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Posted: 12 February 2005 11:32 AM   [ Ignore ]  
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I went to the library this morning. Saw this book and checked it out. It always interests me when an author tackles the difficulty between reason and faith.

Forget the slights against Christianity littered within the first 18 pages (seems like Harris has a grudge). Too many logical errors to tackle here. But the first BIGGIE occurs on page 18. Harris uses Deuteronomy 13:7-11 as a way to show that the Christian God is a bad guy and not for this modern age. Ok folks, what is wrong with this picture? What Harris fails to understand is that Jesus Christ is the "fulfillment" of the law (Torah…Deut, etc.). And what are the laws, or commandments, for JC followers. Lets start with loving your neighbor as yourself (think that works well for the modern age). Check out the beatitudes. These are not for the modern age????

This website says Harris has been studying spiritual disiplines for 20 years. Obviously, not the Christian one.

I will be back later, I'm sure.

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Posted: 12 February 2005 12:54 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]  
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Thanks for the warning.

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Posted: 12 February 2005 01:41 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]  
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Seriously, though, I hope you enjoy the book, if indeed you finish it.  If you can, try to read it with an open mind.  There are a great number of people in the world who see the “bible” as nothing more than a collection of folk myths and fairy tales, and I am one of them.  I find it amusing whenever a christian apoligist tries to make logical sense out of scriptures.  There are hundreds of inconsistancies in your holy book, and if you are honest you will admit it to your self.

I wonder why you felt you had to run here after only 18 pages with what you thought was some kind of major ah-ha!  Did you think that we would be overwhelmed by your logic and insight and suddenly “see the light?”  I guess you just couldn’t wait to save us.  Well, thank you for your concern, but I do pretty well without the concept of original sin, or the need for your god to sacrifice himself to himself to correct a mistake he made himself. 

So, if you would like to discuss the concepts that Sam expounds in his book, or anything else that’s on your mind, feel free to do so, but dont expect to get away with claiming the bible as the basis for your positions. 

By the way, do you think that the verses you referenced were the first to inculcate the ideas contained therein?  Just wondering.  Again, enjoy the book, and if you would like to further explore some of it’s principle ideas, there are many other sources you might find in the same library.

Pete

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Posted: 12 February 2005 02:27 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]  
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In an interview, with someone from Amazon.com, Sam Harris said this.

>>>the hope that humans can overcome the propensity toward religious violence before it’s too late.

>>>On the positive side, we need to find creative approaches to ethics, spiritual experience, and the building of strong communities.

>>>The people who have their hands upon the tiller of civilization are just not thinking, speaking, or allocating resources in the ways they must if we are to avoid catastrophe. The fact that we elect presidents who waste time on things like gay marriage, when the nuclear weapons in the former Soviet Union lie unsecured (to cite only one immediate threat to our survival), is emblematic of how disastrously off course we are (it is also emblematic of the role faith plays in forcing us off course). So I am not hopeful. But still, each of us has to try to contribute positively to the world as we find it. What alternative is there?  End Quote

It appears, that Sam is not “anti-care about your neighbor” after all.

He is,

Against religious violence (which hurts, neighbors)

Desires to build strong communties. (why, so he can THEN be mean to his neighbors? ) (rolling eyes!)

He desires to contribute positively to the world. (oh my, that sounds so sinful)

Gosh..I say we take him out and stone him, or better yet, rejoice that “God” may eventually burn him, mercilessly, forever.  Ooops, that would make God just like, or worse, than Hitler. After all, THAT “God” would not even treat Sam, with good neighbor hospitality. Oh No! That would make Sam NICER than God. lol

It appears, that part, of what Sam is saying, is that DOGma, has caused a lot of problems. Sam does not obviously desire to wear a DOGma collar, and is “preaching” that message to those who care to listen…sorta, almost, kinda, like Jesus did.
grin

Short of having great hope for the future, and faith, that a good future will be the grand closure, Sam sounds more like someone I’d rather hang out with, and be real with, then the so called hate monger “Christians”, that jump the gun, and project their understanding, onto his words, and misjudge (go figure) his essential heart intent.


The God you love, is the God…YOU give.

