Saturday, March 22, 2008

The Audacity of Reason

What Barack Obama Could Not (and Should Not) Say

Sam Harris nails it. I found myself thinking the same thing while listening to Obama's excellent speech on race last week: why must there be so many reverential mentions of this "jesus christ" character? For all this speech's historical merit -- and it was certainly timely, and possibly important -- its repeated callback to the praise/punishment mythology disappointed and embarrassed me. Americans are used to this type of divine rhetoric, but I could sense foreign viewers cringing. "Well he's better than Bush, but they still sound a bit like Puritans." Well some of us are.

I see the Obama campaign as a small step in the right direction, and a necessary step it is. But as Harris concludes, while we may be ready for the audacity of hope, will we ever be ready for the audacity of reason?

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