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View Full Version : Sam Harris, Karen Armstrong, and God


Me&theboys
01-21-2010, 05:01 PM
Have this (http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2009/12/18/the_god_fraud) and this (http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2009/10/19/god_0) already been discussed here? If so, pls point me to the discussion. Thanks!

popcorn_karate
01-21-2010, 05:54 PM
to the first link, this comment sums up my point of view perfectly:



...when I read the arguments that the world should abandon religion altogether not a lot different from the rhetoric from people who have found Jesus and have concluded that everyone should be a Christian, or the Muslim who told me that Islam "makes more sense than" Judaism.

These are all dogma. If you truly wish to abandon dogma then you must examine all belief systems evenhandedly. Atheism isn't going to save the world any more than Jesus will, and it's quite clear from history that when atheists or irreligious rulers are running a country that the people aren't generally better off.

This type of dialogue most of you are so wholeheartedly supporting is pure egotism and is hurting your cause, not helping it. It doesn't convince anyone - it puts people on the defensive and makes them dig in their heels. If you raise your hand to strike someone, they'll put their hand up to stop you - it's the same when you attack people with words, regardless of whether you feel justified. I think you all need to ask yourselves what you are trying to accomplish by writing in such an inflammatory way, and then examine whether your method is working. If your goal is to make yourself feel superior, then I'm sure this is working. If your goal is to belittle others, then you are successful. But if your goal is to win hearts and minds, you are all failing utterly. From a more cynical standpoint, you need to keep in mind that you're in the minority here. You're not the ones with the power and you can't just bulldoze people into going along with your desired policies.

I have studied and observed a variety of religions and cultures, and I see many of your viewpoints as culturally imperialistic. What you are actually asking for is to replace the ancient and rich tapestry of human culture with West European materialism, which elevates the new over the old, progress over tradition, indulgence over discipline, reason over intuition, and ambition over spiritual development. The problem with this, is these pairs of values should be regarded as equally important. You pair this with an insistence that there is only one right way, which historically has never worked and it will never work; it just causes more death, pain and suffering.

I have a better way: Rather than telling people what to think, let's teach people HOW to think - to think critically, to self-examine, to be kind and compassionate, and let them make up their own minds. ( "squeedle" is the author)

bjkeefe
01-21-2010, 07:59 PM
In an ideal world, your view (and the view of the commenter who you appear to be quoting) would be an acceptable one to me. However, we live in a world that is very far from ideal.

I am delighted that Sam Harris and colleagues have adopted the stance that they have and that they stick to it. If nothing else, their perspective is a useful counterweight to the religious extremists on the other side, and just as importantly, those "in the middle," who too quickly rush to shield religious thinking from any criticism, no matter how much of a crock some of its adherents make it out to be.

Finally, we've gone around and around on this point before with no clear resolution, but once more for the record: I think Armstrong, you, and too many others have as overly simplistic a view of Harris, et al, as you accuse them of having of religion. I'm not sure what it will take you to persuade that the notion "you atheists are just like religious fundamentalists!!!1!" deserves to be punctuated as such, but until you begin to accept how stupid and offensive that attitude is, your point of view is doing as little to help as any of the ones you complain about.

popcorn_karate
01-22-2010, 01:59 PM
In an ideal world, your view (and the view of the commenter who you appear to be quoting) would be an acceptable one to me. However, we live in a world that is very far from ideal.

and because it is imperfect two wrongs make a right!

a sadly mistaken point of view as far as i am concerned

I am delighted that Sam Harris and colleagues have adopted the stance that they have and that they stick to it. If nothing else, their perspective is a useful counterweight to the religious extremists on the other side, and just as importantly, those "in the middle," who too quickly rush to shield religious thinking from any criticism, no matter how much of a crock some of its adherents make it out to be.

more two wrongs make a right b.s. got that.

Finally, we've gone around and around on this point before with no clear resolution,

yes we have. it probably doesn't bear repeating does it?

but once more for the record:

ahhh couln't help yourself - "Somebody is wrong on teh internets!1!" hurry BJ hurry and save the day!



I think Armstrong, you, and too many others have as overly simplistic a view of Harris, et al, as you accuse them of having of religion. I'm not sure what it will take you to persuade that the notion "you atheists are just like religious fundamentalists!!!1!" deserves to be punctuated as such, but until you begin to accept how stupid and offensive that attitude is, your point of view is doing as little to help as any of the ones you complain about.

I will agree that I have done little to help the situation thus far.

But, have no fear! I will keep exposing you to my own honest, intelligent, kind, and reasonable opinions until you see that the light of truth imbues them and you adopt them as your own - and then i will have effected positive change.

much love,

P_K

bjkeefe
01-22-2010, 02:10 PM
and because it is imperfect two wrongs make a right!

a sadly mistaken point of view as far as i am concerned

more two wrongs make a right b.s. got that.

I think you're mistaken to consider these differing opinions "wrongs." Short of obvious extremes, like flying airplanes into buildings in the name of some god, or feeding people to lions to scare them into not talking about some god, it's not at all clear that there is a right/wrong call to be made here.

yes we have. it probably doesn't bear repeating does it?

ahhh couln't help yourself - "Somebody is wrong on teh internets!1!" hurry BJ hurry and save the day!

As long as you keep re-posting your point of view, I will keep offering mine to contradict it. Funny how you think only your repetitiveness is justified.

popcorn_karate
01-22-2010, 05:14 PM
As long as you keep re-posting your point of view, I will keep offering mine to contradict it. Funny how you think only your repetitiveness is justified.

right back at you.