Mike Dobbins has a thought-provoking article about Sam Harris and his new book. Here are a few excerpts:
The “unfortunate associations” Harris refers to are the very pillars of spirituality which make the word meaningful to the millions of non-religious and spiritual people, like myself, who use it. By rejecting the modern definition of spirituality that may include a higher mystical force or power, reference to a soul, or something that transcends the material world, Harris strips the word of all present day significance. In its place, he substitutes a diminutive definition based strictly on etymology. In other words, an Iron age definition only a handful of people use or are even aware exists.
An Iron Age definition. Nice! Does Sam insist on Iron Age definitions for all our words? So why does he insist on using an Iron Age definition in this case?
Apparently, Harris is looking to get a slice of the $10 billion dollar a year self-help industry. The cover of his book has a dreamy new-age design depicting a face made out of fluffy white clouds and a picturesque blue sky. The title and subtitle Waking Up: A Guide To Spirituality Without Religion are direct appeals to individuals looking for a manual for spiritual improvement. More tellingly perhaps is Harris’ recent name dropping of famous self-help gurus when discussing his book. Deepak Chopra and Eckart Tolle have recently been praised and scrutinized in his blogs and he pretentiously says his book is “Eckart Tolle for Smart People.”
Well, that would explain his decision to use such a misleading Iron Age definition.
As Sam Harris said in his book Lying, “I came away convinced that lying, even about the smallest matters, needlessly damages personal relationships and public trust.” I couldn’t agree with you more Sam. I hope you will repair the damage.
Another example of Gnu Atheist Hypocrisy?
Author’s Note: I emailed Sam Harris through his website to see if he would like to read this article before it was published and comment or clarify and received no response.
I’m shocked! Shocked, I tell ya.