Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Letter to a Christian Nation: Entry 1, Pages 1-7

Before going into this book, I want to address how exactly I am going to commentate on this book. First of all, Sam Harris' book really is meant to be in more of a letter format (just like the title states). This book is very short and it only has 91 pages. There are no chapters in this book, but titles addressing certain topics and issues he wishes to delve into.

Secondly, I will just tell you how I am going to comment on these since there are no chapters. I am simply going to write short and/or long responses on Sam Harris' claims from page to page. For example, I am going to start off and commentate on his first 7 pages of his book. Other times I will address 10, 15, 20 pages, or more (depending on the topic that is being discussed).

Now let met begin.

The first 7 pages of this book are actually pretty insightful and true. I want to commend Sam Harris for realizing a few things here. The points he addresses is that there is one truth when it comes to reality. That is, there is either a God or not. Jesus Christ either rose from the dead, or he didn't. Islam is either true or false. There cannot be multiple religions that contradict each other, severely, and BOTH be true. There cannot be a God and NOT a God at the same time. Sam Harris says on page 5:

"If the bible is an ordinary book, and Christ an ordinary man, the basic doctrine of Christianity is false."

I agree with this statement to the most part. It also depends on what he means as an "ordinary book".  However, if Christ is an ordinary man, then yes, Christianity is probably false.

He even goes on more to an extent to say on page 3: 

"If Christianity is correct, and I persist in my unbelief, I should expect to suffer the torments of hell. WORSE STILL, I have persuaded others, and many close to me, to reject the very idea of God."
In a way, I would actually consider this a humble statement. The reason is because he realizes the implications and is willing to admit the consequences of his actions by doing so. I have some more respect for Sam Harris than I do with Richard Dawkins. Richard Dawkins won't even answer this question. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6mmskXXetcg).

Sam Harris also goes into the fact that he believes that Christians, Muslims and every other faith would take each others as asinine. While, I must admit that a lot of this would actually be true, the same exact thing goes against non-belief, specifically atheism. 

A lot of Atheists will try and define Atheism as "a lack of belief" in a God or Gods. This is simply untrue and quite semantic. I will demonstrate as to why:
Theism and A-theism originates from the a Greek word THEOS which means God. 

Theism - the belief in the existence of God or Gods. (www.dictionary.com)
A-Theism- The belief "That there is no God" (www.dictionary.com)

So, both make a declarative/affirmitive/positive statement that there is a God (theism), and the contrary, that there is no God (Atheism).

So, what Sam Harris is actually doing on page 6-7 is trying place a credulity on the Theists and exempt himself (the atheist) from this equation, when in actuality he is just as guilty-if not guiltier because of his title "Atheist". Middle of page 7:

 "Yes, these things are obvious. Understand that the way you view Islam is precisely the way devout Muslims view Christianity. And it is the way I view all religions."

He just revealed his hypocrisy. If he wants to play neutral-he must take up the title AGNOSTIC because AGNOSTIC is not a positive statement, as to what Atheism does.

Agnosticism - a person who holds that the existence of the ultimate cause, as God, and the essential nature of things are known and unknowable, or that human knowledge is limited to experience.

 The ultimate reason why I bring this up is because Sam Harris criticizes our "poor evidence", when in actuality there is evidence-he just rejects it. While on the contrary to his worldview, he cannot DISPROVE a God. He cannot prove God does not exist, which ultimately places him in a lose-lose situation. This of course, he does not mention and will not. So far, Sam Harris has some things right and some things wrong. We will see how it carries on.

"The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned."
1 Corinthians 2:14


  1. Excellent post. I think it is very important to show how atheists like Harris bend words and meanings to make their own position more viable. In particular, the redefinition of "atheist" is a frequently used strategy.

  2. "There is evidence-he just rejects it." Great evaluation of these ideas.

    And if all atheism was, was merely a lack of belief, then cats, trees, chairs and babies would all the atheists, too! Thanks for posting this!

    Apologetics Guy

  3. "There is evidence-he just rejects it." Which would be.....what exactly? Certainty not the bible. Because any religion can say their religious text is evidence for their particular god, which doesn't prove a god exist. Just writings that make claims. You cannot disprove the existence of a leprechaun, does that then mean the possibility of their existence? Horus can not be proved not to exist. So why should we be concerned about your particular god instead of that one? If real world facts show us the truth, and there are claims that violate them, then it is the claims that have to provide evidence.

    "And if all atheism was, was merely a lack of belief, then cats, trees, chairs and babies would all the atheists, too!"- which...they are. None of them believe in a god...so...that would be an accurate statement.