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Sunday, March 25, 2007

Sam Harris vs. Andrew Sullivan

There is a great email debate between Sam Harries and Andrew Sullivan (a gay moderate christian with his own blog) going on at

Sam Harris is a great writer with a very tight debating style. I haven't been such a fan of anyone since my pre-teen obession with New Kids on the Block. I'm afraid Andrew Sullivan is getting his butt kicked.

Here are some clips from Sam:
"You spend the first two paragraphs of your last essay taking offense at something I did not say, culminating with, "spare me the thought that you know it [fundamentalism] better than I do." I did, in fact, attempt to spare you that thought when I wrote:
'First, many moderates assume that religious "extremism" is rare and therefore not all that consequential. Happily, you are not in this camp, but I would venture that you are in a minority among religious moderates. As you and I both know, religious extremism is not rare, and it is hugely consequential.'
Indeed, this was one of several places where I sought to communicate that I do not view you as a run-of-the-mill religious moderate. I was extending an olive branch, of sorts, and you have gone and poked yourself in the eye with it. What's a well-intentioned atheist to do?"

"I am, of course, unconvinced by your response. But this can hardly disappoint you, as it was not intended to convince me. You simply wrote to inform me that you have never doubted God's existence, cannot account for how you came to believe in Him, and are well aware that these facts will not (and should not) persuade me of the legitimacy of your religious beliefs. I now feel like a tennis player, in mid-serve, who notices that his opponent is no longer holding a racket."

There is much more substance in the debate than I'm quoting. These litte jabs just amuse me.

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