Thursday, March 22, 2007

Alas, I am but one of God's dupes...


According to a recent article in the LA Times by Sam Harris, found HERE, "there is not a person on Earth who has a good reason to believe that Jesus rose from the dead... And yet billions of people claim to be certain about such things." I guess that whole "all the eyewitnesses who claimed it were willing to die gruesome deaths and claimed its truth all the way to the grave" thing must be irrelevant. Or maybe the fact that while hundreds of saint's burial places are pilgrimage sites and have been marked since the death of the saint, yet no such site exists (unless you're a self proclaimed genius like James Cameron) for the greatest religious figure ever. Only an empty tomb for Him. Foolish us.

Who can forget, as the article says "Many of these ideas, by their very nature, hobble science, inflame human conflict and squander scarce resources." Hmmm, you mean all the funding that came from the Vatican for the majority of science projects until the late 1700's and all of the clergy who made the discoveries such as Roger Bacon who was one of the earliest advocates of the scientific method or Johannes Kepler who is famous for his laws of planetary motion. Nope, always in the way those religious folks. You know the type, the one's who funded Galileo. Of course it is the religious who inflame human conflict. Such as Stalin's murder of millions in the gulags of the Soviet death machine, or under Mao's Chinese regime. If you count their atheism as religion anyway.

Next coming to the plate is Sam Harris' idea that "Within every faith one can see people arranged along a spectrum of belief. Picture concentric circles of diminishing reasonableness: At the center, one finds the truest of true believers — the Muslim jihadis, for instance, who not only support suicidal terrorism but who are the first to turn themselves into bombs; or the Dominionist Christians, who openly call for homosexuals and blasphemers to be put to death." The Dominionist Christians? Who are they?They're calling for homosexuals and blasphemers to be put to death? They must not be very loud, I've never heard of them or what they're evidently saying.

I think it must be Harris however who is moving down the line toward diminishing reasonableness because he says "There is no question that many people do good things in the name of their faith — but there are better reasons to help the poor, feed the hungry and defend the weak than the belief that an Imaginary Friend wants you to do it. Compassion is deeper than religion. As is ecstasy. It is time that we acknowledge that human beings can be profoundly ethical — and even spiritual — without pretending to know things they do not know."

Question for Sam: if our "Friend" is only imaginary, how can something be ethical? The existence of ethics presupposes a natural law in which we know what is ethical and non-ethical. The existence of a natural law presupposes a natural law giver- a creator god. If that's not enough, how in the random-chance-organic-not-yet-ubermensch-material-world (Nietzche's "hell," just a joke folks) could anything be spiritual.

But the delusion continues: "Indeed, it is time we broke this spell en masse. Every one of the world's "great" religions utterly trivializes the immensity and beauty of the cosmos." Isn't this just a bit of a paraphrase of what Sartre said? Sartre told us that he was giving our lives true meaning by telling us that we were nothing. Harris is telling us the same thing. He says we are nothing but random chance and isn't that beautiful? How much further away from human intuitiveness can you get? A person's worth is in the dignity of their lives, but without divine purpose a person's life has no more dignity than the scum in a pond. Both are random chance but only one has the misfortune to know it. If however we have a divine purpose we are inextrincably linked to the divine Itself and we have greater purpose, the cosmos then has greater purpose, than could be imagined.

Next Harris slams the bible and koran by saying "Books like the Bible and the Koran get almost every significant fact about us and our world wrong. Every scientific domain — from cosmology to psychology to economics — has superseded and surpassed the wisdom of Scripture." Isn't it interesting to know that this is false. What has the bible taught that cosmology disproved? The six days of creation in Genesis? Even Augustine at the end of his Confessions taught about the six days as being an allegory relating man to his place in the universe. Psychology? Freud's depression, caused partially by his fear of death with the thought of no afterlife, only upholds scriptures teaching of God love as a comfort to man. And I don't have the slightest what economics has to do with anything in his article.

The conclusion: "Everything of value that people get from religion can be had more honestly, without presuming anything on insufficient evidence. The rest is self-deception, set to music." What evidence would suffice for someone who doesn't want to believe? Had Mr. Harris been in Fatima on the day the sun danced would he have thought it a "spell en masse?" Does Mr. Harris even think it prudent to believe his living room will light up with the flip of the light switch or that the sun will come up every morning? Be honest Mr. Harris, have you ever been to Iceland to know it exists or have you only seen a few pictures and heard about it back in your school days? What is sufficient evidence to you that Caesar lived or that Plato was a philosopher and not the alternate identity of a schizophrenic Socrates? Take the self-decevieing headphones off your dome and look at the evidence yourself, its there.

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