What are your thoughts on these words by Sam Harris?
Posted: 26 December 2011 11:13 PM   [ Ignore ]  
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Sam Harris said:
“Even if a belief in God had a reliable, positive effect upon human behaviour, this would not offer a reason to believe in God. One can believe in God only if one thinks that God actually exists. Even if atheism led straight to moral chaos, this would no suggest that the doctrine of Christianity is true. Islam might be true, in that case. Or all religions might function like placebos. As descriptions of the universe, they could be utterly false but, nevertheless, useful. The evidence suggests, however, that they are both false and dangerous.”

While the last sentence is gonna cause some contention, the rest of the passage makes perfect sense, and I find it hard to see how an honest person, theist, atheist or whatever, could disagree with it.

What do you think?

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Posted: 01 January 2012 12:08 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]  
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I agree with it.

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Posted: 31 March 2012 02:03 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]  
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usering - 26 December 2011 11:13 PM

Sam Harris said:
“Even if a belief in God had a reliable, positive effect upon human behaviour, this would not offer a reason to believe in God. One can believe in God only if one thinks that God actually exists. Even if atheism led straight to moral chaos, this would no suggest that the doctrine of Christianity is true. Islam might be true, in that case. Or all religions might function like placebos. As descriptions of the universe, they could be utterly false but, nevertheless, useful. The evidence suggests, however, that they are both false and dangerous.”

While the last sentence is gonna cause some contention, the rest of the passage makes perfect sense, and I find it hard to see how an honest person, theist, atheist or whatever, could disagree with it.

What do you think?

The trouble is that most atheists emotionally deny which perverts reason. If an atheist like Sam Harris can intellectully deny free of emotional coloring, their denial may lead to experiences similar to that of Simone Weil’s

“To believe in God is not a decision we can make. All we can do is decide not to give our love to false gods. In the first place, we can decide not to believe that the future contains for us an all-sufficient good. The future is made of the same stuff as the present….

“...It is not for man to seek, or even to believe in God. He has only to refuse to believe in everything that is not God. This refusal does not presuppose belief. It is enough to recognize, what is obvious to any mind, that all the goods of this world, past, present, or future, real or imaginary, are finite and limited and radically incapable of satisfying the desire which burns perpetually with in us for an infinite and perfect good… It is not a matter of self-questioning or searching. A man has only to persist in his refusal, and one day or another God will come to him.”
—Weil, Simone, ON SCIENCE, NECESSITY, AND THE LOVE OF GOD, edited by Richard Rees, London, Oxford University Press, 1968.- ©

 

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Posted: 07 June 2012 11:25 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]  
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One can believe in God only if one thinks that God actually exists.

This statement can be a little misleading. consider beauty. one can believe in beauty without thinking that it actually “exists”, as an ontological entity. Similarly, this attack on God fails to reach a vast number of people who hold an abstract, phenomenological, even mystical understanding of God. You see this in Judaism, Buddhism (no god, but same approach towards dogma) and what not.  I’m not saying this ambiguity is itself a good counter, but it does exemplify part of my problem with Harris’ methodology, namely, his avoidance of addressing deeper philosophical issues adequately, which leave many moderately faithful people perplexed and unpersuasive by his works. This is no doubt why a good number of Serious People in philosophy dislike him - Harris himself leaves a ton of wiggle room in his brevity.

Also, fun exercise: Switch God with: numbers, time, string theory, the ‘fundamental laws of the universe’, etc. Again, to quite the reactionaries, this exercise is not to prove there is a god lol. it is to think more about what qualifies existence and justified belief.

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