So Sam Harris is at it, again, this time in an Opinion piece in today’s Los Angeles Times. Ostensibly, the piece is about CA Congressman Pete Stark coming out of the closet to declare himself rational on the issue of religious belief; in essence, letting everyone know that, unlike most of them, he doesn’t profess to literally believe in an Imaginary Friend.
It kind of puts this entry of mine from way back in a different light for me. Setting his politics aside, I do have sympathy for nonbelievers who must endure living in a world where 9 of 10 people they encounter are, for lack of a better description, partially insane. You never quite know for sure whether you’re dealing wholly with a person’s insane compartment, or some hybrid that’s at least partially contaminated by the insanity. Realizing that this is a bit "convenient" to say, it is nonetheless obvious to point out that the insane rarely understand the nature of their insanity (kinda by definition). As such, though you can probably never fully trust anybody with free will, I think that goes doubly so for grown adults willing to believe in the literal equivalent of Santa Claus.
And so it goes. You want a good look and a good laugh at "God’s Dupes?" Check out the comments to this post at Newsbusters – "Exposing and Combating Liberal Media Bias." Alright. Well how about "exposing and combating" some conservative Christian lunacy? But no matter. If anything, the comments lend perfect support to Harris’ assertion.
The problem is that wherever one stands on this continuum, one
inadvertently shelters those who are more fanatical than oneself from
criticism. Ordinary fundamentalist Christians, by maintaining that the
Bible is the perfect word of God, inadvertently support the
Dominionists — men and women who, by the millions, are quietly working
to turn our country into a totalitarian theocracy reminiscent of John
Calvin’s Geneva. Christian moderates, by their lingering attachment to
the unique divinity of Jesus, protect the faith of fundamentalists from
public scorn. Christian liberals — who aren’t sure what they believe
but just love the experience of going to church occasionally — deny the
moderates a proper collision with scientific rationality. And in this
way centuries have come and gone without an honest word being spoken
about God in our society.
I grew up amongst fundamentalist, "born-again" Christians. They really do want to rule the world, and they want everyone to burn in hell — experiencing literal eternal torment — who ultimately refuses to submit. Moreover, they believe this to be their literal destiny — whether in "this" life, or their imagined after "life." To the extent they deny that, any single one of them, they’re bold-face liars, too embarrassed to honestly confront the lunatic insanity and sadistic fantasies they harbor.
Going easy on them is in no one’s best interest.