‹ First  < 2 3 4 5 6 > 
 
   
 

Open Letter to Sam Harris on “The End of Faith”

 
pat2112
 
Avatar
 
 
pat2112
Total Posts:  126
Joined  18-12-2015
 
 
 
09 May 2016 08:37
 
SkepticX - 05 May 2016 06:21 PM
KathleenBrugger - 05 May 2016 03:40 PM

I will agree that Harris’s critique of religion is very shallow. I recently read Dawkins’ The God Delusion and was shocked at how shallow his arguments are.


I suspect that’s the result of taking a focus as a totality. Because one focuses on shallow fundamentalism doesn’t mean one considers shallow fundamentalism the basic nature of the entirety or necessarily even characteristic of that religions’ practitioners. A focus is not a sum total.

The problem is the conclusions drawn. That theists are somehow stupid, or have not given it much thought, or do not have good solid reasoning behind their beliefs, or that ordinarily smart people ‘wall off a part of their brain’ so as to accept religious tenets is patently false.

I do not have a problem with judging the behavior of a particular group. And if that group says they are religiously motivated, I have no issue taking them at their word. Now, a group behaving badly in the name of religion does not falsify the core beliefs of that religion, they may be acting in opposition to it. I can say with confidence, that Christians like the Westboro’s of the world, who go out on their own, provide their own interpretation of the Bible, and act badly are acting in opposition to the core tenets of Christianity.

The core tenets of Christianity can be summed up very succinctly, love God, love your neighbor and treat others as you would have your self be treated (Golden Rule). If someone is acting in opposition to those basic tenets, then they are in violation, not in accordance with Christianity. One only need to read basic theology, and exegesis to know that. <- Is this the behavior atheists want to rid the world of?

Anybody who claims to be a Biblical literalist is a liar by default. There are too many contradictions that occur from age to age to take it all literally. It’s technically impossible to be a literalist for that reason. Literalitsts, pick and choose what to be literal about. And I share condemnation of those who claim it, for several reasons but the one we all share is that you can use an ancient holy book to justify anything if you ignore context, intent, time and culture, and audience.

This is not the same as being ‘Bible Based’, that’s not literalism. Most evangelicals fall under this category. Very few are literalists.

 
pat2112
 
Avatar
 
 
pat2112
Total Posts:  126
Joined  18-12-2015
 
 
 
09 May 2016 08:44
 
icehorse - 06 May 2016 08:11 AM

pat said:

Actually, I was not referring to fascism in the least. I am well aware that fascism used religions to justify their actions in order to appeal the the religious in their perspective nations.
The point I am pushing back on is the notion that communist-socialist atheism, whose regimes have a body count that would make Hitler blush, is not separate from their atheism.
What Hitchen’s responds and general response is that one cannot ‘kill in the name of no god’. While that’s true, my point is that the correlation between these atheist states and the deliberate and direct targeting of religious peoples for the crime of being religious is not one that can be ignored. The Soviets, the Chinese, N. Koreans, Romanians, etc. Made no secret of their hatred of religions and justified their murderous actions by illuminating the danger religions posed to the state. No they didn’t do it in the name of ‘no god’ but they did do it to get rid of belief in God. They did it and are doing it because of their atheist ideology.  It’s a militant atheism to be sure, but it’s atheism none the less.

We are talking about exactly the same situations. All of the movements you describe were / are extremely dogmatic. They were / are anti-EXISTING-religion, but they attempt to replace EXISTING religions, with authoritarian, dogmatic, religious-adjacent ideologies. If you choose to bring atheists into these situations (and I believe atheism is orthogonal), then I would counter that atheists *tend* to be free thinkers, and the regimes you mention were the antithesis of free thinking.

Well I am a ‘free thinker’ too. Nobody told me what to think, I did the research. I spent years dealing with theism, cosmology and religion. I am free to think it and I am free to not think it.

My point is simply that you cannot separate the atheist ideology of the state actors in this situation, from the actions taken. Hitchen’s twisted it by saying ‘you cannot kill in the name of no-god’. That’s true, but to say that the atheist ideology these guys held didn’t play a role in their actions.

I do not think most atheists would do that anymore than I would head up a Crusade. That does not mean that ideology can be separated from either action.

 
pat2112
 
Avatar
 
 
pat2112
Total Posts:  126
Joined  18-12-2015
 
 
 
09 May 2016 08:49
 
icehorse - 06 May 2016 09:26 AM

kathleen:

These are direct quotes from the theodicy section. I laughed aloud while reading it because his arguments were so ridiculous. This is what I mean by shallow and centered on the God of the Bible. There are many conceptions of God that are much more subtle than this and I haven’t seen Harris or Dawkins address them.

Of course what SH was trying to do with this book is bring about the ‘end of faith.’ He wrote: “I hope to show that the very ideal of religious tolerance—born of the notion that every human being should be free to believe whatever he wants about God—is one of the principal forces driving us toward the abyss.” This sounds like the thought police to me.

