So what's the deal here, I mean we see all this press about the New Atheists, which I have to say is a bit of a misnomer, considering most of what they are spewing are old rehashed or outdated arguments.
Take Hitchens book Portable Atheist, it's a mashup of clips from men of old that spout the antiquated musings of premodern England. Now there are a few that have a bit more current statements but still nothing that really changes the course if you will. Dawkins book God Delusion really was nothing more than sophomoric belly aching, and whining that even most right minded Atheists said wasn't worth the paper it was printed on. Stenger while a bit more scientific in his approach still lands himself in s bit of science fiction with his view on "life force" referring to ESP and chi (not chai) along with psychics (listen I can't make this stuff up, read for yourself in God: The Failed Hypothesis- pg 85) keep in mind all these guys endorsed his book too....
I really was hoping for a bit more from Sammy Harris, but when he makes comments like, "If I could wave a magic wand and get rid of either rape or religion, I would not hesitate to get rid of religion." as well as this gem: Saltman: Are you a Buddhist practitioner?
Harris: I’m a practitioner, but I don’t really think of myself as a Buddhist. Buddhism can be distinguished from other religions because it’s nontheistic. But I think Buddhists have to get out of the religion business altogether and talk about what the human mind is like, what the potential for human happiness is, and what are some reasonable approaches to seeking happiness in this world.
Saltman: How did you come to Buddhist practice?
Harris: I came to it initially through a few drug experiences. I had a brief psychedelic phase around twenty years ago that convinced me, if nothing else, that it was possible to have a very different experience of the world. I began reading about mysticism and contemplative experience, and it led me to Buddhist practice — Dzogchen practice, in particular.
Saltman: So you see Buddhist meditation not as a religious practice, but as something that can yield results.
Harris: Clearly, there are results to any religious practice. A Christian might say, “If you pray to Jesus, you’ll notice a change in your life.” And I don’t dispute that. The crucial distinction between the teachings of Buddhism and the teachings of Western religions is that with Buddhism, you don’t have to believe anything on faith to get the process started.
(note the key is Harris has a clear opposition to faith, but he is cool with mysticism, just don't call it religion)
If you want to learn Buddhist meditation, I could tell you how to do it, and at no point would you have to believe in God or an afterlife.
(Buddhism teaches reincarnation, and that seems plausible to you?)
Whereas if you’re going to be a Christian and worship Jesus to the exclusion of every other historical prophet, you have to accept that he was the Son of God, born of a virgin, and so on.
(but to follow the path of Buda to the exclusion of all other prophets is ok.??.)
And I would argue that those beliefs are unjustifiable, no matter what the results of Christian practice are.
(yes he did say "no matter what the results are", some scientific method at work there, for sure)
The fact that you prayed to Jesus and your life was completely transformed is not evidence of the divinity of Jesus, nor of the fact that he was born of a virgin, because there are Hindus and Buddhists having precisely the same experience, and they never think about Jesus.
(I know of no Hindu or Buddhist who has had "precisely" the same experience as Christians, each religion is so diametrically different from one another there isn't the same experience, there is no salvation, through faith in either of those, or trust in an eternal everlasting life.... So no Sammy you're wrong)
(Parenthetical statements are mine)
I have to say Sammy seems really conflicted!
Bottom line here at least at this point, and don't get me started on Dawkins and his incredulous meme theory. I mean really let's think logically about this, for him it's ok to have memes, bodiless, essenceless, little mental critters that can infect someone and create a belief system in them, like a virus but to him the Holy Spirit is complete fairy tale stuff..... Ya sure....
Dawkins is a nominal scientist but a horrible theologian, but I said don't get me started, so I'll stop.
Bottom line, while we see all these supposed great thinkers, these "brights" as Dennett calls them really seem to think as long as they shout loud enough and try to sell enough books, which by the way I have to say the fact that one can get a book on the best seller list needn't prove it's accuracy, remember Joel Osteens been there, and currently Chelsea Handler is there (twice). But the evidence I want to ask them is, what good are you doing by all this whipping in the wind, have you built any wells in Africa lately like Bloodwater Mission, have you feed any orphans like Compassion International, have you pulled underaged prostitutes off the street like my friends in Myanmar? By the way all in the name of this as Dawkins put it, "oppressive, violent, degenerate god." and really Sammy you would choose rape over religion.... It pains me to think you would say that to a woman who was raped, but look into her eyes and see if you really truly still believe this, then look in the eyes of that little child who never had fresh drinking water and take that from him, who wins in your world?