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Wednesday, March 21, 2007

The Future of Christianity

I have started reading Sam Harris's book The End of Faith. It reminds me of another book I intended to read but didn't get around to by Bishop Spong, Why Christianity Must Change or Die. I'm not the best at blogger technology, but here should be links to each book on Amazon.
http://www.amazon.com/Why-Christianity-Must-Change-Die/dp/0060675365/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1/002-6711379-2450444?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1174495889&sr=8-1

http://www.amazon.com/End-Faith-Religion-Terror-Future/dp/0393327655/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1/002-6711379-2450444?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1174495986&sr=1-1

Harris points out that we have typically made it taboo to criticize someones religion. I think he is right that this is terrible. Christians need to be able to stand up toe to toe with people and explain what they mean by this doctrine or that doctrine. And we need to recognize that Christianity is not stagnant, and if it becomes stagnant, as Spong predicts, it will die.

I'm more interested in reading Harris's book because it is clear that Harris thinks religion has little to offer him. His book should help me understand in what ways religion is failing people.

I won't kid you, its a tough read so far. I live with someone who believes religion is just flat evil, and that seems fairly close to Harris's position. Nonetheless, I think it is an important book for me to read, and I think Matt for turning me on to it.

1 comment:

Matt Dick said...

Clearly I have been at times very sympathetic to Harris' view. At the same time I have five to seven friends who occupy that space as "best friends" and of those five to seven, at least two are deeply, deeply religious, and I don't mean new-age spiritual, but religious in a specified way. This is odd for me.

So I attack this by reading Dawkins and Harris, but also by reading Rick Warren, the current and previous popes, listening to evangelical radio and such. What I have found has left me with a lot to think about. I especially appreciated a recent blog-coversation between Sam Harris and Andrew Sullivan, the conservative, Catholic blogger for from The Atlantic. They were direct and didn't mince words, but managed politeness for the most part.

Harris is 100% right, if one's religious belief is worth holding as vital, it should be able to bear criticism without apology.