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ChrisHallquist comments on In Defense of Tone Arguments - Less Wrong Discussion

24 Post author: OrphanWilde 19 July 2012 07:48PM

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Comment author: ChrisHallquist 20 July 2012 04:32:31AM 7 points [-]

I'd like to pool thoughts on what books we do recommend to get people out of religion.

I consider myself a Dawkins fan, but I personally wouldn't recommend The God Delusion to, say, a creationist. To a creationist, I'd recommend Dawkins' The Greatest Show on Earth, along with Jerry Coyne's Why Evolution Is True and the website TalkOrigins.org. The other Dawkins book I most frequently recommend is The Selfish Gene, but I'd recommend that mainly to people who aren't opposed to evolution but may need more help really understanding evolution.

I suspect The God Delusion would be of greatest help to someone on the fence about religion, but I'm not sure I'd necessarily recommend it over, say, Bertrand Russell's Why I Am Not a Christian. The main advantage of publishing The God Delusion, as I see it, is that Bertrand Russell wasn't going to make it back onto the bestseller list anytime soon.

I don't have many books I really strongly recommend to people with total confidence, but I do frequently give strong recommendations for Bart Ehrman's books, particularly Jesus, Interrupted.

Comment author: Luke_A_Somers 20 July 2012 01:45:33PM 9 points [-]

The bible.

Comment author: nerzhin 20 July 2012 08:03:18PM 5 points [-]

Have you tried this? Does it work?

Comment author: Luke_A_Somers 21 July 2012 02:17:37AM *  8 points [-]

A: worked on me. I thought, "Okay, I realized I don't know that much about my religion. What's the deal?" So during church I'd actually read the bible. It didn't take long.

B: Well, I once was on a discussion board that was primarily for evangelical Christians. In the natural course of discussion, I mentioned the tribe of Benjamin. You know, the one with clearly-God-sanctioned mass murder and rape.

Some of them came up with some pretzel logic justifications. The rest of them backed away quietly.

Incidents like that were a big contributing factor to why the site was shut down.

Comment author: hairyfigment 23 July 2012 07:01:54AM 1 point [-]

Wait, what? The Book of Judges in general and this part in particular has a lot of problems, and may well help to cure people of Christianity. (Perhaps I should say, 'stop them from annoying me with Christianity,' since without this factor I would feel inclined to leave them alone. Or at least focus on the ones smart enough to do something useful.) But the specific rapes that I think you refer to here occur right before the last verse of Judges:

In those days there was no king in Israel; everyone did what was right in his own eyes.

I'm pretty sure the author saw that as bad.

This whole "Destruction of Sodom" fanfic seems to condemn breaches of the rules of hospitality, rather than rape as such. But I do think the original audience would consider the rape of other Israelites, who didn't have permission from their fathers to be raped, a heinous crime.

Comment author: Luke_A_Somers 23 July 2012 02:58:26PM *  1 point [-]

This was a long time ago so I'm not fresh on which passages are which. I suspect I misremembered the context. Perhaps it was a discussion of how easy interpreting the will of god is supposed to be ('just read it! It's all there!' they say).

The author may have seen it as bad, but it seemed far more connected to lack of a king than the lack of the LORD - they were trying to do god's will in incredibly stupid and immoral ways through that episode. And in this particular case, there were definitely people in that crowd who tried to justify it anyway, saying that the men were evil anyway, and the women would be so glad to be free of them and hitched to good, god-fearing men, that it wasn't rape.

I wish I were making that up.

Anyway, there are god-sanctioned massacres - the Canaanites in particular get it really rough.