Ch. 14: There Is No "Eastern" Solution

#64: Mar. - May 2009 (Non-Fiction)
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Chris OConnor
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God Is Not Great

Ch. 14: There Is No "Eastern" Solution

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DWill
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Credit Hitchens for not merely rounding up the usual suspects. He excoriates the monotheistic faiths, but he doesn't give Eastern religions a pass. They are not pacifist by nature, for one thing, and they are prone to abuses of power through self-interest. He objects to what he interprets as their strong anti-intellectualism and anti-individualism.

I thought Sam Harris, in The End of Faith, was committing special pleading with his defense of Buddhism as a legitimate religion as opposed to the rest. He even wanted readers to believe that there might be something to reincarnation, which was flagrant.

Where I differ from Hitchens and probably most other atheists is that this indivualism they value (rightly, in my culture-bound view) may itself have been fostered by Judaism and Christianity. They appear to view religion only in terms of its dysfunction, and are not open to the paradox of a mixture of benefits and evils. This mixture should not be so hard to accommodate, though, when we consider that capitalism is similarly a very mixed bag.
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Frank 013
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DWill
Where I differ from Hitchens and probably most other atheists is that this indivualism they value (rightly, in my culture-bound view) may itself have been fostered by Judaism and Christianity. They appear to view religion only in terms of its dysfunction, and are not open to the paradox of a mixture of benefits and evils.


It’s not that we view religion as being entirely dysfunctional, but a great many people are unaware of, or completely ignore that dysfunction… so we put it in their face! :ninjafist:

Another thing is weather religions are needed at all… one less corruptible bureaucracy in this world would be a good thing in my opinion… so comparing religions to capitalism or other human constructed ideas is a mute point, unless you have a better system waiting in the wings. Unlike capitalism religions need no replacement (morality and ethical) lessons abound in our culture.

It is entirely possible to become a good, responsible, caring, healthy, law abiding and useful member of society without religion or belief in a punishing, ever watchful supernatural sky daddy.

Religions need us more than we need them…

Later
That which can be asserted without evidence can be dismissed without evidence.
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DWill
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Frank 013 wrote:It’s not that we view religion as being entirely dysfunctional, but a great many people are unaware of, or completely ignore that dysfunction… so we put it in their face! :ninjafist:

Yes, I think it is the "in their face" aspect that might separate someone who doesn't believe from an atheist. I'm not being critical of the "in their face," part, by the way.
Another thing is weather religions are needed at all… one less corruptible bureaucracy in this world would be a good thing in my opinion…

You don't need a religion, I don't need a religion, but I think you recognize that others do think they need a religion. I don't need a political party, either, but many think they do. It seems to be a simple matter of pluralism, unless there are good reasons to object to religion in particular situations.
so comparing religions to capitalism or other human constructed ideas is a mute point, unless you have a better system waiting in the wings. Unlike capitalism religions need no replacement (morality and ethical) lessons abound in our culture.

Of course, some have thought they've found a better alternative to capitalism...but the point I was after is simply that many weigh both its benefits and evils and decide that there is no less harmful system.
It is entirely possible to become a good, responsible, caring, healthy, law abiding and useful member of society without religion or belief in a punishing, ever watchful supernatural sky daddy.

This is getting more mainstream acceptance, for example Obama's recognition of non-believers in his inaguaral address.
Religions need us more than we need them…Later

That's good.
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