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4.4 out of 5 stars
The End of Faith: Religion, Terror, and the Future of Reason
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on November 17, 2015
One of my favourite quotes is Eleanor Roosevelt’s observation that;

“Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people.”

In this book, the Sam Harris discusses ideas. He does not launch any ad hominem attacks on anyone, and only rarely attempts to voice hindsight opinions of past events. It is certainly true that some of his ideas are very controversial in today’s society. Harris has carefully thought out these ideas, and has not been afraid to challenge popular societal explanations and clichés in his presentation of his arguments. I disagree with just a very few of his points, but even on these issues, I do understand his reason for developing position he takes. The ideas in this book certainly need to be discussed, and Harris has eloquently presented them – perhaps trailing slightly in coherency in the last couple of chapters as compared to the rest of the book, but en masse, in a well written and very readable manner.

When taking stock of the somewhat controversial nature of many of Harris’ ideas, we might consider that less than five-hundred years ago, the only openly atheist people in Europe were a small few locked in Christian dungeons, or writhing in the flames as they were burned to death. Any dissension from the opinions held by the church was grossly unacceptable, and indeed unimaginable. Galileo was being threatened with torture for suggesting that Earth was not at the centre of the universe, and witches were being burned at the stake for flying on broomsticks or causing thunderstorms. These practices were the societal norm, and were considered good ideas at the time. The idea that God might not have done precisely what the church said he did was viewed as an entirely unspeakable suggestion. Any writer of that time courageous enough to challenge the church would be lampooned, excommunicated, shunned, tortured and quite likely executed. Moreover, their writings would be censured.

In the west at least, we have come a long way since those days, although other parts of our world still lag woefully behind. When we read a centuries-old document that carefully suggests that witches, just possibly, don't actually cause disease through spells or curses, our reaction is, "Um, duh! Well obviously!" I tend to think that it is probable, provided that we do not annihilate ourselves over religion first, that Harris’ ideas will cause readers five centuries from now to slap their foreheads as they read them and say the same thing. It will be boring and banal to them; a truism that is news to no one. So read it today, while it’s still controversial!
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on June 20, 2016
Most of this book is a brilliantly written evisceration of religious faith, especially Islam, and a much needed defenestration of cultural relativism (and the political correctness that goes with it). The author also deserves credit to trying to describe a replacement. Unfortunately, a science of ethics, i,e., a rational atheism, seems equally hard to believe...
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on July 19, 2013
This is a very provoking book, Sam puts everything into a perspective that I can relate too. It's been a little bit since I've finished reading this book, but it has since inspired me to purchase others books by him such as; Free Will and The Moral Landscape.

You can watch some YouTube clips about this book that Sam Harris does as speeches, it'll give you a nice insight into the book if you're on the edge.

The book is a bit long, but it's not very wordy and is quite visual. I suggest this book entirely to anybody who is curious!
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on September 13, 2017
Brilliant mind and intellectually honest thinker. Genuine seeker of truth and unafraid to address taboos head-on which others will politely step around. In his efforts to be clear about his reasoning the writing style can sometimes be a little academic and turgid. However this is a book to inform, educate, stimulate and sometimes provoke, rather than to entertain.
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on August 2, 2013
You cannot put this book down. The clear concise manner that Sam Harris engages you in is like a discussion from a professor that opens your eyes to what is really happening in religion today. Not just Christian religion but all attitudes of religion and its effect on humanity. At times you think he has gone to far but you continue and see that there may be other alternatives to his conclusions regarding humanities fate. The course we are on is explosive and we must decide what baggage we are to carry if we are to survive our destructive tendencies. His incite into the current states of all religion make you ask question of yourself. What do I believe? What does my religion say about that? Is religion wrong? What is the truth?
This book may open a closed mind!
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on July 21, 2016
Sam Harris suggests religious beliefs are responsible for much of the suffering, violence, and ignorance in the world. He challenges us to think of our existence in a different way, before we kill each other in a glorious burst of religious fervour.
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on January 21, 2016
Powerful argumentation refuting religious dogmas left and right. Highly enjoyable and brilliantly clever.
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on August 23, 2017
Eloquently worded, in depth criticism of various religious dogmas. Also a very interesting take on consciousness and a practical look at meditation.
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on April 18, 2017
Great book
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on December 8, 2014
I am still reading this book and find it quite interesting. Makes you think about your own religion as well as other religions. If men and women from all religious backgrounds came together and read this book we may have peace in the world.
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