Originally Posted by groverat
It is not only the fact that they have not "outlined their plans" that makes them not guilty, but that they have all very openly denounced those previous attempts to banish religion that are so eagerly brought up here by believers. So when Hitchens writes an entire chapter excoriating utopian dreams like those of Stalinist Russia, it is quite delusional and paranoid to claim that Hitchens, therefore, endorses Stalinism.
When Hitches writes an entire chapter excoriating utopian dreams like those of Stalinist Russia he is merely trying to exorcize his own previous endorsments of those very beliefs.
He is - as George Galloway, a far more lucid and sincere thinker - so brilliantly out it: "a drink-soaked former Trotskyist popinjay".
Of course, you have not actually read anything we're discussing here, so that brings up huge problems of its own.
Perhaps. But they would merely be an equivalence of the problems you face in not having read the Qur'an, al-Ghazali, The Church Fathers or a hundred other relevant sources on the 'God side' of the argument.
But then you have different rules that apply to you don't you? I have lost count of the number of prostletysing fundies who have attempted to argue this point with me and not applied it to themselves.
But there's always room for one more isn't there?
Thanks for staying on topic.
Thanks for dismissing my observation out of hand.
Maybe next time you suggest someone listens to something in order to promote your view you should check that the first statements of the item in question are what you regard as 'on topic' or not.
Or maybe not. That way you can use it as ammo if someone brings t up as a reference.
Where does the Bible say that it is a mystical record? It presents itself as a historical record.
Ok - it's the 'explicitly stated claim' argument again. I think I've got a handle on it now: where does it say it isn't?
Actually it does no such thing. In places it claims to be historical recording but in no place does it claim this in entirety.
And of course it does not claim to be a coherent whole as the New Testament does actually claim to be just that: NEW and superceding the old law.
Numerous passages in the BIble are clearly mystical - as are a great many of jesus sayings. In fact Jesus actually DOES claim that the parables are not literal and not a historical record but are susceptible to a deeper understanding by those who have mystical insight.
Where does the Qu'ran discuss the mystical nature of Muhammad's revelation? It does not, it presents it as factual.
Well, as you haven't read it - and certainly not in Arabic - (hey - I'm good at this, or is it merely contagious?) you wouldn't know.
I do however so I can enlighten you. And then you can continue to ignore.
Sufism meditation and dhikr
uses solely Qur'anic verses. The vesrses themselves are believed - and this is an orthodox Islamic view - to be based on certain SOUNDS that affect the consciousness in a way similar to the mantra. These sounds are the sounds of the verses which are in fact breathing exercises.
There is a specific way to breath while reciting them and it is essentially a chant - the 'breath marks' are written in the Qur'an itself.
More than that, the Qur'an is actually an encoded document written around the number 19.
But the actual content itself is mystical also: The 'Light Verse' states that it is an allegory and is clearly mystical in intent. Muhhamad himself stated that each verse has seven meanings
So you are wrong. The Qur'an DOES claim to be allegorical in places:
He it is who has sent down to thee the Book: In it are verses basic (of established meaning); they are the foundation of the Book: others are allegorical. But those in whose hearts is perversity follow the part thereof that is allegorical, seeking discord, and searching for its hidden meanings, but no one knows its hidden meanings except God. And those who are firmly grounded in knowledge say: "We believe in the Book; the whole of it is from our Lord:" and none will grasp the Message except men of understanding.
(Sura 3:7 )
Mystical movements have sprouted in each of the major religions specifically because the literal case for each has fallen apart, not because they started as mystical and the literalist branches are the offshoots.
The founders of the religions were ALWAYS mystics who rejected society and found 'enlightenment'.
Later on the mystic vision degenerated. You will not be able to find one example against this argument but I hope you do try to venture one.
I wouldn't try Islam as it is on record that Muhammad was taught by Christian mystics and that the Sufis existed at the same time as his teaching mission. In fact, one Sufi - Uways al-Qarni - was a contemporary of Muhammad and is believed to have been taught by him telepathically though they never met.
Ditto with Jesus. I think you'll find his teaching were initially mystical ideas derived from the Essene community and have very little in common with the Church.
You should know the difference between the word "could" and the word "must".
Yes, I have a vague idea.
It is the 'could' I disagree with. One COULD NOT exist for eons as a Christian or a Muslim and never encounter such teachings. They are an integral part of everyday Muslim life and, to a lesser extent, Christian. And 'eons' is a long, long time....
He said one could live an eon as a Christian, a Muslim, or a Jew and never encounter any teachings like this about the nature of consciousness. He did not say that they are unavailable to Christians, Muslims, and Jews. And he is perfectly right. Religions do not require (and most do not endorse) any kind of deep understanding of our nature, they require only faith and obedience.
If you mean by 'religion' the Church and current Muslim/Jewish representatives then you are correct. And so is Harris.
My point is that these are not the same as the beliefs of the original founders. So one is 'not religion' and is false. Harris - and you - fail to make this distinction. Obviously because it does not suit your agenda but it revolves just the same.
But even if he were making the argument you say he is, he is not very wrong, and you point this out very well. In every single case (Kabbalah, Sufism, etc) you have to go outside the mainstream of each faith. That is Harris's entire point.
I disagree. You have to go outside 'what is claimed to be the faith' by the established authority structures. That does not mean they are valid.
Suaids claim to be original Islam for example. So do the Taleban. They lie. Ditto the Catholic Church.
You should be wary of accepting their own claims for themselves, it is a potential flaw in the argument. That's all I'm saying.
Who determines what is "distorted religion" and what is not "distorted religion"?
Facts and objective academic research establish this. It is the rationalist approach. You should understand that.
(As usual, this is something all three discuss in their books. But you would not know that, since you have not read them.)
Even if I had read them that does not mean I would agree. I have read passages - are you saying I need to read every word?
If you write a book on God I will not need to read it to know you will not say "God exists". ANd as I am talking to you and as you are quite clear on what you feel to be 'Gospel Truth' I also know quite a large amount about what these books do and do not contain.
Why do you think you speak so authoritatively and definitively on what these books say when you haven't even read them?!
Because YOU have read them. All I have to do is read you instead.
Again, one needn't even read the books to know this is wrong. Chapter 8 of God Is Not Great is called "The New Testament Exceeds the Evil of the Old One".
How can you call them liars when you do not know what they say, and when you do read what they say you mischaracterize it? I do not even have to quote text to show how dishonest you are, just chapter titles.
Because I am referring to something that I know they do say.
Hitchens for example says "God is not Great". I know this. I do not need to read the book to know he thinks this.
So I can call him a liar because I also know he denies God's existence. I do not need to read his book to know this.
He is a liar because he does not believe in God and claims he does not exist but then makes a statement about something as though it DOES exist. In order to be truthful he should have called it "If God existed then in the opinion of this human being he would not be great".
But he is not honest enough for that and you are not honest enough to see it.