Posted by Charity on April 9th, 2007

Hi blog readers. I hope you all had a great weekend. I am just too wiped out from a busy weekend to blog right now, but I wanted to put up a link to a discussion between Rick Warren and Sam Harris.

The God Debate

It’s kind of long, but I thought it was interesting. If you’re into that sort of thing.

Happy Monday!

3 Responses to “The God Debate”

  1. I read it and I was pretty unimpressed. I don’t think either one of them was particularly persuasive or articulate about their views.

    In particular, I was put off by Sam Harris’s talk about spirituality. In my view of atheism, there is no more evidence for the existence of any other spirits than there is for the existence of any of the thousands of gods that people have worshipped over the millennia. He doesn’t do his argument any service by talking about spirit or spirituality.

    On the theist’s part, he never rebutted, or even confronted, Harris’s challenge to why he should believe in something in the absence of evidence.

    Maybe it was the format, but there were many occasions in which they just changed the subject instead of pushing the point.

  2. I agree with your last statement, Jack. I felt that way, too. It was sort of lacking in that way.

    I have read Rick Warren’s (the pastor) book, The Purpose Driven Life, so I did not notice it as much with him. When I skimmed the article back over, I could see that both sides needed to expand more on their answers.

    I think Harris is using the term spirit in a metaphorical sense. Most people have this feeling that there is something outside ourselves, regardless of the spiritual belief. That is a huge hurdle for atheism to overcome. It basically contradicts what most people feel by saying, there is nothing else.

    In order to bridge that gap, I think (but can’t say for sure) he is tapping into that by using the same language, but then he backs away from it, as in this quote:

    You can close your eyes in meditation and lose the sense of your physical body, totally. Many people draw from that the metaphysical conclusion that “I’m just spirit, and I can transcend the body.” That’s not the only conclusion you have to draw from that experience, and I don’t think it’s the best conclusion. [Emphasis mine]

    The theist did skip over the topic of evidence, in a sense. He is clearly not an apologist, so he probably did not realize how lacking his answer was. To someone who really believes, there is plenty of evidence. He alluded to that, but failed to realize that it was not evidence to a non-believer.

    Thanks for your comments.

  3. My issue with Harris is not his metaphysical talk, it’s his Islamopobia and support of torture.

    As for the mysticism….Especially referring to what he wrote in ‘The End of Faith’, he looks at those experiences as something real to the people that experience them, but not necessarily real outside of their own heads, which is similar to what I believe.

    Jack, Harris has responded to this criticism directly in Free Inquiry magazine a few months ago. You can read it here.

    I just read a book called ‘Why God Won’t Go Away’, and it talks about what actually happens in your brain when having a spiritual or mystical experience. THe book does not set out to prove or disprove God, because regardless of whether or not it exists, it all has to be experienced through the brain. Charity, you should pick it up, I think you’d find it fascinating, whether you be a Xtioan, Buddhist, atheist, whatever.