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View Diary: We Must Fight The Church (101 comments)

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  •  I'll give it a shot... (1+ / 0-)
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    If you are familiar with Harris and Dawkins, you are no doubt familair with "strong" and "weak" Atheism. In a nutshell, it is the difference between "There is no god", and "I don't have sufficient evidence to believe in a god".
    I take no exception to the "weak" position, in fact, I (sort of) fall in that category myself.
    The problem that I see is that while the existence of god cannot be proven, neither can the non-existence. The concept of God transcends any one belief system, and without any dogmatic limitations pinning it down, cannot be dis-proved.
    Certainly accepted scientific theory and observation can cast doubt on, say, Catholic catechism and theology, but pretty much leaves the overall concept of Deity untouched.

    In a nutshell, Harris and some of his peers, make the leap from "weak" to "strong" without sufficient justification. They accept "on faith" that there is no god. This is their dogma, and they are as unyielding and vehement in their defense of it as the Church is in the birth of Christ. And they are just as arrogant in their condemnation of those who believe differently.

    I have a better than average background in the sciences, and have kept up my interests on an amateur basis. And yet, my observations of the universe around me have me utterly convinced that there is a God. Or Goddess. Or both. Or whole bunches of them. I'm cool with that. Nothing in accepted scientific "fact" contradicts my belief. I don't need to know all the details... if I do, I will make 'em up as I need them.

    Harris would think less of me for that, so one of us must be wrong.
    I choose him.

    TFYQA - think For Yourself, Question Authority

    by Niniane on Wed Jan 24, 2007 at 12:36:00 PM PST

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    •  Naaah, you are the one who is making (1+ / 0-)
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      the leap on no evidence.  Harris and Dawkins say that there is no proof of God's existence and that is as far as they take it.  They spend the rest of the time in their books talking about the fact, and I repeat "fact," that religion does so many insane things based on unfounded beliefs.  They point out that religions constantly declare that the world is one way, without any supporting evidence, and with mountains of contrary evidence.  They point out that the attempts by religions to decide how the faithful should conduct themselves in the real world often lead to seriously harmful situations.  They show that this irrationality of religion does much more harm than good.

      If you don't have an earth-shaking idea, get one, you'll love building a better world.

      by hestal on Wed Jan 24, 2007 at 12:50:36 PM PST

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      •  Dawkins says that, technically, everyone has to.. (0+ / 0-) agnostic, because just as you can't disprove the existence of the toothfairy or of Zeus or a huge invisible flamengo named Brian that is sitting on your head right now, you can't disprove the existenec of God. But until there is evidence for any of these things, the logical position to take is to believe they don't exist.

      •  They focus, as do most of us, on contemporary (0+ / 0-)

        western religious institutions, almost exclusively within the Judeo-Christian-Muslim traditions.

        There are many more religious outlets out there than those few, and many of those simply do not fit within Harris and Company's limited concepts of irrationality and caused harm.

        In fact, many spiritual practices encourage "freethinking" and questioning "established" wisdom.

        Their western bias with regard to religion undermines the credibility of their message. They should either limit the scope of their criticism or educate themselves to the likely exceptions to their own beliefs.

        TFYQA - think For Yourself, Question Authority

        by Niniane on Wed Jan 24, 2007 at 01:06:12 PM PST

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        •  Harris, in fact, acknowledges the very (2+ / 0-)
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          heathlander, cyncynical

          point you are making.  This is the trouble with debates of this kind, they, like religions, are too often based on an opinion-based view of the world.  Harris devotes quite a lot of time to this point in his book and Dawkins does so as well.

          If you don't have an earth-shaking idea, get one, you'll love building a better world.

          by hestal on Wed Jan 24, 2007 at 01:10:52 PM PST

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          •  Looks like you read the books. (0+ / 0-)

            I enjoyed them too, and recommend them highly.
            I do have a problem when the ideas get bandied about carelessly and without proper qualification.
            There are too many folks out there who have issues with the church (pick one) and latch onto something like this without understanding it at all.
            You get it, it seems. Too many others don't.
            It has become kind of "cool" in some intellectual circles to make fun of people with spiritual inclinations. Know the difference.
            The most intelligent (and intellectually honest) people I know, both personally and by reputation, are very spiritual people.
            Einstein, Sagan, and many others were very spiritual, albeit not religious people.
            In the neo-pagan community, there are many incredibly intelligent (yet strangely unsuccessful), people that I call friends. And they enjoyed the Dawkins and Harris books too.

            TFYQA - think For Yourself, Question Authority

            by Niniane on Wed Jan 24, 2007 at 01:26:34 PM PST

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