Sunday, April 01, 2007

Sometimes it feels like there just need to be separate countries.

This excerpt is from an interview with Sam Harris ("The End of Faith") and Rick Warren ("The Purpose-Driven Life") in Newsweek this week. I applaud Sam for his patience in the interview. But MY, sometimes it just feels like it's not worth trying to explain this stuff to someone who's not listening.
HARRIS:I am terrified of what seems to me to be a bottleneck that civilization is passing through. On the one hand we have 21st-century disruptive technology proliferating, and on the other we have first-century superstition. A civilization is going to either pass through this bottleneck more or less intact or it won't. And perhaps that fear sounds grandiose, but civilizations end. On any number of occasions, some generation has witnessed the ruination of everything they and their ancestors had built. What especially terrifies me about religious thinking is the expectation on the part of many that civilization is bound to end based on prophecy and its ending is going to be glorious.

WARREN: I believe that history split into A.D. and B.C. because of the Resurrection. And the Resurrection is not only the resurrection of Jesus Christ, it is the hope of the world: it says there's more to this life than just here and now. That doesn't mean that I do less, it means that this life is a test, it's a trust and it's a temporary assignment. If death is the end, shoot, I'm not going to waste another minute being altruistic.

HARRIS: How do you account for my altruism?

WARREN: You have common grace. Even in people who don't believe in God, there is a spark God has put in you that says, "There's got to be more to life than just make money and die." I think that that spark does not come from evolution.
It's like in a science fiction movie when you discover that your friend has been "assimilated" or turned into an android. I would die of despair to be continuously confronted with this viewpoint.

That all said, I am incredibly grateful to Rich and Sam both for agreeing to sit down and discuss this, and for giving each other (at least as it was transcribed) and opportunity to respond. I recommend you read the whole thing.

1 comment:

  1. muffy1:56 PM

    This was my favorite line in the whole dialogue:

    Then God also likes smallpox and tuberculosis.

    What a marvelous example of faith v. reason - and how the former really can't include the latter. Reading that dialogue was like banging one's head against a wall, with breaks to listen to a rational atheist, followed by more banging.