Re: Debunk All Religiosity Equally (D.A.R.E.)

From: Miriam English (
Date: Wed Jul 11 2001 - 10:12:04 MDT

Wow, Russell!
That was really amazing.

I never went through anything remotely religious. It genuinely gives me the
chills to think of religion taking someone the way it did you. And yet why
should it? I have friends who are well meaning christians that I would
trust with my life... however the idea of those memes taking root inside my
mind like some nasty alien growth... [shudder]

I think this may be one of the reasons why so many atheists breathe such
fire at religion (myself among them).


Thanks for posting that Russell. The insight gained from one who has
"crossed over" from the other side strikes me as very valuable.


         - Miriam

At 08:22 PM 11/07/2001 +1000, you wrote:

>I grew up in a middle-of-the-road, respectable working class household
>with mild Christian beliefs, but decided at a very early age - i.e. early
>primary school - that Christianity had about the same truth content as
>Greek or Norse mythology and would become moribund in exactly the same way
>over time. Hey, I *love* Greek and Norse mythology, but no one believes
>that stuff, not literally, not even the occasional neo-pagan that you run into.
>I did, however, have a "born again" experience when I was about 12 or 13
>and went on to spend the next seven or so years - basically my adolescence
>- struggling with my faith. In that time, I largely hung out in Christian
>semi-fundamentalist settings, including a goodly stint involved in
>Pentacostalism. Most of my friends were also baby Christians.
>The real killer of my faith was that I could not solve the problem of
>evil, despite my best endeavours - which I naturally expected to be
>superior to those of any previous philosophical or theological thinkers <g>.
>Together with a whole lot of other convergent factors, this led to my
>finally chucking it all in, intellectually and emotionally, when I was at
>university, just before my 20th birthday, and towards the end of a
>one-year stint as Deputy President of the Evangelical Union on my campus.
>It kinda cruelled any ambitions I had for the EU Presidency <g>.
>I've never lapsed back into any kind of religious faith. I actually find
>it liberating that there's no God or gods or externally imposed meanings
>and values out there.
>Two points:
>(a) despite some of the comments made on the list, I, as a religious
>believer *was* prepared to test my beliefs against rational criteria. I
>did not abandon those beliefs lightly but I did eventually abandon them,
>and essentially for philosophical reasons, however heart-rending I found
>the process of tearing myself away from born-again Christianity;
>(b) the people who were my friends or mentors during my adolescence were
>not bad or obviously deluded. Some of my friends have likewise gone over
>to the side of reason. Those who remain close friends of mine fit into
>this category. But the ones who retain a Christian faith still have my
>respect and affection. Some of them may be intellectual opponents, and not
>just over the issue of theism, but there are some good, intelligent and
>sincere people there. I don't expect everyone to share my relentless
>commitment to rational inquiry, much as I wish they would and believe that
>more of them would end up as transhumanists of some kind if they did.
>My only real enemies are those who argue (whether from a religious view or
>otherwise) for laws contraining the life of freedom and reason. Even then,
>I can handle a fair bit of opposition from kind-hearted, if misguided,
>people before I consider them enemies.
>Russell Blackford
>writer philosopher lawyer transhumanist
>Active Member: Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA)
>Member: Science Fiction Research Association (SFRA)
>Get Your Private, Free E-mail from MSN Hotmail at

Q. What is the similarity between an elephant and a grape?
A. They are both purple... except for the elephant.
Virtual Reality Association

This archive was generated by hypermail 2b30 : Fri Oct 12 2001 - 14:39:43 MDT