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

From: Russell Blackford (
Date: Wed Jul 11 2001 - 04:22:42 MDT

Miriam described what sounds like an interesting idea for a story and said

>Anybody who feels like writing it as a script for the episode, be my guest.
><snip> I am not really a great writer... Damien? Russell?

We'll talk about all this offlist, methinks.

On the D.A.R.E. subject more generally, I yield to no one (except maybe
J.R.) in my fire-breathing atheism. However, I am a bit less cynical about
religious believers (as opposed to the belief) than some others in this

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)

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