belief

A Quote by sam harris on shakespeare, virgil, homer, belief, religion, faith, koran, and bible

There is, of course, much that is wise and consoling and beautiful in our religious books.  But words of wisdom and consolation and beauty abound in the pages of Shakespeare, Virgil, and Homer as well, and no one ever murdered strangers by the thousands because of the inspiration he found there.  The belief that certain books were written by God (who, for reasons difficult to fathom, made Shakespeare a far better writer than himself) leaves us powerless to address the most potent source of human conflict, past and present.  How is it that the absurdity of this idea does not bring us, hourly, to our knees?  It is safe to say that few of us would have thought so many people could believe such a thing, if they did not actually believe it.  Imagine a world in which generations of human beings come to believe that certain films were made by God or that specific software was coded by him.  Imagine a future in which millions of our descendants murder each other over rival interpretations of Star Wars or Windows 98.  Could anything – anything – be more ridiculous?  And yet, this would be no more ridiculous than the world we are living in.

sam harris

Source: The End of Faith: Religion, Terror, and the Future of Reason, Pages: 35..6

Contributed by: HeyOK

A Quote by sam harris on 911, 9-11, faith, belief, and religion

A man’s faith is just a subset of his beliefs about the world:  beliefs about matters of ultimate concern that we, as a culture, have told him he need not justify in the present.  It is time we recognized just how maladaptive this Balkanization of our discourse has become.  All pretensions to theological knowledge should now be seen from the perspective of a man who was just beginning his day on the one hundredth floor of the World Trade Center on the morning of September 11, 2001, only to find his meandering thoughts – of family and friends, of errands run and unrun, of coffee in need of sweetener –inexplicably usurped by a choice of terrible starkness and simplicity:  between being burned alive by jet fuel or leaping one thousand feet to the concrete below.  In fact, we should take the perspective of thousands of such men, women, and children who were robbed of life, far sooner than they imagined possible, in absolute terror and confusion.  The men who committed the atrocities of September 11 were certainly not “cowards,” as they were repeatedly described in the Western media, nor were they lunatics in any ordinary sense.  They were men of faith –perfect faith, as it turns out – and this, it must finally be acknowledged, is a terrible thing to be.

sam harris

Source: The End of Faith: Religion, Terror, and the Future of Reason, Pages: 67

Contributed by: HeyOK

A Quote by sam harris on religion, belief, faith, koran, bible, and terrorism

Because they are believed to be nothing less than verbatim translations of God’s utterances, texts like the Koran and the Bible must be appreciated, and criticized, for any possible interpretations to which they are susceptible – and to which they will be subjected, with varying emphases and elisions, throughout the religious world.  The problem is not that some Muslims neglect to notice the few references to nonaggression that can be found in the Koran, and that this leads them to do terrible things to innocent unbelievers; the problem is that most Muslims believe that the Koran is the literal word of God.  The corrective worldview of Osama bin Laden is not to point out the single line in the Koran that condemns suicide, because the ambiguous statement is set in a thicket of other passages that can be read only as direct summons to war against the “friends of Satan.”  The appropriate response to the bin Ladens of the world is to correct everyone’s reading of these texts by making the same evidentiary demands in religious matters that we make in all others.  If we cannot find our way to a time when most of us are willing to admit that, at the very least, we are not sure whether or not God wrote some of our books, then we need only count the days to Armageddon – because God has given us far many more reasons to kill one another than to turn the other cheek.

sam harris

Source: The End of Faith: Religion, Terror, and the Future of Reason, Pages: 34..5

Contributed by: HeyOK

A Quote by sam harris on faith, evidence, christian, and belief

Tell a devout Christian that his wife is cheating on him, or that frozen yogurt can make a man invisible, and he is likely to require as much evidence as anyone else, and to be persuaded only to the extent that you give him it.  Tell him that the book he keeps by his bed was written by an invisible deity who will punish him with fire for eternity if he fails to accept its every incredible claim about the universe, and he seems to require no evidence whatsoever.

sam harris

Source: The End of Faith: Religion, Terror, and the Future of Reason, Pages: 19

Contributed by: HeyOK

A Quote by sam harris on moderate, religious moderate, fundamentalist, religion, faith, and belief

