A religious moderate is a failed fundamentalist.

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    It’s also a question of doing well in the long term….

    For a theist the “long term” means the next life. Religion tells people that they will become immortals to which I call bullshit. Such notions should be consigned to the graveyard of human ideas and no longer tolerated as having any intellectual merit. It is as Harris says “the triumph of hope over ignorance”.

    Atheists also physically depreciate 1.5% per year on average. If we are fortunate to live long enough we eventually learn to smile at the idea of anything being “long term” other than the length of time that we will be dead.



    But the central spiritual thrust of religion

    ….sound like someone is about to get screwed, LOL

    I take that by spiritual you are referring to “abstract” thoughts? Seems to me a world without religion would have better abstract thinking. Love, caring, charity, and wellness are completely independent from religion. In fact religion gives hope to world that is torn apart by religion.



    Simon Paynton

    the central spiritual thrust of religion

    If you think about it, there is a logic to it.  Why not worship the thing that “created” us and “sustains” us?  That’s what atheists should do, without the God.  If religious people want to do it in their way, they’re partially correct, so why not accept it?

    For a theist the “long term” means the next life.

    But also, the long term corresponds to Freud’s Reality Principle where the ego can forego the immediate pleasure demanded by the emotions (that can often lead to problems later) in favour of long term advantages.  This is one of the essences of living a good life, and for the religious, living a good life means one is more likely to be accepted into heaven ?!?!



    Why not worship the thing that “created” us and “sustains” us?

    Every morning I worship the Master Molecule that created me and the adenosine triphosphate that sustains me.



    I personally worship the “Sun” because through nuclear fission, it sends energy to sustain all life on earth!

    His name is RA! The sun God!



    Worship is the wrong word.

    I am happy that I am actually a live, that I am conscious and not suffering.That I was born at all. Because the probability of these events in the time line of the universe is very small. Knowing this I will use my time as best I can. In the present moment.


    I would say it that way




    Dan Dennett was once asked why he did not believe in some power that sustained the world and held everything together. He replied, “But I do, I just call it Gravity”.


    tom sarbeck

    “…a desperate marriage of hope and ignorance.”

    It’s comforting that no one here is ignorant.

    I think it dangerous to take hope from ignorant people.




    I don’t think its the best way to look at things. I think the failure should be placed inversely. There has been so much lingering doubt by so many Christians all peppered throughout  religious history. The insane amount of literary and philosophical works (and trickery) to justify God’s even existence again and again, and why a word-for-word approach to the bible is possible in a logical way, the endless repetition of “God is real”, the concept of hell to keep you questioning too long. It’s so pervasive, this doubt, I think that so many were fundamentalists only under punishment and terror, how many were authentic fundamentalists (to the extreme that Harris defines).

    For being a fundamentalist to really mean anything, I believe a person has to have read the bible (or at least say, a 10th of it including the scary bad parts). Until recently next to no Christians either could read…or had access to that book. It’s hard to agree to a word for word book of God if you only know snippets, fed to you, often in a language you don’t understand. No. I think you have to have read at least some of it, see the errors and conflicts and ghastly horror and still hold it is the word of God (word for word). You have to have access to the history of Christianity and the immense cruelty that results from it and knowledge of an actual alternative (societies where women aren’t held back remotely as much, sexual liberty by humans who aren’t actual monsters, civil society with at least some free though) and yet despite this, still find God’s existence a given and that he is morally perfect. To think about God creating original sin through trickery and then reincarnating on Earth wanting to suffer so he can remove it and then demand you believe the story or go to hell…with an actual ability to question it and ponder alternatives without being called out as a demon. If you can do this and still follow it, as well as the previous examples and on top of it find it perfectly find to stone gay men, kill children who disobey their fathers, have women shut up in church and see the devil in so much bad luck…and still after thinking this out hold that it is true at the most fundamental levels, then yes, you are a fundamentalist if that means anything.

    They are failed human beings. Failed rational agents. Those who have worked it out and still believe are the fuck-ups and the failure is on them and only them. Not on those who pretend to be full out fundamentalist out of fear and social pressure. They are the actual successful human beings. Those at least able to hold some moral grounding and a modicum of rationality. I don’t see them as failure at all really but a slight amount of promise in human kind.

    But yeah, I get what Sam Harris is saying and somewhat agree. But I think the inverse says a lot more.


    When thinking about fundamentalists I, for some reason, am sometimes reminded of the George Carlin quote;

    Have you ever noticed that anybody driving slower than you is an idiot, and anyone going faster than you is a maniac?


    Simon Paynton

    I don’t see what’s so wrong with fundamentalism, or maybe it’s just an inappropriate word.  Surely it’s good to take everything back to fundamentals, because that’s how we understand things.  What Harris is talking about is surely extremism vs moderation.  Extremism doesn’t care about human rights.  Moderation allows people flexibility in dealing with the real world.

    Michel de Montaigne, the French Renaissance philosopher, preached moderation in the wars between Catholics and Protestants, people on each side of which were too ready to die for their beliefs.

    I believe it was Virginia Woolf who said that extremists are callous.


    tom sarbeck

    Re Carlin and idiots or maniacs: Humor often comes from within; he was projecting.



    The insane amount of literary and philosophical works (and trickery) to justify God’s even existence again and again, and why a word-for-word approach to the bible is possible in a logical way, the endless repetition of “God is real”, the concept of hell to keep you questioning too long.

    ….THIS !…well said, Davis. It’s a full time job. If god was real, why would we need preachers ??? !!!


    Simon Paynton

    I’m interested in the reasons why religion turns to the dark side, morally, and away from the “light” of universal compassion etc.  I’m not sure if the two sides are mirror images of each other, religiously speaking.  Probably, each case is unique in itself.


    tom sarbeck

    Simon asked “…the reasons why religion turns to the dark side,….”

    Because a very few people “on the dark side” create religions. They want control, money, or access to the kind of people who need or get religion. For instance, children.



    The light of universal compassion or compassion to any degree is independent of religion. Religion hijacked it by claiming that without God, compassion or any form of human moral behavior could not exist.

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