Thursday, April 5, 2007

now reading

10:21 PM Posted by: M., 7 comments

I am reading this right now. It is from the current Newsweek.

It is a debate between Rick Warren and Atheist Sam Harris.

Warren seems like kind of a dumbass. That's mean--just an ass. But then again, it is all perspective because a year ago I would have praised him and trashed the atheist. how weird


HeIsSailing said...

We had a Small Group bible study based on Warren's Purpose Driven Life. Even as a believing Christian, I found it just pandering and infantile. I must commend him for his generosity however. I know next to nothing about Sam Harris. I read the article - in fairness I think both sides just swapped tired old lines that have been repeated many times before. There are lots of sterotypes that both sides are guilty of hurling. I don't think a reader of Newsweek is going to come away with anything new from this interview.

I think the real way to get the general public to view Warren with suspicion is to just get him to expound on his beliefs. What if Larry King asked the following questions:

OK Rick, let me get this straight - you believe in a literal Noah? And an ark? With the animals and everything?

RIck, you believe in a literal tower of Babel. The acievements of modern humanity pales the old tower of Babel by comparison. We have also pretty much undone God's confusion of the languages curse with the Internet and Technology. Is God mad at us because we undid his curses?

You went nonPC on Mr Harris and said you feared the state of his eternal soul. What about me, Rick? Do I deserve hell? Do *you* deserve hell? Please elaborate.

Just a few questions like this from Larry King would be a ratings winner!

marie said...

Thanks HIS... I agree about the article. I think what dissapointed me the most is that Rick Warren is supposed to be this totally influential, great pastor--yet when I read that article I want him to shut the hell up. He gives dumb answers and just cannot offer anything to me that makes sense. That is also just perspective, but it is sad to me and makes me think that christianity in my life is sailing away in the distance.

I love your idea of Larry King!! That would be great to see and interesting. Maybe he could have Rick Warren and Donald Miller (Blue like Jazz guy) on at the same time!

I wish I could give credit to Warren...but my soul is just dissapointed.

Do you know any books that are like really lengthy debates between atheists and christians?

eddie{F} said...

Just a few questions like this from Larry King would be a ratings winner!
But then again, King won’t go there, because it’s politically incorrect in this country … It’s all about ratings … how sad!

HeIsSailing said...

Hi marie. No, I have not read any real debates between athiests and christians. I have seen some online, but they just look like they would be tedious reading to me. I dunno, just not really my style, that's all. But I think I saw a William Lane Craig vs Bart Ehrman Battle Royal once somewhere on - check it out.

Last night, I put a long article up where I briefly review every stinking book I have read in the past year. Check it out if you want and tell me if you read any of them. It has the added feature where I call 'Blue Like Jazz' infantile trash, for what that is worth. When I read books, I try to stick to basic facts and reasoned argument, whether Christian or not. As I read arguments I just ask myself - does that arguement work? I can discount many apologetic arguments by asking, "would that argument work on any other religion or belief system"? Many times, the answer is Yes. So I just kind of debate with myself while I read.

JumpingFromConclusions said...

Thanks for the link, Marie. Warren does not come across as an expert at all in this article. Harris didn't really wow me with anything here either, but I think he definitely came across better than Warren.

He uses the "you just don't want a boss" and "without God, you have no purpose; you're just going to die" arguments that every Christian with a keyboard and a desire to save infidel souls uses. He even basically made the argument, "Well are you telling me all the people who have believed in God are wrong? That many people!?"

Warren's "rational decision" to become a Christian is attributed to Jesus saying he is the truth here. That's not quite what I was expecting when he said he studied all the world religions and came to a decision.

Here was the biggest "OUCH" in my mind for Warren though.

WARREN: . . .For instance, I look at the world and I say, "God likes variety." I say, "God likes beauty." I say, "God likes order," and the more we understand ecology, the more we understand how sensitive that order is.

HARRIS: Then God also likes smallpox and tuberculosis.

Warren also made a veiled statement implying that we should return to our "historic roots" as Americans to Chrisianity.

Also, he argues for hell (veiled), by saying he hopes Hitler doesn't get away with what he did. What about all the people who didn't know what to believe? Do they deserve the same punishment as Hitler? Because in his view, that's what they're gonna get.

Thanks again for the link.

HeIsSailing said...

eddie sez:
"Just a few questions like this from Larry King would be a ratings winner!
But then again, King won’t go there, because it’s politically incorrect in this country … It’s all about ratings … how sad! "

Well, last year I heard Terry Gross of the NPR interview show 'Fresh Air' do something similar with Evangelist John Hagee. The topic was the Christian perspective on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and Hagee was given lots of time to give his view on the matter as a Fundamentalist. It all went ok, but at the end, Terry Gross asked Hagee something completely off topic. "So, What did you think about Hurricane Katrina? Do you believe that was a judgement from God?" Ouch! Hagee said that he did not know for sure, but perhaps it was considering that there was to be some kind of gay rights rally or parade or something in New Orleans, but Katrina put a halt to those plans. Double Ouch!
Not only did Hagee discredit himself to the secular world, but with that statement to a nationwide radio audience, he put Fundamentalism under a microscope. Unfortunately, that kind of position is supported Biblically, and it is tough to sell, and even a little embarrassing when you are a Christian (I ought to know).

agnosis said...

I haven't listened to/read the discussion in an attempt to maintain my intellectual integrity. Even if the most brilliant atheist in the world were speaking with Warren, there just wouldn't be much to work with. He's an embarrassment not only to christianity but to the sector of humanity that gives him two ounces worth of credibility.

As far as books that contain debates between christians and atheists, there ae a number of them out there by such apologists as William Lane Craig, JP Moreland and Gary Habermas. There's a lot of debate transcripts on-line at Leadership University's sit ( They may be a bit technical and "tedious," but worth the reads if you like philosophical discussions.