Weekly Buzz: 9/1/14

Waking Up, Sam Harris's New Book

This week’s buzz features Sam Harris following in Jesus’ footsteps, a new podcast with Peter Enns, and 10 hilarious signs you might take the Bible too literally.

“Between Godliness and Godlessness”

Frank Bruni wrote a fascinating article about Sam Harris in yesterday’s New York Times. The article discusses Harris’s upcoming book, Waking Up: A Guide to Spirituality Without Religion. (Surprisingly, there is no mention of Harris’s doppelgänger, Ben Stiller.)

Bruni notes how Harris retraced Jesus’ steps:

He describes a walk in Jesus’ footsteps, and the way he was touched by it.

This happened on “an afternoon on the northwestern shore of the Sea of Galilee, atop the mount where Jesus is believed to have preached his most famous sermon,” Harris writes. “As I gazed at the surrounding hills, a feeling of peace came over me. It soon grew to a blissful stillness that silenced my thoughts. In an instant, the sense of being a separate self — an ‘I’ or a ‘me’ — vanished.”

Has Harris become a believer? Not at all. Instead, Harris is exploring religious experiences from a secular perspective:

“You can have spiritual experience and understand the most thrilling changes in human consciousness in a context that’s secular and universal and not freighted with dogma,” he said when we spoke on the telephone last week.

Waking Up comes out September 9th, but you don’t have to wait that long to read part of it. Harris released the first chapter on his blog, where you can read or listen to it.

Harris is starting a lecture tour next weekend to promote Waking Up. I’m going to attend one of his lectures and read the book. I hope it’ll be better than his other books on religion, which reminded me of The Wicker Man or Bad Lieutenant.

The Liturgists Podcast: Worth Your Time

Michael Gungor, Lissa Paino, and Mike McHargue spent time with “Bible ninja” Peter Enns last week. (I featured one of McHargue’s articles in a recent buzz post.) Episode 3 of their podcast, The Liturgists Podcast, focused on the Bible.

The episode opens with one of those “I can’t believe this passage is really in the Bible but it is” passages. After this great opening, Enns joins the podcast and answers questions about his new book, The Bible Tells Me So. Gungor and McHargue then share their personal journeys with faith and the Bible.

This podcast episode asks provocative questions about how the Bible’s been viewed throughout church history, and it explains that reading the Bible exclusively in a “literal” fashion is pretty new. If you’re looking for a good hour of audio, look no further.

More Massimo: Science and Pseudoscience

In a short Rationally Speaking podcast last week, Massimo Pigliucci interviewed Maarten Boudry, a philosopher of science in Belgium. The two discuss the difference between science and pseudoscience—and why you should care.

“10 Signs You Take The Bible Too Literally”

HarperCollins created a Buzzfeed list to promote Enns’s new book. The list features some great GIFs. My favorites are #6 and #10, which show Liam Neeson and Flanders, respectively. I get the two confused quite often.

What do you think of this week’s buzz?

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