Tuesday, October 6, 2009

"The End" of Faith

I just now got around to reading The End of Faith: Religion, Terror, and the Future of Reason by Sam Harris.

I will post a more complete critique and rebuttal later (though I will not be rebutting the things you think I'm rebutting). However, a few thoughts:

1. Harris is not anything close to a critical thinker. He is a reflexive rationalist--he has patterns of thought that he recognizes as rational, and anything deviating from those patterns is "irrational" and therefore bad.

2. Like most modernist materialist atheist positivists, he is still way too wrapped up in "correct" or "incorrect", thereby replacing one harmful orthodoxy with another.

3. He does not understand the main criticism of rationalism and secularism with respect to the horrors of Nazism, Stalinism, and Maoism. Yes, it is indeed true that Christianity played its roles in the first two. However, he doesn't even come close to understanding why his materialist philosophy was absolutely necessary to perpetuate these horrors and perpetuates them even now. He claims the problem is that those regimes "abandoned reason", but his lack of critical approach to the process of reason makes his arguments completely incoherent.

4. He rightfully criticizes the violent history of Islam but doesn't stop to think about why someone in Saudi Arabia or Egypt would be motivated to attack Americans without the constant humiliation of Arabs by the American government and corporate elite. He simply declares that jihad against America was an inevitability, even though the expansion of Islam through violent conquest had not been of serious concern to the West for hundreds of years.

5. He totally overlooks the very real and pervasive lack of ethics by his fellow "co-religionists": scientists. He utterly fails to see that even "rationalism", materialism, atheism, and positivism cannot protect one from utter irrationality and even horrid abuse.

Anyway, that's a start. In a later post we'll look at specific examples from the text. All I can say now, though, is that if you think for a minute he totally obliterated the notions of religion, faith, and theism with that piece of shit, you are sorely mistaken.

No comments: