Advertisement

Is Religion 'Built Upon Lies'?

Best-selling atheist Sam Harris and pro-religion blogger Andrew Sullivan debate God, faith, and fundamentalism.

Where I think we disagree is on the nature of faith itself. I think that faith is, in principle, in conflict with reason (and, therefore, that religion is necessarily in conflict with science), while you do not. Perhaps I should acknowledge at the outset that people use the term "faith" in a variety of ways. My use of the word is meant to capture belief in specific religious propositions without sufficient evidence-prayer can heal the sick, there is a supreme Being listening to our thoughts, we will be reunited with our loved ones after death, etc. I am not criticizing faith as a positive attitude in the face of uncertainty, of the sort indicated by phrases like, "have faith in yourself." There's nothing wrong with that type of "faith."

Given my view of faith, I think that religious "moderation" is basically an elaborate exercise in self-deception, while you seem to think it is a legitimate and intellectually defensible alternative to fundamentalism.

Assuming I've got that about right, I propose that in my next post, I launch into a brief diatribe about religious moderation, and then you can respond any way you see fit. If I have misconstrued any of your views above, please sort things out for me.

All the best,

Sam


From: Andrew Sullivan  To: Sam Harris 1/17/07, 11:36 AM

Dear Sam,

First off, same back at you. I found your book, "The End of Faith" to be an intellectual tonic, even when I strongly disagreed with it. It said things that needed to be said - not least because many people were already thinking them - and it said them without cant or bullshit. I was and am grateful for that. And I wrote the religious passages of my own book, "The Conservative Soul," with some of your arguments in mind.

leave comments
0
Did you like this? Share with your family and friends.

Advertisement

Advertisement

comments powered by Disqus

Advertisement

Advertisement

DiggDeliciousNewsvineRedditStumbleTechnoratiFacebook