The End of Faith: Afterword

Today, we’re going to look at the final part of Sam Harris’s “The End of Faith.”

There is a line at the start that is very saddening to me. Harris talks about the Christian ministers who wrote to him to say they lost their faith. (Thankfully, he says some wrote to say they hadn’t.)

The first part, of course, is what saddens me.

There was a day when Christianity thrived on the intellectual. I believe Christianity still does, but I don’t think Christians do.  We’ve fallen away from that. The ministers should be prepared to handle all manner of objections. B.B. Warfield placed high on his list “Apologetics” as something that a minister should be trained in.

Today, most ministers just say “I’m called to preach!” and leave it at that.

I sit back and think “I wish God had made you a good preacher when he called you.”

Harris indicts us then unintentionally I’m sure on where we have fallen. He’s not wanting us to stand up and realize that we are to be intellectual Christians but for us to abandon the faith because he believes it is unintellectual. Of course, I disagree, but I have a great sorrow for these ministers. What happens to their flocks?

Ministers are supposed to be shepherds. They’re supposed to protect them from the wolves. If you had sheep and you were hiring a shepherd, would you want one that was completely unprepared to defend your sheep from predators? Of course not. So many put pastors and ministers in charge though who have no defense and simply emotion. You don’t want the shepherd who says “Defend them? Nah! I got a good feeling that they’ll all be okay though!” You want the one who can wield the shepherd’s rod well.

Harris goes on to raise an objection to his argument. That’s that many great acts of violence have been done by atheism. What he gives in response I see as an entire cop-out.

Harris seems to say that these weren’t rational. This is what happened when people accepted a belief without giving it critical examination. If they had thought better, they wouldn’t have done such things.

I don’t find that convincing at all and I doubt you do either.

Mr. Harris. There is no reason in atheism to not do the things that have been condemned. It can follow naturally, especially if we live out “Survival of the Fittest.” Are we going to say the great minds that formed Communism did not understand it, or the ones that built Nazism did not understand it? No. They were acting in direct line with their beliefs.

That’s the difference. The teachings of Christ do not logically lead to the events done in the name of Christ often by some Christians. 

Could it be the ones done by Christians were by ones who did not really examine the teachings of their Lord?

The other objections have been addressed before, but the last is worth noting in that atheists condemn his book as a door to new age thought instead of atheism. Harris denies this, but I think it’s valid. There is no place for spirituality if matter is all there is.

Tomorrow, we will look further and see where Harris went wrong.

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