The first thing I think to note before addressing the points below is that a 'manifesto' is in fact a call to action, an attempt to counter something, a statement of belief....even a postited 'solution' to a perceived problem.
The problem can be 'real' or can be argued to seem 'real' (as in political manifestos and some religious ones).
As such it can be seen as sharing many of the underlying principles of religion. Atheism in fact necessarily shares many aspects of the framework of religion..... because these frameworks are human
and what we work with when we construct....when these frameworks are promoted as 'the truth' or 'the real and only' then we start to have a problem in religion, atheism, politics or any other human endeavour.
Originally Posted by BR
Five years ago Sam Harris wrote this piece and it is just as relevant today, if not more so given the escalation of religious violence worldwide.
Is there an escalation of religious violence? Is what people claim to be religious violence really religious?
To look superficially at a conflict - resurgence of violence between 'Catholics' and 'Protestants' now in Northern Ireland say - and say 'look, that is religious' just because that is the culture of the combatants is irrational.
That's ok. But then don't play the 'rational' card.
I am tired of being treated like a second class citizen because I do not subscribe to belief without reason.
This is a good example of the 'underlying frameworks' I mentioned in the opening paragraph.
Many people you would label 'religious' are tired of being treated like second-class citizens. Literally. And for them it means a hell of a lot more than it does for you. For some of them it means life and death issue.
Yet, of course, the anger you feel is 'reason' and the anger they feel is 'religious irrationality'.
And how is it belief without reason' - because you say so? what do you know of religious beliefs? Judaism and US Christianity maybe...but even then, how much theology have you studied to arrive at the opinion?
If you have not done a lot of theological research across the whole spectrum of religions - and I know that Harris and Dawkins have not (hence the fall back 'don't need to it is irrational') - to arrive at that conclusion then I would suggest that this is an irrational statement.
In Harris's article, he goes on to eloquently define atheism, expose the hypocrisy of "liberal piety" from religious moderates, demonstrate how good societies do not need a religious foundation, and show that the primary source of political violence in this world is rooted in religion and unreason.
'Liberal Piety' should be exposed for sure. Is this what Atheism does though? I do not think so.
He does not show this is the source of violence. He CLAIMS it is, fails to prove it and then states it as being self-evidently true. Repeating many times until he and others believe it unquestioningly.
In short, this is what I would call the 'Fundamentalist Religious' approach.
It is self-deception and when Atheists point it out in religious people they are corrext. They cannot see it in thmeselves though and they make an even bigger mistake - as do Fundie religious - which is this: they assume that this is all religion is and that there is no other type of believer or belief.
And then they try to spread this view.
If you are an atheist, I recommend you read this article fully because it succinctly and articulately outlines why religion, even of the more moderate variety, is harmful to our society.
If you are an atheist you will have read it or be aware of it already.
It's like saying to a Christian 'check out this thing called Church'.
If you are religious, I vehemently recommend you read this article in its entirety because it rationally explains the atheist point of view. Despite the religio-conservative resurgence (which I can only hope are just the death throes of it), we are a growing sector of the population who are done being relegated to the margins of society.
Could everyone read the above and please tell me the difference between that statement and the following:If you do not know Jesus, I vehemently recommend you read this tract in its entirety because it rationally explains the Christian message.
And his conclusion for you lazy fucks. But really, don't be lazy. This is important. Read the whole thing.
And yet, has he 'read the whole thing' ?
Buddhism, Islam, Judaism, Zoroastrianism.....and hundreds of others...
And if he has then has he read them as deeply as necessary to arrive at his conclusions?
Or are the answers the same as the religious answers?
Don't need to do the sin to know it is bad...don't need to see 'Life of Brian'....don't need to read Rushdie's book to know it is evil...
One other thing - why the 'Lazy Fucks'? How do you know they are lazy? I would say it is atheists who are lazy in not studying their targets. And why 'Fucks'?
