Authorized Doctrine 1

1. Any being which is happy and imperishable neither has trouble itself, nor does it cause trouble to anything else. A perfect being does not have feelings either of anger or gratitude, for these feelings exist only in the weak.

Alternate Translations: Bailey: The blessed and immortal nature knows no trouble itself nor causes trouble to any other, so that it is never constrained by anger or favor. For all such things exist only in the weak. Yonge: The blessed and immortal nature knows no trouble itself nor causes trouble to any other, so that it is never constrained by anger or favor. For all such things exist only in the weak.

Letter to Menoeceus : First of all, believe that a god is an incorruptible and happy being, even as the common notion of a god is implanted in the minds of men. But attach to your theology nothing which is inconsistent with incorruptibility or with happiness, and believe that a god possesses everything which is necessary to preserve its own nature. Indeed the gods do exist, and Nature gives to us a degree of knowledge of them. But gods are not of the character which most people attribute to them, and the conception of the gods held by most people is far from pure. It is not the man who discards the gods believed in by the many who is impious, but he who applies to the gods the false opinions that most people entertain about them. For the assertions of most people about the gods are not true intuitions given to them by Nature, but false opinions of their own, such as the idea that gods send misfortune to the wicked and blessings to the good. False opinions such as these arise because men think of the gods as if they had human qualities, and men do not understand that the gods have virtues that are different from their own.

Letter to Herodotus : As to the heavenly phenomena, such as the motion and course of the stars, their rising and setting, the eclipses, and all other appearances of this sort, we must beware of thinking that they are produced by any superior being whose business it is to regulate the order of the world. For a god is a being which is immortal and perfectly happy, free of cares and anxieties. Benevolence and anger, however, far from being compatible with perfection, are on the contrary the consequence of weakness, of fear, and of the desire which a thing has for something that it lacks. Therefore we must not fancy that the globes of fire which roll on in space are gods which enjoy a perfect happiness, and which give themselves, with reflection and wisdom, the motions which they possess. On this subject we must respect the established notions, but only if they do not at all contradict the respect due to the truth. For nothing is more calculated to trouble the soul than the strife of contradictory notions and principles. We must therefore conclude that from the first movement of the heavenly bodies at the time of the organization of the universe, there results some sort of necessary cause which regulates their course to this very day. Let us be well assured that it is to natural science which belongs the determination of the causes of these heavenly phenomena. Happiness comes through the study of natural science, by which we acquire the knowledge of analogous phenomena, which then aids us in the understanding of ethical matters. The heavenly phenomena, on the other hand, admit of several explanations. There is no reason that they must necessarily be of a particular character, and one may explain them in various manners. In short, a moment’s consideration will show that the heavenly phenomena have no relationship with gods, which are imperishable and happy beings which suffer no destruction or confusion.

Letter to Pythocles : Further, the forecasts some give based on the conduct of certain animals arise from a fortuitous combination of circumstances; for there is no necessary connection between certain animals and winter. These animals do not produce winter; nor is there any divine being sitting aloft watching the exits of these animals, and then fulfilling signs of this kind. No folly such as this would occur to any being who is even moderately comfortable, much less to a god who is possessed of perfect happiness.

Lucretius De Rerum Natura Book II: For by nature of the gods must always in themselves of necessity enjoy immortality together with supreme repose, far removed and withdrawn from our concerns. This is because a god is exempt from every pain, exempt from all dangers, strong in its own resources, not wanting anything of us, and it neither gains by favors nor is moved by anger. And if any one thinks proper to call the sea Neptune and corn Ceres and chooses rather to misuse the name of Bacchus than to utter the term that belongs to that liquor, let us allow him to declare that the earth is mother of the gods, if he will in truth forbear from staining his mind with foul religion.

NewEpicurean Commentary: Nature has endowed men with Anticipations that gods do exist, and the clearest of these anticipations is that a god is perfect a perfect being which has no troubles of its own, nor does it cause trouble to anything else. A perfect being has all of its needs already fulfilled and is without weakness of its own, and as a result such a being does not feel anger or gratitude, as such emotions exist only in beings that are weak. It is therefore false to believe that a perfect “God” intervenes in the lives of men, for good or evil, nor does such a being seek to punish you or reward you for your actions, either during your life or after your death.

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  • Last modified: 2023/07/02 13:36
  • by cassiusamicus