Sam Harris is build as one of America’s leading atheist. He, like Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens, argue eloquently about the internal illogic of religious traditions. The “God Illusion” and “God Is Not Great” are two popular books by Dawkins and Hitchen. Now, Harris is in print again with “Waking Up, A Guide To Spirituality Without Religion”.
As a consequence, Harris is on tour making radio and television talk shows appearances.
One of the “hooks” Harris is using to gain attention is a thoughtful position on Islam and in particular, the extremists that are making headlines. Harris makes a convincing point that the extremism the world sees in al Qaeda and ISIS (and many other similar groups) as well as mainstream groups like Muslim Brotherhood or the leading clerics in Iran, Pakistan, and even Indonesia, is baked into Islam through the Koran.
Harris points to the high percent of UK muslims who endorsed punishment for the Danish cartoonist who depicted Allah unfavorably as a sign of wide spread misdirection. Harris lays the blame on the Koran and those who preach it.
Harris has two points.
First, Islam is far more dangerous as a religious tradition than what we see from ISIS. Psychopaths can be found in any religion and extremist groups like ISIS are predominated with socially unstable people. The greater risks associated with Islam is the belief in Islam is the only true religion, and the systematic subjugation of women and homosexuals. (Hmmm, I think I have heard similar views with Christians in America.)
Second, whatever worldly peacefulness one claims to find by following a devote Islamic life can be found with other non-religious meditative means.
Harris is a main stream progressive so to hear him speak like Archie Bunker about Muslims catches one by surprise. Harris’s arguments, however, are filled with data and references.
One may not buy all of Harris’ argument. Never the less, one is, minimally, compelled to see the wisdom of separating church and State.
I wonders how our Supreme Court could allow any religious group to claim a “right” which in effect denies someone else a service they might otherwise have been entitled.
Et tu Hobby Lobby.