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I'm sorry, but you seem to misunderstand my position. No doubt this is due to my failure to communicate it effectively.

I am not saying we are at war with Muslims, or Arabs, or Persians, etc. I am not saying we are at war with Islam. I'm saying we are at war with religious fundamentalism. It is fundamentalism, not any one group or another, that threatens Enlightenment values. It is fundamentalism that causes people to behave so barbarically, and it is fundamentalism that we, as a species, must defeat.




Why is fundamentalism bad, and why is it ok for you to be fundamentalist in your anti-fundamentalism?

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At the risk of offending, I think Sam Harris explains this well.

As I recall he puts it, it is not fundamentalism itself that is the problem. A fundamentalist Jain (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jainism) is far less frightening than your average Jain (not that they are frightening in the least either) because the fundamentals of Jainism are extremely pacifist. As a Jain, the more fundamentalist you become the safer you become. The problem then is what the fundamentals of some fundamentalists are.

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Not really. Many violent fundamentalists belong to religions with prohibitions against violence that they have to rationalize away, and they tend to be quite good at it. The only reason there's no violent Jainist fundamentalists right now is because it's too tiny and powerless to have any.

Also, think about what redthrowaway is saying. He complains that religious fundamentalists "believe that their fundamentalist beliefs must triumph over liberal democracy, and they're willing to blow people up in order to see that happen", yet despite this abhorrence to violence he's quite happy to blow other people up in order to make sure that his beliefs win. Violent religious fundamentalists justify their actions in exactly the same way - you could swap the two sets of beliefs around and this would make perfectly servicable al-Qaeda propaganda!

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You're putting words in my mouth. I never said we must bomb those whose beliefs run counter to our own; I said we must respond to force in kind in the defence of that which we hold dear.

If I was in favour of bombing every religious fundamentalist, I would be advocating that we nuke the Amish. Clearly, I'm not. Our response to the intrusions of fundamentalism into our lives must be proportionate to the nature and magnitude of that intrusion.

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You may be interested in Karl Popper's (famous mostly for the importance of falsifiability) 'The Open Society and Its Enemies'.

Choice quote from it:

"Unlimited tolerance must lead to the disappearance of tolerance. If we extend unlimited tolerance even to those who are intolerant, if we are not prepared to defend a tolerant society against the onslaught of the intolerant, then the tolerant will be destroyed, and tolerance with them."

It is not a perfect book by any stretch, but I think it covers certain topics particularly well.

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History is stuffed to the brim with examples of violent fundamentalists belonging to powerless religions.

There are multiple reasons why they don't come to mind during these conversations though. Perhaps most obviously is that violent fundamentalists without numbers tend to be eradicated fairly quickly, leading to an obvious selection bias that makes us think that violent fundamentalism is something fairly unique to major religions.

I think though the more important cause is that when violent fundamentalists lack numbers there is little to no social pressure to tolerate them. Instead of calling them fundamentalists and making excuses for them, we label them cultists and call a spade a spade.

"rationalize away, and they tend to be quite good at it."

I think there comes a point in time when you have to ask why exactly fundamentalists of Abrahamic religions seem to find it so easy to "explain away" the "peacefulness" of their religions.

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I believe I can answer that.

Christian fundamentalists wish to take control of the US society, as well as government. We only have to look towards a religious-economic theory called Dominionism.

Dominionists wish for religious (of their brand) education taught in schools. Not only that, they wish for the 'laws of the land' to represent what they see fit for laws.

Others have discussed the evils of fundamentalist Islam more eloquently than I.

The underlying idea is fundamentalists of all types wish to force their rules, edicts, and etiquette upon others whom do not wish it. Fundamentalists need to be stopped, especially in cases the individuals being forced do not have enough power to defend themselves.

An example: I am effectively a pagan. I have certain beliefs and practices. I do not want to force my beliefs on others, up to and including wearing a pentagram on the inside of my shirt. However, I meet people regularly who try to preach the 'word of christ'. Is your faith that weak that you have to sell it like a used car dealership or auctioneer?

Yet, politically, we have rules enshrined that say one cannot hold state offices if one does does not believe in the "1 true god". Or politically, rules that allow Christians in classrooms but not of other religions. One only needs search google for countless examples.

I don't want other religions to bother me. It's like philosophical spam.

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Well, that's the problem with living in a democracy. If most people only feel comfortable when the legislators and judges are fellow Christians and the schools teach creationism, then that's what you're going to get, and depending on your interpretation, maybe that's what you should get.

Perhaps the reason you feel so accosted is because you are don't see proselytizing as important, and consequently, have no support because your fellow believers are so few.

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     Well, that's the problem with living in a democracy. If most people only feel comfortable when the legislators and judges are fellow Christians and the schools teach creationism, then that's what you're going to get, and depending on your interpretation, maybe that's what you should get.
Not quite. We live in a constitutional republic.

Next, creationism isn't science. It's justifying a bible story as where people and the earth came from. Many (if not all) religions have creation stories. The christian story has been perpetrated as some sort of pseudo science garbage that one does not need to prove to teach.

So, just to understand you: Because I don't try to shove my beliefs down others throats, it is my fault that others try the same to me?

     Perhaps the reason you feel so accosted is because you are don't see proselytizing as important, and consequently, have no support because your fellow believers are so few.
No. I have my unique set of beliefs. And in certain cases, I have proof. I can't demonstrate that proof, and I don't really need to. I'm probably the only person on this planet to have these very specific set of beliefs.

Why does my belief have to be challenged? I don't questions yours: I only say "Keep your practices to yourself, unless somebody else asks."

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Why does it matter if creationism is science? Art and literature aren't science either, but they are taught in schools because people think it will make the students better off. Religion is no different.

If part of your belief was that spreading your belief to others helps them, then you would do it. Religions that have such a belief will grow faster. Nobody's "at fault", that's just how it turns out.

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