Discussion on Sam Harris

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Re: Discussion on Sam Harris

#41  Postby Spearthrower » Apr 13, 2019 11:43 am

quas wrote:
Spearthrower wrote:Have you reviewed the 2 sources for this one line page on Wikipedia?


https://books.google.com.pk/books?id=ZR ... am&f=false

You want to argue that the 6 basic beliefs are false?



No, I wanted to ask you whether you reviewed the 2 sources for the one line wiki page you cited.
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Re: Discussion on Sam Harris

#42  Postby Thommo » Apr 13, 2019 1:19 pm

felltoearth wrote:Sorry folks. Pretty much indisposed until Tuesday-ish. I’ll weigh in on Thommo’s question then.


Thanks for the update. I hope indisposed has the better of its two meanings in your case. :thumbup:
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Re: Discussion on Sam Harris

#43  Postby willhud9 » Apr 13, 2019 3:04 pm

Rumraket wrote:
willhud9 wrote:Except many Christians and Jews and Muslims don’t preach the infallibility of their holy texts

They don't preach it, or they don't believe it? There's a difference.


Both. Inerrancy and infallibility are two concepts most lay people don’t really consider accurate. Do the majority of Christians believe in a literal global flood? No. Why? Because they accept the story as allegory, myth, and symbolism.

Sure fundamentalists do, but are they the moderate Christians/Muslims being talked about? No.

and preach that the holy texts are bit one facet of their religious tenets.

Nobody has claimed people exclusively get their religious ideas from their scriptures. In fact Harris has stated the opposite, exactly concerning moderates. They are moderates BECAUSE they also taken on secular or other extra-scriptural views, and are as a consequence re-interpretating the scriptures in a non-literal way (or, as he's also completely correct about, they some times simply forget some of the bad passages exist and ignore them).


Then Harris is a moron and needs to take a course on sociology and anthropology and realize what religion is. Religion has always been about social-cultural issues facing societies. It adapts to culture. It evolves and shapes itself to civilization. The Greco-Roman world much to the chagrin of entlitenment elitists was very much a religious world where their religion blended with their culture.

When you remind these people of the Bad Passages(tm), they will invariably offer up some laughable rationalization for why that passage is still true and still probably the inerrant word of God, it's just that "it was meant for another time". Oddly enough the idea that it is just backwards bronzeage bullshit doesn't enter their minds.


And you like Harris have examples of this? Or just your own anecdotes?

How do I know they do this? Experience. Even some atheists do it, they "excuse" certain biblical passages as just being intended for another time. A strange moral relativism creeps in, where some things no matter how cruel or barbarous can be totally okay just because they happened a long time ago.


Well considering I’m a moral relativist and considering I think absolute morality is bollocks I think you’re hard pressed to convince me that the morals of 100 AD were not just as valid as the morals of 2019. Different times. Different perspectives. Applying morals anachronistically through the past is fallacious for many reasons. Not least because society progresses. It’s a goal of civilization to adjust and change.

Particularly the topic of slavery will have their heads explode in acrobatic mental contortions. Somehow Gods commands about biblical slavery (who to take as slaves, how to deceive them into indefinite servitute, and when and how to beat them) was morally fine because that was just the culture at the time, but slavery in the united states was bad. Apparently that wasn't "just the culture at the time" too.


Not really :dunno:

Go figure.

Harris loves his no true scotsmans

How so? Where is the no true scotsman fallacy? It's like you've forgotten what that even is.


Quite simply he states that moderate Christians aren’t exactly Christians because they cherry pick their verses. If they were consistent they’d follow their holy text by the book. It’s the kind of mentality which I rebutted Quas with against Islam. Like I said it sounds like Harris doesn’t know what he’s talking about or what religion actually is.
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Re: Discussion on Sam Harris

#44  Postby Mononoke » Apr 13, 2019 4:46 pm

willhud9 wrote:
Then Harris is a moron and needs to take a course on sociology and anthropology and realize what religion is. Religion has always been about social-cultural issues facing societies. It adapts to culture. It evolves and shapes itself to civilization. The Greco-Roman world much to the chagrin of entlitenment elitists was very much a religious world where their religion blended with their culture.


It don't think its accurate to say religion evolves to fit Cultures. There is a lot of interplay. And some religions are more about evolving with the culture it is practiced in and others are less so.

Coming from a south asian perspective, buddhism when it spread in this region approx 2300 years ago very much evolved to fit cultural practices of the indigenous populations.

