Quote of the day IISam Harris:
The President of the United States has claimed, on more than one occasion, to be in dialogue with God. Now, if he said that he was talking to God through his hairdryer, this would precipitate a national emergency. I fail to see how the addition of a hairdryer makes the claim more ludicrous or more offensive.

Harris's new book, Letter to a Christian Nation comes out tomorrow—I'll be in line with bells on.


Blogger Evan Jones  said...

Judging only from the link and the supplied quote, presumably from The End of Faith, it seems that Sam Harris is throwing out the baby (Jesus?) with the bath water. A rejection of fundamentalism does not imply the overthrow of God, either as a concept or an entity, any more than the rejection of a particular Christian president invalidates Christianity. A "dialogue with God" might describe prayer, meditation, or even heart-felt consideration of right and wrong. It might describe the determined search for a creative solution to seeming paradoxes. Harris appears to say that anyone who speaks with God is necessarily psychotic. This is as foolish a statement as any he seeks to discredit.

In a way, the fundamentalists in power and the rationalists seeking to overthrow them behave like kids weaving through traffic at ninety or a hundred crediting their progress to driving skill. Driving such speeds in traffic requires that everyone else quietly follow the rules. Speeding, fundamentalism and hyper-rationalism are all luxuries afforded by the majority to a small class of extremist/nonconformists. The majority of people do not follow rules because they feel it is rational to do so, or because the Bible says so, but because they feel it is right to do so. The Greeks, our model for rationality, practiced slavery because it was rational to do so. We reject slavery, despite a history of Christian slavers, because it seems fundamentally wrong.

Religion is not rational, but, as the Pope unsuccessfully argued this past week, religious people should seek to behave rationally. Does it really add to the dialogue to say that religious people are fundamentally crazy?

Monday, September 18, 2006  

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