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Tuesday, September 5, 2006

This week at The end of secularism?

Doug Muder reviews Sam Harris's best-selling attack on the irrationality of religion, The End of Faith, along with Daniel C. Dennett's Breaking the Spell — and finds that both books make no room for liberal religion. He also looks at something Harris and Dennett find incomprehensible: a proponent of liberal Islam. (Doug has expanded on his review over at his blog, Free and Responsible Search. Discuss his essay here. In another post he asks, Why can't we "just say no" to irrationality? And be sure to read his follow-up post about heroes and martyrs.)

Meanwhile, longtime contributing editor Warren R. Ross finds Harris's book provocative, but he wondered why Harris never mentions Unitarian Universalism — so he called him up and interviewed him. Find out what Harris thinks about Unitarian Universalists — and what a handful of UU ministers, including UUA President William G. Sinkford, think of Harris's critique of tolerance.

Also this week: Jane Greer profiles Ilene Corina, a UU who became a prominent patient safety advocate after her son died from a routine tonsilectomy. Don Skinner reports on a Baton Rouge team of UUs that volunteers once in month in New Orleans and describes events marking the anniversary of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans' three UU churches.

Finally, be sure to see Sonja Cohen's lament for Pluto in the magazine's news blog. A new mnemonic, friends: Many Very Educated Minds Just Snubbed Unitarian's Ninth Planet.

Copyright © 2006 by Philocrites | Posted 5 September 2006 at 7:20 AM

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Next: The plight of the Unitarian Republican.



Bill Baar:

September 18, 2006 06:05 PM | Permalink for this comment

I'd say secularism and rational religion is in a whopper of a fight, and not with Bush's 12 step Methodism. Victor Davis Hansen in his blog on Oriana Fallaci,

Radical Islam is, among other things, a patriarchal movement, embedded particularly in the cult of the Middle-Eastern male, who occupies a privileged position in a society that can be fairly described as one of abject gender apartheid. Islamism is also at war with the religious infidel, not just the atheist—and, in its envy and victimhood, fueled by a renewal of the age-old hatred of the Christian.

But so far, with very few exceptions other than the lion, Christopher Hitchens, the courageous William Shawcross, and a few others, the Left has either been neutral or anti-American in this struggle. And few Christians in positions of influence and respect have publicly defended their faith and the civilization that birthed it.
Her fiery message was as timely as it was caricatured and slandered: Muslims who leave the Middle East to live under the free aegis of the West have a moral duty to support and protect the civilization that has welcomed them, rather than romanticize about what they have forsaken; Christianity is more than a religion, but also a powerful emblem of the force of reason, in that it seeks to spread belief by rational thought as well as faith; and that affluent and leisured Westerners, bargaining away their honor and traditions out of fear and for illusory security, have only emboldened radical Islam that seeks to liquidate them.

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