2006-11-21

The end of faith: religion, terror, and the future of reason / Sam Harris. (Norton, 2005) Review

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by Neil Godfrey

This is a disturbing book principally for its ignorant tirade against Muslims. As an atheist myself I had hoped for something more rational and informative given the enormous popularity of this book in the U.S. but find Harris here is too often little more than a mega-mouthpiece for Western (read American?) ignorance of Muslims and the Muslim world outside the U.S. borders. I expected to read along with a like-mind since I also see religion and religious faith as a net negative left-over from our evolutionary past that needs to be eradicated just as acceptance of rape as a natural means for reproduction has been eradicated. But I found points of agreement only at a superficial level. It is bad enough that he blames religion as the principle or fundamental root cause of suicide terrorism: he says it was religious belief, belief in a blissful life after death, that enabled the 9/11 hijackers to commit their atrocity. What rot. A slight amount of reflection and simple logic would inform him that if religious belief were the root enabler of suicide terrorism then we would surely have had suicide terrorism for as long as we have had such beliefs in any religion. Pape’s “Dying to Win” is a scholarly research work that amply demonstrates that suicide terrorism is a function of national identity humiliation brought about by foreign occupation and that perpetrators of this form of terrorism since the 1980’s have included both the religious and non-religious and secular, Christian and Buddhist as well as Muslim. Pape’s research pulverizes Harris’s ignorant diatribe. Continue reading “The end of faith: religion, terror, and the future of reason / Sam Harris. (Norton, 2005) Review”


Jonestown: the power and the myth of Alan Jones / Chris Masters. (Allen & Unwin, 2006) Review

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by Neil Godfrey

This review is very difficult for me to write given my past student experience with Alan Jones. I’m too involved emotionally and know it’s not like my other reviews and other reviewers will surely give a more rounded view of the book. But here goes anyway — at least pending the time when I will have another look back on this review of mine and reshape it to give a more objective chapter by chapter overview of the contents, sources and presentations. Continue reading “Jonestown: the power and the myth of Alan Jones / Chris Masters. (Allen & Unwin, 2006) Review”


2006-11-20

In Search of Ancient Israel

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by Neil Godfrey

In 1992 Philip Davies published a monograph that began a heated controversy over the origins of the Bible and what light archaeology shed on this question. Davies criticized conventional biblical scholarship for lacking the rigour found in archaeological studies of sites without theological significance. He argued that the archaeological evidence suggested that the Bible was composed as late as the Persian era and that the stories of Abraham, the Exodus, David and Solomon were mythical inventions. I have begun to summarize the argument of Davies’ book, In Search of Ancient Israel.

Book details: Davies’ In search of ancient Israel (Sheffield, 1997)

Neil Godfrey


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Hezbollah not a terrorist organization

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by Neil Godfrey

[NOTE: The link is dead; I would like to post afresh on the nature and history of Hezbollah. — Neil Godfrey, 20th July, 2019]

Link to my earlier discussion on the role and status of Hezbollah. Since that post it was clear that Hezbollah launched rockets into civilian areas in retaliation to the massive Israeli bombardment of Lebanese urban areas. Presumably this was in part to demonstrate to Israel the ineffectiveness of their campaign to destroy Hezbollah. While scarcely on a comparable scale to Israeli bombing of urban areas this sort of bombing by Hezbollah did, sadly, prove that given the means they are capable of acting no differently in a war situation than the Allies did with their aerial bombing campaigns in World War 2.

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