Books like yours balkanize the world

Robert Winston says the Templeton Prize is just fine, no problem, what’s the big deal, relax, take a chill pill, don’t get your knickers in a twist, why do you have such an attitude. Sam Harris says religious language is unscientific in its claims for what is true. Winston says there’s no such thing as “the truth.” Harris says we can still recognise falsehood. Winston says

I suppose I really wonder why you’re so angry.


Yes really; he says that. Maybe not that abruptly and inconsequentially – that may be editing – but those are the words. Harris attempts to laugh off this sudden rudeness, but Winston isn’t having it. “You write angrily, too,” he says. Furthermore,

books like yours and [Richard Dawkins’s] God Delusion balkanise the world a good deal more, because they polarise views. The God Delusion has caused very aggressive reactions from [people who] previously weren’t aggressive.

Got that? The books of Dawkins and Harris caused very aggressive reactions – just as Salman Rushdie’s Naughty Book caused other very aggressive reactions and Theo Van Gogh’s movie caused others and Lars Vilks’s cartoon caused others and the Motoons caused others and so on. We people who offend religious believers in their organs of religiosity are at fault for being so offensive and we are the cause of any aggressive reactions that ensue. It’s not that religious believers are Spoiled by the longstanding custom of treating religion as special and taboo so they now feel entitled to permanent deference; it’s not Privilege; no, it’s that people who try to discuss the subject openly are creators of aggression.

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