Sam Harris now taken out to the woodshed. . . March 19, 2007Posted by Administrator in atheism, Catholicism, Smart People.
. . .by the Anchoress (who else?). (UPDATE BELOW)
Such a collection of niftiness she is in assaulting another empty attack from the Dawkins/Dennett/Myers/Harris nine-headed hydra of intellectual vapidity.
Permit me to intersperse my own thoughts among his. Harris can be bold. I will be italics.
The truth is, there is not a person on Earth who has a good reason to believe that Jesus rose from the dead or that Muhammad spoke to the angel Gabriel in a cave. And yet billions of people claim to be certain about such things.
Many millions of people are absolutely certain that the world will end in precisely 30 years – and it will all be man’s fault – unless we start buying carbon offsets from Al Gore and David Cameron. Faith is a funny thing. As a Christian I don’t demand that anyone believe as I believe, and yet some religions – largely the secularist ones – insist that I believe as they do.
…one meets religious moderates and liberals of diverse hues — people who remain supportive of the basic scheme that has balkanized our world into Christians, Muslims and Jews…
One meets postmodern secularists of diverse interests who remain supportive of a basic scheme that is balkanizing our world into environmentalism, anarchism, paganism, pantheism, food-puritanism and other isms, and who have simply embraced a religion outside of monotheism. If you think by abolishing the Abramic Big Three you’re going to abolish religion, well…good luck. Every secular religion I just mentioned comes with its own Liturgies, Rubrics and Rituals, its own Sins, Laws and Saviors.
How…can any thinking person imagine that his experience of sobriety lends credence to the idea that a supreme being is watching over our world and that Jesus is his son?
Until you taste the sinner’s milk and honey yourself, the answer will be elusive. I wish it for you. It’s pretty tasty.
It is time that we acknowledge that human beings can be profoundly ethical — and even spiritual — without pretending to know things they do not know.
Hmmm, well, this is one Christian (and I know many others) who has no problem acknowledging that there are ethical and spiritual atheists, but from my perspective they too – in their fervent atheistic belief system – believe (I will not insult them by presuming that they “pretend”) “they know things they do not know.” How can they know – absolutely and with dead certainty – that there is no God, after all?
Everything of value that people get from religion can be had more honestly, without presuming anything on insufficient evidence. The rest is self-deception, set to music.
I always take with a grain of salt those believers who tell me that their honesty is more honest than my honesty. I’m funny that way.
Again, read the whole thing.
When I grow up, I want to write like the Anchoress.
Having read Harris’ screed for myself, I would attach two more caveats:
The problem is that wherever one stands on this continuum, one inadvertently shelters those who are more fanatical than oneself from criticism. Ordinary fundamentalist Christians, by maintaining that the Bible is the perfect word of God, inadvertently support the Dominionists — men and women who, by the millions, are quietly working to turn our country into a totalitarian theocracy reminiscent of John Calvin’s Geneva. Christian moderates, by their lingering attachment to the unique divinity of Jesus, protect the faith of fundamentalists from public scorn.
Like hell. Serious Christians deride fundamentalists such as those suggested by Harris as non-Christian. See Fred Phelps for an example.
Christian liberals — who aren’t sure what they believe but just love the experience of going to church occasionally — deny the moderates a proper collision with scientific rationality.
Again, like hell. I am quite possibly a moderate, and have no trouble with scientific rationality, so long as we are talking about science. When scientific rationalism tries to get into the business of philosophy, which is what the Dawkins/Myers/Dennett kraken keeps trying to do -without benefit of proper training save for an aggressively obnoxious attitude and enough training in science to convince them that they now know the Truth about everything- that is when I object. But when rationalism tries to do that, it isn’t science.
It becomes an issue of faith, just like the Anchoress said above.
Everything of value that people get from religion can be had more honestly, without presuming anything on insufficient evidence.
Really? Let’s see the proof, Mr. Harris. You know, good, old fashioned, Third Act of the Mind proof. I haven’t seen it, and I strongly suspect you don’t have it.
Congratulations, Mr. Harris. You just made a faith statement. Turns out it’s not all that hard to do after all, is it?