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foxglove
Jan 5th 2008, 12:01 AM
Well, I finally bought Sam Harris' book "The End of Faith: Religion, Terror and the Future of Reason" yesterday. I would like to save discussion on the whole book and on atheist thoughts and ideas in general for another thread, because what I am really interested in discussing here is just one aspect of his book - the problem of religious moderates.

Most people, including myself, probably think of moderation in religion as a positive ideal, but what Harris points out is that in addition to be a way to "eat your cake and have it to" (by living in the modern society yet holding beliefs that contrast with it) it is bad from both a secular and a true religious perspective. From a secular perspective, the religious moderate is still troubling because he or she is believing in something that cannot be proven - that by definition requires faith. No empirical evidence can be provided and the only proof of God is in books claiming to be divinely inspired, but you have to trust the sources before they are viable proof. From the perspective of a religious fundamentalist and from the religious texts themselves, moderation is insincere lip service to God, or cafeteria Christianity where people pick and choose the scriptures they want to live by, usually picking most appealling and writing off the ones that are more difficult or personal.

I'll post some quotes from the book to explain this better.

"Moderates of every faith are obligated to loosely interpret (or simply ignore) much of their canons in the interests of living in the modern world. No doubt an obscure truth of economics is at work here: societies appear to become considerably less productive whenever large groups of people stop making widgets and begin killing their customers and creditors for heresy. The first thing to observe about the moderate's retreat from scriptural literalism is that it draws it's inspiration not from scripture but from cultural developments that have rendered many of God's utterances difficult to accept as written." (p17)

"The texts themselves are unequivocal: they are perfect in all their parts. By their light, religious moderation appears to be nothing more than an unwillingness to full submit to God's law." (p21)

Basically, what he is saying is that by being unwilling to completely accept every since sentence of the Bible as true - and acting on it - a religious moderate is not really in line with faith or following what appears to be the word of God. If the Bible says, for instance, stone adulterers, but someone laughs that off because they are uncomfortable with it, or assumes it not to be important anymore, what they are saying by their actions is that they know better than God what matters or that God's laws are not laws at all but ideals that can be chosen or ignored. And, by Harris' reasoning, if you can do that...well, they you can write off Jesus, the Ten Commandments, etc, and might as well; since you're not taking the whole package anyway, you might as well just jump ship entirely.

I have a few specific questions:

1.) Do you consider yourself a religious moderate? Why or why not?

2.) Do you think that moderation in religion, including picking and choosing or accepting only parts of scripture that are not too unacceptable to society, is a good or bad thing? How come?

3.) According to Harris, the only true faithful are those who follow their religious texts to the letter. Is this true?

4.) Harris says "This is the problem for 'moderation' in religion: it has nothing underwriting it other than the unacknowledged neglect of the letter of divine law". (p18). Do you believe this, and if not, how would you refute his argument?

5.) As Harris points out, sometimes nearly all of us find something God said to be impossible to reconcile with our understanding of the world, or we think something God has commanded is so at odds with and unacceptable to, we can't even imagine following through with it, such as the idea that we should kill adulterers or kill those who try to tempt us with a different faith. When this happens, do we go with God, or do we go with society? I can't imagine rising up against someone who tried to sell me, say, a book of Buddhist prayers or some wiccan materials. If this happens, should I do what God says (murder them for tempting me) or what society says (tolerate their alternative belief and live and let live)?

6.) What is your perspective of someone who is fundamentalist or extremist? Is this a desirable attitude or position, in your opinion? Why?

AlainaJ
Jan 5th 2008, 04:29 PM
I hate naming myself:) into any group.:)

I am a follower of Christ. I beleive the Bible is the inspired Word of God and with out error.

I beleive that Jesus took my place on the cross at Calvary. He died and rose again. He is alive.

When I trusted Him as my Lord and Savior , He came into my heart. His righteousness is imputed to me.

