Thursday, August 17, 2006

A few sources for your perusal

I just read this and thought it was relevant, as well as this.

Something from Richard Dawkins:
Regarding the accusations of sexual abuse of children by Catholic priests, deplorable and disgusting as those abuses are, they are not so harmful to the children as the grievous mental harm in bringing up the child Catholic in the first place. I had a letter from a woman in America in her forties, who said that when she was a child of about seven, brought up a Catholic, two things happened to her: one was that she was sexually abused by her parish priest. The second thing was that a great friend of hers at school died, and she had nightmares because she thought her friend was going to hell because she wasn't Catholic. For her there was no question that the greatest child abuse of those two was the abuse of being taught about hell. Being fondled by the priest was negligible in comparison. And I think that's a fairly common experience. I can't speak about the really grave sexual abuse that obviously happens sometimes, which actually causes violent physical pain to the altar boy or whoever it is, but I suspect that most of the sexual abuse priests are accused of is comparatively mild - a little bit of fondling perhaps, and a young child might scarcely notice that. The damage, if there is damage, is going to be mental damage anyway, not physical damage. Being taught about hell - being taught that if you sin you will go to everlasting damnation, and really believing that - is going to be a harder piece of child abuse than the comparatively mild sexual abuse.

No, he doesn't say all religious people are child molesters; he says that people who raise their children within their religious traditions are WORSE than child molesters. An atheist's criticism of Dawkins.

Sam Harris: I hope to show that the very ideal of religious tolerance-born of the notion that every human being should be free to believe whatever he wants about God-is one of the principal forces driving us toward the abyss.

An attack on religious tolerance, without which liberal society would not exist.

Steven Weinberg: With or without religion, you would have good people doing good things and evil people doing evil things. But for good people to do evil things, that takes religion.

Of course, scientists have shown in the lab that unquestioning obedience to any authority can cause good people to do evil things. Ever heard of this experiment?

An historical look at atheist extremism while I'm at it.

3 Comments:

Blogger Righteous Bubba said...

Sam Harris: I hope to show that the very ideal of religious tolerance-born of the notion that every human being should be free to believe whatever he wants about God-is one of the principal forces driving us toward the abyss.

An attack on religious tolerance, without which liberal society would not exist.


The tolerance he's talking about is the "you can't question my beliefs" tolerance, whereas you seem to be talking about lock-'em-up-in-a-camp issues.

In other words, when people believe stupid things, it should be within the public discourse to be able to point that out.

Divorce from church-based society has been excellent for the whole of liberal society, and it happened because doctrine was questioned.

3:30 PM  
Blogger Melinda Barton said...

I'm very curious as to how you get that from the quote. The ideal of religious tolerance doesn't mean that people can't be criticized or that there won't be debate, only that people "should be free to believe whatever he wants about G-d". I think in the context of his attack on religious moderates for supporting "extremism" supposedly by giving any credence whatsoever to religion, his intent is obvious.

9:12 AM  
Anonymous Modem Butterfly said...

It's intellectualy dishonest (at least!) to claim that the Soviets were atheist extremists. In fact, the abuses of the Soviet Union were not performed in the name of atheism, the bigoted blog you linked to notwithstanding. The Soviet Union was an atheistic system of government and it did engage in abuses. By the same token, the Confederate States of America was a Xian system of government which enslaved a significant portion of its people. Yet to claim that African-Americans were enslaved in the name of Xianity would also be dishonest.

7:18 PM  

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