Sam Harris on the Word Atheism

Sam HarrisI recently implied something about Sam Harris that I don’t actually believe. In The Atheist Libertarian Connection, I indicated that Sam Harris was a libertarian. I don’t think this is quite right. It is okay to categorize him as conservative, in the sense that he has been for a number of neoconservative ventures. And I think he was wrong about this. It is one thing to say that we aren’t going to grant legitimacy to Islamic fundamentalists. It is quite another to cheer lead for an essentially religious war waged by Christian fundamentalists. I think that Harris has erred in this regard.

Otherwise, I think that Harris’ thinking is pretty reasonable and humane. As with most things, my thoughts are complicated. You aren’t likely to get to the bottom of what I think in any given article. So now I’ve had my say. For putting up with me, I offer you the following bit of wisdom from Sam Harris in Letter to a Christian Nation:

In fact, “atheism” is a term that should not even exist. No one ever needs to identify himself as a “non-astrologer” or a “non-alchemist.” We do not have words for people who doubt that Elvis is still alive or that aliens have traversed the galaxy only to molest rachers and their cattle. Atheism is nothing more than the noises reasonable people make in the presence of unjustified religious beliefs.
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About Frank Moraes

Frank Moraes is a freelance writer and editor online and in print. He is educated as a scientist with a PhD in Atmospheric Physics. He has worked in climate science, remote sensing, throughout the computer industry, and as a college physics instructor. Find out more at About Frank Moraes.

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