Harris uses an ancient Buddhist saying to make his point in which one 9th century Buddhist monk named Li Chi is quoted as saying If you meet Buddha on the road, kill him. The monk used this analogy or statement to make the point that if you make Buddhism into a religion, you will rob it of the essence of what the Buddha taught. Harris's main point of his op-ed is that despite practitioners of Buddhism claiming it is a philosophy most followers treat it as if it is a religion.
Then there is Objectivism.
Unfortunately, there are many subscribers to Objectivism who have decided to make it a religion and follow through as such. Yet it is because of religious Objectivists that may have robbed the philosophy of its essence since they want to be mini-Rands (like Leonard Peikoff) going around their social circles or the world itself preaching from soapboxes in order to lecture people in an attempt to convince them to follow the philosophy. But if a person openly questions or disagrees with their points about certain subjects they risk (and often times are) kicked out or declared persona-non-grata.
I must admit that since becoming more familiar with the philosophy it has filled a void in my life and have followed up with starting an Objectivist club that has met for a little over 5 years. However, I have always been of the mindset that the philosophy is my road map and tried to keep myself from making it my entire life. Yet there are people who will always deride Objectivism as being a cult because it is a coherent, integrated, and unified system of thought that is very clear and consistent.
However, I think Li Chi's advice is relevant not in a literal sense and just in terms of Buddhism but in terms of Objectivism as well. Thanks to people, like Leonard Peikoff, who have made Objectivism into a religion, they are the philosophy's worst enemy.
Edited by Mike Renzulli, 16 September 2011 - 02:27 PM.