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by Francis Bacon

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What are the main arguments in Bacon's "Of Superstition?" Does he use a counterargument?

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Bacon, in short, argues that superstition—by which, we should be clear, he means Catholicism—is a corrupting influence in society. He goes so far as to say that even atheism is better than superstition, because, in his words, it is "better to have no opinion of God at all, than such an opinion as is unworthy of him." Atheism at least leaves open the possibility that a man might embrace philosophy, laws, and other avenues for critical thought, whereas superstition blunts these...

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In “Of Superstition” Bacon primarily argues that the practices of Roman Catholicism are something to be avoided. He refers to these practices, including “sensual rites” and too much “reverence of traditions,” as superstitions in the essay. He asserts that these acts take away from true religion, in his mind Protestantism, and are ugly in comparison to appropriate worship, in much the same way that apes are ugly in comparison to humans.

Bacon also writes to address the superstition inherent in attempting to not act in a superstitious manner. In this case, he refers to the Puritans of his time, who strove to stand apart from anything connected to Catholicism. He believed that in such a case, the positive aspects of religion were removed along with the bad.

Finally, Bacon makes the case that atheism is to be preferred to these superstitious practices, as civilizations that he associated with no belief in God were considered civil. He states that atheists go about their lives according to philosophy, sense, and the law, while those invested in superstition corrupt his approved form of religion.