On the other hand, apologists often twist the very definition of “religion”. The most common understanding of “religion” is that sacred texts are an essential component. To declare that attacks on scripture are “shallow” is to be evasive.

They are shallow if you don’t know what you are talking about. I am sure Sam would regurgitate at the idea that somebody with no training, no clue pulled up a text book on neuroscience, started ripping out quotes out of context and summarily trashed those quotes with no regard to context.

Everybody wishes God were more direct, but he’s not. Too bad. Those quotes from Deuteronomy he used we not for use by every Jew in Israel. Hell, most of them couldn’t read.

 
icehorse
 
Avatar
 
 
icehorse
Total Posts:  7907
Joined  22-02-2014
 
 
 
09 May 2016 11:14
 
pat2112 - 09 May 2016 08:37 AM
SkepticX - 05 May 2016 06:21 PM
KathleenBrugger - 05 May 2016 03:40 PM

I will agree that Harris’s critique of religion is very shallow. I recently read Dawkins’ The God Delusion and was shocked at how shallow his arguments are.


I suspect that’s the result of taking a focus as a totality. Because one focuses on shallow fundamentalism doesn’t mean one considers shallow fundamentalism the basic nature of the entirety or necessarily even characteristic of that religions’ practitioners. A focus is not a sum total.

The problem is the conclusions drawn. That theists are somehow stupid, or have not given it much thought, or do not have good solid reasoning behind their beliefs, or that ordinarily smart people ‘wall off a part of their brain’ so as to accept religious tenets is patently false.

I do not have a problem with judging the behavior of a particular group. And if that group says they are religiously motivated, I have no issue taking them at their word. Now, a group behaving badly in the name of religion does not falsify the core beliefs of that religion, they may be acting in opposition to it. I can say with confidence, that Christians like the Westboro’s of the world, who go out on their own, provide their own interpretation of the Bible, and act badly are acting in opposition to the core tenets of Christianity.

The core tenets of Christianity can be summed up very succinctly, love God, love your neighbor and treat others as you would have your self be treated (Golden Rule). If someone is acting in opposition to those basic tenets, then they are in violation, not in accordance with Christianity. One only need to read basic theology, and exegesis to know that. <- Is this the behavior atheists want to rid the world of?

Anybody who claims to be a Biblical literalist is a liar by default. There are too many contradictions that occur from age to age to take it all literally. It’s technically impossible to be a literalist for that reason. Literalitsts, pick and choose what to be literal about. And I share condemnation of those who claim it, for several reasons but the one we all share is that you can use an ancient holy book to justify anything if you ignore context, intent, time and culture, and audience.

This is not the same as being ‘Bible Based’, that’s not literalism. Most evangelicals fall under this category. Very few are literalists.

There is a high correlation between fundamentalists and schools that allow corporal punishment.
There is a high correlation between fundamentalists and climate change denial.
There is a high correlation between fundamentalists and evolution denial.

Whether these folks take the Bible literally or not, ideas taught in the Bible do show up as behaviors.

 
 
SkepticX
 
Avatar
 
 
SkepticX
Total Posts:  14817
Joined  24-12-2004
 
 
 
09 May 2016 11:37
 
pat2112 - 09 May 2016 08:37 AM
SkepticX - 05 May 2016 06:21 PM
KathleenBrugger - 05 May 2016 03:40 PM

I will agree that Harris’s critique of religion is very shallow. I recently read Dawkins’ The God Delusion and was shocked at how shallow his arguments are.

I suspect that’s the result of taking a focus as a totality. Because one focuses on shallow fundamentalism doesn’t mean one considers shallow fundamentalism the basic nature of the entirety or necessarily even characteristic of that religions’ practitioners. A focus is not a sum total.

The problem is the conclusions drawn. That theists are somehow stupid, or have not given it much thought, or do not have good solid reasoning behind their beliefs, or that ordinarily smart people ‘wall off a part of their brain’ so as to accept religious tenets is patently false.

I don’t see “stupid” being generalized in Harris’ stuff—he takes definite aim at his specific targets. You’re free to jump in front of those bullets if you choose, but don’t mistake that for the actual aim. When that happens though it usually indicates over-defensiveness projected onto the “offending” rhetoric. Aside from that I don’t think you’re gonna have a very easy time making your case.

 

pat2112 - 09 May 2016 08:37 AM

I do not have a problem with judging the behavior of a particular group. And if that group says they are religiously motivated, I have no issue taking them at their word. Now, a group behaving badly in the name of religion does not falsify the core beliefs of that religion, they may be acting in opposition to it.

Not at all, I agree completely, and I’m pretty sure Harris does as well. The core beliefs of religions are what falsifies them. Those beliefs can and frequently do lead to and/or enable poor behavior though.

 

pat2112 - 09 May 2016 08:37 AM

I can say with confidence, that Christians like the Westboro’s of the world, who go out on their own, provide their own interpretation of the Bible, and act badly are acting in opposition to the core tenets of Christianity.


