Of course I would insist that any course on world religion or religion
in general have a section on atheists. It is clear that the atheist
community has something to say about a great many number of subjects.
Everything from climate change to fair housing, political corruption,
good business policies, how the wars are being conducted, public
funding of religious based organizations, equal rights for all
Americans and so forth.

Keep in mind that while many atheists may actually take interest and have
views on these and a great many more subjects the views held can be
quite diverse. In Sam Harris' book The End of Faith, he makes
great points about good reasons to minimize the influence of religion
and why it should be minimized as much as possible. He spends a great
deal of time dealing directly with Christianity, Islam and touching
on Judaism and other faiths. But near the end of the book where he is
trying to make his case for ending faith he slips out of the garden
and begins trying really hard to justify a form of mysticism that
separates the Conscience and objective awareness and the duality
nature of our conscience existence.

I feel that Harris is either
trying to hard to tie in a eastern philosophical view or exert his
belief in some sort of a mystic world. While Harris went to some
great lengths to try to make the connection to human happiness at the
end of the book but he fails to make the step by step link cited in
his book that, “spiritual experience, ethical behavior and strong
communities are essential for human happiness.”

I would say that to a degree I found this distressing as he seemed to
be endorsing a version of a spiritual nature possibility a forum of
Buddhism. This however seemed to be the point of his book since he
ends the main section of the book with his title. I would have to
conclude that the end of faith would lead to a spiritual nature.

This is an example for me that atheists can agree with one another most of
the time but have serious disagreements about other subjects. I thank
Harris greatly for his book as it has done much for promoting a
positive and a more concise view to the general public of what many
atheist see as what is wrong with religion and why religious
adherents can be use to hid more radical beliefs within the same
general belief system. While the typical Methodist may disagree with
abortion, it was that religious protection afford to the more radical
Christian groups such and Operation
and others that led a person like Scott Roeder to
shoot and kill Dr. George Tiller in Wichita, Kansas while Tiller
served as an usher at his Lutheran church. Roeder's radical views
found a home in the radicalism of such organizations though I
understand that he was almost universally condemned by even the
abortion opponents. At least at the time. If some fellow Christian
was to come against the views of Roeder, Roeder's defense could be
something as simple as, “You don't understand what god wants to
happen to Tiller.”

Statements like this in a religious context cannot be disputed. Yet I continue
to be amazed by the religious adherents who will over and over again
say that “they” are the only ones that has the “truth.” I
would not expect to hear this if I was to speak about my objections
to Harris' conclusion as I mentioned earlier. I feel as reasonable
people Harris would at least attempt to listen to my reasons for
disagreeing with him until he either determined I had no knowledge or
comprehension of what he was talking about or he was able to see my
perspective or some other alternative. Many believers also feel that
if they were to loose their faith that they would have been a fool
for all their life in which they based their actions upon their
religion. I can see this but it brings to mind a story I heard where
a researcher into some concept made a discovery breakthrough and when
he did the presentation of the concept one professor that had been
looking into an alternative view for several decades stood up in the
audience and told him that he was thankful to him for reveling the
errors of his ways. Then the professor led the applause for the
presenter. I use this example to show that having accurate
information is the goal of the rational thinker. While to the
adherent, faith is the goal. So to destroy the faith is to destroy
their world.

That is one great advantage to being a skeptic vis-a-vis an atheist.
Disagreeing with each other and vigorous debate is a keystone of
education and knowledge. But the acquisition of new reality based
knowledge in religions either causes them to split, have war, or
modify into a new belief system to accommodate the new reality.
Believers that are convinced by themselves or by others that the
actions they take in the name of their religion are right in spite of
how they cause harm to their fellow man will stop at nothing to reach
their goals. The actions that require one to have faith, rule out
reason as faith rules out science. After all, “God” cannot have
his followers second guess their actions or purposes with reason,
logic, facts and science.

According the the book Atheists, Atheists are much more likely to support causes that
have nothing to do with their belief system when it indicates an
injustice. An atheist is also a more honest person than a person
which holds dogmatic beliefs or are of a right wing mentality. There
were other somewhat surprising but somewhat confirming results in the
book that show atheists not only to be more honest and more self
aware of the state of their behavior and mental state but are also
more critical of people that both share and do not share their
opinions. I would have to contend that this is in of itself a good
definition of being a skeptic. If only the adherents in the religions
were able to or encouraged to question those that provide the answers
openly instead of having the same dogmatic message yelled into their
brains or chanted week after week until they are mind numbed, we
might have a much more peaceful and advance planet to live on. To
wrap up this section I would like to just add;


Coming Next Time;


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