1. Standard memberagryson
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    07 Oct '07 16:35
    Here is a very interesting (if a little long) article from Sam Harris, author of "Letter to a Christian Nation". He makes the point that atheism should not even be a concept int he sense that there is no such thing as an "anti-astrologer". Escape from the myths and fairy-tales of religion will only have been achieved when atheism as a concept is taken for granted to such a degree that it goes without saying. But he says it so much better than me, get yourself a cup of tea...

    http://newsweek.washingtonpost.com/onfaith/sam_harris/2007/10/the_problem_with_atheism.html
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    07 Oct '07 17:17
    Originally posted by agryson
    Here is a very interesting (if a little long) article from Sam Harris, author of "Letter to a Christian Nation". He makes the point that atheism should not even be a concept int he sense that there is no such thing as an "anti-astrologer". Escape from the myths and fairy-tales of religion will only have been achieved when atheism as a concept is taken for gr ...[text shortened]...
    http://newsweek.washingtonpost.com/onfaith/sam_harris/2007/10/the_problem_with_atheism.html
    Excellent article.
    Somehow I already had that position. I don't consider myself in the "group of atheists". Atheism is not a party or a position, it's simply the natural, neutral standing point everyone should start from the beginning.
  3. Standard memberagryson
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    07 Oct '07 17:26
    Originally posted by serigado
    Excellent article.
    Somehow I already had that position. I don't consider myself in the "group of atheists". Atheism is not a party or a position, it's simply the natural, neutral standing point everyone should start from the beginning.
    Yeah, I always knew that I really didn't like the idea of religion, but at the same time always felt that Richard Dawkins was casuing more harm than good by being so militant about it. This article showed me why I suppose. Like his racism analogy, I really don't like the idea of people being racist, but at the same time, being militantly anti-racist strikes me as a way to perpetuate the problem. Translating the analogy back, I suppose that's why I feel the way I feel about the whole thing.
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    07 Oct '07 17:38
    Originally posted by agryson
    Yeah, I always knew that I really didn't like the idea of religion, but at the same time always felt that Richard Dawkins was casuing more harm than good by being so militant about it. This article showed me why I suppose. Like his racism analogy, I really don't like the idea of people being racist, but at the same time, being militantly anti-racist strikes ...[text shortened]... anslating the analogy back, I suppose that's why I feel the way I feel about the whole thing.
    Exactly. But the moment we start seeing a racist teaching his children his beliefs I think we should intervene. It just feels wrong.
    I loved the reason and evidence part. I always tried to convince other through reason, and it makes all the sense not going that way. Religious already have their share evidence and reason. The debate was about who had the better evidence. Only by a slow change of mentalities we can get there. After they stop feeling support and start seeing their point of view doesn't make sense religious points of view can be dealt.
    Europe is doing so very well. America is getting very radical. In a frightening way.
  5. Standard memberagryson
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    07 Oct '07 17:42
    Originally posted by serigado
    Exactly. But the moment we start seeing a racist teaching his children his beliefs I think we should intervene. It just feels wrong.
    I loved the reason and evidence part. I always tried to convince other through reason, and it makes all the sense not going that way. Religious already have their share evidence and reason. The debate was about who had the be ...[text shortened]... be dealt.
    Europe is doing so very well. America is getting very radical. In a frightening way.
    Yes, antagonism just polarises the issues. Like you say, by having no belief as the starting point it allows for a free and personal choice. Even if for some reason one chooses to be religious, they did so due to their own reasoning abilities rather than social conditioning from birth. Granted, someone making a reasoned choice to believe wholeheartedly in fariy tales probably has something wrong with their abilities of reasoning, but through improvements in education that too diminishes.
  6. Standard memberRajk999
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    07 Oct '07 18:20
    Originally posted by agryson
    Here is a very interesting (if a little long) article from Sam Harris, author of "Letter to a Christian Nation". He makes the point that atheism should not even be a concept int he sense that there is no such thing as an "anti-astrologer". Escape from the myths and fairy-tales of religion will only have been achieved when atheism as a concept is taken for gr ...[text shortened]...
    http://newsweek.washingtonpost.com/onfaith/sam_harris/2007/10/the_problem_with_atheism.html
    Very nice article.
    I am non-church-going Christian and very much against organised religion, but I believe that the day will come when I will have to account for how well I followed the 'love thy neighbour' commandment.
    Still this article is highly recommended reading for all Christians out there.
  7. Territories Unknown
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    07 Oct '07 20:17
    Originally posted by agryson
    Here is a very interesting (if a little long) article from Sam Harris, author of "Letter to a Christian Nation". He makes the point that atheism should not even be a concept int he sense that there is no such thing as an "anti-astrologer". Escape from the myths and fairy-tales of religion will only have been achieved when atheism as a concept is taken for gr ...[text shortened]...
    http://newsweek.washingtonpost.com/onfaith/sam_harris/2007/10/the_problem_with_atheism.html
    Ol' Sammy can call it (or not call it) anything he wants. No matter what dress his anti-God stance is made up in, it's still the same tired argument. How absurd is his assertion that atheism is the normative default position! Everything in man's history stands in complete contradiction to such stupidity. Just goes to show you how dumb even smart people can be.
  8. Standard memberagryson
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    07 Oct '07 20:32
    Originally posted by FreakyKBH
    Ol' Sammy can call it (or not call it) anything he wants. No matter what dress his anti-God stance is made up in, it's still the same tired argument. How absurd is his assertion that atheism is the normative default position! Everything in man's history stands in complete contradiction to such stupidity. Just goes to show you how dumb even smart people can be.
    Uhm... the article actually had a very strong message of [i]not[/] being anti-God. His whole article was about how those who don't believe in God should just shut up about it, live a good life and let nature take its course, only speaking up about specific things which irk our moralities while at the same time not bringing belief or lack of it into the admonition of morally repugnant acts. Also, I'm pretty sure he didn't mention once that atheism was the default, that was us commenting afterwards in relation to our own feeling on atheism.

