Participatory Spirituality for the 21st Century
I would love to see more panel-like discussions across "religious/Godless" boundaries -- discussions that could include rigorous debate but also recognitions of overlapping areas in thinking. A spectrum of opinion rather than polarized opposition. And ... more eating. More dancing.
And I hear you with regard to the frustration. I think Hitchens and Harris and others are often criticizing aspects of religion that do deserve to be criticized, and probably a heavy, blunt-force instrument is necessary for that, given the "weight" and power (and degree of defense around) some of those aspects; but I feel frustrated too by the apparent disregard for, or lack of awareness of, the vast range of perspectives (and still very relevant, even leading edge, possibilities) that have grown right within the institution(s) they are attempting to demolish.
Hey, Mary, I discovered a discussion of Harris' The Moral Landscape that is along the lines you mention: a (friendly) "panel-like discussion across 'religious/Godless' boundaries": Apologia discussion of TML.
It is quite easy to trash the mythic religious mind as KW would say, no big deal. As a teen I could already laugh at people adoring that pathetic piece of wood and a bleeding dude on it, the equally ridiculous stone throwing on the Devil´s rock in Mecca or bathing in the Ganges, the naive representation of Krishna of the street religions of India, etc.
so I would not put the "bright" gang as Dennett calls himself on a pedestal , neither applaud them for that fantastic endeavour.
More difficut is a serious transcendance of an equally serious existential tendency toward cynicism, nihilism and despair (dark nights) when "God is dead", and when the great banquet of deconsruction has ended. When we dare look at our void, nakedness, suffering a such.
And that Hitchens and his self-elected mediatic big mouth is hardly the person to ask anything about that. He is just
playing that old form of dandyism already used by Wilde, Baudelaire, or Rimbaud, But honestly, he hasn´t the look for it. LOL
Hokai, a poster on the old Gaia website, posted this article on Facebook. I don't think cases like this show that religion isn't, or can't be, a "force for good in the world," but it is certainly a call -- here, to the Catholic Church -- to do better.