invention in all of human his- tory. Measure it against all the other inventions, mental or physical. Put on one side of
the scale the control of fire, the domestication of animals, and the cultivation of wheat; the wheel, the ship, and the rocket ship; baseball, the symphony orchestra, and anesthet- icsâand a million other similarly great and wonderful things. Then put on the other side of the scale a single idea: the idea of a being that is actual, absolute, perfect, eternal, one, and personal; all-knowing, all-loving, all-just, all-merciful, and all-powerful; undy- ing, impervious, unbribeable, uncompromising, and unchangeable; a cosmic creator, designer, redeemer, and provider; cosmic artist, musician, scientist, and sage; the infinite abyss of pure Being who is yet a person, a self, an âI.â It is disputable whether such a being is a fact or a fantasy, but it is indisputable that if it is a fantasy, it is by far the greatest fantasy in history. If it is humanityâs invention, it is humanityâs masterpiece.
The idea of God has guided or deluded more lives, changed more history, inspired more music and poetry and philosophy than anything else, real or imagined. It has made more of a difference to human life on this planet, both individually and collectively, than anything else ever has. To see this clearly for yourself, just try this thought experiment: suppose no one in history had ever conceived the idea of God. Now, rewrite history fol- lowing that premise. The task daunts and staggers the imagination. From the earliest human remainsâreligious funeral artifactsâto the most recent wars in the Mideast, reli- gionâbelief in a God or godsâhas been the mainspring of the whole watch that is human history. Then answer the following questions:
1) How would human history be different if no one had ever conceived of God (think specifically about the areas of art, literature, music, science, morality, politics, law, and philosophy)?
2) What would have been better in human experience if there had been no religion?;
3) What would have been worse in human experience if there had been no religion?
Please write at least eight sentences