Thursday, October 12, 2006

The End of Faith

Along the same theme that I seem to fall back on frequently; that being science, politics and religion, I just started reading a new book this week. The End of Faith: Religion, Terror and the Future of Reason by Sam Harris. Harris is a secular humanist. As such he believes that morality is a natural human trait and therefore not necessarily linked to religion. Harris takes this a step farther and believes that any religious person that claims to worship "The one true God" cannot justify religious tolerance of any kind. "certainty about the next life is simply incompatible with tolerance in this one." P.13 It is his opinion that any sacrifice in our religious beliefs in favor of tolerance is hypocritical. I have yet to finish the book and I'll provide a more complete review once I'm finished. I suspect from the tone that has been set so far that Harris is calling for the complete rejection of religion as the solution to the world's problems. So far the history of atrocities committed in the name of God that he has detailed is quite compelling. Although personally I have had very positive experiences with friends and co-workers due to my own religious tolerance, I must admit that allowing these friends to believe as they do in spite of what my church preaches seems to be a tad hypocritical. Is it possible, as Harris claims, that the only reason my friends of different faiths and I get along at all is because we have sacrificed our beliefs in favor of social harmony? Or is our appearant harmony just a facade that we wear in front of each other? I don't have answers for these questions yet. But, I'll keep looking.

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