I generally spend a good deal of time and effort suggesting folks would do well to retire many of their absolutist and fundamentalist religious views, for those more psychologically healthy views of human spirituality, and morality. Based on those innate human values we share with virtually all other human beings on the planet.
I am generally less strident in pointing out what I consider to be the underlying importance of affecting this change. For the future welfare of mankind, and the fact that we continue to push our luck – as a species – in failing to judiciously retire our more stridently fundamentalist belief systems. Especially given the weapons of mass destruction, and means of technology at the hands of what can increasingly be seen, as vying religious belief systems.
Sam Harris – many of you are no-doubt familiar with the name – delivered one of the best, most concise, less than 30 minute talks, dealing with these issues, at Toronto’s Idea City symposium, back in 2005.
While pointing out the absurdities often involved, he more importantly points to the crippling effects that being forced to bow to the constraints of religious fundamentalism, of all kinds – and Christian fundamentalism, in particular – is having on our ability to discuss things rationally, and bring about needed change. Ideas both religious and non-religious folks need to really think about.
[Like a TED Talk in Toronto – 2 Parts]
Sam Harris: Idea City ’05 [1of 2] _ 14 1/2 min
Sam Harris: Idea City ’05 [2 of 2] _ 8 min
3 thoughts on “Beliefs hazardous to World Health”
Many of these comments derive from or were put forward later (I am unsure of the chronology) in a debate Harris had with the Catholic author, Andrew Sullivan, on BeliefNet. Sullivan took the position that the Christ child should not be thrown out with the dogmatic bath water, while Sam countered with the point that religious moderates are, in Alcoholics Anonymous lingo, “enablers.” He separates the men from the boys, people who lay it all out in no uncertain terms and the Devil take the hindmost from politically correct non-theists who keep their opinions to themselves and dance around the issues at stake. Sam’s first book got him labeled one of the so-called New Atheists, but longtime unbelievers point out that there is no such animal, there is only the march of time and gradual evolution of the Mind in recognition of the fact that as we are now intelligent enough to bring about the demise of the species, there is simply no more room for unreasonable, divisive notions that all can die and someone called God will sort out his own. This was a good talk. Wish it had been twice as long.
Appreciate your sobering comments, Mr Martin. Would that many more shared your insight.
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