"Is religion built upon lies?" Authors Harris and Sullivan engage in one of first online debates

Sam Harris, author of the bestseller The End of Faith and Andrew Sullivan, author of The Conservative Soul have been engaging in a sharp online debate since January 16 on the value of organized religion in today’s society.  In what must be one of the most publicized online debates yet, Harris is defending his position that all religion is built on a pack of lies while Sullivan – a gay devout Catholic – is defending the virtues of religion, while distinguishing moderates from the more fundamentalist groups around the world.  Personally, as someone who invests and divests from religion over time, I find this debate thrilling.  I’m also intrigued by the rise in anti-religious writing and philosophy of late that these two ends of the spectrum represent.  I find it very cool that they are using a website – Beliefnet – as the forum to showcase such a debate, allowing readers to follow and comment in real time.  The internet is a perfect medium for such an exchange, but debating is one area that hasn’t gained much traction online.  Might this be a new trend?  With the 2008 election on the horizon, I can foresee Hillary and Barack battling head-to-head online a few months from now as the Democratic primaries draw near.  I can’t wait. 

By Josh Guttman

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