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Week Six;Lecture Two; Sam Harris .docx

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Religious Studies
RELS 161
Ellen Goldberg

Week Six: Lecture Two Sam Harris - Philosopher and neuroscientist - Wrote, “The End of Faith,” and “The Moral Landscape” - Critical of religion - An atheist (doesn’t like that term) - Studied Hindu and Buddhist meditation in Asia - Unapologetic: about to ask very bold questions Beliefs  ‘Why we have exaggerated respect for religion? Why do we give religion special privileges?” – thinks it’s irrational  Irrational to rely on such old text without scrutiny and critique.  Tells story of suicide bomber on bus and hears a couple saying they are about to buy their first refrigerator and hits the button. He blows himself up and his neighbors and parents feel pride because he sacrificed himself for a great cause.  Wants to see what can be done to stop this Identifies relationship between beliefs and behavior.  Religious moderates have learned to respect unjustified beliefs of others.  Calls laws of religious freedom and tolerance into question Says modern knowledge is essentially incompatible with scripture  Religious moderates select passages from scripture that we can reconcile with modernity. And many of the ‘good’ passages that are kept pertain primarily to ‘ethics and morality’. Thus the role that religion in modernity plays – is guide and moral compass.  Harris argues if we ‘understood the workings of the human brain better’, we would learn that ethics and morality are not ‘God-given; Becomes
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