Beliefs Culture

Sam Harris wants atheists – and everyone else – to get spirituality

In Sam Harris’ new book, “Waking Up: A Guide to Spirituality Without Religion,” the usually outspoken critic of religion describes how spirituality not only can, but must, be divorced from religion if the human mind is to reach its full potential. Photo courtesy of Simon & Schuster Publicity
 In Sam Harris’ new book, “Waking Up: A Guide to Spirituality Without Religion,” the usually outspoken critic of religion describes how spirituality not only can, but must, be divorced from religion if the human mind is to reach its full potential. Photo courtesy of Simon & Schuster Publicity

In Sam Harris’ new book, “Waking Up: A Guide to Spirituality Without Religion,” the usually outspoken critic of religion describes how spirituality not only can, but must, be divorced from religion if the human mind is to reach its full potential. Photo courtesy of Simon & Schuster Publicity

(RNS) Uber-atheist Sam Harris is getting all spiritual.

In his new book, “Waking Up: A Guide to Spirituality Without Religion,” the usually outspoken critic of religion describes how spirituality can and must be divorced from religion if the human mind is to reach its full potential.

“Our world is dangerously riven by religious doctrines that all educated people should condemn,” he writes in the book, but adds: “There is more to understanding the human condition than science and secular culture generally admit.”

The prescription, Harris holds, is Buddhist-based mindfulness meditation. A Stanford-trained neuroscientist, Harris is a long-time practitioner of Buddhist meditation. He said everyone can, through meditation, achieve a “shift in perspective” by moving beyond a sense of self to reach an enlightening sense of connectedness — a spirituality.

Spirituality “is a name for all of the deliberate efforts people can make to cut through the illusion of the self, the illusion that there is a thinker in addition to the thoughts, or an ego as it is often called,” Harris, 47, said in a telephone interview. “Self-transcendence is the foundation of what I am calling spirituality.”

But, he warns, conflating mindfulness meditation or spirituality with anything supernatural — from the forgiving love of a Christian God to the cosmology of Buddhism — is a path to nowhere.

“My goal,” he writes in the book, “is to pluck the diamond from the esoteric dunghill of religion.”

"Waking Up," by Sam Harris.

Book cover photo courtesy of Sam Harris

“Waking Up: A Guide to Spirituality Without Religion,” by Sam Harris.

“Waking Up” has been well-received by the general press. Writing in The New York Times, columnist Frank Bruni described it as, “so entirely of this moment, so keenly in touch with the growing number of Americans who are willing to say that they do not find the succor they crave, or a truth that makes sense to them, in organized religion.”

But the book’s real success rests with Harris’ core audience:  atheists. Many of his erstwhile followers credit Harris with launching New Atheism – an aggressive form of non-belief that calls for the eradication of religion – with his 2004 book “The End of Faith: Religion, Terror and the Future of Reason,” and have little patience for the trappings of faith.

“I know for a fact that many atheists are put off by Sam Harris’ word choices,” like “spirituality” and “transcendence,”  said Dave Muscato, director of communications for American Atheists. He said some atheists will find “a connection to Sam Harris’ spirituality while others (will) see no need for it.”

Harris is aware of the problem of reaching atheists with spiritual language — he addresses it in the book — but he is adamant that a failure to understand spiritual experiences outside the framework of faith forms “the hole” in secularism.

“There is no modern, scientific, skeptical context in which to unpack spiritual experiences,” Harris said. “People know they have had these experiences and then they hear atheists or skeptics discount them. There is no shelf in the atheist library for these deeply transformative experiences and they are left with absurd religious stories and doctrines by which to understand them.”

But there is plenty in “Waking Up” that will delight Harris’ most militant atheist readers. The world’s religions, he writes, are “mere intellectual ruins” and its objects of devotion are “epileptics, schizophrenics, or frauds.”

“But I now understood,” he writes, “that important psychological truths can be found in the rubble.”

Harris is not the first atheist to suggest nonbelievers should mine the world’s religious traditions for wisdom or beneficial practices. Philosopher Alain de Botton and humanist Chris Stedman have written books that explore the possibilities, and nonbelievers have been flocking to so-called “atheist churches” such as the Sunday Assembly.

Harris’ description of his own spiritual experiences achieved through meditation shares common ground with those of religious people. In the most eyebrow-raising scene in the book, he describes standing on the edge of the Sea of Galilee — Jesus’ old stomping grounds — losing his sense of self and finding “a blissful stillness that silenced my thoughts.”

