I’ve just read a short piece from Sam Harris which was published in the Washington Post’s religious discussion site, On Faith, titled Religion as a Black Market for Irrationality. If you haven’t seen it yet, go back and read it quickly. It’s short, and I can wait… Continue reading
>This Story< from Australia.
It appears that a very dangerous sympathizer of Osama bin Laden, convicted of murder, attempted to organize a gang of inmates by paying them to convert to Islam. Apparently, his plan was to get enough converts to eventually seize the prison and break out. The leader, Bassam Hamzy, appears to have been somewhat charismatic. He was able to convert men who normally had no interest in religion.
This doesn’t necessarily flow from the above story, but it got me thinking about the reasoning of Pascal’s Wager (don’t ask me why – my brain makes weird connections). If these converts are actually converted, then the more effective course of action would go like this: instead of betting with the hopeful theist, simply pay him to believe. Cut out all that time-consuming and useless appeal to logic and reason, and go straight to naked greed. The real betting is on whether God will notice. In either event, the assumption is that God won’t be able to tell the difference between honestly held belief, and that which is contrived for an ulterior purpose, such as heaven insurance, or a “get out of jail” card.
It’s always interesting to see how this belief indoctrination process evolves. It’s so Darwinian.