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To Sam himself :  Your mistake
Posted: 16 October 2007 12:26 AM   [ Ignore ]  
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Dear Mr. Harris,

This world; this civilization ,screams out for an explaination, an examination, a deep, deep look at religion , so your books are not only helpfull, but timely. Both books are good; I, for one ,am very glad you wrote them, but I have a problem with “christan Nation ” .
It’s as though you decided to scold Christians, as if THEY were an outstanding example of corruption in the world of religions. I believe you do know that’s not so, but there are probably thousands of others who think you are singling out Christians as bad.
I can see many a Muslim crowing with satisfaction ,high-fiveing one another and saying : “see ? we always did say that Christianity was sinful and needs to more like our religion ! 
I may be wrong, but that has been bothering me for a long time.
You must know that Islam is a far greater threat to civilization . By modern standards it is backward and inhumane . It’s a terrible threat to democracy compared to Christianiy .  If I had the talent to write like you do I’d try to make sure the reader understands this.
Maybe it’s me who does’nt understand ? I’m sorry , but that’s how I feel.

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Posted: 16 October 2007 03:29 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]  
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Sam said Christian Nation was intended as a response to a specific group of critics. I can imagine Sam responding to his Muslim critics with a similar book. I’ve been saying that while fundamentalists in Islam threaten our lives, fundamentalists in Christianity threaten our democracy. The latter threat is much more insidious and much harder to combat.

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Posted: 16 October 2007 09:29 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]  
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Carstonio - 16 October 2007 07:40 AM

Sam said Christian Nation was intended as a response to a specific group of critics. I can imagine Sam responding to his Muslim critics with a similar book. I’ve been saying that while fundamentalists in Islam threaten our lives, fundamentalists in Christianity threaten our democracy. The latter threat is much more insidious and much harder to combat.

I agree about the relative threats, but have some differences as well.  I think that the real danger is fundamentalism wherever it shows up.  The message for Christians and Moslems ought not be: “Look how ignorant your are and how much damage your religion does,” but rather “You have every right to pursue your religion as a personal spiritual path; it is worthy of respect that you have chosen to do so.  But, you have no right to try and force others to do so, either through force or legislation.”

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Posted: 16 October 2007 10:52 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]  
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burt - 16 October 2007 01:30 PM

The message for Christians and Moslems ought not be: “Look how ignorant your are and how much damage your religion does,” but rather “You have every right to pursue your religion as a personal spiritual path; it is worthy of respect that you have chosen to do so.  But, you have no right to try and force others to do so, either through force or legislation.”

Sam and his colleagues are NOT calling believers ignorant. The damage is not necessarily from “religion” but from the notion that pleasing deities is more important than human happiness and suffering. Communism and fascism caused damage for the same reason, except that the “deities” were human dictators.

You’re right to criticize believers who force others to follow their path. However, even believers who don’t do this can still cause harm to others when they focus on pleasing their deities.

[ Edited: 16 October 2007 10:57 AM by Carstonio]
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Posted: 16 October 2007 01:29 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]  
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In his lectures Sam Harris has been at pains to point out that all religions are not equal and that Islam is nastier than Christianity.

 Signature 

All Christians should be sent to heaven immediately.

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Posted: 20 October 2007 04:03 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]  
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Regarding “private belief being ok as long as it is not imposed on others”:  That is the crux of the challenge because it’s a virtual impossibility.  Fundamentalists of all stripes believe that an open liberal society expressed in reality imposes on them, the same way I believe that their desire to regulate morality according to their view, imposes on me.  They see my view that we should not discriminate - IN LAW - against homosexuality (for instance), or permit the killing of what they characterize “unborn humans”, as imposing my view on them.  And inside such system - one that is all about belief as truth -  it is understandable that they consider it their moral duty to oppose the legalizing of anything that “offends” their truth.  That’s what happens in a system committed to revealed truth as valid, instead of to “workability”. And tf that were all there was to this, it would create a real conundrum. 

However, what Sam points out very well, and I think this is one of the key strengths of his arguments, is that in the face of this inevitable impasse, the only solution is to have a duty to be able to demonstrably reason one’s way to one’s view - or it’s just another flavor of fundamentalism. (In fact, the “science is just another religion” argument is precisely this kind of argument. And however false and disingenuous, it is sublte enough that the unwitting are easily fooled by it.)  Fundamentalists do NOT consider it their duty to reasonably justify anything - they just “have faith” (they just “know”) - and that is what must be challenged head on, because in today’s world, it is simply a bankrupt notion with dangerous consequences.  What (in my read) he is challenging is the claim that it should be accepted as “responsible” to do anything based on something like belief or faith - as though that gives one’s actions a free pass.

