Commenting on Sam Harris and his facile denunciations of religion, Mike Gene hits the mark:
Harris ends with this basic argument: “There is no question that many people do good things in the name of their faith Ã¢â‚¬â€ but there are better reasons to help the poor, feed the hungry and defend the weak than the belief that an Imaginary Friend wants you to do it. Compassion is deeper than religion. As is ecstasy. It is time that we acknowledge that human beings can be profoundly ethical Ã¢â‚¬â€ and even spiritual Ã¢â‚¬â€ without pretending to know things they do not know.”
But these are empty words. For example, is Harris (or Dawkins) recognized as someone who displays compassion? He can talk about it and write about it, but does he live it? What has the rich Sam Harris done to Ã¢â‚¬Å“help the poor, feed the hungry and defend the weak?Ã¢â‚¬Â And while there are dozens of atheist organizations that bash religion, where are those that refrain from bashing religion, but instead devote most of their energy to Ã¢â‚¬Å“help the poor, feed the hungry and defend the weak?Ã¢â‚¬Â For example, every Christmas, you canÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t miss the Salvation Army people collecting money to Ã¢â‚¬Å“help the poor, feed the hungry and defend the weak.Ã¢â‚¬Â Why donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t we also see the Ã¢â‚¬Å“Army for ReasonÃ¢â‚¬Â doing the same thing every Darwin Day? And if we did, would it be a PR stunt or would the desire be genuine?
If Harris wants to claim there are Ã¢â‚¬Å“better reasons to help the poor, feed the hungry and defend the weak,Ã¢â‚¬Â he needs more than rhetoric. He needs a rich tradition of action to draw from. As it stands, he would struggle to come up with examples.