“If I were a Christian, I would undoubtedly have  interpreted this experience in Christian terms,” he writes — perhaps evidence of the Holy Spirit. “But I am simply someone who is making his best effort to be a rational human being.”

And that is the key difference Harris is after in the book — spiritual experiences are not proof of God, but are proof of the power and complexity of the human mind.

Will that distinction be enough to keep his atheist followers? Peter Boghossian, author of “A Manual for Creating Atheists,” another book that calls for the abandonment of religion, thinks so.

“What Harris is trying to do is say, you can experience these states without making supernatural claims,” he said. “People do have these experiences and you don’t need to believe in angels or reincarnation or to explain them, you don’t need to rely on old ancient books to explain states of consciousness.”

Harris is creating his own opportunities to explain his version of spirituality. He has shunned the usual book tour to stage, at his own expense, a string of fall appearances from Los Angeles to Boston.

YS/AMB END WINSTON

About the author

Kimberly Winston

Kimberly Winston is a freelance religion reporter based in the San Francisco Bay Area.

58 Comments

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  • Kimberly Winston,

    “I’m getting some interesting comments on Twitter. One tweeter says he parts company with Sam Harris over spirituality and another calls spirituality MORE MAGIC.”

    Aman

    Suggest to them THE PHILOKALIA.

    The face of Christianity will change as will the landscape of religion.

    Peace and Love

  • Calling it spirituality is ridiculous. He knows very well there’s no “spirit” in the religious sense. Is he trying to pander to the religious to sell more books by using that term? Talk about ego. Theists aren’t going to buy into this, and atheists will just be turned off. He’s losing credibility with me these days.

  • He has been on the “spirituality” kick for awhile now and is apparently trying to tap into the growing demand for an atheism that functions as “Religion Lite.” There is an atheist crowd that blathers about “spirituality,” consults with humanist “chaplains” and attends fake church services on Sundays.

    However, these types also tend to be heavily into “social justice” and thus already have a hate-on for Harris due to his alleged Islamophobia. He seems to have ended up in some weird no-man’s-land between faitheism and “new atheism.” Not sure what he plans on accomplishing there, but I guess his meditation keeps him happy.

  • I think more people should look into the old gods their ancestors worshipped before they converted to biblical “one god” religions. I believe in multiple gods and it makes it easier to leave others to their own beliefs. Enough of this “I’m right, you’re wrong” crap.

  • As a wise person once observed “there are no Atheists in Hell”.

    Which is very true, as I grew up in religious fundamentalist Hell, with all it’s fire, brimstone and damnation. If there had been a few decent Atheists there, it would have been less of a “Hell of an experience”!!!!

  • Wotansvolk,

    Unfortunately, many think there are “three gods in one” that make up the Biblical one God, but the Bible does not teach the man-made doctrine of the trinity.

    There is only one true God, and as Psalm 37:10,11 brings out:

    “That men may know that thou, whose name is JEHOVAH, art the Most High over all the earth.” (Psalm 83:18, King James Version)

    Jesus is the son of God, not equal to him (Matthew 3:17; John 14:28; Colossians 1:15; 1 Corinthians 11:3).

    The Holy Spirit is the active force of God which he uses to accomplish his purposes and is not a person (Psalm 104:30; 2 Peter 1:21; Acts. 4:31).

    All other “gods” are false, including Allah, who has no son; but the true God does, or his son, Jesus.

  • God’s Holiness and eternal nature set him apart from humanity. God can approach us; we cannot approach Him. We require a divine mediator who can bridge these two gaps. Christians believe that Jesus Christ is that mediator.

  • Kudos to Sam!

    The deep feeling states tapped by some religions are a wonderful ability of our human minds that no human should have to live without. I agree with Sam – we, as atheists, do not need to abstain from these – supernatural religion has no patent on them. As Dr. Carl Sagan said – *** “A religion old or new, that stressed the magnificence of the universe as revealed by modern science, might be able to draw forth reserves of reverence and awe hardly tapped by the conventional faiths. Sooner or later, such a religion will emerge. ” *****

    Sam has found one that works for many people. I hope it expands to be a life-giving, encouraging path for millions of people, while being consistent with reality.
    As Sam repeatedly points out, the word “spirituality” need not be chained to it’s etymology, and instead has already come to mean “ideas that give life meaning and purpose”.

