Confession Re: [FoRK] "Peace and Love"

Lion Kimbro <lionkimbro at> on Thu Dec 20 16:48:46 PST 2007

  My own thoughts:

  * I agree with efforts to argue against superstition in our
    societies thinking.

    It's the 21st century.
    I present no defences for superstition.

  * I value the heart, wherever it's found.

    Otherwise, we are in some weird inerrantism.

  * Ernie's brother is virtuous.

    Ernie's brother probably thought that the only way to win points
    with God is to accept Jesus Christ as Lord.

    He's not winning brownie points by being good, and I'll bet he
    even rejects that notion.  Rather, he's genuinely being good,
    because he believes it is good.

  * on Language:

    I think that insisting that people use "The Kings English" or any
    other particular set of meanings for words is oppressive.
    (compare Jeff Bone's "I'm trying to figure out which of my boxes
    you go into.")  Understood terminology is generally regulatory.
    I agree with cyberneticists that **Anti-Communication** is a sign
    of health, and reverses anomy.

    Recall that in 1984, the effort was to get all people to use the
    same tongue, and to try to reduce that (even) to a single,
    glorious word ("obey?").

  * More specifically, my use of the word "God" to refer to "the
    myriad systems of the world larger than myself" is, I argue,
    perfectly reasonable and appropriate, with no other good
    substitute.  Further, that the referent is something worth
    talking about.  This ties in with notions of the worth-whileness
    of the subjective, something many here have denied any value to.
    New ideas, yay.

  Finally, I can't help but note how *anesthetizing* this crusade
  against religion seems to be.  I can't help but feel that the goal
  is to keep people divided, one family to a home, (lest "stupid
  people unite,") and passionless (lest people become "confused.")
  Losers seem to be allowed to help others, (permissible,) but they
  need to remember that it's just brain states at work, lest clear
  view of science be eclipsed by rogue notions of goodness or virtue.

  The heart is irrational, and while it can entertain utilitarianism,
  it doesn't seem to be particularly utilitarian to me.  We should
  thus (if we value the heart) oppose all efforts to maximize
  rationality, except where it is done in service of the heart.

On Dec 20, 2007 3:54 PM, Corinna Schultz <corinna.schultz at> wrote:
> On Dec 20, 2007 1:18 PM, Dr. Ernie Prabhakar
> <drernie at> wrote:
> > There are many legitimate reasons for rejecting religion, and you've
> > named a good number.  But those are really reasons to suspect and/or
> > critique religion.  You really seem to hate *all* religion, which
> > seems either an oversimplification or a reaction to something else.
> If you take religion seriously (as many religious people don't, fwiw),
> then you have to understand that any religion is making rather
> significant truth-claims. Once you have grounds for suspecting
> religion, then you start examining those truth-claims more closely.
> The truth-claims of religion are distinct from the social cohesion
> fostered by religion, or the personal satisfaction of religious
> experiences (both of which can be easily explained in terms of brain
> function and biochemistry/psychology,etc).
> Arguments such as "look at the world -- there must be a creator", and
> "my sister was saved from that hurricane by a miracle", and "when I
> prayed for this guy, he got his dream job", and "the Bible is a
> special book, written by God to show us how to live" are all subject
> to examination because they are making claims about how the world
> works.
> There are many of us who have looked into it, found that there is a
> common thread of irrationality (and disregarding evidence, etc)
> running through such claims (apart from the social/psychological
> forces I mentioned above), and therefore any religion which makes
> similar claims can be dismissed.
> Furthermore, the kind of thinking which promotes these sorts of claims
> is *dangerous*.
> And so we say that religion itself is dangerous. It's the greatest
> source for promoting that kind of thinking.
> Which is not to deny that religious people have done all sorts of
> wonderful things in the name of their religion, myself included, that
> might not have otherwise happened (my husband and I allowed an ex-con
> to live with us for a while so he could have some breathing room to
> get his life back together).
> But the sort of thinking that believes in religious claims is the sort
> of thinking that results in great evil. Non-religious people are not
> immune from such thinking, but they usually don't take it so far as to
> cause great evil.
> Now, you can argue that the social cohesion and aesthetics and even
> philosophical value of religion is very important. And I agree. *BUT*
> why not keep the good and throw out the bad? Stop making irrational
> truth-claims about the world, and get on with promoting civilization.
> People (and I think you are one, Ernie, correct me if I'm wrong) think
> that it must be taken as a package deal, that you cannot separate the
> aesthetic, etc from the global truth-claims, and that since everyone
> agrees that the one is important and valid, we must also accept the
> other. Plus you (people in general) make arguments that misuse words
> and equivocate and gloss over logical problems, and seem to
> *willfully* misunderstand...
> And that's why it's exasperating to argue religion, especially with
> someone who is otherwise rational and intelligent. I think the problem
> is that we see distinctions where you don't, and so we argue past each
> other and make no headway.
> (Of course, I don't presume to speak for anyone else here :) )
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