A few months back I listened to this podcast over at IT Conversations and was curious enough to buy Sam Harris’ book, The End of Faith – Religion, Terror and the Future Reason to learn a bit more about his views.
Wikipedia: Harris’s basic theme is that he considers the time has come to speak openly and unambiguously about what he sees as the dangers posed to society by religious belief. While highlighting what he regards as a particular problem being posed by Islam at this moment in respect of international terrorism, Harris has made an outspoken attack on religion of all styles and persuasions. He is especially critical of the stance of religious moderation, which he sees as essentially providing cover to religious extremism, while at the same time acting as an obstacle to progress in terms of pursuing what he considers to be more enlightened approaches towards spirituality and ethics.
Harris’ views center around what he perceives to be the evils of religious belief, that religious belief has no place in a modern secular society because religions foster intolerance of others. Unfortunatly for Harris he advocates, as I interpret it to be, the violent intolerance of intolerance. Oxymoron anyone?
Whilst he is critical of all faiths he’s particularly critical of Islam and at a time when relations between the west and the islamic world are strained, I dont find it overly suprising that hes becoming a poster child for many islamaphobes.
What frightens me most about this guy is that he actually advocates that society as a whole should consider the culling of those who are so deluded as to believe in something that cannot be scientifically proven … the example he cites is the immaculate conception.
The sad thing is that he truly fails to understand that he isn’t unique in considering such solutions ( Hitler, Stalin, etc. )… Harris’ intolerance of faith is as damaging as the religious fanatacism that he believes hes fighting against. In fact I’d go as far as to describe him as a fascist … since he himself exhibits the same irrational intolerance that he claims to be fighting against.
Fundamentally I believe that to lay the blame entirely on religion is disingenuous. Religious belief alone is rarely motivation enough for someone to kill, religious fanaticism exploited by politics and social and economic difficulties however is.