Where as islam and more so Christianity was pretty much shoved down people's throat at sword point and gun point respectively. And local cultures had to drop everything else and accept them. This doesn't mean those religions didn't absorb any local values but they were few and far between. especially moral values. That's just me speaking from a very regionalised experience.
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Re: Discussion on Sam Harris

#45  Postby Spearthrower » Apr 13, 2019 5:04 pm

Mononoke wrote:
willhud9 wrote:
Then Harris is a moron and needs to take a course on sociology and anthropology and realize what religion is. Religion has always been about social-cultural issues facing societies. It adapts to culture. It evolves and shapes itself to civilization. The Greco-Roman world much to the chagrin of entlitenment elitists was very much a religious world where their religion blended with their culture.


It don't think its accurate to say religion evolves to fit Cultures. There is a lot of interplay. And some religions are more about evolving with the culture it is practiced in and others are less so.



Agreed. But I don't think Willhud9 was wrong, just perhaps too brief.

Religions evolve wholly within the context of a culture - the culture is part of their fabric at all times and all places. This is not really saying much, obviously, because religion is a quantum of culture, and can't exist independently of a culture anymore than it can exist independently of language or people.

However, where it becomes interesting and Will's point becomes more accurate is when religion spreads to other cultures, and has to modify itself (using teleological terms here that are absolutely inapplicable) in order to become sufficiently acceptable to that culture (or fails to do so in a process of selection), before it has the power to effect changes in that culture to suit it. There's a kind of memetic battle-ground where just as with genes, there is an interplay between conflict and cooperation - syncretism and assimilation.
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Re: Discussion on Sam Harris

#46  Postby Spearthrower » Apr 13, 2019 5:15 pm

Mononoke wrote:Where as islam and more so Christianity was pretty much shoved down people's throat at sword point and gun point respectively. And local cultures had to drop everything else and accept them. This doesn't mean those religions didn't absorb any local values but they were few and far between. especially moral values. That's just me speaking from a very regionalised experience.



And that is also true and not true in the same way. Islam, for example, unarguably adapted to the cultures it encountered in S. E. Asia in exactly the same way Buddhism did before it amassed sufficient power to then effect deeper cultural changes. The Islam of S. E. Asia, for example, tends towards mysticism much more so than it does through the rest of Asia

When religion is spread by the sword, it is often stratified with the ruling classes practicing the religion while the ruled continue to practice their traditional beliefs. Over generations, the elite make rules privileging the believers of their preferred religion, and through normalization and economic/political incentive, the ruled subscribe to it for the benefit it offers them. The rulers then also benefit from the stability this produces, and aren't so inclined to enforce doctrinal homogeneity - it's acceptable just to be Muslim and you can still believe in the forest spirits so long as you perform all the requisite bits in the Koran and hadiths. For a Muslim of another culture, this can look nigh on heretical.

Back to Buddhism, I always find it intriguing here in Thailand to see non-Buddhist beliefs that clearly predate Buddhism's influence be pulled into the remit of Buddhist structures. For example, one of the main pseudo-religious holidays here is Loy Kratong (itself probably originating in Hindu Brahmanical tradition), where the river goddess is placated and apologized to by making small banana leaf rafts and floating them out while praying in a Buddhist sense. Buddhist temples are the centre points now for these traditional rites, just as they are for other not-actually-Buddhist holidays because it's just as easy for religion to assimilate cultural quanta as the reverse when it's the same group of people practicing both.
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Re: Discussion on Sam Harris

#47  Postby Mononoke » Apr 13, 2019 6:25 pm

good point
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Re: Discussion on Sam Harris

#48  Postby Spearthrower » Apr 13, 2019 7:00 pm

There's an interesting contemporary situation here: Brunei.

It's been a Muslim nation for 600+ years, gained independence from colonial period 70 years ago, but it wasn't until 2013 that the notion of imposing Sharia Law was raised, and obviously as everyone knows, the 2nd phase of which occurred recently and caused international condemnation.

So there's 2 parts to consider here: why have they only just implemented this, and why are they the only S. E. Asian Muslim nation to have implemented Sharia into their penal code?

I'd say that the first has 2 components, one of which is connected with that cultural assimilation discussed - in the past, it simply was not culturally acceptable, but the general beliefs of the populace have changed to the point where it now sits well with them (accepting of course that it's not exactly been implemented via a democratic process), and the 2nd is international stakes where implementation was forestalled to remain part of the trans-Pacific trade pact which has now been thrown into turmoil with the US's withdrawal.