The core tenets of Christianity can be summed up very succinctly, love God, love your neighbor and treat others as you would have your self be treated (Golden Rule). If someone is acting in opposition to those basic tenets, then they are in violation, not in accordance with Christianity. One only need to read basic theology, and exegesis to know that. <- Is this the behavior atheists want to rid the world of?

This is why the reverse version of the Golden Rule is plainly superior. It could very well be, for example, that if gone off track according to their beliefs members of Westboro Baptist would like to be chastised, even severely, in order to get them to correct the error of their ways. The way to avoid unwelcome and inappropriate impositions upon others is to state it in the negative—do not do unto others as you would not have done unto you (I believe this is basically the Confucian formulation restated in Golden Rule terms). But the idea of loving a god comes with immediate rhetorical problems as well, so even with the corrected form of the Golden Rule (or if we just ignore that part) you’re still not at all in the clear on that one.

 

pat2112 - 09 May 2016 08:37 AM

Anybody who claims to be a Biblical literalist is a liar by default.

Would you have others call you a liar for your sincerely held beliefs? How about just wrong or mistaken rather than imbuing it with unsavory motivations and/or character deficiencies? Those problems can certainly accompany religious views and maybe even disproportionately so for the category of believers at issue, but you need to be a bit more specific before you’re clear of causing collateral damage here. I tend to agree with your take, just not with its apparent eager harshness. (Is that how you’d have others consider you? Is it the example you see in the gospels?)

 

 
 
SkepticX
 
Avatar
 
 
SkepticX
Total Posts:  14817
Joined  24-12-2004
 
 
 
09 May 2016 11:54
 
KathleenBrugger - 08 May 2016 07:31 PM

I’m going to come up with a string-theory religion complete with rituals to amuse myself while I travel.


Heh ... kewl.

Keep us posted—I may want to work with some of your ideas. I earned a clerical ordination way back when from the Universal Life Church. Very mindful of giving the title its full due respect I earned the ordination prerequisites through my academic library work ($5.00 or $10.00 I think it was) and found a worthy source of the honorary on eBay—a business called the Emerald Castle, if I recall, which sold spells (cast on the buyer’s behalf), specializing in the penis enlargement variety (the feedback on the effectiveness of which is amusing if predictable).

In a clerical setting I’m properly addressed as Your Supreme Holiness and/or Grand Exarch (which in my religion is synonymous with Supreme Holiness or Great Leader—that sort of thing). I haven’t come up with anything else official yet, but I have some ideas the Cosmos (or the Allness) has given me. I’m thinking I’ll call my religion allness, but I’m not sure there will be any external doctrine in allness—only what the Grand Exarch says at any given time, and recording such pronouncements will likely be deemed blasphemy (that would of course include biological memory, at least once a revision has been pronounced by the Grand Exarch).

Anyway ... still a kind of tabled proto-notion at the moment—all but the ordination and official title.

 
 
pat2112
 
Avatar
 
 
pat2112
Total Posts:  126
Joined  18-12-2015
 
 
 
09 May 2016 12:34
 
icehorse - 06 May 2016 09:30 AM

pat:

Were it not for radical Islam, or Islamism, these books like “The End of Faith” and “The God Delusion” would not have been near as popular. I understand why you’re angry, I understand why a lot of people are angry. If I thought God were evil, I would be joining your ranks.

The world’s most popular scripture IS evil. The Quran and the Bible are evil. The RC church is evil. Mother Teresa was evil. Christian fundamentalists are evil.

Mother Teresa was evil? That’s not even sane. I cannot take you seriously if you are not going to bother to investigate this stuff as to it’s validity. You are just regurgitating meme’s and talking points as fact and have done nothing to investigate if there is any fact to it at all.

I can simply come here and say atheism is the most evil thing on Earth and not back it up and it would have as much validity as what you said.
Have you read the Quran? I don’t know if it, itself is evil, I have never read it and hence cannot judge the text. I know that a disproportionate amount of Muslims are evil because I can observer their behavior
Have you read the Bible? I have and it’s not evil, far from it. That doesn’t mean there are not troubling things in it, but to me that increases it’s validity rather than detracts. If it were all sunshine and unicorns then I don’t think I could take it seriously because life is not like that. I have read it and I continue to read it and study it.
The Roman Catholic Church is evil? Have you read the Catechism? Are you basing this loosely on some old historical events? Or is it the preist sex scandal where by some truly evil people were acting in opposition to what the church teaches? It’s also the largest charitable organization in the world.
If you choose only to see bad things, you will find them, but it’s not an honest look and it’s certainly not an informed view point.

