New Atheists and Old Certainty

I’d be really interested to see what anyone else besides Sarah and I have to say about the recent media-gasm over the “New Atheists.” I’ve just finished reading Sam Harris’ Letter to a Christian Nation, and I won’t lie, it made me mad at points (that I’ll talk about later.) Mostly, I can’t stand his assertion that either people believe in the supremacy of the Bible as the literal word of God, in which case he thinks you’re wrong, or if you are still a self-identifying Christian who thinks that the Bible is just another text, you have misunderstood Christianity, and should go to your room and think about what you’ve done.

Other folks have said it better, but I’ll say, as far as I’m concerned: The Bible is a collection of texts written by faithful people in an attempt to collect and make sense of the best available information about the ever changing relationship between the people and their God. Yes, there are people who think that if you don’t believe that Jesus is your personal Lord and Savior, you’re going to a big place underground with lots of fire. For me, Christ provides a powerful historical and philosophical framework for understanding where humanity has been and where we’re going, but that certainly doesn’t limit the possibility of there being thousands of other routes to the same sort of clarity.

Surely, there has to be a reason for all of us to be so concerned with a framework that for Harris is damaging, obscene, and futile. Is the best scientific reasoning simply that we all haven’t had a chance to think about our faith, or we’re simply of a lower form of intellect? Statistically speaking, there’s got to be a reason we all find solace in the same acts of worship. Hey, bats are magnetic, so maybe there’s a perfectly good explanation for all of this.

“Letter to a Christian Nation” (Sam Harris)

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