Sam Harris – Morality and the Christian God

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What Sam Harris asks for, Sam Harris receives. He put out a challenge to video editors to make a video for his speech on morality, and it was as if he was talking directly to me. I thank the all mighty non-existent God that people like Sam are willing and able to concisely and with devastating impact put forward the argument against religion. His voice and his ideas are LONG overdue and severely needed. 

Video by Devon Tracey


Written By: YouTube
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47 COMMENTS

  1. They are all going to Hell. Your god is wrong, according to another religion. Your religion, whatever it is, is another religion. Sam is a Judaeo-Christian atheist. And worse — an American. Oh so American. Good job, though. Nice video as well.

      • In reply to #10 by ThereIsGrandeur:

        Judaeo-Christian Atheist? Aldous, that seems to be a contradiction of terms

        Atheists have a god they don’t believe in. There are Protestant atheists and Catholic atheists. The particular god we reject is the one we’re brought up with. Americans are always talking about Judaeo-Christian values.This seems to come from the dual patriotism of supporting the USA and its special friend Israel.

        • In reply to #12 by aldous:

          In reply to #10 by ThereIsGrandeur:

          Judaeo-Christian Atheist? Aldous, that seems to be a contradiction of terms

          Atheists have a god they don’t believe in. There are Protestant atheists and Catholic atheists. The particular god we reject is the one we’re brought up with. Americans are always talkin…

          Atheists are people who hold no beliefs in gods.

          Michael

        • In reply to #12 by aldous:

          In reply to #10 by ThereIsGrandeur:

          Atheists have a god they don’t believe in. There are Protestant atheists and Catholic atheists. The particular god we reject is the one we’re brought up with.

          I wasn’t brought up with any god. I’m equally dismissive of the likelihood of any existing.

        • In reply to #12 by aldous:

          In reply to #10 by ThereIsGrandeur:

          Judaeo-Christian Atheist? Aldous, that seems to be a contradiction of terms

          Atheists have a god they don’t believe in. There are Protestant atheists and Catholic atheists. The particular god we reject is the one we’re brought up with. Americans are always talking about Judaeo-Christian values.This seems to come from the dual patriotism of supporting the USA and its special friend Israel.

          No way! As is often discussed when atheist billboards go up the correct phrase should be “gods” not god. I can’t imagine any thinking atheist taking that position consciously, it’s part of the package. Many of us don’t have a default god to atheist against anyway so it doesn’t mean anything to many.

          I certainly don’t believe in any god more than I believe in other gods or unicorns.

          “Judaeo-Christian” is a term used by christians to try to not sound exclusive and to give themselves more importance. It can nearly always be replaced with “christian” which is obviously code for MY SPECIFIC AND EXACT FORM OF CHRISTIANITY YOU HEATHEN.

          • In reply to #24 by alaskansee: and all similar posts!

            No way! As is often discussed when atheist billboards go up the correct phrase should be “gods” not god.

            This topic is to do with the Christian God specifically. I agree that many points can be applied to other gods aswell, but let’s not derail the topic.

          • In reply to #25 by Peter Grant:

            In reply to #24 by alaskansee: and all similar posts!

            No way! As is often discussed when atheist billboards go up the correct phrase should be “gods” not god.

            This topic is to do with the Christian God specifically. I agree that many points can be applied to other gods aswell, but let’s not derail…

            I know we’re fishing for trout but someone caught a perch, what was I supposed to do? I disagree with a post, you are asking me not to change the topic of someone else’s post. Your’s is another isn’t it?

          • In reply to #25 by Peter Grant:

            In reply to #24 by alaskansee: and all similar posts!

            No way! As is often discussed when atheist billboards go up the correct phrase should be “gods” not god.

            This topic is to do with the Christian God specifically. I agree that many points can be applied to other gods aswell, but let’s not derail…

            Wait a minute, the original post WAS about the christian gods! My comment was also about the christian gods! Having said that my comment also applies to all other gods.

            Also Life of Brian bla bla bla. There you happy?

          • In reply to #29 by Peter Grant:

            In reply to #28 by alaskansee:

            There you happy?

            Sort of…

            Good, you’re usually the one with the jokes.

          • In reply to #30 by alaskansee:

            Good, you’re usually the one with the jokes.

            Sorry, I’m just not sure where the plurality of gods starts, is it with the trinity or polytheism?

          • In reply to #31 by Peter Grant:

            In reply to #30 by alaskansee:

            Good, you’re usually the one with the jokes.

            Sorry, I’m just not sure where the plurality of gods starts, is it with the trinity or polytheism?

            I have always found monotheism to be against the norm. There are no singular authorities on anything in the world. In a parliamentary democracy its the parliament that holds the ultimate power, not the prime minister. This notion of a patriarch (or a matriarch) leading the people disgusts me. Like every other job in the world, its a job that requires you to win public support. That is all to it.

            I will never understand this unique Anglo-American tendency to look up to the monarch or the president as this monotheistic god’s chosen singular head of state to rule the god’s chosen people in the god’s own country. I will never understand why the head of state should give a speech when there is a calamity or when there is a national event. After all, most often than not, they tend not to be the most erudite or the most contributing members of the society.

