In his recent speech, Sam Harris approaches the fascinating topic of freewill. But Harris took a position that honestly surprised me.
I expected him to take the stance of the narcissistic “I” and rebel against the religious doctrines that say God is in control of our lives. But instead Harris admitted that we have no control over our lives, but God has nothing to do with it. He rebelled, not against the notion of God being in control of everything, but against the idea that human beings even have freewill to make the right or wrong decision.
Instead, he says, the atoms and molecular makeup of our brains are not in our control. Who raises us and the experiences we have are not in our control. Our own thoughts are not in our control. Therefore, there is no such thing as freewill.
In other words, there is no such thing as the sinful nature of man, there is no such thing as taking responsibility for a wrong committed. There is just good luck and bad luck, and we are not in control of which one we get.
To me this sounds very depressing, but Harris has another interpretation. By removing all responsibility for the evil in a human being, and blaming it all on science and life experiences, we should have much less need to hate that person. After all, they have no control over what they do, they have no freewill so we should not judge them for the horrible acts done.
Harris even goes so far as to say that Uday Hussein, Saddam Hussein’s son, was not responsible for the horrible and evil crimes he committed. Were he still alive, he would be a victim of his upbringing and genetic manipulation. He should be locked up so as to protect the rest of society, but he should not be held responsible for acts that were out of his control. WHAT!?
I anticipate that many Christians will have issue with Harris’s interpretation of life. I welcome comments in response to this video. It is definitely worth watching.