Sunday, October 29, 2006

Another Atheist Evangelist

Sam Harris is the topic of a Washington Post article. Like Richard Dawkins, Harris is definitely an atheist evangelist. His two latest books, The End of Faith and Letter to a Christian Nation have landed on the best sellers list. The thing that really shocks me about these two individuals is that they display the bigotry, hatred and intolerance that they seem to blame religious communities for. Do they really believe that if we were to eliminate belief in God, that war and hatred would cease? They seem to be lacking logic. Are they aware that there are gang fights happening all over the nation on a daily basis which the majority of time have nothing to do with religion whatsoever?

From the article:
Harris has grossly oversimplified scripture, they say. He has drawn far-reaching conclusions based on the beliefs of radicals. As bad, his stand against organized religion is so unconditional that it's akin to the intolerance he claims he is fighting. If there is such a thing as a secular fundamentalist, they contend, Harris is it. Even some who agree with his conclusions about the dangers of fanaticism find his argument ham-handed.
Exactly. I have to wonder what his intention is when he writes and says the things he does. Obviously, he wants everyone to turn away from God, but what then? Three-quarters of all Americans believe the Bible is God’s word, and religious groups have done a tremendous amount of good for people throughout the world. I have to wonder if Sam is living in denial that the word of God can provide extreme comfort to those who accept the truth of scripture?

...not only has Harris picked a fight with those who could be on his side, but his solution -- let's all ditch God -- is laughable given the role that religion plays in so many lives. Others say that he has taken these "Old Books" at their literal word, instead of studying the way that the faithful actually engage the scriptures. Put more simply, he doesn't know what he's talking about.
I’d certainly agree with that. I watch Dawkins and Harris get agitated with people who believe in God and biblical truth. They pull verse after verse from the Bible out of context and with no regard to the meaning of the passages or to the time they were written within the biblical narrative and what they mean to the book as a whole. It shocks me that people follow guys like this.

I often wonder just what it is that makes people so determined to reject something so solidly supported by evidence before giving it thorough consideration. Religious belief is not something that one must accept on blind faith, and I believe that questions about who or what our creator is are the most important questions a person can ever ask. Why don’t people take it more seriously and examine the evidence for various faiths? Is there one that stands out as having more supporting evidence?

"Religion doesn't make people bigots," says Reza Aslan, author of "No God but God," a history of Islam. "People are bigots and they use religion to justify their ideology."
Amen to that, and some atheists I know are every bit as bigoted as they claim people of religion are.

"I'm an agnostic," he says, after getting an autograph, "but I found what Harris said kind of juvenile. By discounting all religion the way he does, that's basically like saying, 'All of you are idiots.' I feel like he ought to extend some kind of olive branch. Otherwise there is nothing to talk about."
That is another thing that hurts these very outspoken atheists. They seem to think that even though they are in the minority, everyone around them who believes in God is simply ignorant or delusional. I’m afraid that is highly improbable.

This gets back to the question of Intelligent Design. Do we let the Dawkins/Harris crowd run over our students with their misguided and ill informed agenda to eliminate religion altogether, or do we stand our ground and allow our students the chance to consider a Designer? ID is something that all people of faith should embrace. The design inference is by far the best inference we have when considering human origins. I simply cannot understand why people of faith are so adamant to reject it.