I'm gonna try this one more time...lol! Sorry for messaging everyone in the group. Guess I'm not used to the format :/
I found this site because I am starting a face to face book club with my friend and I googled some ideas and found myself here. I considered choosing whatever this group's current read was, but it looks like that's not how it works. So...any suggestions? She's a solid atheist and I'm an agnostic with an affection for my "culturally Christian" background. (Don't know if these details would help with the suggestions.) Thanks to anyone whose willing to help me out! :)
That's a great book to discuss. I would hope you would bring up the question of whether the book is an argument against the existence of god per se, as so many seem to think, or whether it's an argument against a god that is good.
It seems to me that people make the mistake of equating "gods/religions isn't good/is bad" with "gods don't exist". That a religion causes people to do bad things just may indicate that that religion is faulty, not that god is. And that a god did bad things or allowed them to happen would certainly tell against the all-good god of the three Abrahamic faiths but it wouldn't rule out a god who was simply not all-good.
It seems like people tend to take that book a little too simplistically. Harris's The End of Faith is the same thing. Harris is speaking ill of religion– largely Islam– not necessarily presenting any arguments for why god doesn't exist. (Not that he or Hitchens claimed to do so, it's just that people often seem to represent the books as if they do so.
Absolutely! In fact, one of the first things I wanted us to discuss before we jumped into the book was whether or not we really think that religion poisons EVERYTHING (in response to the subtitle of the book). So far, it seems [to me] that it isn't religion that inherently poisons everything, it's just that, as Hitchens points out clearly as early as the first chapter (that's how far I've reread so far), religion is human-made and therefore inevitably reflects the imperfections of humans. But I don't think that theists would disagree and maybe that's why I say that (I was brought up and educated by Christians). I guess here's where the inference to the argument against the existence of god--if god is good, how could the manifestation of his reality on earth reflect so poorly on him (eh...if that makes sense)?
Finally, in answering the question about whether or not I really think religion poisons EVERYTHING (therefore God can't possibly be good) I think that if it is true that god really does "endorse" a Bible (or choose whatever sacred book) that promotes the marginalization and exclusion (hell) of others legitimized by "divinely revealed" text (non believers), then it will inevitably poison everything...For me, that's the fatal flaw...
What do you think? Do you think religion really does poison everything?
Makes quite a bit of sense, yes. :)
I think it's self evidently not true that religion poisons absolutely everything. I think it does poison most things to a greater or lesser extent at some level. But the important point to make is that even when it doesn't poison something, it doesn't provide for something that we can't get from secular sources such that we should want religion to stay around for those few things it doesn't poison.
For me it's a classic scale with two plates. The left side has the bad religion causes, the other side has the good. But the right side with the good isn't good that we can't from other sources or even that religion seems to do particularly well. So even if the two sides were weighted the same you still couldn't call them equal.
If have time, and you decide to start one, I'm in! I read constantly and I'll reread books I liked in the first place. I bought How To Be a Really Good Pain In the Ass. It's very good, but not breezy reading. It's practical, hands on, and skills based. The book you suggested also looks good!