Author Topic: Reading I Don't Believe In Athiests right now.  (Read 7889 times)

Kai

  • A flea circus and
  • Deserved It
  • ****
  • Posts: 87029
  • Richard Feynman fangirl.
    • View Profile
Reading I Don't Believe In Athiests right now.
« on: November 25, 2008, 04:41:19 pm »
Chris Hedges is also the author of American Fascists: Christian Right and the War on America. In this book, he is arguing something that I have thought for a while now, that the new athiests are religions fundamentalists in many ways. I'm reminded of Dawkins' "Brights". In the introduction he asks the reader to reject the 'utopian' visions that fundamentalists of all types share, and face the coming reality.

I find myself deeply interested in the works of a person who can argue against both Christian and atheist fundamentalism. It shows deeper intelligence than most people display, and mirrors many of my own beliefs.
« Last Edit: November 25, 2008, 04:46:45 pm by Kai »
If there is magic on this planet, it is contained in water. --Loren Eisley, The Immense Journey

Her Royal Majesty's Chief of Insect Genitalia Dissection
Grand Visser of the Six Legged Class
Chanticleer of the Holometabola Clade Church, Diptera Parish

Elder Iptuous

  • Professional Discordian and Physiognomist
  • Deserved It
  • ****
  • Posts: 56216
  • terribly tedious
    • View Profile
Re: Reading I Don't Believe In Athiests right now.
« Reply #1 on: November 25, 2008, 04:43:54 pm »
I'd buy that.
but they're not likely to martyr themselves, so it's not too bad.  :lol:

Jenne

  • Deserved It
  • ****
  • Posts: 79228
    • View Profile
Re: Reading I Don't Believe In Athiests right now.
« Reply #2 on: November 25, 2008, 04:54:23 pm »
Don't be too sure bout that, Ippy.  You should check out some of these less-fluffy atheists.  Their splinter movements in politics are rather insteresting.  I saw a documentary on that woman who spearheaded the movement here in the US in the 70's and 80's vis a vis suing the government, etc....yeah, that shit was wild.  O'Hair her name was.

Kai, great selection of reading.  Reminds me to get less fluffy myself in materials I peruse these days.

Cain

  • Alea iacta est
  • Chekha
  • Deserved It
  • ****
  • Posts: 105003
    • View Profile
Re: Reading I Don't Believe In Athiests right now.
« Reply #3 on: November 25, 2008, 04:56:07 pm »
Hedges is a believer, IIRC, though of a generally benign and somewhat metaphorical bent.  That was how he found it so easy to get inside the headspace of the would be American Phalangists, and why they frighten him so much.

I'm with Iptuous, the new atheists are annoying, self-important and abrasive jerks with all the sophistication in thinking of your average pre-schooler, for the most part.  Unfortunately, they are mostly correct in their beliefs and as annoying and counterproductive as they sometimes are, they mostly do little harm.

However I would be interested to hear more about the book and his thoughts on the matter.

Kai

  • A flea circus and
  • Deserved It
  • ****
  • Posts: 87029
  • Richard Feynman fangirl.
    • View Profile
Re: Reading I Don't Believe In Athiests right now.
« Reply #4 on: November 25, 2008, 04:57:13 pm »
One of his early points is that humans cannot become morally perfect."Human individuals make moral advances, as do human societies, but they also make moral reverses. Our personal collective is not linear." He also points out that moral arguements based on science are as scary as those based on religious fundamentalism.

Some stuff I am agreeing with, other stuff I am not. He focuses on the word "sin", though I think by sin hes just using a cultural epithet for the flaws in human nature.
If there is magic on this planet, it is contained in water. --Loren Eisley, The Immense Journey

Her Royal Majesty's Chief of Insect Genitalia Dissection
Grand Visser of the Six Legged Class
Chanticleer of the Holometabola Clade Church, Diptera Parish

Jenne

  • Deserved It
  • ****
  • Posts: 79228
    • View Profile
Re: Reading I Don't Believe In Athiests right now.
« Reply #5 on: November 25, 2008, 05:04:33 pm »
One of his early points is that humans cannot become morally perfect."Human individuals make moral advances, as do human societies, but they also make moral reverses. Our personal collective is not linear." He also points out that moral arguements based on science are as scary as those based on religious fundamentalism.

Some stuff I am agreeing with, other stuff I am not. He focuses on the word "sin", though I think by sin hes just using a cultural epithet for the flaws in human nature.

