End of faith


In his book The End of Faith, Sam Harris criticizes, in his 301 pages book, religion, terror and the future of reason. He proposes keeping away from reason and logic when dealing with religious texts. He also criticizes all religion believers’ reliance on those scriptures rather than searching for the scientific evidence which the scriptures provide. In today’s world, man has embraced scientific thinking which requires scientific proofs that can be subjected to experimentation before adopting any hypothesis or theory.

A believer tends to take miracles for granted. The scientific proofs are out of the scope. Issues like the Christians’ belief that Christ was begotten from a virgin mother and the Muslims’ belief that Muhammad has ascended to heaven in the night of Israa’ and Mi`raj (the Night Journey) are unquestionable.
Absence of Mind!
Harris emphasizes that the danger does not lie in the religious texts and ideologies. They are just words until people believe in them, then those texts and ideologies become part of the human system of thinking and reasoning. Thus, they identify the believers’ wishes, aspirations and the sources of their concern as well as they control the rest of their behaviors. He adds “It seems to be a problem with regard to some of our religious sacred beliefs, where they push human beings to kill one another.”

How do you see secularism? In your opinion why do some people give up by turning their back to religion? Use the add comment feature below to cast your view. Harris points out that with a simple overview of the history of mankind or reference to newspapers, one could elicit that the ideas which distinguish between the different human groups unite them just in killing one another. They are ideas based on religious texts and have their deeply-rooted origins in religion.
The writer argues, indirectly, the idea of fate, stressing that man is the one who defines his own destiny and future. Man always feels the need to justify his actions through religion. He proceeds to explain that in case mankind is exposed to eradication through war and fighting, the reason is not a sheer eradication process. It is ascribed to an inevitable and pre-destined action that is overtly conditioned by the scriptures.

According to Harris, the way people assimilate words like God, Heaven and sin and how they use them in the present time is the way which determines their own destiny and future, with reference to the wars which break out sparked by religion.

In his explanation of the current humanitarian situation, Harris suggests that most people in the world believe that the Creator of the universe has laid a book which contains a delineation of the correct path that the believers must follow. They have to apply the rules prescribed in that book. The problem is: the rules are not included in one book but there are several scriptures and each one claims to be the only authentic, clear and preserved book.

Consequently, each party believes that their religion is the only religion accepted by God and it will lead the believers to the eternal bliss. They also believe that the other religious parties deserve the wrath and torture of the Creator. Hence, there emerged a feeling of repudiating the others. This, in turn, has led to the derogation of the humanitarian aspect, which justifies the legitimacy of assaulting and waging wars against others.

Harris stresses that the problem becomes more dangerous when the mild-mannered ones call for the importance of respecting the others’ beliefs despite the fact that they are infidels and antagonistic to the true religion. At the same time, God is not pleased with adherents of the wrong beliefs which contradict the texts of His revealed Books.

According to Harris, theway people assimilate words like God, Heaven and sin and how they use them in the present time is the way which determines their own destiny and future, with reference to the wars which break out sparked by religion.
The Myth of Moderation in Religion
Harris criticizes the moderate who would inevitably expose humanity to falling into a bottomless abyss in spite of their opposition to extremism. He says that those who support moderation undertake a heavy responsibility because they believe that the only way to maintain peace is to respect everyone’s beliefs despite the fact that these beliefs might be wrong or unjustified.

He describes this as paradox, where he believes that if someone believes his final destination would be paradise because they follow the revealed texts and rulings in the scriptures whereas the final destiny of the other people is Hell because of their wrong beliefs. It is impossible that such a person is expected to respect the beliefs of others. He describes this as hypocrisy.

Harris adds that the idea of moderation and religious tolerance constitutes a real danger. Moderate people make room for the presence and salience of extremism through altering the sacred texts, which entails non-moderates to cling to the original texts, and thus they veer towards extremism.

Harris shows that the moderates are forced repeatedly to interpret and reinterpret the religious texts to cope with reason and logic on one side and keep up with cultural advancement on the other hand. They, according to Harris, commit betrayal against religion and reasoning at the same time.

The writer points out that there are economic and cultural factors, especially in the twentieth century which force some people to be religiously moderate, explaining that moderates in all religions find themselves forced to interpret the religious texts and rulings in a simpler way. Sometimes, they ignore some texts in return for living and coexisting in the modern world.

Resorting to Logic

The writer emphasizes the importance of the role played by religious beliefs in erupting conflicts. He asserts that some analysts ignore such growing role, while they can not ignore the fact that hundreds of millions, with reference to Muslims, believe in the metaphysics of martyrdom. They deem that Christians believe the texts contained in the “Apocalypse” are the revealed words of Allah or they believe that any other religious ideas precipitated in the minds of the believers over thousands of years, especially for those believers have chemical, biological and nuclear weapons.

Harries adds that the world is currently undergoing a phase of human history, where some believe that words such as Jesus, Allah or Ram, the Hindu epic hero could make difference between misery, happiness and the lasting eternal mercy.

Harris points out that if we take that into account, we should not be surprised that some of us, from time to time, resort to war motivated by religion and that killing other people because of their use of wrong religious words in some cases or use the proper religious words for false reasons in other cases.

The writer wonders how could a person claim that he is aware of the way of running the world’s affairs because of some scriptures which minds can not buy nor subject to scientific experimentation to prove their validity. Harris wonders what leads those people to be sure that these scriptures are error-free.

Sam Harris stresses the importance of keeping away from the blind faith in metaphysical issues and of resorting to reasoning and logic in dealing with human beings in order to maintain human life without exposing it to destruction and annihilation. He points out that the technological progress in the military field, especially in what is labeled “the science of wars” which has made the religious differences and religious beliefs conflict with the concept of survival. He says, “no doubt these developments constitute a phase which is called the end of the world’s naivety.

“Thus, words such as God and Allah must meet the same destiny of Apollo, the god of travel and Manish beauty of the Greek and Baal, which was once Canaanites and Phoenicians’ gods.” Harris said in his book

0

Share

Post Your Comment

Name (required)

E-mail (required)

1000 symbols left
Notify me of follow-up comments
Send
Reader comments are the opinion of the comment writer, not the OnIslam.net opinion.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: