Godpuddle

Splashing around in theology.

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Tuesday, September 05, 2006

New Harris Book

Here’s a new book [coming out this month] that I will definitely be interested in acquiring and thoroughly reading. Sam Harris’s first book, The End of Faith was nothing short of fabulous.
This new one is called Letter To A Christian Nation, and here is how it begins:

“Thousands of people have written to tell me that I am wrong not to believe in God. The most hostile of these communications have come from Christians. This is ironic, as Christians generally imagine that no faith imparts the virtues of love and forgiveness more effectively than their own. The truth is that many who claim to be transformed by Christ’s love are deeply, even murderously, intolerant of criticism. While we may want to ascribe this to human nature, it is clear that such hatred draws considerable support from the Bible. How do I know this? The most disturbed of my correspondents always cite chapter and verse.”

Cold Molasses, Rantandroar, Sanyavich... should I order three extra copies and have us gang-read it?

*********

5 Comments:

Blogger RantandRoar said...

yes please

9/10/2006 10:50 AM  
Blogger sanyavich said...

Me to please

9/11/2006 6:18 AM  
Blogger Trekin4JC said...

So how is it he can judge what is good and what is bad? What is hate and what is love? If we are merely "dancing to our DNA" as Dawkins laments. How is it we have this sense of being wronged? It can't be simply self-preservation for we are bothered when others are wronged as well. And sometimes we will even risk our lives to aid another.

On behalf of Christians I apologize for those who have not responded to criticism in love. However, I challenge that Harris has no ground by which to judge for he does not believe in the one who's very nature is Love, Justice, Peace, Joy etc. It is because God is, that justice is, that love is. He has given us the ability to judge between them because

How would we know the world is full of injustices if we did not have some idea of what a just world would look like? How could we call anything unjust if it evolved that way naturally? It would all just be natural the supposed good and bad. When you eliminate God from the equation you can no longer posit a moral problem for morality dies with the worldview of God's existence.

If you want a world without God you have to also settle for a world with no justice, no love, no hope, no joy. All is what is. Naturalism is all your left with. What will be will be and we just have to make the best of it as we please.

The whole premise of all of these atheist books is that religion breeds evil and really they have no ground left under them to call anything evil or to accuse anyone of anything since we are all dancing to our DNA. If you want a just and loving world don't eradicate belief in God, foster belief in God for He is our only hope.

5/15/2008 8:38 AM  
Blogger cipriano said...

Dear Trekin4JC:
First of all, thank you for reading godpuddle and for your well-considered and [I imagine] heartfelt and sincere response to this particular posting.
I myself [background-wise] entirely can identify with your perspective. I guess that’s like saying “I know where you are coming from.”
At the same time, though, I have sort of come around to a place of believing that a lot of your questions can be answered by simply saying…. “Common sense!” Or…. “intelligence.”
Answers do not necessarily need to lead to an endorsement of a very exclusivistic and dogmatically concerned, word-centered “God” figure.
With all due respect, I am referring to questions like: “So how is it he can judge what is good and what is bad? What is hate and what is love?”
Or: “How is it we have this sense of being wronged?”
Or: “How would we know the world is full of injustices if we did not have some idea of what a just world would look like? How could we call anything unjust if it evolved that way naturally?”
Common sense and intelligence can also be answers to these questions.

I am wondering nowadays, [even after reading and re-reading every single one of C.S. Lewis’s books many times over and obtaining a degree in theology after four-years of full-time study, and spending a couple of years as a Christian minister] why these sort of questions can not be answered with the words “Common sense” or “Intelligence.”

To argue that these things [common sense or intelligence] ORIGINATE from “God” and hence have to be sublimated to a subscription to a particular interpretation of what this “God” is like, in all of “his” attributes…. well, it is a very tenuous argument. And the reason is this.
Because there are many more “Gods” than the really really decent and awesome one that you or I may happen to believe in.

For instance [and this is a major, and I think, VALID, arguing point for Sam Harris]… those that killed others in the 9/11 catastrophe did so because they believed they were doing “God’s” will, at the time.
Do I believe they [the fledgling pilots] are suffering in hell right now?
No.
They’re just DEAD!
And that’s sad.
It is even more sad that thousands of other people had to become dead that day, also.
FOR WHAT?
That is the real relevant question, FOR WHAT?
Why did these people all lose their lives?
They lost their lives because of misguided religious conviction, about God.

You had said:
When you eliminate God from the equation you can no longer posit a moral problem for morality dies with the worldview of God's existence. 


And…
If you want a world without God you have to also settle for a world with no justice, no love, no hope, no joy.
I disagree with both sentences.

I would look at it this way.
When you eliminate God from the equation you begin to realize [perhaps for the first time] that the most important thing we possess is the here and now. The only “world” we’ve got is THIS ONE. So let’s not abuse or destroy it, and let’s not abuse or destroy ourselves in the meantime.
Can not the world some of us are promised take care of itself? Isn’t this one enough to worry about?

Secondly, there is very little direct evidence to suggest that what we experience in this life, regarding justice, love, hope, or joy, has anything to do with any sort of “specific” concept of God. Again, common sense and intelligence, even from a five-year old child will tell you that unconditional love is best. The only way that unconditional love can survive the scrutiny of religion is if it ESCAPES religion altogether.
What do I mean by that?
What I mean is simple, and is a conclusion based upon common sense and intelligence. → Even the Christian God is offering only a very conditional love.
If you do not subscribe to some severely specific belief criteria and culturally narrow ideas…. you will end up in hell after you die.
Whatever else is wrong with religion, that in itself, cannot possibly be right!

5/16/2008 1:40 PM  
Blogger Trekin4JC said...

If atheism is common sense why are their so few atheist? Moreover, there are many intelligent people throughout history and presently who are Christians as well as people from other faiths. I don't think common sense or intelligence can be the determining factor of truth.

In one of your blogs you claimed to be a quasi-Christian. What does that mean? To be a Christian means you are a follower of Christ. How is that possible if you don't believe in the Christian God?

Then in your response you argue for atheism and then for pluralism. Do you believe there is no God, many gods, or one God? All the above cannot be a possible answer. Truth by its very nature is exclusive of all non truth. Truth is what is. It continues on regardless of how many people believe something to be true.

If I think I can jump off a cliff and defy gravity at will I will quickly find out that that is not true as gravity takes effect regardless of my disbelief in it. So do I complain to all the believers of gravity in the world for not being fair to my non-belief in gravity? I've never seen gravity. I've only been told about it. I have seen its effects, but maybe those are delusions. So why should everyone be so intolerant as to believe in gravity and take away my right to jump over a cliff and not get hurt?

Really that argument is about the same as anyone who argues that it's not fair to believe in a singular standard of truth and the consequences of living a life devoid of God. BTW, it's not about believing something in your head, but knowing God in your heart that makes the difference. The two are connected because what is in your heart must make sense in your head, but there is a whole dynamic missing if you don't know God in your heart.

Moreover, if you have a common sense of morality where did it come from? Evolution? How so?

That only lends itself to a subjective morality and does not provide any justice for another community that does not hold to the same morality you do. That means slavery wasn't wrong to those who practiced it-- it only became wrong when a new generation dawned that didn't see slavery as good. That doesn't give the human intrinsic value. It is all subjective. It doesn't work. It's not common sense.

5/19/2008 7:28 AM  

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