Finish What You Start
If you recall, earlier this year I mentioned that I had put together a selection of various video clips from The Atheist Experience that I wanted to watch together with my religious friend. And when our discussions broke down and she no longer wished to talk about the subject anymore, I started sharing the clips on my blog. The last time I shared a clip was way back in March and I'm not even half way through my list, so I need to finish what I started. Here's the next clip in the series on how the concept of "sin" is a control mechanism. In my notes I wrote to watch only the first four minutes and thus will only comment on that length, but feel free to watch the entire 10 minute clip.
The commentary by the co-host Don is rather acerbic, but I do think he makes an interesting conjecture on how sin is used to exploit people, and how ridiculous the concept of original sin is. If you don't know, original sin is the idea that you are guilty for all the "sinful" actions of your parents, grandparents, great-grandparents, etcetra all the way back to the original two human beings, Adam and Eve (of course, I don't believe that two homo sapiens spontaneously popped into existence from nothing in the first place). I don't have much else to add here.
Link to google video (Sorry, blogger isn't accepting the embed code for some reason)
This is actually a full 90 minute episode, not a single clip. The portion of this episode I want to discuss is the segment from 6:00 to 35:00. Yes, its nearly 30 minutes long. In my notes I wrote that this segment is about the following. "A dialog on what motivates people to believe in Christianity, reasons for beliefs, reasons for disbelief, and touches on young Earth creationism". At 12:00, the hosts discuss a Christian blogger who told atheists why they are atheists, and gave two reasons (both reasons he gave require the atheist to believe in God). I've seen this many times before, on both sides of the aisle. Rather than listen to why the other person believes or disbelieves in something, they assert their own reasons on that person and assert them. Sometimes they do this because its easy for them to refute. Sometimes they do it because it makes them feel more comfortable about their own beliefs. But regardless of why they do this, its wrong for them to do so. The hosts also mention that some people, such as Ray Comfort, claim that there are no atheists. Rather those that call themselves atheists do believe in a god (particularly his god), but are in denial about it or reject the god for some reason. Its quite an ignorant assertion.
Between about 14:00 and 22:00, the hosts divulge into a good summary of the difference between theism, gnosticism, and weak/strong atheism. Around 24:00 the co-host Tracie provides a great example of contrast between the reaction of two fundamentalist Christians when they are presented with conflicting evidence that the Earth is 6,000 - 10,000 years old. One believer is open-minded at looking at the scientific evidence and as a result, becomes convinced that that particular belief they hold was wrong. The other is adamant that nothing can nor ever will change their beliefs. The latter believer is the type that I have serious problems. They proudly boast about being close minded and either uniformly reject or ignore contradictory evidence. Regardless of what you believe or disbelieve, whether its gods, UFOs, or political ideology, I think it is a horribly awful thing to be dogmatic and close minded to contradictory arguments, evidence, and opinions. And religion, particularly many forms of fundamentalism, are excellent and promoting this maligned view.