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In this sometimes simplistic and misguided book, Harris calls for the end of religious faith in the modern world. Not only does such faith lack a rational base, he argues, but even the urge for religious toleration allows a too-easy acceptance of the motives of religious fundamentalists. Religious faith, according to Harris, requires its adherents to cling irrationally to mythic stories of ideal paradisiacal worlds heaven and hell that provide alternatives to their own everyday worlds.

Moreover, innumerable acts of violence, he argues, can be attributed to a religious faith that clings uncritically to one set of dogmas or another. Very simply, religion is a form of terrorism for Harris.

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Predictably, he argues that a rational and scientific view—one that relies on the power of empirical evidence to support knowledge and understanding—should replace religious faith. We no longer need gods to make laws for us when we can sensibly make them for ourselves. On balance, Harris's book generalizes so much about both religion and reason that it is ineffectual.

View Full Version of PW. According to Harris, the Pope says that Jesus was born of a virgin and resurrected bodily after death. He is the Son of God, who created the universe in six days. Harris appeals to us to dismiss the authority of the Pope.

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Is it so overwhelmingly obvious that the Pope has only one source of evidence for saying these things? Since Harris himself suggests two other justifications for belief, why should the Pope only have this one? Is it impossible that the Pope has personal spiritual experiences, that he is in fact in communication with God?

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Harris overlooks these possibilities for some reason, but gives no reason why it is obvious that the Bible is the only source the Pope has for what he says. Harris appeals to us to dismiss the explanatory power of the Bible. The obvious inference is that the Bible alone cannot justify Christian beliefs. If the Bible is a justification for belief, as Harris is right to assert, then he has to do more work to unpack this throw-away dismissal of it.

He says very clearly, however, that spiritual experiences require authentication. If the Pope had a vision of Jesus, we would need authentication that this Jesus was who he said he was. Harris gives no indication of what a sufficient number would be. He argues that it would be logical to require additional evidences to authenticate a spiritual experience.

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The reason for this is not clear. Of course, the vision of Jesus would have to say something coherent and consistent with the Bible, but if it did we could reasonably believe our experience to be true.

Faith no more

This is an incredible statement given that Harris demands justification for belief. He shows us his natural bias against religious belief. According to Harris, no amount of evidence could justify these beliefs. For if there is sufficient evidence to believe God exists then most other religious doctrines would fall into the category of subordinate beliefs. In essence, Harris decides before entering the debate that religious faith is futile and completely unfounded.

This is why he has little time for the Bible, religious experiences and the authority of the church. He dismisses them out of hand because he thinks the beliefs they justify are just preposterous. This is why his arguments carry little persuasive power and are more of a rallying cry for like-minded individuals. He argues that no amount of evidence could justify religious belief; he asserts that religious individuals have closed minds, but he is just as adamant in holding on to his atheism. Harris requires faith to believe that there is no God. Harris criticises himself by attacking the faith of others.

It seems that nothing could change about this world to convert Harris to religious belief. I think that religious individuals should challenge their beliefs for their consistency, but I also think that Harris should be prepared to challenge his own atheism.

The End of Faith: Religion, Terror & The Future of Reason by Sam Harris (Audiobook)

This means that he is reduced to flinging mud at members of religious communities. It is for this reason that the majority of his book is given over to examples of the evils caused by religious beliefs rather than a rational repudiation of religious belief itself. One can point to misunderstandings or hidden agendas to repudiate these actions. It is important to notice that most religious individuals are also shocked by these atrocities and find them completely unacceptable and unjustifiable.

Harris must deal with the truth claims and their justifications in a much more satisfactory manner to persuade us to abandon religious faith. He must come down from his high horse, otherwise he will continue to appear an unpersuasive, arrogant and harsh individual. For myself, I believe in the claims of Jesus Christ for two reasons.

Firstly, I believe because I find the Bible to be authoritative and historically accurate.