The 2nd question strikes more to the point here. It's heterogeneity; something which certain pundits routinely fail to acknowledge as they conceive of homogeneous, essentialized caricatures of the 'other'. Islam is not one thing, it's not an ideologically united monolith, and moderate versions of it are not a myth.
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Re: Discussion on Sam Harris

#49  Postby Rumraket » Apr 13, 2019 7:14 pm

willhud9 wrote:
Rumraket wrote:
willhud9 wrote:Except many Christians and Jews and Muslims don’t preach the infallibility of their holy texts

They don't preach it, or they don't believe it? There's a difference.


Both. Inerrancy and infallibility are two concepts most lay people don’t really consider accurate.

There's a difference between "most lay people" and "most moderate Christians" too. You're being somewhat unclear on who you are talking about.

willhud9 wrote:Do the majority of Christians believe in a literal global flood? No. Why? Because they accept the story as allegory, myth, and symbolism.

There's an implied contradiction between myth, and allegory/symbol. It is possible to be a non-literalist and simultaneously believe in infallibility and inerrancy. It is possible to have an allegory or a symbol for something true. Myth however implies something false by most definitions. "It is a myth that people who eat chocolate get acne". So I think you're being unclear exactly what you are trying to say.

I am questioning the implied claim that most religious moderates aren't inerrantists. It is my experience, though I readily admit I don't have poll numbers and would be happy to take correction, that if you were to press them on the details, they would rather come up with re-interpretations and odd excuses, than admit outright that the bible has errors and falsehoods in it.

That's why we get apologetics like "it was meant for another time" rather than "Yah, that's pretty bad and false"(especially given that religious people, even religious moderates, definitely are NOT moral relativists and will get insulted if you tell them). It's why we get "It's an allegory", rather than "yeah, it's definitely false". It's because, it seems to me, they ARE actually inerrantists strongly predisposed to try to keep scripture true but reinterpret it rather than reject it, it's just that the inerrancy is maintained by re-interpreations("6 day creation actually was meant as 6 long ages") rather than outright denial of facts("no, it's 6 days no matter what your fallible science says").

willhud9 wrote:
Rumraket wrote:Nobody has claimed people exclusively get their religious ideas from their scriptures. In fact Harris has stated the opposite, exactly concerning moderates. They are moderates BECAUSE they also taken on secular or other extra-scriptural views, and are as a consequence re-interpretating the scriptures in a non-literal way (or, as he's also completely correct about, they some times simply forget some of the bad passages exist and ignore them).

Then Harris is a moron and needs to take a course on sociology and anthropology and realize what religion is.

Why should he do that? How does that alter his argument about moderates?

What you're saying here doesn't make sense. In this particular instance Harris actually agrees with you, that religions evolve and have historically evolved and adapted to encompass extant social and cultural norms. One of the ways it does that is by religious people starting to read their scriptures as allegories, symbols, and metaphors, as opposed to taking them literally. That way they don't have to admit it contains errors or is false.

willhud9 wrote:
Rumraket wrote:When you remind these people of the Bad Passages(tm), they will invariably offer up some laughable rationalization for why that passage is still true and still probably the inerrant word of God, it's just that "it was meant for another time". Oddly enough the idea that it is just backwards bronzeage bullshit doesn't enter their minds.

And you like Harris have examples of this? Or just your own anecdotes?

Anecdotes would by definition be examples. And yes I have plenty. We've certainly had people around here say that. One could go watch The Atheist Experience and see how religiously "moderate"(in the sense that they aren't literalist or fundamentalist) callers often respond to the problem of biblical slavery, to get more examples. They do that by doing what you're doing, saying it was a different time back then and God's message was just right for that time. That's a typical apologetic from moderates. Another is to insist it needs to be understood as allegory or metaphor, or that they were "just servants" and it had nothing to do with the kind of slavery we saw in the US.

willhud9 wrote:
Rumraket wrote:How do I know they do this? Experience. Even some atheists do it, they "excuse" certain biblical passages as just being intended for another time. A strange moral relativism creeps in, where some things no matter how cruel or barbarous can be totally okay just because they happened a long time ago.

Well considering I’m a moral relativist and considering I think absolute morality is bollocks I think you’re hard pressed to convince me that the morals of 100 AD were not just as valid as the morals of 2019.

