I’ve read the books and articles. I’ve watched the lectures and documentaries. I’ve done the thinking and discussing. I’ve been teetering on the edge of agnosticism for a while now. Then I read this exchange between Sam Harris and Dennis Prager. That settled it for me. I’m convinced.
Prager made not a single sound argument to show that his religion was true. It was evident that he assumed correctness at the outset. It’s true, therefore it’s true, is poor reasoning. Before rational discussion can ensue, an assumption must be temporarily abandoned when it is the assumption itself that’s being brought into question. (I can hear the skeptical reader exclaiming, “But an atheist assumes God doesn’t exist!” That is incorrect. An atheist assumes nothing at all—not God, not leprechauns, not the Flying Spaghetti Monster.)
It came as no surprise then that Prager failed to notice Harris’ most compelling point (rightly exemplified by Russell’s teapot): one can assume anything, therefore the inability to prove something false isn’t reason to believe it’s true. This point demands an answer to the essential question Prager beat around the bush: “Why assume Christianity?”
It might have helped Harris to have introduced a fictional character who was in no way predisposed to any religion but who had learned about them all and was undecided as to which to believe. How could one convince this neutral character that Christianity is the one true religion? Harris could quickly show that there is no reason at all for one to decide that any religion is more correct than another unless, of course, one is already biased.
“Everyone has rejected an infinite number of spurious claims about God. The atheist simply rejects one more.”
Part of me almost feels the need to be apologetic for my newfound view, as if it were inherently disrespectful or arrogant. I think I’m prone to passivity in order to avoid confrontation. It’s time for me to evolve.