Because His Spirit is in me, He has changed me into a new creation in Christ.

I no not obey His Word becuase somemone tells me to, I read His Word and obey it becuase I love Him for saving me from hell and shwoing me the truth in His Word.

He changed my desires, so that I seek the things of His kingdom and not the World. I allow the Holy Spirit to convict me of sin, change my life and direct my ways.

So, what am I....I am a born again Christian saved by grace, who is a follower of Jesus Christ.

God Bless

jeffreys
Jan 5th 2008, 07:09 PM
What she said. :spin:


Frankly, I'm not sure that Sam Harris knows how to frame the questions.

foxglove
Jan 5th 2008, 08:55 PM
I hate naming myself into any group.

I am a follower of Christ. I beleive the Bible is the inspired Word of God and with out error.

I beleive that Jesus took my place on the cross at Calvary. He died and rose again. He is alive.

When I trusted Him as my Lord and Savior , He came into my heart. His righteousness is imputed to me.

Because His Spirit is in me, He has changed me into a new creation in Christ.

I no not obey His Word becuase somemone tells me to, I read His Word and obey it becuase I love Him for saving me from hell and shwoing me the truth in His Word.

He changed my desires, so that I seek the things of His kingdom and not the World. I allow the Holy Spirit to convict me of sin, change my life and direct my ways.

So, what am I....I am a born again Christian saved by grace, who is a follower of Jesus Christ.

God Bless

Would you define yourself as following every single word and commandment in the Bible, or only those which seem appropriate to you or the society you live in?


Frankly, I'm not sure that Sam Harris knows how to frame the questions.

What do you mean? How would you frame or reply to the questions I've asked?

KATA_LOUKAN
Jan 6th 2008, 04:35 PM
"Moderates of every faith are obligated to loosely interpret (or simply ignore) much of their canons in the interests of living in the modern world. No doubt an obscure truth of economics is at work here: societies appear to become considerably less productive whenever large groups of people stop making widgets and begin killing their customers and creditors for heresy. The first thing to observe about the moderate's retreat from scriptural literalism is that it draws it's inspiration not from scripture but from cultural developments that have rendered many of God's utterances difficult to accept as written." (p17)


Oh my. Where to begin?

I think we need to first establish the definition of a "moderate". By this, I personally mean someone who tries to follow (in this case, Christianity) to the best of his ability without becoming obsessed with a particular issue (i.e. abortion clinic bombers) or living in a way that is extremely bizarre (i.e. refuse to marry in opposite racial groups because it forwards the antichrist's agenda, think the federal reserve bank is a tool of the antichrist and act accordingly, etc.)

So I would say that I am a moderate. By this, I dont mean that I give approval to homosexual unions, abortion, racial injustice, etc. by a long shot, but rather I dont spend my time worrying about how I bought some clothes from a store that is owned by a company that has ties to planned parenthood (although I try to aviod some of the REALLY bad companies like this.) My commitment is NOT moderate, nor is my faith.

As far as ignoring biblical commandments, what commandments are too oppressive to observe in today's society? I really cant think of a commandment that would be too difficult. People might call you weird (like refusing to participate in pre-marital sex or drugs) but by and large, we can practice our Christianity in America without being under attack from society.


2.) Do you think that moderation in religion, including picking and choosing or accepting only parts of scripture that are not too unacceptable to society, is a good or bad thing? How come?


Well, this is what would be called "cafeteria christianity" by some. We cant pick and choose how we want to follow Jesus. It's all or nothing.


3.) According to Harris, the only true faithful are those who follow their religious texts to the letter. Is this true?


Harris assumes that all religions only rely on text. This as well as the statement, are not true. While most Protestants I know are extremely "text driven" people, there are millions of Christians who believe that Christianity is a reality learned from the living body of Christ and not derived from a text.


4.) Harris says "This is the problem for 'moderation' in religion: it has nothing underwriting it other than the unacknowledged neglect of the letter of divine law". (p18). Do you believe this, and if not, how would you refute his argument?