You can believe all these things if you want to, but you cannot claim them as well informed beliefs. If you cannot make informed comments or ask honest questions then I will not dignify unwarranted vitriol with a response.

 
pat2112
 
Avatar
 
 
pat2112
Total Posts:  126
Joined  18-12-2015
 
 
 
09 May 2016 12:47
 
KathleenBrugger - 07 May 2016 07:54 AM
icehorse - 06 May 2016 09:26 AM

kathleen:

These are direct quotes from the theodicy section. I laughed aloud while reading it because his arguments were so ridiculous. This is what I mean by shallow and centered on the God of the Bible. There are many conceptions of God that are much more subtle than this and I haven’t seen Harris or Dawkins address them.

Of course what SH was trying to do with this book is bring about the ‘end of faith.’ He wrote: “I hope to show that the very ideal of religious tolerance—born of the notion that every human being should be free to believe whatever he wants about God—is one of the principal forces driving us toward the abyss.” This sounds like the thought police to me.

On the other hand, apologists often twist the very definition of “religion”. The most common understanding of “religion” is that sacred texts are an essential component. To declare that attacks on scripture are “shallow” is to be evasive.

I am not defending religion, be sure of that. Am I being evasive? Please explain.

No Kathleen, you are not defending religion. You are making well informed, lucid commentary and that is something I truly appreciate. You even take notes reading books.

You may have read this book, but if you haven’t, I have a recommendation. “There is a God” by Anthony Flew. He was a classical atheist for 40 years before as he said in the book, he “...followed the evidence were it led me.” He became a theist, not a religious person, but a theist. He lays it all out in great detail. It’s not a long book and I recommend it to anybody with a philosophy background. The philosophy background is recommended because if you are not familiar with philosophical terminology it can be a difficult read.

I think you are open minded enough to give the book it’s just due. Plus it’s available in paper back and is pretty cheap.

Thanks again for your posts. You have my respect.

 
pat2112
 
Avatar
 
 
pat2112
Total Posts:  126
Joined  18-12-2015
 
 
 
09 May 2016 13:04
 
icehorse - 09 May 2016 11:14 AM
pat2112 - 09 May 2016 08:37 AM
SkepticX - 05 May 2016 06:21 PM
KathleenBrugger - 05 May 2016 03:40 PM

I will agree that Harris’s critique of religion is very shallow. I recently read Dawkins’ The God Delusion and was shocked at how shallow his arguments are.


I suspect that’s the result of taking a focus as a totality. Because one focuses on shallow fundamentalism doesn’t mean one considers shallow fundamentalism the basic nature of the entirety or necessarily even characteristic of that religions’ practitioners. A focus is not a sum total.

The problem is the conclusions drawn. That theists are somehow stupid, or have not given it much thought, or do not have good solid reasoning behind their beliefs, or that ordinarily smart people ‘wall off a part of their brain’ so as to accept religious tenets is patently false.

I do not have a problem with judging the behavior of a particular group. And if that group says they are religiously motivated, I have no issue taking them at their word. Now, a group behaving badly in the name of religion does not falsify the core beliefs of that religion, they may be acting in opposition to it. I can say with confidence, that Christians like the Westboro’s of the world, who go out on their own, provide their own interpretation of the Bible, and act badly are acting in opposition to the core tenets of Christianity.

The core tenets of Christianity can be summed up very succinctly, love God, love your neighbor and treat others as you would have your self be treated (Golden Rule). If someone is acting in opposition to those basic tenets, then they are in violation, not in accordance with Christianity. One only need to read basic theology, and exegesis to know that. <- Is this the behavior atheists want to rid the world of?

Anybody who claims to be a Biblical literalist is a liar by default. There are too many contradictions that occur from age to age to take it all literally. It’s technically impossible to be a literalist for that reason. Literalitsts, pick and choose what to be literal about. And I share condemnation of those who claim it, for several reasons but the one we all share is that you can use an ancient holy book to justify anything if you ignore context, intent, time and culture, and audience.

This is not the same as being ‘Bible Based’, that’s not literalism. Most evangelicals fall under this category. Very few are literalists.

There is a high correlation between fundamentalists and schools that allow corporal punishment.
There is a high correlation between fundamentalists and climate change denial.
There is a high correlation between fundamentalists and evolution denial.

Whether these folks take the Bible literally or not, ideas taught in the Bible do show up as behaviors.

With the exception of corporal punishment, none of the others show up in the Bible. So if climate change isn’t in the Bible, how is that translated in to being a Biblical behavior? If evolution is not even broached in the Bible, how is that a Biblical behavior?

Second, the percentage of fundamentalist Christians of all of Christendom is pretty low. You may have concentrated pockets of them in the Bible Belt, but overall most Christians are not fundamentalist.

 
pat2112
 
Avatar
 
 
pat2112
Total Posts:  126
Joined  18-12-2015
 
 
 
09 May 2016 13:07
 
icehorse - 07 May 2016 08:21 PM

In this context is faith always coupled with religion? Or do you think Harris is also talking about the faith I have that the Sun will rise in the morning? I think he’s talking only about faith coupled with believing the supernatural.