I also think it is only honest to say we ALL do things based on “belief”, feelings, intuition, sense.  The difference is, when challenged, I (I hope) do not hide in phony and unchallengeable justifications like God, the Bible, or “the devil made me wear this red dress!”  I hope I am willing to own my irrationality AS irrational, when called upon to notice it, and to face the consequences of my actions motivated that way, should they have messy outcomes.  Being human, I am betting I fail at that sometimes - but it is a worthy standard.

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Posted: 21 October 2007 06:10 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]  
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Christian fundamentalism with it’s Zionist component is one of the driving forces for the US invasion of Iraq and the possible upcoming attack on Iran.  The only reason that the US has been so closely allied with Israel over the years, which is the chief reason we are at war in Iraq and soon perhaps Iran, is due to Biblical prophecy.

Christian fundies, who’s money and political power put Bush in office,  want to shape the future of the middle east to comply with that foretold in the Bible’s ‘end of days’ prophecies, in order to facilitate the second coming of Christ. Israel takes full advantage of this by openly using the   Christian Right as a massive lobbying force in US politics. If the idea of Biblical prophecy driving US foreign policy sounds too crazy to be true, you haven’t been paying attention.

Think of how many innocents have died in Iraq compared to 9/11/2001, or compared to all of Al Quaida’s attacks combined, and you will begin to understand that Christian fundamentalism today is every bit as dangerous in it’s foreign policy implications as fundamentalist Islam is.

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Posted: 21 October 2007 12:00 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]  
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Frank M. - 21 October 2007 10:10 AM

Think of how many innocents have died in Iraq compared to 9/11/2001, or compared to all of Al Quaida’s attacks combined, and you will begin to understand that Christian fundamentalism today is every bit as dangerous in it’s foreign policy implications as fundamentalist Islam is.

You have your facts right - you’ve just drawn the wrong conclusion. If you are from the USA, you live alongside Christian fundamentalists. They are not threatening to behead you for criticizing their faith. You can criticize Jesus personally, and you will not be killed. Your wife/girlfriend does not have to cover herself from head to toe, and look down when she meets a man. If you don’t like girls, you won’t be beheaded for that, either. Soon, post-Christian Europe will become Islamic. Then, they will long for those good ole’ Christians. I’m telling you Frank, you need to bet on the right horse on this one. Islamic foreign policy is targeting you.

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Posted: 22 October 2007 03:31 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]  
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Islam is downright evil, and thoroughly perverted. This vileness must be destroyed, or it will kill everyone.

I do not think Sam Harris would disagree that Islam is far, far worse than any other existing religion today, but that does not mean we should be accepting of those thought systems themselves.

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Posted: 22 October 2007 03:33 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]  
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Double post

[ Edited: 22 October 2007 12:13 PM by arildno]
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Posted: 22 October 2007 09:34 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]  
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These attacks on Islam per se are misdirected.  The enemy is fundamentalism, wherever it shows up.  Islam will change with the times, as will all other religions.  For example, a friend of mine is leaving next week for a conference in Cairo sponsored by an Islamic group.  Topic is the way different religions view the stem cell debate.  The Islamic scholars who organize this conference want to provide modern input to the sunni mullas (currently, in Islam, an embryo is not considered alive until 60 days have passed which is a bit better than the Catholic view).  Calling Islam vile and evil in such a blanket way is like calling England vile and evil because of the Irish question.

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Posted: 22 October 2007 10:45 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]  
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Utter nonsense, burt.
Read the damn Quran. Read the hadith. Read the Sharia.

Educate yourself on the worst hellholes on this planet, namely the Islamic countries of this world.

Unless Muslims start a much-needed condemnantion of their childfucking, mass-murdering prophet, they remain, all of them, deeply morally perverted individuals.

Whenever was “the Irish question” the explicit, defining ideology of England??

[ Edited: 22 October 2007 12:12 PM by arildno]
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Posted: 22 October 2007 12:59 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]  
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arildno - 22 October 2007 02:45 PM

Utter nonsense, burt.
Read the damn Quran. Read the hadith. Read the Sharia.

Educate yourself on the worst hellholes on this planet, namely the Islamic countries of this world.

