Government, Sam Harris and Religion

Two things that I want to reiterate from the class tonight. (This post is meant for my Spirituality and Technology class)

1. I made the mistake of bringing up a topic tonight that I didn’t really understand and it showed as soon as I was challenged. So I figure that if I explain it a bit better on this post maybe I can help shine some light on the direction that I was heading. I brought up the fact that Paul said that we should obey our governments. So now, let me explain some context behind a statement loaded as much as that one as to not give the impression that Paul believed that all human governments were perfect and we should follow them wherever they go. There is a tension in understanding who to obey through the scriptures all throughout. Paul says obey the authorities put in place over you, and then in the same breath he will talk about his time in prison. Jesus says that we are to live in his kingdom and at the same time pay taxes to Caesar’s kingdom. It’s quite messed up. The reason I brought it up is because I just wanted to make known that religion (at least Christianity and Judaism) are not be default against or in opposition to government structures. There is examples of both in the scared texts.

2. We watched a few videos tonight from some big atheists. One of them, Sam Harris, makes some pretty harsh statements about religious texts. One of them was that Jesus said bring certain people before him and slaughter them in front of him. I’m not sure if I’m missing something, but I don’t recall Jesus ever saying that. In fact, I know of the complete opposite that when someone was being put to death he stepped in and stopped it and made a mockery of their execution (the prostitute being stoned and them him saying he who has never sinned cast the first stone). Sam Harris needs to take a chill pill. Religion in its purest form is not about indoctrinating, fear and control, it’s about freedom, servant hood and humility. At least that’s why I read in the Bible. It won’t help to just throw out religion; instead we need to get back to the original intents of it. He’s throwing the baby out with the bathwater.

3 Comments

  • Nathan, you may be interested in this month’s Wired magazine, which has some interviews with Harris, as well as Richard Dawkins. It’s short and somewhat superficial, but still worth a read. The irony of Harris and company: they are the dogmatists that they despise.

  • Ahh yes, I’ve seen it, we actually talked about that article in this class, and also Time has a big article on all of this right now too. Thanks, I can read it online, so i’ll make sure I link to it on here in the next few days after I read it.

  • I just read that Wired magazine article and wrote some about it on ArbMarks. Harris is one of the New Atheists who I could live without. Dennett is more philosophically robust, and Dawkins should stick to science. I think that the basic point, that just because a belief is ‘religious’ doesn’t meant it is immune from discussion / challenge, is valid, though.

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