On moderation…

My responses are in blockquotes.
-FA

thetransboy asked:

Before I say anything let me just say that I believe that there is no god but I was born Jewish.

In the same way that there are Hispanics or Asians who happen to also not believe in a god. Good.

You quoted, “The problem that religious moderation poses for all of us is that it does not permit anything very critical to be said about religious literalism.”

This is untrue. Moderation is just that: moderation. It doesn’t say anything about extremism. I disagree with extremists. They should be questioned and criticized. However they should be questioned and criticized only as extremists; the entire religion shouldn’t be attacked when criticizing extremists. Moderates shouldn’t be criticized alongside extremists for their beliefs. They are two separate categories of religious people. The crazy, and the weak. When you call extremists out on their beliefs it is because they have harmful immoral beliefs that can actually hurt people. While calling out moderates on their beliefs can be entertaining, it really serves no purpose as they are usually happier if they indulge in this weakness.

If you are a moderate believer, which you are not, on what grounds could you criticize the extremists? On theological grounds? How come? Why should anyone take your moderate interpretation over the extremist one? For example, if god asks for the life of your first and only son the proper answer is yes. To not agree is to ignore the holy scriptures.

The main problem is that the irrational mindset that moderates espouse will always  breed extremists at some point since extremism is nothing more than a more devout type of religious irrationality. The one that puts words into action. That is why the following was well said:

“We need to have inoculation against plague, not the spread of a more gentle version of it.
-Christopher Hitchens

You quoted, “We cannot say that fundamentalists are crazy, because they are merely practicing their freedom of belief; we cannot even say that they are mistaken in religious terms, because their knowledge of scripture is generally unrivaled.”

Yes, we can say fundamentalists are crazy. Some of their beliefs are irrational, immoral, and wrong. If it involves killing people, it is no longer practicing their beliefs. We can always protest terrorism.
And some of us can say that they are mistaken in religious terms. Maybe most of us cannot, but I’ve gone to Jewish schools my whole life; I know more Old Testament than most religious people of religions that that texts applies to.

Fundamentalist are not crazy. They are not any less crazy than the moderates. Remember that moderate dogma is as equally unsupported by evidence as the extremist kind. The difference only lies in the terrible behavioral outcomes of one in comparison with the other.

The solution to those behavioral outcomes can only come from rejecting irrationality and promoting evidence on all fronts. Moderates don’t get a free pass. Fact is that moderation can and does breed extremism because both moderates and extremists share the same irrational mindset. It is not in atheist conventions where radicalization occurs, but in moderate mosques and churches all around the globe. Have you asked yourself why?

You also quoted, “Unless the core dogmas of faith are called into question-i.e., that we know there is a God, and that we know what he wants from us-religious moderation will do nothing to lead us out of the wilderness.”

This is true. We CAN question them. We should question them. Religious moderation is still a completely separate category from religious extremism and thus should be questioned separately.

If you question god and the fact that he wants us to do or not do things then you are not a moderate. In fact you have stopped being religious at all. And that is just what needs to happen.

In reason:
-FA

awesomestman asked:

I see a lot of stuff about the Catholic Church and evangelical, fundamentalist Protestants. What is your opinion, then, on Protestant Christian, LGBT-friendly, churches like the Metropolitan Community Church, Disciples of Christ, or the United Church of Christ?

I am all for Christians ignoring the clear biblical teachings in regards to slavery and homosexuality, for example. Still the fact remains that moderate superstition does absolutely nothing to guide us out of the problems that such a mindset causes.

While moderation in religion may seem a reasonable position to stake out, in light of all that we have (and have not) learned about the universe, it offers no bulwark against religious extremism and religious violence. The problem that religious moderation poses for all of us is that it does not permit anything very critical to be said about religious literalism. We cannot say that fundamentalists are crazy, because they are merely practicing their freedom of belief; we cannot even say that they are mistaken in religious terms, because their knowledge of scripture is generally unrivaled. All we can say, as religious moderates, is that we don’t like the personal and social costs that a full embrace of scripture imposes on us. This is not a new form of faith, or even a new species of scriptural exegesis; it is simply a capitulation to a variety of all-too-human interests that have nothing, in principle, to do with God.

Also,

Moderates do not want to kill anyone in the name of God, but they want us to keep using the word “God” as though we knew what we were talking about. And they do not want anything too critical said about people who really believe in the God of their fathers, because tolerance, perhaps above all else, is sacred. To speak plainly and truthfully about the state of our world-to say, for instance, that the Bible and the Koran both contain mountains of life-destroying gibberish-is antithetical to tolerance as moderates currently conceive it. But we can no longer afford the luxury of such political correctness. We must finally recognize the price we are paying to maintain the iconography of our ignorance.

