Last night on our radio show we spoke with author and leading atheist Sam Harris about his book “Letter to a Christian Nation.” We invited Dr. Peter Kreeft who is an author of 45 books himself and a professor of philosophy at Boston College. It was a spirited discussion about Sam’s book which I highly recommend people buy. It was a highly thought provoking read- one that only solidified my Christian faith and theistic word-view.

That said there were a number of issues that time did not permit us to cover that deserves some further examination.

Sam makes a multitude of claims in his book about “religion” (he doesn’t distinguish between any specific religions but conflates them all despite their numerous inherent differences) in general in support of his atheistic world view (which many would characterize as secular humanism/materialism which the Supreme Courts has ruled is a religion of its own). Yet many of his central assertions are nothing more than unsubstantiated generalizations, distortions, and outright mis-truths (i.e lies). He argues for “scientific proof” and “rationality” on virtually every topic of debate he covers in his book, but after reading his book twice, I found a number of groundless claims that Sam fails to reconcile with the facts.

For example:

Sam claims “nature offers no examples of an intelligent designer.” Yet, virtually every area of science (astronomy, biology, bio-chemistry, physics, and cosmology, etc.) all point clearly to a highly refined and highly complex universe that could not have possibly resulted from “chance.” Even well known atheists Quentin Smith and David Hume concur, “The contention that we came from nothing, by nothing, and for nothing is absurd.” Or consider gravity which is fine-tuned to one point in a hundred million billion billion billion billion. Darwin said, ” If it could be demonstrated that any complex organism existed which could not have possibly been formed by numerous successive slight modifications my theory would absolutely break down.” Biochemist Michael Behe (whom I cited to last night who Sam derided and dismissed as an “ID apologist”) has demonstrated exactly that through his description of “irreducibly complex” molecular machines including the irreducible system of transporting proteins within cells and the intricate process of blood clotting.

Sam claims that the theory of Darwinian evolution is scientifically true and that there is no serious debate about it. This is as arrogant an assertion as it is absurd given the plethora of evidence which has demonstrated numerous holes in the theory most notably, as I said last night, the Cambrian Explosion, which even Darwin had admitted would nullify his theory. The Cambrian Explosion’s dazzling array of new life forms, in the words of world renowned biologist Stephen Meyer “which appeared suddenly fully formed in the fossil record with no prior transitions would have required the infusion of massive amounts of biological information…which is the hallmark of the mind…purely from the evidence of genetics and biology, we can infer the existence of a mind that’s far greater than our own-conscious, purposeful, rational, intelligent designers who’s amazingly creative.”

Sam claims human life does not begin at conception. This claim too is absurd and strains credulity. For somebody as bright and articulate as Sam to deny this axiomatic verifiable truth is puzzling. It is a scientific fact not up for debate that human life begins at the very moment of conception- a process knows as fecundation. To believe otherwise contradicts accepted science. Yet Sam, who is dogmatic in his naturalistic worldview, ignores this scientific reality, which he so emphatically demands of theists.

Sam claims states that “red states” have higher murder rates than more secular/atheistic “blue” states and purports to demonstrate a correlation between conservative Christianity and higher crime and murder rates. He is correct that “17 of the top 22” states with the highest murder rates are indeed “Red” states. But Sam conveniently ignores the fact that every city within those “red” states that have the highest homicide rates are all “blue” cities (i.e. New Orleans, Atlanta, Milwaukee, Wash D.C., Philadelphia, K.C. Cleveland, Memphis, etc.) If anything, it is the liberal Dem “blue” cites whose failed liberal social, educational and welfare programs, which create govt dependency, illegitimacy, crime, and illiteracy etc… are the more plausible causes of the high murder rates not “evangelical Christian fundamentalists.”

Sam claims that secular/atheistic/least religious countries in the world have higher per capita incomes, healthier populations, and better overall stds of living than other more religious countries. Yet all the countries he lists are all overwhelmingly Christian nations (including Australia-76% Christian, Belgium-75%Catholic and 25% Protestant, Denmark-91% Evangelical Lutheran. according to the World Almanac and Book of Facts.) He conveniently omits China, the only official atheistic country in the world who has one of the lowest per capita incomes, lowest stds of living, and highest human rights violations in the world. I think Sam actually got it exactly backwards. It is an inconvenient truth, but nevertheless the truth. Sam also cliams that most vilence, death, and war is thersult of religious fundamentalists. On this a very plausible case could be made for the religion of “peace” Islam. But Sam ignores that hundreds of millions of innocent people died in the 20th Century not from “fundamentalist” Christians but from ahteisitic totolitarian Commusnist, Socialist, and Nazi regimes. Again, an inconvenient truth Sam conveniently omits.

Sam ponder whether “one can reasonably wonder whether most aborted fetuses suffer their destruction at any level.” My question to Sam is, if in doubt why not give the defenseless little baby the benefit of the doubt and let her live. Would you bury a person if you were unsure if he/she were alive or dead? We know empirically that babies “feel” pain when they are dismembered by an abortionistâ??s scalpel, the dilation and curettage method, and the dilation and evacuation method. We also know that when a baby’s head is punctured with a scissors, its brains vacuumed, and its head crushed that the baby in a late term abortion also feels excruciating pain. One would think somebody as intelligent as Sam would oppose abortion at any stage given his praise on page 23 for the Jain patriarch Mahavira who said “do not injure, kill, abuse any creature or living being.” This is a gaping contradiction that Sam never reconciles.

Sam claims that Embryonic Stem Cell Research shows enormous promise and that Christians who oppose it are “uninformed.” He finds no “moral reason for our federal government to fund” embryonic stem cell research. As a dogmatic advocate for rational science and opposition to human suffering one would expect that Sam would be opposed to the intentional creation of human life for experimentation and destruction especially given the fact that Embryonic SCR has produced nothing, has not begun one human trial, and tends to cause malignancies called teratomas meaning “monster tumors.” I am also surprised he does not even mention Adult Stem Cell Research which has been used to treat dozens of diseases including Type 1 diabetes, liver disease, spinal cord injuries, and the restoration of bone marrow in cancer patients without killing any human embryos at any stage of life. With all due respect, it is Sam who is wholly uninformed on this issue and arrogantly derides anybody with moral misgivings about the intentional creation and destruction of human embryos.

As the great former Democrat Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan once said, “people are entitled to their own opinions but not their own facts.”