If God exists, there is no ‘supernatural’. I do not believe in the ‘supernatural’ because I believe God’s existence and his interaction with His creation is perfectly natural, not supernatural.

 
pat2112
 
Avatar
 
 
pat2112
Total Posts:  126
Joined  18-12-2015
 
 
 
09 May 2016 13:46
 
SkepticX - 09 May 2016 11:37 AM
pat2112 - 09 May 2016 08:37 AM
SkepticX - 05 May 2016 06:21 PM
KathleenBrugger - 05 May 2016 03:40 PM

I will agree that Harris’s critique of religion is very shallow. I recently read Dawkins’ The God Delusion and was shocked at how shallow his arguments are.

I suspect that’s the result of taking a focus as a totality. Because one focuses on shallow fundamentalism doesn’t mean one considers shallow fundamentalism the basic nature of the entirety or necessarily even characteristic of that religions’ practitioners. A focus is not a sum total.

The problem is the conclusions drawn. That theists are somehow stupid, or have not given it much thought, or do not have good solid reasoning behind their beliefs, or that ordinarily smart people ‘wall off a part of their brain’ so as to accept religious tenets is patently false.

I don’t see “stupid” being generalized in Harris’ stuff—he takes definite aim at his specific targets. You’re free to jump in front of those bullets if you choose, but don’t mistake that for the actual aim. When that happens though it usually indicates over-defensiveness projected onto the “offending” rhetoric. Aside from that I don’t think you’re gonna have a very easy time making your case.

Eh, he’s not as direct with it as Dawkins who calls for the open mocking and insulting of religious people in public, but it feels inferred. Not withstanding, my point is and remains that what he thinks we believe and what we actually believe are completely different things. And the opinions he expresses based on the things we do not believe is hardly positive. So it makes me wonder, if he had better information would he still have made the same judgments?

pat2112 - 09 May 2016 08:37 AM

I do not have a problem with judging the behavior of a particular group. And if that group says they are religiously motivated, I have no issue taking them at their word. Now, a group behaving badly in the name of religion does not falsify the core beliefs of that religion, they may be acting in opposition to it.

Not at all, I agree completely, and I’m pretty sure Harris does as well. The core beliefs of religions are what falsifies them. Those beliefs can and frequently do lead to and/or enable poor behavior though.

Well which of these core beliefs falsifies Christianity:
- Love of God
- Love of neighbor
- Golden Rule

The core beliefs in Christianity also lead many to do remarkably good things. Serve the poor, serve those in prison, serve the divorced, serve the sick, serve the depressed, etc. There are ministries and outreaches to every walk of life and the recipients are not judged on their beliefs, race, sexuality, etc.

I don’t know a single Christian who is out to do evil based on their faith. We screw up, we make mistakes, but we don’t intentionally seek to do harm, so where is the evil?

I know the life, I live the life, it’s not an easy life, but it’s a rewarding life. It’s definitely not easy. Atheism is much easier. It requires no sacrifice.

And we do not ‘do it’ because we fear hell or want to get to heaven. We do it out of love.

There are evil people every where of every demographic. You cannot simply single out Christians because some of them have acted badly. The ‘bad apples’ are truly a minority. You may disagree with many Christian’s ideas and opinions, but that’s not a reason to hate.

pat2112 - 09 May 2016 08:37 AM

I can say with confidence, that Christians like the Westboro’s of the world, who go out on their own, provide their own interpretation of the Bible, and act badly are acting in opposition to the core tenets of Christianity.


The core tenets of Christianity can be summed up very succinctly, love God, love your neighbor and treat others as you would have your self be treated (Golden Rule). If someone is acting in opposition to those basic tenets, then they are in violation, not in accordance with Christianity. One only need to read basic theology, and exegesis to know that. <- Is this the behavior atheists want to rid the world of?

This is why the reverse version of the Golden Rule is plainly superior. It could very well be, for example, that if gone off track according to their beliefs members of Westboro Baptist would like to be chastised, even severely, in order to get them to correct the error of their ways. The way to avoid unwelcome and inappropriate impositions upon others is to state it in the negative—do not do unto others as you would not have done unto you (I believe this is basically the Confucian formulation restated in Golden Rule terms). But the idea of loving a god comes with immediate rhetorical problems as well, so even with the corrected form of the Golden Rule (or if we just ignore that part) you’re still not at all in the clear on that one.

Westboro has like 70 members and they are whack jobs. I am not going to disagree that they are out of their minds. Obviously, the golden rule only works on the sane, I would prefer a masochist keep their own desires to themselves. You’re talking about the out liars and if you are saying there are exceptions to every rule, I would agree.
I find issue with the Utilitarianism that Sam tends to subscribe to. Because a strict adherence could also have negative consequences.
Say a man gets stranded in a storm in the ocean, and it’s a high risk rescue for a Coast Guard crew, do you leave the guy to die to spare the risk to the Coast Guard? I’d say no, you risk it. I suspect Sam would too, though it does not fit neatly into Utilitarianism.
Not to mention that ‘well being’ and ‘thriving’ are very subjective terms.

pat2112 - 09 May 2016 08:37 AM

Anybody who claims to be a Biblical literalist is a liar by default.

