This is a great little snippet from one of Lee Strobel’s television shows earlier this year, where Sam Harris, a member of the New Atheists group, is pushing his latest book, entitled “The End of Faith.” Hugh Hewitt is the other guest meant to somehow challenge Mr. Harris on the premise of his book.
First of all, the entire idea behind the New Atheists group is utterly preposterous, as its its core goal is to stamp religion and faith not only out of the public sector but to push what Sam Harris calls in this clip a “conversational intolerance” of religion. But unlike his counterpart Hugh, I don’t have a problem with this. Not at all. Bring it Sam. Why? Because his entire argument is that faith and the claims made by theists need to start being challenged publicly more and more so we can move beyond the dangers of religion as a civilized society. That’s great. Because a lot of the claims of Christianity are easy to demonstrate, or at least support. What isn’t easy to demonstrate, in fact could be impossible, are a lot of the claims made by Sam and those of his ilk. For example:
1. Sam claims that there is no evidence that a personal God wrote any of our books. That’s true, and Christianity doesn’t claim that God wrote them either. Christianity claims that the Bible is inspired by God.
2. Sam accuses religion, as having justified cruelty that rational people would otherwise not justify without religion. But not all religion justifies cruelty, and even in some cases where Christianity in particular is accused of justifying “cruelty”, its a subjective view of what is “cruel”. That is the claim that militant atheists like Sam refuse to acknowledge in their zeal to get theists to justify their own beliefs.
3. Sam falsely claims that while Christianity has progressed over the decades and over the centuries from beyond things like the Spanish Inquisition and the Crusades, that the only reason we’ve progressed is not because of faith or religion, but because of scientific and social progressiveness. This is patently false and totally unsubstantiated. First of all, he assumes without evidence that science can progress, social interaction can progress, but understanding of religion is never allowed to improve. In other words, Christians are incapable of coming to a better understanding of their faith in Christ, and are not allowed to improve on that knowledge, but scientists and sociologists are allowed to come to better understandings of the world around them. This is so flabbergastingly nonsensical and devoid of any basis in fact its a wonder smarter people haven’t challenged Sam Harris on this before. He then contradicts himself when he asks why there aren’t suicide Christian, Palestinian bombers. That’s the point Sam. All religions are NOT the same, not all faith is destructive, and not all theists promote beliefs that get people unjustifiably killed. I couldn’t have made the point better myself. So even atheists like Sam can see the difference between a faith like Islam and a faith like Christianity, yet he lumps all theism into one pot and wants to boil the faith right out of it, assuming that if religion is removed, that man will have no reason to harm man.
So in the end, while guys like Sam Harris write entire books about how theists need to be challenged more to demonstrate their claims, they are making sweeping, blatant, wild generalizations, speculations, and pushing theories that have no basis in fact, which is why no facts are given to support their views. That is why I’m all for the “conversational intolerance” that he speaks of, because it will put militant atheists like himself in the uncomfortable position of proving their own speculations.