A friend of mine just pointed out to me a publicized e-mail exchange between the obnoxious Sam Harris, author of The End of Faith and Dennis Prager, conservative Jewish radio talk show host, that has been published on the Internet. They can be found (starting with Sam Harris' opening e-mail) here. I haven't had the opportunity to read each of the e-mails, but after Harris' typical nonsense, Prager begins his discussion with a truly insightful comment.
There is one thing you and I agree on, Sam. You write that you are "quite sure that we need only use words like 'reason,' 'common sense,' 'evidence,' and 'intellectual honesty' to do the job."
I agree because I am certain that use of those wonderful vehicles to truth make the case for God, not for atheism.
Yet you and other atheists—as opposed to agnostics, who simply claim doubts about God—appropriate words like "reason" and "common sense" to maintain a position that is hardly the fruit of reason and common sense.
Is it really reason and common sense that lead atheists to their certitude that everything, all existence, came about by sheer chance? That there is therefore no God, no creator, no designer? Unlikely. Atheist certainty and religious certainty are both faith claims that transcend reason and common sense. But at least religious believers have the intellectual honesty to admit theirs is a faith claim.
Nevertheless, I am not as certain about God as you are about no-God. When I look at the unjust world God created, I have questions, sometimes even doubts. But not atheists like you, Sam. No, they look at love and consciousness, at the grandeur of the universe, at the birth of a child, and they hear Bach’s music and conclude that all of this and everything else just came about by itself.
It is an understatement to say that I do not find that position intellectually compelling. And when held with certitude, it borders arrogance.
I love that response. I can't wait to read the whole thing.