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A Rational Look at Christianity; Basing Reason in Truth

Biola University has an article in the Biola Connections about deluded skeptic Sam Harris entitled Atheism’s New Bulldog. As one might expect, the article is not particularly complimentary. Here is an example of what is said about Harris' approach to Christianity from the article:

Most of Harris' attacks on God aren’t arguments, but mere allegations, according to [Dr. Douglas Geivett, a Biola philosophy professor]. They amount to what he calls schoolyard "name-calling." For example, Harris compares belief in God to a fictitious man’s irrational belief that a diamond the size of a refrigerator is buried in his backyard. The man keeps digging — without any evidence for his belief.

But this isn't an argument, Geivett said.

"It's not even a good analogy unless you can demonstrate that someone who believes in God is just as irrational as that," he said, adding that Harris has failed to do this.

One of the few arguments Harris does make for atheism in The End of Faith is that a good God wouldn’t make a world with diseases in it. Harris rejects the common Christian response — that God gave human beings free will, which they misused, causing evil (including diseases) to enter the world. This response doesn’t work, according to Harris, because the concept of free will is "incoherent."

Yet, Harris can’t deny free will, according to Geivett, since his goal of an atheist paradise is built on the assumptions that human beings can freely choose to believe or disbelieve in God — and that they can freely choose moral behaviors that promote a harmonious world.

Harris’ view is "hopelessly confused," Geivett said.

An interesting read.

2 comments:

I read the Biola article and also watched a few talks/debates on YouTube that Harris participated in. The article seems to pass on the opportunity to take on Harris' arguments and, even worse, mischaracterize some of his arguments. You can't help but wonder why they're so defensive.

I disagree entirely. I have listened to Harris on the radio numerous times, and I think that they are on target in the Biola article. Which argument do you think that they are mischaracterizing?

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