Huh.  Wow.  I wonder what he sees as a "moral reversal."  Been my understanding what's perceived as a "reversal" is just suddenly revealed knowledge that was heretofore unknown or hidden.

Jenne

  • Deserved It
  • ****
  • Posts: 79228
    • View Profile
Re: Reading I Don't Believe In Athiests right now.
« Reply #6 on: November 25, 2008, 05:07:04 pm »
Hedges is a believer, IIRC, though of a generally benign and somewhat metaphorical bent.  That was how he found it so easy to get inside the headspace of the would be American Phalangists, and why they frighten him so much.

I'm with Iptuous, the new atheists are annoying, self-important and abrasive jerks with all the sophistication in thinking of your average pre-schooler, for the most part.  Unfortunately, they are mostly correct in their beliefs and as annoying and counterproductive as they sometimes are, they mostly do little harm.



They are rather annoyingly rabid in their own way, :lol:

I think the fervor of their cause has dampened down in recent political times.  I think they were more active in the 80's.  I am surprised with the surge in religiosity in US politics they didn't come out of the woodwork more.

The cause(s) of which is/are probably numerous.

Kai

  • A flea circus and
  • Deserved It
  • ****
  • Posts: 87029
  • Richard Feynman fangirl.
    • View Profile
Re: Reading I Don't Believe In Athiests right now.
« Reply #7 on: November 25, 2008, 05:07:32 pm »
Hedges is a believer, IIRC, though of a generally benign and somewhat metaphorical bent.  That was how he found it so easy to get inside the headspace of the would be American Phalangists, and why they frighten him so much.

I'm with Iptuous, the new atheists are annoying, self-important and abrasive jerks with all the sophistication in thinking of your average pre-schooler, for the most part.  Unfortunately, they are mostly correct in their beliefs and as annoying and counterproductive as they sometimes are, they mostly do little harm.

However I would be interested to hear more about the book and his thoughts on the matter.

He is a believer, but by the way he writes about god it seems much more nebulous than any Christian I have heard before, barring Bishop Spong. Right now he is talking about divinity and trancendence going beyond a personal god concept.

Quote
The danger arises when the myths we tell about ourselves endow us with divine power, when we believe that it is our role to shape human destiny, for then we become gods....The result for those who defy us, is the same -- repression and often death. The refusal to acknowlege human limitations and our irrevokable flaws can thus cross secular and religious lines to feed both religious fundamentalism and the idolization of technology, reason, and science.
If there is magic on this planet, it is contained in water. --Loren Eisley, The Immense Journey

Her Royal Majesty's Chief of Insect Genitalia Dissection
Grand Visser of the Six Legged Class
Chanticleer of the Holometabola Clade Church, Diptera Parish

Kai

  • A flea circus and
  • Deserved It
  • ****
  • Posts: 87029
  • Richard Feynman fangirl.
    • View Profile
Re: Reading I Don't Believe In Athiests right now.
« Reply #8 on: November 25, 2008, 05:10:41 pm »
Jenne, I'm not sure what constitutes as a moral reversal, but by the way he talks I think he is referring to extreme examples, like genocide.

Also, a prominent athiest hack (who otherwise does good scientific work IIRC) is Myers of Pharyngula (http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/)
If there is magic on this planet, it is contained in water. --Loren Eisley, The Immense Journey

Her Royal Majesty's Chief of Insect Genitalia Dissection
Grand Visser of the Six Legged Class
Chanticleer of the Holometabola Clade Church, Diptera Parish

Cain

  • Alea iacta est
  • Chekha
  • Deserved It
  • ****
  • Posts: 105003
    • View Profile
Re: Reading I Don't Believe In Athiests right now.
« Reply #9 on: November 25, 2008, 05:13:01 pm »
Sounds similar to the criticisms of John Gray in Black Mass.  He was very critical of the drive to utopianism and perfectibility as well, claiming it was behind the horrors of the 20th century.  It could be that walling off those drives in a religious garb, of that of the unattainable Ultimate Ideal may put them in a mental and philosophical place where they do the least harm...at least in theory (as no doubt theocracy is also one of the guises of utopian perfectionism gone out of control).

Jenne

  • Deserved It
  • ****
  • Posts: 79228
    • View Profile
Re: Reading I Don't Believe In Athiests right now.
« Reply #10 on: November 25, 2008, 05:19:34 pm »
Jenne, I'm not sure what constitutes as a moral reversal, but by the way he talks I think he is referring to extreme examples, like genocide.

Also, a prominent athiest hack (who otherwise does good scientific work IIRC) is Myers of Pharyngula (http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/)

1)  Gotcha--guess that sort of makes sense...