    I have found an Earth-centered path that works for me, while also being proudly reality based. While it’s not the same as Sam’s, all these different approaches can coexist – after all, none of us think their is some Hell for heretics, and we all agree on the falsehood of the supernatural, and the need to look to mainstream, peer-reviewed science to confirm what’s real.

    Let a thousand flowers bloom as GenXers and Millennials realize that a spritituality can be reality based, and that we can enjoy all the benefits of being human and still help build a just, heathly and sustainable world.

  • “As Sam repeatedly points out, the word “spirituality” need not be chained to it’s etymology.”

    I would suggest that “spirituality” can be freed by returning to its etymology. “Spirit” is from the Latin for “breathing; wind”; its supernatural associations came later.

  • @opheliart, the reason we have the Philokalia today is because Eastern Christians preserved the writings of these fathers. Eastern Christians, and many other Orthodox Christians, continue to read and draw on the wisdom in the Philokalia. It is part of our Orthodox tradition, not a forgotten thing.

    @wotansvolk1488, I’m not precisely sure what you are referring to. I have heard a number of variations on that statement, but people often mean different things by it. Some think Constantine eradicated true Christianity (e.g., forcing a biblical canon on them), some think Arianism was suppressed, and some are just making a vague reference to what they have “heard”. A careful study of the actual history of Christianity should help you get past these misconceptions if you desire to.

  • Chris Byrum,

    @opheliart, the reason we have the Philokalia today is because Eastern Christians preserved the writings of these fathers. Eastern Christians, and many other Orthodox Christians, continue to read and draw on the wisdom in the Philokalia. It is part of our Orthodox tradition, not a forgotten thing.

    “Nevertheless I have ‘this’ against you, that you have left your first love. Remember therefore from where you have fallen …”

  • This is very troubling. Sam Harris is one of the best young guns of the New Atheism, and this “fling” with spirituality can only do him and the movement harm. I can see nothing good coming out of this. I cannot say I feel betrayed as an atheist who has always admired Sam and his writings; it’s more like seeing your mother dance the tango. “Don’t do that, Mom, it’s embarrassing!” As atheists we should always be open to new ideas, new facts and new questions. This isn’t one of those times, because the “spirituality” he’s talking about has been around for centuries It’s called “religion.”

  • Chris Byrum
    Yeah I was referring to constantine. He wiped out all the Gnostic beliefs. Thats cool you know about Arianism, they fought over influence with the Catholics, unfortunately Catholicism won.

  • Fran
    “All other gods are false”? You intolerant swine, any god that calls other gods “false” is a false god. You try to validate your religion by demonizing all other religions. Hail Odin! Hail Frey! Hail Freya! Hail Idunna! Hail Njord! Does praising some of my so-called false gods offend you? There’s a lot more than the few I mentioned, and nobody can make me stop worshipping them.

  • I am delighted that Sam Harris has called our attention to those formidable twins, experience and reflection. Belief systems are inherently destructive, in that they distort and mould our recollection until it fits some manageable form (it must be…..).
    “There is no shelf in the atheist library for these deeply transformative experiences and they are left with absurd religious stories and doctrines by which to understand them.”
    That is because too many non believers have allowed themselves to define their non belief as a specific, i.e. atheism. Darwin, and many other important non believers describe having transcendent experiences, they just do not credit the supernatural.

  • HI Jack,
    “…this “fling” with spirituality can only do him and the movement harm.”
    Sorry, but my desire to approach as close as possible to the truth (whatever that may be) exceeds my concern for “the movement”. I am not saying that politics is unimportant, only that there are much more important matters.

  • Well @opheliart, there’s not a whole lot to say in response to that given how strong your feelings obviously are. I guess I would simply say that by quoting Revelation you really just compare the Church to the Ephesians who Christ does not reject, but exhorts (and warns) to the passionate love that they expressed in the beginning of their faith. I see this struggle in the Church every day, and I am grateful that we seek together the face of a God who draws his beloved creations into his divine life. We should always exhort one another in this love; it is too easy to forget and falter.

  • Chris, “Well @opheliart, there’s not a whole lot to say in response to that given how strong your feelings obviously are. I guess I would simply say that by quoting Revelation you really just compare the Church to the Ephesians who Christ does not reject, but exhorts (and warns) to the passionate love that they expressed in the beginning of their faith. I see this struggle in the Church every day, and I am grateful that we seek together the face of a God who draws his beloved creations into his divine life. We should always exhort one another in this love; it is too easy to forget and falter.”

