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Finally a Discussion that makes sense and is done in proper form.

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posted on Oct, 15 2014 @ 03:00 AM
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I'm not sure if this is the right section for this as it could actually go in a few others just as well but I chose here.

Anyway, for those who haven't seen the extended version of this talk between Reza Aslan and Cenk Uygar, you should really give it a watch, or listen. It's about 45 min. long but so so very worth it. This goes for everyone regardless of whatever "side" you're on as well, which is one of the best parts in my opinion. If you're Religious or not, or Conservative or Liberal this talk has something in it for you too.

They talk about Religious Ideas as well as political ideas but in a less detailed way and more about the perceptions of those ideas. That's about the best way I can describe it. Which I agree kinda sucked, but that's what I'm giving you to work with for now, sorry.

One of the best parts is also how they both have conflicting belief systems and opinions about some of the topics, yet still have a respectful and intelligent discussion. Something every ATSer should also be doing with their debates as well.

Anyway, I know you're all wishing that I would just shut my yapper now and let you get on with the show, so that's exactly what I'm gonna do. I look forward to your comments.
(But please watch it first before you comment. That is the only thing I ask.)


edit on 15-10-2014 by mOjOm because: (no reason given)




posted on Oct, 15 2014 @ 03:31 AM
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Watched it last night, since i am subscribed to TYT, Cenk does a pretty good job in his interviews, gotta give him props, he's not afraid to go against his hosts and challenge them and like you said, still be respectful.
I did find the interview great, but even though i have nothing against his views, Reza Aslan does come off as aggressive and condescending at times, and i am not a big fan of that, coming from a person that should "educate" people.
I can understand a dislike towards stereotypes and ignorance, but being aggressive doesn't help your case when you are trying to change people's views on muslims, it sort of plays out like "this arrogant man that calls people stupid and mistaken is trying to tell us that islam is a religion of peace" and that passion, if not kept in check, can work against him.
But i totally agree with the argument that suggesting that all people of muslim faith have this desire to chop people's heads off and impose a global jihad like sam harris and bill maher is a load of bull.
1.5 billion of them in the world, if they wanted to wipe out the infidels, you would very much notice it.
this interview spawned from the debate bill maher, sam harris and ben affleck had on bill's show, the first two saying that Islam is essentially a poison and the "motherload of bad ideas", that all muslims work in a sort of hive mind, all of them programmed to kill/convert people to their cause, and affleck pointing out such a blanket statement is racist, and not too different from saying "all blacks steal", and frankly i agree with him.
Bill sometimes, referring to the controversial aspects of religions says "if there is just one turd in the water, would you jump in the pool?" meaning since for example the bible says slavery is ok, that "turd" should make you stay away from the whole thing.
In politics, George bush is clearly bill's "turd in the pool"yet he had no problem donating 1 million usd to Obama...he can see obama as a "different chapter" not associated with Bush, but can't understand that is how religions often work.



posted on Oct, 15 2014 @ 03:43 AM
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a reply to: mOjOm

Hiya OP,

I got about ten minutes in and mostly what I saw was two people back slapping each other about how much of a bigot Sam Harris is. Yes they have slightly different belief systems, yes they talk to each other respectfully, but that's only because the person they're pinning to the mast isn't in the room.

Their opinions also aren't that much different. They generally agree on conclusions and are both of the same political cloth. In response I'd also say that Sam Harris isn't that disrespectful. He may have prejudices, you mean even think 'bigot' is correct, but I don't see these two people taking the time to say 'well not all atheists are like Sam Harris'. I see the word atheist being distanced from by the presenter claiming to be agnostic. I see some of Harris' statements being taken out of context. I see an awful lot of appeal to authority (oh if you only understood Greek and Hebrew you would realize my holy text isn't bigoted so you're a bigot).

Sam Harris is a fairly soft spoken person for all his jerkiness. They could have easily had Harris on the show, and the conversation would have still remained respectful, just the person they're hammering on would have been present to respond. Or you know, they could have at least brought in an atheist.

