lip@s1.gov (Loren I. Petrich) There is another version of this type of argument. It states

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lip@s1.gov (Loren I. Petrich) There is another version of this type of argument. It states that people _must_ be doped with a religion to make them virtuous. This I call the "royal lie" argument from its most honest form -- if it is necessary to do this, then one could just as well use a false religion. It might also be called the theory that religion is desirable _as_ opium for the people. I got the term from Plato, who advocated that his Republic (in that dialogue) teach a religion which he considered false, but which was designed to legitimize his ideal state. According to it, there were three kinds of people: golden ones who are to be the Guardians, philosopher-kings and -queens; silver ones who are to be the soldiers; and bronze and iron ones who are to be the ordinary people. This was a common view up to early modern times. The ancient geographer Strabo believed that "the great mass of women [yes I know that's sexist] and common people can not be persuaded to [virtuous conduct] by the force of reason. Superstition is necessary, and even that is not effective without the aid of the marvelous and the horrible." In early modern times, Machiavelli had a similar view. He applauded the ancient Romans for pretending to believe in auguries (official divinations), and for punishing those who refused to respect them. This is significant because I'm sure that Machiavelli did not believe in auguries. However, at the present time, it seems to be a serious act of Political Incorrectness to explicitly advocate teaching a religion one considers false just to make people virtuous; the truth question is often evaded by present-day advocates of this view.

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