While moderation in religion may seem a reasonable position to stake out, in light of all that we have (and have not) learned about the universe, it offers no bulwark against religious extremism and religious violence.  From the perspective of those seeking to live by the letter of the texts, the religious moderate is nothing more than a failed fundamentalist.   He is, in all likelihood, going to wind up in hell with the rest of the unbelievers.  The problem that religious moderation poses for all of us is that it does not permit anything very critical to be said about religious literalism.  We cannot say that fundamentalists are crazy, because they are merely practicing their freedom of belief; we cannot even say that they are mistaken in religious terms, because their knowledge of scripture is generally unrivaled.  All we can say, as religious moderates, is that we don’t like the personal and social costs that a full embrace of scripture imposes on us.  This is not a new form of faith, or even a new species of scriptural exegesis; it is simply a capitulation to a variety of all-too-human interests that have nothing, in principle, to do with God.  Religious moderation is the product of secular knowledge and scriptural ignorance – and it has no bona fides, in religious terms, to put it on a par with fundamentalism.  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 fully submit to God’s law.  By failing to live by the letter of the texts, while tolerating the irrationality of those who do, religious moderates betray faith and reason equally.  Unless the core dogmas of faith are called into question – i.e., that we know there is a God, and that we know what he wants from us – religious moderation will do nothing to lead us out of the wilderness.

sam harris

Source: The End of Faith: Religion, Terror, and the Future of Reason, Pages: 20..1

Contributed by: HeyOK

A Quote by sam harris on moderates, religious moderates, religion, faith, and belief

Moderates do not want to kill anyone in the name of God, but they want us to keep using the word “God” as though we knew what we were talking about.  And they do not want anything too critical said about people who really believe in the God of their fathers, because tolerance, perhaps above all else, is sacred.  To speak plainly and truthfully about the state of our world – to say, for instance, that the Bible and Koran both contain mountains of life-destroying gibberish – is antithetical to tolerance as moderates currently conceive it.  But we can no longer afford the luxury of such political correctness.  We must finally recognize the price we paying to maintain the iconography of our ignorance.

sam harris

Source: The End of Faith: Religion, Terror, and the Future of Reason, Pages: 22

Contributed by: HeyOK

A Quote by Siddhartha Gautama Buddha on acceptance, agreement, authority, belief, books, elderly, generations, good, observation, reason, religion, rumor, teachers, and traditions

Do not believe in anything simply because you have heard it.
Do not believe in anything simply because it is spoken and rumored by many.
Do not believe in anything simply because it is found written in your religious books.
Do not believe in anything merely on the authority of your teachers and elders.
Do not believe in traditions because they have been handed down for many generations.
But after observation and analysis, when you find that anything agrees with reason and is conducive to the good and benefit of one and all, then accept it and live up to it.

Buddha (563 - 483 BC)

Source: Kalama Sutra : Buddha (Anguttara Nikaya Vol. 1, 188-193 P.T.S. Ed.)

Contributed by: whoAmI?

A Quote by unknown on belief and god

in

I believe in the sun when it is cloudy. I believe in love when I do not feel it. I believe in God when he is silent.

unknown

Contributed by: Kaleigh

A Quote by sam harris on christianity, religion, faith, belief, science, and spirituality

I HAVE NO doubt that your acceptance of Christ coincided with some very positive changes in your life. Perhaps now you love other people in a way that you never imagined possible. You may even experience feelings of bliss while praying. I do not wish to denigrate any of these experiences. I would point out, however, that billions of other human beings, in every time and place, have had similar experiences--but they had them while thinking about Krishna, Allah, or the Buddha, while making art or music, or while contemplating the beauty of Nature. There is no question that it is possible for people to have profoundly transformative experiences. And there is no question that it is possible for them to misinterpret these experiences, and to further delude themselves about the nature of reality. You are, of course, right to believe that there is more to life than simply understanding the structure of contents of the universe. But this does not make unjustified (and unjustifiable) claims about its structure and contents any more respectable.

It is important to realize that the distinction between science and religion is not a matter of excluding our ethical intuitions and spiritual experiences from our conversation about the world; it is a matter of our being honest about what we can reasonably conclude on their basis. There are good reasons to believe that people like Jesus and the Buddha weren't talking nonsense when they spoke about our capacity as human beings to transform our lives in rare and beautiful ways. But any genuine exploration of ethics or the contemplative life demands the same standards of reasonableness and self-criticism that animate all intellectual discourse.

sam harris

Source: Letter to a Christian Nation, Pages: 89-90

Contributed by: ~C4Chaos

A Quote by sam harris on ritual, reality, belief, religion, and faith

Clearly, it is time we learned to meet our emotional needs without embracing the preposterous. We must find ways to invoke the power of ritual and to mark those transitions in every human life that demand profundity--birth, marriage, dearth--without lying to our selves about the nature of reality.

sam harris

Source: Letter to a Christian Nation, Pages: 88

Contributed by: ~C4Chaos

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