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As for religion, you can take this position: that God exists, that He runs the universe well and fairly, that you should obey and yield to His will in everything, and do so voluntarily, as following the wisest leader. Do this, and you’ll never blame God or feel He’s neglected you. The only way to do this is to stop trying to control things you can’t control, and to see good and evil only in those things that are truly up to you.

If you think any of the things you can’t control is good or evil, then you’ll certainly, sooner or later, miss your good or encounter your evil, and then you’ll find fault and hate the cause of the circumstance. Nature makes all animals avoid what seems harmful and what causes it, and seek what seems useful and what causes that. It’s impossible then for a rational person who thinks she’s been hurt to take pleasure in either the hurt itself or its cause.

A child resents the parent who gives nothing of the apparently good. That’s what made Polynices and Eteocles enemies: each had the idea that ruling Thebes – by himself – was good. So it is with those who think God is holding out on them: farmers, sailors, businessmen and those who’ve lost loved ones, all sometimes curse God. It’s not surprising; their interests determine their piety or lack of it.

By contrast, one who looks after her attitudes, seeking and avoiding only what’s actually in her control, has no trouble maintaining a relationship with God. And to worship according to the traditions of your family and community is proper.

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