Thank you both for your imput. HolyAvenger - I liked your analogy using racism and Doug - your opinion on Harris’s word use. Both very helpful.
The ideas Harris is putting forth are tricky to me. My rational, more objective and admittedly more opinionated side largely agrees with his take on religious tolerance (Considering that he means something closer to Doug’s definition; not necessarily the need that it be expunged because I can’t stand it - but that I refuse to accept it as necessary or respect it) yet my bleeding-heart, journalistic two-faces-to-every-coin side is kinda taken aback. But I am learning while my major (journalism) has taught that there is a beauty in examining the different facets of a story, there also seems to be a boundary where things are less nuanced and more universal than even a general bleeding-heart like myself cares to admit.
For instance, I rather recently (about a semester ago) came to the conclusion, that in my view, there are things that just don’t pass the “but it’s a different culture and way of thinking” test. Basic human rights, gross gentital mutilation, the subjugation of women, etc etc. I, moreorless, came to my humanist epitome.
So when Harris speaks of the atrocites that, I am well aware, can be attributed to religion, I am realizing that in many ways a concern for all humanity and a faith in a Higher Being that requires worship of him exclusively ( the alternative being an eternity of flame-broiled misery) don’t really marry too well. Though I know there is such a thing as religious humanist (not too well-informed about the whole humanist schpeel), I cannot honestly see where a truly faithful religious person could cover both bases; one base being to better humanity and the other to serve the one and only true creator of the universe (as per one of the orthodox religions of Christainty or Islam etc). Unless of course their idea of bettering humanity would be to convert humanity into fellow church-goers, which I would not agree with being all that great for mankind.
Point being - I see where the guy is coming from. And I guess, as an afterthought - what the hell is a religious humanist?!?!
Thanks again guys.
PS - Doug you said you “mostly” enjoyed Harris’s book. I want to know more of what you did not necessarily agree with or like about it when I am finished (don’t want to stain my brain with pre-concieved notions just yet). So be ready. Though, admittedly it may be awhile. School has a tendency to swallow one’s soul. :( And it’s fast approaching.