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In 1976 Stevens nearly drowned off the coast of Malibu, California and claims to have shouted: “Oh God! If you save me I will work for you.” He says that right afterward a wave appeared and carried him back to shore. This brush with death intensified his long-held quest for spiritual truth. He had looked into "Buddhism, Zen, I Ching, Numerology, tarot cards and Astrology". Stevens' brother David Gordon brought him a copy of the Qur'an as a birthday gift from a trip to Jerusalem. Stevens took to it right away, and began his transition to Islam.
Originally posted by silent thunder
reply to post by halfoldman
Interesting post, thanks.
Regarding all this saying something dark about religion, well, there are certainly lots of dark things that can be said about it. There are also good things in my opinion, although I'm more-than-aware this is not the opinion of everyone on ATS, and I have no particular problem with that.
Here's a thought experiment: Consider religion in some cases like those you've mentioned as an evolutionarily adoptive strategy for survival. From an evolutionary perspective, our brain's primary purpose is not to "discover the truth" -- it is TO SURVIVE. (Of course, in many cases these things are compatable -- but perhaps sometimes they are not). So, even if one thinks it is not literally true, perhaps value can be found in the way religion gives some people hope to go on in desperate times?
Originally posted by halfoldman
According to Wikipedia:
The statement "There are no atheists in foxholes is an aphorism used to argue that in times of extreme stress and fear, such as when participating in warfare, all people will believe in or hope for a higher power."
The phrase is often used on TBN and other Christian media to argue that atheism is phoney, and that times of fear bring out the "true", natural yearning for God even in scoffers and deniers.
It appears to be one of the most effective tools in religious manipulation.
Yet, outside staunch atheist circles it is never really questioned.
According to Wikipedia the statistics don't seem to tally with the propaganda, if one applies the argument to the US military. It says they have more non-religious members than religious. (This would be in contrast to global perceptions that the US military is strongly brainwashed by the religious right.) The Military Association of Atheists and Freethinkers uses the aphorism "No Atheists in Foxholes" ironically, in order to draw attention to the statistical untruth of the statement (and they possibly feel aggrieved that their profession is used by religious sects to push something they don't believe in).
The Freedom from Religion Association in Wisconsin even erected a monument to "Atheists in Foxholes", and it's one of the few military monuments to my knowledge that clearly states that it hopes to avert war.
Personally, what irks me is that the argument can be used by any religion - it doesn't specify that there are no Muslims, Hindus or animists in foxholes (for example).
Doesn't that demonstrate that religion is non-specific in its manipulation, and it's quite happy to have foxholes with other religions as enemies? Wouldn't most religions just seem plain ridiculous if they didn't have an enemy of another denomination or faith as the "other"?
I'd say it's the atheists who should be in the foxholes.
Religious people with true faith shouldn't fear death, and thus they shouldn't be afraid to die. They shouldn't need foxholes.
Or is that a case of another aphorism: "Everybody wants to go to heaven, but nobody wants to die"?
[edit on 25-7-2010 by halfoldman]
Firstly, you can believe in a higher power and not be religious... For example, me.