I found my way to The End of Faith discusson forum after seeing Sam Harris on C-span. I was totally impressed with his presentation and relieved to know that someone was finally taking a stand on a long overdue subject. I began recommending his book to every potentially receptive mind I knew.
When I checked out the web site and began reading the forum postings, I was totally impressed with the amount of intelligence, reasoning, and open minded philosophy of posters. It wasn't a perfect forum, but I felt it outclassed any other I have seen on the web.
I cannot believe otherwise intelligent adults have allowed a single, delusional poster called TheChampion to monopolize and deconstruct this great forum. Too many of you have contributed to his silly control games and are allowing this forum to self destruct. He grows more and more unstable and delusional as you feed his ego. YOU give him power, and only you can stop him.
I originally thought TheChampion might be beneficial in the sense that he would aptly demonstrate to anyone the absolute ridiculousness of his ignorant beliefs. That may have happened, but who can tell as the chaos has gotten out of control?
PLEASE, for the sake of those of us who value this forum, disengage with the nonsense. Get real, get a life, and get off this forum if this is all you have to do to alleviate boredom in your lives.
Sam Harris is a very brave man who has gone out on a limb to achieve some rationality in an insane world. Don't discredit his efforts and don't trash his forum.
Good points. I am not old, and I certainly don’t feel very wise much of the time, but I will try to summon some wisdom up anyway.
Patience is one of the few virtues that seems to be truly universal. Sadly it is also universally in short supply.
When people discuss matters of importance, they tend to become passionate, which is a mixed blessing. Passion is important, of course, but it can also breed impatience, and instill a desire to convert other people “right now” which is seldom a good way to go.
I remember reading the work of a behavior specialist a while back, who was discussing rowdy students. Their solution was, rather than using clasical punishment, to simply remove the troublemakers from the class for a period of time. Thus, polite society was the “reward” and its removal was the punishment.
I am not without fault in this area, but I do try, and will step up my efforts, to apply a sort of online variant of this approach. Essentially, I will treat with anyone who seems earnest and is willing to engage in respectful conversation. I will do my best to ignore everything else.
Ultimately, I feel that even irrascible troublemakers have a place in our society. I don’t want to marginalize anyone, and although certain people are more difficult to get along with, I am dedicated to attempting to get everyone to join in our reindeer games.
Everyman, you make a good point. I have seen a number of other web forums, supposedly dedicated to “religion and spirituality” issues, descend to the level of the right-wing evangelicals who see the end of the world approaching, with much glee apparently. In fact, some of them may be doing their best to bring about that event. They tend to monopolize these forums, and are tireless in their efforts. I suspect that many of them don’t have much of a life beyond the primitive nonsense they have bought into. At its extreme limits, I’m sure it crosses the border into mental illness.
This presents a real conundrum for those who are committed to freedom of speech and free exchange of ideas. At what point should the majority members of a forum say, “Enough already!” and just stop responding to a person who is disingenuously raising issues just to make trouble? Maybe we should get out our Bibles and see if Leviticus has any penalties for those who are out to make mischief on web forums? I bet there’s some passage somewhere in there…
The things I said were an attempt to express my frustration with the lack of integrity on this forum lately. I wrote not with the intent of a personal attack on you, although I feel you must accept responsibility as the primary instigator of so much of the sniping and silly tit-for-tat going on in what is supposed to be a discussion forum of great significance. You baited people with your references, then when they responded, you refused to engage in a discussion of the issue at hand, simply reverting more and more to quoting scripture, or simply not responding. How many times have you been asked to speak from your own thoughts, and you continued to quote text from a dogmatic source which very few people on this forum consider any type of authority? Your first posts did seem to be seeking some type of dialogue, but they degenerated into what seemed to be your idea of a chat room. Your one and two liners encourage others with the same quips and snipes. Don’t get me wrong, one liners are sometimes a fine way to express a thought, but it does help if there is a thought and not just a snipe and run. Of all the people who honestly tried to engage you, you seem to most enjoy the mocking and game playing. Unfortunately, you have led others into the nonsense games.
Today, I read your responses to tyhts and nomoresilence. Although I cannot agree whatsoever with the vast majority of things you say (that’s an understatement), at least you have proven you can speak for yourself and convey a few of your own thoughts. It was not my request that you be removed from the ‘reindeer games’. I do believe in free speech and I do still believe you have a purpose as a mirror for the minds of people who read this forum. You have proven you have the ability to post a non-delusional comment. I challenge you to continue using that ability if you wish to validate your presence here.
While typing this reply, I noticed your last post. Well, what can I say? Here I am trying to give you a little credit and a little opportunity for redemption, and it’s back to business as usual!!!
Please read Sam Harris’s first post in this forum. Give him a little respect and use the forum as it was intended. If you really want to make the world a better place (do you?), then engage in dialogue with the intelligence you should have gained from all those universities you attended.
It’s an old cliche phrase, but certainly true in many respects… “If you’re not part of the solution, you must be part of the problem.”
