Believers and Non-Believers – Food for Thought

It’s a touchy subject, religion. One that teachers warned students to avoid like the plague for the GP (General Paper) A-Level Examinations.

J.’s religious tendencies shall remain that, his. Suffice to say, J. is not an atheist. He is, however, fascinated by two statements/questions.

Stephen F. Roberts, who has been widely quoted by atheists on the net, says:
I contend we are both atheists, I just believe in one fewer god than you do. When you understand why you dismiss all the other possible gods, you will understand why I dismiss yours.

Some have contended that this statement, popular as it is among atheists, is flawed. One such instance is here: Apologia – “I contend that we are both atheists”.

Before you chew on that, here’s an observation that a mysterious person made:
Have you noticed that anyone who wants to share their views with you isn’t interested in sharing yours?

Now therein lies an interesting thought. People who have strong beliefs and believe that others simply don’t understand their beliefs tend to invariably dismiss other beliefs, even though they may pay lip service to them. Is this hypocrisy?

J. finds all this fascinating, yet is unable to coherently answer any of it.

Sam Harris, who has an interest in neuroscience and author of the book “Letter To A Christian Nation” has this article in the Los Angeles Times (and was also published in The Straits Times):
10 myths — and 10 truths — about atheism

J. thinks it makes for an interesting read as well. Note the intentional omission of a stand on J.’s part.


One response to this post.

  1. Posted by CS on October 2, 2011 at 12:32 pm

    The response to Roberts’ quote demonstrates to me the writer’s tendency to read the quote too literally and to miss the point altogether.

    The writer says “(his) commitment to the truth of Scriptures is ultimately (his) reason for rejecting all other possible gods.” The problem with rejecting all other religions just because Christianity’s scriptures say to do so is that Islam’s scriptures are telling muslims to treat Christianity in exactly the same way. What Roberts is trying to demonstrate is that no religion is much more likely to be true than any other; and given the n religions in existence, (n-1) religions are false.

    He is trying to demonstrate that the Christian’s reason for having conviction in one particular religion arbitrarily over (n-1) other religions is logically inconsistent (unless you were just playing a guessing game, but when you have to guess, it means you don’t really know, or believe with conviction that the religion is true. In which case you are going to hell anyway.) And it is by examining this poor reasoning behind choosing Christianity (and hence rejecting all other religions) that one would realise how ridiculous his conviction is, and therefore why the atheist is atheist.

    I suspect J is of the same opinion as I am (of the writer’s response) but is religious for some more sophisticated reason than the writer’s. The most intelligent of my friends are religious as well, I am not sure why this is so, but I can only say that it humbles me and is one of the few reasons for doubt that I am right.


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