If by moderation, you mean not following Christ's commandments (i.e. being a christian on sunday morning only) then this is indeed a problem for Christians.


5.) As Harris points out, sometimes nearly all of us find something God said to be impossible to reconcile with our understanding of the world, or we think something God has commanded is so at odds with and unacceptable to, we can't even imagine following through with it, such as the idea that we should kill adulterers or kill those who try to tempt us with a different faith. When this happens, do we go with God, or do we go with society? I can't imagine rising up against someone who tried to sell me, say, a book of Buddhist prayers or some wiccan materials. If this happens, should I do what God says (murder them for tempting me) or what society says (tolerate their alternative belief and live and let live)?


Please cite some sort of scripture here. I dont recall Jesus calling us to kill adulterers (the opposite, actually).


6.) What is your perspective of someone who is fundamentalist or extremist? Is this a desirable attitude or position, in your opinion? Why?

Fundamentalism might be the result of psychological quirks or misplaced zeal. I feel that fundamentalism makes people feel that it is OK not to think about their faiths. It caters to the psychological desires of people and gives them a quick, easy, and 100% positive way of avioding struggles with their faith. Christianity is not a 100% positive, heretic-condemning, fight to quash all differing opinions. Rather it is a journey from disbelief and sin to life in Christ.

People who believe such things are often times the products of poor religious education (myself included). I would say I was a fundamentalist until I was 16, when some things in my life happened and I realized that my outlook was ignorant and misinformed. I was SO SURE that catholics, democrats, christians who supported abotion, etc. were on a highway to hell. I was SO SURE that all truth, love, and happiness could only be found in evangelical, fundamental, christianity. Any other people were just getting a taste of some satanic pseudo-love.

Fundamentalism is not desirable. Give me Christ, and NOT fundamentalism.

Brother Mark
Jan 8th 2008, 09:11 PM
Foxglove, I notice that this is the second book against God and religion you have read. What's going on?

foxglove
Jan 9th 2008, 12:27 AM
Foxglove, I notice that this is the second book against God and religion you have read. What's going on?

Well, I've recently become very good friends with a girl whose grandmother attends my church. She sometimes goes with the grandmother, which is how I know her. Her upbringing was Pentacostal mostly but she is currently an atheist, and some of the stuff she's said has made me really curious. So, I thought I'd better get informed. Also, I guess I want to know what's out there.

Brother Mark
Jan 9th 2008, 01:58 AM
Well, I've recently become very good friends with a girl whose grandmother attends my church. She sometimes goes with the grandmother, which is how I know her. Her upbringing was Pentacostal mostly but she is currently an atheist, and some of the stuff she's said has made me really curious. So, I thought I'd better get informed. Also, I guess I want to know what's out there.

Fair enough. Thanks for answering. Could you define fundamentalist for me? I know I don't like the label very much but that's because of who I grew up around. Once I know the definitions, then I can vote. ;)

I hope you get the answers your looking for. Ever see the movie "First Contact" with Jody Foster? That's kind of how I see faith now. I know what I have experienced, but I can't fully explain it to someone who hasn't had the same experience.

Tanya~
Jan 9th 2008, 05:17 AM
Foxglove, some of the questions are framed in such a way as to trap the person who is considering them. They are dishonest questions, with a dishonest premise. This can be shown from your summary question, which clearly has been influenced by what you have read.


Would you define yourself as following every single word and commandment in the Bible, or only those which seem appropriate to you or the society you live in?

While I do agree that there are many who claim to be Christian, yet reject much of the teaching of Scripture, it is not true that those who do not follow every single word (i.e., the example about stoning adulterers) are unfaithful to the Scriptures.

