Saturday, March 27, 2010

CNN indirectly endorses the anti-religion movement

Given my recent post titled "Founding fathers rejected virtuous atheism, shouldn't we?" I thought it was relevant to discuss a recent CNN news feature ( This mainstream media report discusses the message of Sam Harris. He studied philosophy at Stanford University, and received his doctoral degree in neuroscience from UCLA. Laudable achievements that I commend, until I discovered the way in which Harris has decided to "help" society.

Harris gained much fame for his books titled "The End of Faith" and "Letter to a Christian Nation." These books topped the New York Times bestsellers list. He even received a literary award. More recently, Harris founded "Project Reason", a nonprofit organization which he has dedicated to marginalizing religious values within society. It is Harris' belief that science has all the answers that rational beings need and secular values are sufficient for a stable society.

Why Harris has received so much acclaim escapes me. His work isn't seminal or novel. In fact, it merely plagiarizes past atheistic sentiment. Most of the CNN video clip shows Harris incoherently rambling from one topic to another, blaming religion for all the world's ills, as well as our inability to overcome them. He belittles the religious for having false certainty without proof, in other words faith. However, he then goes on to make unsubstantiated claims of his own, which is apparently okay as long as he's not religious.

In our current times of uncertainty, it is tempting for people to believe that Harris' message will offer a new pathway forward. But proceed with caution, for such a belief is more likely to lead to societal regression, and consequently, more frightening times. Imagine a world where man is supreme and beholden to none for his actions in this world. Can we say "Lord of the Flies?"

Before one even considers following Harris' message, it is important to point out the fallacious nature of his argument. When one does so, it becomes obvious that the atheist movement is not a loftier more righteous path, but just a more judgmental or elitist one. The reason I say this is because this counter-cultural movement is rooted in the belief that we, the contemporary generation, are superior intellectually to the previous ones. It exhibits complete disregard for the numerous great minds that have spanned the ages from all disciplines like mathematics, science, literature, art and philosophy. This movement is like the dog that bites the hand off the one that feeds him.

In addition to this arrogant belief, Harris makes another unsubstantiated logical leap to arrive at his atheistic solution. If our science and knowledge is truly greater than our predecessors, as he believes, then our forefathers' reverence for religion must surely be inferior as well. Ergo, our modern age has rendered religion defunct and unenlightened. However, I would contend that our society's continued respect for classical art, music, literature, philosophy, law, architecture, mathematics and science is irrefutable proof that Harris's logic is actually flawed. In fact, the old is not dead, but deeply alive and central to everything modern. The only difference that I can see between the modern and past intellectual elites, is that the past ones pursued knowledge and truth with humility.

Sadly, when I was younger and misguided I could see plausibility in Harris' argument. But now, I attribute that to the fact that man's ego distorts reality. In actuality, we are not unique because human nature has changed very little over the ages. We are still driven and motivated by the same good desires, and struggle with the same destructive temptations. The need for religious values is no more obsolete than will air be for our very breathe.

It is true freedom to live in a country where people like Sam Harris can publish and share his viewpoint. However, we should question why CNN and the mainstream mass communications market only ever highlight Harris's atheistic viewpoint. Such practices have the same effect on society as propaganda movements, whereby presenting one view often enough will make it appear that there is only one logical view. After all, when mainstream media demands secularization this inevitably creates a monopolistic control on the public conversation that can only be filled by the views espoused by people like Harris. This propagates the notion that no one intelligent believes in religion because no one is allowed to be publicly seen talking about it anymore. It is the blind leading the blind.

In CNN's article, Harris discusses that religion is detracting us from more pressing geopolitical issues. I think Harris' myopic viewpoint that the challenges we face today are more terrifying than those of our forefathers is the real lie. Like our predecessors, there is fear of the future and uncertainty over whether we can rise to the task. The one true and tested way that human kind has persevered through the centuries of doubt has been through men of character shaped by their faith and religious virtue. So next time you hear sentiments like these, ask why the war on religion? It's led us this far.

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