Lucretius “on the Nature of Things”

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Ancient Rome was considered the hub of the world during its day due to military conquest and was the also the major trading center of the world. Romans would have been exposed to the God’s/religions of all of these conquered countries. Romans were a flexible group and borrowed the best parts of culture from all countries and made it their own. They particularly liked all things Greek and borrowed heavily from their culture including the pagan Greek Gods. There were prestigious priest cults that were extremely political whose memberships were considered a major stepping stone in any political career. The gods of the day represented the different forces of nature each god controlling a different item such as rain, fertility, harvest, the sea, favorable winds, etc. Sacrifices to the individual god were made to ensure the favoritism of that god for things such as good harvest, becoming pregnant, a safe journey, or a successful hunt. Lucretius did successfully break down the mysteries of life into an effective explanation by science. He took the science/knowledge of the day, based on the work of Greeks, breaking down the basic elements of life one by one. While he was successful in his explanations I think that the information was lost on the bulk of the population. Humans need religion/superstitions to quell their fear of the finality of death and explanation of the unknown. So Lucretius’s arguments however well put would not sway the majority of the population away from their Gods. Religion also spells out ways to live a good life such as honoring parents, not stealing, not taking life etc. the very things our civil laws are based upon. So even as a superstition religion has good aspects. As a final argument that people need religion I take a look at today’s world where our science is much more advanced than Ancient Rome’s, but religion/superstition still plays a major factor in individuals’ lives as well as national politics. Wars have been fought, the Crusades,...
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