50 Voices of Disbelief

Read any good books lately?
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Lausten
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50 Voices of Disbelief

Post by Lausten » Thu Jun 24, 2010 6:08 pm

I finished the book a while back, but I just posted my last blog on it. There were many of the 50 that could have been left out, but this last one is what I had hoped the book would contain, something that moves the conversation forward. I invite your comments, here or on the blog, and share with anyone who might be interested, oh heck it's Web 2.0, share it with everybody.

Be sure to use the index to see the summary and links to my favorites including Dale McGowan's complete essay on his site or click here.

For the none-clickers among you, a few highlights from Frieder Otto Wolf's essay.
“The urgent task of human liberation has, in fact, far more important aspects – starting from the challenges of world hunger, pandemic diseases, and the ongoing expropriation of human beings from their personal belongings which is currently highlighted by the “financial crisis” or casino capitalism. Whoever is willing to help in liberating human beings from these plagues should be accepted as an ally by all practical humanists – irrespective of the belief or faith in fact accompanying such a positive and practical attitude.“ -- Freider Otto Wolf
Science can no longer be viewed as a march toward determining the entire book of nature. To still believe that we will accomplish that is to not understand science today. It is a view developed in the Elizabethan era. Nor is science simply a statement of facts, cold and hard, that we can then draw from to solve a given problem. To examine something scientifically requires speculation, theorizing, and holding on to an assumption for perhaps years. The application of scientific data and its conclusions is not as simple as selecting the right tools from a toolbox.

So, Frieder suggests we abandon this “positivism” and the notion that “positive scientific knowledge” is somehow replacing religion. This does not reject either approach entirely. Instead we must cope with our lives as each generation has, creatively appropriating the cultural heritage that is available to us. -- My paraphrasing
In America, the voices of fundamentalist are loud and have the ear of our highest government officials. Frieder points out that considering those voices to be the core of Christianity, as they certainly claim, is dangerous and bordering on paranoia. To do so is to ignore important figures that used theology in their social movements such Deitrich Boenhoffer and Martin Luther King Jr. -- My paraphrasing, although "bordering on paranoia" is exactly what he said
A sermon helper that doesn't tell you what to believe: http://www.milepost100.com

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Jeff D
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Re: 50 Voices of Disbelief

Post by Jeff D » Sat Jun 26, 2010 8:28 am

Frieder points out that considering those voices to be the core of Christianity, as they certainly claim, is dangerous and bordering on paranoia.


For me, the crucial issue is not whether "fundamentalist" or "evangelical" or "inerrantist" or "reconstructionist" or "Dominionist "quiverfull" people-of-faith are "the core of Christianity" or "true Christians" or "false Christians," etc.

Although I have my own opinions based on centuries of past tradition and what the Special Book actually says, at the end of the day, I don't give a wet slap, a flying f**k, about who is or isn't a true Christian. I've tasted many, many flavors of the Kool-Aid, but I've not swallowed any of it (As the little child says at the dinner table in the old New Yorker cartoon, "I say its broccoli and I say the hell with it").

For me, the crucial issue is, what are these people (Christians, Jews, Muslims, Mormons, Scientologists, old-school atheist Stalinist / Maoists, multinational corporate Masters of the Universe, Earth-First whole-food Puritans) trying to do to damage the planet or to destroy or seriously weaken my civil and constitutional rights (or the rights of my fellow citizens, my fellow earthlings), and what can I do about it?

One of the things I can do is to speak up, and to speak out. Dangerous, mind-hating, life-damaging nonsense is nonsense, whether it is representative of the "core of Christianity" or not.
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Re: 50 Voices of Disbelief

Post by nmblum88 » Mon Jun 28, 2010 1:26 am

"Mind hating..."
What an apt description of the essential religious response to human curiosity AND above all rebelliousness in the face of irrational authority.
There is no doubt: where religion rules by either law, custom or simply numbers, creativity, independence of mind, cutting edge exploration and experiment are first under consistent attack, ,and inevitably stifled altogether.
Language become particularized, degraded; the monolithic is glorified, and the unique discouraged.

