"There are in nature
neither rewards nor punishments --
there are only consequences."
Robert G. Ingersoll
(1833-1899) American lawyer, Civil War veteran, political leader, orator of United States during the Golden Age of Free Thought, nicknamed "The Great Agnostic"
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Reader comments about this quote:
That's how the natural world is...
 -- Lori, Orange, CA     
    This is the basis for the original definitions of "good" and "evil" that we can find in the oldest texts of religion -- it's sad how the religious world has so far transgressed this principle. The Judeo/Christian codex calls for "loving one's neighbor as one's self" and Christ's unique doctrine of loving one's enemies and praying for those who spitefully use and persecute you -- these philosophies have largely gone untried. Such untried philosophies have been distorted to justify wars, tortures, persecutions, and torment -- certainly not what Christ had in mind. The old definition of Good and Evil was merely the definition of consequences -- Evil was merely that which was reasoned to universally give all people consequential misery in a state of nature. Man turned this philosophy into a quest to coerce every supposed "evil" in the world out of existence. In Christian lingo, this meant that the "perfect law of liberty" was violated. Ironically, the greatest destructive agent to "the perfect law of liberty" was the Church -- after it was given political power to coerce the body of man. As a Christian, I hold the Church's AND government's feet to the fire to always allow and keep vouchsafed the sacred freedom of conscience.
     -- Logan, Memphis, TN     
    Logan, said very well. Rewards and punishments are interpretations of any given consequences.
     -- Mike, Norwalk     
     -- jim k, austin      
    Well said, Logan.
     -- E Archer, NYC     
    Hey Logan, you're a Christian? I'm an Evangelist. I also like how you laid that out. Nice quote, very true.
     -- Crystal, Pittsburgh     
    Consequences can be dealt by nature for reason's of good or bad. Your Self, without religion or any other man-made manifestation, is both rewarding and punishing. Consequences are just the results of Self. Is it nature when you are attacked in a dark alley; the consequences of which are not very rewarding? The argument is mute when the consequences of natures wrath destroys your life. If only Abraham had met Buddha.
     -- RBESRQ     
    Robert, the attack you spoke of was not necessarily natures direct intrusion, but rather within natures given agency, agents of brutality attacked an unwary other (the innocent victim). Said attack was neither a reward or a punishment, it was merely an attack with consequences - interpreted good/bad, criminal/possibly otherwise, reward/ punishment, etc. Natural law would define it as a crime. If man's statutes were in harmony with Nature's law and justice it would treat the event accordingly (consequences, interpreted punishment, reward or otherwise). When nature (wrath being an interpretive word) intersects corporeal life, consequences may be a fore gone conclusion.
     -- Mike, Norwalk     
    Mike the key here is that man is nature we so often think of ourselves aside from nature - we above all should be the stewards of nature yet we are not because of greed and ego. Unattachment is the only way to become one with nature. Consequence is a result regardless of the reason not a philosophy - thanks for the retort - it's always good to listen to others in a quest for your own understanding.
     -- RBESRQ     
     -- warren, olathe      
    Just over 200 years ago our land, Australia, was only inhabited by the Aboriginal people. After millions of years, the forests were in perfect condition. Now I see devastation caused by logging natural native forests in south east Australia, the rivers running dry, siltation blocking the waterways, wildlife being deprived of habitation, greed destroying our land our country, our inheritance. When I read this quote I thought about the consequences of human activity on nature and how sad it i that we have destroyed so much natural beauty.
     -- Bronte, Quaama     
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