Every detail that has emerged about Palin's life in Alaska suggests that she is devout & literal-minded in her Christian dogmatism as any man or woman in the land. Given her long affiliation with the Assemblies of God church, Palin very likely believes that Biblical prophecy is an infallible guide to future events & that we are living in the 'end times.' Which is to say she very likely thinks that human history will soon unravel in a foreordained cataclysm of war & bad weather. Undoubtedly (?!) Palin believes that this will be a good thing - as all true Christians will be lifted bodily into the sky to make merry with Jesus, while all nonbelievers, Jews, Methodists & other rabble will be punished for eternity in a lake of fire. Like many Pentecostals, Palin may even imagine that she & her fellow parishioners enjoy the power of prophecy themselves."OK, how do you get away with that in a major news magazine? He's very careful (or at least an editor is) to use phrases like "very likely" and "may even" in order to escape the complete lack of documented facts about what she does or does not believe about eschatology, prophecy & justification. (Yes, there are actually theological words to describe these beliefs - and some of us can actually discuss them in civil tones, even when we don't agree. Sam Harris evidently missed the memo on this one.) And yet, tucked into that bevy of qualifiers is the word "undoubtedly"... which undercuts the all that hard work of being fuzzy about who believes what. It's like me saying: "It seems very likely that Jeff Probst has some inside information about the players when they appear at Survivor's Tribal Council. Undoubtedly, he uses this information to influence the game." Look at that! I've accused Jeff Probst of "fixing" Survivor while looking like I'm trying to be impartial. Sam also uses some "hand grenade" words in the discussion of religious faith - again, without being able to prove that they apply directly to the candidate in question.
- "literal-minded" - a favorite accusation of Christians in general... it's code for "you yokels are too stupid to figure out that there are different literary genres in the Bible" or "since you guys don't agree with the current scientific/philosophical underpinnings - which can be quite fluid, btw - you're a bunch of redneck crackers who shouldn't be listened to"
- "dogmatism" - yeah, dogma isn't a negative term at all... nope, calling someone dogmatic is a COMPLIMENT in our tolerance-obsessed society. That's the reason Kevin Smith called his anti-Catholic film "Dogma." (Sorry - my sarcasm is showing.)
- "imagine" - OK, so you don't believe, Sam - we get that. (You've even written some books about it.) However, you might as well imply that she thinks Santa & Harry Potter are real, too, with your tone here.