My response to the Harris article:
As always when Sam Harris writes an article many people will compare his nonbelief in the gods of organized religions (atheism) to a sort of fundamentalism of it's own kind. This is grossly inaccurate for the following reason:
A lack of belief in a personal god who supposedly wrote a holy book chalk full of absurdities, blatant contradictions and gross immorality is not equivalent to a dismissal of any sort of spirituality or possibility of a higher intelligence or even a cosmic creative force. What it is a dismissal of is lunacy of fundamentalism.
Any sort of honest examination of personal gods the world over will reveal that the idea of an angry middle-eastern sky deity who demands animal sacrifices should be marginalized the same way UFO abduction stories are. Give one reason why such a deity does not seem just as ridiculous as Zeus. The problem is that when a modern person reads the holy books, they interpret them from a modern perspective, which was not at all how they were written to be interpreted. A day *really* is a day, not a thousand years for instance. Only severe grasping would suggest that the original story tellers meant something different. The modern person overlaps their modern enlightenment onto these scriptures and turns them into something that they were not intended to be. It is very true that a reading of the bible for instance, in it's own context without cherry picking, leads to more fundamentalism and not more open-mindedness towards other viewpoints. "Thou shalt have no other gods before me" and the penalty is a brutal death- what part of this statement is open to discourse? This is not open to questions of metaphor or allegory, it is literal.
As a former fundamentalist Christian myself I am very familiar with the religious meme. Fundamentalists are duplicitious folks who masquerade as normal citizens, while in the back of their minds they are not satisfied with anything short of complete and total theocracy and diminishment of any other form of belief. The scriptures of the two major American religions make it undeniably clear that other religions are abominations. Only a completely distorted and disingenuous liberal misinterpretation of these scriptures would lead to the fantasy that we could somehow have rational discourse with these people, or that plurality is possible within this matrix of absolutism.
Sunday, July 30, 2006
Now that I'm firmly out of the pie-hole I can flacidly tread back to my normal way of life. I still have to set up a computer in my new place, so I may disappear for awhile at some point.
Sam Harris has a new Salon article that's good. He's coming out with a new book in September which looks like it's going to be a collection of responses to irate Christian mail replies to his first book. I think it's called "Reply to a Christian Nation".
This is a free article and requires no subscription info, but there is a little advertisement to wade through.
Sam Harris, author of "The End of Faith," on why religious moderates are worse than fundamentalists, 9/11 led us into a deranged holy war, and believers should be treated like alien-abduction kooks. "
Friday, July 14, 2006
I never thought in my entire life I'd be tired of sex. I seriously don't ever want to see a naked woman with a perfect body ever again. Now I understand those guys who prefer obese women. Perfection can get stale after awhile. You need a little character now and then-a little asymmetry, something out of sync, something dissonant, some offhanded odor that makes a smelling salt seem like a summer's breeze.
Actually, I'm in the doghouse right now.
And frankly, I couldn't much care. I have about 5 sperm left, and I'm counting on saving at least one of the little bastards.
This leads me to my moment of zen, courtesy of Alex G:
Let us humbly bend our necks and ask ourselves the following:
"If a man makes a statement
deep in the middle of a forest
where no woman can hear him...
Is he still wrong?"