The Range of Permissible Acts — Part 2

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Assuming that both of these services – the school and the computer geek – are otherwise reputable and efficient, why really would you not deal with them?

Because even if everything else is fine, there’s a sharp limit to how much stuff you can allow to go on in the “not fine” domain.

Doesn’t matter how great a fellow your Cousin Steve is – he might be a pillar of the community, a self-made millionaire who gives to charity, organizes food drives for the poor, volunteers at his church, leads a Boy Scout troop, and tutors under-privileged youth in his spare time – if you know he fools around with underaged girls, you’re not going to leave him alone with your 12-year-old daughter. Not for 10 seconds. Not ever.

The Why of all of this is something I call “the range of permissible acts.”

Even if you openly admitted their good traits …

“Everybody down at the office sends their kids there, and their graduates have higher grades in every subject.” “He’s the only computer repair guy I ever met who really knows what he’s doing.” “Cousin Steve is the most energetic and generous community activist I know — he does more charity work than any three people put together.”

… you’d still shy away from using them.

Each of these people might be ninety-nine and ninety-nine-one-hundredths percent reputable. But that tiny bit of unacceptable behavior would make them, for any normal person, for any good parent, untrustworthy. Because no matter what good might be contained in a service or a person, some things are completely beyond the range of what you can permit. Given a choice, you’d refuse to deal with this school, this computer repair service, or this cousin.

And that’s really the problem I have with religion. The Range of Permissible Acts in religion is very, very broad. Not just in the things people in religious cultures do, based in their individual minds on the details of their religion, but in the things it actually says in each religion’s source book. The Bible and the Koran both have some freaky stuff in them.

The Bible clearly says “If two men are fighting and the wife of one of them comes to rescue her husband from his assailant, and she reaches out and seizes him by the private parts, you shall cut off her hand. Show her no pity.”

Gah.

The Koran says “… [as to women] on whose part you fear desertion, admonish them, and leave them alone in the sleeping-places and beat them …”

Yeah.

CONTINUED: Part 1Part 2Part 3Part 4

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