Harris and change
Posted: 20 February 2005 01:16 PM   [ Ignore ]  
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I saw the Harris presentation on Book Notes today, and while I liked most of what he said just as I did with the reading of his book, I was disappointed to hear him say that he didn't/doesn't expect his book to influence any change on the problem of faith. I'm not sure if he was being honest about that, for why would one write a book on this subject and set up a website to invite discussion if he/she didn't expect or hope to have some influence?

I mean it was very significant that Harris was invited to speak in a synagogue (sp.?), for it is perfect example of where social action could take place around this question.

At the same time, his book should also be a source for more writings—books, articles, and websites. This is the way the change takes place. Though the change may be as slow as evolution, it only happens through constant dialogue and social action.

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Posted: 21 February 2005 05:50 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]  
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Perhaps the reason S. Harris does not expect any change to take place is that (and I am speaking from my own personal experience now) is that people of “faith”  that I speak with, simply and positively do not want to change.

When trying to speak reasonably with people of “faith” as to where the religious right will lead us, the response I get is that it is the path laid down by God and we will know in THE END.  At the moment, I have no idea how to combat this idea.

Would enjoy other comments, ideas etc.

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Posted: 21 February 2005 10:08 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]  
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I would imagine that while Harris hopes for change, the hope is not very strong due to the arguments above concerning people of faith. Harris seems to believe that it is fundamentalism that is leading to the end of the earth as we know it. In light of what most Christian fundamentalists believe concerning apocalypse and Armageddon, it might be impossible to ever get these points across. They see impending doom as proof of Biblical validity—-the causal relationship as they see it is reversed.

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Posted: 22 February 2005 09:45 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]  
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[quote author=“Anonymous”]I would imagine that while Harris hopes for change, the hope is not very strong due to the arguments above concerning people of faith. Harris seems to believe that it is fundamentalism that is leading to the end of the earth as we know it. In light of what most Christian fundamentalists believe concerning apocalypse and Armageddon, it might be impossible to ever get these points across. They see impending doom as proof of Biblical validity—-the causal relationship as they see it is reversed.

Perhaps it’s not religious fundamentalists we need to be talking to. There are far too many truth seekers out there who need to talked to, but we who think like Sam Harris must develop the convictions in our rational thinking.

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Posted: 23 February 2005 05:33 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]  
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saw the same book notes.  good presentation of the facts.  i think harris did a good job of explaining himself why he doesn’t expect his ideas to change much.  in the same vein of writers/philosophers like Hegel, Marx, or Chomsky, Harris understands the process of the dialectic.  it’s not that change should be unexpected, it just shouldn’t be looked upon as the goal during your lifetime (or your children’s for that matter).  if we have just discovered or uncovered the problem; identified it, categorized it, however else we might describe what has come about in the last 20 or 30 years, we would be foolish to assume we could then reform and reshape the situation into a new form in the course of a decade.  for the same reason that every “communist” country has failed up to now, any attempt to force an issue is doomed to failure.  our responsibility is to recognize the problem, and not let it shrink back into the shadows.  the same way we confront alcoholics, or drug addicts with their problem; presenting them with an honest and uncomprimising view of their problem, we have to constantly confront those that would peddle fundamentalism or extremism.  what harris calls “conversational intolerance,” is only the first step in a long process that will eventually develop into a change, or proper solution to the problem.  but again, we shouldn’t expect this to happen overnight, during our lifetime, or otherwise.  expecting it often, much too easily, becomes forcing it.

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Posted: 24 February 2005 12:49 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]  
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Guest said:

When trying to speak reasonably with people of “faith” as to where the religious right will lead us, the response I get is that it is the path laid down by God and we will know in THE END. At the moment, I have no idea how to combat this idea.

Would enjoy other comments, ideas etc.


It may be useful to remember that by questioning faith you assault their “secutity blanket” and crutch so careful application of reason and history’s lessons are required. For those who insist that we are a Christian nation with Christian roots, you might start out by reminding them that our founding fathers were anything but Christian. Readings nad quotes from Jefferson, Franklin, Payne et al will quickly illustrate this.

It will be a tough battle against those who close conversation by using the single word - faith

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