Second thoughts on strategy

Sam Harris reconsiders:

The second reason to be attentive to the differences among the world’s religions is that these differences are actually a matter of life and death. There are very few of us who lie awake at night worrying about the Amish. This is not an accident. While I have no doubt that the Amish are mistreating their children, by not educating them adequately, they are not likely to hijack aircraft and fly them into buildings. But consider how we, as atheists, tend to talk about Islam. Christians often complain that atheists, and the secular world generally, balance every criticism of Muslim extremism with a mention of Christian extremism. The usual approach is to say that they have their jihadists, and we have people who kill abortion doctors. Our Christian neighbors, even the craziest of them, are right to be outraged by this pretense of even-handedness, because the truth is that Islam is quite a bit scarier and more culpable for needless human misery, than Christianity has been for a very, very long time.

Apparently it seems to have recently occurred to Mr. Harris that vehemently attacking the hundreds of millions of people who have pretty much left your tiny, insignificant minority in peace for centuries and are all that stand in between you and tens of millions of people who would like to cut your head off may not be the brightest course of action.

Needless to say, most of those brilliant strategists in the New Atheist movement vehemently disagree with him.

I’ll have a more substantive analysis of this interesting confessional in the next day or two. Harris only begins to touch on a few of the inherent problems with atheism today, but those he touches upon are relevant.