Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Faith vs Atheism Debate

Found this interesting quote after doing another "beliefnet" quiz someone suggested for fun. My score led me to a link for a Faith vs Atheism discussion between authors Sam Harris (The End of Faith) and Andrew Sullivan (Conservative Soul). Since I'm planning on reading Harris' book soon, I thought I'd read through the debate and see what what they said.

Thought I'd point out some of my favorite bits....

One of the best paragraphs IMO, came from Sullivan at the beginning of the debate. Although, I would have added something about sitting passively on your butt for an hour or more each week while someone else lectures you, I agree with his assessment of the problem with religious fundamentialism.

"The reason I find fundamentalism so troubling - whether it is Christian, Jewish or Muslim - is not just its willingness to use violence (in the Islamist manifestation). It is its inability to integrate doubt into faith, its resistance to human reason, its tendency to pride and exclusion, and its inability to accept mystery as the core reality of any religious life."

Further along in the discussion was this gem....

"I disagree with many of fundamentalism's theological assumptions; when fundamentalism enters politics, I will resist it mightily as an enemy of political and social freedom; when it distorts what I believe to be the central message of Jesus - love and forgiveness - I will criticize and expose it. But when I see it in the eyes and face of a believer, and when she glows with the power of her faith, and when that faith translates into love, I am unafraid and uncritical. I know I cannot know others' hearts; I cannot know their souls. I know further that the mystery of the divine will always elude me; and that beneath what might appear as a bigot may be a soul merely seized by misunderstanding or fear or even compassion. My sense of the fallibility of human reason and the ineffability of God's will leads me not to dismiss these "extremists" as fools or idiots, but to wonder what they have known that I may not know, even as I worry about their potential for evil as well as good (a potential we all have, including you and me)."

Read the rest of the "Is faith built upon Lies?" debate here.



  1. (a potential we all have, including you and me)."

    Exactly what I was trying to say a couple of weeks ago, only clearer.

  2. Do you mean a couple Monday's ago at O'Hares?