    Please clarify your understanding of “the Church,” Chris. Is it the Doctrine of the Faith found in the Roman Catholic Institution (along with that thorny thing called the Filioque, and the Immaculate Conception)?

    What of CHRISMATION? No one is OF “the Church” unless they are Chrismated in an Orthodox Church by Orthodox clergy?

    God is Spirit. Spirit cannot be contained … just as God is no respecter of persons … He shows no favoritism. If He shows no favoritism then why must people be Chrismated to receive the Eucharist? Look at the image on the catacombs most recently unveiled. What do you see? Is this not both Eulogy and Epiphany? Do you understand the Symbolic Art within this, Chris?

    How do the Orthodox view what the Angel tells JOHN in Revelation, Chapter 11, where it says:

    And there was given me a reed like unto a rod: and the angel stood, saying, Rise, and measure the temple of God, and the altar, and them that worship therein.

    2 But the court which is without the temple leave out, and measure it not; for it is given unto the Gentiles: and the holy city shall they tread under foot forty and two months.

    Who are the Gentiles, Chris?

    Peace and Love

  • @wotansvolk1488, I think I just mainly disagree with your original assertion which seems to imply that original Christianity was Gnostic in nature rather than Gnosticism being what it was, which is a 2nd century import. Core aspects of typical Gnosticism don’t accord with Christian teachings, for one its dualistic separation of spirit and material, to the point in some cases of characterizing the physical as evil. This obviously is not consistent with biblical characterization of creation, with the physical incarnation of Christ, or with a literal sacramental presence. All of these things are called out in Christian criticism of Gnostic influence well before the time of Constantine.

    That being said, it is a tragic evil that scars the history of the Church that the body which began under persecution has itself acted as persecutor at various points.

    Regarding Arius, interestingly, Arianism had great influence with the imperial family. St. Athanasius was exiled five times as bishop of Alexandria. He had to flee into the desert and sheltered with the monk St. Anthony, an image of whom I wear around my neck right now. The troops of the empire were on the side of Arius and his supporters (among whom were powerful Church authorities). I think a better characterization is to say that the Church survived Arianism rather than suppressing it.

  • @opheliart, I think you are challenging me to give a definition of who is in or out of the body of Christ, which is not my position to say. I am not Roman Catholic, but Melkite Greek Catholic. I guess you could say we are half-breeds of a sort :-). We worship and express ourselves theologically in the same manner as the Eastern Orthodox, but we share in communion with Roman Catholics.

    Regardless, I’m not the judge of men. If you are speaking of salvation, both Roman Catholics and Orthodox allow for the fact that God’s mercy and salvation are not constrained. We are called to pass on the faith as it was handed to us and to share the gospel and love of Christ. Something we routinely fail at (Lord have mercy). Praise God that I am not called to judge the life of God in others.

    Regarding Chrismation, it is hard to have a proper discussion of the purposes of Chrismation in a blog comment section, but I guess to be very brief I would say that if you want to eat at the table as family then share in the whole life of the family. That doesn’t mean that we can’t love each other if we don’t share at the Eucharistic table, but it seems strange to me that you would want to participate in the life of one sacrament and discard and reject another.

  • What does it matter? The self is an illusion. Everything is just matter and energy. So enlightened, why attempt to communicate to non-entities of bundles of matter with chemical reactions going on that they should realize that they are non-entities? How can religion be evil? How can anything be evil? If religious beliefs cause wars and death, so what? Life and death are just artificial constructs of the non-existent thinker.

  • …a failure to understand spiritual experiences outside the framework of faith forms “the hole” in secularism.

    Racecar Joe, your inconvenient truth fills “the hole” in Harris’s theory of everything.

    However, nonetheless, on the other hand, and paradoxically: Spirit of the Boogie by Kool & the Gang is proof positive for me that a parallel but distinct and fully populated spiritual realm exists!

  • Chris Byrum
    Point taken. You’ve really been doing your homework. Christians probably weren’t supposed to split into sects like they do today. But too many interpretations exist now. I’ll leave most of that study to christians though, my studies mainly focus on the old gods of europe. Keep the faith bro.

  • There are no such things as “decent” and “indecent”. Those are artificial ideas propagated by superstition. Science shows us that all is matter and energy, nothing more, nothing less.

