Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Mike Cope reviews Letter to a Christian Nation

Mike Cope, the wonderful preacher at Highland Church of Christ in Abilene, Texas, offers a surprisingly gentle review of Sam Harris' Letter to a Christian Nation.

When [Sam Harris] says that “atheism is not a philosophy . . . it is simply an admission of the obvious,” I think he’s self-deceived. Isn’t that like an overly-confident declaration of being opposed to over-confidence? And when he’s utterly amazed that “80 percent of Katrina’s survivors claim that the event has only strengthened their faith in God,” perhaps he should ask if there is more going on in this world than a scientist can test and a rationalist can figure out.

Why does faith flourish in pediatric oncology wings of hospitals? (It’s the question that led Dr. Diane Komp, a pediatric oncologist, back to faith.)

But having said that, I think Harris has done us a favor by writing honestly and clearly about what faith looks like from his perspective. He has pointed out some things that we must face if we’re going to have a voice in this world. I’d love to be in a study group with a bunch of university students working through this. I trust that our faith is not too fragile to face such arguments with compassion and truth.

For his complete blog posting on the topic, check out his blog at Preacher Mike.

I am surprised that Mike attributes honesty to Harris' argument. I've already documented 25 instances of intellectual dishonesty in Harris' slim 91 page volume (starting off with completely misrepresenting a Gallup Poll on creationism and evolution, continuing to knowingly misquoting Christian evangelicals, and ending up with falsely portraying study data that he should know is flawed).

I don't disagree with Mike that we should be ready to take atheism's best shot at our Christian beliefs, but if Harris' argument is the best shot that philosophy can offer, none of us need worry that any clear and honest thinker will have his faith shaken !

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