Sam Harris’ New Book and the Sacraments

I just read that Sam Harris whose books in support of atheism stirred things up in the past decade has a new one coming out that takes up the thesis of my book, Seven Sacraments for Everyone.   Harris’ book, Waking Up, asks the chicken-and-egg question: which came first, “the faith, or the feeling of transcendence?” according to Frank Bruni in the NY Times. Exactly, my point.   Many people have moments where they experience a feeling of bliss, of oneness with everything. There are several kinds of triggers: nature, art, music, sex, —and the other Seven Universal Sacraments that I describe. As to whether faith came first or the experience that led people to construct a faith, why get hung up arguing about that?. What should matter is that we acknowledge these experiences, these feelings and contemplate how they point us in the direction of our higher selves, our most human selves. They show us that we need to protect the natural world, to nurture the arts, to treat the intimacy of sexual union with the greatest respect, to shower our partners with love, and make sacrifices for the sake of the union that is marriage. They show us how sublime life can be with or without the worship of a deity.

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