(CNS News) -- Sam Harris, an atheist, philosopher, and five-time New York Times best-selling author, said that former President Donald Trump "is a worse person than Osama bin Laden," the Islamist fanatic responsible for 9/11 and the murder of 2,977 Americans.
On his Aug. 25 podcast, Making Sense, Harris sought to explain his views on Bin Laden vs. Trump.
“I’ve said on several occasions that I think Donald Trump is a worse person than Osama bin Laden," commented Harris. "The statement is obviously meant to get your attention. I get that it's surprising. But it's not meant to be hyperbolic. I can defend every word of a statement like that. What I can’t defend are people’s misunderstandings and erroneous extrapolations of a statement like that.”
"I think Osama bin Laden was a more or less normal human being psychologically," said Harris. "He was just living in the grip of a dangerous and idiotic worldview. The moral structure he imagined he was living under and wanted to impose on the rest of the world, given his beliefs, was despicable. So he created immense harm. And it's very good that we killed him."
"But within the framework of his odious beliefs, he demonstrated many virtues," claimed Harris. "He was a man who certainly seemed to be capable of real self-sacrifice. He was committed to ideals beyond his narrow self-interest."
"He was by all accounts personally quite courageous," said the celebrated author.
Harris continued, "I don't claim to know that much about him, but it wouldn't surprise me at all if he was genuinely a person of real integrity and generosity and compassion in his dealings with his fellow Muslims.”
"None of these things can be said of Donald Trump," said Harris. "Trump is, without question, one of the least honest and most malignantly selfish human beings I have ever come across."
In the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks, orchestrated by Osama bin Laden, 2,753 people were killed at the World Trade Center in Manhattan, 184 killed at the Pentagon, and another 40 people murdered in Pennsylvania.
9/11 is considered the deadliest terrorist attack in world history, according to Matthew Morgan's book, The Impact of 9/11 on Politics and War: The Day that Changed Everything?
In addition to the people killed directly in those attacks, thousands of other Americans have suffered from injuries and health problems tied to the destruction of the event.
In addition to the 9/11 terrorism, according to History.com, bin Laden and his followers "trained and armed the Somali rebels who killed 18 American servicemen in Mogadishu in 1993. They were also linked to the 1993 bombing of New York’s World Trade Center; the attempted assassination of Egyptian president Hosni Mubarek in 1995; the bombing of a U.S. National Guard training center in Riyadh that same year; and the truck bomb that destroyed the Khobar Towers, an American military residence in Dharan, in 1996."
On May 1, 2011, Navy SEALS caught up with bin Laden in Pakistan. During the raid, SEAL Team 6 member Robert O'Neill shot bin Laden three times -- he died at the scene.
"Based on computer files and other evidence the SEALs collected during the raid, it was later determined that bin Laden was making plans to assassinate President Obama and carry out a series of additional attacks against America," said History.com, "including one on the anniversary of September 11, the largest terrorist attack ever on U.S. soil."
Harris, who perhaps is most known for his attacks on religious belief, says, "We never respect stupidity in our society unless it is religious stupidity. This is what I think is so dangerous about religion. It actually allows people by the millions--perfectly sane, perfectly intelligent people--to believe what only lunatics or idiots could believe on their own, because the mode of discourse is systematically sheltered from criticism."
"If you wake up tomorrow morning believing that saying a few Latin words over your breakfast cereal is going to change it into the body of Julius Caesar or Elvis, you have lost your mind," says Harris. "There's no question about that. But if you believe the same thing about a cracker becoming Jesus, very likely there is nothing wrong with you; you simply happen to be Catholic."
"I happen to be one of those atheists who writes essays with titles like 'Science Must Destroy Religion,'" he writes. "And Richard Dawkins has obviously been quite a champion of this view for decades now. There is a debate among atheistic scientists about whether this is the right approach. But I'm convinced that it is."
In the 2020 presidential election, 74,223,369 Americans voted for Trump; in the 2016 election, 62,984,828 Americans voted for Trump.