On a track from Heathen, David Bowie demands “a better future”, and after watching Jesus Camp yesterday, I’m inclined to agree with him. The movie isn’t great, as the basic message could have been conveyed in an 45-minute documentary rather than a feature-length film, but it still serves as a powerful reminder of the insidious and growing power of religious fundamentalism in society, and politics in particular. Continue reading “a better future…”
- Moral Psychology and the Misunderstanding of Religion – Jonathan Haidt
- Some responses to the above.
- One of the respondents above, Marc Hauser, on the neuroscience of morality. A further interview with Hauser here.
- Another of the respondents, Sam Harris, gave a typically provocative address at the recent Atheist Alliance conference in Washington D.C.
- And finally, Hitchens’ account of his recent book tour to promote God is not Great shouldn’t be missed.
As an atheist of the militant persuasion, it’s somewhat odd that in the past two weeks I’ve spent significant time in deep conversation with a preacherman. Sometimes you need to call in the specialists, and the situation demanded a specialist of his description.
The strangest part of the experience, however, was finding that the urge to label myself inconsistent in having this interaction was insignificantly weak, and in the end rested on something linguistic rather than principled. And I mention this because it’s immensely liberating to realise that one can be as principled as always, without those principles trumping all other interests. Continue reading “How to live (I)”
Another potential cost associated with religious belief was brought to mind last night in a conversation over dinner: we have deferred so much of our human symbolic activity to official representatives of social institutions (preachers and the like), that we no are no longer as able to generate ritual significance ourselves. Continue reading “Ritual”