[extropy-chat] Books: Harris; Religion and Reason

Herb Martin HerbM at learnquick.com
Tue Jan 10 02:28:02 UTC 2006


From: Robert Bradbury

I saw a show on CSPAN2 a couple of nights ago.  Apparently a presentation by
Sam Harris [1] author of "The End of Faith" [2,3] to the New York Society
for Ethical Culture [4].  He made ~5 arguments against the tolerance by
rational individuals of religious based perspectives (be they Christan
fundamentalism or Muslim).  One of his perspectives seemed to revolve around
the fact that all religions are *not* equal and we should stop pretending
that they are.  He asked the fundamental question of "Where are the Buddhist
suicide bombers?" (given the extent to which the Buddhists have been abused
by the Chinese), or to an even greater extent "Where are the Jain
militants?" (Jain's are an Indian religion that he suggested were extremely
non-violent in their beliefs). 

The simple answer for the Buddhists is that their suicide bombers killed
only themselves when
they felt something was egregious enough a violation to warrant
self-sacrifice and made
sure that no one else was harmed.
And I think this makes your (and Harris') point even more strongly.

His fundamental position seemed to be that the traditional position of
"tolerance" by "moderates" for religious extremism, particularly that which
is fundamentally unextropic, and particularly that which is based on the
acceptance of irrational perspectives, should be discontinued.  I.e. it is
no longer acceptable for one to reject active forms of the destruction of
information (e.g. suicide bombers) but one must extend that to passive forms
of the destruction of information (e.g. irrational religions). 

I would tend to agree.

It's only logical.
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