Trinidad and Tobago Humanist Association

tt.humanist :: forum :: articles :: solomon :: philosophy

Philosophy, Ethics and Religion

Published articles by Denis Solomon • Philosophy • EducationCensorship

Title   Topic Highlight
Get real, Reverend Reverend Cyril Paul's special Advent Sunday sermon at the Aramalaya Presbyterian Church was described in Monday's Express as offering "spiritual guidance to the congregation with regards (sic) to the attitude that should be adopted on Election Day, which Paul referred to as ‘a make or break day for Trinidad and Tobago'"
Stay Moral and Starve To resort to crime under the stimulus of poverty may not be praiseworthy, or in the long run sensible, but it is at least understandable. That is, as long as you define crime as an act which demonstrably damages an individual or society.
The Third Option The famous mas-designer Peter Minshall offended several religious groups by calling a Carnival band “Hallelujah” and using the figure of the deity Shiva on one of the headdresses. This column was published by the Express with the unsubtle title of “Get Stuffed, Pastors”
But What is the Question? “It’s like sports education, if you only start at sixteen you’re going to be so unfit to start with it’ll be really hard. It should be compulsory at an early age – around eleven or twelve”. The perceptive comment of a British teenager on – wait for it – philosophy.
The Miraculous Draft
of Sta-Fresh
This piece was written in response to reports of murtis (images of Hindu deities) drinking milk. It earned me a telephone call of congratulation from the head of the Maha Sabha, who evidently didn’t understand that I was accusing him of behaving like a Catholic priest.
Left-Handed Bible In a letter to this newspaper a reader accused me of “political correctness” for defending gay rights. I might have answered that at some times, and perhaps still in some places, the defence of black rights would be subject to the same accusation. “Politically correct” is a vacuous term because one man’s “political correctness” is another man’s moral imperative.
Lear Versus Lear In my column of October 8 I drew a parallel between the Bhagavad Gita and Shakespeare’s King Lear in terms of the treatment of the theme of renunciation. This, like all serious ideas, might be contested: but not on the grounds put forward by a reader, Mr. James Godineau, who writes to me that King Lear “was not even close to being a renunciant, retaining as he did a bunch of knights with whom he wandered around looking for free food”.
Jesus Christ Superstud Do you want people to be good, or do you want them to be obedient? That is the question that all religious authorities have to ask themselves. The Catholic Church, as an institution, has for the greater part of its history opted for the second, on the spurious argument that the first is only achievable through the second. Extra ecclesia nulla salus.
Sex, Lies and Statistics Religion has nothing to do with reason. There can therefore be no such thing as a religious reason for anything.By the same token, religion has no place in argument, which by definition is the exercise of reason. But this has never stopped the followers of religion from attempting to impose their wishes by argument.
Less Is More Whenever I hear the name of Pastor Cuffie mentioned I ask “Who is Pastor Cuffie?” Unfortunately, I know very well who Pastor Cuffie is. But I like to preserve, for myself, the illusion of living in a serious country, and for others the appearance of a person with a serious mental life. This requires ignorance of the existence, or at least of the identity, of such as Pastor Cuffie.
Playing the Labelling Game A-tonal means lacking pitch. A-phonic means lacking speech. A-phasic means lacking language. A-theist means lacking God.
Mainstream Sample The title of this piece may be puzzling. I mixed up “mainstream” with “midstream”.
Mission Impossible A student once came to me and asked what linguistics courses she should take in order to be able to “go to Africa and develop alphabets for African languages”.I can spot them a mile off, so I said “you’re one of those religious people, aren’t you?”
Distorted Visions Keith Smith complimented me on last week’s column about the stupidity and impertinence of the Thusians. He said that in my condemnation of them I had gone even further than he had gone in his Express column, because I had agreed with Sat Maharaj that they should be given a good cut-arse if they continued to harass Hindus with their insults and importunities. (In fact I went further than Sat Maharaj, because Sat’s words did not necessarily imply physical violence).
Future Imperfect The man appointed by China to govern Hong Kong after July 1997 has chosen not to live in the British colonial Governor’s mansion, because Chinese geomancers have pronounced its feng shui (the influence of telluric currents on it because of its geographic orientation) to be unfavourable.
Ecclesiastical Court Some months ago a judge in Britain took action against a woman who had refused to give evidence in a case brought by the police against her boyfriend, who had severely beaten her on several occasions. Although the case was brought as a result of the complaints of the woman herself, she obviously did not want the man to go to jail, and so refused to testify.
Ringbang Religion “Ringbang” was the name given to a musical extravaganza promoted by the Tobago House of Assembly to mark the new millennium and supposedly to put Tobago on the map through international television. It lost millions of dollars.
Images of Failure A newspaper reported that children from a Catholic school, taken to St. Patrick’s church to pray to pass their exams, saw the images of saints nodding and winking at them.
God and My Granddaughter “God doesn’t care for robbers”, my granddaughter said to me, out of the blue.She is five years old, and with the trusting inconsequence of childhood, she waited for a response. I do not remember what I replied, but I do know that my inner reaction was one of immediate fury against her teachers. Damn you, I thought, if you are going to teach Christianity, which no one has asked you to, then damn well teach it. Your God, as I understand it, cares for robbers as much as, if not more than, for honest people. Your scriptures say he died for, and among, robbers.
Kevin Versus Genghis Khan Do you believe in scluff?The natural answer of anyone to whom that question was posed would be “What the hell is scluff?”
UNC Fatwa This year I saw Carnival for the first time since 1962. Not in Trinidad – in Venice.The theme of this year’s festivities was “Casanova” (Venice was the great lover’s native city). A large number of the masqueraders were big hairy men dressed as nuns, and there were phony priests and Cardinals by the dozens, all vigorously depicting the raunchy behaviour of their eighteenth-century forebears, including their forebears in the Church.
How Much Is Too Much Of all betrayals, the greatest treason
Is to do the right deed for the wrong reason
T.S. Eliot: Murder in the Cathedral
Import Ban It seems to be a condition of colonialism that even when colonies become independent they remain mired in attitudes their former colonial masters have abandoned.



Commentary Articles Letters Opinions Discussion Feedback
Humanism Association Views Forum News Membership Resources Links
Home Contact Index Top
Copyright © Trinidad and Tobago Humanist AssociationTrinidad and Tobago Humanist Associatione-Mail