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Was The End of Faith the Beginning?

 
Giova
 
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Giova
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24 December 2008 20:30
 

I like to think that Sam Harris’s The End of Faith book in 2004 was really the start of this 21st century Atheist Revolution, call it what you may. Next came Dawkin’s God Delusion and Hitchens’s God Is Not Great. So did Harris’s book start it all? Can you remember any atheist books published before it that could be said to have started it? I can’t, and it makes me proud to know that an American began the revolution considering the surplus of media attention over Dawkins’s publication.

This does bring up one interesting question, though. In all these publications 9/11 is mentioned as a kind of crucial point in these authors’ minds. Would any of these books have been likely to have come out were it not for 9/11?

 
GAD
 
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25 December 2008 12:03
 
Giova - 25 December 2008 01:30 AM

I like to think that Sam Harris’s The End of Faith book in 2004 was really the start of this 21st century Atheist Revolution, call it what you may. Next came Dawkin’s God Delusion and Hitchens’s God Is Not Great. So did Harris’s book start it all? Can you remember any atheist books published before it that could be said to have started it? I can’t, and it makes me proud to know that an American began the revolution considering the surplus of media attention over Dawkins’s publication.

This does bring up one interesting question, though. In all these publications 9/11 is mentioned as a kind of crucial point in these authors’ minds. Would any of these books have been likely to have come out were it not for 9/11?

His books were entertaining but really brought nothing new to the table. Atheists and atheism were here long before Sam Harris, he simply had the right book at the right time. He later created a shit storm when he wrote, The Problem of Atheism, which many Samites supported.

http://richarddawkins.net/article,1702,The-Problem-with-Atheism,Sam-Harris

 
 
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25 December 2008 12:34
 

It really is unfathomable to me how ‘the problem with atheism’ could become such an issue.

I mean, except for reading the topic name out of context, there is nothing at all provocative about it.

I didn’t react when I heard that speech at AAI, it did not occur to me to be anything but just common sense observations.

He just said, having a name for not believing in this thing, puts us in the line of fire for those who do believe it. Since it could be interpreted as an admission that the issue itself carries more weight than it actually does.

And that speech actually, perhaps even subconscioussly made me alter how I spoke about non belief. If someone asks me today if I believe in god, I no longer reply that no I’m an atheist. I just reply that, no I don’t believe in any god.
Its the same thing but as Sam did point out, the word atheist, by how our language is constructed sort of hints at a doctrine or an ism. Even though its essentially a mind trick that the word comes through that way in our head.

We note the ism at the end of the word because putting an a in front to indicate negation is not a common practice. If the word was nontheist we would hear it very differently.

Usually after I answer that I do not believe in god people still try to reel me in by following up with “so you are an atheist?”
To which I will just reply, “well a-theist just means not a theist, as I don’t follow an organized religion that obviously means that I am not a theist yeah”.

Likewise do I now actually push people when they say they are an agnostic and not an atheist, by asking them what they mean, either they are a theist or not. If they do not follow a religion, which is true for all people who call themselves agnostics, then they are atheists. Regardless of whether or not they think for sure that there is no god, or if they are just not interested in a stance.

 
 
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25 December 2008 13:16
 
Unbeliever - 25 December 2008 05:34 PM

It really is unfathomable to me how ‘the problem with atheism’ could become such an issue.

I mean, except for reading the topic name out of context, there is nothing at all provocative about it.

I didn’t react when I heard that speech at AAI, it did not occur to me to be anything but just common sense observations.

He just said, having a name for not believing in this thing, puts us in the line of fire for those who do believe it. Since it could be interpreted as an admission that the issue itself carries more weight than it actually does.

And that speech actually, perhaps even subconscioussly made me alter how I spoke about non belief. If someone asks me today if I believe in god, I no longer reply that no I’m an atheist. I just reply that, no I don’t believe in any god.
Its the same thing but as Sam did point out, the word atheist, by how our language is constructed sort of hints at a doctrine or an ism. Even though its essentially a mind trick that the word comes through that way in our head.