Edit: really not sure about the whole 'religion is a language' part either. Yes metaphors are language, but those metaphors also drive and restrict conversation and meaning ergo yes a collection of symbols or metaphors aka religion can be broken / dangerous. I mean if your symbols and metaphors don't contain the information for 'I'm being oppressed' good luck with that. S+F and suchly was interesting at least.
edit on 15-10-2014 by Pinke because: Edit:

edit on 15-10-2014 by Pinke because: (no reason given)



posted on Oct, 15 2014 @ 04:05 AM
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a reply to: IShotMyLastMuse

I imagine a lot of the aggressive attitude from Azlan probably comes from the amount of public resistance he's been against lately. He's had an aggressive opposition that he can either back down from or stand his ground in defense, he's choosing defense. Which is what I kinda like about him from what I've seen. Plus he's a Scholar and all Scholars have that same kind of superior tone when speaking about their area of study.

I'm going to watch the full Sam Harris interview soon. I've seen the resulting media about it, but haven't yet seen the root cause just yet. That should be interesting. I saw the Bill Maher show too. In fact that show as well as a few others have changed my image of Maher a little. Like you, I find his all inclusive take on Muslims incorrect.

That was not what I expected from him either. Although, I guess it's not too far off from how he classifies Religious groups the same way. As in "All Christians" or whatever. Although I guess all of us do the same from time to time as well, but he's sticking with it this time without giving way to a more probable perspective.



posted on Oct, 15 2014 @ 04:08 AM
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Religion is not based on reason as to put your faith in an entity that you are told cannot be known until after you die is unreasonable, hence the continual conflicted views in regards to the belief of the same God by billions of people.
edit on th1413365036433CDT-0500-05:001AM by subtopia because: (no reason given)



posted on Oct, 15 2014 @ 04:15 AM
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a reply to: mOjOm

There are a few debates / discussions between Harris and Aslan that are around. Some of them are quite long. They're interesting discussions but often the two of them are coming at the discussion from completely different perspectives. Aslan's voice is very needed with the whole ISIL thing though.



posted on Oct, 15 2014 @ 04:18 AM
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a reply to: Pinke

Sup Pinke??

You sound like you might be a Sam Harris fan, is that a fair guess??? I'm not too familiar with him just yet, although I do know the name. I'm just about to watch the debate with him and Azlan. Maybe after that I'll be able to understand from where you're coming from as it pertains to this.

You're right that their opinions aren't complete opposites. Certainly when it comes to Politics. But as for Religion, they are quite far off from one another. They didn't get into it real hard but Azlan is obviously Pro Religion while Cenk is not. Not sure if you're familiar with Cenk or not but he pretty much thinks all Religions are just silly and/or dangerous. That's one of his traits that I identify with myself and probably why I like his opinion most of the time.

But once again, he's very geared toward rational thinking too and with that rational you also have to allow for others ideas along with your own, so I understand why he wasn't really on the attack, so to speak.

Using the term agnostic is actually the more correct one to use though. I tend to use that rather than atheist myself usually since the term atheist has become almost as rigid and absolutist as the Fudi-Relgious folk at this point. That's why I think he uses that term rather than atheist. He even mentions it at one point, placing himself in the Atheist camp. But I know where he's coming from and it's really just a personal preference I think. He's certainly not pro any religion though.

I'd like to talk about your "edit" too but will do it in another post so this one isn't too long.



posted on Oct, 15 2014 @ 04:32 AM
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originally posted by: subtopia
Religion is not based on reason as to put your faith in an entity that you are told cannot be known until after you die is unreasonable


I agree. I also think that is what is different about how Azlan talks about Religion as well. At least what I hear him saying anyway. I think he also would agree with your too, but would include that the reason it's bad logic is because that isn't the perspective that Religion should be viewed from.

He has said repeatedly that almost nothing in the Bible is Factually True. Nor is it supposed to be. What's true is some other message that you get from the story, but not the story itself. One of his points he seems to be making is that most people, Religious and Non Religious, are applying religion incorrectly. Scripture, in his opinion, isn't factual at all. It's not True. The events didn't happen. But that isn't the point.

