This site is not maintained. Click here for the new website of Richard Dawkins.

← The God Fraud

The God Fraud - Comments

MattHunX's Avatar Comment 1 by MattHunX

Brilliant!

Man I didn't even read any of Harris's books yet.

Can someone tell which one I should down...uh...pick up?

Tue, 05 Jan 2010 18:15:00 UTC | #428866

Mindscape's Avatar Comment 2 by Mindscape

Thanks Sam. Thanks.

Tue, 05 Jan 2010 18:15:00 UTC | #428867

Mitch Kahle's Avatar Comment 3 by Mitch Kahle

Karen Armstrong replies: ... When I was a student, I was taught to listen to all sides of a question, examine the evidence impartially, and be prepared to change my mind.


Examine the Evidence?

Well get to it, Ms. Armstrong, and be prepared to change your mind.

Tue, 05 Jan 2010 18:17:00 UTC | #428869

Richard Dawkins's Avatar Comment 4 by Richard Dawkins

Game, set and match to Sam. What a ridiculous woman. I'm amazed she even tried to reply. It would have been more dignified just to slink away in shame.

Richard

Tue, 05 Jan 2010 18:19:00 UTC | #428870

Mitch Kahle's Avatar Comment 5 by Mitch Kahle

Armstrong obviously suffers from "The God Delusion" - she can't help herself.

If only we had a pill to cure such infirmities of the brain.

Tue, 05 Jan 2010 18:28:00 UTC | #428875

Chris Roberts's Avatar Comment 6 by Chris Roberts

Like many religious people, I do not believe in demons. I abhor violence of any kind, be it verbal or physical, religious or secular.

Even though Jesus cast out demons?
Even though Jesus intimadated and chased money lenders?
Even though Jesus proclaimed he was prepared to rule by the sword?
Even if your religion preaches one god and is therefore incompatible with any other religion, on pain of death/eternal damnation.

And I note with interest she actually made no attempt to answers Sams's points at all, merely to divert the conversation and accuse him of being disresectful.

Tue, 05 Jan 2010 18:40:00 UTC | #428888

RichardofYork's Avatar Comment 7 by RichardofYork

Comment By MattHunX :Man I didn't even read any of Harris's books yet.

Can someone tell which one I should down...uh...pick up?
The End Of Faith is a book everyone should read . If you havent read it youre really missing out .Its a forceful thoughtful look at dogma and belief

Tue, 05 Jan 2010 18:43:00 UTC | #428891

InYourFaceNewYorker's Avatar Comment 8 by InYourFaceNewYorker

Great article, Sam!

Tue, 05 Jan 2010 18:53:00 UTC | #428901

Cartomancer's Avatar Comment 9 by Cartomancer

So Karen Armstrong thinks that a polite and respectful debate between atheists and the religious would be a helpful and productive thing to have.

She also realises that the influence of atheism has mitigated the thinking of certain theologians and help to prevent the worst excrescences of backward patriarchal literalism in their theology.

Both of these things may well be true.

But I ask her this: What exactly do we get out of such an exchange? What exactly do the religious have that the non-religious would want or need? What precisely do they do better than us and what can they teach us about anything? Until their side actually has anything worthwhile to offer us, this will not be a debate, it will be a lecture.

Tue, 05 Jan 2010 18:54:00 UTC | #428904

Christopher Davis's Avatar Comment 10 by Christopher Davis

Armstrong writes..."Religion is also about the quest for transcendence, the discipline of compassion, and the endless search for meaning; it was not designed to provide us with the same kind of explanations as science, but to help us to live creatively, serenely, and kindly with the suffering that is an inescapable part of the human condition."

If that's all religion was then I doubt anyone would have a problem with it.

It is insane for Armstrong to argue that the serenity and "meaning" she (and assumedly billions of others) derives from this abstract concept of religion can in any way balance the scales for atrocities committed in the name of religion. If people want to experience serenity they should buy a fish tank. And as for meaning, how about a simple "do your best"?

Armstrong's portrayal of religion is at best an ideal, at worst a sad act of denial...it is in no way related to reality.

Furthermore, for someone who is supposed to be a religious scholar, she doesn't seem all that well aquainted with faiths outside the Abrahamic tradition. If she was then she would realize that many religions currently have practices that are for all intents and purposes majic.

Hell, unless I'm mistaken the Catholic Church can still authorize an exorcism. And Communion? How is the idea that a cracker actually becomes the body of a long-dead carpenter any less abra- cadabra-ish than pulling a fucking rabbit out of a hat?