We note the ism at the end of the word because putting an a in front to indicate negation is not a common practice. If the word was nontheist we would hear it very differently.

Usually after I answer that I do not believe in god people still try to reel me in by following up with “so you are an atheist?”
To which I will just reply, “well a-theist just means not a theist, as I don’t follow an organized religion that obviously means that I am not a theist yeah”.

Likewise do I now actually push people when they say they are an agnostic and not an atheist, by asking them what they mean, either they are a theist or not. If they do not follow a religion, which is true for all people who call themselves agnostics, then they are atheists. Regardless of whether or not they think for sure that there is no god, or if they are just not interested in a stance.

I understand your view it is the more common one, but as a positive atheist I do not “lack belief in gods” I deny they exist.  We just had a nice rehash of atheistic views on one of IS’ threads.

oops this is the thread http://www.samharris.org/forum/viewthread/11356/

[ Edited: 25 December 2008 13:40 by GAD]
 
 
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25 December 2008 14:03
 

Whats the difference really. The difference between “denying” the existance of god, and not believing in the existance of god?

Its non theism all the same, I feel that this constant drawing of lines between how “sure” you are that there is no god is just completely irrelevant. As if there were not enough actual differences between people to debate.

 
 
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25 December 2008 17:33
 
Unbeliever - 25 December 2008 07:03 PM

Whats the difference really. The difference between “denying” the existance of god, and not believing in the existance of god?

Its non theism all the same, I feel that this constant drawing of lines between how “sure” you are that there is no god is just completely irrelevant. As if there were not enough actual differences between people to debate.

The difference in the world view between the two is large. My views are stated on the referenced thread. This is one of the things I disagree with Harris on, but more then that it is all the little Samites who didn’t feel good about calling themselves atheists who think Harris is brilliant for saying atheist is a dirty word that really bugs me.

 
 
Giova
 
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25 December 2008 17:34
 
teuchter - 25 December 2008 08:49 PM

Continue on with your pride in America, and I can’t say who was first, but I would certainly include Twain’s “Letters from Earth,” 1909 I believe, excerpt to follow.  (Note, Twain would also lampoon your pride “to know that an American began the revolution…”

I’m talking about the movement that began in the 21st century, particularly after 9/11. I’m well aware of nonreligious people like Bertrand Russel and Robert Ingersoll who are of a much earlier date. And there’s nothing wrong with my admiring a fellow American who beat everyone else to the chase. I’m saying nothing against any one else.

 
EN
 
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25 December 2008 17:42
 
teuchter - 25 December 2008 08:49 PM

(quoting Mark Twain)
For instance, take this sample: he has imagined a heaven, and has left entirely out of it the supremest of all his delights, the one ecstasy that stands first and foremost in the heart of every individual of his race—and of ours—sexual intercourse!

I am interested in knowing what the women on this forum would think about Mark Twain’s observation here. Is sexual intercourse “the one ecstasy that stands first and foremost” in your hearts?  If the women on this forum could create their own heaven, what place, if any, would sexual intercourse have? I think Mr. Twain is speaking more from the male perspective.

 
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25 December 2008 17:43
 
GAD - 25 December 2008 10:33 PM

The difference in the world view between the two is large. My views are stated on the referenced thread. This is one of the things I disagree with Harris on, but more then that it is all the little Samites who didn’t feel good about calling themselves atheists who think Harris is brilliant for saying atheist is a dirty word that really bugs me.

Never does he say that atheist is a dirty word, he said that it is a word that makes it easier to misrepresent non believers, and perhaps its not very strategical long term to use that word.

Again, I can’t fathom why people are making such a fuss about that.

edit: And I read the thread you linked. I don’t find anything that really relates to what I said.

Please explain what the big difference is between claiming that you deny god, and that you don’t believe that there is a god, or any other non proven things for that matter.

