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When is Humanity Going to Get That We’re All in This Together?

Archive for the ‘secularism’ Category

Sam Harris on the Importance of Breaking Religion’s Spell

Posted by honestpoet on November 18, 2008

Here’s an excellent bit from the question and answer period after a debate with Rabbi Wolpe. I’ve been watching a lot of Mr. Harris on YouTube, and I have to say that I like him even more than Richard Dawkins. Don’t get me wrong, I love Dawkins, but, as an American, Harris is more aware of the need to speak with the religious politely and without snarkiness. Dawkins can come off a bit smug, which is a mistake when dealing with the American religious, who already feel beset and belittled, and whose defense mechanisms thereby fly up as soon as the subject is broached with any sort of superior attitude.

Here’s another bit: Sam Harris at the TruthDig conference, talking about how beliefs have consequences, and why the taboo on not examining religious beliefs needs to be lifted.

Here he is talking about the relative morality of various books of the Bible and what would happen if as a society we actually followed it.

And one more, at the Idea Festival in Aspen, where he disputes a lot of common misconceptions about atheism:

If you’d like to hear more of what he has to say, here’s the link to his website, which includes links to a number of articles and videos (including the full debate with Rabbi Wolpe). His thinking is even more in line with my own than Richard Dawkins’s. Dawkins and the rest of the recent crop of atheistic authors turn their backs on mystical experience, whereas Sam Harris, while approaching it as a skeptic, acknowledges that there’s something there to examine that could prove worthwhile, perhaps yielding up that which religions seek but never truly find, tied up as they are in their supernatural superstitions and dogmatism. He’s experienced contemplative states and acknowledges that they can lead to an increase in the ability to experience empathy and compassion, which are clearly in short supply these days.

A neurobiologist, he was motivated to start writing by the events of 9/11, and his focus is on the affect of beliefs on behaviors. Some people have painted him as some sort of warmonger Islamophobe, but that’s hardly the case when you read the suspect passages in context. Does he say that people holding the beliefs indoctrinated by Islam can be led therewith to bad behavior? Absolutely, but that’s hardly the same thing.

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Posted in atheism, Building a Better World, catholicism, Christianity, Christianofascism, climate change, economic crisis, evolution, feminism, freedom, fundamentalism, gay rights, genocide, global warming, hegemony, history, homophobia, Iraq, Islam, Jesus, Jews, Koran, language, literature, marriage, mental illness, misogyny, monoculture, morality, Muslims, peace, psychiatry, religion, religion and science, Richard Dawkins, ridiculous beliefs, science, secular humanism, secularism, skepticism, terrorism, the Bible | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

Campbell Brown Nails It Again: So WHAT if He WAS an Arab?

Posted by honestpoet on October 15, 2008

I’m really starting to love Campbell Brown. When the ignorant lady at a McCain rally recently said she couldn’t trust Obama because he’s an Arab (she didn’t quite manage a sentence as complex as that, but it’s what she tried to say), McCain corrected her by saying that no, Obama is a decent family man (that’s the opposite of Arab?). Ms. Brown decided that the underlying assumption that Arab and Muslim are slurs finally needed to be addressed:

Now, anyone who reads this blog knows I’m not keen on religion, and that one of the things I am keen on is the separation of Church and State. And key to that separation is the idea that it shouldn’t matter what religion someone is (despite the fundies’ paranoia and Turkey’s misunderstanding of what secularism means, it does not mean getting rid of religion entirely) when they run for public office. It also shouldn’t matter what ethnicity someone is, which is more to the point with the word Arab, though I know for the ignorant folk like this McCain supporter Arab and Muslim are synonymous, since they’re clueless of the fact that there are actually secular and Christian Arabs, and, for all I know, Buddhist and Hindu and Wiccan and Zoroastrian Arabs, as well, especially here in America where they are free to choose.

America is not a Christian country. America is a free country where people of all religions or no religion can and must coexist, and I’m glad some people in the media are starting to speak up about it.

Posted in anti-establishment clause, atheism, Barack Obama, buddhism, Christianity, Christianofascism, freedom, fundamentalism, Islam, John McCain, language, monoculture, Muslims, politics, religion, ridiculous beliefs, secularism, separation of church and state, witchcraft | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments »

PUMA Needs to Get It’s Collective Head Out of Its Arse

Posted by honestpoet on September 2, 2008

Some of the commentaries on this youtube video are really disturbing. Apparently McCain’s shallow attempt to appeal to disgruntled Hillary Clinton supporters is working. I’m so depressed! Are some women so stupid that they think anyone with a vagina is the same as any other? Ms. Palin is a theocrat of the worst kind: against reproductive rights, opposed to abortion even in cases of rape and incest; for banning same-sex marriage with a constitutional amendment; and for teaching creationism in schools in blatant violation of the anti-establishment clause of the first amendment to our constitution. (Don’t get me started on her willingness to abuse power or her environmental record.) Apparently she not only doesn’t know much about anything to do with national government, she doesn’t know much about what our founders intended our government to do.

I’m not crazy about Barrack Obama or Joe Biden, but they beat the heck out of an idiot who graduated near the bottom of his class and whose claim to heroism starts and ends with getting shot down and surviving torture and a beauty-pageant contestant who seems to care more about producing children than raising them.

These PUMA (here’s the wikipedia article on this PAC) fools need to remember what Sen. Clinton stands for, and it’s not a woman in office by any means necessary! It matters WHICH woman, and most importantly, a woman who thinks rather than bending over for big business or following the Bible instead of the Constitution.

Posted in anti-establishment clause, Barack Obama, Christianofascism, climate change, corruption, ecology, environmental activism, feminism, freedom, fundamentalism, gay rights, global warming, hegemony, homophobia, Iraq, iraq war, mothering, politics, religion, ridiculous beliefs, secularism, separation of church and state, sexism, sexual freedom, the Bible | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

The Turkish Just Don’t Get It

Posted by honestpoet on June 5, 2008

Sigh. This is distressing. Here’s an article about what’s going on in Turkey. The government had moved to lift a ban on head-scarves in school, so that women who want to wear the religious emblem can do so, arguing that preventing them from wearing them to school was inhibiting some Muslim women from receiving educations (a valid argument). But the courts have struck it down.

Now, I’m a secularist. But you can’t exclude the religious from participating in public life. You can’t ban head-scarves any more than you can demand head-scarves. It’s about freedom, about unity in diversity.

Egads. I’m proud of the Turks for keeping religion out of government. But that can’t mean excluding the religious from participating in other aspects of life. It just means not legislating religiously motivated laws or establishing any state-sanctioned religion.

I fear this sort of thing will cause a backlash against secularism. I hope the Turkish secularists get their heads out of their butts and figure out what freedom means before that happens.

Posted in anti-establishment clause, freedom, monoculture, Muslims, politics, religion, secularism, separation of church and state | Tagged: , , , , | 2 Comments »