But there is no doubt whatever that Lausten certainly does have a talent for zooming in on the best possible bumper sticker phrase from any of his skeptical studies sources and either embroidering it, paraphrasing it or misquoting it entirely.

Particularly those that he uses to show how flimsy are the arguments for doubt.
But wait!!
Did he mention secular, skeptical paranoia as to the aims of contemporary Christian evangelizing?
Why I do believe he did!!
Apparently he missed the famous quote (at this moment I can't actually remember the author either): "Looking for snakes in the lobby of New York's Plaza Hotel is paranoia; looking for rattle snakes in the Amazon forests of South America **** is a healthy thing to do.."

NMB
**** (editor's note: " or the pulpits, media, and religious instituitons of America...")
NMB
Skepticism:
" Norma, you poor sad lonely alcoholic. You entire life is devoted to interrupting other people's posts on this forum, regardless of the topic, to tell them what's wrong with them. The irony is, here you are doing it again, with this very post.
Your fanciful card games, movie sojourns and exciting overseas trips, that all take place within the four walls of an aged care retirement home, do not suggest your own children offered you the care, I gave my parents."

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Herk
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Re: 50 Voices of Disbelief

Post by Herk » Fri Aug 06, 2010 10:43 pm

I'm quite a way through this book and have to question how anyone could read it and remain a believer in any way. It's wonderful - and I'm already familiar with quite a few of the writers.
"The first principle is that you must not fool yourself—and you are the easiest person to fool."
- Richard P. Feynman

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Re: 50 Voices of Disbelief

Post by nmblum88 » Sat Aug 07, 2010 5:28 pm

Herk wrote:I'm quite a way through this book and have to question how anyone could read it and remain a believer in any way. It's wonderful - and I'm already familiar with quite a few of the writers.
Enthusiastically seconded.
Side note: since its recent appearance I have been stashing multiple copies as gifts ... not for the believers (I am not a missionary) but for those friends as acquaintances who are committed to reason, or who have been known to express doubt..
(It makes life easier for me as well as allowing me to dismiss "consumer." from my personal CV.)

Mostly, because it is such a pleasurable read: imagine! 50!! 50!! ..count 'em... all between one set of covers: 59 voices of sense, sensibility, accomplishment and almost consistent grasp of the nuances and grace of language... in addition to offering up from places of acknowledged familiarity with science, philosophy.... all the fruits of enlightenment.
( My version of "Earth has nothing to show more fair...")

And an interesting side effect: at least half of those who have received my gift, particularly from among those who were not already steeped in the literature of doubt, have in the process of acknowledging it, mentioned how glad each was at not finding Dawkins, Dennett, Harris and HItchens among the contributors.
.
Two have admitted to not being aware (other than from the works of Darwin himself and the controversy surrounding Evolution that impacts on the work of the sciences and the practice of medicine ) that there ARE such a variety of voices of disbelief, and all so illuminating at every level of the experience of thinking about the world and what we are doing in it.



NMB
Skepticism:
" Norma, you poor sad lonely alcoholic. You entire life is devoted to interrupting other people's posts on this forum, regardless of the topic, to tell them what's wrong with them. The irony is, here you are doing it again, with this very post.
Your fanciful card games, movie sojourns and exciting overseas trips, that all take place within the four walls of an aged care retirement home, do not suggest your own children offered you the care, I gave my parents."

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Re: 50 Voices of Disbelief

Post by Herk » Sun Aug 08, 2010 8:11 pm

I have to admit to considering the book as a gift. I find the number of diverse perspectives amazing and wonderful. It seems such a short time ago that this book could not have been published at all.

Having recently been added to the Atheist Blogroll, I tend to spend time perusing the thousand or so atheist blogs and occasionally leaving comments. Not only are there many of us, there are many of us who are no longer silent.
"The first principle is that you must not fool yourself—and you are the easiest person to fool."
- Richard P. Feynman

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