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Discussion Group 2 - South Hills: How Strenuously Should Freethinkers Oppose Religion?

  • Thursday, August 15, 2019
  • 7:00 PM - 9:00 PM
  • Sunnyhill Unitarian Universalist Church 1240 Washington Road, Mt. Lebanon, Pa

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Many atheists, notably Richard Dawkins and Sam Harris, argue that religious beliefs are so damaging to our society that we should oppose religion every chance we get, from personal interactions to matters of public policy. Dawkins and Harris argue that religion subverts science, fosters fanaticism, encourages bigotry against homosexuals, and influences society in other negative ways. Other skeptics, including primatologist Franz deWaal, doubt that science can fill the void left in people’s lives if their belief in an afterlife and their reasons for personal morality are taken away.

The First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution guarantees freedom of conscience to all citizens. How much tolerance should skeptics display toward religious believers? Can we be understanding of our religious friends and family while opposing religion in the public realm?

References (not required reading):

Richard Dawkins: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_God_Delusion

Sam Harris: https://www.beliefnet.com/faiths/secular-philosophies/why-religion-must-end-interview-with-sam-harris.aspx

Franz deWaal: https://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/10/17/morals-without-god/?hp


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