And presumably every period in between. Prevailing views as the time and place would have been just as valid as any other place and time? Why would the length of times between periods, or the accidents of national borders, determine what is or isn't right or wrong? At what resolution does your relativism break down. Days, weeks, months, decades? Meters, kilometers, border checkpoints? It's wrong for us but not for them, because that's were a fence was placed, or a line drawn on a map?

willhud9 wrote:Different times. Different perspectives. Applying morals anachronistically through the past is fallacious for many reasons. Not least because society progresses. It’s a goal of civilization to adjust and change.

So, in fact, slavery in the united states could have ben morally right, at least for a time. The Holocaust could have been morally right in germany in the 1930s and 1940s. Who are you or me to say what they did is wrong, it was just their culture and religious beliefs. Why should the fact that people outside german borders were more likely to disagree mean they were really morally in the wrong in germany?

willhud9 wrote:
Rumraket wrote:Particularly the topic of slavery will have their heads explode in acrobatic mental contortions. Somehow Gods commands about biblical slavery (who to take as slaves, how to deceive them into indefinite servitute, and when and how to beat them) was morally fine because that was just the culture at the time, but slavery in the united states was bad. Apparently that wasn't "just the culture at the time" too.

Not really :dunno:

Why not? What sets the 1700's apart from 100AD? Why wasn't slavery in the 1700's "just as valid" as it was in 100AD?

willhud9 wrote:Quite simply he states that moderate Christians aren’t exactly Christians because they cherry pick their verses.

Where does he do this?
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Re: 40 deaths in right wing terrorist attack

#50  Postby OlivierK » Apr 13, 2019 8:40 pm

quas wrote:Francis Collins "moderation" stems from where? Where in the Bible does it command the believers to take everything that's written there with a pinch of salt? The most straightforward reading leads to literal interpretation.

I know I'm late to respond to this, but asking how moderate Christians could form a position without that position being strictly Biblically mandated amused me, given that the definition of moderation in this context is a rejection of strict Biblical literalism.

To attempt a sincere answer to the first question on the wellspring of moderation, I'd presume, from speaking to many moderate Christians of my acquaintance, that their moderation springs from having a personal moral system almost identical to my own as an atheist, that they then integrate things they find useful or meaningful from Christianity into, and that the Christian elements are most useful to them as a means to form community with other likeminded souls through their church attendance/activities. Your mileage may vary, but you should at least acknowledge that mileage variance is a thing.
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Re: Discussion on Sam Harris

#51  Postby Rumraket » Apr 13, 2019 9:07 pm

willhud9 wrote:Quite simply he states that moderate Christians aren’t exactly Christians because they cherry pick their verses.

Oh and, isn't that essentially right? Is there no end or limit to what a Christian can be? What is a Christian then, what does the word refer to? If there is no limit to how far one can depart from Christian scripture and yet remain a Christian, then it is a word without meaning. A category that has the potential to encompass literally everything. One could be an ISIS muslim, or an atheist, or not exist at all, and still be a Christian.
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Re: Discussion on Sam Harris

#52  Postby proudfootz » Apr 13, 2019 10:04 pm

I suppose then Muslims who don't follow Imam Sam's 'interpretation' aren't real Muslims and should be treated as equal human beings.
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Re: Discussion on Sam Harris

#53  Postby Svartalf » Apr 13, 2019 10:13 pm

Spearthrower wrote:
Mononoke wrote:Where as islam and more so Christianity was pretty much shoved down people's throat at sword point and gun point respectively. And local cultures had to drop everything else and accept them. This doesn't mean those religions didn't absorb any local values but they were few and far between. especially moral values. That's just me speaking from a very regionalised experience.



And that is also true and not true in the same way. Islam, for example, unarguably adapted to the cultures it encountered in S. E. Asia in exactly the same way Buddhism did before it amassed sufficient power to then effect deeper cultural changes. The Islam of S. E. Asia, for example, tends towards mysticism much more so than it does through the rest of Asia

When religion is spread by the sword, it is often stratified with the ruling classes practicing the religion while the ruled continue to practice their traditional beliefs. Over generations, the elite make rules privileging the believers of their preferred religion, and through normalization and economic/political incentive, the ruled subscribe to it for the benefit it offers them. The rulers then also benefit from the stability this produces, and aren't so inclined to enforce doctrinal homogeneity - it's acceptable just to be Muslim and you can still believe in the forest spirits so long as you perform all the requisite bits in the Koran and hadiths. For a Muslim of another culture, this can look nigh on heretical.

