Faith and Terror
Sam Harris had an excellent op-ed in Sundays LA Times. Holy Terror
starts out by questioning the reliability and relevance of religious texts to modern problems:
Consider the subject of stem-cell research. Many religious people, drawing from what they've heard from the pulpit, believe that 3-day-old embryos — which are microscopic collections of 150 cells the size of a pinhead — are fully endowed with human souls and, therefore, must be protected as people. But if we know anything at all about the neurology of sensory perception, we know that there is no reason to believe that embryos at this stage of development have the capacity to sense pain, to suffer or to experience death in any way at all. (There are, for comparison's sake, 100,000 cells in the brain of a fly.)
I can only say, AMEN! Continuing on the relevance of his theme to the war on "terror", Harris writes:
The phrase "the war on terrorism" is a dangerous euphemism that obscures the true cause of our troubles, because we are currently at war with precisely a vision of life presented to Muslims in the Koran. Anyone who reads this text will find non-Muslims vilified on nearly every page. How can we possibly expect devout Muslims to happily share power with "the friends of Satan"? Why did 19 well-educated, middle-class men trade their lives for the privilege of killing thousands of our neighbors? Because they believed, on the authority of the Koran, that they would go straight to paradise for doing so.
While there are some questionable assertions in the piece, they do not detract from the overall theme: consistent faith in ancient texts is unjustifiable at best, and downright dangerous at worst.
As one prayer was stated after 9/11: God, save me from the people who believe in you!
POSTED BY THE GENERAL AT 9:47 AM