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Q&A With Harris (from his site) 
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Post Q&A With Harris (from his site)
Q & A with Sam Harris

1. In your book you seem to argue for a kind of religious intolerance. Do you mean to suggest that we need not respect a person's religious beliefs?
Yes. Our history of religious conflict had led us to be very cautious about criticizing the religious beliefs of others. We are right to be wary of religious intolerance, but it is time we recognized that our religious identities have themselves become an increasingly potent source of human conflict. The notion that God wrote one or another book has always been a source of dangerous and unnecessary divisions in our world. Given the spread of modern weapons and other disruptive technology, these divisions are fast becoming antithetical to civilization itself.
Notice that no one is ever faulted in our culture for not "respecting" another person's beliefs about mathematics or history. When people have reasons for what they believe, we consider those reasons, and when they are good, we find ourselves believing likewise. When they have no reasons, or bad ones, we dismiss their beliefs as a symptom of ignorance, delusion, or stupidity. Except on matters of religion.

2. Yes, but isn't religion different?
Only in so far as we treat it differently. We have been lulled into ignoring just how strange and insupportable many of our religious beliefs are. How comforting would it be to hear the President of the United States assure us that almighty Zeus is on our side in our war on terrorism? The mere change of a single word in his speech



Mon Jun 05, 2006 1:22 pm
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Post Re: Q&A With Harris (from his site)
7. But we've all seen moderate Muslims in the news, disavowing the actions of Islamic militants.
Have we? We've seen the occasional Muslim disavow the actions of Osama bin Laden, saying things like "Islam is a religion of peace," but this is not a sign of Muslim moderation. We'll know there are Muslim moderates in this world when they get on television and say things like: "There is much in the doctrine of Islam that should not be taken literally. It is, for instance,
www.samharris.org -- Official Website for "The End of Faith", by Sam Harris
unacceptable to believe that people can get into Paradise by killing infidels and dying in the process. In fact, we're not even sure Paradise exists. Nor are we sure that the Koran was written by the Creator of the universe. The Koran is an ancient book of religious wisdom, some of it applies to our modern circumstance and some of it does not." Find a Muslim who can talk this way, and you will have found a Muslim moderate. You will also have found someone who is guilty of blasphemy and liable to be killed in almost any Muslim community on this earth. This is the problem with Islam.

8. This is all pretty inflammatory.
Yes. There really is a deal-breaker lurking here, and there is no use denying it. We should all be genuinely shaken by the knowledge that an entire civilization appears to think that the Koran is the wisest book ever written. How we have a conversation with 1.3 billion people about the dangerousness and illegitimacy of their core beliefs is a problem for which there may be no easy answer. But we must come to terms with the fact that the spread of technology has moved us to a crisis point. There is no possibility at all of our having a cold war with an Islamist regime that has acquired long-range nuclear weapons. More importantly, moderate Muslims, wherever they are, must come to terms with this. And they must find some way of marginalizing and containing the cult of death and martyrdom that has emerged in the Muslim world.

9. But some would say that it is not religion, but history, that explains Muslim



Mon Jun 05, 2006 1:24 pm
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