This is interesting: Bill O’Reilly has a conservation where he’s the reasonable one! I like Sam Harris well enough. He’s a pretty good thinker. But there are times…
He really became noted as an atheist neoconservative. His rhetoric toward the Islamic religion was shocking. What I think I found most disturbing was that his knowledge of Islam is actually quite limited. He claims that the religion has jihad as a fundamental part of it. But this really is not more true of it than it is any of the Abrahamic faiths. The question is always how much any given follower is going to focus on this stuff. It is certainly the case that at times in the past, Muslims were a whole lot more reasonable than Christians. And today, I think the vast majority of people of all beliefs just want to be left alone to live their lives.
The following video is interesting in that it shows how a fine intellect can be used to justify base prejudice. Basically, his argument is this: All I know about Islam is what the terrorists claim; I haven’t heard any moderate Islamists attack the terrorist; therefore, Islam is a terrorist religion. This is a particularly shameful exercise, because Sam Harris must know that here in the United States, we really don’t hear a lot of Christians going out of their way to argue against anti-abortion Christian terrorists. If Harris cared to look, it isn’t hard to show that there are tons of Muslims speaking out against terrorists. (By the way: I’m neither pro-Islam nor anti-Islam; I find the faith as interesting as any of the Abrahamic religions; but I think it is pretty silly to believe in, of course; the same as I think about any of the Abrahamic religions.)
This video is remarkable in that it makes Bill O’Reilly seem reasonable. At least in the first interview; in the second one, O’Reilly is his usual stupid self. There is something really bizarre about seeing O’Reilly be the voice of reason. “I don’t know what good [using such inflamatory rhetoric] does other than to t-off Muslims around the world.” Well shut my mouth!
I think that I’ve noticed some thawing of Harris’ rigidity on this issue. But it may be just that he doesn’t talk about it much anymore. Regardless, on most other issues, he’s a pretty reasonable guy.