I imagine it's similar to reading Dr. Suess or something like that. The story is obviously complete fiction, but there is often some other unspoken truth that can be found within the story apart from what's written. I think that is why he keeps talking about why when someone reads the bible or some scripture that they understand how to read it in context of the time, place and culture.

I find it interesting because there have only been a few other philosophers who've I've ever read or heard that thought that way. They would actually be shunned by everyone in the church for thinking that way too.



posted on Oct, 15 2014 @ 05:36 AM
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originally posted by: mOjOm
a reply to: Pinke

Sup Pinke??

Hiya!

I'm gonna do the quoting thing. Sorry if it's annoying!


You sound like you might be a Sam Harris fan, is that a fair guess???

No. I find his work on spirituality and atheism interesting and an important starting point for a lot of people. There is meaning without God but ...

I have all of Harris' books but I also have Aslan's work, too. For transparency, I think some of Harris person's philosophical work is flimsy and lacks references to existing theories. Of all the New Atheists Harris is closest to blatant scientism. Harris is worth reading though. I'll get to the misconceptions in a second.


You're right that their opinions aren't complete opposites. Certainly when it comes to Politics. But as for Religion, they are quite far off from one another.

It can seem that way, but when Aslan talks about the philosophers who inspire him, he has the usual types like Marx in there. It leads to a rather post modern outlook or the idea that truth can be altered by perspective and language. That's where Aslan loses me a bit sometimes, he bends over backwards to be accommodating. Says you know, religion is a preference, a well we draw from and Islam is my 'preference'. Cenk sits in that space too where the political is also the personal so there is less difference between religion and politics for them both.

That's also where I have some problems, when Aslan claims Harris doesn't understand that religion can be taken in a non-literal way, or that people insert their own morality into religion. Harris makes this very statement in his own works. It's one of the cornerstones of Chris Hitchen's arguments about morality - that people follow their own morality and to quote Hitchens 'thank you for it'. Both of them believe that the 'language' of religion can be dangerous. They just draw different conclusions. Most of the major atheists I've read understand it just fine. A lot of them feel that the 'language' of religion actively attacks or enforces certain ideas and of course it does.

Aslan frequently misrepresents atheists. They misrepresent him too, but it's not the oppression olympics.


That's one of his traits that I identify with myself and probably why I like his opinion most of the time.

Reading people you don't agree with is awesome.


Using the term agnostic is actually the more correct one to use though. I tend to use that rather than atheist myself usually since the term atheist has become almost as rigid and absolutist as the Fudi-Relgious folk at this point.

I rather not alter the descriptions of myself because someone who shares some of my views acts like a jerk. Agnosticism is fine, but can also be letting people off the hook. Most 'scholar' atheists identify that they are agnostic, because everyone is at least a little ... They don't 'know' but in probability they believe there is no God. I'm sure nothing is new to you regarding this.

Just because groups of people do strawman statements or try to make atheism look distasteful or 'mean' doesn't mean anything to me. If anything I think it's a strategy - turn atheism into another ideology or 'belief system' and then beat them with experience. It's an attempt to make all perspectives and stances equal, to make the claim that to not 'know' is to place more probability in one direction. I guess it's also a human approach, to agree to a common a less combative idea.

Disclaimer: wrote this up quickly and don't think I expressed myself very well, but we will see.
edit on 15-10-2014 by Pinke because: (no reason given)



posted on Oct, 15 2014 @ 07:58 AM
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originally posted by: Pinke

It can seem that way, but when Aslan talks about the philosophers who inspire him....


I may not be picking up exactly what you're putting down here. Are you saying that "Truth" isn't subject to change based upon perspective and language??? In other words do you define Truth as being always an absolute???


That's also where I have some problems, when Aslan claims Harris doesn't understand that religion ...


From what I can tell it seems that Aslan is saying not to take it literally at all. That the more literal you try and make it the more problems you'll have in actually understanding what it's trying to say. It sort of reminds me of the eastern idea of "The finger pointing to the moon". Everyone keeps looking at the finger instead of where it's pointing and that is why they never realize the beauty of the moon. In this case the Bible would be the finger that gets all the attention rather than what it's attempting to show those who read it.

I think language in general can be dangerous. It all comes down to how we choose to use it.

