Monday, April 2, 2007

Sam Harris vs Rick Warren Cage Match...


WARREN: Sam makes all kinds of assertions based on his presuppositions. I'm willing to admit my presuppositions: there are clues to God. I talk to God every day. He talks to me.

HARRIS: What does that actually mean?

WARREN: One of the great evidences of God is answered prayer. I have a friend, a Canadian friend, who has an immigration issue. He's an intern at this church, and so I said, "God, I need you to help me with this," as I went out for my evening walk. As I was walking I met a woman. She said, "I'm an immigration attorney; I'd be happy to take this case." Now, if that happened once in my life I'd say, "That is a coincidence." If it happened tens of thousands of times, that is not a coincidence.

There must have been times in your ministry when you've prayed for someone to be delivered from disease who is not—say, a little girl with cancer.

WARREN: Oh, absolutely.

HARRIS: So, parse that. God gave you an immigration attorney, but God killed a little girl.

My opinion:

There are some very primary examples of compartmentalization and argumentative detours in this article. Harris seems willing to butt-heads directly with the issue, but Warren appears to think very tangentially and seems to have no problems going off into a segue that is only loosely related to the question at hand.

The above sample seems to illustrate the basic compartmentalization of the faith-thinker, who sees god as omni-benevolent and is able, within this compartment, to write off the horrible stuff as 'mysterious' or 'unfathomable to imperect-humanity'.

I think Harris does well to sum it up with the statement:

HARRIS: I don't want to pretend to be certain about anything I'm not certain about.

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