2)  So yoinking and sending this!  thanks!

Kai

  • A flea circus and
  • Deserved It
  • ****
  • Posts: 87029
  • Richard Feynman fangirl.
    • View Profile
Re: Reading I Don't Believe In Athiests right now.
« Reply #11 on: November 25, 2008, 05:25:48 pm »
Sounds similar to the criticisms of John Gray in Black Mass.  He was very critical of the drive to utopianism and perfectibility as well, claiming it was behind the horrors of the 20th century.  It could be that walling off those drives in a religious garb, of that of the unattainable Ultimate Ideal may put them in a mental and philosophical place where they do the least harm...at least in theory (as no doubt theocracy is also one of the guises of utopian perfectionism gone out of control).

Perhaps. I just think fundamentalism in any context, that is, holding to beliefs strongly when evidence is lacking or contrary, leads to this sort of close minded drive to some idealized state.

Because, if you 'know' how the universe works, then there will be some sort of ideal you can visualize. This is not so easy when you are unsure.
If there is magic on this planet, it is contained in water. --Loren Eisley, The Immense Journey

Her Royal Majesty's Chief of Insect Genitalia Dissection
Grand Visser of the Six Legged Class
Chanticleer of the Holometabola Clade Church, Diptera Parish

Bebek Sincap Ratatosk

  • Probably
  • Deserved It
  • ****
  • Posts: 8974
    • View Profile
Re: Reading I Don't Believe In Athiests right now.
« Reply #12 on: November 25, 2008, 05:30:59 pm »
Sounds similar to the criticisms of John Gray in Black Mass.  He was very critical of the drive to utopianism and perfectibility as well, claiming it was behind the horrors of the 20th century.  It could be that walling off those drives in a religious garb, of that of the unattainable Ultimate Ideal may put them in a mental and philosophical place where they do the least harm...at least in theory (as no doubt theocracy is also one of the guises of utopian perfectionism gone out of control).

Perhaps. I just think fundamentalism in any context, that is, holding to beliefs strongly when evidence is lacking or contrary, leads to this sort of close minded drive to some idealized state.

Because, if you 'know' how the universe works, then there will be some sort of ideal you can visualize. This is not so easy when you are unsure.

Kai, that is a beautiful motorcycle.

Every solider should be followed by a hunchback...

!?!?!?!?!?!?...
- I don't see race. I just see cars going around in a circle.

"Back in my day, crazy meant something. Now everyone is crazy" - Charlie Manson

Jenne

  • Deserved It
  • ****
  • Posts: 79228
    • View Profile
Re: Reading I Don't Believe In Athiests right now.
« Reply #13 on: November 25, 2008, 05:33:09 pm »
Sounds similar to the criticisms of John Gray in Black Mass.  He was very critical of the drive to utopianism and perfectibility as well, claiming it was behind the horrors of the 20th century.  It could be that walling off those drives in a religious garb, of that of the unattainable Ultimate Ideal may put them in a mental and philosophical place where they do the least harm...at least in theory (as no doubt theocracy is also one of the guises of utopian perfectionism gone out of control).

Perhaps. I just think fundamentalism in any context, that is, holding to beliefs strongly when evidence is lacking or contrary, leads to this sort of close minded drive to some idealized state.

Because, if you 'know' how the universe works, then there will be some sort of ideal you can visualize. This is not so easy when you are unsure.

Rata's right--great summation.  Fundies of any type are abhorrent.  I think those of us like myself holding very strong opinions can fall into this easily...and I remember how hard it was to "fall out" of the fundi-ness I'd been brought up to "believe" in as well.

Kai

  • A flea circus and
  • Deserved It
  • ****
  • Posts: 87029
  • Richard Feynman fangirl.
    • View Profile
Re: Reading I Don't Believe In Athiests right now.
« Reply #14 on: November 25, 2008, 05:36:27 pm »
Hedges points out that Sam Harris makes the same "all muslims are terrorists" lumping that other fundamentalists do. He also points out that while the Enlightenment had some good ideas it also brought about the idea that western civilization is superior, leading to blacks and aborigines being deemed inferior races and other incidences of scientific racism.

There is this claim that the Enlightement served as the basis for Soviet gulags but I don't know how that fits.
If there is magic on this planet, it is contained in water. --Loren Eisley, The Immense Journey

Her Royal Majesty's Chief of Insect Genitalia Dissection
Grand Visser of the Six Legged Class
Chanticleer of the Holometabola Clade Church, Diptera Parish