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Sam Harris

The Old Left Fights the New Left over the Dangers of Islam

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Over the years, I have been keeping one eye on the New Atheism movement (see my apologetic articles). I read a few of their books. But mostly, I enjoy learning science and discovering the new facts and theories that undermine evolutionary atheism.

And I also enjoy reading the in-house debates that erupt now and then on the secondary media sources. Last year there was the “struggle for the very soul of the discipline” of evolution, reported by virtually no media outlets but covered by myself and  Creation-Evolution Headlines (CEH).

And this year we have a new battle among various atheists and Leftists. This time there is more news coverage as Salon has taken on Sam Harris. It is the New Left versus the Old Left.

With a loud, in-your-face title (becoming more common on these sites), “Sam Harris can’t be redeemed: Ben Carson, Noam Chomksy and the defining hypocrisy of the New Atheist movement,” Salon continued their earlier effort to denigrate Harris’ reputation.

Back in October they derided him as Islamophobic because (gasp!) he suggested that Islam was dangerous to Western civilization.

And that is exactly why Salon cannot stand him or any other New Atheist who believes in the objective fact that “a sincere belief in the metaphysics of martyrdom can turn an ordinary person into a dangerous religious maniac. And only Islam preaches this doctrine as one of its central tenets” (Sam Harris’ unedited interview).

For his part, Sam is willing to cooperate with his avowed enemies (Christian conservatives) because they, too, take the Islamic threat seriously. This is throwing Salon writers into a tizzy.

Politics makes strange bedfellows.

Here we have before our eyes a fault-line within the Left. Postmodern atheism clashes with modern atheism. Cultural relativism derides individual relativism.

The one has a guilty conscience about being Western, white and privileged. The other does not.

One believes science is not objective. The other believes it is.

Both deny the God of the Bible and neither are conservative.

But even as Salon assumes that moderate Muslims don’t take Islamic doctrine seriously, Harris believes he has found liberal, reformist Muslims with whom he is willing to cooperate.

In fact, he has written a new book with a reformist Muslim, Nawaz , entitled, “Islam and the Future of Tolerance.”

As he summarized recently at the Daily Beast, the problem is that many commentators misunderstand “…the power of specific religious ideas such as martyrdom, apostasy, blasphemy, prophecy, and honor.”

He continues:

“These ideas do not represent the totality of Islam, but neither are they foreign to it. Nor do they exist in precisely the same way in other faiths. There is a reason why no one is losing sleep over the threat posed by Jain and Quaker ‘extremists.’ Specific doctrines matter.”

Such political realism is almost heady stuff given the day in and day out of pie-in-the-sky commentaries and supposed news reports.

But Harris goes further: “we must finally wage an effective war of ideas.”

This is good stuff. The one thing that is refreshing about the New Atheists is their candor. And their perceptive minds: there is a war of ideas going on.

Salon does not get it. The President ignores it. The Left could care less. But Harris and other atheists see the battle against Islam as more important than their battle with Christianity.

Christians can rejoice that atheists like Sam Harris are using the common sense God gave them.

The advantage for Christians is clear: it is usually a good policy to find favorable analyses from within the groups that strongly disagree with us. Quoting an atheistic scientist to the detriment of our unbelieving friend’s argument is psychologically stronger than quoting William Lane Craig.

Who knows? Maybe one day Christians will find themselves quoting Harris to better convince our liberal friends.

Better yet: may God open all their eyes to see that the real battle is their sinful rebellion against God.



 

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