Just to annoy the Fundies? I love to annoy them too but I don't need to say 'Fuck' to do it or resort to actually insulting them. THAT is lazy imo.
Anyway, let's address some ofMr Harris' points, it won't take long:
It seems profoundly unlikely that we will heal the divisions in our world simply by multiplying the opportunities for interfaith dialogue.
Why? 'Seem' is personal - it 'seems so' to him...fair enough. It would do with his world view. Why extrapolate it universally though? And where is the evidence in support?
And is it not insulting to downplay the attempts many sincere people make to heal divisions between faiths?
This statement is highly irrational though.....break it down, the claim is:
1) religion is the cause of violence in the world - this is bad
2) it manifests in conflicts between religions - this is bad
3) some people in these religions try to stop this and work for understanding - this is bad
So again, if religion is the cause (though it is not) then why would it be 'unlikely' that healing rifts would fix it?
The endgame for civilization cannot be mutual tolerance of patent irrationality.
Agreed. And that includes any irrationality that may be evident in Atheism. If the claim is that Atheism has none and is purely rational then it will have to unfortunately go on the list under 'Fundies' and we'll need to deal with that too.
While all parties to liberal religious discourse have agreed to tread lightly over those points where their worldviews would otherwise collide, these very points remain perpetual sources of conflict for their coreligionists.
Except this is not the only - or even primary - method. Why would someone assume it is?
Political correctness, therefore, does not offer an enduring basis for human cooperation. If religious war is ever to become unthinkable for us, in the way that slavery and cannibalism seem poised to, it will be a matter of our having dispensed with the dogma of faith.
The only people I know who refer to 'Political Correctness' are Right-Wingers of a certain noxious type. I am now becoming worried.
The more so because No-one to my knowledge has even suggested this...this is seriously concerning...
Btw; not all faiths fall back on dogma. Many do not.
When we have reasons for what we believe, we have no need of faith; when we have no reasons, or bad ones, we have lost our connection to the world and to one another.
There are always 'reasons for what we believe'. The fact is that other's may not agree with those reasons or fell threatened by them...that in fact is the basis for conflict - NOT the belief itself. It has no religious basis but rather religious intolerance is JUST ONE manifestation of it.
It is essentially the same mechanism as racism - fear of 'those not like us' but in the ideological arena. The same driving force between the Cold-War fear of 'Reds'.
To not see this is to have no basic knowledge of the advances in psychology. Why? This is seriously niave and displays not only a naivete about religion but a frightening lack of awareness of the human condition.
Atheism is nothing more than a commitment to the most basic standard of intellectual honesty: One’s convictions should be proportional to one’s evidence.
And yet - as in all Fundie systems - this basic tenet is ignored and flouted from the very start.
What intellectual honesty is there in applying universal blanket statements to a phenomena as widespread and disparate as religion WITHOUT SUPPORTING EXAMPLES AND YEARS OF STUDY?
Pretending to be certain when one isn’t—indeed, pretending to be certain about propositions for which no evidence is even conceivable—is both an intellectual and a moral failing. Only the atheist has realized this.
This is pure Fundamentalism. It speaks of moral failings, claims there is a failing (sin) and shows the answer (redemption). Stop for a while and ponder this from the quote above...no comment on it is needed:Only the atheist has realized this.
The atheist is simply a person who has perceived the lies of religion and refused to make them his own.
Not simply. They may have perceived lies in religion but they have constructed their own alternate lies when they outline their belief (yes) that religion is what they say it is.
When they say that because they see a lie then ALL religion is lies.
This is a lie in itself and I think in the final analysis this is the key to the whole matter. Fundies and Atheists are essentially the same type of person - both want to find answers and the 'Truth'.
Truth is hard to find though and in the absence of it the conventionally religious fall back on 'Faith' which, as the Atheists point out, is essentially a form of lying or at least 'giving up the search for truth' and settling for a constructed belief.
Atheists are more honest than this....but not much more.