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Category: Evolution of Religion

Sam Harris, Reza Aslan and Hiding the Ball

Sam Harris, Reza Aslan and Hiding the Ball

There’s an interesting volley in the ongoing feud between Sam Harris and people who question his crusade against Islam. During a discussion at the Harvard Science Center, Harris made the claim that Muslim violence is different than any other religious violence. He maintained that when any other religionists commit violent acts, they are individuals committing violent acts unrelated to their faith’s doctrines and “articles of faith”. Islam’s articles of faith were uniquely different. He used as an example the brutality perpetrated against Muslims by…

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On Every Page: Bill Maher and the Qur’an

On Every Page: Bill Maher and the Qur’an

  I read an article on Thinkprogress.com recently that asked the question “Has Bill Maher Finally Gone Too Far?” with regard to his animosity toward Muslims and Islam. I personally think the answer must be “yes”, if for no other reason than that he is taking significant heat from other self-identifying liberals, progressives and atheists. In the article, Maher is quoted as saying, “The Qur’an absolutely has on every page stuff that’s horrible about how the infidels should be treated.” I’ll cut…

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Part 9 of Religion – The Most Harmful Agency on the Planet?

Part 9 of Religion – The Most Harmful Agency on the Planet?

Why Religion Becomes Corrupt – and How to Fix It   In this series of articles, we’ve looked at the five reasons corruption effects religion, from Dr. Charles Kimball’s fascinating recent book When Religion Becomes Evil. Dr. Kimball, an historian, professor of comparative religion, chair of the department of religion at Wake Forest University and an ordained Baptist minister, concludes his book with a call for all people to recognize those five reasons for religious corruption, and act to understand…

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Part 8 of Religion – The Most Harmful Agency Agency on the Planet?

Part 8 of Religion – The Most Harmful Agency Agency on the Planet?

Outlawing Holy War In this series of articles we’ve cited and studied the groundbreaking recent book When Religion Becomes Evil, by Dr. Charles Kimball, which lists five major causes of problematic religious conflict and violence: absolute truth claims; blind obedience; establishing the ideal time (or triumphalism); and “the end justifies any means”.  In this essay, we’ll consider what Kimball calls the worst religious evil of all – holy war: …more wars have been waged, more people killed, and more evil…

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Part 7 of Religion – The Most Harmful Agency on the Planet?

Part 7 of Religion – The Most Harmful Agency on the Planet?

Bad Religion: When The End Justifies Any Means   For most of us, authentic religion focuses on the transcendent.  True religion links loving, kind and compassionate relationships with others on this plane of existence to the growth of the soul and an eternal life in the next. But some people — especially those who focus fanatically on a single component of their belief system – discard loving, kind and compassionate relationships in favor of an expectation; some hoped-for “sacred” outcome…

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Part 6 of Religion – The Most Harmful Agency on the Planet?

Part 6 of Religion – The Most Harmful Agency on the Planet?

The Ideal Time for Religious Triumph The idea of triumphalism – that any particular religion will one day prevail, dispatch the “heretics” and conquer the world – has plagued humanity for centuries.  In his book When Religion Becomes Evil, Dr. Charles Kimball explores the concept of triumphalism, in which some faith groups see the ideal time for their certain triumph as inevitable and desirable: Some religious communities place a great deal of emphasis on a this-worldly hope…. When the hoped-for…

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Part 5 of Religion – The Most Harmful Agency on the Planet?

Part 5 of Religion – The Most Harmful Agency on the Planet?

When Religion Requires Blind Obedience Authentic religion engages the intellect as people wrestle with the mystery of existence and the challenges of living in an imperfect world.  Conversely, blind obedience is a sure sign of a corrupt religion.  Beware of any religious movement that seeks to limit the intellectual freedom and individual integrity of its adherents.  When individual believers abdicate personal responsibility and yield to the authority of a charismatic leader or become enslaved to particular ideas or teachings, religion…

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Part 4 of Religion – the Most Harmful Agency on the Planet?

Part 4 of Religion – the Most Harmful Agency on the Planet?

No Faith is Final — Religious Claims to Absolute Truth When a religion claims to have access to the absolute truth, religious scholar and writer Dr. Charles Kimball explains, those rigid truth claims can form the basis for demonizing and dehumanizing those who differ: A human view of truth, one that is dynamic and relational, enables religious people to embrace and affirm foundational truths without necessarily solidifying the words into static, absolute, propositional statements.  Conversely, religious convictions that become locked…

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Intelligence Squared #1: Krauss’s Motion—Science Refutes God

Intelligence Squared #1: Krauss’s Motion—Science Refutes God

Recently the crew here at Common Ground Group assigned ourselves some homework—to read the transcript of the Intelligence Squared debate of the proposition that “Science Refutes God”, consider its implications and comment on it. Since I was unable to attend the gathering at which the debate was discussed, I forwarded my impressions to Stephen Friberg (a co-founder of Common Ground Group) and he asked me to share them with our general readership in a series of blogs. Those of you who…

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Misinformation, Disinformation and Fiction

Misinformation, Disinformation and Fiction

Misinformation (false or misleading information)—is surprisingly easy to spread—often unintentionally. All it requires, in some cases, is a difference in the way one understands the meaning of a word or a concept and how one interprets same before passing on the information to someone else. Take this collection of statements, for example: “In Saudi Arabia, all citizens are rqurieed (sic) to be Muslims, and the public practice of other religions is forbidden. Private practice of other religions is sometimes allowed…

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