    But then, since you read the article, you already knew all that, didn't you?

    (Just goes to show you how dumb even smart people can sound when they criticise that which they haven't even read)
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    07 Oct '07 20:37
    Originally posted by FreakyKBH
    Ol' Sammy can call it (or not call it) anything he wants. No matter what dress his anti-God stance is made up in, it's still the same tired argument. How absurd is his assertion that atheism is the normative default position! Everything in man's history stands in complete contradiction to such stupidity. Just goes to show you how dumb even smart people can be.
    It's not anti-God. You are radicalizing.
    The position is: if we can't know for sure, let's stick with the most probable.
    If humanity started all over without any knowledge or bibles, no one would think of christianity. Completely new creeds would emerge, evolution of society would be different, science would be the same. Mysticism is inherent to men, it comes from the desire of wanting to know and not being able to.
    The specif religions came from specif social context at specific time.
    Don't you agree?
  10. Standard memberagryson
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    07 Oct '07 20:40
    Originally posted by serigado
    It's not anti-God. You are radicalizing.
    The position is: if we can't know for sure, let's stick with the most probable.
    If humanity started all over without any knowledge or bibles, no one would think of christianity. Completely new creeds would emerge, evolution of society would be different, science would be the same. Mysticism is inherent to men, it c ...[text shortened]...
    The specif religions came from specif social context at specific time.
    Don't you agree?
    Incidentally, you've just pointed out also how we never said that lack of belief is the default position, but rather that it simply should be. Another case of typing without reading first.
  11. Standard memberRajk999
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    07 Oct '07 21:50
    Originally posted by FreakyKBH
    Ol' Sammy can call it (or not call it) anything he wants. No matter what dress his anti-God stance is made up in, it's still the same tired argument. How absurd is his assertion that atheism is the normative default position! Everything in man's history stands in complete contradiction to such stupidity. Just goes to show you how dumb even smart people can be.
    I think many a devout Christian can learn from Ol' Sammy. While I was reading the article I remembered this story from Acts where the Pharisees were about to go after Peter and some other apostles to kill them for preaching and .....