Where are the “large” differences. To me its just words, both statements means the same to me and I could use both statements to describe my own position without feeling like I am misrepresenting the truth.

[ Edited: 25 December 2008 17:50 by Unbeliever]
 
 
GAD
 
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25 December 2008 17:51
 
Bruce Burleson - 25 December 2008 10:42 PM
teuchter - 25 December 2008 08:49 PM

(quoting Mark Twain)
For instance, take this sample: he has imagined a heaven, and has left entirely out of it the supremest of all his delights, the one ecstasy that stands first and foremost in the heart of every individual of his race—and of ours—sexual intercourse!

I am interested in knowing what the women on this forum would think about Mark Twain’s observation here. Is sexual intercourse “the one ecstasy that stands first and foremost” in your hearts?  If the women on this forum could create their own heaven, what place, if any, would sexual intercourse have? I think Mr. Twain is speaking more from the male perspective.

The male perspective, unlike the bible…....

 
 
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25 December 2008 18:02
 
GAD - 25 December 2008 10:51 PM

The male perspective, unlike the bible…....

No doubt, the Bible is written more from the male perspective than female. But I would like to hear a woman comment on Twain’s claim.

 
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25 December 2008 18:08
 
teuchter - 25 December 2008 11:04 PM
Bruce Burleson - 25 December 2008 10:42 PM

If the women on this forum could create their own heaven, what place, if any, would sexual intercourse have? I think Mr. Twain is speaking more from the male perspective.

Underestimate female sexuality at your own peril, Bruce.  I realize that you follow a religion in which poor Mary got pregnant without even getting to have sex with god.  Leda had it better.

I’m still waiting for the chicks to respond. Where are the chicks? This forum has more men than the Bible. Too many dudes.  We need gals, babes, chickipoos, anybody with estrogen. I ask for female comment, and all I get are those who piss against the wall.

And then there’s teuchter, who apparently thinks sex with swans is cool.

 
Giova
 
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25 December 2008 18:35
 
teuchter - 25 December 2008 11:13 PM

I’m sorry.  I didn’t realize you were asking whether Harris was the first person to articulately criticize religion as of the date of the publication of Harris’ book.

Yeah. Realizing isn’t exactly your strong point. 

Yes, from the date of the publication of Harris’ book forward, Harris was the first.  However, the first person to raise these issues as of 12/25/08 at 8:30 p.m. is YOU!  Congratulations. Be proud!

And the first person to answer these issues is YOU! Congratulations. Be proud!

 
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25 December 2008 19:15
 
teuchter - 25 December 2008 11:52 PM

[

The answer here is no, if the world had come to an end on 9/10/01, no books would have been written after that.

But from now on, please preface all posts with this message:

MY NAME IS GIOVA; PLEASE DON’T CONFUSE ME BY NOT GUESSING ALL ASSUMPTIONS THAT SUPPORT THE ANSWER I WANT.  PLEASE DO NOT MENTION ANY FACT WHICH DOES NOT SUPPORT MY IDIOTIC POST.  THANK YOU, GIOVA.

LOL


When I try to pronounce the name “Giova” it comes out sounding like “Jehovah”. But I think it Itie for “Jove”.

 
 
Giova
 
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25 December 2008 20:15
 

teuchter, you misread me. I certainly didn’t mean that atheism is a 21st phenomenon or that there wasn’t atheist literature before then. I’m sorry the stuff in the beginning that smacked of jingoism or my comment “that realizing isn’t your strong point” (when I can see how the ambiguity in my post would lead anyone to read it that way) has led to the tone here. But if this is how fellow free thinkers treat each other in discussion on this site, by mocking them at the outset and resorting to a bitter flame war—all on account of a misunderstanding—I want no part in it.

 
EN
 
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25 December 2008 20:17
 

Do you guys need me to mediate this dispute? My rates are reasonable.

 
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