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Religion and warfare: John “End of Science” Horgan’s view


In an interview with Haaretz on his new book, John Horgan is asked

You don’t say much in the book about religion. Certainly, in our part of the world, the most radical among both Palestinians and Israelis are sure that God is on their side, and that the conflict is a zero-sum game.

I don’t think it’s religious belief per se that leads to intolerance and violence. It think it is certitude and ideological rigidity. If you look at the 20th century, by far the most destructive ideas were fascism and communism. These were secular, not religious, ideologies. But what they share with fundamentalist religion is believers’ fierce conviction that this is the right way to view reality. Richard Dawkins, for example, would be very happy to say that religion is the cause of evil and violence in the world, but that claim doesn’t really hold up to scrutiny. Religion has also been an inhibitor of violence and warfare: The Quakers have been an enormous progressive force. Gandhi, Martin Luther King, these were inspirational figures who had a huge impact on history. I didn’t want to get into religion-bashing in my book because I thought that would be counterproductive – and inappropriate, considering the historical record.

– David Green, “John Horgan on erasing war from the human condition- A conversation with the author of a new book suggesting that humanity has it within its power to put an end to war. (Haaretz, January 18, 2012)

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This comes from a chapter entitled "Modern Disbelief" from the book Mankind's Search for God: "To have any strong religious conviction is considered by many to be narrow-minded, dogmatic, even fanatic. The Protestant Reformation of the 16th century brought about a marked change in the way people viewed authority, religious or otherwise. Self-assertion and freedom of expression took the place of conformity and submission. While most people remained within the framework of traditional religion, some moved along more radical lines, calling into question the dogmas and fundamental teachings of the established churches. Still others, noting the role religion had played in the wars, sufferings, and injustices throughout history, became skeptical of religion altogether. There were other forces at work that further weakened its position. Science, philosophy, secularism, and materialism played their roles in raising doubts and fostering skepticism about God and religion. They say that scientific investigation of the world around us has proved that life came into existence not by intelligent creation but by blind chance and the haphazard process of evolution. They argue, therefore, that there was no Creator and that it follows that the question of God is superfluous." Barb
Go with the winners. The modern world is the creation of the Protestant reformation in moral and intellectual results. Everyone else and everything else is just Johnny come lately's. There is nothing ever been wrong about the Christian faith. Name one thing. It has been human evil, prompted by sAtan, that is the origin of all bad things. Even false faiths were merely mediums for ordinary human motivations. The bible is all about loving God and loving ones neighbour. Can't beat this equation for having a better society relative to others. However as it gets better the others want to live with you and bring the old ideas. Here we are. Robert Byers
I know how you like bashing Horgan, but I actually read his book on the "end of science." He had some very legitimate points to make in it. Atheist dominated science has nowhere to go but down from where Christians left it, for all the same reasons the Scientific Revolution succeeded in the first place. tragic mishap

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