Monday, January 8

Let's buy a six-pack of Enlightenment

RJ Eskow had a fine article at HuffPo the other day (H/T Quaker Dave) taking issue with Richard Dawkins and Sam Harris for their purported desire to "destroy" religion. Eskow points out:

...shouldn't people of good will pause when they hear atheists such as Sam Harris say silly things like "science must destroy religion"? After all, there's no proof that it can, and no reason to believe that it should.

Eskow's article (and yes, it's worth it to go read the whole thing) is a well-reasoned think piece, and deserves a great deal of praise for its uncertainties. Eskow does not claim that religion deserves our perpetual unquestioning allegiance. He particularly goes after fundamentalism with full force. Some of the questions he raises, by his own admission, do not bring answers that support what most televangelists or even The World Council of Churches would have us all believe.

I liked this article not only because it reflects what I have already said on the subject, but because it brings into the whole religion debate open-minded and open-ended questions about how we can go about figuring out what is true and needful about religion and what is not.

I'm deeply saddened by the response to this article. Not only did many commenters complain that his post was too long (file under huh) but Cenk Uygur's response, also at HuffPo, totally ignored every point made by Eskow to argue that hey, religion is wrong because the Book of Leviticus is ridiculous! (I'd file under duh, but that file is in bad need of purging, sorry.)

Come on, Cenk. Young Turks can do better than that. And like a buncha frat boys around a beer funnel, the minions flocked to say amen in comments. Geez.

If writers of Cenk Uygur's prominence are going to paint us theists with a wide brush that says all of us take the Bible literally, the blogosphere's enlightenment is over. It's a lazy and bigoted way to argue, and deserves less notice than I have already given.

I totally agree with Eskow's point that "I believe most atheists are progressive, enlightened people..." But if progressive and enlightened, let's also have a little bit of intellectual integrity, like responding to the post in question instead of changing the subject.

UPDATE: Eskow has responded to Uygur, so I guess this will be a back and forth at the HuffPo sandbox.

Researching this post I found out Sam Harris has said some pretty wacko things in support of waterboarding and other forms of torture. File under WTF!?!

And still, we can agree the right wing blogistan are dangerous, unenlightened idiots.


  1. not only dangerous, they are casual in their cruelty. it means nothing to them if this man, lives or dies.
    what is one more life to them, one more family, one more betrayal as long as they look like they made their point and in some cases, keep their high profile, big money postions?

  2. Hey BG,

    Have you read Sam Harris's response clarifying his views on torture (among other things)? I don't think he's quite as wacko on the subject as some are making him out to be.

  3. Thanks Mad Patriot. I'm glad to have that.

  4. Thanks! That's a very interesting article! It's good to see people writing about religion with an open mind, for once.


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