Many of the laws such as the one you gave as an example, cannot be followed by Christians, not because we 'pick and choose' but because (1) God has changed the covenant, and (2) Many of the civil laws were intended for theocratic Israel. Under the New Covenant, we are commanded by the Scriptures to obey the laws of the civil authority. When that command was given, the civil authority was Pagan Rome. It would be unlawful in God's sight as well as in our government if someone were to stone an adulterer.

Understanding the context of any given command of Scripture is essential if we truly are to be in obedience to it. What you are reading is high-sounding balderdash. Don't let yourself be deceived by it.

ServantofTruth
Jan 9th 2008, 06:35 AM
Foxglove, I notice that this is the second book against God and religion you have read. What's going on?

I wouldn't worry so much about the reading of the book, but i would expect the original post to show more clearly a seperation of the reader from the books ideas themselves. From other topics, i certainly don't worry about this inteligent poster - but some people/ christians are unable to read while holding their own thoughts/ beliefs seperate in their minds.
I read the God Delusion for example, and each time Dawkins misrepresented or lied i could easily see it. That comes from puting bible study first every day without fail.
It can sometimes seem that we are be influenced by ideas we read and there are christians i would advise not to read books by non christian authors - but the people i know like this i would also advise a simple copy of the bible/ childs version and for complex ideas to be explained slowly in small words. Is it just a matter of inteligence/ education level? Others like this original poster, myself and many others believe our sword of faith is sharpened by reading these books.

Brother Mark
Jan 9th 2008, 01:30 PM
I wouldn't worry so much about the reading of the book, but i would expect the original post to show more clearly a seperation of the reader from the books ideas themselves. From other topics, i certainly don't worry about this inteligent poster - but some people/ christians are unable to read while holding their own thoughts/ beliefs seperate in their minds.
I read the God Delusion for example, and each time Dawkins misrepresented or lied i could easily see it. That comes from puting bible study first every day without fail.
It can sometimes seem that we are be influenced by ideas we read and there are christians i would advise not to read books by non christian authors - but the people i know like this i would also advise a simple copy of the bible/ childs version and for complex ideas to be explained slowly in small words. Is it just a matter of inteligence/ education level? Others like this original poster, myself and many others believe our sword of faith is sharpened by reading these books.

Poison doesn't really sharpen faith. Lies don't make the truth easier to see. But as you pointed out, truths do make lies easier to recognize.

foxglove
Jan 9th 2008, 01:43 PM
Fair enough. Thanks for answering.

Sure, no problem! :)


Could you define fundamentalist for me? I know I don't like the label very much but that's because of who I grew up around. Once I know the definitions, then I can vote.

Well, the way I define fundamentalist is quite different from the way Sam Harris defines it. He seems to see it as following the letter of the law literally, and taking every single word as not only absolute truth, but as something to act upon, while a moderate is someone who is a "Sunday Christian" and doesn't really let religion influence their lives. That's what I understood from his writing, anyway, and it conflicts with my opinion.

In my view, a fundamentalist is someone who believes that the majority of the Bible is to be understood literally, but who probably follows the spirit of the law rather than the letter on most issues. For instance, if the Bible says to stone adulterers, I imagine a fundamentalist might believe that punishment for adultery is something we should subscribe to, but would follow the spirit of it by offering correction for adulterers, not the letter of it by actually stoning them. If the Bible says homosexuality is an abomination, I think a fundamentalist would see that as true but not react with archaic punishments; instead, they might offer counselling and other sources that capture the spirit of the law without resorting to violence or hatred.

Basically, in my view, a fundamentalist who takes the Bible more literally and uses the Bible as the first influence over their worldview, while a moderate probably believes some of the Bible in metaphoric terms and might be more inclined to use the culture as a gauge of what is right than the words of the Bible. For example, when asked whether tolerance for other faiths is a good idea, I think a moderate might say yes, even though the Bible is unequivocal that it's not a good idea. That is just my view, and it could be totally wrong.

