I will agree that Harris’s critique of religion is very shallow. I recently read Dawkins’ The God Delusion and was shocked at how shallow his arguments are.
I suspect that’s the result of taking a focus as a totality. Because one focuses on shallow fundamentalism doesn’t mean one considers shallow fundamentalism the basic nature of the entirety or necessarily even characteristic of that religions’ practitioners. A focus is not a sum total.
I disagree. I don’t think SH and Dawkins represent themselves as focusing on fundamentalism. They are arguing against God, period. If you’re going to do that, you need to address more than just fundamentalists.
While that is true, I would guess that SH and Dawkins would agree with the old Rand analogy which is: just as the body can only tolerate so much poison before it must collapse, so too a society can only tolerate so much irrationality before it too must collapse.
From this view, those that introduce extreme amounts of unreason into society are a MUCH larger problem than those who contribute smaller amounts.
The theologies that choose to proselytize their faith are by definition pumping their mystical beliefs into the public discourse… those would be a natural focus for a campaign of reason and enlightenment.
So the obvious question is what I asked earlier in this thread: What constitutes acceptable evidence? Who is the authority that decides whether evidence is acceptable or not? When SH gets to this point he sets up a ridiculous comparison of three sources of information: 1. a news anchor reporting on a fire, 2. biologists saying that DNA is the basis of sexual reproduction, and 3. The Pope declaring that Jesus was born of a virgin.
Of course the third one is not acceptable evidence. But this is not a meaningful look at what the requirements for evidence should be. Just an easy assault on religious belief.
For example, let’s take an assertion like ‘love is better than hate.’ What is the acceptable evidence to prove or disprove this assertion?
I don’t see how this supports what you say about the book. Why ask about acceptable evidence for something that all philosophies and all cultures have asked? The question is about religion. “born of a virgin” is on a completely different scale than “love better than hate”. You are proving the point of religion has limited value by choosing something that you would have to consider first, then come to the Bible and evaluate it (the Bible) based on that (love better than hate). If you decide smiting and hating are better, you end up with a different interpretation of the Bible than I do.
Actually, I found the above while looking for your original post that just got quoted. I don’t know how you arrived at the conclusion that Sam was “shallow” and only addressed fundamentalism. Most of the first chapter is about moderates. It’s a great explanation of how they cut off both the faith conversation and the reason one. Reason, obviously if they accept anything on faith, but they can’t talk to their fundamentalist brethren and get them stop being unreasonable, because they also disavow whole sections of the Bible.
Interesting observing reactions today to the 21 girls freed by Boko Haram. The first thing I saw about it was like option #1, a news anchor reporting it. It was on Facebook, but it was clearly NBC News. People questioned the reality of it, based on the dress the girls were in, it didn’t “look Islamic”, and a few other ignorant comments. Our ability to judge what is true is truly in crisis.
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During WW 2, near Giovanni Rontondo, Italy, multiple U.S. Airforce bombing missions were sent to bomb an ammunition dump in that area. Multiple air crews of a variety of faiths all reported the same phenomena. They were waved off by a “flying monk” who had wounds on the palms of both hands. This happened so many times, it was a lively topic of discussion back at the base. General Twining was mad at his air crews for disobeying orders and failing to carry out their mission. So he went up on a bombing mission himself, and encountered the same phenomena. In some cases, the bombs automatically jettisoned.
Later, he heard that a Catholic Saint, Padre Pio lived there. A group of them went to see him, and the first thing he said to General Twining, was “So you’re the man who is trying to get us all killed. But after that, he became friendly.
This was not the first time Padre Pio had bilocated in front of soldiers. During WW 1, a general Cardona had lost a battle, and was planning to commit suicide. He locked his door, and gave careful instructions to his orderly not to let anyone in. As he picked up his gun, a monk appeared in his room and said, “Such an action would be most fooish.” Then the monk disappeared. Years, later he saw a photo of Padre Pio and said, “that’s him!!. He visited Padre Pio and he remarked, “That was a close call General.”
Yet another soldier was trying to shelter himself next to a rock during an artillery bombardment. A monk suddenly appeared and told him to move from that spot. He did not move, so the monk told him a second time. The third time, the monk physically grabbed him and shoved him out of the way. Then a shell burst at the place where he had been standing. Padre Pio again.
Padre Pio also appeared to Cardinal Midzentsy while the latter was in prison in Hungary. When asked about bilocation, he said it was possible through expansion of the consciousness. Since Sam Harris is not advanced enough in his meditation practice to do this, maybe best if he does not teach. There are several well documented examples of bilocation in AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF A YOGI by Paramahansa Yogananda.