Not sure I get where you stand on morality either. People do follow their own morality to different degrees. Sure there are some common ones most follow but we still make up our own or skew the traditional ones for various reasons. Left without any cultural influences who knows how far they might change.


Reading people you don't agree with is awesome.


Oh ya, totally. I don't read anything by Cenk. He's just a news anchor not a writer or philosopher or anything.

Actually, I think the more you read of anyone's writings, the more you'll find to agree and disagree with them. None of us will ever be in complete agreement with each other. It's just a matter of time invested.


I rather not alter the descriptions of myself because....


Sure. To each there own. Personally, I try to avoid all labels when possible. They all fall short of being accurate. Just like the reading of stuff you don't agree with, it's just a matter of how much detail you have. There is always a flaw in a diamond, it just takes longer to find some of them than others.


Disclaimer: wrote this up quickly and don't think I expressed myself very well, but we will see.


Seems ok so far. As long as we don't end up verbally assaulting each other I'd say we're doing better than most!!

edit on 15-10-2014 by mOjOm because: (no reason given)



posted on Oct, 15 2014 @ 09:37 AM
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originally posted by: mOjOm
I may not be picking up exactly what you're putting down here. Are you saying that "Truth" isn't subject to change based upon perspective and language??? In other words do you define Truth as being always an absolute???

No, I'm just classifying Cenk and Reza Aslan. Only a Sith believes in absolutes.

Not that it matters, but I believe in elements of social constructivism. I'd need you to define truth etc ... but obviously not all truths are empirical facts or materialistic or opposing etc etc ... I like philosophical conversations on ATS but it can be quite difficult.


There is truth in a Greek tragedy that can't be expressed in science. I extend the same concepts to religious texts when it's not being used as a complete substitute to reason or accountability.


From what I can tell it seems that Aslan is saying not to take it literally at all. That the more literal you try and make it the more problems you'll have in actually understanding what it's trying to say.

That can apply. It's that perspective thing ... Harris is basically constantly saying, 'but some people take it literally' and Aslan is constantly saying 'but they shouldn't and a lot of people don't'. Your commentary about truth applies here. Perhaps that's why their conversations goes nowhere?

They actually agree on an awful lot more than Aslan lets on in this interview.


Not sure I get where you stand on morality either.

I've said very little about it personally. Mostly my point was that when Aslan makes the claim that new atheists don't understand how religious texts and morality interact, the people in question specifically address this claim. In fact they use the arguments Aslan makes as part of their own evidence. For Aslan, people having their own morality means religion is harmless. For new atheists, people having their own personal morality means religion should be irrelevant. It's not that they don't understand it or that they believe 'truth' or information can't come from a non-scientific text.

I'd have to find it, but I've heard Aslan make this suggestion before and be told directly that the person he is speaking to doesn't hold this belief.


(morality) Left without any cultural influences who knows how far they might change.

We create culture every time we speak or interact so it would be a short experiment I guess? haha


I don't read anything by Cenk. He's just a news anchor not a writer or philosopher or anything.

I don't mind Cenk but the young turks have a strong fan base demographic. I'd never really expect anything controversial there. Cenk is a major fan of Reza Aslan.


Personally, I try to avoid all labels when possible. They all fall short of being accurate.

They can and often do, but unfortunately they're one of the only ways to create change. I've seen a protest with people carrying 'I hate signs' or 'I hate labels' placards but they never get the support haha

Part of the reason we can make the choice to identify as Atheist today is because some of ancestors stood up and said (paraphrasing) 'I don't believe, and I still have morals'. I'm very lucky to live in a country and work in places where being an atheist isn't shocking or surprising, but I've see the other side of that. Being an atheist for me is important as a social identity just to remind people that belief is not a 'need'.


Seems ok so far. As long as we don't end up verbally assaulting each other I'd say we're doing better than most!!

Yus, but is difficult not to get side tracked! Such a huge topic.