Would you have others call you a liar for your sincerely held beliefs? How about just wrong or mistaken rather than imbuing it with unsavory motivations and/or character deficiencies? Those problems can certainly accompany religious views and maybe even disproportionately so for the category of believers at issue, but you need to be a bit more specific before you’re clear of causing collateral damage here. I tend to agree with your take, just not with its apparent eager harshness. (Is that how you’d have others consider you? Is it the example you see in the gospels?)

 

That’s not a ‘sincerely held religious belief’, it’s a fact. Biblical literalism is literally impossible. There are contradictions in the Bible where one thing nullifies another. And have you seen the Tent of Meeting? I haven’t because it doesn’t exist and no one has made one according to the prescriptions in Exodus. A true literalist is somewhere in the Sinai looking for the Arc. Without it, you cannot be a true literalist.

 
icehorse
 
Avatar
 
 
icehorse
Total Posts:  7907
Joined  22-02-2014
 
 
 
09 May 2016 16:06
 
SkepticX - 09 May 2016 11:54 AM
KathleenBrugger - 08 May 2016 07:31 PM

I’m going to come up with a string-theory religion complete with rituals to amuse myself while I travel.


Heh ... kewl.

Keep us posted—I may want to work with some of your ideas. I earned a clerical ordination way back when from the Universal Life Church. Very mindful of giving the title its full due respect I earned the ordination prerequisites through my academic library work ($5.00 or $10.00 I think it was) and found a worthy source of the honorary on eBay—a business called the Emerald Castle, if I recall, which sold spells (cast on the buyer’s behalf), specializing in the penis enlargement variety (the feedback on the effectiveness of which is amusing if predictable).

In a clerical setting I’m properly addressed as Your Supreme Holiness and/or Grand Exarch (which in my religion is synonymous with Supreme Holiness or Great Leader—that sort of thing). I haven’t come up with anything else official yet, but I have some ideas the Cosmos (or the Allness) has given me. I’m thinking I’ll call my religion allness, but I’m not sure there will be any external doctrine in allness—only what the Grand Exarch says at any given time, and recording such pronouncements will likely be deemed blasphemy (that would of course include biological memory, at least once a revision has been pronounced by the Grand Exarch).

Anyway ... still a kind of tabled proto-notion at the moment—all but the ordination and official title.

Once you get that tax-exemption thing worked out, I’d like to become a clergyman!

 
 
icehorse
 
Avatar
 
 
icehorse
Total Posts:  7907
Joined  22-02-2014
 
 
 
09 May 2016 16:15
 
pat2112 - 09 May 2016 12:34 PM
icehorse - 06 May 2016 09:30 AM

pat:

Were it not for radical Islam, or Islamism, these books like “The End of Faith” and “The God Delusion” would not have been near as popular. I understand why you’re angry, I understand why a lot of people are angry. If I thought God were evil, I would be joining your ranks.

The world’s most popular scripture IS evil. The Quran and the Bible are evil. The RC church is evil. Mother Teresa was evil. Christian fundamentalists are evil.

Mother Teresa was evil? That’s not even sane. I cannot take you seriously if you are not going to bother to investigate this stuff as to it’s validity. You are just regurgitating meme’s and talking points as fact and have done nothing to investigate if there is any fact to it at all.

I can simply come here and say atheism is the most evil thing on Earth and not back it up and it would have as much validity as what you said.
Have you read the Quran? I don’t know if it, itself is evil, I have never read it and hence cannot judge the text. I know that a disproportionate amount of Muslims are evil because I can observer their behavior
Have you read the Bible? I have and it’s not evil, far from it. That doesn’t mean there are not troubling things in it, but to me that increases it’s validity rather than detracts. If it were all sunshine and unicorns then I don’t think I could take it seriously because life is not like that. I have read it and I continue to read it and study it.
The Roman Catholic Church is evil? Have you read the Catechism? Are you basing this loosely on some old historical events? Or is it the preist sex scandal where by some truly evil people were acting in opposition to what the church teaches? It’s also the largest charitable organization in the world.
If you choose only to see bad things, you will find them, but it’s not an honest look and it’s certainly not an informed view point.

You can believe all these things if you want to, but you cannot claim them as well informed beliefs. If you cannot make informed comments or ask honest questions then I will not dignify unwarranted vitriol with a response.

Why yes, I have read the Quran. And I’d have to say that I’ll favor Hitchens’ researching concerning M. Teresa more highly than I favor yours until YOU trot out some evidence that counters Hitchens’ claims. As for the RC church, why yes, I think the systematic shielding of pedophiles is significant. I also think it’s significant that the church acts as though condoms are worse than AIDS - that’s despicable. I’m not overly fond of the churches stance on large families either - that seems to be the height of arrogance on this over-crowded, under resourced planet of ours. As for charity work, I’d say that TRUE charity work ought to come with no strings attached. Church driven charity work typically comes with evangelistic strings attached, not clean at all.