    Acts 5 : 34 Then stood there up one in the council, a Pharisee, named Gamaliel, a doctor of the law, had in reputation among all the people, and commanded to put the apostles forth a little space;
    35 And said unto them, Ye men of Israel, take heed to yourselves what ye intend to do as touching these men.
    36 For before these days rose up Theudas, boasting himself to be somebody; to whom a number of men, about four hundred, joined themselves: who was slain; and all, as many as obeyed him, were scattered, and brought to nought.
    37 After this man rose up Judas of Galilee in the days of the taxing, and drew away much people after him: he also perished; and all, even as many as obeyed him, were dispersed.
    38 And now I say unto you, Refrain from these men, and let them alone: for if this counsel or this work be of men, it will come to nought:
    39 But if it be of God, ye cannot overthrow it; lest haply ye be found even to fight against God.
  12. Illinois
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    08 Oct '07 01:27
    Originally posted by agryson
    Here is a very interesting (if a little long) article from Sam Harris, author of "Letter to a Christian Nation". He makes the point that atheism should not even be a concept int he sense that there is no such thing as an "anti-astrologer". Escape from the myths and fairy-tales of religion will only have been achieved when atheism as a concept is taken for gr ...[text shortened]...
    http://newsweek.washingtonpost.com/onfaith/sam_harris/2007/10/the_problem_with_atheism.html
    It's interesting to see how Harris acknowledges the existence of the human spirit: "Not recognizing that such experiences are possible or important can make us appear less wise even than our craziest religious opponents." He does not call it the spirit, of course, but rather the "plasticity of the human mind... to recognize thoughts as thoughts."

    And Harris is correct in assuming that non-believers possess a spiritual faculty in every respect similar to their believing neighbors. Though, from a biblical perspective, it is technically not the acknowledgment of the spirit which makes one wise (if Harris is indeed concerned with appearing less wise than his opponents), but rather it is the capacity to differentiate between what is of the spirit and what is of the mind which makes one truly wise. In Harris' case, he simply attributes what he has discovered of his own spirit to the agency of the mind.

    Otherwise, considering Harris' acknowledgment of a possibly irreducible mystery at the core of existence, I agree that what he is proposing a person ought to be could not be correctly labeled, "atheist." Perhaps a more suitable title would be, "agnostic."
  13. Illinois
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    08 Oct '07 01:545 edits
    BTW, why do people assert that there isn't a rational explanation for a person's belief in God? If you ask anyone who does believe a God exists, they will undoubtedly give you an entirely rational reason for their belief, e.g., symmetry, beauty, complexity, etc. In religious terms, a Christian bases his or her faith on a rational response to the evidence of scripture. Contrary to the straw man popular with atheists, Christianity does not demand blind faith. Christ performed miracles to give evidence that He was the genuine article. Christians base their faith on his works, even though they are only known second-hand.

    Bottom line: faith is based on evidence.
  14. weedhopper
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    08 Oct '07 03:34
    Originally posted by Rajk999
    I think many a devout Christian can learn from Ol' Sammy. While I was reading the article I remembered this story from Acts where the Pharisees were about to go after Peter and some other apostles to kill them for preaching and .....

    Acts 5 : 34 Then stood there up one in the council, a Pharisee, named Gamaliel, a doctor of the law, had in reputation ...[text shortened]... if it be of God, ye cannot overthrow it; lest haply ye be found even to fight against God.
    I don't like you. But when you get something right, you really hit it out of the park. You haven't undergone some kind of conversion over the weekend, have you? It is barely possible that I have misjudged you. Not likely, mind you, but barely possible.😕
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    08 Oct '07 09:303 edits
    Originally posted by epiphinehas
    BTW, why do people assert that there isn't a rational explanation for a person's belief in God? If you ask anyone who does believe a God exists, they will undoubtedly give you an entirely rational reason for their belief, e.g., symmetry, beauty, complexity, etc. In religious terms, a Christian bases his or her faith on a rational response to the eviden ...[text shortened]... orks, even though they are only known second-hand.

    Bottom line: faith is based on evidence.
    Why you ask? Think about it. If I were to reject something I must have a basis for doing so. I could either say that what you say is baseless or I could say that you not educated enough to know what you are talking about. Either way I win if I can convince myself of either. For those who are uneducated but seem to talk coherently and rationally usually they are told they simply don't know what they are talking about since they don't know enough about science, history of the Bible, history of the church etc, etc. However, those who are educated such as a Dawkins-like conversion making this claim is harder even though I have seen it done with men like C.S Lewis. Although C. S Lewis was a highly educated and intelligent man I have heard cracks about his philosophical credentials as being less that impressive. Therefore, anything the man has to say is suspect. However, if they do not feel comfortable enough saying that they not knowledgable to know what they are talking about then they can simply say that they are delusional. So that about does it, no? All the bases are covered. 😉
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