26 October 2007

Thursday thoughts on god

I grant upon myself the popular late boomer moniker of spiritual, yet not religious. Though raising two girls in a catholic school, married to a regular church-goin' catholic woman, I generally eschew any real belief in an unseen, unprovable, irrational supreme being. I was raised the son of Unitarian minister, dabbled in fundamentalist christianity in late high school and early college (mostly to stay in the good graces and underthings of a couple girlfriends), married in a catholic church and attending the family-centered holiday masses in catholic churches. I'm mostly agnostic, though closer to a borderline full-blown atheist of late. If t'weren't for a couple of unexplainable spiritual-like events in my past, I might well be an open advocate for the complete eradication of religious faith. I suppose we all have a spiritual journey to share. From time to time, I'll drop some thoughts here on my relationship with what we don't, or what we can't, understand.

There's a plethora of books out recently by the so-called "angry atheists". I've been working my way through some of them lately. Last month saw Christopher Hitchens' bravely and audaciously titled, God is Not Great on my bedstand. (Catholic kids and wife thought that was a horrible title for a book.) A quick read through Sam Harris' Letter to a Christian Nation which is essentially an 80 page culling of his The End of Faith which I've just started this week.

A couple quotes so far from Harris' The End of Faith that struck me as worth jotting down and noting:

"How is it that, in this one area of our lives, we have convinced ourselves that our beliefs about the world can float entirely free of reason and evidence." (p17)

"Our world is fast succumbing to the activities of men and women who would stake the future of our species on beliefs that should not survive an elementary education. That so many of us are still dying on account of ancient myths is as bewildering as it is horrible, and our own attachment to these myths, whether moderate or extreme, has kept us silent in the face of developments that could ultimately destroy us." (p25-26)

"If history reveals any categorical truth, it is that an insufficient taste for evidence regularly brings out the worst in us. Add weapons of mass destruction to this diabolical clockwork, and you have found a recipe for the fall of civilization." (p26)

One more, likely paraphrased as opposed to outright quoted since I was writing it down from a Unitarian podcast while driving to work,

Who would let a first century dentist fill our children's teeth? Yet we let first century theologians fill our children's minds every day.

Just thoughts on an early Thursday morning while procrastinating getting out of this comfy chair cuz my ass hurts from a hard slide in an extra inning softball game last night.

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