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Challenging 'A Letter to a Christian Nation'
Posted: 21 August 2007 08:14 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 16 ]  
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Well I finally made it through this essay and it wasn’t easy.  First of all, what really struck me was how this was yet another example of an obviously intelligent believer try to grapple with Harris’s arguments.  Clearly he had never encountered such a concise attack before.  He ends up talking in circles and conceding many of the most damaging blows that Harris posited. 

The most revealing part seems to be:

As a person of faith, broadly defined, I interpret morality as being, obedience to God, regardless of how that manifests itself in human happiness or suffering.  This is what frightens Mr. Harris, and frankly, me, misinterpreted in the hands of the violently unstable.  I concede that there are problematic issues with my definition as well, particularly in the attempt to more narrowly interpret the application of the broader concept, which will be addressed later.

He never does go back to address this and although he recognizes “problematic issues” with the definition, he doesn’t accept that this logic is more or less a source of pure evil.

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Posted: 25 August 2007 09:07 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 17 ]  
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[quote author=“waltercat”]Though I feel that I rarely live up to the above comments, I do thank all of you for the votes of confidence.  Maybe I oughtn’t be so humble.  (HA!  That last part was supposed to be a joke.)

I really enjoy your posts and I love to read your logic statements… Even Though I can hardly follow them. :D

I have to read them twice to follow.

Dom

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“With or without religion, you would have good people doing good things and evil people doing evil things. But for good people to do evil things, that takes religion.”

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Posted: 26 August 2007 04:00 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 18 ]  
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[quote author=“waltercat”]Though I feel that I rarely live up to the above comments, I do thank all of you for the votes of confidence.  Maybe I oughtn’t be so humble.  (HA!  That last part was supposed to be a joke.)


I’m going to have to make a point of checking out your schtuff in here, WC. I tend to fairly quickly dismiss and more or less ignore posters who demonstrate they’re not really very interested in genuine scrutiny, reasoning, actually considering evidence and the like, and I suspect I miss most of your posts because you stick with them for whatever reason.

Re: the quote that Johnny Sweatpants brought up:

As a person of faith, broadly defined, I interpret morality as being, obedience to God, regardless of how that manifests itself in human happiness or suffering.


I was just talking with a friend about this aspect of authoritarianism yesterday. When you equate obedience to an authority with morality, you actually have no real sense of morality at all. Bob Altemeyer of Manitoba U has done some research on authoritarians and found that, when they’re asked to solve even a fairly simple ethical problem, if they haven’t been specifically instructed on the problem by an authority they recognize, they don’t have the tools.

This is obviously very telling, and in the case of the OP’s friend it’s the only standard he claims to use in place of a genuine sense or concept of morality. The author even essentially states all other considerations are null. This is how Adolf Eichmanns come about ... not suggesting this guy is depraved enough to exercise faith and deference to authority to that degree, few are, but this is one of the more clear and more common manifestations of the disparity between how faith is presented and perceived by believers, and what it really is and how it really functions.

Byron

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“We say, ‘Love your brother…’ We don’t say it really, but… Well we don’t literally say it. We don’t really, literally mean it. No, we don’t believe it either, but… But that message should be clear.”—David St. Hubbins

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Posted: 27 August 2007 01:56 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 19 ]  
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Oh yeah, Skeptix.  Altemyer’s research on authoritarians is excellent stuff - and completely available online.  It’s well worth the time (or printer paper, if you don’t like reading a screen for hours on end).

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Posted: 03 September 2007 03:33 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 20 ]  
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Hi:

I’m unable to comment on everything raised because I stopped reading after a few posts. I merely read your initial post and the first couple of pages of your friend’s writing.

It strikes me that your friend is simply trying to hold on to his irrationally held beliefs. Most people choose to forget Mr. Harris’ central argument - that there is no rational reason to believe that the bible is the word of god - is never answered by evidence of any kind, just wishful thinking.

I don’t have any answers. I’m ok that I will never be able to know the Answer, due to the limits of proof in a self-referencing system.
The search for a belief is a painful reflection of human insecurity.

Just enjoy the ride.

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Posted: 14 October 2007 09:54 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 21 ]  
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No one “converts” to being an atheist.  The “theists” - anyone who is absolutely convinced of the existence of a God who is everywhere and is all powerful and all knowing and knows all the past and predicts all of the future and the Bible/Koran/Vedas/Gita/Book of Mormon/(add whatever you want) has all the answers has the onus to prove his/her point.

It is also intriguing to me as to why weaklings and the powerless feel the absolute necessity of speaking for the all powerful/all knowing/all everything God ... It proves the point Hitchens makes that the “theists” really do not believe what they would like others to believe.

If they did, they’d sit silently for the thunder/lightning/rage/whatever of the all powerful to destroy those that do not believe in him/her/whatever.

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Posted: 30 November 2007 02:39 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 22 ]  
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This Douglas Wilson fellow, will he be bringing this “God” to the debate with him? I’d pay to see that. (And I don’t pay for much, either.)
A philosophical debate?
More good sense can be acquired watching snails fuck.

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Posted: 30 November 2007 03:11 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 23 ]  
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It is also intriguing to me as to why weaklings and the powerless feel the absolute necessity of speaking for the all powerful/all knowing/all everything God ... It proves the point Hitchens makes that the “theists” really do not believe what they would like others to believe.

But then, Hitchens is such an angry cynic.
I prefer to think the Xians believe every last jot and tittle of the whole fantastical fable.

That may at least provide us with some macrabre humor.

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