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Sam Harris

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"According to the United Nations’ Human Development Report (2005), the most atheistic societies—countries like Norway, Iceland, Australia, Canada, Sweden, Switzerland, Belgium, Japan, the Netherlands, Denmark, and the United Kingdom—are actually the healthiest, as indicated by measures of life expectancy, adult literacy, per-capita income, educational attainment, gender equality, homicide rate, and infant mortality. "- Sam Harris [1]

Sam Harris is an American writer. He is the author of the books The End of Faith and Letter to a Christian Nation. In 2005 Harris won the PEN/Martha Albrand Award for Non fiction.

Views

Sam Harris is controversial in many ways.

Christianity

Sam Harris considers God an invisible monster, Yahweh. Harris argues that 9 million children die under the age of 5 annually, many of these children have parents who pray that their children will be spared and the Prayers are not answered. Harris uses this to illustrate the Problem of evil, arguing that a god who can't prevent these deaths is impotent while a god who doesn't want to is evil. Harris continues that parents of dying children in India are in most cases Hindus and these parents will according to Christianity spend an eternity in hell because they prayed to Polytheistic gods instead of praying to the Christian God. According to Christianity God created the cultural conditions that prevent Hindus coming to Jesus and punishes them eternally for this failure. By contrast Harris argues an American serial killer can repent on death row and get to heaven directly after execution. Harris claims this has nothing to do with moral accountability. Other people as well as Harris have pointed out that a God which makes salvation depend on believing despite lack of evidence is strange.

Islamophobia

Research student, Omer Aziz criticised Sam Harris for islamophobia. Azis fears further Harris doesn't value the lives of inocent Muslims and others killed by American bombs because they are mostly brown skinned. (By contrast journalist, Guy P. Harrison denies that Sam Harris is a racist.) [2]

PZ Myers has reported what Aziz wrote in the Pharyngula website and also called Harris "an arrogant ass". [3] Myers is often highly critical of fellow atheists and has been accused of being unnecessarily contentious. In this case, however RationalWiki is also strongly critical of Harris and accuses Harris of islamophobia. [4] RationalWiki, well they try very hard to be rational. It looks like the criticism of Harris should be taken seriously.

Other religions

Harris is less critical of eastern religion, such as Buddhism and Hinduism.

Importance

Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris and other traditional white male atheists are still important but less so than they were. Greta Christina and others care about Social justice and minority issues. Atheists like Greta are increasing in importance. [5] How big is the change? That's disputed. Those who want the atheist movement to stay primarily white, male and priviledged are fighting back hard. The Traditional leaders look confident. [6]

Err well:

  1. Perhaps they are confident.
  2. Perhaps they understand politics well enough not to let lack of confidence show.

In five or ten years we'll know better how much has changed.

See also

References

  1. The Myth of Secular Moral Chaos
  2. Deconstructing the Ben Affleck-Sam Harris Cage Fight
  3. Empirical evidence and reason demonstrate that Sam Harris is an arrogant ass
  4. Sam Harris
  5. Hitchens, Dawkins and Harris are old news — a totally different Atheism is on the rise
  6. An Excess of Optimism

Videos

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