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Is Religion 'Built Upon Lies'?

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

But just because that Truth may be beyond our human understanding does not mean it is therefore in a cosmic sense unreasonable. As John's Gospel proclaims, in the beginning was the Word - logos - and it is reasonable. At some point faith has to abandon reason for mystery - but that does not mean - and need never mean - abandoning reason altogether. They key is with Pascal: "l'usage et soumission de la raison." Or do you believe that Pascal, one of the great mathematicians of his time, was deluded into the faith he so passionately and simultaneously held?

Cheers,

Andrew



From: Sam Harris  To: Andrew Sullivan 01/17/07, 9:20 PM

Hi Andrew--

I think we basically understand one another, and yet we disagree on many points of importance-so we're off to a good start. You are right to say that my view of faith doesn't really allow for "solid distinctions within faiths," while yours "depends on such distinctions." This summarizes our disagreement very well. I recognize, of course, that there are many important differences between religious moderation (your "Christianity as it can be") and religious fundamentalism. And I agree that these differences have something to do with doubt and the progress of reason on the one hand and a hostility to both doubt and reason on the other. But, as you expect, I don't view the boundary between moderation and fundamentalism as "solid," or even principled, and I hold a very different view of many of the topics you raised-Pascal included. (I do think Nietzsche had it right when he wrote, "The most pitiful example: the corruption of Pascal, who believed in the corruption of his reason through original sin when it had in fact been corrupted only by his Christianity.")

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