Advocatus Diaboli
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Some people never say the words “I Love You” for like a child, they’re longing to be told” ~Paul Simon~

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Posted: 12 February 2005 02:33 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]  
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Let me start by saying that you are speaking in parables because it’s not clear what you are saying, at least for me.  Are you saying that the God of the Old Testament (including his directive to kill everyone who believes in a different god in Deuteronomy) has been usurped, overtaken, replaced by Jesus Christ via the “fulfillment?”  Does Jesus’s life destroy the old god completely?  If so, that’s a new take on the predominance of the New Testament.  If, however,  you are referring only to the Law of the Old Testament (10 Commandments, . . . whatever) as being replaced by Christ’s new law (love your neighbor as yourself, do unto others as you would have done to you) then unless Sam Harris is a complete idiot or imbecile he already understands this “new law” doctrine . . . Trust me, Sam does understand.  All atheists already understand this as well, and we generally follow these precepts and live according to them because in the modern world of pluralism and scientific understanding, those precepts are just your run-of-the-mill common sense ethics.

But in the larger picture Champ, what has happened to the god of the O.T. if his “laws” have changed from directing people to kill, stone and murder-  to the god in the N.T.  directing us to turn the other cheek and love our enemy?  Has god’s character really changed so drastically over the intervening years?  How do you account for that change, is his personality evolving?  Was he originally in error and mended his ways? Has man taught him how to be more loving and less jealous and vengeful?

Worst of all,  how do we know (especially the believers) that he isn’t going to revert back to his former character and order everyone to kill and murder all those others who are different?  How can we trust him?  What if you are one of the few still living in the dark of Christ’s message and haven’t yet heard the latest that god has brought back stoning and (his favorite use of anger) smoting (in translation to our modern world that means of course the use of nuclear weapons against the infidels)?

And did Jesus really “love his enemies” in the way that he claimed that we should?  I’ve read some passages in the N.T. where he expresses his anger and his hatred, so let’s not be so blinded by a few passages that show us only his “good” side.  Is god telling you something that he isn’t telling the rest of us or is it simply your selective reading that helps to support your blind faith?

Bob

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Posted: 12 February 2005 06:27 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]  
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Thought I would run for my life did you????

hampsteadpete: Thanks, I hope to learn some things from the book. I certainly will keep an open mind. You said, “but do not expect to get away with claiming the bible as the basis for your positions.” Why not? It is a free country right? You know, it amazes me that the liberals (who are supposed to stand for tolerance) are so quick to be “intolerance” of opposing views.

Advocatus Diaboli: Missed the whole point. I never said that Harris does not advocate loving your neighbor. He tries to say that true Christianity does not advocate loving your neighbor. Can’t use the old testament to support that conclusion. This is strange coming from a highly educated scholar…(does he have an agenda?)

CanZen: Take Christianity 101 and all these questions will be answered. You don’t know the basics. So how can Christianity be a bad thing for you if you don’t know what its about?

By the way all, let’s not throw the baby out with the bathwater. You find one problematic scripture and you are so quick to discount. Come you, you intellectuals know to check out the historical significance behind the passage.

Finally, it is not my job to convert you, I’ll leave it up to the holy spirit to do that. My job is to be a witness to the truth. A truth not validated scientifically. However, circumstantial evidence is on my side.

I await your responses, scorn, agreement, ....conversion?  smile

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Posted: 13 February 2005 02:06 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]  
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[quote author=“TheChampion”]Take Christianity 101 and all these questions will be answered. You don’t know the basics. So how can Christianity be a bad thing for you if you don’t know what its about?


Take “Chrstianity 101” from Christian apologists and you’ll get a good idea of what communist re-education might be like under a kind communist government.

Faith creates a mental block that prevents articles of faith from being honestly evaluated. You see the same thing in other areas of “programming” (socialization). It’s obvious to objective outsiders, particularly when the same basic arguments believers accept as validation for their beliefs are put in the proper perspective and rejected when applied to others.

I’m sure we’ll see an example in here soon.

Byron

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Posted: 13 February 2005 05:13 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]  
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[quote author=“TheChampion”]Thought I would run for my life did you????

CanZen Take Christianity 101 and all these questions will be answered. You don’t know the basics. So how can Christianity be a bad thing for you if you don’t know what its about?

Finally, it is not my job to convert you, I’ll leave it up to the holy spirit to do that. My job is to be a witness to the truth. A truth not validated scientifically. However, circumstantial evidence is on my side.

I await your responses, scorn, agreement, ....conversion?  )

That’s your answer Champion?  Why should I take Christianity 101 - I was raised a Christian and did take a course in religious studies at university (incidently, I have read the bible from cover to cover many years ago).  I wish you would grant me the modicum of intelligence of being able to understand the complexities involved here and not try to paint us as idiots (Sam included).  If your response is typical of Christian enlightenment that answer only shows me that you are unable to give one so you skirt the issue by claiming that I am not educated(Christian-wise).  Let me try again, “In your enlightened Christian opinion, is it God Himself who is irrevocably changed by the fulfillment or is it only the Divine Laws as they relate to man?”