Back to Buddhism, I always find it intriguing here in Thailand to see non-Buddhist beliefs that clearly predate Buddhism's influence be pulled into the remit of Buddhist structures. For example, one of the main pseudo-religious holidays here is Loy Kratong (itself probably originating in Hindu Brahmanical tradition), where the river goddess is placated and apologized to by making small banana leaf rafts and floating them out while praying in a Buddhist sense. Buddhist temples are the centre points now for these traditional rites, just as they are for other not-actually-Buddhist holidays because it's just as easy for religion to assimilate cultural quanta as the reverse when it's the same group of people practicing both.


Beg pardon? but the mystical versions of islam, such as Sufism, are much more tied to Central Asia than to SouthEast Asia... you will find Mongols and Kyrgiz and Uzbeks much more mystical, than , say, Indonesians.
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Re: Discussion on Sam Harris

#54  Postby Svartalf » Apr 13, 2019 10:20 pm

Rumraket wrote:
willhud9 wrote:Quite simply he states that moderate Christians aren’t exactly Christians because they cherry pick their verses.

Oh and, isn't that essentially right? Is there no end or limit to what a Christian can be? What is a Christian then, what does the word refer to? If there is no limit to how far one can depart from Christian scripture and yet remain a Christian, then it is a word without meaning. A category that has the potential to encompass literally everything. One could be an ISIS muslim, or an atheist, or not exist at all, and still be a Christian.

Depends, I have a pretty clear picture of whom I regard as Christian, there are your basic Catholics, who follow the Babble as explained by Clergy, then there are protestants who follow some variant beliefs but remain within accepetable interpretation of the babble, and remain with the babble, and then there are those who claim to be christian but are actually beyond the pale, because they actually rewrote the book rather than translated it ('JW), or actually added literature to the acceptable books that they deem more important than the Christian bible '(mormons)... then again, there are the wealth theologists and other evangelicals whom I deem beyond the pale because they worship money before god.
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Re: Discussion on Sam Harris

#55  Postby Spearthrower » Apr 13, 2019 10:30 pm

Svartalf wrote:
Beg pardon? but the mystical versions of islam, such as Sufism, are much more tied to Central Asia than to SouthEast Asia... you will find Mongols and Kyrgiz and Uzbeks much more mystical, than , say, Indonesians.



Peaceful spread of Islam in S. E. Asia was conducted by Indian Sufis, so they brought with them elements of Hinduism and Indian thought, and apparently were very tolerant to local indigenous beliefs, which is why so many pre-Islamic practices were syncretized into S. E. Asian Islamic belief. This is in contrast to the orthodox, militantly homogenizing versions of the Muslim conquests.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Islam_in_Southeast_Asia

Islam in Southeast Asia is heterogeneous and is manifested in many different ways. Some places in Southeast Asia, Islam is adapted to coexist with already existent local traditions.[3] Mysticism is a defining characteristic of Islam in Southeast Asia, with a large following of Sufism. Mystic forms of Islam fit in well with already established traditions.[3] The adaptation of Islam to local traditions is seen as a positive thing by Muslims in Southeast Asia.[4]



Those citations are:

"Southeast Asia and Islam". The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science. 588, Islam: Enduring Myths and Changing Realities (Jul., 2003), pp. 149-170.

Fealy, Greg; Hooker, Virginia (2006). Voices of Islam in Southeast Asia : a contemporary sourcebook. Singapore: ISEAS Publications. p. 411.

Hooker, M.B. Islam in South-East Asia. Leiden ; New York : E.J. Brill.


Edit: this follows what I was yammering on about earlier. Early peaceful contact of a new religion tends to be syncretic - you have to wheedle and horse-trade to get converts... it's only when you've got power that you can be assimilative.
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Re: Discussion on Sam Harris

#56  Postby willhud9 » Apr 13, 2019 10:35 pm

Rumraket wrote:
willhud9 wrote:Quite simply he states that moderate Christians aren’t exactly Christians because they cherry pick their verses.

Oh and, isn't that essentially right? Is there no end or limit to what a Christian can be? What is a Christian then, what does the word refer to? If there is no limit to how far one can depart from Christian scripture and yet remain a Christian, then it is a word without meaning. A category that has the potential to encompass literally everything. One could be an ISIS muslim, or an atheist, or not exist at all, and still be a Christian.


A Christian is someone who identifies as Christian.

The difference of theological beliefs vary staggeringly between someone who identifies as Roman Catholic vs Southern Baptist vs Mormon vs. Presbyterian vs. Coptic vs. Unitarian.