Unless Muslims start a much-needed condemnantion of their childfucking, mass-murdering prophet, they remain, all of them, deeply morally perverted individuals.

Whenever was “the Irish question” the explicit, defining ideology of England??

Don’t you see how your perceptions and reactions are controlled by words, how when somebody speaks or writes the word Islam you have no possibility of responding except in the way that you do?  To the degree that this happens, you are not an awake human being but a puppet of words.

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Posted: 22 October 2007 01:05 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]  
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Bruce Burleson - 21 October 2007 04:00 PM

If you are from the USA, you live alongside Christian fundamentalists. They are not threatening to behead you for criticizing their faith. .... Islamic foreign policy is targeting you.


I don’t doubt the Islamists are targeting us Bruce, but they are targeting us in no small part as a reaction to US intervention in the middle east on behalf of Israel.  One type of religious fundamentalism fuels the other.  To me, fundamentalist Islam and Christianity are like two heads of the same snake, each head fighting with the other over which gets to swallow us all. I don’t want to pick one head over the other. I want to kill the whole snake.

If you think outspoken atheists or other non-christians don’t suffer persecution by Christians in the USA, including being threatened with abuse or death, you are clearly uninformed. You can read about one Atheist family’s experience here:

http://www.atheists.org/flash.line/smalko3.htm

Full magazine article here:

http://www.atheists.org/aam/free/200608.pdf

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Posted: 22 October 2007 01:29 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]  
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burt - 22 October 2007 04:59 PM
arildno - 22 October 2007 02:45 PM

Utter nonsense, burt.
Read the damn Quran. Read the hadith. Read the Sharia.

Educate yourself on the worst hellholes on this planet, namely the Islamic countries of this world.

Unless Muslims start a much-needed condemnantion of their childfucking, mass-murdering prophet, they remain, all of them, deeply morally perverted individuals.

Whenever was “the Irish question” the explicit, defining ideology of England??

Don’t you see how your perceptions and reactions are controlled by words, how when somebody speaks or writes the word Islam you have no possibility of responding except in the way that you do?  To the degree that this happens, you are not an awake human being but a puppet of words.

Yawn.
You are a naive fool.
Look at the evidence, in this matter, as in every other.

However, you probably won’t get it, given your “perspective”.

You really don’t understand, do you, that for example the whole idea of Hell, where unbelievers are to be burned for all eternity is simply an expression of rank sadism.

And thus, every one ascribing to that horrid fantasy,thinking it proper, whether Christian or Muslim, is a deeply perverted individual.

[ Edited: 22 October 2007 01:49 PM by arildno]
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Posted: 22 October 2007 03:06 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]  
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arildno - 22 October 2007 05:29 PM
burt - 22 October 2007 04:59 PM
arildno - 22 October 2007 02:45 PM

Utter nonsense, burt.
Read the damn Quran. Read the hadith. Read the Sharia.

Educate yourself on the worst hellholes on this planet, namely the Islamic countries of this world.

Unless Muslims start a much-needed condemnantion of their childfucking, mass-murdering prophet, they remain, all of them, deeply morally perverted individuals.

Whenever was “the Irish question” the explicit, defining ideology of England??

Don’t you see how your perceptions and reactions are controlled by words, how when somebody speaks or writes the word Islam you have no possibility of responding except in the way that you do?  To the degree that this happens, you are not an awake human being but a puppet of words.

Yawn.
You are a naive fool.
Look at the evidence, in this matter, as in every other.

However, you probably won’t get it, given your “perspective”.

You really don’t understand, do you, that for example the whole idea of Hell, where unbelievers are to be burned for all eternity is simply an expression of rank sadism.

And thus, every one ascribing to that horrid fantasy,thinking it proper, whether Christian or Muslim, is a deeply perverted individual.

But that is just it, you look at the evidence through a filter of your own beliefs and prejudices so you see what you expect.  That means that you are not objective or mentally free.  The same statement applies to Muslims, Christians, Socialists, Flat Earthers, or anybody who can only see the world from a single fixed perspective and believes that this is the way things really are.  It perpetuates exactly the sort of violence and hatred that you decry.  Whey you categorize people simply by what you think their beliefs stand for you are ignoring the individual and dehumanizing them.  When you treat people that way, you will deepen their attachments to their beliefs and simply create a deeper division.  After a while you will begin to think that they really do deserve to be killed because they are totally evil.

[ Edited: 22 October 2007 03:11 PM by burt]
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