Re: Sam Harris Interview & Manifesto
Sam Harris: Christians look at Muslim discourse and find it fundamentally unpersuasive. Christians aren't lying awake at night worrying about whether they should convert to Islam. Why not? Because Muslims can't really back up their claims. They are clearly engaged in a style of discourse that is just not intellectually honest.
Not all Christians. Some engage Muslims and attempt to learn something about faith in God, prophetic witnessing, veneration of scripture, commitment to prayer, passion for justice, peace and reconciliation, care for creation, and the love of God. Some Christians want to learn how these two complex religious systems share common historical roots, claim shared values, and can work together to mend ethnic conflict, religious intolerance, social injustice, and ecological disaster. And there are some Muslims who want the same from Christians.
And some of these Christians and Muslims work with some Jews and Buddhists and Hindus and Humanists and even a few Atheists to gain better insight for their limited, incomplete, partial view of the world: seeking the greater truth that transcends all traditions, systems and community claims.Sam Harris: It's not purposed to genuine inquiry into the nature of the world. It is a reiteration of dogma, and they are clearly committed to a massive program of self-deception.
It's purposes are complex and multiform. It provides a non-linear narrative, network of symbols and ideals, images and stories, prayers and psalms, proverbs and parables with wide reaching impact. It is normative and transformative: mobilizing adherents to engage their selves and the world at many levels; shaping and changing and creating new worlds along the way. Some blindly follow dogma: others critically, sympathetically, hopefully and passionately engage it; giving it contemporary form while reshaping both the dogma and the world it colors. Some are self-deceived: others carefully and comprehensively examine who they are and to whom they belong; a life-long journey of self-exploration and discovery.Sam Harris: Every Christian recognizes this about every religion other than Christianity. So every Christian knows exactly what it is like to be atheist. They just don't turn the same candor and intellectual honesty on to their own faith.
Some Christians see only what they want to see when examining other religions or atheism. They never get beyond one-dimensional caricatures and stereotypes; blinded by prejudice and ignorance, they project inaccurate fantasies onto complex phenomena they know very little about- nor care to learn.
Other Christians struggle to see their faith through the eyes of others: wanting to take responsibility for the abuses, malice and hatred enacted in their name; confessing how their their Scriptures, theologies, symbols and ideals have been used to scar and damage. They see piety as largely an act of reparation and holiness as the will to mend what is broken. They see their God on the cross of humiliation and subjugation: as one who was executed for protecting the outsider, deemed heretical, a scandalous blaspheme to all things religious...