            For e.g., in case of a national calamity in UK, I would rather hear AC Grayling or Colin McGinn discuss the issue on a national broadcast than either David Cameron or the Queen. Same would be true for US, I would rather listen to Noam Chomsky or Steven Pinker. These people know what they are talking about and they have contributed more to humanity than say, Obama or people like him.

            I think, this undue attention to a single leader is a by product of monotheism. Having grown up in India*, I cannot fathom this idea of truly infallible great leader, be it the queen or the president as god’s chosen representative.

            Note: I suppose, it is more to do with Southern India. There have always been national leaders and cult figures in most of North Indian history, for e.g. Gandhi. Southern India still retains a lot of its anarchic history. Until 19th century most of Southern India remained as independent territories. British rule was the first ever construct in which the north and south was under a single authority. From Bene Israel tribes to Thomas the apostle, monotheists lived alongside polytheists for around 2500 years without any forced conversions or discrimination.

          • In reply to #31 by Peter Grant:

            In reply to #30 by alaskansee:

            Good, you’re usually the one with the jokes.

            Sorry, I’m just not sure where the plurality of gods starts, is it with the trinity or polytheism?

            The simple answer is aldous’s post #12, apparently there is a catholic god and a protestant god, etc. I do think the the trinity was invented to encompass yahweh and jesus without excluding yahweh and of course ghosts!

        • In reply to #12 by aldous:

          In reply to #10 by ThereIsGrandeur:

          Judaeo-Christian Atheist? Aldous, that seems to be a contradiction of terms

          Atheists have a god they don’t believe in. There are Protestant atheists and Catholic atheists. The particular god we reject is the one we’re brought up with. Americans are always talkin…

          The term “Judaeo-Christian ” seems to have made an appearance in the last ten years or so by my reckoning. No doubt it has it’s origins in the close alliance between Israel and the US. I must admit, it has a rather inclusive ring, and I felt pleased when I first heard it because it seemed to be the end of latent anti-semitism. It’s saying that we’re all one big happy family now!

          No matter what the brand, creed or flavour, of the message being presented to us, it’s all equally ridiculous.

          • In reply to #33 by Nitya:

            The term “Judaeo-Christian ” seems to have made an appearance in the last ten years or so by my reckoning. No doubt it has it’s origins in the close alliance between Israel and the US. I must admit, it has a rather inclusive ring, and I felt pleased when I first heard it because it seemed to be the end of latent anti-semitism. It’s saying that we’re all one big happy family now!

            It goes back a lot further than that and as far as I know it has nothing to do with Israel. I always assumed it was due to the fact that the Jews and Christians share a big part of their dogma, i.e., the old testament.

          • In reply to #34 by Red Dog:

            In reply to #33 by Nitya:

            The term “Judaeo-Christian ” seems to have made an appearance in the last ten years or so by my reckoning. No doubt it has it’s origins in the close alliance between Israel and the US. I must admit, it has a rather inclusive ring, and I felt pleased when I first heard it b…

            I can see why that should be so, but I honestly don’t recall hearing the term until fairly recently. Perhaps the term was in use in the the US, but had not filtered down to Australia. We’re always a few years behind with word trends.

          • In reply to #36 by Nitya:
            >

            Perhaps the term was in use in the the US, but had not filtered down to Australia. We’re always a few years behind with word trends.

            From the 19th century, actually. See Judeo-Christian.

          • In reply to #37 by Quine:

            In reply to #36 by Nitya:

            Perhaps the term was in use in the the US, but had not filtered down to Australia. We’re always a few years behind with word trends.

            From the 19th century, actually. See Judeo-Christian.

            It has obviously taken a long time to come to my attention. Perhaps it’s the context in which it’s written that I find unusual? Anyway, I come across the term frequently now, whereas in my youth I never encountered the term.

          • In reply to #37 by Quine:

            From the 19th century, actually. See Judeo-Christian.

            Oddly, since Islam retains more of Old Testament morality than Christianity, it would make more sense to talk of Judeo-Islamic values, but that would go against the pro-Israel rhetoric of American conservatives.

            The significance of words can evolve over time. Wikipedia is very useful but it’s always worth reading the whole article to avoid being inadequately informed. Since 9/11, It (the term Judeo-Christian) is used more than ever by some Conservative thinkers and journalists, who use it to discuss the Islamic threat to America, the dangers of multiculturalism, and moral decay in a materialist, secular age.

  2. This is possibly Sam’s finest such piece. It is an admirable evocation of religion’s poison.

    When so much is right it is easy to criticise the small details. So forgive me…

    Just one thing extra needed in the text to stop apologists dismissing this as ignorant of Yaweh’s “purpose” when God can’t or won’t stop suffering. The Irenaean Theodicy argues for a moral/spiritual education through suffering. Easily dismissed as a moral process by the wild inequity of suffering.

