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Darkness and light December 8, 2012

Posted by Ezra Resnick in Reason, Religion.

LightsI will not light a candle for miracles: I will not celebrate gullibility, ignorance, self-deception, wishful thinking. I will light a candle for skepticism, for intellectual honesty, for experimentation, for evidence-based thinking.

I will not light a candle for tribalism: I will not celebrate sectarian, parochial worldviews that arbitrarily divide humanity into separate categories. I will light a candle for equality, for empathy, for solidarity.

I will not light a candle for worship: I will not celebrate submission, propitiation, servility. I will light a candle for self-respect, for independence, for human dignity.

I will not light a candle for militarism: I will not celebrate violence, aggression, retribution, revenge. I will light a candle for those who put themselves in harm’s way, who defend those that cannot defend themselves.

I will not light a candle in yearning for some idealized past: we have struggled long and hard to overcome many historical errors and injustices. I will light a candle for progress, for learning from past mistakes, for continuing to expand our knowledge and raise our standards and improve our society.

I will not light a candle and pray for some all-powerful being to save us in our hour of need: the universe doesn’t care about us and wouldn’t notice if our planet went dark. I will light a candle for rational decision-making, for responsible public policy, for building a sustainable future — so that the lights may stay on a bit longer.

I will not light a candle just because I am commanded to: I will not celebrate dogmatism and blind obedience. If I choose to, I will light a candle for individuality, for critical thinking, for personal liberty.

Also, I will not light a candle for fried food — that stuff will kill you. Go eat an apple.



1. tiffany267 - December 8, 2012

Awesome post!!!!!

Reblogging on my WordPress – please check it out as I post a lot of atheist/freethought material there along with many other items of interest and importance.

Thanks for sharing these eloquent thoughts.

2. tiffany267 - December 8, 2012

Reblogged this on Tiffany's Non-Blog.

3. David Resnick - December 9, 2012

well said, especially the part about the apple. though you surely don’t want to keep the doctor away. otoh, as our planet *will* go dark, you’ll have a hard time convincing the hedonists they should put themselves in harm’s way. or the depressives not to kill themselves. it’s their right, of course, and it’s more resources for the rest of us . . . . happy apple, abba

Ezra Resnick - December 9, 2012

You seem to be implying that (1) if we won’t live forever then there’s no reason to live at all, and no reason to help each other; and (2) we should therefore lie to ourselves (or maybe just to “hedonists” and “depressives”) about the nature of reality. But (1) is a non sequitur — do you help other people only in hope of earning a reward in the afterlife? — and (2) is both childish and dangerous.

david - December 16, 2012

taking advantage of the last day (of Chanukah, not the world) to reread your post. I can light a candle to almost everything you do — as far as they go.
all that rationality, evidence-based thinking, etc. is great and irreplaceable in its domain. but much of the fun (and important) parts of life aren’t in that ballpark at all. Like the hope (and perhaps, awe) which light represents, metaphorically. Few humans can get by without hope (or love) — which can be “evidence”-*based*, without being (necessarily) superstitious or self-deceiving.
Who’s for militarism and butchery (other than Assad, Iran, No. Korea and several others)? Many of us believe that the IDF is and should remain “D”. but what of the hard cases when the best defense is a good offense? (See Walzer, Chap 5, Just & Unjust Wars on the legality/morality of Preventive War and Preemptive Strikes)..
Ditto thumbs down to *arbitrary* tribalism. The very opening of the Chanukah haftarah is with you on that one: Zechariah 2:15. (Though patents don’t matter much, it’s these prophets who invented universalism. The Greeks certainly weren’t into it. So something to be proud of there. Indeed, pride itself is an emotion worth exploring. Maybe it’s just another self-deluded, superfluous emotion?)
Don’t sell short the “naturally” human pushback to universalism which tramples identity, aka the globalization/glocalization tension, or to turn IKEA’s marketing motto on its head: “As local as possible, as global as necessary.”
as for being past-oriented, tradition-bound and passive in the face of life’s challenges, Chanukah’s not your holiday to critique on those scores.
but for that we’d need a 9th day . . . .
keep on bloggin’

4. Ayelet - April 28, 2016

This will become my new Hannukah meditation. I will teach it to my children. You nailed it, completely.

Ezra Resnick - April 28, 2016

Thanks, Ayelet!

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