I thought you folks on the left would welcome debate, not squash it.
Certainly, everyone here welcomes debate. Debate does consist of expressed thoughts and considered, deliberate, reasoned discussion. Try it, you might enjoy it.
BTW, what’s with you and all your labels? You label everyone here as leftist (whatever that is) and as intellectuals. I for one, am neither. I am simply an average human being who refuses to live in any such box.
Hi Everyman, well, I guess I have to totally apologize to everyone on the forum if I have paved the way for the tit for tat sniping. It was not my intention in the beginning. I am human you know, and my first response is to hit back. Of course, it certainly is not the Christian thing to do. I think I have expressed it a time or two that God is still working on me (no Christian is perfect, rather we spend a lifetime working out the kinks of our fleshly nature…).
I must say that the bible is my foundational belief. So I use it repeatedly when discussing one’s view. I really do respect Sam (believe me, I do) and the others on this forum. I never tried to bait someone and then run away. There are so many topics and posts and all of us have so little time.
I still reserve the right to have faith and invoke scripture when discussing our beliefs. I also want to retain my crazy sense of humor (an essential ingredient for survival in this culture war).
But in the interest of sanity, I will try to be a better game player on this forum.
I must say that the bible is my foundational belief. So I use it repeatedly when discussing one’s view.
Why? Why do you feel you have to quote from it?. There are all sorts of professional scientists, engineers, and other highly qualified people on this forum, and very seldom do any of us quote from any of the sources available to us. We don’t need to. We can make points with only an occasional reference to a web site, or quotation from a news article, or something like that.
Could it be because the ONLY justification for any of your positions is contained in the book of yours? That is a pretty sad baggage to bring to a forum such as this, don’t you think?
I read a post by William where he said that you did your cause more harm than good by your presence here, and I agree with him. By the way, I don’t think you’re a joke, like CA, I think you are as serious as a heart attack, and you should be delt with as such. I am one of those that realizes that discourse with us is the furthest thing from your mind. You are only here to soak up points in the final days leading up to the rapture.
This tears me up. On one hand, considering all viewpoints, and even “knowing the enemy,” if you will, seems beneficial. On the other, isn’t the whole point—the whole basis for discussion here and for reason in general—to be able to make a point that approaches a sort of “objective” view? (Potentially unachievable, I would agree, but worth striving for.) Answers to questions must either be definitive (i.e. demonstrable) or open-ended. That Scripture is a reason unto itself is surely the view of the Faithful. This is the very fact that is irreconcilable with reason. This is dogma, indoctrination, brainwashing, etc. The act of Reasoning would seem to deny a place for such views.
The truly reasonable person sees religious ideology and says “well, that’s interesting,” then points out all its contradictions and failures and moves on. The devout person cannot reasonably take a contrary stance. Science lives, grows, changes, and, at its best, accepts its failures. Religion, as Sam illustrates especially well, only does so under great secular pressure.
A paradigm: A scientist slaves for years on a theory, only to finally have incontrovertible proof to the contrary. Damn. He redirects his efforts to expound on the new evidence. A priest is faced with the prospect of Biblical inaccuracies. If he can at least accept this possibility (admittedly doubtful), how can he react? He cannot throw away the Word of God. He may attempt to reconcile Scripture with metaphor, until the original meaning, the unerring intention of the Almighty is thoroughly obscured to make room for reality.
What, oh what, is the answer?
I suppose we must embrace the virtue of patience, not as a Christian or other believer, but as a parent, who hopes that one day, by our best efforts and examples, the children may learn to think for themselves and cease making unreasonable demands.
But, there are no Biblical inaccuracies. Not a one. Oh, you’ll find lots of stuff on the web and elsewhere, but 95% of it is junk. Talk to any linquist expert who is also knowledgeable on the bible and they’ll instantly throw out most of the so-called inaccuracies. There are about 5 conflicts which are a little difficult to reason out, but any scientific brain can do it in a second.
The scientific mind is not bogged down by trying to justify ancient, control-oriented ramblings. My point was a simple one: If you are brainwashed, it is supremely difficult to argue against what you’ve been brainwashed to believe. Believers cannot detach themselves enough from scripture to even consider that, to a non-indoctrinated mind, much of it is archaic, self-contradictory gibberish.
To clarify further, misunderstanding and misinterpretation of the supposed Word of God should not be conceivable. Yet clearly it is done by most, or rather, all of those who try to do so.
The responses of the Faithful continue to validate every argument against them and their capacity for Reason.
Believers cannot detach themselves enough from scripture to even consider that, to a non-indoctrinated mind, much of it is archaic, self-contradictory gibberish.
It is not that they cannot, it is that they will not. Lets try and come up with some reasons why, and then it may lead us to something else. So, you start the list and I’ll add to it. What we should do is start another topic and ask for reasons why people would choose not to detach themselves. Sound like an interesting endeavor?
——if you know you are, then you know your purpose——