In case you missed it, the point here is whether or not God has changed or only the destiny of man that has been altered by the fulfillment?  If you don’t know the answer Champion, just come right out and say so, your omniscience is hardly an issue for me.

Bob

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Posted: 13 February 2005 08:46 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]  
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CanZen: Sorry if I offended you.

Your question: In case you missed it, the point here is whether or not God has changed or only the destiny of man that has been altered by the fulfillment?

God never changed. He laid out his laws and no man could ever fulfill the law, hence, the need for a savior. But, Christ fulfilled the law and believing in him as your savior makes you redeemed from the penalty of the law. So, there is my answer. Let me also say, since Christ’s instructions to us equate to love, then SamH’s premise is wrong from the get-go. He can’t include Christianity in his equation of religion is not good for the modern age. Doing so is to ignore the obvious facts. I see Sam is a highly educated, talented person. So why has he done this? (the whole point)

By the way, I only mentioned a class to you because you were asking so many basics, which are easily answered in a class. However, if you want to get into it point by point, we can do that. Of course, I’m not an expert and there are those out there who seem to know everything…but I might be able to change your mind on things. I could not do this with the power of my words or my intellect, but with the demonstration of power that comes through testimoney.


SkepticX: You said: Faith creates a mental block that prevents articles of faith from being honestly evaluated.

I would beg to differ with you on this. Rather, the articles of faith need evaluation to help solidify one’s belief. If you are an intellectual, as I suppose the users on this forum are, then you should have no problem investigating this article of faith.

You have a wide variety of scientific material from which to make an informed decision. However, I would recommend “Evidence That Demands a Verdict I ⅈ.”

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Posted: 13 February 2005 09:01 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]  
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I echo what Bob just said!  Are you arogant enough to believe that the only valid reason people reject your religion is that they dont understand it?  Like many of us here, I have studied not only the principals of your religion, but its origins, writings, history, and belief systems for the last thirty years!  I would be willing to wager, if I was a betting man, that I understand it far better than you. 

In fact, I would propose that if more of the adherents understood it better, there would be far less of you!  Why do you think the church kept the bible out of the hands of the faithful for so long?  Your apologists are still doing the same thing in different ways.

By the way, champ, I am hardly a liberal.  I have four (out of five) children who think I am an arch conservative, and I am in many ways.  However, I am a freethinker, and follow no particular “line.”  I have positions that span both of our political camps.  I am not intolerant of any opposing view, as long as it is a considered view.

Of course you can use the bible as a basis for your statements, it is just that, to me, it would be the same as quoting out of some astrology handbook.

Pete

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Posted: 13 February 2005 09:32 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]  
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[quote author=“TheChampion”]I would recommend “Evidence That Demands a Verdict I ⅈ.”

That recommendation speaks volumes (even as a believer McDowell’s apologetics never came close to cutting it with me). Quite frankly it says about all I need to know about the likely value of further discussion, and that my impression is almost certainly accurate.

The Jury Is In

Byron

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Posted: 13 February 2005 09:44 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]  
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Hi Hampsteadpete: You said: Why do you think the church kept the bible out of the hands of the faithful for so long? Your apologists are still doing the same thing in different ways.

I disagree with you on that. The reformation occurred because people began reading the bible (which closed the chapter on the dark ages). Contraire, we want the word out in the public as much as possible. Remember, God said his word will not return back void? Also, remember the distinction of the parable in Luke 8. The sower sowed seed on rocky ground, thorny ground, good soil, etc. People forget that Jesus said the seed was the “word of God.” So we want to sow the word of God on tv, radio, and…..in our universities….DOH!!!

I too have positions that span both political camps, and I do not lump all non believers as liberals.

So you have all this knowledge from studying for 30 years. What is your take on Sam Harris’ book and the general questions at hand? Do you agree with him that all religions are bad for the modern age? What is your take on reason vs faith? Is it possible to have both? Has science confirmed evolution? Will man discover our orgins?

As for me, I tow the company (Christian) line.

I look forward to your response.

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Posted: 13 February 2005 09:55 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]  
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Oh come SkepticX, you made a generalization, which was an insult to all believers at large (and I let it slide). Then you discount McDowell’s extensive work on the subject. Now you are denigrating the value of dialog with me. What gives?

Let’s talk views. You are a skeptic. Why? How have you reached your views? Do you choose reason over faith? Why?