I voted myself as a religious moderate, because I tend not to apply my Biblical beliefs to the outside world as much as I see some others doing. If the Bible says something is a sin, I might not do it myself but I don't support laws or legal action stopping other people from it. For instance, although I believe the Bible considers homosexuality a sin, I don't use my belief to influence others - that belief would only prevent me from engaging in homosexuality if I ever wanted to do such a thing.

I think for the poll, just answer based on your own interpretations and what you think the words mean. Like I said, my own interpretations of what the terms mean could be totally wrong. Anyway, it's just an informal survey. I suppose after voting, you could post explaining why you chose one or the other, to clarify, if you wanted to.


Foxglove, some of the questions are framed in such a way as to trap the person who is considering them. They are dishonest questions, with a dishonest premise. This can be shown from your summary question, which clearly has been influenced by what you have read.

These aren't my questions necessarily; almost all of them come nearly word by word from Harris' book. I agree with you, the way they are structured is designed to capture someone: if they say they are a moderate, than in Harris' view, they are admitting a failure of faith. If they say they are a fundamentalist, than in his view they necessarily support terrrorism. You can't win. I think that's the message his book was designed to show. It conflicts with my own opinion. I should have made that more clear in the OP, that these are not my views.

If you'd like to answer any of the questions, maybe you can reframe them in a way that points out their error? The purpose of me asking any of these is to get people thinking about what moderation in religion really means and to determine for myself whether Sam Harris's views on religion are correct and true.


While I do agree that there are many who claim to be Christian, yet reject much of the teaching of Scripture, it is not true that those who do not follow every single word (i.e., the example about stoning adulterers) are unfaithful to the Scriptures.

Many of the laws such as the one you gave as an example, cannot be followed by Christians, not because we 'pick and choose' but because (1) God has changed the covenant, and (2) Many of the civil laws were intended for theocratic Israel. Under the New Covenant, we are commanded by the Scriptures to obey the laws of the civil authority. When that command was given, the civil authority was Pagan Rome. It would be unlawful in God's sight as well as in our government if someone were to stone an adulterer.

Can you list some of the verses that describe the breaking of the covenant or that point out how Christians are exempt? I'm not asking as a challenge, just because I'd like to have an answer when my friends ask me the same things, like why I think I can eat shellfish or wear my hair braided.

Teke
Jan 9th 2008, 04:12 PM
First let me say that what I've read of Sam Harris tells me that he is not well informed on Christianity as a whole, meaning throughout the world. So I really wouldn't consider his opinion about anything, whether Christian or not.

He does seem to be on his own quest for spirituality, though he may not admit such a thing. He agrees with Buddhism, in praxis. That tells me a lot more about him than his books and their ridiculous rhetoric.

For the record, I do not believe there is such a thing as an atheist. I've never met one, even if they say they are. People tend to say things that aren't really what they mean.



I have a few specific questions:

1.) Do you consider yourself a religious moderate? Why or why not?

I don't consider myself religious in the sense that Harris relates being religious (using scripture).


2.) Do you think that moderation in religion, including picking and choosing or accepting only parts of scripture that are not too unacceptable to society, is a good or bad thing? How come?

I think all of scripture should be accepted in the manner it was meant, which is part of the tradition of the Church. Not in the manner that someone believes it should be.



3.) According to Harris, the only true faithful are those who follow their religious texts to the letter. Is this true?

Yes, I'd say this is true. But doesn't this present a problem for Harris since he doesn't know what the letter is. IOW it would present a contradiction for him in reading the OT versus what Jesus said.



4.) Harris says "This is the problem for 'moderation' in religion: it has nothing underwriting it other than the unacknowledged neglect of the letter of divine law". (p18). Do you believe this, and if not, how would you refute his argument?

Again, he uses a book (the bible) as a rule book like playing a game by. Even the Jews do not do such with scripture.



