Sam Harris- Atheism’s New Bulldog

Awhile ago I wrote this post about a debate that Rick Warren had with Sam Harris, one of the leading Atheists.  I was actually a little surprised at how Warren handled it and thought he could have done worse.  Then I ran across this article from the BIOLA Connections magazine that Tim Dinkins, the Student Ministries Intern gets.  I thought it was interesting for a Christian college magazine to dedicate an cover to someone who would be so against Christianity.

Harris believes that religion is the biggest danger that faces humanity and that our culture must get beyond the political correctness and criticize religion.  He sees no rational reason for people believing holding so blindly to religion and that the world would be a better place if we erased religion from the face of the earth.

I’m not going to take the time to recap what that article says, so I encourage you to read it yourselves.  Instead, I have bought his two main books, “The End of Faith” and “Letter to a Christian Nation”.  I’m trying to work my way through “The End of Faith” and will post views as I get through the book.

My thoughts so far pretty much echo the thoughts of the men in that BIOLA article.   Harris throws out empty accusations without providing examples.  He equates Yahweh with Zeus and says we must see God as we see Zeus.  When speaking of the Bible he says it is ‘a book showing neither unity of style nor internal consistency.’  But then he provides no examples.

When he does try to wade in the Bible, he shows himself to have a very poor grasp on theology and hermeneutics.  He says that Christianity fails to live up to the Bible because we don’t go and kill unbelievers like God commanded people to do in the Old Testament.  He fails to realize any idea of covenants.  Harris is NOT a theologian and tends to embarrass himself when he tries to criticize what he doesn’t understand.

He cannot understand why people would believe what he sees as being totally inconsistent, and says that people believe the “incredible claim about the universe and seem to require no evidence whatsoever.”  He thinks that Christians are those who just unplug their minds and equates the existence of God with the idea that there is a yogurt that will make you invisible if you eat it.  He makes these claims and they become very popular with those who follow him, but there is no depth behind his statements.  He just throws stuff up against a wall and goes with whatever sticks.

He doesn’t separate radicals from moderates because he believes that if people were to really follow their beliefs, then they should be radical.  He believes moderates are just bad religious followers, but still carry the idea that they are intolerant towards other religious followers of different systems.

He sees that Christianity has made no doctrinal progress over the years and says that people just hold to dogmatic positions.  He says that geography, astronomy, and medicine have made leaps and bounds, but doctrine hasn’t.  He says, “There are two explanations for this: either we perfected our religious understanding of the world a millennium ago- while our knowledge on all other fronts was still hopelessly inchoate- or religion, being the mere maintenance of dogma, is one area of discourse that does not admit of progress.”

These are just some thoughts on what I’ve read recently, and as I continue to read, I’ll post some more thoughts.


3 comments on “Sam Harris- Atheism’s New Bulldog

  1. Beth says:

    Hard to argue points with someone who sets up straw men or who are just way out there. Thanks for the heads up on him, I’m sure I’ll have someone use him in a conversation.

  2. David Scoven says:

    This is an extremely poor accounting of Sam Harris. Harris gives a vast accounting of Biblical discrepancies in his work, and every swingle one of his arguments is fleshed out thoroughly.

  3. brandon says:

    To complain that Harris doesn’t address the Bible on the level of a Bible scholar is to miss the point. He’s saying it’s not credible enough to require scholarship in the first place. The comparison with Zeus isn’t that far off; it’s merely culture that blinds us with manufactured certainty.

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