  • Chris: Regarding Chrismation, it is hard to have a proper discussion of the purposes of Chrismation in a blog comment section, but I guess to be very brief I would say that if you want to eat at the table as family then share in the whole life of the family. That doesn’t mean that we can’t love each other if we don’t share at the Eucharistic table, but it seems strange to me that you would want to participate in the life of one sacrament and discard and reject another.
    RE: Eucharist
    It seems strange to me that you would reject your “brothers” for not choosing to participate in something that cannot be proven—TRANSUBSTANTIATION. What proof can you offer the many atheists on these threads, or even Sam Harris, on what your theologians have authorized on this sacrament? And how can you verify that it is only MALE ORDAINED WITHIN YOUR ORGANIZATION that are able to “contain” this form for this practice? Telling me that you are no judge is not showing me that you are NOT judging through your sacraments, CREEDS and swearing of oaths. Let your yes be yes and your no be no. You have limited God to ink, and men in vestments, along with rituals that the enemy knows how to use for stagnant purposes—keeping people believing they are somehow engaging in Spiritual Wellness through a manmade system called religion. Have you not read Neilos the Ascetic and John Klimacus on the followers of those who think themselves prophet on Truth? The enemy knows the rituals better than the ritualists. Even my Brothers and Sisters know that these men did not know all there was to know, but knew enough to ignite: Spirit filtered through human hands.

    Prophesy is active … the Evolution of God and Man, and it did not stop with Rome, or Greek Orthodoxy. The Church has not yet been “realized,” as forty and two months is not known by your religious scholars and theologians.

    The Spirit is ever-flowing, Chris. To claim one apostasy is shallow and irresolute to those like Sam. Yours is a boy’s club where women are to remain silent in the conjecture of “Gift of the Spirit.” Gift of the Spirit is a Mystery undetermined by man (as you yourself say that you are not judge), nor should it try to rule others … as the RCC and many others in pursuit of political gain of properties and expansion of religious doctrine. God is not religion. God is Spirit. Can God use as vessels individuals within but not OF religion for His Purpose? Of course, but recall:

    Many are called (invited); few are chosen.

    Who are these few, Chris? Your template saints? Your Patriarchs? If you love Sophia … where is SHE in your ordinations? Your oaths and your creeds? Where is the Feminine Spirit in the Essence and Energy of Parenthood God? Do you think your doctors stopped at the first hill and refused others that continued climb by insisting on what is heresy and what is orthodox? Generations of people, offspring of what your theologians stamped in ink … denying many … a two-fisted stance of Patriarchal voice does what in Love?

    Peace and Love

  • Now you are called and chosen. I have good news! God gives you eternal life! It’s a promise in His Son, who has entered into our mess and took everything we could throw at Him and gives us His life. Cling to His promise. Claim it as your own. It’s yours! His Body and Blood, His Life, given to you.

  • @opheliart, I don’t think I could possibly give a cohesive and reasonable response to all the stuff that you have thrown out there. I’m not even sure what you are arguing against or for other than that Christian Orthodoxy should be remade in your image. Surely you aren’t knocking anyone over to participate at the Eucharistic table with a bunch of domineering patriarchal men and brainwashed/ignorant women?

    Who is constraining you in your spiritual expression? If you want a creedless church they are not hard to find here in America. I’m not trying to be harsh, but it is a strange burden that you put upon Catholic and Orthodox Christians. You are reeling off aspects of the Church that offend you, and then charging Christians with essentially failing to live up to your own spiritual ideals.

    When I say the creed, sing the Psalms, pray, or touch my forehead to the floor before Jesus Christ, I am connected with centuries of Christians before me, and to those who hoped for what was to come. The tradition handed down through those centuries is a binding and strengthening influence. You are free of course to think it is oppressive, offensive, ignorant, and an illusion.

  • Touched a nerve didn’t I Chris Byrum? Just checking the vineyard over there in Orthodoxy … to see if it is flowing. I have been there.

    Next step in that journey: POLITICS

    Are you in agreement with what your Roman Catholic Orthodox are investing in? Do you agree that “your church” should be IN the Political arena? Do you agree that your Pope Fran should be engaging on the world stage in foreign affairs?

  • I’m certainly feeling foolish for engaging with what seems now like obvious baiting. I do hope your views soften at some point.

  • Chris : I’m certainly feeling foolish for engaging with what seems now like obvious baiting. I do hope your views soften at some point.

    Tell fr O. C. I said hello.

    Peace and Love

  • These “idols” you talk about are statues meant to represent the gods. We dont worship the statues themselves, nor do we need to have them, we know the gods are part of us. Besides, christians worship idols of jesus all the time. And how can you criticize someone for building statues to honor their gods when you take people’s money to build fancy churches.