5.) As Harris points out, sometimes nearly all of us find something God said to be impossible to reconcile with our understanding of the world, or we think something God has commanded is so at odds with and unacceptable to, we can't even imagine following through with it, such as the idea that we should kill adulterers or kill those who try to tempt us with a different faith. When this happens, do we go with God, or do we go with society? I can't imagine rising up against someone who tried to sell me, say, a book of Buddhist prayers or some wiccan materials. If this happens, should I do what God says (murder them for tempting me) or what society says (tolerate their alternative belief and live and let live)?

Christians are dead to the world, so what does it matter what the world does.



6.) What is your perspective of someone who is fundamentalist or extremist? Is this a desirable attitude or position, in your opinion? Why?

Just sounds human to me. Humans have both desirable and undesirable attitudes and positions. Christians are human and have a fundamental agreement in Christ. Some are more extreme about things than others. That is just life in humanity.

Fenris
Jan 9th 2008, 05:01 PM
I think anyone following the events in the world today would say that the problem is religious fanatics, not religious moderates.

Tanya~
Jan 9th 2008, 06:49 PM
The purpose of me asking any of these is to get people thinking about what moderation in religion really means and to determine for myself whether Sam Harris's views on religion are correct and true. When you start with false premises, how can you come to a true conclusion? The questions themselves reveal that he doesn't have an understanding of the Bible that would qualify him to judge it and those who follow its teachings.



Can you list some of the verses that describe the breaking of the covenant or that point out how Christians are exempt? I hadn't said that the covenant was broken, but Scripture tells us that the children of Israel broke the covenant. God made a New Covenant. The prophecy about this was given here:

Jer 31:31-34
"Behold, the days are coming, says the LORD, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah — 32 not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt, My covenant which they broke, though I was a husband to them, says the LORD. 33 But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the LORD: I will put My law in their minds, and write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. 34 No more shall every man teach his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, 'Know the LORD,' for they all shall know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them, says the LORD. For I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more."
I would never suggest that Christians are 'exempt' from any of God's laws. But the laws must be considered in their context in order to know how to enforce them. In a theocracy, the civil law is to be enforced by the government. Israel was a theocracy. Gentiles who come to Christ are under whatever civil government they are under -- not under theocratic rule. So the rules, i.e., the rule about how to deal with adulterers, was changed. It is not for Christians to kill adulterers who live in their country. The church, however, is commanded to put out from the fellowship a person who is an adulterer. The spirit of the law remains the same. This is spelled out here:

1 Cor 5:9-13

I wrote to you in my epistle not to keep company with sexually immoral people. 10 Yet I certainly did not mean with the sexually immoral people of this world, or with the covetous, or extortioners, or idolaters, since then you would need to go out of the world. 11 But now I have written to you not to keep company with anyone named a brother, who is sexually immoral, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or an extortioner — not even to eat with such a person.

12 For what have I to do with judging those also who are outside? Do you not judge those who are inside? 13 But those who are outside God judges. Therefore "put away from yourselves the evil person."
The quote italicized at the end of this passage comes directly from the law of Moses which states that the evil person is to be put to death. The person is put out of the fellowship, but they have opportunity to repent and return, in which case they are to be received back. The law is the same, but it is applied differently because the circumstances are different. Christians do not have an earthly land and an earthly theocratic government. We live in a foreign land under foreign laws.


I'm not asking as a challenge, just because I'd like to have an answer when my friends ask me the same things, like why I think I can eat shellfish or wear my hair braided.I'm not sure where the braided hair comes in, but the food laws were changed so that Gentiles could be received into the family of God without having to first become Jewish proselytes. Food separated Jew from Gentile. But now God has broken down that wall. Both Jew and Gentile are reconciled to God through Christ, without regard to the religious ordinances that were imposed on the Jews.
Eph 2:14-16

For He Himself is our peace, who has made both one, and has broken down the middle wall of separation, 15 having abolished in His flesh the enmity, that is, the law of commandments contained in ordinances, so as to create in Himself one new man from the two, thus making peace, 16 and that He might reconcile them both to God in one body through the cross, thereby putting to death the enmity.

