Religion, even if untrue, could help guide the average person’s morality. Religion could help if religion taught morality at Wall Street, compassionate behavior for chief executives, just profits instead of blind greed.

Unfortunately, Western religions miss the big issues and instead devote themselves to obstructing society on minor philosophical points (rights of embryos containing 300 cells only are more important then life saving research), prohibition of condom use in Africa, etc.

But, religious books are outdated, badly interpreted, and as Sam Harris would say, dangerous to society. Sam Harris, a militant Atheist, aptly dismantles religion in his speeches and Videos. Really interesting & valuable.

Sam Harris: The View from the End of the World: Dangerous Deadly Religion

This is a voice only recording, you prefer to see a Video (albeit not very well done), you find a video with nice structure by topics http://fora.tv/2005/12/09/View_From_End_Of_World

Video Content description

Quotes taken from the youtube post of the video above follow:

  • In the US, Christians use irrational arguments about a soul in the 150 cells of a 3-day old human embryo to block stem cell research that might alleviate the suffering of millions. In Africa, Catholic doctrine uses tortured logic to actively discourage the use of condoms in countries ravaged by AIDS. “This is genocidal stupidity,” Harris said. Faith trumps rational argument. Common-sense ethical intuition is blinded by religious metaphysics.
  • In the US, 22% of the population are CERTAIN that Jesus is coming back in the next 50 years, and another 22% think that it’s likely. The good news of Christ’s return, though, can only occur following desperately bad news. Mushroom clouds would be welcomed. “End time thinking,” Harris said, “is fundamentally hostile to creating a sustainable future.”
  • Harris was particularly critical of religious moderates who give cover to the fundamentalists by not challenging them. The moderates say that all is justified because religion gives people meaning in their life. “But what would they say to a guy who believes there’s a diamond the size of a refrigerator buried in his backyard? The guy digs out there every Sunday with his family, cherishing the meaning the quest gives them.”
  • “I’ve read the books,” Harris said. “God is not a moderate.” The Bible gives strict instructions to kill various kinds of sinners, and their relatives, and on occasion their entire towns. Yet slavery is challenged nowhere in the New or Old Testaments; slave holders in the old south used the Bible to defend their practice. The religious texts have power because they are old, but they are also hopelessly out of date because they are old.
Sam Harris has been identified as one of the “Four Horsemen of Atheism” – company he shares with Richard Dawkins, Dan Dennett and Christopher Hitchens. An outspoken proponent of skepticism and science, his two books — The End of Faith and its follow-up Letter to a Christian Nation — have become best-sellers.
In The End of Faith, Harris showed “a harrowing glimpse of mankind’s willingness to suspend reason in favor of religious beliefs, even when these beliefs inspire the worst of human atrocities.” After receiving thousands of angry letters in response, he wrote Letter to a Christian Nation, which centered on religious controversies in the United States: stem cell research, “intelligent design,” and links between religion and violence.

Harris received a degree in philosophy from Stanford and a Ph.D. in neuroscience from UCLA. He is the co-founder and CEO of Project Reason, a nonprofit devoted to spreading scientific knowledge and secular values in society.
source: ted.com/speakers/ sam_harris.html

samharris.org


The End of Faith: Religion, Terror, and the Future of Reason

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Letter to a Christian Nation (Vintage)
by Sam Harris
4.1 out of 5 stars (689) $8.64


God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Ev…
by Christopher Hitchens
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The God Delusion
by Richard Dawkins
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$10.85

Breaking the Spell: Religion as a Natural Ph…
by Daniel C. Dennett
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The Portable Atheist: Essential Readings…
by Christopher Hitchens
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More on Sam Harris, Bertrand Russell, Atheism, Religion, Morality below

  • It’s taboo among religious moderates to compare religions, said Harris, but we must. “Where are the Tibetan Buddhist suicide bombers? For that matter, where are the Palestinian Christian suicide bombers— they’re as Arab and aggrieved as anyone.” The fundamental beliefs of Islam really are a problem. “Martyrdom in jihad is not a fringe doctrine; it is believed by millions of Muslims.” It’s not a question of ignorance— two-thirds of al Qaeda operatives are college educated. “We have no reason to expect to survive our religious differences indefinitely. Faith is intrinsically divisive. We have a choice between conversation and war.”
  • It was conversation that ended slavery, not faith. “Faith is a declaration of immunity to conversation. To make religious war unthinkable, we have to undermine the dogma of faith. The continuance of civilization requires not moderation, but reason.” Harris ended by lauding meditation and mysticism as a form of experiential science, and observed, “The wisdom of contemplative life is not evenly distributed. The East has more than the West.”
    (quoted from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Equfju9kJfA (the youtube page of the above Video)

Bertrand Russell: Why I am not a Christian

This & more interesting Videos can be found at youtube.com/user/AtheistMediaBlog

Beautiful history Interview with Nobel Prize Winner Bertrand Russell. Russell’s book “Why I am not a Christian” converted me from devout Christian to religious sceptic and Agnostic. But I kept my ingrained respect for religion, in that I thought that religious beliefs should not be attacked.

Richard Dawkins & Sam Harris convinced me that religion is so detrimental & harmful  that it needs to be actively fought: “Militant Atheism”.

Sam Harris on Science, Religion, & Human Values

Sam Harris debunking the myth that only religion can give us values and morality.

ted.com/speakers/ sam_harris.html


Letter to a Christian Nation (Vintage)

More by Sam Harris here:

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One Comment

  1. Herbert Huber says:

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    Servus alle,
    für mich ist aus dem Beitrag nicht klar, wer dies vertritt: “Religion could help if religion taught morality at Wall Street, compassionate behavior for chief executives, just profits instead of blind greed.”
    Diese These übersieht (was auch Joseph Ratzinger in einer kürzlichen Verlautbarung übersieht), dass viele Religionen, insbesondere das Christentum auf die ewige Belohnung im Jenseits bauen. Den “greed” mache ich daher speziell bei den Christen aus. Ohne die Aussicht auf ewige Glückseligkeit im Himmel sehen sie oft keinen Grund moralisch zu sein (verkürzt, auch aus Bischofsmund: “Ohne Religion keine Moral”).
    Dass die ewige Verdammnis versus ewiges Glück ein “just profit” (gerechte Belohnung) ist bestreite ich. Wer 80 Jahre brav war aber im Stande der Totsünde stirbt, wird ewig verdammt; wer 80 Jahre gehurt, gemordet etc. hat, aber kurz vorm Tod alles bereut und sich in den Schoß der kath. Kirche begibt, hat ewiges Frohlocken vor sich. Das ist IMO höchst ungerecht.

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