Which is why when atheists try to throw their lack of knowledge about theology to score “rationality points” by saying Christians contradict each other, or Christian theology is full of contradictions, well no shit. There are so many view points, theological interpretations, etc. that you cannot possibly narrowly constrain or define Christianity, Judaism, or Islam, or many other major religions of the world.

Which then makes the quest for the “moderate” Christian that much more unreasonable. Moderate as compared to what? You have Christians who think the entire Bible is a book of wisdom but not God inspired. You have Christians who believe in sola scriptura as if it’s infallbile. Two opposite sides of the spectrum. Why is one considered non-Christian and the other a Christian? Wouldn’t a moderate Christian therefore then be (at least if our basis was scriptural authority, like I said we could do this with any theological position) a Christian with a blend of beliefs? Genesis is believed to be poetry. Moderates don’t believe God literally created the Earth the way described in the beautiful prose of Genesis. But they do believe in the authority the Gospels may have in recording Jesus’s words/teachings or Pauline theology. Therefore they take those passages, and verses with more seriousness.

That’s not cherry picking. There is no instruction manual for Biblical hermeneutics to say accept all of this or none of this.
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Re: Discussion on Sam Harris

#57  Postby Spearthrower » Apr 13, 2019 10:38 pm

Rumraket wrote:
willhud9 wrote:Quite simply he states that moderate Christians aren’t exactly Christians because they cherry pick their verses.

Oh and, isn't that essentially right? Is there no end or limit to what a Christian can be? What is a Christian then, what does the word refer to? If there is no limit to how far one can depart from Christian scripture and yet remain a Christian, then it is a word without meaning. A category that has the potential to encompass literally everything. One could be an ISIS muslim, or an atheist, or not exist at all, and still be a Christian.



Alternatively you could argue that is exactly.... exactly... what does happen and exactly what would be expected to happen to a belief system given enough time. The world changes and religion has to change with it to stay relevant.

Christianity today has little resemblance to Christianity of the early Middle Ages.

I would say that a fairly ubiquitous and tautology-free definition of a Christian would be 'someone who believes in Jesus having a unique divine significance'; that would cover all 2 billion of them today, whereas most other definitions would struggle to include them all.

It's that old prescriptive/descriptive conundrum, but as a non-believer, I don't feel obliged to contend with scriptural arguments for a definition.
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Re: Discussion on Sam Harris

#58  Postby quas » Apr 14, 2019 6:13 am

proudfootz wrote:I suppose then Muslims who don't follow Imam Sam's 'interpretation' aren't real Muslims and should be treated as equal human beings.


I don't know how you come to think that Sam sees Muslims as lesser humans. The hate is strong in you. You need help. You need Jesus.
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Re: Discussion on Sam Harris

#59  Postby Spearthrower » Apr 14, 2019 6:47 am

For me, Harris suggesting that it's only fascists who are talking sensibly about Islam is a very bizarre notion, particularly when fascists routinely couch their distaste for foreigners in racially supremacist terms.
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Re: Discussion on Sam Harris

#60  Postby tuco » Apr 14, 2019 7:45 am

Spearthrower wrote:There's an interesting contemporary situation here: Brunei.

It's been a Muslim nation for 600+ years, gained independence from colonial period 70 years ago, but it wasn't until 2013 that the notion of imposing Sharia Law was raised, and obviously as everyone knows, the 2nd phase of which occurred recently and caused international condemnation.

So there's 2 parts to consider here: why have they only just implemented this, and why are they the only S. E. Asian Muslim nation to have implemented Sharia into their penal code?

I'd say that the first has 2 components, one of which is connected with that cultural assimilation discussed - in the past, it simply was not culturally acceptable, but the general beliefs of the populace have changed to the point where it now sits well with them (accepting of course that it's not exactly been implemented via a democratic process), and the 2nd is international stakes where implementation was forestalled to remain part of the trans-Pacific trade pact which has now been thrown into turmoil with the US's withdrawal.

The 2nd question strikes more to the point here. It's heterogeneity; something which certain pundits routinely fail to acknowledge as they conceive of homogeneous, essentialized caricatures of the 'other'. Islam is not one thing, it's not an ideologically united monolith, and moderate versions of it are not a myth.


Not only in the case of Brunei, seems to be a common denominator for other systems including democratic, wealth is probably another factor contributing to let's say social coherence with the monarch. Brunei is said to be a golden cage.

We can only speculate, but that is perhaps why tightening the screws, though not aimed at the economy, comes in this time when economic future seems less stable. We could speculate further that potential isolation from the West would push Brunei towards China but that is for another thread.
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