May 5, 2008

Sam Harris Brings It To The Muslim Whackos

Read the whole thing. It's brilliant. Especially read this if you think atheists take joy in directing their criticism of religion to Christianity. Islam is at least as loopy a set of myths, and it taps in to a group of people significantly more dangerous, than Christianity (particularly American Christianity) does. And best of all, it was too hot for the Washington Post, which refused to run it because they thought it was too "anti-Muslim."

Of course it's anti-Muslim. That's the point. Islam is a strange, bizarre religion, filled with bizarre myths and which is used to incite people to acts of horrific, hate-filled violence. Islam itself is no better nor any worse than any other religion, and yes, it can also inspire people to behave in noble, morally good ways. But Harris has a real point that most Muslims who speak up about Islam seem to do so not to direct criticism at those fundamentalists who have hijacked and stolen their noble, ancient teachings and perverted them to violent and immoral ends. No, their fire seems to be directed mostly at non-Muslims who have the temerity to say the exact same thing that they ought to be saying.

My only critique is that yes, it's kind of long; your typical op-ed is about 800 words long and an in-depth piece is usually around twice that. At nearly 3,000 words, Harris goes well over that conventional amount. Had the WaPo run with it, it would have been edited down somewhat; but the internet isn't anywhere near running out of zeroes and ones, so Harris can write for as long as he wants.

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