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The End of Faith: Religion, Terror and the Future of Reason Paperback – 22 Nov 2005

3.8 out of 5 stars 154 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company; 1st Norton Pbk edition (22 Nov. 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0393327655
  • ISBN-13: 978-0393327656
  • Product Dimensions: 14 x 2.3 x 21.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (154 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 865,369 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

"A genuinely frightening book... Read Sam Harris and wake up." -- Richard Dawkins "Sam Harris launches a sustained nuclear assault... A brave, pugilistic attempt to demolish the walls that currently insulate religious people from criticism... Badly needed." -- Johann Hari "This book will strike a chord with anyone who has ever pondered the irrationality of religious faith... Even Mr. Harris's critics will have to concede the force of an analysis which roams so far and wide, from the persecution of the Cathars to the composition of George Bush's cabinet." "A radical attack on the most sacred of liberal precepts-the notion of tolerance... An eminently sensible rallying cry for a more ruthless secularisation of society." -- Stephanie Merritt "Shows how the perfect tyranny of religious and secular totalitarianism demonizes imperfect democracies such as the United States and Israel. A must read for all rational people." -- Alan Dershowitz, professor of law at Harvard University and author of America on Trial "[Harris's] brief accounts of intuition, and of the notion of a 'moral community,' are as good as anything I have read on these topics." -- John Derbyshire

From the Publisher

WINNER OF THE 2005 PEN AWARD FOR FIRST NON-FICTION --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Review: The End of Faith by Sam Harris

Sam Harris book illustrates the irrationality of "religious faith" based on "beliefs" of unsubstantiated facts and yet such myths have been sheltered from criticism from every corner. I have rated it with 5 stars because the book is contemporary, very readable, credible and timely and most of all fearless of "political correctness."

The book illustrates that anti-Semitism is integral to both Christianity and Islam and shows the barbarity of Christian who, butchered thousands in the name of God in the Inquisition and the Holocaust. That tribalism, exclusion, racism and savagery is laced throughout the scriptures of all the Abrahamic faiths.

Fundamentalist Christian scriptures were protected from inquiry with harsh and uncompromising diktats like that from Pope Pius X in 1907 who declared modernism a heresy. In Islam, it is also heretic to question the Quran or the hadiths. Thus intelligent inquiry into both the Bible and the Quran were stifled for many centuries in Christianity and still does in Islam. Hence the rejection of the modern scientific theories and hypothesis of the 20th and 21st centuries into Abrahamic faith considerations. Such stifling of intellectual exegesis from the highest authorities of the Abrahamic religions has prevented the evolution of modern religious doctrines.

Harris' intimate knowledge of Islam also allows him to express his views on the rigidity of the Islamic faith and to express his views on Islam's conflicts with that of Christianity without being hog-bound with `political correctness,' is a bold step in modern 21st century literature.

Harris also openly discusses the political correctness in the assessment of our conflicts with Islam.
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Format: Paperback
To call this book provocative is something of an understatement - it's an attack on ideals held very dear by many, from the sanctity of religious faith through to the desirability of religious tolerance. It's also highly persuasive, and a timely wake-up call to anyone who dislikes religion but believes that private beliefs should go unchallenged.

Harris's key concern is pragmatic: there are religious fundamentalists happy to kill both themselves and others on the basis of their faith in particular holy books, and we must find the best way of stopping them. Harris's view is that the way to do so is to undermine all religion, not just that of the fundamentalists.

He notes that "religious tolerance", the liberal consensus which minimises conflict between believers and non-believers, and between moderates and radicals, allows fundamentalism to flourish because it creates a climate where only actions can be challenged, not the beliefs that cause them. Harris (with some tendency to exaggeration) downplays the political causes of terrorism which other writers focus on, and concentrates on the central absurdity that makes acts like suicide bombing possible - belief in reward in the afterlife.

Harris rarely minces words. The book is filled with quotable invective, which depending on your perspective you'll either find inspiring or apalling. As a rant, it's highly articulate and very well-argued.

Harris pours scorn particularly on Islam and Christianity, enumerating the false beliefs to be found in their holy books and devoting a chapter each to their flaws. Judaism gets off more lightly, and he clearly has more sympathy for Israel than its neighbours.
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Format: Hardcover
So you are thinking of buying this book! Well I totally recommend the read. For someone who is not particularly intellectual (me!), I was a little daunted by all the 'big words' and although it took me a couple of weeks to read and digest I found it inspiring, interesting, thought provoking. It has got me thinking and that, I think, is the main point of Sam's work. to get us to think and to question 'Why?' and look for truth. I grew up as an Evangelical, happy clappy Christian (Was told that Evolution was wrong and that Creationism was correct) and have since converted to Judaism. I have always been on a quest for the truth and Science delivers so many answers that the Rabbi's fail to fully answer. Now?- well, I have 'lost' my faith - but in a good way. I don't feel depressed about it anymore and and am excited about life and learning more about life and what it is all about. Next book - Evolution for Dummies!
Comment 8 of 8 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: Paperback
End of Faith is one of the most important books of the decade. Read this book and start thinking. And please don't stop thinking, otherwise you'll miss the point of it. For this is a book to inspire thought about how the world has come to have so many problems, so many of which are directly or indirectly attributable to religion. Even some laws which make no rational sense are in existence because of a moral tradition which is directly attributable to religious belief. Belief, in other words, which is not based on any scientific proof.

I must echo what another said, as it is totally right to say:

If you have an open, intelligent and enquiring mind - Read it.
If you want a better understanding of why the world is in such a mess - Read it
If you are interested in ethics, moral identity and politics - Read it.
If you are intrigued by the nature of belief - Read it

Harris makes a most brilliant and compelling treatise on why religion is so disturbingly destructive in so many ways; and is all the more so when it is followed with blind allegiance. He also demonstrates with the most logical fluidity and rational reasoning how its effects affect all of us - whether we are religious or not. And he develops, most compellingly, the argument that this is wrong. In short, read this book and wake up! And please give this book to others who are influential in this world, as this book is far too important to ignore. An unquestionable must read, which has divided many people and accordingly does not have the mark of greatness here on Amazon that is so thoroughly deserves.
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