 
 
SkepticX
 
Avatar
 
 
SkepticX
Total Posts:  14817
Joined  24-12-2004
 
 
 
09 May 2016 16:41
 
pat2112 - 09 May 2016 01:46 PM
SkepticX - 09 May 2016 11:37 AM

I don’t see “stupid” being generalized in Harris’ stuff—he takes definite aim at his specific targets. You’re free to jump in front of those bullets if you choose, but don’t mistake that for the actual aim. When that happens though it usually indicates over-defensiveness projected onto the “offending” rhetoric. Aside from that I don’t think you’re gonna have a very easy time making your case.

Eh, he’s not as direct with it as Dawkins who calls for the open mocking and insulting of religious people in public, but it feels inferred.

Yeah, it’s subtle ... as if it’s a seemingly more or less innocuous comment—you’re obviously set up to infer the insult, not because you’re overly defensive of course, because that’s how people who think they’re super smart and use big words treat those who disagrees with them.

Does that cover the sentiment, more or less?

All those deceptive atheist religion critics play that same psychological game, making what they say seem as if it’s reasonable so they can manipulate you.

Yup. I think I get it.

 

pat2112 - 09 May 2016 01:46 PM

Not withstanding, my point is and remains that what he thinks we believe and what we actually believe are completely different things. And the opinions he expresses based on the things we do not believe is hardly positive. So it makes me wonder, if he had better information would he still have made the same judgments?

So the problem beliefs he’s talking about don’t match yours ... but yet he’s talking about you and those who think like you. Or is it that all believers basically agree with you, so if he’s targeting a specific group of beliefs that aren’t yours he can’t be talking about other believers with different beliefs?

 

pat2112 - 09 May 2016 08:37 AM
SkepticX - 09 May 2016 11:37 AM

I do not have a problem with judging the behavior of a particular group. And if that group says they are religiously motivated, I have no issue taking them at their word. Now, a group behaving badly in the name of religion does not falsify the core beliefs of that religion, they may be acting in opposition to it.

Not at all, I agree completely, and I’m pretty sure Harris does as well. The core beliefs of religions are what falsifies them. Those beliefs can and frequently do lead to and/or enable poor behavior though.

Well which of these core beliefs falsifies Christianity:
- Love of God
- Love of neighbor
- Golden Rule

Are those the only choices you’re willing to consider? Do you think they’ll survive scrutiny if they’re fleshed out rather than being so vague and general?

 

pat2112 - 09 May 2016 08:37 AM

The core beliefs in Christianity also lead many to do remarkably good things. Serve the poor, serve those in prison, serve the divorced, serve the sick, serve the depressed, etc. There are ministries and outreaches to every walk of life and the recipients are not judged on their beliefs, race, sexuality, etc.

I agree there are ministries in which good people do good things, absolutely, it’s just a terrible, tragic shame that we’re socialized to re-distribute the credit for what’s obvious on its face (that people are generally good and tend to get a long pretty well by nature, just like other social animals) so that we can prop up Religion (reified) even if it means rejecting and even denying our own humanity.

No, religion doesn’t do these things, it’s just an aspect of our nature—ideas and behaviors humans think and do. It’s not some sort of separate Thing Unto Itself. It’s what people do in social groups. That goes for all of it. Religion can be an ideological enzyme that allows us to digest ideas and engage in behaviors we wouldn’t without it, but it all comes from us—from people.

 

pat2112 - 09 May 2016 08:37 AM

I don’t know a single Christian who is out to do evil based on their faith. We screw up, we make mistakes, but we don’t intentionally seek to do harm, so where is the evil?

Part of the problem there is forcing things into a binary model of good and evil—major problem, bot intellectual and social. It’s a Flatlander’s view of reality, basically, and filtering out dimensions of reality is obviously gonna seriously distort how one understands reality to work. It can even allow people to believe evil has to be intentional, and that only those who think they’re doing evil actually do evil, for example (or sometimes it just allows people to think that makes sense when it works for the rhetoric they’re trying to sell—very likely to themselves as much as or more than others).

 

pat2112 - 09 May 2016 08:37 AM

I know the life, I live the life, it’s not an easy life, but it’s a rewarding life. It’s definitely not easy. Atheism is much easier. It requires no sacrifice.