  • Wotansvolk,

    Our Kingdom Halls where we meet for worship are simple buildings, and you will never find statutes of Jesus, anyone, or anything else in them worldwide.

  • Jack, do you realize Sam’s “fling” with spirituality lasted a decade or more BEFORE he wrote The End of Faith? I doubt he would have ended up in neuroscience if he had not had these formative experiences meditating and studying consciousness. If you really do admire Sam I urge you to read the new book, first chapter is available for free on his blog. And do two more things, watch his AAI 2007 speech on youtube and his “death and the present moment” talk. I think Sam is great for the movement precisely because he is so challenging and unconventional.

  • Re: if the human mind is to reach its full potential.
    These appear to me to be Winston’s words, but I agree with your outrage over their use. That sort of “pop psychology” expression (only using X% of your brain) was current a half century ago when my college Psychology professor remarked that he was using 100% of his potential, and if he tried to use anymore he would just plain go crazy. I know exactly what he meant.

  • Fran,
    The confusion between symbols and their objects is much more than just about statues. Crosses, holy sites, rituals, etc. are all magically endowed by most worshipers. Words too are just symbols. They too can serve as totems to be worshipped. The Bible is one such totem. Our ideas can also be objects of worship, therefore idolatry. We are but very limited beings and our understanding of ourselves is embarrassingly flawed. So, please stop lecturing us all with quotes from your favorite holy book, or to put it another way, stop your desperate idolatry for a few moments and smell the flowers. Life is a precious gift.

  • “If there were no God – there would be no atheists.”
    Stupid remark. Here is a suggested correction.
    If there were no idea of God(s), there would be no idea of atheism.

  • The last time I attended a Baptist Church was in 1960. The preacher railed against Kennedy because he was Catholic, and insisted that it was God’s will and our Christian duty to vote against that Papist . I conspicuously stormed out of the hall, never to return. Even at age 16, I knew that his behavior was uncivilized, and out of place in a worship service. It was decades later before I became a total unbeliever, but nasty Gods who toss regular folks into hell for the mere crime of being born (original sin), I never understood.

  • Hi Stephen,
    And you figured this out yourself, or did some helpful priest put these unlikely ideas in your head? Try thinking for yourself at least 15 minutes a day. That’s what my old philosophy professor suggested. It has made all the difference…..

  • Hi Joyce,
    “Christianity and Catholicism not only miss points in christ’s teachings, it also completely saturated and manipulated the message.
    It’s also a very profitable industry.”
    Congratulations! You are on the right track. Keep studying!

  • Hi Manfred,
    Fear of death, the need to belong -to matter- are powerful incentives to rationalize, and the smarter people are, the better they do it.
    Reality is indifferent to the individual. That’s the big stumbling block to acceptance.

  • What a firm grasp of the obvious meaning of his remark. Do you suppose you could take a minute to try and decipher my remark?

  • I like Sam Harris. I respectfully disagree with him on free will, morality and the God debate. My only issue with him is proselytization. The sense that people who have alternate ideas ought to change them to align with one’s own is the very one that has made religion such a destructive force. I think his contributions to the intellectual exchange are invaluable, but statements such as “Our world is driven by religious doctrines that all educated people should condemn.” indicate danger to me as it perpetuates the aspect of human nature that holds us back from evolving and progressing. To maximize human flourishing, to achieve the global compassion he/ we want, the biggest success will come through avoiding proselytic attitudes and trusting that if what we believe to be true is true, it will ultimately prove it’s self as such.

  • I notice that, like extreme Christians, extreme atheists believe there is only one way to the truth. For Christians, it’s Jesus. For atheists, it is empirical, peer-reviewed science.

  • If there was no such thing as snow skiing – ther would be no such thing as people who didn’t snow ski??? No, I don’t think so. If there were no God – there would be nothing but athiests.

  • Sam Harris and this book are, for me, more proof that meditation is at best, hit and miss. Not only were some highly respected Zen practitioners in Japan nationalists, and some even found out after their deaths to have been anti-Semites in their writings, but Harris as well condones torture and even murder with relation to what he considers extremist ideas. He’s also nationalist and unquestioning apologist for Western imperialism. It seems to me that meditation, with regards to some individuals, gives them a peace and equanimity to their radical views.

  • An atheist down deep usually has a SANTA complex. Goes to show you Christmas is truly Pagan and robs you of awe and wonder when you suddenly learn santa ain’t true. Jesus was born August 21 7BC around noontime.

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