    Good video but don’t use clips with foregound people speaking….and don’t use Team America Muslims. Less of the in-house jokes. Its not for us. Sam is quiet voiced. The visuals are better sad/downbeat than jokey.

      • In reply to #6 by Peter Grant:

        In reply to #3 by phil rimmer:

        I liked the pop culture references, also spotted Life of Brian!

        Yeah, about four LoB clips. It was the sermon on the mount one that had the talking which looked a bit odd to me amongst a few others. Truly though, I think using de Mille, Mel Gibson and the like whilst less entertaining for us may let it access more of the people we need it to.

        This is after all possibly the biggest single moral catastrophe in the last thousand years. Can’t think of a bigger one.

        Me, I’m just about to put on Team America….AIDS!…….AIDS, AIDS, AIDS!!! Love it.

      • In reply to #6 by Peter Grant:

        In reply to #3 by phil rimmer:

        I liked the pop culture references, also spotted Life of Brian!

        the pic in the background of the title slide is from Monty Python and the Holy Grail

  3. This excerpt is from a debate Sam conducted with apologist William Lane Craig a couple of years ago.It is worth watching the whole debate on youtube.Sam is on good form throughout and Lane Craig is a complete arsehole!

  4. I think, at least in the beginning, the footage is too distressing. Watching this is so devastating that it is difficult to listen to the words. I liked it better just to see Sam speak, that gave me time to think about what he was saying.

  5. I hope I’ve not fallen victim to confirmation bias when I say that I cannot comprehend how anyone could possibly fail to accept the blinding logic of this analysis, but I’m certain that many will do just that.

    To still believe in religious mumbo jumbo at this time is nothing short of shameful.

    This really does make it abundently clear that religion is the gravest self-inflicked wound humanity suffers.

    • In reply to #18 by Stafford Gordon:

      I hope I’ve not fallen victim to confirmation bias when I say that I cannot comprehend how anyone could possibly fail to accept the blinding logic of this analysis, but I’m certain that many will do just that.

      To still believe in religious mumbo jumbo at this time is nothing short of shameful.

      Thi…

      We all fall victim to confirmation bias – I stopped the video after 3 minutes because it totally unmoved me.

  6. In reply to #16 by nlib1:

    I think, at least in the beginning, the footage is too distressing.

    Good! Remember the creotards need visual aids, the words alone obviously aren’t getting through…

    The images didn’t bother me in the least, but then (as a citizen of the real world) I’m kinda numb with shock already :)

  7. A great number of the religious live in cloud cuckoo land as far as the harsh reality of pain and suffering is concerned.When something goes terribly wrong in their own lives, then some get angry at GoD and ask him all sorts of foolish questions, chief amongst which is that prizewinner,WHY ME.

    When my son was involved in an accident and climbed out without a scratch although the car was a total wreck people attributed this to god and the word ‘miracle’ kept on popping up. Ungrateful atheist that I am,I attributed his safety to the physics of the crash and the fact that he was wearing his seatbelt.As I said to the ‘ miracle faction’, why did god not prevent the dog running across a freeway,why did he not intervene BEFORE the crash.
    Given the nastiness and constant miseries that are a large part of too many people’s lives, it’s amazing that people believe in a god and one who is supposedly loving, merciful and just.

    Sam Harris has done a splendid job trying to point out the obvious nonexistence of a god, but the religious, being the way they are will for the most part, I suspect, not be swayed.

  8. To steal a quote from Herb Silverman:

    When a Jewish atheist heard that the best school in town happened to be Catholic, he enrolled his son. Things were going very well until one day the boy came home and said he had learned all about the Father, the Son, and Holy Ghost. His father, barely able to control his rage, seized his son by the shoulders and said: “David, this is very important, so listen carefully. There is only one God—and we don’t believe in Him!”

  9. One of my all time favorites from Sam Harris!

    The video, on the other hand is kind of goofy in lots of places. Lots of incoherent images that don’t fit with what he’s talking about. I like Ricky Gervais too, but what was the point of showing the clip of him opening a Bible and walking around on stage? And what’s with the Indian woman superimposed so she is standing next to Sam at the podium? Just weird!

  10. On a recent PBS program about the life of Christ, one commentator likened the loaves and fishes miracle to “a dinner and a show.” It made me angry to think that if someone had the ability to feed a bunch of people at will, why have so many mothers watched their children die of starvation in the intervening two thousand years. The commentator did the not help his ’cause’, but strengthened my resolve to repeat his stupid statement and my reaction to it in public whenever I get the chance.

    Thank you Mr. Harris, and please keep up your good work.

  11. In reply to #13 by Agrajag:

    In reply to #12 by aldous:

    The particular god we reject is the one we’re brought up with.

    Excuse me… I thought we reject them all !

    We do, but I agree, if you are brought up Christian catholic, I think for many, the first thought is I reject the god I have been taught about, and then you end up extending that to all gods and all variants of religion.

    Plus, in communities where your family’s religion is part of your identity (e.g. which football team you support, such as in the UK), then knowing if you’re a catholic atheist or a protestant atheist tells someone a LOT about who you are ;-)

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