That’s how I’d describe my former Christian life too—no axes to grind against it or the great people I was lucky enough to associate and socialize with in the churches I grew up in. I have nothing of significance negative to say about them overall—lots of good people. But what’s real and true isn’t about me or what I want to believe, or what those good people would like me to believe. That’s completely irrelevant, because it’s not the religion, it’s the people—that’s why there are versions of Christianity that are nasty and hateful and versions that are kind and loving and positive. The sociocultural labels people feel the need to align with are just window dressing, as are the dogmas and club rules they adopt. That’s what makes a social group a religious one, which tells us that’s what religion really is. The good things people typically try so hard to morph into religion are really just the way people behave in social groups. That’s why the All Good Things model utterly fails to account for the All Bad Things aspects of reality—why they just have to arbitrarily exclude them from the picture based solely upon the prefabricated conclusion that they’re not part of what they don’t want them to be part of.

 

pat2112 - 09 May 2016 08:37 AM

And we do not ‘do it’ because we fear hell or want to get to heaven. We do it out of love.

You don’t speak for all believers though, and you clearly know this.

 

pat2112 - 09 May 2016 08:37 AM

There are evil people every where of every demographic. You cannot simply single out Christians because some of them have acted badly. The ‘bad apples’ are truly a minority. You may disagree with many Christian’s ideas and opinions, but that’s not a reason to hate.

Where’d that come from? Are you mixing up our conversation with others? or maybe imbuing my words with your own expectations ... ?

 

pat2112 - 09 May 2016 08:37 AM

I can say with confidence, that Christians like the Westboro’s of the world, who go out on their own, provide their own interpretation of the Bible, and act badly are acting in opposition to the core tenets of Christianity.

How can any Christians not work from their own interpretation of the Bible? But yeah, it’s the people, not the labels they claim. You just filter out the inconvenient and accept only the affirmational.

 

pat2112 - 09 May 2016 08:37 AM

Westboro has like 70 members and they are whack jobs. I am not going to disagree that they are out of their minds. Obviously, the golden rule only works on the sane, I would prefer a masochist keep their own desires to themselves. You’re talking about the out liars and if you are saying there are exceptions to every rule, I would agree.

Convenient take, don’t you think?

 

pat2112 - 09 May 2016 08:37 AM

I find issue with the Utilitarianism that Sam tends to subscribe to. Because a strict adherence could also have negative consequences.
Say a man gets stranded in a storm in the ocean, and it’s a high risk rescue for a Coast Guard crew, do you leave the guy to die to spare the risk to the Coast Guard? I’d say no, you risk it. I suspect Sam would too, though it does not fit neatly into Utilitarianism.
Not to mention that ‘well being’ and ‘thriving’ are very subjective terms.

Okay ... ?

 

pat2112 - 09 May 2016 01:46 PM
SkepticX - 09 May 2016 11:37 AM

Anybody who claims to be a Biblical literalist is a liar by default.

Would you have others call you a liar for your sincerely held beliefs? How about just wrong or mistaken rather than imbuing it with unsavory motivations and/or character deficiencies? Those problems can certainly accompany religious views and maybe even disproportionately so for the category of believers at issue, but you need to be a bit more specific before you’re clear of causing collateral damage here. I tend to agree with your take, just not with its apparent eager harshness. (Is that how you’d have others consider you? Is it the example you see in the gospels?)/quote]That’s not a ‘sincerely held religious belief’, it’s a fact. Biblical literalism is literally impossible.

Interesting. So you think you can determine motivations based upon your take on the situation?

Extreme overconfidence in that sort of thing is a good example of a potentially rather dangerous belief for which religious thinking/belief can act as an intellectual enzyme enabling (and enhancing) an otherwise good and reasonable person to believe and to think that way.

 

pat2112 - 09 May 2016 01:46 PM

There are contradictions in the Bible where one thing nullifies another. And have you seen the Tent of Meeting? I haven’t because it doesn’t exist and no one has made one according to the prescriptions in Exodus. A true literalist is somewhere in the Sinai looking for the Arc. Without it, you cannot be a true literalist.

Are you familiar with psychological/ideological compartmentalization? If not, I recommend you look into it. If so ... well, there you go.

[ Edited: 09 May 2016 16:47 by SkepticX]
 
 
LadyJane
 
Avatar
 
 
LadyJane
Total Posts:  3545
Joined  26-03-2013
 
 
 
10 May 2016 06:49
 

When we are reared to believe in things that haven’t a logical explanation we become conditioned to believe in things that aren’t real.  As we become adults, the more we learn, the more difficult it becomes to reconcile those beliefs with reality.  The more we find ourselves struggling to make sense of things, by forcing what we learn to fit with those beliefs, the more we should be motivated to discard them.  Not the other way round.  The writings of Mr. Dawkins and Mr. Harris (and others) have paved the way for us to do the discarding without compromising our integrity in any way.  Gloria Steinem (and others) paved the way for women.  Harvey Milk (and others) paved the way for the gay community.  Two steps forward, one step back.  Slow and steady.  There will always be a misconception of the way others live causing the fear of inferiority to lead to abuses of authority.  As long as there are people brave enough to provide voices, to speak for those who are silenced, the ones in positions of power will have no other choice but to listen.  Somebody’s gotta kick the doors down.

 
 
‹ First  < 2 3 4 5 6 >