I honestly wouldn't expect us to go crazy at one another. We probably share more than not. Like I wouldn't want Bill Maher in my corner during a discussion about this topic. Possibly not Harris either if it was science based morality time. And I empathize with avoiding labels ... I did that for a long time, but such is modern life that if you got no label, you got no voice. I think we would both agree that sucks!



posted on Oct, 15 2014 @ 12:06 PM
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Harris and Maher used sweeping generalizations to condemn all Muslims. They are just plain wrong. Harris should be thrown under the bus. He also refused to participate so don't blame Cenk and Aslan for him not being there. He's probably afraid to speak his mind with quality opposition around.



posted on Oct, 15 2014 @ 12:49 PM
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originally posted by: tavi45
He also refused to participate so don't blame Cenk and Aslan for him not being there. He's probably afraid to speak his mind with quality opposition around.

Seems like Sam Harris will talk to Cenk according to this.

More about the Aslan interaction here.

Both Aslan and Harris use generalizations, though both have caveats which are more visible if you read their available works outside of Young Turks et al. I wouldn't accuse either of them being afraid to speak - they've debated together and you should watch that.

Have a nice day.
edit on 15-10-2014 by Pinke because: (no reason given)



posted on Oct, 16 2014 @ 04:12 AM
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a reply to: Pinke

I'm glad he decided to man up. Cenk and Aslan had a very very high quality discussion already. Have you watched that?

I just find that when militant atheists engage in sweeping generalizations about a group like Muslims it's identical to what religious fundamentalists do. Atheism is merely a modern religion. I'm agnostic because I'm not arrogant enough to think i know everything there is to know even though i have huge qualms about religion. I don't think attacking those of faith solves the problem. All closed minded fundamentalism is dangerous with out without a God figure involved.

Even the Sam Harris link you provided is pretty weak and follows mainstream propaganda. His weak understanding of geopolitics is impressive as is his weak understanding of religion. In his mind America causing the deaths, poverty, and disease of tons of innocents is allowed because we are trying to stop terrorists from causing the deaths of innocents. That is some backwards ass logic.

I also love how Harris in your link shows an incredibly uninformed and propagandized understanding of history and geopolitics. We definitely went into Iraq and Afghanistan for purely compassionate humanitarian reasons (do not question it, America only has the world's interests at heart). Hahahaha.

Both Maher and Harris undeniably threw all Muslims under the bus in a massive massive overgeneralization. This is not surprising. They both lack critical thinking skills since they are zealots. They are not religious zealots but they help to prove Aslan's point that one does not need a God to produce a dangerous fundamentalist. These two fools are so deep into their pseudo religion they can't even think straight. It's sad to see how easy it is for people to become so closed minded.

The only real benefit to this pathetic debacle is that I have a massive newfound respect for Ben Affleck. He carried himself very well despite getting double teamed.



posted on Oct, 16 2014 @ 04:26 AM
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originally posted by: tavi45
a reply to: Pinke
I'm glad he decided to man up. Cenk and Aslan had a very very high quality discussion already. Have you watched that?

Have you read the thread?


I just find that when militant atheists engage in sweeping generalizations about a group like Muslims it's identical to what religious fundamentalists do.

Yes, just last week I saw Richard Dawkins beheading someone. It's words. Not identical.


I'm agnostic because I'm not arrogant enough to think i know everything there is to know even though i have huge qualms about religion.

This is a strawman. Harris doesn't hold that position nor does anyone in this thread.


All closed minded fundamentalism is dangerous with out without a God figure involved.

I find this to be a non-statement. Like saying rude people are rude. It doesn't take the conversation anywhere for me.


In his mind America causing the deaths, poverty, and disease of tons of innocents is allowed because we are trying to stop terrorists from causing the deaths of innocents.

Take it up with him. Aslan also believes in killing militants in foreign countries. Take that up with him also.


Both Maher and Harris undeniably threw all Muslims under the bus in a massive massive overgeneralization.

I don't think Maher has anything useful to say on the topic and people pay too much attention to Maher's opinions. Is mostly a comedian. I think Harris gets caught up in that sometimes and doesn't correct interviewers when they're over zealous. That's Hollywood though.


The only real benefit to this pathetic debacle is that I have a massive newfound respect for Ben Affleck.

Did okay. Made some good points, made some no points, but mostly its along Hollywood political lines.



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