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An Exercise in Argumentative Poetry - No. 4 Matters of Conscience
By Yemant and Friends
Apr 13, 2015 - 8:25:19 PM

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Editorial Note:
This is the fourth poem in a series of six to be published at Magic City. The poetry was created by a rather unique bunch of people who have written a book entitled: "God, Religion, Science, Nature, Culture, and Morality: A Critical Analysis in Plain Talk" The poetry (which is not contained in their book) is called 'Argumentative Poetry.' We thank the authors for their contribution to Magic City.

Prelude to an Indifferent Creator

An Exercise in Argumentative Poetry

In matters of spirituality, the flow of information tends to run from top to bottom. Parties in the know impose their convictions upon the less well informed. But since the dawn of religions, uncertainties were shared in alternative formats that invited reflection and individual deliberation. Hindu scriptures, for instance, are laden with unanswered questions about the specifics of creation. But it was left to ancient philosophers, among them the Greek Epicurus, to device and refine argumentation in a poetic frame that fosters reflection toward the resolution of issues.

A significant aspect of such framing is the compactification of text. Poetic argumentation eliminates squabbling about irrelevant details and focuses on the essentials. It occurred to us that such message conveyance should hold great appeal to the electronically savvy generations who find no time for lengthy elaborations of issues of secondary concern. Hence we turned to a poetic format to relate, in six brief vignettes, the essential features of religiosity.

Matters of Conscience

Conscience is defined as the faculty to distinguish right from wrong.
What's right and wrong is a convention serving sociable interaction.
As long as people adhere to their decree, conscience is a non-issue.
But if they don't, their conscience will kick in and stir up emotions.
Doing more good than necessary will yield feelings of grandness,
Usually linked with hopes for reciprocation by another kind party.
Excessive wrongdoing, in contrast, is recognized as vile and evil.
Feelings of guilt arise and lead to fear of punishment by somebody.
But who watches and judges those who honor or violate the rules?
And who sets the amount of reward and the severity of punishment?
At this point religious and secular conventions part company.
Believers in an omniscient, almighty god cannot conceal anything.
Exemplary behavior earns them fortunes on earth and later in heaven.
But those who badly violate the creed will suffer unspeakable torment.
Secular citizens, on the other hand, are granted protective privacy.
Nobody can penetrate their thoughts and leanings against their will.
If they are overly kind and giving, only their neighbors might take note.
And lacking clairvoyance, civil authorities can't spot all evil doings.
Laws can be breached and many transgressions may go unpunished.
Not answering to a higher authority, any moral qualms are negligible.
Which kind of conscience, then, will better serve civility and justice?
Hardly the secular one, as it invites circumventing arbitrary regulations.
It's the religious conscience that assures close adherence to a moral code.
Not only does god's scrutiny better curtail cheating and forcible abuses,
It also activates more support for our disadvantaged and ailing peers.
If only we could believe that our creator is kind and compassionate.
A god that bothers to inspect the machinations of our social endeavors,
And that, if we stay the creed, will shower us with eternal blessings.

"Yemant and Friends"
is a group of retired professors who thought the time had come to examine matters of religiosity more carefully. They opted for anonymity due to the sensitive subject matter discussed in the book.

Most of us have never bothered to find out why we believe what we believe. That's especially true for our thoughts and convictions about religion. Perhaps we were otherwise too engaged. Perhaps we simply adopted what our elders and peers appeared to believe. Whatever the case, isn't it time for us all to examine matters of religiosity more carefully? At least we--a bunch of retired professors, no longer absorbed by professional duties--thought the time had come to ponder why we had taken so much for granted. (Read More at Archway Publishing)

"God, Religion, Science, Nature, Culture, and Morality: A Critical Analysis in Plain Talk"
By Yemant and Friends
Archway Publishing
Published 11/16/2014
ISBN: 978-1-48081-124- 9
282 pages
Softcover $19
E-book $4

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