1
   

What does "which" refer to here?

 
 
Reply Tue 8 Dec, 2015 10:02 am
What does "which" refer to here? (1) or (2)
(1) "Which" refers to "faith".
(2) "Which" refers to the previous sentence -"The only demons we must fear are those that lurk inside every human mind: ignorance, hatred, greed, and faith".

Context:

Finally, Harris turns to spirituality, where he especially takes his inspiration from the practices of Eastern religion. He writes that there have been mystics in the west and calls some of these "extraordinary men and women", such as Meister Eckhart, Saint John of the Cross, Saint Teresa of Avila, Saint Seraphim of Sarov, but that, as far as Western spirituality is concerned, "we appear to have been standing on the shoulders of dwarfs." He discusses the nature of consciousness, and how our sense of "self" can be made to vanish by employing the techniques of meditation. Harris quotes from Eastern mystics such as Padmasambhava and Nisargadatta Maharaj, but he does not admit any supernatural element into his argument – "mysticism is a rational enterprise," he contends, "religion is not." He later elaborates: "The mystic has reasons for what he believes, and these reasons are empirical." He states that it is possible for one's experience of the world to be "radically transformed", but that we must speak about the possibility in "rational terms".

“ The only angels we need invoke are those of our better nature: reason, honesty, and love. The only demons we must fear are those that lurk inside every human mind: ignorance, hatred, greed, and faith, which is surely the devil's masterpiece.

More:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_End_of_Faith#Reception
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Type: Question • Score: 1 • Views: 3,999 • Replies: 22

 
View best answer, chosen by oristarA
dalehileman
 
  3  
Reply Tue 8 Dec, 2015 11:02 am
@oristarA,
From quotation of the "mystics," I'd guess "faith"
0 Replies
 
InfraBlue
  Selected Answer
 
  3  
Reply Tue 8 Dec, 2015 11:05 am
@oristarA,
Seeing as how the writer used "is" instead of "are," he's referring to "faith."
dalehileman
 
  2  
Reply Tue 8 Dec, 2015 11:08 am
@InfraBlue,
...Yea Infra, even better reason
0 Replies
 
oristarA
 
  1  
Reply Tue 8 Dec, 2015 11:29 am
Thank you both.
dalehileman
 
  1  
Reply Tue 8 Dec, 2015 12:54 pm
@oristarA,
Not at all Ori, anytime
0 Replies
 
selectmytutor
 
  0  
Reply Fri 1 Apr, 2016 03:35 am
@oristarA,
It refers "faith"
0 Replies
 
AugustineBrother
 
  -1  
Reply Tue 9 Aug, 2016 03:37 pm
@oristarA,
Great post.

It is fabulously lousy and ungrammatical sentence.

If we look at what it might mean we might think of James.

James 2:19
International Standard Version
You believe that there is one God. That's fine! Even the demons believe that and tremble with fear.
0 Replies
 
Grammarful
 
  2  
Reply Fri 5 Jan, 2018 05:08 am
@oristarA,
'ignorance, hatred, greed' are all clearly negative and 'devilish', so adding the positive 'faith' is quite surprising. Calling faith the devil's masterpiece makes us pause and wonder if we read the sentence correctly.

But we did - he's saying that faith is the worst of all the devil's tricks.
oristarA
 
  1  
Reply Sat 6 Jan, 2018 10:55 pm
@Grammarful,
Thank you.
0 Replies
 
camlok
 
  0  
Reply Sun 21 Jan, 2018 07:44 pm
@oristarA,
Quote:
“ The only angels we need invoke are those of our better nature: reason, honesty, and love. The only demons we must fear are those that lurk inside every human mind: ignorance, hatred, greed, and faith, which is surely the devil's masterpiece.


I'd say that this is a sentence modifying 'which'. The comparison is between two composites - "the only angels" and "the only devils". The combination of these IS the devil's masterpiece.
oristarA
 
  1  
Reply Sun 21 Jan, 2018 11:38 pm
@camlok,
camlok wrote:

Quote:
“ The only angels we need invoke are those of our better nature: reason, honesty, and love. The only demons we must fear are those that lurk inside every human mind: ignorance, hatred, greed, and faith, which is surely the devil's masterpiece.


I'd say that this is a sentence modifying 'which'. The comparison is between two composites - "the only angels" and "the only devils". The combination of these IS the devil's masterpiece.


Thanks for the comment.

But if it pointed to the combination as the devil's masterpiece, there would be no "only angels of better nature" in that half of the combination in the first place.
camlok
 
  1  
Reply Mon 22 Jan, 2018 08:30 am
@oristarA,
Quote:
But if it pointed to the combination as the devil's masterpiece, there would be no "only angels of better nature" in that half of the combination in the first place.


It makes a comparison between human's good qualities and their bad and compares them to angels and the devil.
oristarA
 
  1  
Reply Mon 22 Jan, 2018 11:03 pm
@camlok,
camlok wrote:


It makes a comparison between human's good qualities and their bad and compares them to angels and the devil.


The expression "the devil's masterpiece" is conclusive enough and is beyond comparison.
camlok
 
  1  
Reply Tue 23 Jan, 2018 08:54 am
@oristarA,
What does that even mean?
oristarA
 
  1  
Reply Tue 23 Jan, 2018 10:39 am
@camlok,
camlok wrote:

What does that even mean?


That would have meant which could only refer to faith, as InfraBlue has pointed out.
camlok
 
  0  
Reply Tue 23 Jan, 2018 12:34 pm
@oristarA,
The only angels we need invoke are those of our better nature: reason, honesty, and love. The only demons we must fear are those that lurk inside every human mind: ignorance, hatred, greed, and faith, which is surely the devil's masterpiece.

The 'which' clause makes a comment on the totality of the underlined portion.

The only demons we must fear are those that lurk inside every human mind, which include ignorance, hatred, greed, and faith, which [taken together] is surely the devil's masterpiece.

InfraBlue wrote: Seeing as how the writer used "is" instead of "are," he's referring to "faith."

Why would the writer pick out one of the four in the series, and comment solely on it? That makes no sense. If that was the writer's desire, surely a new sentence would have been used to make that comment.

No, this is a sentence defining relative clause, the entire collection of the aforementioned taken as a single entity.
InfraBlue
 
  1  
Reply Tue 23 Jan, 2018 01:15 pm
@camlok,
The writer is singling out "faith" because his criticism of it is the theme of the book that oristarA took the quote from, "The End of Faith."
camlok
 
  1  
Reply Tue 23 Jan, 2018 02:31 pm
@InfraBlue,
If that were the case, why did he/she jumble it up with the others? Why wouldn't it be isolated to illustrate that he/she was making this distinction.

For example,

The only demons we must fear are those that lurk inside every human mind, which include ignorance, hatred, greed, and lastly and most importantly, faith, which is surely the devil's masterpiece.
InfraBlue
 
  1  
Reply Tue 23 Jan, 2018 03:07 pm
@camlok,
Poor writing?
 

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