Teke
Jan 9th 2008, 08:04 PM
Some, like Mr Harris, do not understand the principles involved in the law. For one to be condemned to death there had to be a unanimous decision by the rulers. If just one person spoke up in their defense they couldn't pronounce a death sentence.

As to the food ordinances, if one looks at them in light of fasting they make perfect sense for the people (Israel) and the period they are addressed to. Christians are directly commanded in the NT not to eat or drink blood. And they will not knowingly do such a thing. But if they knew something like, that cow milk has blood in it, would they still drink it.

There are just so many things that people don't think about before they start condemning others. Good thing for all of us that God has mercy on us all, and just blinks at sin in ignorance.

I<3Jesus
Jan 10th 2008, 08:43 PM
If the Bible says, for instance, stone adulterers, but someone laughs that off because they are uncomfortable with it, or assumes it not to be important anymore, what they are saying by their actions is that they know better than God what matters or that God's laws are not laws at all but ideals that can be chosen or ignored. And, by Harris' reasoning, if you can do that...well, they you can write off Jesus, the Ten Commandments, etc, and might as well; since you're not taking the whole package anyway, you might as well just jump ship entirely.

First off, we cannot stone anyone or take the law into our own hands and kill someone because the Bible tells us to. We would be arrested, tried and possibly killed because of our actions and the secular world would reject Christianity even more than they already do.

1.) Do you consider yourself a religious moderate? Why or why not?

I suppose I am, not because I do not believe the Bible, but because I am definitely not a fundamentalist.

2.) Do you think that moderation in religion, including picking and choosing or accepting only parts of scripture that are not too unacceptable to society, is a good or bad thing? How come?

I can see it being good and bad. It is good because it opens up Christianity to a larger group of people, but bad because it perverts it. The people who only accept parts of scripture are not truly embracing the religion.

3.) According to Harris, the only true faithful are those who follow their religious texts to the letter. Is this true?

True, unless they are negating or perverting the message with their skewed understanding of the text.

4.) Harris says "This is the problem for 'moderation' in religion: it has nothing underwriting it other than the unacknowledged neglect of the letter of divine law". (p18). Do you believe this, and if not, how would you refute his argument?

This needs to be reworded, I am not sure I understand what the author is getting at.

5.) As Harris points out, sometimes nearly all of us find something God said to be impossible to reconcile with our understanding of the world, or we think something God has commanded is so at odds with and unacceptable to, we can't even imagine following through with it, such as the idea that we should kill adulterers or kill those who try to tempt us with a different faith. When this happens, do we go with God, or do we go with society? I can't imagine rising up against someone who tried to sell me, say, a book of Buddhist prayers or some wiccan materials. If this happens, should I do what God says (murder them for tempting me) or what society says (tolerate their alternative belief and live and let live)?

Well I suppose you could murder them if you like the idea of spending the rest of your life in jail. I really do not think God wants us to go around murdering people though.

6.) What is your perspective of someone who is fundamentalist or extremist? Is this a desirable attitude or position, in your opinion? Why?

They terrify me.

HisLeast
Jan 14th 2008, 04:16 PM
I'm saddened that the word "fundamental" has been co-opted, perverted, and made synonym of "extremist".

What is Fundamental about Christianity?
- That there is a God
- That God is a trinity
- That man's heart is sinfull
- That Jesus had two natures
- That Jesus' two natures allowed him to be a sacrifice for our sin.
- That Jesus became a sacrifice
- That Jesus conquered death.
- That salvation can be had through Jesus.
- That Jesus taught us to sin no more.
- That Jesus told us to take care of the sick, the widows, the downtrodden, and the prisoners.

So by believing those things, you are believing in FUNDAMENTAL Christianity. But today people only equate "fundamentalists" as people hell bent on political domination or blowing up buses.

It quite sickens me.