— Sam Harris
Sam Harris, “Re-Evolution” Debate, 18/11/2009 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uKWZ3a4XlQI&t=35s
Kontext: The truth is that religion, as we speak of it – Islam, Christianity, Judaism – is based on the claim that God dictates certain books. He doesn’t code software, he doesn’t produce films, he doesn’t score symphonies, he is an author. And this claim has achieved credibility because these books are deemed so profound they could not have possibly been written by human authors. Please consider for a moment how differently we treat scientific claims and texts and discoveries. Isaac Newton went into isolation for 18 months starting in the year 1665. When he came out of his solitude he had invented the calculus; he had discovered the laws of motion and universal gravitation; he had single-handedly created the field of optics. No one thinks this was anything but a man’s labor. And it took 200 hundred years of continuous ingenuity on the part of some of the smartest people who ever lived to substantially improve upon Newton’s work. How difficult would it be to improve the Bible? Anyone in this room could improve this supposedly inerrant text scientifically, historically, ethically, spiritually – in moments. If God loves us and wanted to guide us with a book of morality, it’s very strange to have given us a book that supports slavery, that demands that we murder people for imaginary crimes like witchcraft. The true basis for hope in our world is open-ended conversation, and religion has shattered our world into competing moral communities. What we have to convince ourselves of is – that love and curiosity is enough for us – and intellectual honesty is the guardian of that.