harris essay - Harris A Rational Point of View In his novel...

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Harris: A Rational Point of View In his novel Letter to a Christian Nation , Sam Harris pulls no punches on the subject of atheism, which according to Hfarris, is “Simply an admission of the obvious.” (Harris 51) He provides many compelling arguments that may make even the most devout of Christians to rethink their beliefs. Stated very basically, Christianity is an antiquated system of beliefs and morals that hinders our progress in the sciences, offers no moral advice that average human beings cannot figure out for themselves, and causes violence and bloodshed. The first and most basic problem with religion, Christianity in particular, is the fact that it is entirely based on faith that an omniscient, omnipresent God exists and is watching over you. This same God created the universe and all living things. If you pray to this God for an intangible attribute such as strength to overcome the death of a loved one or perseverance to make it through a difficult stretch in life, He will supposedly grant what you pray for. Often, if one of these instances comes true, a person will believe that their prayers have been answered, and attribute it to God. The problem with this, however, is that we have no way of knowing what actually caused us to overcome our problems. If a person prays for something, they obviously want it to happen and will do everything they can to achieve it. Take for example a student that prays for strength to study for an important final exam. Since the final exam was important enough for the student to pray for, they will now focus all their energy on working hard for a good grade. Prayer comes from within yourself, not from a supernatural prayer-granting being. Moreover, as Harris points out, God cannot heal permanent, tangible injuries such as lost limbs or cannot grant objects that one prays for. Also, why would a benevolent, loving God, concerned for the good of humanity let tragedies such as Hurricane Katrina occur? The majority of these people were people of faith who probably died “talking to an imaginary friend.” (Harris 52) Something 2 even more puzzling is the fact that 80% of the survivors of Katrina say that the disaster strengthened their faith in God. It is inconceivable and incredibly selfish how so many people who witnessed one of the most destructive natural disasters in our history can think that they were more worthy of survival as
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granted by the creator of the universe than the ones who died. It is true that God cannot be disproved, but,
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This note was uploaded on 04/28/2008 for the course WRA 150 taught by Professor Vetne during the Fall '08 term at Michigan State University.

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harris essay - Harris A Rational Point of View In his novel...

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