Tue, 05 Jan 2010 19:10:00 UTC | #428913

MattHunX's Avatar Comment 11 by MattHunX

RichardofYork

Thank you! I already looked it up on wiki and stuff a few months ago when I "discovered" RD, CH and SH, but didn't get that one yet. I will. And when I have a job, a place of my own, and enough income I will by the book out of respect...and to actually have something on the shelves.

Tue, 05 Jan 2010 19:15:00 UTC | #428919

flying goose's Avatar Comment 12 by flying goose

Cartomancer

So Richard recieves nothing from people like Richard Harries? Is there any point to their dialogue?

Tue, 05 Jan 2010 19:17:00 UTC | #428920

GodsDontExist's Avatar Comment 13 by GodsDontExist

I get so sick of hearing "Islam is a peaceful religion". And, America buys into all that crap, because they have their stupid Christianity and Catholicism. All these religions ignore much of their doctrine, which is vile and morbid and was written by man to control man. It is difficult living in an ignorant culture.

Tue, 05 Jan 2010 19:28:00 UTC | #428925

LWS's Avatar Comment 14 by LWS

Karen Armstrong mutters without ever saying anything. She's sort of like a Chicken Soup for the Soul writer. Soup sells tremendous volumes of books to those who aren't really interested in deep thought.

I am puzzled as to why Armstrong was awarded a TED prize, doesn't that sort of diminish the importance of the honour?

Tue, 05 Jan 2010 19:33:00 UTC | #428933

Dr. Strangegod's Avatar Comment 16 by Dr. Strangegod

MattHunX - As a perpetually underemployed person with barren shelves (if shelves at all) I've become a big fan of the public library (or even better, university libraries when I have access to them).

I'm not sure I'm totally in support of Sam's derisive, sarcastic tone, although I agree with his points and point of view entirely. I mean, maybe this is all we're left with at this point in the conversation (or whatever this is), and I'm loathe to be the one calling for restraint from sarcasm, but how does this sort of writing help us?

Tue, 05 Jan 2010 19:40:00 UTC | #428942

flying goose's Avatar Comment 15 by flying goose

Further to my last.
Karen Armstrong clearly seeks to find the best in religion, and perhaps even promote that best as something that religion could aspire to be. Problem is that she clearly thinks religion is already there. In this she indeed deluded.

I do not think that this is ridiculous, just idealistic and far too hopeful.

I do think people of good will should talk to each other, what ever their differences. We are all human beings.

How can we know what we might or might not gain from a conversation we resolutely refuse to take part in?

Tue, 05 Jan 2010 19:40:00 UTC | #428941

blessedreleaf's Avatar Comment 17 by blessedreleaf

Although I am with Sam Harris et al concerning the facts of the matter, the tone in this letter had a bit more of an edge to it than I might have expected. It's an old argument, I know, but I still wonder if such sarcasm is "helpful." We get to vent, and that feels good and necessary, while those on the other side get to gloat about our lack of manners, so called.

I could be wrong, but for me his brilliance was dulled by this acidity.

OTOH, maybe Armstrong's blockheadedness deserved nothing better.

Tue, 05 Jan 2010 19:41:00 UTC | #428943

GodsDontExist's Avatar Comment 18 by GodsDontExist

15. Comment #447618 by flying goose

17. Comment #447620 by blessedreleaf

Many of us saw religion as harmless nonsense. Beliefs might lack all supporting evidence but, we thought, if people needed a crutch for consolation, where's the harm? September 11th changed all that. Revealed faith is not harmless nonsense, it can be lethally dangerous nonsense. Dangerous because it gives people unshakeable confidence in their own righteousness. Dangerous because it gives them false courage to kill themselves, which automatically removes normal barriers to killing others. Dangerous because it teaches enmity to others labelled only by a difference of inherited tradition. And dangerous because we have all bought into a weird respect, which uniquely protects religion from normal criticism. Let's now stop being so damned respectful! http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Richard_Dawkins

________________________

Richard Dawkins quoting a former editor of New Scientist Magazine:

"Science is interesting, and if you don't agree you can fuck off.

Tue, 05 Jan 2010 19:49:00 UTC | #428948

MattHunX's Avatar Comment 19 by MattHunX

Lucas

MattHunX - As a perpetually underemployed person with barren shelves (if shelves at all) I've become a big fan of the public library (or even better, university libraries when I have access to them).


I actually live behind the town library, but if it would be worth going to, I would. Besides, I don't trust Hungarian translations and by the time those books would make it here the whole thing would be irrelevant and out-dated.

Tue, 05 Jan 2010 19:55:00 UTC | #428954

Dr. Strangegod's Avatar Comment 20 by Dr. Strangegod

MattHunX - Ah, well, I guess you're SOL on libraries then. :)

I just read Russell Blackford's recent piece (which I'd skipped before due to length and short time) and must say it stands in great contrast to this piece, but he does make a point about the use of sarcasm and of cool argumentation, and so my earlier post is answered.

Tue, 05 Jan 2010 20:04:00 UTC | #428960

Cartomancer's Avatar Comment 21 by Cartomancer

So Richard recieves nothing from people like Richard Harries? Is there any point to their dialogue?
I did not say that individuals who happen to be religious are therefore unable to contribute anything to knowledge or the better running of society. But inasmuch as they are religious they have nothing to teach us. Religiosity confers no benefits or advantages, save of the kind inherent in being a part of a majority in-group and therefore avoiding the persecution and marginalisation inherent in not so belonging. There is nothing of any value that religious people do and non-religious people cannot do.

Whatever Richard Harries contributed to Richard Dawkins's understanding was not down to him being religious but down to him being an erudite and thoughtful person in his own right. Were Richard Harries not a religious man (and by most people's understanding of the term he probably isn't), he would have had just as much to contribute.

I suppose it might just be possible to say that dialogue with the religious enables us to better understand how they think and live their lives, but this is not really helpful for us except inasmuch as we have to deal with them. This is an exchange of ideas in the same way as a biologist exchanges ideas with bacteria in a petri dish - qua religiosity a religious person is enlightening only as a phenomenon for study, not as a source of ideas.

As such the dialogue we should be having is not a dialogue between the religious and the sane but between everyone with something useful to say and everyone else with something useful to say.

Tue, 05 Jan 2010 20:10:00 UTC | #428965

flying goose's Avatar Comment 22 by flying goose

BiologicDentists.com

Its not a case of being respectful to beliefs, its about being respecful to those you share the planet with.


You might not have noticed this but Richard is alweys, civil, friendly yes even respectful to people like Richard Harries.

Why? You would have to ask him, but I suspect that it is because he has recieved the same civility and respect from Harries.

Tue, 05 Jan 2010 20:14:00 UTC | #428967

flying goose's Avatar Comment 23 by flying goose

Cartomancer

As such the dialogue we should be having is not a dialogue between the religious and the sane but between everyone with something useful to say and everyone else with something useful to say.


As always well met and I agree with you.

The point of dialogue, which, IMO, is not possible with a real fundi, is that by asking and listening we understand each other better.

Tue, 05 Jan 2010 20:21:00 UTC | #428972

black wolf's Avatar Comment 24 by black wolf

Hilariously, the currently last reader comment on the article and Karen's reply starts:

I am an atheist, But


Priceless.

Tue, 05 Jan 2010 20:23:00 UTC | #428978

Dean Buchanan's Avatar Comment 25 by Dean Buchanan


Whatever Richard Harries contributed to Richard Dawkins's understanding was not down to him being religious but down to him being an erudite and thoughtful person in his own right. Were Richard Harries not a religious man (and by most people's understanding of the term he probably isn't), he would have had just as much to contribute.

I always enjoy your posts Cartomancer, thank you for your thoughtful contributions. I will disagree slightly with the above. The amount of time that he has devoted to his religion could have been better spent working on other, more productive, agendas. edit: thus he would be able to contribute more

It saddens and angers me that we waste so much human talent and potential on religion...now surfing YouTube, that's another matter.

Tue, 05 Jan 2010 20:24:00 UTC | #428979

Logician's Avatar Comment 26 by Logician

Oh, man, thank you Sam!
It's about time someone slapped this abysmal waste of carbon atoms around.
Armstrong is a world-class lying scumbag. She is obviously well trained and quite conversant with all religions so she does what she knows to be one of the most successful things that religions do:
Lie like hell and bilk people out of their money for the disgustingly stupid crap she writes. She knows she's lying to sell books and it's simply appalling.
Way to go, Sam!

Tue, 05 Jan 2010 20:34:00 UTC | #428985

flying goose's Avatar Comment 27 by flying goose

It does surprise me that 9/11 should be such a wake up call.

What about the Holocaust? First Church provided the theology to make it possible, and then stands by an lets it happen.

I suspect that the shock of 9/11 has at least something to do with what it said about American_exceptionalism

Tue, 05 Jan 2010 20:38:00 UTC | #428987

LittleFluffyClouds's Avatar Comment 28 by LittleFluffyClouds

It matters what is true, that's all.

Tue, 05 Jan 2010 20:43:00 UTC | #428990

bendigeidfran's Avatar Comment 29 by bendigeidfran

mmmmmmmm.......albino.......those Africans are stupid.

Tue, 05 Jan 2010 20:45:00 UTC | #428992

kev_s's Avatar Comment 30 by kev_s

Poor Karen Armstrong. Reductio ad absurdum ... it burns the stupid doesn't it?

Tue, 05 Jan 2010 20:51:00 UTC | #428996