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Posted: 13 February 2005 09:59 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]  
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Hello Champion,

Ok, let’s go back, and look at your sentence(s) structure.

Champion>>>Harris fails to understand

A Diab>>>Firstly, how do you know, that Harris fails to understand? You admit, that he studied religions, for X amount of years. Not agreeing with a text material, and not understanding…are 2 different things altogether. He may not believe, though he understands what the author was intending to say.

Champion>>>is that Jesus Christ is the “fulfillment” of the law (Torah…Deut, etc.).

A Diab>>>I’d venture to guess, that Harris does know that text, very well, as well. But if he thinks it’s all mythology, he would not give the text, much “weight.”

Champion>>>And what are the laws, or commandments, for JC followers. Lets start with loving your neighbor as yourself (think that works well for the modern age).

A Diab>>>“Harris” is the subject, of whom you were speaking about.

Your question, about loving your neighbor, carries huge implications, that you WERE saying Harris doesn’t understand, agree, or practice this.

If you’d like the benefit of the doubt though, than I shall extend that to you.

So moving on then…

It IS good to know then, NOW, that you think Harris DOES desire to love his neighbor.

If he doesn’t wear the “Christian label,” how can that be?

So you’re saying non-believers keep the commandments too?

Which is plural, btw.

In fact, from “your text” Jesus is to have said..

Keep my commandments (plural)

Yet in another verse, he says,

Commandment (singular)

Jesus said>>>”A NEW commandment I give to you, that you love one another; even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By all this men will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”
(Jn. 13:34-35)

Yet, in Lev. 19:18, we have this…


‘Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against one of your people, but love your neighbor as yourself…

How then, is what Jesus said, “new?”

Notice too, that IF, WHEN you love your neighbor (as you state that Sam DOES) doesn’t that “squeeze” him then, into the category, of being a disciple of Jesus?

Is loving one’s neighbor, and loving another “believer” the same thing?

Would you say Sam does love his neighbors, as long as they are NOT a Christian?

Do you see some possible variables, here? 


You also said>>>He tries to say that true Christianity does not advocate loving your neighbor

Could you copy, and paste the sentence, where he said that please? I haven’t read the entire book. I’d like to see the context, etc.

I read his thoughts to mean that “rigidly held dogmatic understandings, do not advocate loving your neighbor… or at least… that,

OUT OF THE WELL OF THE MAINSTREAM CHRISTIANS , COMES FORTH SWEET, *AND* BITTER WATER.

Perhaps Sam was saying, in effect, to the Mainstream-ers “Ye hypocrites?”

You also stated, that Sam “may have an agenda.

Correct me, if I mis-read, but it seems your saying Sam is trying to de-convert believers. That he is even anti-Christ? Don’t want to put words in your mouth, just asking you to clairify.

For arguments sake,  if that were true, could/would that agenda be powerful enough to hinder the plan of the “God of your understanding?”

If Sam NEVER comes to believe, as you do, whats the worst case scenerio, that Sam, and others like him, will have to face?

Advocatus Diaboli

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Some people never say the words “I Love You” for like a child, they’re longing to be told” ~Paul Simon~

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Posted: 13 February 2005 10:06 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]  
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Champion, you say that you want to ‘seed’ the “word of god” on the tv, radio, etc. . . Isn’t it odd that you reject the facticity of scientific reason that has brought you radio, television, the internet, (sub-atomic physics and evolution theory), yet you are quite happy to use these various technologies to broadcast your Medieval misconceptions.

If god bequeathed science to human beings, he must have understood that this same reason would eventually lead to his own extinction.  Maybe science was god’s strange and mysterious way of committing suicide?

Bob

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Posted: 13 February 2005 02:21 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]  
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CanZen: Based on your premise, then all advances by scientific reasoning should be rejected by believers. Well, about the microwave. If I am hungry, would I not want to use the microwave to quickly heat them up? If not, then I should reject that and use the stove. But the stove is gas and the pan is high tech. Oops, can’t have that, guess I should build a campfire. Can I use matches? Were they not the result of basic scientific reasoning?

The scientific reasoning I reject is that which exposes “theories” that conflict with the word of God.


Advocatus Diaboli: Where do I start. We should sit down over a coffee and discuss your analysis. Then I could defend myside. Actually, I do not have the time at this moment. But I would talk further. One thing, is not being a follower of Jesus a good thing for the world. Then you have people who love their neighbor as themself. You also have them following Paul’s instruction to do good, visit those in prision, feed the poor, and other good things. Paul also told us to focus on those things which are pure. I ask you all, how can this modern world do without Christians???

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