Kools and Marlboro
Posted: 25 February 2012 12:03 PM   [ Ignore ]
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I pride myself in maintaining an ability to look at and study the extremes of both sides. I find in general this often leads to a moderate point of view, except in the case of religious belief.

When I was a smoker I carried both Kool’s and Marlboros and alternated. As a political junkie I move between right wing and left wing radio, Fox and MSNBC at lightning speed, as a result I find myself pro choice and anti nanny state. And for you familiar with my user name, I am equally fascinated with Michael Savage and Mike Malloy, both highly entertaining nut jobs. This habit didn’t work well when drinking though.

With religious belief, no matter how I look at the faithful, I just don’t get it. I more and more become A-theistic. It was either Sam Harris or Daniel Dennett, maybe someone similar who said that even being a moderate or liberal supporter of religion provided the platform for extremists to grow. So I remain extremely anti religious.

In an effort to maintain a balanced approach, can someone recommend competent religious apologist authors? I know there are a few faithful on this site, maybe they can give me a list.


Sorry if this has been covered before, I am a new member.

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Posted: 25 February 2012 07:56 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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Savagemalloy - 25 February 2012 12:03 PM

I pride myself in maintaining an ability to look at and study the extremes of both sides. I find in general this often leads to a moderate point of view, except in the case of religious belief.

When I was a smoker I carried both Kool’s and Marlboros and alternated. As a political junkie I move between right wing and left wing radio, Fox and MSNBC at lightning speed, as a result I find myself pro choice and anti nanny state. And for you familiar with my user name, I am equally fascinated with Michael Savage and Mike Malloy, both highly entertaining nut jobs. This habit didn’t work well when drinking though.

With religious belief, no matter how I look at the faithful, I just don’t get it. I more and more become A-theistic. It was either Sam Harris or Daniel Dennett, maybe someone similar who said that even being a moderate or liberal supporter of religion provided the platform for extremists to grow. So I remain extremely anti religious.

In an effort to maintain a balanced approach, can someone recommend competent religious apologist authors? I know there are a few faithful on this site, maybe they can give me a list.


Sorry if this has been covered before, I am a new member.

Harris and Dennett were wrong about that. William Lane Craig is a popular Christian apologist; Francis Collins and John Polkinghorne are scientists who are apologists also.

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Posted: 25 February 2012 11:10 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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So, I take it that you mean fundamental extremism does not need a broad base of moderate believers to exist and grow.

I am familiar with Craig via his debates. After having listened to so many, I have learned quite a bit about his position. The others I have not heard of and will check them out, thank you.

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Posted: 26 February 2012 05:26 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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Savage, you posted: “I pride myself in maintaining an ability to look at and study the extremes of both sides. I find in general this often leads to a moderate point of view, except in the case of religious belief”.  There are reasons for that: 

  The transition from Believer to Atheist changes you.  There are no longer spirits, ghosts, the afterlife, Heaven, Hell, and the immortality of the soul.  There is only logic, science, people – with all their faults and virtues – and the Universe.  We look for authors that explain the world in naturalistic terms.  Then, when we see an author who tries to explain the world in terms of “the plan that the loving God has for you” – we a filled with revulsion.  Why should be waste our time considering ideas posed by some High IQ nut case who believes bullshit? 

  Are true believers stupid? Hell no! It is just that some parts of their mind have been hijacked by evil religious memes.  Everyone does stupid things from time to time.  It is just that with religious people, a lot of the stupid things that they do are due to their religious programming. 

  No one would consider Isaac Newton to be stupid – but he believed in some remarkable supernatural things that could only be described as bizarre.  And then there was this Confucius guy – who said some really cool things like “He who sets out on the path of revenge should first dig two graves”.  Now this same incredibly smart person goes into a province – and having built up a reputation as a person of wisdom – is asked by the local ruler “How can I find and honest man?”  Confucius replies: “Be honest yourself”.  Now that is something that not even I would say.  That would be stupid!
TT.

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If you are offended by attacks on your religion, then your religion has programmed you well.

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Posted: 26 February 2012 08:35 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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Confucius replies: “Be honest yourself”.  Now that is something that not even I would say.  That would be stupid!

Oddly enough, I can’t quite agree with that. There’s a lot to be said about embracing the virtue you’re looking for in others. (The whole “Practice What You Preach” thing, which ethically makes good sense.) Now I would agree with the idea that what Confucious said doesn’t go far enough but it’s a good start.

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Question authority and think for yourself. Big Brother does not know best and never has.

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Posted: 27 February 2012 04:40 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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Ted:

...having built up a reputation as a person of wisdom – is asked by the local ruler “How can I find and honest man?”  Confucius replies: “Be honest yourself”. 

I think it is incredibly wise.  Because if the local ruler followed the advice, then he, himself, would be the honest man that he sought.

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“Our lives are not our own. From womb to tomb… We are bound to others, past and present… And by each crime and every kindness… We birth our future.”  Sonmi, 2144.

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Posted: 27 February 2012 05:30 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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I think that the moral of the story here is:
1.  On occasion, even smart people do dumb things.
2.  It is unwise to piss off the King.

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If your belief is true, the data will confirm it.  If your belief is false, then you need faith to believe it.
Religions that demand respect the most - are the religions that merit respect the least.
If you are offended by attacks on your religion, then your religion has programmed you well.

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Posted: 27 February 2012 09:18 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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Ted, my favorite:

Confucius say, “Man who has watch knows what time it is. Man with two watches never sure.”

Sorry, I couldn’t help it.

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Posted: 27 February 2012 09:54 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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Savagemalloy - 25 February 2012 12:03 PM

In an effort to maintain a balanced approach, can someone recommend competent religious apologist authors? I know there are a few faithful on this site, maybe they can give me a list.

Among the more mild mannered apologists, I think you will find Gary Habermas (see http://www.garyhabermas.com/) and Douglas Wilson. On the other hand, there’re they wild-eyed ones like Frank Turek and the infamous creationist, Kent Hovind. If you’re looking for pure scholarship, I suppose you could do a lot worse than to try Alvin Plantinga, but be prepared for some heavy reading.

Ed. They’re all pretty equally nonsensical IMHO. Either you recognize that no supernatural beings exist or you convince yourself that some do.

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“Time spent arguing is, oddly enough, almost never wasted.”
― Christopher Hitchens, Letters to a Young Contrarian

“Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn’t go away.”
—Philip K. Dick

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