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Are we ready for the end of faith? A response to Sam Harris

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  1. Fundamentalists, exposed to social elements outside of their literal faith
  2. An interplay between religious and secular society

Sam Harris gives voice to the shared opinions of a great many agnostics and atheists throughout our culture who feel, like him, that religion "is doing such mad work in our society" (Harris). Certainly to many of us it is horrifying, if true, that "44 percent of Americans think Jesus is going to come in the next 50 years" and that the Apocalypse is a completely real and immediate event to be planned for actively (Harris). However, Harris also takes on religious moderates in a way which would leave many agnostic moderates uncomfortable, by claiming that those who claim to be religious but still, unlike most fundamentalists, support and condone most of the modern world, for instance, the use of birth control, are "deluding themselves about the source of their moderation" and are "not being honest".

[...] In this way it is given that fundamentalists, moderates, and atheists will all use the conventions of their time to analyze their own perspectives as well as those of others. Gone are the days when philosophers would try either to prove or to disprove the existence of God by scientific means, because we would no longer accept such a proof on either side as valuable. Nowadays, using political perspectives to discuss religion is a common tool for everyone, from fundamentalists who use faith to justify acts of political warfare to atheists like Harris who use political abuses by the religious as a refrain to point out religion's ills. [...]


[...] National Public Radio. September Herriot, Peter. Religious Fundamentalism and Social Identity. New York: Routledge Kennedy, Philip. A Modern Introduction to Theology. New York: I.B. Tauris McGrath, Alister. The Twilight of Atheism. [...]


[...] Thus in many ways the fundamentalists cannot live without the modern world to support them culturally and technology, if in both cases indirectly. The question is, can modernity live without faith? In the 19th Century, not only did many believe that we could, but many believed that we were about to (Nietzsche being the most dramatic advocate of the position that humankind had moved on to a God-less era). Examining the perspectives of that time, however, we find a similar cultural synergy as when reading current theologians: the style of the times infected the writings of the time, even though the writers felt that they were writing purely objectively. [...]

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