:D I have just finally finished reading your book THE END OF FAITH. I say finally because it is so profound and so important that each word and thought had to be savoured. The last chapter was far beyond my capacities to really comprehend.
Your basic premise is my own fundemental (sic) belief (sic). I do not believe in belief. It is too unbelievable.
However, (to oversimplify a subject which is too complex) I take the position that the idea of god is a lie: That most people know this consciously or unconsciously and therefore feel free to lie, cheat swindle and harm their fellow citizens at any time and in any place. They all know deep down that there is no heaven or hell and that there is no hereafter.
It is also obvious that all men are not created equal (treated equal- yes)
But that lie serves only the stronger and the wiser (more intelligent) to control the weaker and dumber to do their bidding. Laws- mankind's laws- must be enforced to protect us from the advantage takers. Humans invented god. Humans invented law. Now humans must get rid of god and maintain law.
Religion has harmed more people than religion has ever helped. Religion is a tool for conquest of minds and wealth and is the source of power.
Religion has been in control for at least 8 thousand years. It has become a failure even though in the early years before science it served some modest good purpose; it is time to try a new tack and live our lives in the here and now with all consequences in the here and now with the human invented law as our standard.
Our democracy has been (since 1776) the most non-religious state ever in history and our vector of progress and standard of living is a testament(sic) to the importance of of non-religiosity. Currently we are veering away from that vector but my hope is that the back and forth of our democratic process will veer once again in the alternate direction and that our vector will return to it's path. I am an optimist.
alanabbott, huh, what’s this about us religious folks harming people and all that. I don’t understand. Can you expound?? Like we go around harming people. How can you say that!??! I mean, how dare….Ya know, why I outta tack you to a stake and burn you alive for heresy…
(hee hee hee, just a little Christian humor here, yuk yuk, just kidding, just a little Friday afternoon humor, hee hee hee).
(Well, I thought it was funny. It sure did have shock value.)
Why not just ignore Champion? It’s not as though he’s trying to actually think any original thoughts; he’s here for the definite purpose of taking up space and disrupting the board. He’s not even starting discussions. Discussions go somewhere and what he has to say never does because he just keeps repeating the same thing. He has too much of an agenda to do that. And what’s his agenda? To take up space and disrupt the board.
When this kind of thing happens in political blogs, people start asking who sent in the troll, and is he being paid?
My favorite response: Don’t feed the trolls!
I haven’t quite finished reading the book. Usually I read a book in a day or so but this one takes time and thought. I don’t agree with everything Sam Harris says, or at least I don’t think I do, but so far he hasn’t said anything that isn’t at least thought-provoking, and that’s very rare. I consider this a very good, important book. My hunch is that the next book will probably be his GREAT book, and I’m looking forward to it.
I was afraid this book would be just another diatribe against religion. There have been more than enough of those written over the past hundred years and more, so, because of the title, I almost didn’t buy it. His presentation on C-SPAN changed my mind. Being a cynic, which goes way beyond being a skeptic, I doubt that “faith” is going to go away. After all, I have “faith” that, in spite of all the dismal signs here in the north-east that it won’t, spring will eventually get here. And I saw a robin yesterday. Aha! A “magic” sign? Not really. Robins do return in the spring. Being a cynic, I remind myself that some hang around all winter, too. My point is that “faith” is a primitive, built-in way of responding to the world, not likely to go away. I read Harris’ book as really about the end of a certain kind of blind belief without requiring evidence. There’s plenty of evidence that most robins migrate.
I don’t think we need to feel much distress over losing that kind of blind faith, even though this seems to throw an awful lot of good people into a (temporary) state of confusion. It also causes the development of extreme reactionary responses, of which Champion is a good example. I do worry about that, because our government is currently in the hands of the extreme reactionaries and, as Harris points out, this could lead to disaster. May we all live through this!
What I’m truly delighted to see is that this book is causing the kind of hard thinking Alanabbot is obviously doing. That kind of thinking is, I think, what we should all be doing now. So here’s a question. What positive functions did organized religion perform for society, and how do we replace them? Preferably without creating yet another kind of dogmatic belief system?
:D Let’s start at the beginning when Homo Sapiens became Homo Sapiens Sapiens, at that time when the brain and neurology reach the critical point allowing for thought beyond only Darwinian survival.
Picture yourself sitting down in the warm sunshine of a spring day. Look at the sky and at the sun (but not directly nor for too long at the sun itself).
What happens is “AWE”. You do not yet know the meaning of awe but it is in your capacity to sense. Awe leads in two directions: one is to science the other is to religion. Religion is the easy way. Science requires thought and effort.
We chose the easy way. Religion first,science later. Now that science has shown us the light that religion has blinded us to it is time to discard the easy way and move on into the future with truth instead of belief. We have no idea if that future will be better but, in my opinion it can not be worse.
Survival of the fittest is my personal mantra. It is clear that the smarter and the stronger will always rise to dominate any group. How that will play out going forward is something I can not predict. But, one thing is certain: the idea that “all men are created equal” must be eliminated from our
thinking and replaced with “all men must treated equal”.
[As an aside: changing the “C” to a"T” is so simple. Think also about the pronunciation of the two words. Just a silly diversion. ]