-Sam Harris

Christopher Hitchens summarized it thus:

We need to have inoculation against plague, not the spread of a more gentle version of it.

Thanks for the question.
Take care.
-FA

askanatheist-deactivated2013081
Via: askanatheist
"While moderation in religion may seem a reasonable position to stake  out, in light of all that we have (and have not) learned about the  universe, it offers no bulwark against religious extremism and religious  violence. The problem that religious moderation poses for all of us is  that it does not permit anything very critical to be said about  religious literalism. We cannot say that fundamentalists are crazy,  because they are merely practicing their freedom of belief; we cannot  even say that they are mistaken in religious terms, because their  knowledge of scripture is generally unrivaled. All we can say, as  religious moderates, is that we don’t like the personal and social costs  that a full embrace of scripture imposes on us. This is not a new form  of faith, or even a new species of scriptural exegesis; it is simply a  capitulation to a variety of all-too-human interests that have nothing,  in principle, to do with God.
Unless the core dogmas of faith are called into question-i.e., that  we know there is a God, and that we know what he wants from us-religious  moderation will do nothing to lead us out of the wilderness”.-Sam Harris

Via: askanatheist

"While moderation in religion may seem a reasonable position to stake out, in light of all that we have (and have not) learned about the universe, it offers no bulwark against religious extremism and religious violence. The problem that religious moderation poses for all of us is that it does not permit anything very critical to be said about religious literalism. We cannot say that fundamentalists are crazy, because they are merely practicing their freedom of belief; we cannot even say that they are mistaken in religious terms, because their knowledge of scripture is generally unrivaled. All we can say, as religious moderates, is that we don’t like the personal and social costs that a full embrace of scripture imposes on us. This is not a new form of faith, or even a new species of scriptural exegesis; it is simply a capitulation to a variety of all-too-human interests that have nothing, in principle, to do with God.

Unless the core dogmas of faith are called into question-i.e., that we know there is a God, and that we know what he wants from us-religious moderation will do nothing to lead us out of the wilderness”.
-Sam Harris

Anonymous asked:

I'm wondering if you do not like Christians or just do not like the religion? I, myself, an Christian, yet I have many atheist friends and friends of other religions(which is inevitable, unless you live in some scary small town). However, I do not like it when people judge Christians as a whole. There are obviously some phsyho scary radicals, like there are in every group, but I for one do not press my religion on anyone. My beliefs don't hurt anyone, as far as I know. So are you instantly put off by someone as soon you find out they are Christian, or do you base your opinions on a person solely on their religion! (this isn't meant to be rude or anything, I hope it doesn't sound it!!)

I am for rationality, logic, common sense, evidence and justified beliefs. Sadly all religious beliefs (not only the Christian ones, since they are too many to count) lack these. This is different from saying all Christians are bad people just because they hold irrational beliefs, something I have never said.

I have addressed the point previously here and here. Summary: I don’t dislike individual believers just because they are believers. To assert that is false and to say that my blog promotes it is not true.

In regards to the next portion of your question, I am happy to hear that you do not press your religion on anyone, but the fact is that religious moderation is a problem since it is the basis and cover fundamentalists use for sustaining their dangerous literalism.

The following comes from this great article about fundamentalism and religious moderation:

While moderation in religion may seem a reasonable position to stake out, in light of all that we have (and have not) learned about the universe, it offers no bulwark against religious extremism and religious violence. The problem that religious moderation poses for all of us is that it does not permit anything very critical to be said about religious literalism. We cannot say that fundamentalists are crazy, because they are merely practicing their freedom of belief; we cannot even say that they are mistaken in religious terms, because their knowledge of scripture is generally unrivaled. All we can say, as religious moderates, is that we don’t like the personal and social costs that a full embrace of scripture imposes on us. This is not a new form of faith, or even a new species of scriptural exegesis; it is simply a capitulation to a variety of all-too-human interests that have nothing, in principle, to do with God.

Also,

Moderates do not want to kill anyone in the name of God, but they want us to keep using the word “God” as though we knew what we were talking about. And they do not want anything too critical said about people who really believe in the God of their fathers, because tolerance, perhaps above all else, is sacred. To speak plainly and truthfully about the state of our world-to say, for instance, that the Bible and the Koran both contain mountains of life-destroying gibberish-is antithetical to tolerance as moderates currently conceive it. But we can no longer afford the luxury of such political correctness. We must finally recognize the price we are paying to maintain the iconography of our ignorance.

I am not put off by Christians just because they are Christians. Neither do I base my opinion of an individual Christian only on their acceptance of a particular myth or superstition as true. That being said, religion is the source of many past, current and future problems. Fact is not society has been negatively affected by becoming more rational, and that is just what I am trying to promote.

Thanks for the question.
In reason:

-FA