Note: Moved from a different blog site. Original Post Date 10/29/2010
A very good friend is in town for the Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear. She works for an organization dedicated to the decriminalization of marijuana.
In the course of our conversation about Prop 19 and other efforts around the country to bring sanity to how we treat users of weed I got onto the subject of the religious moralism that is the basis for the objection to the effort to decriminalize pot.
To my surprise – I’ve known her for many years but never covered this territory of her thought though she’s known of my atheism all along – she said she doesn’t see the connection. And gave the Nonmagesterial overlap argument of “religion is important to me and is one of the reasons why I do what I do.
She related how, as a child, she told her Mom she had doubts about what she was being taught in church. Her Mom replied that doubt was a good sign. That you had to doubt to understand why you have to have faith.
I tried to explain that the very people who are fighting the initiatives of her organization – and myriad other personal choice/human rights issues – are using the same book to justify their abject rejection to the change she seeks.
No matter that she grants that the bible was written by men and is not the revealed word of god and that the bible condones many offensive activities (rape and genocide just for openers) and that it has many contradictory writings about the fundamental concepts (Jeebus’ lineage for starters).
I brought up the writings of what I always refer to as the Unholy Trinity – Dawkins, Harris and Hitchens – and she said she hates the attitude of Dawkins.
She asserted that it was rude (not remembering her exact choice of words here) that atheists insist believers listen to our thinking while rejecting religious thought out of hand.
My response that atheists have science and reason on their side and religion just has mysticism and superstition unsupported by anything. She says that religion has played an important part in her life and has been a moral guide that has helped her through many issues.
In the end I could only convince her to put Sam Harris’ The Moral Landscape on her reading list.