Atheists Sam Harris, Bertrand Russell on Morality, Dangers & Violence of Religion

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But, religious books are outdated, badly interpreted, and as Sam Harris would say, dangerous to society.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

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: sam_harris.html

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


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
3.7 out of 5 stars (918)  $10.19

The God Delusion
by Richard Dawkins
3.8 out of 5 stars (1,543)

Breaking the Spell: Religion as a Natural Ph…
by Daniel C. Dennett
3.6 out of 5 stars (180)

The Portable Atheist: Essential Readings…
by Christopher Hitchens
4.5 out of 5 stars (70)

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Abortion foes almost kill the US universal health insurance bill

Abortion foes (so called pro-lifers) in the US want to interfere into other people’s business.

None of the proposals under discussion would ban abortion. None would take away your right to buy abortion coverage with your own money. None would force you to pay for somebody else’s abortion. These are the conceptual parameters on which all sides have, for the time being, agreed.

So they already clobbered Congress into making special complicated arrangements for abortion foes (so called pro-lifers). Only for this vociferous group. Not for other special interests or religious convictions.

Abortion, we’re told, is different from other issues caught up in the health care debate. It’s a question of ultimate values, impervious to compromise. […]
Each side has legitimate worries. Pro-choicers fear that insurers will abandon abortion coverage. Pro-lifers fear that insurers will be forced to include it. Pro-choicers fear that women won’t buy abortion coverage if the premiums are separated up front. Pro-lifers fear that abortion opponents will be suckered into abortion coverage if the premiums aren’t separated up front. We’ll have years of studies, hearings, legislation, and lawsuits to follow up on these concerns and fine-tune the policy.Source:

  • “Pro-lifers” are opposed to abortion and thus want to make sure their money does not go towards funding someone’s abortion
  • Well I am opposed to paying for the war in Iraq.  Did they make special income tax arrangements for me? Those in favor of the Iraq war can pay a special additional war tax.
  • I am also against nuclear weapons. Those who want the US to have nuclear missiles should opt into a special nuclear tax option.
  • I am opposed to keeping people alive in intensive care, when they are brain dead in a coma. Or when they are terminally ill and in pain and are not allowed to die.
    • Some of these guys live for 15 years in intensive care in a coma.
    • Very expensive.
    • Can I please have a health insurance exemption so I don’t have to pay for that?
  • I am totally profoundly against this artificial prolonging of life,  I consider this torture.  It is against my consciousness and against my religion.
  • It is unnatural. In nature, very sick animals and people get mercy killing by predators.

The above items are ultimate values for me. No compromise is possible. They are my religious belief, so by no means I must be forcet to pay for unjust wars of aggression and painful prolonging of life a against a person’s will. My beliefs on the follwing items are a little less strong, still I think I deserve exemptions in order not to pay for the following items:

  • I am also against paying for diseases people caused to themselves. I don’t want to pay treatment for people who
    • committed suicide attempts
    • abuse alcohol and drugs
    • do extreme sports and have accidents due to their recklessness
    • engange in criminal activities and get shot by police or rival gangs
    • overeat
    • don’t exercise
  • I live in a hot state. I am also opposed to treat people for frost bite. That should be an add-on.
  • I live on ground floor. I don’t want to pay for elevator maintenance.

So we should have 15 different voluntary private add-on insurance options for each of the following: comatose, terminally ill, obese, self-endangering, reckless, criminal, drug addicted, alcoholics, ……

Note the absurd idea that parents or young people will, at extra cost,  add insurance for abortion, criminal activity, drug addiction. They will presume that they will not engange in these behaviors, that they will not need the insurance.

This is religious zealots’ terror.  If you are against abortion, then don’t do abortion. But leave other people alone.

Actually, I agree that one should use better birth control, to make efforts to avoid needing abortion. But the same people who are against abortion are the ones that are sex education and promotion of birth control.

Peter Singer – The Genius of Darwin: The Uncut Interviews – Richard Dawkins (Video)

pretty shocking topics: from animal rights not to be eaten and slaughtered to “abortion” rights until after birth, mercy killings of babies that get born severely damages.
Singer thinks topics to the end. His main philosopy is minimizing suffering, creating the maximum of happiness. So there is a consistency in his thoughts that one should not kill poor cows, but severely crippled infants should be killed out of mercy.