Letter to a Christian Nation Paperback – Jan 8 2008
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"A breath of fresh fire." —Wall Street Journal“I dare you to read this book...it will not leave you unchanged. Read it if it is the last thing you do.” —Richard Dawkins, author of The Selfish Gene and The God Delusion“It’s a shame that not everyone in this country will read Sam Harris’ marvelous little book Letter to a Christian Nation. They won’t but they should.” —Leonard Susskind, Felix Bloch Professor in theoretical physics, Stanford University
About the Author
Sam Harris is the author of the New York Times best seller, The End of Faith: Religion, Terror, and the Future of Reason, which won the 2005 PEN Award for Nonfiction. He is a graduate in philosophy from Stanford University and has studied both Eastern and Western religious traditions, along with a variety of contemplative disciplines, for twenty years. Mr. Harris is now completing a doctorate in neuroscience, studying the neural basis of belief, disbelief, and uncertainty with functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). His work has been discussed in The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, The San Francisco Chronicle, The Economist, and New Scientist, among many other journals, and he has made television appearances on The O'Reilly Factor, Scarborough Country, Faith Under Fire, and Book TV.
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Top Customer Reviews
One more thought. Where does this book leave the moderate or liberal Christian? What does it say to them? While ostensibly not aimed at them, some challenges are obvious. If you are not a literal-minded Christian, then what exactly do you believe? Why are the literal-minded Christians not just simply more consistent (less politely: less hypocritical) than you are? Are there resources within Christianity that can justify your liberal stance, or are you really compromising with outside standards and motivated by outside factors?Read more ›
One might expect such a book to be either mean-spirited or intentionally provacative. Christian Nation is neither, although some will experience it that way. Harris sticks to the facts. He does not believe that religious faith, including but certainly not limited to Christianity, is good for people.
Harris is concerned with reducing human suffering and increasing human happiness. He agrees that many of the things that Jesus about love and kindness are indeed valuable and wise. He points out, however, that the bible contains much, much more than love and kindness. It contains cruelty, such as slavery, and pointless rules, such as the ban on graven images.
In the end, Harris argues, religious faith, or any belief that is not based on evidence and reason, does not make sense and will ultimately lead to unnecessary suffering.
No doubt, many good and loving people would be offended or hurt if they read this book. But that simply proves Harris' point. These people have been so blinded by faith that they cannot even consider the possibility they have been led astray. Hopefully, a good number of religious people will muster the courage to read the book anyway.
Although Harris did not use the exact same words I am sure he agrees that there are indeed some of Jesus' views (as recorded in the New Testament) which do not seem to be morally defensible. Unfortunately, Harris does not distinguish very well between fundamentalist Christians who reject the occurrence of evolution and believe all sorts of unscientific mumbo jumbo about the age of the earth and more enlightened Christians who are comfortable with scientific discoveries about the nature of the physical and biological world.
Bertrand Russell wrote an earlier essay entitled “Mysticism and Logic” and in this essay he says “I believe that . . there is an element of wisdom to be learnt from the mystical way of feeling which does not seem to be attainable in any other manner. If this is the truth, mysticism is to be commended as an attitude towards life and not as a creed about the world.Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
It should be mandatory reading in all schools and by every Christian in the world. Concise, easy read filled with common sense. A must!Published 6 months ago by Steve
Sam Harris is one of several atheistic media darlings currently making the secular rounds, getting famous by being loud and bombastic, sarcastic and rude. Read morePublished 13 months ago by Gaboora
Fresh and thought provoking. Harris hits the nail on the head with this one.Published 15 months ago by Sylvain lafreniere
A letter that reiterates some of the points made in The End of Faith. Look forward to Harris' newest book in September.
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