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Tag: faith and reason

My Friend Mycroft, Part Three: Mycroft on Religion

My Friend Mycroft, Part Three: Mycroft on Religion

Having discussed the role of science in the life of humanity, my atheist forum friend Mycroft turned to the subject of religion. The points of view were thus: Mycroft=science is a savior; Me=science is a tool for the exploration of reality Mycroft wrote: “The major organized belief systems are incoherent. Half of mosaic, christian, and muslim theology over the last millennia is devoted to the task of belatedly producing some kind of consistency—often by declaring something impossible a “mystery”, or adding afterthoughts.”…

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My Friend Mycroft, Part Two: Science as Savior

My Friend Mycroft, Part Two: Science as Savior

Echoing anti-theist spokesman Sam Harris, my forum friend Mycroft remarked that: “… a whole branch of science is devoted to the biological and societal reasons for human conditions, the balance of selfishness and altruism, greed and reciprocal behavior, dogma and tolerance, etc.” This is so. There is, indeed, a branch of science dedicated to finding a biological explanation for everything we are and do. Sam Harris has a PhD in this discipline. But the observation begs the question: In what way…

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My Friend Mycroft, Part One: Spiritual Exploration

My Friend Mycroft, Part One: Spiritual Exploration

Once upon a time, I had a forum friend who called himself Mycroft (a reference to Sherlock’s allegedly smarter older brother). He was an atheist (still is as far as I know) and we spent pleasurable hours discussing belief, certitude, faith, reason and other subjects of interest to both of us. Well, at least I found the discourse pleasurable. I’m pretty sure Mycroft found it frustrating at times because I refused to “color inside the lines” of religion that he…

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Faith and Freedom

Faith and Freedom

Unlike our animal cousins, human beings’ behavior is less affected by instinct than it is by observation, nurture, experience and guided learning. We live in complex relationships that form an even more complex society. Existing in that society requires that we learn the skills necessary to that existence. As children, we require the guidance of parents, teachers and a body of knowledge about ourselves and our world. That guidance must originate somewhere—especially in areas where the effects of blindly following…

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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 3 of Religion – The Most Harmful Agency on the Planet?

Part 3 of Religion – The Most Harmful Agency on the Planet?

When Religion Itself Becomes Evil The well-known religious scholar and chair of the department of religion at Wake Forest University, Charles Kimball, published a landmark book a few years ago, called When Religion Becomes Evil.  Dr. Kimball doesn’t dislike faith, and he is no atheist – in fact, he’s an ordained Baptist minister – but the book describes what he sees, after a lifetime of research, as the five warning signs of corruption in religion: Claims to absolute truth Requirements…

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Aristotle Redux: A Review of Thomas Nagel’s “Mind and Cosmos” Part 3

Aristotle Redux: A Review of Thomas Nagel’s “Mind and Cosmos” Part 3

A Review of Thomas Nagel’s “Mind and Cosmos” Part 3 of a review in three parts by Ian Kluge In part 1 of and part 2 of his review of Thomas Nagel’s controversial new book called Mind and Cosmos: Why the Materialist Neo-Darwinian Conception of Nature is Almost Certainly False, Ian Kluge describes the book as attacking the foundations of modern science on the basis of its inability to explain the nature of the mind. Nagel believes there is a…

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Crossing the Streams: Whither Humans?

Crossing the Streams: Whither Humans?

I was raised a Christian and embraced the Bahá’í Faith at the age of nineteen. As I deepened my understanding of the Faith, I began to realize a profound change in my worldview. The teachings of the Faith fundamentally changed my understanding of myself as a human being and my understanding of humanity as a species. The original catalyst for this change was the Faith, itself, with its insistence that I must understand how the world really works in a…

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Aristotle Redux: A Review of Thomas Nagel’s “Mind and Cosmos” Part 2

Aristotle Redux: A Review of Thomas Nagel’s “Mind and Cosmos” Part 2

A Review of Thomas Nagel’s “Mind and Cosmos” Part 2 of a review in three parts by Ian Kluge In part 1 of his review of Thomas Nagel’s controversial new book called Mind and Cosmos: Why the Materialist Neo-Darwinian Conception of Nature is Almost Certainly False, Ian Kluge describes the book as attacking the foundations of modern science on the basis of its inability to explain the nature of the mind. Nagel, a philosopher of impeccable intellectual and philosophical credentials,…

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