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Book bonanza

I went to Borders today, to find a book to replace on I borrowed that Paul lost (I did not succeed in that) and to look for another book by Robert Wilson and to finish the one of his I was reading (The Company of Strangers). Of course I had to have a glance at the sale books. One the Three-for-two table I  found two books that are on my wishlist, plus a few others that looked interesting enough. So I bought:

The curious incident of the dog in the night-time (mark haddon - novel)
The End of Faith (sam harris - nonfiction)
Animals in Translation (temple grandin and catherine johnson - nonfiction)
The Blind Man of Seville (robert wilson - fiction)

I have begun The End of Faith and am engrossed already. No, it isn't about the loss of faith, of a nation seeking God. It is almost the opposite. It asks the questions about religions that need to be asked, and flatly says that they all have to go, and go now, for the sake of the world.

I am an atheist, meaning not that I "lack faith" but that I do not believe in a god. I have spent a lifetime tiptoeing around others who believe in a god, in spite of the sometimes-insane tenets of those beliefs. I have lately become more and more uncomfortable "accepting" others' religions when those religions simply aren't good for us, for the world, and are in fact the cause of more violence and death than anything else. I agree with Harris that it's time to put an end to it, to acceptance of insane beliefs of any kind.

Comments

( 10 comments — Leave a comment )
ayebee
Feb. 20th, 2006 04:14 am (UTC)
Amen! (heh, oops.) Seriously, though. I hear you.
judith
Feb. 20th, 2006 04:35 am (UTC)
Good one!
prom
Feb. 20th, 2006 05:05 pm (UTC)
The curious incident of the dog in the night-time (mark haddon - novel)

this was a fast and rather fascinating read. i hope you enjoy it as much as i did. :o)
judith
Feb. 20th, 2006 05:21 pm (UTC)
It sounds really interesting to me. Which reminds me. I have to update my amazon wishlist now that I've gotten a couple of the books on there.
attelage
Feb. 20th, 2006 06:06 pm (UTC)
"I am an atheist, meaning not that I "lack faith" but that I do not believe in a god. I have spent a lifetime tiptoeing around others who believe in a god, in spite of the sometimes-insane tenets of those beliefs. I have lately become more and more uncomfortable "accepting" others' religions when those religions simply aren't good for us, for the world, and are in fact the cause of more violence and death than anything else. I agree with Harris that it's time to put an end to it, to acceptance of insane beliefs of any kind."

Hallelujah!
The problem is that people are so stubborn and brainwashed they believe their beliefs are sane and true. It's hard to imagine that a cartoon of the prophet Muhammad wearing a turban shaped like an ignited missle would incite fanatic muslims to want to kill non-muslims, even though they had nothing to do with the cartoon. When I think of all the insulting jokes I have seen depicting the Christian Jesus/God in ridiculous scenarios, or all the sex/pervert driven Catholic jokes...well I suppose some religions can sport a sense of humor without rioting and murdering people.



judith
Feb. 20th, 2006 06:18 pm (UTC)
I do include Christianity in that bunch of religions, by the way.

A core belief among Christians is that they know the way and I don't. No good can come of this.

Sam Harris makes the point that "moderates" want to "accept" the fundamentalists, and it's time to say no. He also notes that the only thing that makes a person a "moderate" is life experience and knowledge and the need to ignore most of the written tenets of the religion. In other words, the mods are "less religious" if by being religious one means adhering to the teachings of that faith. They regularly ignore the more horrific teachings - thank heaven. But that leaves the question - why hang onto what little is left?

As a long-time atheist I know that I lack nothing in the way of community, love, belief in others, trust, a reason to live. I don't need a mystic kind of belief to make my life worthwhile. This is something that seems to be hard for many religious persons to understand.
attelage
Feb. 21st, 2006 12:13 am (UTC)
I'm with you!
I am not a Christian. Pagan here. I just believe in energy and nature. I do follow the teachings of the Dalai Lama and hold him in high regard, but as a brilliant human with a keen understanding of life, not as a god. I don't think there is some holy wizard in the sky.

Organized religion and cults go hand in hand. I have many friends who subscribe to a religious belief although I have learned not to discuss my beliefs with them. I am tired of being judged by them and hearing about some overblown preacher named Jesus wanting to save my soul. From what? I'm a good person. I refuse to believe in a bunch of stories written by a group of men whose sole purpose was to control people.

My son and Michael are both atheists. I suppose I am too although I do believe in a common energy that connects all life.

judith
Feb. 21st, 2006 02:57 am (UTC)
Re: I'm with you!
All righty! Good to know! Several of my friends are Christians, too - mainly Episcopalian - and I don't talk religion with them. It's a difficult subject to broach directly, and I feel badly about that, wish that I could talk to them about why they feel as they do.

One of these friends, a brilliant man, was surprised when I did not immediately attack his religion but rather simply asked questions about it out of curiosity. He said he was not interested in talking about his belief. I don't feel I could ever have a really honest conversation that did not include a lot of defenssiveness from any of thse friends,and it's too bad.

It's especially too bad when you consider that other friends, not as close as these, have essentially condemned me to hell because I don't believe what they do. I would love to have that conversation with them, but there is no way.
ranunculus
Feb. 23rd, 2006 04:56 am (UTC)
Re: I'm with you!
Hi Judith,
Friend of Attalage here.
I'm a good solid, quiet Pagan on the athiestic side.

I don't think that throwing out all religions is necessarily a good thing. Not that there aren't parts of lots of religions that I'd like to erase from the face of the earth! Amongst the ugly, disfunctional issues in religion are also the positive things.
It seems to me that many people need a framework of morality to hang their hat on, and religion does provide it. In the Christian world it is the 10 commandments (not all of which I necessarily agree with - what is wrong with coveting your neighbor's wife, as long as your neighbor and his wife are happy with the situation?) But I digress.
I'll take my sister as an example. She is a Jehova's Witness. Has been for 30 years. It works for her, and she has managed to keep it out of our relationship. My Mother said that my sister always wanted someone to "tell her how to live". By that I mean that my sister had difficulty deciding moral issues, and chose to let someone else handle those decisions. While I in no way endorse the J.W. religion, it serves a function for some people. Which is not to say that the crazy fringe of such organizations should not be stopped. I'm an environmentalist, but I don't agree with Earth First's methods!


judith
Feb. 23rd, 2006 05:20 am (UTC)
Re: I'm with you!
I know that religion has some good aspects. Interestingly, these aspects come almost in spite of the religious teachings themselves. In other words, the words in the various holy texts say one thing but because of life experience and some common sense, the more "moderate" followers simply ignore much of what's in the book. That's what makes some religious people bearable, frankly - that they ignore much of their religion.

It makes one think. And wonder if the things that are good about religion cannot be got elsewhere. I believe that they can. Even "direction". I have long felt that those who follow God are essentially submissives - why not go with that?

In any case, I don't see myself as the one to shake it all up. At this time in my life it is too big a job, and it may actually take several generations to move this world beyond mystical belief and toward a greater reliance on facts and personal responsiibility.

One of my friends, a Christian, told me she does the right thing because she's afraid of the consequences, that she'll go to Hell if she doesn't. It seems to me that this is no ad for religion. It's an ad for lack of personal responsibility. But hey, I could go on...

Thank you for your comments. It's nice to meet you!
( 10 comments — Leave a comment )

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