Originally posted by agryson
Here is a very interesting (if a little long) article from Sam Harris, author of "Letter to a Christian Nation". He makes the point that atheism should not even be a concept int he sense that there is no such thing as an "anti-astrologer". Escape from the myths and fairy-tales of religion will only have been achieved when atheism as a concept is taken for gr ...[text shortened]...
It's interesting to see how Harris acknowledges the existence of the human spirit: "Not recognizing that such experiences are possible or important can make us appear less wise even than our craziest religious opponents." He does not call it the spirit, of course, but rather the "plasticity of the human mind... to recognize thoughts as thoughts."
And Harris is correct in assuming that non-believers possess a spiritual faculty in every respect similar to their believing neighbors. Though, from a biblical perspective, it is technically not the acknowledgment of the spirit which makes one wise (if Harris is indeed concerned with appearing less wise than his opponents), but rather it is the capacity to differentiate between what is of the spirit and what is of the mind which makes one truly wise. In Harris' case, he simply attributes what he has discovered of his own spirit to the agency of the mind.
Otherwise, considering Harris' acknowledgment of a possibly irreducible mystery at the core of existence, I agree that what he is proposing a person ought to be could not be correctly labeled, "atheist." Perhaps a more suitable title would be, "agnostic."