Wednesday, August 12, 2009

How on Earth can Coke Zero have no calories?

I just finished reading Letter to a Christian Nation by Sam Harris. I really enjoyed it and it was a quick read, which I also appreciated. He makes some really good, articulate points and I would recommend it to anyone doubting their faith. Anyone not doubting their faith, I wouldn't so much recommend it as I would double-dog dare you to read it.

So now I'm jumping right into A Friendly Letter to Skeptics and Atheists by David G. Myers. I know what to expect from this book because from what I can already tell, Myers is the kind of Christian that I think I was for a long time, which is to say very, very liberal. Maybe that's why I like him. He seems reasonable even though I know that at some point I'm probably going to think him less so. I think after reading these two books, where one is clearly a sort of answer to the other, its going to be a question about moderate religion, because that is what I think Myers is trying to sell in the place of "irrational fundamentalism."

Harris makes the point of saying that all moderates and liberals are doing is taking the scripture less and less seriously. I really agree with that. I know that that's what I was doing. The more we learn about how the world actually works, the more we've been able to write off the Bible as the primitive assertions of ignorant (and I mean that as the denotation of the word, not as an insult) sheepherders. We could go on and on and on listing all the things that they knew about god that most intelligent Christians and Jews laugh off today, but we won't.

I know what the "New Atheists" would say about this, but I think there's quite a few regular atheists, deists, and agnostics here and I'd like to hear your opinions about something. Religious moderates (especially Muslims) would have us believe that their religions have been hi-jacked by extremists and are not inherently dangerous. However, their holy books do not advocate being "moderate" but rather being, we'll kindly say "impassioned." So the question is three-fold: Do you think religious liberalism a good thing? Do you think it enables extremism? And do you think it's just a step down the road to faithlessness?

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