Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Democracy's OK, but Slavery's a really good idea? Uhm...

Fingers crossed, next year I will be studying philosophy at The University of Sheffield! I have a conditional offer  which I may just about scrape, the place is lovely and I have always wanted to live up North/far away from Chippenham. What I like the most however, is the course which seems to focus mostly on ancient Philosophy.

It was reading a book by the Ancient Greek Philosopher Plato (think old, beardy Greek man) that  first got me interested in Philosophy and now I read as much as I can on the subject. Well, if I'm going to be spending nine grand (cheers Cleggy!) I may as well make sure that it's something I'm absolutely, definitely interested in. What I think I like the best about old, beardy Greek men is the way they don't rely on a God to prove their point, as a probable atheist this is very important to me.

BUT recently, I read a book by Aristotle (currently top of my ancient Greek leader board) and was a bit horrified by the chapter on slavery, apparently some of us are 'born slaves' and unnerved by the whole 'women are inferior' concept. Now, obviously these were written centuries ago, when slavery was commonplace and women just sat in the corner not doing much, so to them it was all OK. But is it really OK? Does this take away from their other points, which are more socially acceptable, such as how democracy is vital for citizen satisfaction?

This is one of my main problems with the Bible. I mean, I can agree with some bits of Plato, other bits of Aristotle and maybe throw in some Socrates, but I am never pledging to live my life by the messages they convey. Yet the Bible? The parts which forbid tattoos, eating pork and women speaking in a Church all seem a bit strange and I think I can say that most Christians today disregard them. Some people are more keen on the parts banning contraception and that gay is all round bad. And most agree that it is important to 'love thy neighbour' and to generally be nice.

But where do you draw the line between what should be followed and what's just ridiculous? Can the ancient Greeks still be considered worthy of study despite their dated views of women?

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